Jim Hansen’s opinion

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186 comments on this post.
  1. Dr. Alan Keller:

    Recently the skeptic community around here is delighted with rumors that Anglia threw out the temperature data from 40% of the Russian stations. Any truth to this, and/or justification?

  2. Juliette:

    Great text. Kudos to Hansen for keeping at it despite threats.

  3. Snorbert Zangox:

    Kim Cobb and the rest of the RealClimate and CRU apologists seem to want to dismiss the events at the University of East Anglia, NCAR and Penn. State University as aberrations that have had no effect on the conclusions drawn by the climate research community (cabal?). I don’t think that is realistic. The scientists involved in Climategate are committee chairmen, primary authors, and final technical reviewers; in short, these men are the most influential of all climate scientists. The connection between GISS (i.e. Hansen and Schmidt) through this website leads one to wonder how much involvement GISS might have. I do not think that this dismissal will suffice.

    I also do not think that subjectivity is a major issue in this brouhaha. In fact, the description in the emails about the 20th century tree ring data makes one (me at least) believe that these researchers realized that the decline in the tree ring-indicated temperature in the face of rising thermometer measurements would lead to widespread dismissal of the accuracy of the tree ring surrogate. It seems to me, that the tree ring data were the only surrogate data that do not show a warm Medieval Climate Optimum, and that was important because the GCMs cannot reproduce the MCO. It all appears to be an attempt to cover up inconvenient data.

    I find Cobb’s treatment of the peer review aspects of this incident puzzling. He seems to be saying that a couple of articles gained widespread circulation and that attempts to refute their conclusions did not. Cobb appears to believe that this is sufficient reason to suppress articles that contradict the accepted litany. The portion about “politically motivated skeptics . . .” is pure argument ad hominem, which usually is the tactic of the losing side in a debate.

    I cannot believe that out of the estimated $50 billion that we have allocated to climate research that there were not a couple million dollars available for creating a public access data base. It could have come out of the paper clip budget and no one would have missed it. Before I can believe that persons or organizations submit temperature data to CRU and ask that they be held closely, someone will have to describe to me a scenario in which the local temperature or the fact that someone is measuring it, is confidential.

    I agree with Cobb’s last paragraph, that climate scientists must put themselves at the center of discussions of climate science. I also believe that climate scientists must respond positively to the allegations that are arising from examination of the leaked CRU data. RealClimate appears reticent to do so and Cobb’s article does not indicate that he is ready to do it either.

  4. Wes:

    My main questions revolve around the MWP and LIA. Are there peer reviewed articles other than Jones, Briffa, Mann, etc. that do not depend in any way on any ‘team’ member’s articles that also show flat temperatures trends for the past 2000 years ?

    [Response: If you define ‘team’ as Steve McIntyre does, meaning anyone that corroborates these results, then obviously no. But the real answer is, yes, of course. Tom Crowley’s paper in Science from about 10 years ago is a nice example, here. Contrary to claims that this paper depends on Mann et al.’s work, it doesn’t. Nor do several other of the figures shown e.g. here, though there is some overlap in the underlying data used. There is no overlap of people or data in the work by Oerlemans, also shown in that figure (as discussed here.–eric]/

  5. Zorro:

    Why do most of the graphs cited in research start mid 18th century?

  6. Bart Verheggen:

    Thanks to Kim Cobb for a very well articulated view, the bottom line being:

    “these e-mails reveal nothing more than brief, emotion-fueled remarks made in the face of unrelenting and often disingenuous attacks.”

  7. Ray Ladbury:

    Snorbert,
    It has always been clear that you have only the most tenuous grasp on the science of Earth’s climate. It now appears that reality may be another thing you don’t have much of a grasp on.
    The only people who see a smoking gun in the East Anglia emails are those who were already smoking something. Pray, why would you include the tree-rings in a reconstruction after they have failed to match up with the instrumental record. They do fine up ’til 196o, and that is plenty of calibration. Moreover, the era since 1950 contains plenty of changes that could account for the change in tree-ring behavior.

    As to the Medieval Warming Period–yes, lots of proxies show one. They just show it a different times in different parts of the globe. Put that into a global proxy reconstruction and you know what you get? Noise!

    And where in the hell are you getting $50 billion? You’d be lucky to account for 10% of that going to real climate research.

    In short, sir, you continue to amaze, but never surprise.

  8. Jerry Steffens:

    “Snorbert Zangox” — 18 December 3:51 PM
    (and many others)

    “Tree-ring temperatures” are DERIVED FROM the thermometer record — they don’t constitute an independent temperature record. Using “tree-ring” temperatures to invalidate the thermometer record is a circular argument: If the tree-ring record shows that the thermometer record is wrong, that means that the tree-ring temperatures must be wrong, etc.

  9. chris:

    oh dear Snorbert, that’s poor.

    Cobbb doesn’t say anything about “suppressing articles…”.

    Can you give us a source of your “estimated $50 billion that we have allocated to climate research”. Is that a personal “estimate”?

    …and climate scientists have and are “respond(ing) positively to the allegations that are arising from examination of the leaked CRU data” (don’t you mean leaked CRU emails, Snorbert?). This site is full of careful and patient positive responses to the allegations.

    you’re contrived indignation is getting the better of you.

  10. Deep Climate:

    #3 Snorbert Zangox

    I find this comment depressing, as it shows that many are convinced by sophistry and misleading accounts.

    Make no mistake, climate scientists, and indeed science itself, are under attack. For the scientists, every word said in private is fodder to be taken out of context and twisted. And yet the attackers, and those supporting them behind the scenes, sail on relatively free of scrutiny, as they have for years. There is even evidence that the peer review process itself has been more than once corrupted by interests opposed to greenhouse gas emissions. And yet the perpetrators escape without consequence.

    It should go without saying that the science is compelling and warrants action. Yes, it should – but it won’t so long as the war on science goes underreported. So we must continue to repeat the obvious and insist that the science – the real science – be recognized and its implications addressed.

    But we must also expose the intellectual vacuity and bad faith of the attackers.

    I think several of my recent posts at DeepClimate.org are relevant to these issues, so I won’t point to any one in particular.

    But enough is enough.

  11. Mark J. Fiore:

    Excellent post.Hansen has the best data and is the most accurate.Bill McKibben posted on Grist.org, very recently, that he and friends ran the numbers and got 700 ppm co2 as the level of co2 if we continue to do business as usual, for about the year 2100.I thought that blog was an interesting read.I still believe that levels of 700 ppm to 1000 ppm are well within reach, as I’ve said many times before.Of course,as I’ve said before, on this site, at those levels anoxic extinctions starting in the oceans take place, such extinctions quickly spreading to land as the oceans fail to support life, and the Anthropocene Epoch blossoms into its full manifestation.I think Peter Ward has done some excellent work on what a 700 ppm to 1000 ppm world will look like.And, Copenhagen, thanks for nothing, AND weakening the REDD standards.
    Merry Christmas, planet Earth.

    Mark J. Fiore

  12. Dan Ives:

    My thanks, admiration, and respect goes out to Hansen, Cobb, Gavin, Eric, David – indeed all climate scientists who have taken it upon themselves to educate the public and fight against the misinformation and lies in a professional, analytical manner. I imagine it can be very frustrating and discouraging at times, but in the eyes of our future generations, it is a heroic undertaking. Thank you for taking time from your research and personal lives to do so.

    Respectfully,

    -Dan

  13. Steve Reuland:

    Dr. Keller (#1).

    The following should answer your question:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/russian_analysis_confirms_20th.php

  14. ZZT:

    [edit]

    Question – why are the ocean’s temperatures increasing at a lower rate than the land? Where is all the missing energy going?

    [Response: Into the ocean – which takes a lot more energy to warm up than the land does. The land-ocean contrast is completely expected. – gavin]

  15. MidnightRambler:

    I’ve been reading a book called “Something New Under the Sun” by JR McNeill. It is a book which focus is on environmental history in the 20th century. I suggest that people take into account a historical perspective of what was actually done to the earth in that short 100 years. This I believe is more significant than any temperature model that can be shown, because it puts a human perspective of environmental change, rather than just a set of data which most people fail to understand.

    I am not suprised that thousands of e-mails would be misinterpreted, because most people fail to understand the most basic reasoning. In my opinion we are regressing as a society, where information is received in short bursts as opposed to long and reasoned analysis. Environmental history is a long and reasoned analysis, and when combined with scientific explanations of temperature increases we see the true perspective of anthropogenic climate change.

  16. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #3 Norbert Zangox, just keep up with all your climate mitigation activities (most of which save money, improve health, etc). Whatever the scientists say, nature doesn’t listen.

    So if there is global warming (according to nature, not necessarily what scientists say), then you would have not only saved money and improved your health, but would have helped mitigate what actually could be a much worse problem than what scientists in their false-positive avoiding, reticence have to say.

    OTOH, if there it no global warming, then you would have at the least saved money, improved your health, mitigated other problems, environmental and non-environmental.

    I think we’ve all got to get beyond the science, beyond the heel-dragging governments, and just get out and mitigate — if not global warming, then our monetary and health troubles and threats, and other problems.

    You are one of the very few skeptics I actually admire for your ability to do things that mitigate climate change even when you don’t believe it’s real. We need more skeptics like you. In that way we could also fulfill Lomborg’s sincere concern about malaria and other pressing problems, by having enough surplus money to send over and help mitigate those other problems.

    So, if CC is real, then mitigating it is a win1-win2-win3-win4-win5-win6-win7 situation (did I mention about how cycling and walking, rather than driving helps reduce crime and taxes to maintain roads & prisons? And it is also great for the health, spirit, and personal happiness).

    And if CC is not real, then mitigating it is only a win1-win2-win3-win4-win5-win6 situation, but not at all bad!

  17. cougar_w:

    OK, Snorbert, I’m calling it:

    Dunning-Kruger Effect

    “The Dunning-Kruger effect is an example of cognitive bias in which people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the meta-cognitive ability to realize it. They therefore suffer an illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average… ” — Wikipedia

    DK Hypotheses:
    1) Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.
    2) Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
    3) Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.
    4) If they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.

    ref: Dunning-Kruger Effect

    IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Hypothesis #4 is why we all keep doing this.

    cougar

  18. Luca Mercalli:

    Please, have a look to HISTALP project (http://www.zamg.ac.at/histalp/ ), an international study coordinated by Reinhard Boehm from Austrian met service, relating long time series in the Alps, back to 1750. Recent warming is clearly showed by series coming from ten countries and dozen of independent researchers. Gridded data available and single series data here:
    http://www.zamg.ac.at/histalp/content/view/35/1/index.html

    Luca Mercalli – Italian Meteorological Society

    [Response: Thanks, we have added this to our data page.-eric

  19. steven mosher:

    Dr. Cobb,

    Nothing in the mails changes the science. How could it? they are just mails. Not data, not code ( at least code that is used as far as I can tell). So, your defense is really off the mark. It’s obvious also that you have not read all the mails and put them in context; that is, you have not put them together in a timeline from 2000 to 2009 taking special care to cross reference them with other correspondence. I will do that, but not here. I’ll end just by taking issue with your characterization of a couple things: There’s more, but this should do:

    “Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that a small portion of the raw data that went into some of the CRU SST datasets is proprietary, and was shared by parties who stipulated that it not be publicly distributed. ”

    I dont think you meant SST and CRU never claimed agreements covering SST. In any case, You simply do not know as a matter of fact that a small porton of the data is confidential. . The claim was made. It was made after it was revealed that the hadcru dataset was made available to Peter Webster. At first, the claim was made that the agreements precluded the release to “non academics” This claim was made to explain why the data could be released to Webster but not to me and others. After bone fide published academics ( authors cited in IPCC reports) requested the data, the reason was changed. The agreements were “lost”. Then a handful of agreements were found and posted. None of which prevented release to academics or non academics. One of the agreements wasn’t even signed. So, you don’t know that agreements were in place. Neither does CRU. You have a claim by a party that they were lost. That party is on the record stating that he would rather delete data than share it. His FOIA officer, who claimed the agreements precluded release to non academics, was found to be incorrect on this claim in a Nov 13th appeal.
    The record simply shows that CRU claim they were lost. You don’t know the terms of those agreements. Neither does CRU. Further, the existence of the agreements does not PRECLUDE a FOIA request trumping the agreement. The public interest in the data can trump any confidentiality agreement per FOIA and EIR regulations. Further, when CRU attempt to get data and a confidentiality agreement is requested by the third party CRU must per its guidelines:

    1. Determine that the data in question is in fact NECESSARY or Essential to its mission. Since as you point out the sample of data is small and since GISS do just fine without confidential data such a finding of necessity will be hard to sustain. A pending FOIA on this matter will be illuminating I trust

    2. Inform the third party that their confidentiality agreement may be trumped by the public interest. A pending
    FOIA on whether CRU have met this obligation shall also be illuminating.

    “Even if this were not the case, archiving such a large dataset in such a way as to make it useful to those not well-versed in IDL or GRADS is not a trivial task. There is a financial cost associated with making data and metadata and code publicly accessible, and this cost needs to be borne by someone other than the scientists themselves or their institutions, which operate on tight budgets. ”

    There is no requirement to change from IDL. We merely requested what Webster got. If people are interested they will learn what they have to. There is no requirement to make it useful to everyone. It just needs to be available to those able or willing to work with it in the form the scientists work with it.
    Second, NASA had a similar argument. They were concerned about getting support questions: Eventually they released the code and data. Nick barnes and his folks are working with NASA correcting minor bugs for free. There are people who care about this problem enough to volunteer their time. Third, you didnt read one mail about a growing budget surplus at CRU. You have no knowledge of CRU budget. The data is already being kept. If its not, then you have another data loss event waiting to happen. I’m sure we can find a server to house the data. I’m guessing its not a lot of code. Host it on google code. Its free. Finally, you obviously did not read the mail where parties discuss using this request for data as an opportunity to request more budget to work on hadcrut4. So, your arguments about its too hard or its too costly are just wrong and look silly, especially to a community of readers who work daily on problems of similar and larger scope. Especially to a community that will volunteer to help and especially since you know that the data was shared with Webster. If you want to know about the cost of transparency, look what the lack of transparency bought CRU.

  20. Jeff Aitken PhD:

    As a longtime lurker with much appreciation, I cringe a bit to post the following. An interlocutor of mine who dismisses the CO2 argument after talking with a well known denier scientist instead offers this explanation. I can’t find reference to it on this blog before, so I wonder if someone will make a response. Is my friend out to lunch?

    “HAARP (High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) technology uses multi-billion-watt beams that are directed right into the atmosphere. This chilling technology uses radio frequency to alter subatomic particles in our atmosphere. At such high altitudes, HAARP technology can mimic the effects of the sun. This is totally missing from the conversation and education process regarding weather and climate. It includes, but is not limited to, the use of weather modification technology.

    By leaving it out of the overall picture of weather and climate and considering it a non-factor, we are closing our eyes to a MASSIVE contributing factor to the alteration of our weather and to the devastating and unforeseen effects it has on climate.

    The military-industrial complex has the power to secure patents that enable them to cook our atmosphere. Furthermore, they have free reign to use this technology as if earth is “their” lab. It is practically beyond my comprehention that not one person has raised these issues in the context of climate justice, debate, law, industry, science & the Copenhagen Climate Conference.”

  21. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #14, ZZT, I figure you must be male, or if you are female, then not a housewife.

    Any housewife knows “a watched pot never boils,” meaning it takes a long time, especially for really big pots of water to heat up and boil, no matter how high the stove flame. I call this a branch of “kitchen physics.”

    Another thing we know (those of us with SunFrost refrigerators, that require defrosting a couple of times a year, but use only 1/10 the electricity) is that warmth melts ice, and not only that but there are these events (in mathematics, catastrophe theory, or discontinuous functions ?? ) that happen really suddenly due to gravity. The melting will be going on very slowly (at glacial speed, so to speak), and we think “nothing’s happening.” We even develop tautotlogical hypotheses that the ice in the frig is what’s keeping the ice in the frig frozen, despite the frig being off, door open, and warm air getting in. Then all of a sudden, bang, ice sheets start falling from the top, and start crumbling.

    It’s very easy for us to relate to the mechanical (not just heat energy) factors involved in glacier and ice sheet break up and disintigation. I doubt there is a housewife with defrost frig alive who was in the least bit surprised when those Antarctic ice sheet broke up and disintegrated very rapidly.

    Did you ever try putting a black cloth and a white cloth over the snow, and see which had the faster melting? Unfortunately I’m down here in the Rio Grande Valley, and we don’t have that experiential knowledge, but at some point I just believe what the scientists say….

  22. Gubbi:

    Kim Cobb,

    The complexity involved in hosting the data and managing it’s costs shouldn’t be much of a problem with Amazon’s Public Data Sets.
    http://aws.amazon.com/publicdatasets/

    It is no longer a complex and involved process and there are many tools which simplify the whole process. However, Amazon is your best bet and also it’s free.

    Also, some data being proprietary shouldn’t stop from making non-proprietary data public. An initiative in this direction has to be started with whatever data that can be made open. Closed data will follow suit.

    The allegations regarding data secrecy takes away a lot of time from scientists from their work. And shouldn’t really stand in the way of scientific discussions and development.

  23. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    BTW, I just want to thank all you scientists for grace under fire, especially Jim Hansen.

  24. vboring:

    I was hoping he would discuss the state of the surface temperature data.

    Seemingly defensible claims are made that there are significant differences between the raw and used data sets because of adjustments and selection bias. I can’t imagine it would take long to put together a few charts demonstrating that there is no selection bias (compare random site selection vs actual data site selection) and that data adjustments result in positive and negative shifts equally often (pull out the data scale factors and sum them to show that they are nearly net zero impact for all years).

    [Response: Err, yes. That’s been done.–eric]

  25. LAWiley:

    #19 vboring

    I think it is time for you to get on with your project.

    I am anxiously awaiting your analysis of surface temperature data and your “take” on “selection bias.”

    Please publish your results here so we can all become more informed.

  26. Ariel Thomann:

    I am a humble non-technical spectator, but interested in these matters for decades. The question I haven’t seen addressed is: WHY the CRU e-mail theft? I think it’s a case “best defense is a ‘good’ offense”. It follows two events “deniers” want to bury (or at least surround with smoke):

    (a) On 24 Apr 09 the New York Times exposed that oil companies, Detroit and others were found to have been lying for 14 years about climate matters: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/science/earth/24deny.html?_r=4

    (b) The oft-cited (in the U.S. Congress and elsewhere) “study” from Spain to the effect that renewable energy projects cost twice as many jobs as they create, has been rebutted in Spain for months. The rebuttal finally reached the U.S. as well: http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=2009_4810631

  27. Tom Fuller:

    Hi all,

    Your guest editorials are eloquent and helpful to some extent. Perhaps Real Climate can be equally helpful. At several points you have declared authoritatively that the code released in the leaked file is not the code being used in CRU calculations. I’m sure you’re aware that several computer scientists are analysing this code, and indeed have found errors in it. If they are analysing code that is not being used, they’re wasting their time. Perhaps Real Climate can be of assistance in gaining the release of the actual code so that those wishing to analyse it will be more effective.

    I have no doubt that there are some who will say that those outside the climate community will only be searching for errors to make a political point, and for some that will be true. But if at the end of the day the code is improved as a result, everybody wins.

    The fact that so many prestigious scientists have put down their work to write essays defending climate science and scientists probably means these are difficult times for you. It is possible that some of what I have written has contributed towards your difficulties, and I can’t really apologise for that. But if these are tough times for you all, that would make this a more appropriate time to do what I’ve suggested–if there is bad news revealed along with the code, better it come out now than later. If the code is robust, it will help draw a line under the episode.

    The open source model of software development and maintenance is robust, and is championed by scientists and educators everywhere. Some of the people who would look at your code could perhaps improve it, and would do so for no other reason than that they are able to help you.

  28. vboring:

    @eric’s response to my comment @24

    I was just reading that analysis and it certainly covers part of what I suggested. It take 65 long and complete records and compares them to CRU’s cell average’s for the same area. Choosing to use long and complete data potentially reduces the impact of the argument, though, since cells that contain long complete data sets should be based on those same sets, so you should expect minimal deviation. It seems more useful results would be from looking at randomly selected data sets from randomly selected cells.

    And if anyone could point me to a metadata bias sum, I would be very appreciative.

  29. Snorbert Zangox:

    The point is exactly what Ray and Jerry say. The tree ring data for the late 20th century do not match up with the thermometer data. The tree ring data show the temperature to be declining. That means that the tree ring data are not a reliable source of temperature estimates. Because the tree ring data are the only data that do not show a MCO, finding out that the tree ring data are poor leaves us with no evidence with which to dismiss the existence of the MCO. The comment “hide the decline” apparently refers to a trick (Mike’s Nature trick) of overlaying thermometer data on the tree ring data in such a way as to occlude the declining portion of the tree ring data.

    Ray, you are wrong about the proxies showing warming periods at different times across the globe. Look at the data that the Idsos have compiled for example. http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

    Chris, Cobb’s fourth paragraph, the one about peer review, certainly does not condemn the attempts to suppress publication of contrary views. In fact, Cobb apparently sympathizes with Mann, Jones, et al. My indignation is not contrived.

    Deep Climate, I am sorry that I depressed you. They do have pills for that you know. No, it should not go without saying that any science is compelling. You have to say it and you have to defend it. That is the way it works. Someone composes a hypothesis. Someone else does an experiment that shows that the hypothesis does not explain his results. Others perform and confirm the same experiment. You modify the hypothesis. In science, you never prove a positive. You offer hypotheses, which after they have withstood many attempted disprovals, may become theories. However, even theories can be disproven. In addition, if it turns out that these men were trying to suppress dissent, they will have been the ones assaulting science. To contend or even to prove, that those who are concerned are attackers and are vacuous and of bad faith does not in any way controvert their criticisms.

  30. uncle pete:

    @ 12 Dan
    I second that and merry Xmas to everyone.
    Keep up the good work in the new year.

  31. vboring:

    Found something close to what I was asking for in my previous comments.

    The chart is called “Mean Annual GHCN Adjustment.”

    I don’t know how RC handles links. If you’re interested just search for:

    statistics and other things GHCN and Adjustment Trends

  32. ZT:

    I was surprised/disappointed to see some of my comment edit out – can you supply a reason? Please feel free to email me rather than snip it out of the comment.

    Kim, regarding water heating all of a sudden. I think that temperature rise is linear with the amount of energy supplied. (Please correct me if I have this wrong). Fig 3. of professor Hansen’s PDF shows no lag between the short term ocean and land peaks (implying no lag in the effects of heating). However, Fig 3. also shows a lower rate of overall temperature increase in the oceans. Could you comment on this?

    Given that the land is often covered with an insulating layer of vegetation (unhappily spewing out CO2, but nevertheless insulating), and given the fact that water is a good thermal conductor, and not generally reflective (except at the rapidly shrinking) ice caps) one would suspect that the sun’s energy would be absorbed most effectively by the ocean. (Imagine turning your gas burner upside down to impinge on the surface of your pan of heating water).

    Also – I read of missing energy in the oceans in the climategate emails – can you comment on this?

  33. ZT:

    Ooops – I made a mistake in the last comment – I should have said that the land was insulated by flora and fauna – and that the fauna (e.g. termites) are spewing out CO2).

    Another question on Prof. Hansen’s Fig. 3. I have read that the ocean temperatures are decreasing at present (I think it was a bbc news report). However, I do not see this in Fig. 3. What am I missing?

  34. dhogaza:

    Tom Fuller parrots a bunch of talking points regarding code, but what the heck …

    1. Steve Easterbrook and colleagues examined the development methodology for the development of their 825,000 line climate model and found strong similarities with methodologies favored by the open source community.

    Read and learn, Tom Fuller.

    2. NASA GISS Model E source is freely available to those who learn the Google.

    Read and learn, Tom Fuller.

    3. The Clear Climate Code project has written a cleaner implementation of GISTEMP in Python. On the way they found a very small number of bugs in GISTEMP (which is written in FORTRAN) that do not in any way affect the output. Fixes for those bugs have been given to NASA GIS, which has incorporated them into their latest version. The Clear Climate Code people have verified that GISTEMP correctly implements the algorithms published in the scientific literature by NASA GISS.

    Read and learn, Tom Fuller.

    4. The supposed analysis by “computer scientists” (mostly self-professed software experts) of code stolen from CRU harps on supposed shortcomings in code structure, documentation, etc. I’ve read a fair amount of that criticism. Speaking as a senior software engineer with over 35 years in the industry, it is cr*p.

    However, since you’ve convinced yourself that CRU scientists are guilty of fraud, etc, go ahead and just throw CRU away. Use GISTEMP instead. The source is available. The source has been independently verified to perform the algorithms published in the scientific literature years ago by a team of highly skilled private-sector software engineers. Go ahead, just use it. After all, it shows more warming than those “frauds” at CRU do …

  35. steven mosher:

    As you all know CRU have started the process of releasing data.

    Well, This just in. Some volunteer has already pointed out an error which they will correct. This from John Graham Cumming. He has a nice blog started and has posted code for reading in their data and building nice charts and animations.

    http://www.jgc.org/blog/

    He writes

    Well, I was right about one thing
    Just received a nice mail from the Met Office in response to my queries about the data showing that I was right about one thing: there is something odd about the values in Australasia (or as they say, Oceania).

    I had written to them saying:

    I’ve noticed that there seems to be a big difference between the ‘Normals’ given in many of the datafiles for Australisia and the actual normal values calculated from the 1961-1990 data. See for example, this blog of entry of mine about one of them:
    http://www.jgc.org/blog/2009/12/theres-something-seriously-odd-about.html

    Do you know of any issues with these values?

    Tonight they have replied:

    First off, thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have undertaken further investigation upon the full dataset and confirmed this. The error affects <1% of the network and is primarily in Oceania. It arises because normals were calculated outside of the update cycle and the normals for these stations were not updated when extra data were added in the normals period as CRUTEM3 was being finalised for publication.

    We intend to add this information to our online Q and A for the data and we would like to credit you with pointing out the error. Would you be happy to be mentioned in this way?

    Isnt that the way it should work? Nick Barnes and his team are working to improve NASA gisstemp and John Graham Cumming is volunteering his time to check hadcru. ( his code for displaying things is posted and its very clear and readable)

  36. Hank Roberts:

    ZT, your ‘ocean’ question was answered ‘inline’ above; always check for inline answers, that’s the usual way the scientists answer us readers.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/jim-hansens-opinion/comment-page-1/#comment-149989

    I’d guess the question you repeat — where you said:

    > vegetation (unhappily spewing out CO2 …)

    might have been what was snipped the first time.
    I’m sure you know why, on second thought — photosynthesis doesn’t do that.
    You can look that up.

  37. cougar_w:

    #32 [can you supply a reason?]

    I’ll hazard that you were babbling incoherently, as evidenced above.

    Plants spewing CO2. Now I’ve heard everything.

    cougar

  38. Ray Ladbury:

    Snorbert, [edit] You want to talk science, maybe you can tell us how you get simultaneous stratospheric cooling and tropospheric warming without a greenhouse mechanism?

    The treerings are not reliable IN THE LATE 20th CENTURY. They do quite well from mid 1800s to the ~1960. As the period 1960-2009 is more different from this calibration period (climate change, pesticides,…) than the period prior to the calibration, it is not surprising that there is a change.

    As to the MWP, thanks all the same, Snorbert, but I’ll take the peer reviewed literature over Idsos. I’ve looked at that very plot, and no, the warm periods do not match up globally. In Mexico, it’s 1000-1200. In the Caribean it starts about 1200. In Peru, it’s over before 1100. In Africa, some warm periods don’t start ’til after the Vikings had starved! In some places it lasts centuries, in some, decades. Dude, that’s not a global phenomenon! Now granted, Idsos doesn’t make it esay to see this. The graphs are postage stamp size, and spread out all over the map. This makes it difficult to compare, but if you do compare, you see noise.

    Snorbert, it’s a pity you’ve used up all your skepticism against the science. It would come in useful any time you find something at CO2″Science”.

  39. geodoc:

    Good series of posts.

    To some extent, all riffing around the tension between science, presentation of science and- maybe less explicitly- advocacy and policy.

    Can’t help thinking- maybe climate science, or some part of it, needs to transform itself into something analogous to the discipline of public health, which manages to integrate science, policy and sometimes outright advocacy, generally without sacrificing credibility. The parallels between smoking/tobacco control and the so-called ‘climate wars’ are striking.

  40. Ken W:

    Jeff Aitken (20):

    HAARP has been blamed (falsely, I might add) for so many things it’s hard to keep track. I wouldn’t expect RC to write an article about HAARP, because they try to stick to climate science. Whereas HAARP is clearly in the realm of conspiracy theories.

    Here’s a couple good articles on the subject:
    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4122
    http://www.letxa.com/issue_haarp.php

  41. cougar_w:

    #29 [suppress publication of contrary views]

    The “documents” in question were published. There might have been some discussion about whether to go any further with them because some people felt strongly that the documents were published cr4p. Nothing wrong with one saying that one would like to keep the process free of cr4p. Opinions are allowed. As such your indignation remains entirely contrived.

    [You have to say it and you have to defend it] Been there, done that, in spades. You just don’t get it because you are retarded. That is why you are depressing; your self-inflicted retardation lowers one’s faith in humanity, and your spewing random brain farts provides ample evidence that we were not meant to travel far.

    cougar

  42. ZT:

    It is good to see an expert stand up for what the believe in. To defend the other scientists actions, though, it would be more impressive to see an expert who is not referenced many times in the climategate emails. For example, in this message, ‘1200651426.txt’, Prof. Hansen is discussing how to present information optimally such that ‘most reporters are sort of willing to accept it’. This may well be an example of taking a line out of context. However, to me, it shows that Prof. Hansen is feeling the need to present data in a ‘special’ way, rather than just presenting it and making a simple, straightforward scientific case. I don’t think that this is anything like a ‘smoking gun’ association between Prof. Hansen and the more extreme examples of what occurred at the CRU. However, it is clear that Prof. Hansen is strongly associated with the CRU team and perhaps is not completely unbiased in his perspective of climategate.

    Many thanks for doing a great job with Real Climate – I strongly believe that this is a huge positive for the public understanding of climate research. If government money funds Real Climate – this would be a very good investment in my view (as a member of the public).

    [Response: Government money does not fund RealClimate, but thanks for the sentiment.–eric]

  43. Hank Roberts:

    > I should have said that the land was insulated by flora and fauna
    > – and that the fauna (e.g. termites) are spewing out CO2).

    But so what? Land use changes are taken into account in the climate research and models (including in some models going back to the invention of agriculture, look up Ruddiman).

    The termites haven’t changed recently; human fossil fuel use has changed very fast.

    You can look this stuff up for yourself very easily.

  44. cougar_w:

    Not to be a suck-up, but every time I read something by Jim Hansen I come away more impressed with the guy. He gets it, and I don’t mean the science alone.

    He just gets what all this is about and what is ultimately at stake and he can talk about it from those terms clearly and with conviction. That is a rare gift.

    You go, Jimbo. We are lucky to have you doing what you do, and one of these days people are going to realize how true that is.

    cougar

  45. Stephan:

    Re#19, on distributing climatological data:

    The German Meteorological Office, Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), offers climatological data under these conditions, citing from http://www.dwd.de as of today:

    “The following products/data are available online: Climate data of selected weather stations in Germany, Norway, Finland and South Korea
    Weather reports, which have been agreed by the WMO to be exchanged internationally exchange (GTS bulletins according to WMO Meteorological Bulletin Vol. C1) Selected satellite images, forecast maps and analysis data from the DWDSAT programme catalogue

    To be able to use WebWerdis to its full extent, registration with WebWerdis is required. Registration, though, is ONLY OPEN TO NON-COMMERCIAL RESEARCH OR TRAINING INSTITUTES, FEDERAL OR STATE AUTHORITIES AND NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES, WHICH ALL FULFIL THE REQUIREMENTS OF RECEIVING THE DATA FREE OF CHARGE.” (end of citation, capitalization by me)

    To be fair to the DWD, they also offer cost-free to everyone and freely distributable daily, monthly and mean values from selected German weather stations, among them for example Hohenpeissenberg going back to 1780.

    The point of this post is to show that some NMOs do release some of their climatological data free of charge only to “academics,” under terms of usage that preclude distribution to “non-academics”, this is certainly not made up by the CRU.

  46. ZT:

    According to green house pot growers, plant growth increases with increasing CO2 concentration, globally that would be an interesting element in the overall CO2 balance, I suppose.

    Here is the news article that says talks about the currently declining temperature of the oceans and ‘missing heat’. I don’t see a decline in Prof. Hansen’s Fig 3. What is the difference between these two perspectives on the data? (i.e. why do they apparently diverge in recent years?)

    If the URL is missing, google for “The Mystery of Global Warming’s Missing Heat” you’ll find the article. I think that comments with URLs get auto edited…

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88520025

  47. Doug Bostrom:

    ZT says: 18 December 2009 at 6:11 PM

    ZZT, before you post again you really ought to look up and then understand the term “specific heat”.

  48. cougar_w:

    #39 [needs to transform itself into something analogous to the discipline of public health, which manages to integrate science, policy and sometimes outright advocacy]

    This is very much at the heart of the challenge. Permit me to guess on why it is/shallbe difficult to impossible…

    Health issues affect individuals. Individuals have a vested interest in their health and the health of their families. They will take exception at being lied to about their personal well-being (smoking, junk food ads, impure foods, contaminated toys, defective products) and can and will sue a single corporation over health-related deprivations (tobacco companies, food processors, auto manufacturers) and can sue doctors over health-related malpractice. We have all kinds of regulations on the books to prevent individuals from being individually destroyed in the wholesale pursuit of profit, and to protect and even encourage civil actions against offenders, and every single person knows all these things.

    Climate is not this way. Nobody owns the climate and everybody uses it. Some use it more than others, and their use can limit the use by others (air pollution, climate change) but it is seldom obvious who is abusing the commons and who is being harmed, and in any case the answer is seldom “me”. Seldom (if ever) does any single individual wake up and say “wow I’m being harmed by someone changing my world out from under me and depriving me of a reasonable climate” (the same can be said of air pollution, where we’ve had about 100 years to wake up and say that and largely have not) therefore at no time (or nearly so) does any individual or group seize upon the idea that something is being taken from them that they have a natural right (under natural law) to possess and enjoy.

    Thus. We’ll have 10,000 regulations concerning the metal lead in food, materials and toys, and not even one on CO2 releases into the atmosphere. That disparity appears baked into the cake. People are narrowly blinded to a certain kind of threat, and are then easily killed by it.

    cougar

  49. caerbannog:


    According to green house pot growers, plant growth increases with increasing CO2 concentration, globally that would be an interesting element in the overall CO2 balance, I suppose.

    Liebig’s Law of the Minimum

  50. cougar_w:

    #46 Hansen doesn’t discuss it because it’s not happening. That’s not what the article is about. Did you read it? The title is misleading, and they often are; editors make up titles to sell product, and everyone knows it. This line better sums it up:

    “it’s probably going back out into space. The Earth has a number of natural thermostats, including clouds, which can either trap heat and turn up the temperature, or reflect sunlight and help cool the planet.”

    Even if you don’t buy that explanation, the importance of the story is that if we look in the right places with the right tools, we’ll find the heat. Because it’s there somewhere. Because nothing else has changed.

    cougar

  51. cougar_w:

    #43 [However, it is clear that Prof. Hansen is strongly associated with the CRU team and perhaps is not completely unbiased in his perspective of climategate.]

    It is a small enough area of study that everyone knows everyone else. CRU are major players. He shares their bias towards doing science in an open environment and maintaining process integrity. Climategate is positioned as entertainment for the rough masses and has nothing whatever to do with science, which most people couldn’t grasp if their lives dearly depended on it, which their lives do.

    So the problem is …. what? No really, help me out here because I don’t see your point at all.

    cougar

  52. Doug Bostrom:

    It surprises me that contrarians continue their end-zone dance while climate scientists go on wringing their hands over this story, even as it has rapidly sunk almost without a trace. For journalists it’s a dead end, offering essentially no place to take the story and centered on a topic that is at root deadly dull for most people.

    It’s not far-fetched to look at the timing of the release of the material in question versus Copenhagen and draw a conclusion that TomskTwaddle was intended to throw a monkey wrench into the works there. An utter failure in that department; as far as I can see it never came up in official discussions in Copenhagen. No participating functionary, minister or head of state brought it up. Copenhagen represented one act of an extended kabuki play, but CRU was not in the plot.

    Undoubtedly it’ll serve to gull a few folks into delaying their acceptance of the obvious, but given the story’s abortive narrative it’s got nothing uniquely compelling compared to dozens of other misdirections already in ample supply.

    Depending on their status either as industrial vendors of deceit or basement hobbyists, for career contrarians it represents either fodder for a PR machine increasingly starved for effective, fresh propaganda or redundant confirmation of unshakable beliefs rooted in delusion. But again, the story is not leading anywhere so at the end of the day, a fizzle.

  53. Jerry Steffens:

    ZT 18 December 2009 @ 7:07 PM

    “However, it is clear that Prof. Hansen is strongly associated with the CRU team”

    If you try hard enough, I’m sure that you can show that Kevin Bacon is associated with the CRU team!

  54. cougar_w:

    #52 Best analysis of Climategate EVAR. My hat off to you.

    cougar

  55. Doug Bostrom:

    Santer:

    “Since the theft of the CRU emails and their public dissemination, Phil has been subjected to the vilest personal attacks. These attacks are without justification. They are deeply disturbing. They should be of concern to all of you. We are now faced with powerful “forces of unreason” – forces that (at least to date) have been unsuccessful in challenging scientific findings of a warming Earth, and a “discernible human influence” on global climate. These forces of unreason are now shifting the focus of their attention to the scientists themselves. They seek to discredit, to skew the truth, to misrepresent. They seek to destroy scientific careers rather than to improve our understanding of the nature and causes of climate change.”

    I doubt it’s any serious consolation but– disregarding the sizable rabble of persons who can only be termed “conspiracy theorists” brought out by the CRU incident– the true progenitors of the contrarian movement are deeply reasonable, at least from their narrow perspective, which is that of discharging fiduciary duties to shareholders. Outside of that perspective, these people’s work certainly will appear sociopathic, hence our shock at the casual disregard of the impact of their actions on others, etc.

    Watching this drama unfold has real emotional impact. Who would be unmoved to see individuals buffeted by such atrocious circumstances, assaults on reputation inspired and engineered by a cold financial calculus? Climate scientists find themselves in the crosshairs of powerful enemies purely by coincidence, their only offense ultimately being an avid pursuit of curiosity.

  56. ZT:

    Hi Coug et al,

    Yes, I read the PDF. I think it was very well written and very clear. And yes, I vaguely know what heat capacity is, (if not photosynthesis). I still don’t understand why the ocean temperature is heading in two directions at once – if anyone would care to explain that (in simple words, few syllables, etc.) that would be much appreciated.

    As to any possible bias that Prof. Hansen might have. Here are some climategate emails which were written by him or sent to him. (If you google for these file names you will find the text easily.)

    0926087421.txt
    0990718506.txt
    1051156418.txt
    1051202354.txt
    1051230500.txt
    1170724434.txt
    1200421039.txt
    1200651426.txt
    1220039621.txt
    1255318331.txt
    1255352257.txt
    1255352444.txt
    1255496484.txt
    1255523796.txt
    1255530325.txt
    1255532032.txt
    1255550975.txt

    This maybe a small community – which I think isn’t correct as 1700 UK climate savvy scientist signed a public statement recently – but the messages above do indicate that it CRU and Prof. Hansen were close, e.g.

    1200651426.txt from Prof. Hansen, mentions ranking temperatures in a way that ‘most reporters are sort of willing to accept’, in Prof. Hansen’s words (I don’t think I am quoting this out of context, but please feel free to check). Yet in the PDF – I see that Prof. Hansen suggests that these figures should only be trusted to 0.1C, which would make the ranking he suggests in this email a little, let’s say, ‘economical with the truth’.

    In fact, the gist of 1200651426.txt is a discussion between various climate science groups trying to get their figures to agree. There is a message embedded in this file from someone at NBC with the text (to the scientists, not the public) “If NOAA and NASA can’t even agree what the temperature was last year, how can we believe what they are saying about the future climate”. It as though the journalist is saying to the scientists – come on get your acts together – we cannot report this as it is – you have got the messaging all wrong! And low and behold the scientists start to figure out the appropriate tweaks.

    So – even in this email from Prof. Hansen – you can see the science being subverted to messaging. Please feel free to take a look!

  57. Wes:

    #4Eric, The Crowley paper you mean must be the one in reference #12 of the link you provided (Ambio 29). (Sorry, I don’t know how to cut and paste in this little box, but you should have no trouble with Google.)

    This is most interesting and thanks for the tip. Among other things I could point out from the Crowley paper, I call your attention to the remarkable increase in temperature that is shown in his data (FIG. 2) that occurred between 1840 and 1910. Without the benefit of the AGW excuse, the rate of temperature rise is still comparable to that of the present.

    [edit due to unsupported accusations]

    While Crowley raises additional concerns for me, I would appreciate any comments you might have on this on this point.

    Thanks

    Wes

    [Response: I’m tired of answering this question about previous warming episodes again and again and again. Someone want to take this?–eric]

  58. Ray Ladbury:

    Doug Bostrom says of the CRU theft and Copenhagen: “No participating functionary, minister or head of state brought it up.”

    Actually, the Saudis did, but that’s not a shocker.

    [Response: The irony is that the deniers think that the price of oil would go up due to limiting CO2. Apparently, the Saudi’s don’t agree.–eric

  59. ZT:

    Here’s the email I mentioned:
    http://www.tuxwerx.com/Climategate/mail/1200651426.txt

    [Response: OK, first off, no reproducing of emails here.
    Second, I have read through the ones you posted, and you are utterly delusional if you think there is any problem with any of them. Do you really believe that the fact that people have sent email to each other, discussing their very similar work, and its difference, makes them ‘conspirators’?–eric]

  60. caerbannog:

    Slightly off-topic:

    Dr Richard Alley’s AGU lecture, “The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History” can now be downloaded from: http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.zip

    Here’s an excellent “sound-bite” excerpt (paraphrasing slightly here):

    “Recall the (Penn State alum’s) complaint against me….

    “CO2 lags Earth’s temperature… This one scientific fact alone proves that CO2 is not the cause of recent warming.”

    Please don’t hold this against Penn State; we really do give our students a good education. Not sure what went wrong this time.

    In case you ever have to deal with this particular failure of logic, the following (response) may be useful…

    “Interest lags debt. How do we know interest adds to debt”?

  61. Doug Bostrom:

    ZT, the fact that you’re so excited w/the CRU email as to republish it here speaks volumes about your warped perspective; really, your voyeurism is much more morbidly intriguing than the email itself. Tell me, when you’re invited to dinner with other folks, do they find their smalls strangely disturbed after you’ve left?

    Anyway, how many people do you think are going to get through that without their eyes crossing from sheer boredom?

    It looks as though rummaging in other people’s sock drawers holds some special appeal for you, but for most people it’s not even slightly appealing. Even more so when all the socks are the same color: dull grey.

  62. Richard Badalamente:

    I don’t believe that the stolen emails effected in the least the disappointing result of the Copenhagen Climate Conference. However, the US congress will take up a climate bill in 2010 and the doubt campaign will make full use of these emails in their efforts to forestall any meaningful legislation. It’s here that climate scientists warning of global warming need to take a strong, UNQUALIFIED policy stance.

  63. Norman:

    It is an amazing amount of work and effort to compile a 100 year Global Average temp.

    I am only beginning my own project into temperature variations in my local area of Omaha, Nebraska.

    I was a firm believer in AGW theory until I found out how hot the 1930’s decade was. Many record highs in that decade in this area. 110 F days. Now I need to do some of my own research to feel confident of the reality of the concept of Global Warming.

    Here is the Question I would hope some math majors can help me with. I never did take a class in Statistics (majored in Chemistry). I am asking because of my ignorance on the subject.

    What I am finding in my daily logs of daily temps vs Normal Temps is an incredible amount of noise. Very noisy data. Here is the data so far (anomaly from Normal temps in F degrees: 2.5 11.5 10.5 6 10 13.5 2
    -7 -10 1 -6 -16 -5.5 -18 -19.5 -13 -5 -2 -13.5 -23 -11 -2)

    How does one get excited by about 1.5 F degrees in 100 years of data collection when the noise is so great? How does one find this trend? On any given day the variation of Global temperature is 200 F (Cold Antartic interior and Hot desert).

    My analogy may be a poor one, but from what I have been seeing in my data collection is similar to trying to hear and understand a whispered conversation 10 feet away during a loud rock concert…Too much noise to hear the meaningful data. Thanks to any brilliant math minds that can explain this!

  64. Ray Ladbury:

    ZT, your story about ocean cooling is out of date. See:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/

    The “cooling” was an artifact of a poorly calibrated instrument.

  65. Ray Ladbury:

    ZT, I see absolutely nothing untoward in any of the emails you spammed us with. What I do see could be the early stages of paranoia in you. You’re attempting character assassination, but you’re not sharp enough to stab someone in the back.

  66. Ray Ladbury:

    Norman says “I was a firm believer in AGW theory until I found out how hot the 1930’s decade was. Many record highs in that decade in this area. 110 F days.”

    Huh? Dude, it is much warmer now than it was in the 30s. This decade was the warmest on record.

    Norman, do you own stocks? A 401k? What happens to in on a daily basis? It fluctuates. How about if you looked at it a year ago? Way down. You have to look at it over a long time to see the trend (~15 years for stocks). For climate, you have to look at it a lot of factors and at least 30 years of data. Look here:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/11/10/known-factors/

  67. Molnar:

    Wes(57):

    It’s not just about looking at graphs!

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/coming-out-of-ice-age.htm

  68. Rattus Norvegicus:

    Tom Fuller @27:

    You make a statement about how great the Open Source development model is. This is true, to a certain extent. However, there are many, many projects sitting up on Sourceforge which are just dead and for which there is little support.

    The projects for which the open source model works are those which have a corporate sponsor or those upon which corporations depend. Examples of corporate supported projects would be the Linux kernel, the GNU utilities, CVS, svn, Eclipse…

    There are two open source climate models, CCSM and GISS ModelE. Neither of these has had much support from the “open source community”, ask Gavin if you are interest in ModelE. My take on it is that if the code is sexy and not too hard open source works pretty well. If the code is difficult or of limited general interest it seems like open source is not so hot.

    You also state that “computer scientists” are looking at the code. I haven’t seen any evidence of this. Eric Raymond did a sloppy analysis of some code, however he failed to note that the code he criticized was commented out. There is a similar code which when run shows some weird results, but the output of this program was never used in a paper or any other output of the CRU.

    There is an interview with a “software engineer” posted on a blog named “Hot Air” which was critical of the style of the CRU code. The code which was shown as being from “NASA” was, what is the best way to put this, anal retentive. I’ve been doing software engineering for 25 years and while I occasionally have seen code which looks like that, much more often professional code is clearly written, but lacking in comments. I spent about 15 years working on the UNIX kernel and it had just about no comments (my favorite one: in the middle of tons of lines of uncommented code a comment is placed which said “now here’s the tricky part”. This was buried in some VM code. I also worked on the NT kernel for a few years, and it was similarly lacking in comments.

    The same “computer scientist” quoted from the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file. He claimed that Harry (Ian Harris) was lamenting his “awful programming”. Reading the context of this, Harry had run a test, gotten results he did not expect, found that he had made an error, discovered the error and fixed it. Yep, an incompetent programmer. How many of you programmers out there have never made an error, found it, and fixed it. I don’t hear anyone out there saying everything they write is perfect. If someone *is* claiming that they are lying.

    Finally, the same guy makes a point about a workaround for a bug in the interpreter for IDL which showed up in the gridding program for the temperature data. The point is well taken, but nothing is known about the post processing which might be applied to the output of the criticised program. It is also not clear as to whether ITT Visual Information Solutions had fixed the bug alluded to in the code.

    [edit]

  69. Doug Bostrom:

    Comment by Richard Badalamente — 18 December 2009 @ 9:37 PM

    “However, the US congress will take up a climate bill in 2010 and the doubt campaign will make full use of these emails in their efforts to forestall any meaningful legislation.”

    Absolutely, stale and diminished in heft as the sordid affair will be by that point.

    If the doubt campaign was more intelligently managed, it would realize that the longer it “successfully” delays legislation, treaties, etc. the more harshly punitive will be the result. Each year of procrastination affords more more solidity to research results, more confirmation from disparate sources of climate signals. Once the results become sufficiently dramatic, expect a flip-flop as politicians sniff the wind and begin looking for scapegoats to blame.

    For instance, there’s been some speculation about when the Arctic ice cap might vanish during summer months. If contrarians are so “successful” as to extend domestic and international legislative responses to AGW until such time as that may happen, the industrial component of the campaign will sorely regret their pyrrhic victory.

  70. ZT:

    Sorry about the spam. Despite its ugliness, the spam does make it relatively straightforward to see the ‘scientific’ discussion engendered by a journalist trying to bring NOAA and NASA into alignment – which involved the leaders of this close knit community.

    By the way, I am definitely not attempting character assassination. I took a look at the association between Prof. Hansen and the climategate emails because of Prof. Hansen’s comment in his PDF file that, as he was thought not to be ‘implicated’ (his word) in the climategate emails (by a blogger), he was unfairly accused of being the source of the archive. And as he was expressing opinions on the hacking/leak, I wanted to test the hypothesis that he was not mentioned or was not a correspondent in the emails. Well, the blogger was wrong, Prof. Hansen is a correspondent in the emails.

    I have to admit, as yet no firm link to Kevin Bacon has been established. But it is clear that Prof. Hansen is strongly associated with the CRU team, and therefore perhaps not optimally positioned to pronounce their complete innocence.

    I checked out the link on ocean cooling. I was bothered by the apparent anomaly there – so many thanks for enlightening me. Seeing that scientists like Hansen and Willis are prepared to scrutinize their data and be upfront about the adjustments and uncertainties that they contain, is very positive for me.

    There is a discrepancy in the stories, though, as the NPR story is dated March 2008 and the the NASA article indicates that the mistake was identified by Willis in February 2007 – I’m not sure why that should be a one year time lag between the correction and the incorrect story – perhaps this isn’t a conspiracy!

    Also I’ll note that the ongoing general up and down adjustments of all data, e.g.

    “So the new Argo data were too cold, and the older XBT data were too warm, and together, they made it seem like the ocean had cooled,” says Willis.

    An additional comment (get ready for more dramatic eye rolling – if you are still reading)…

    Heat capacities of oceans. Yes, that is a good point. The heat capacity of the ocean water is higher than that of the land. Additionally, there is much more ocean, and its thermal conductivity is higher than silica (etc.). The temperature of the ocean is easier to measure (as there are few air conditioning units and parking lots in the ocean – though it appears the need for occasional adjustments remains).

    However, the size of the ocean, and its heat capacity, make it the most useful source of temperature records for the earth (agreed?). According to the data in Prof. Hansen’s PDF the ocean temperature, while not declining, is increasing significantly less rapidly than the land temperatures, but perhaps this rise is more scientifically defensible. Why not build the AGW case around the ocean temperature rise?

    As I am sure that you can tell from my comments, I am no expert in this field. (No forehead slapping, please). Prof. Hansen’s write up for this article is very clear. Reading that, and having questions answered, has been very enlightening – so I thank him and you for your patience and tolerance.

    One of the things that Prof. Hansen asks in his piece is what is to be learned from ‘climategate’. His conclusion is that stubbornness, or more positively fortitude, (on his side) and character assassination (on the contrary side) are the key take home messages.

    Perhaps there is a slightly more positive ‘message’. The public and lay people like me have been made more aware of the science, scientists like Prof. Hansen possessing an open attitude to data and its processing will succeed in getting science done, and the net level of understanding will increase, leading to reasoned decisions for society.

    [Response: “Why not build the AGW case around the ocean temperature rise?” Because the data are far more uncertain, and the records don’t go back as far in time. Oh, and also, the ‘case’ doesn’t need ‘building’. Think of this is a skyscraper. People are trying to knock it down by knocking out a few bricks at the bottom, but fortunately the thing is built with concrete-encased rebar. Then someone empties a recycling bin on the grounds, containing documents showing that some engineers expressed doubt about whether the building’s light switches were in good working order, and starts telling people the building is going to fall over. Most people walking by assume there is some sort of theatre going on, but remain generally unaware of the construction of the skyscraper, but quite cognizant it is there. Some naive and optimistic folks start a blog explaining the basics of skyscraper construction, but to little avail.–eric]

  71. Edward Greisch:

    Jeff Aitken (20): HAARP does exist. It is a research project in Alaska. Google it. It doesn’t/couldn’t have enough energy to change anything.

    RC and Jim Hansen: Thank you for another great article. Really sad that police protection is necessary. That shows desperation on the part of denialists. Perhaps in another 4 million years a species worthy of the name Homo SAPIENS will evolve, if we missing links don’t make ourselves extinct. Extinction events and the current situation are so non-selective.
    I often wonder what causes denialists. It isn’t just money because not all of them have money. It is some sort of evolutionary bottleneck. If we get past it, we can claim the whole galaxy. If not, we go extinct.
    I hope some praise here for Jim Hansen can make up for the negative emails he gets. Remember that you must be important to get so much attention.

  72. Spanish Climatologist:

    I am a Spanish climatologist working for a public university and I am particularly tired of paying high budgets to our public national meteorological service for access to observed data that will be used for research. Every time I pay those datasets I have to sign lots of non-disclosure agreements to third parties with them. I find incredible that “sceptics” (to call them some way) don’t understand this point. Any european researcher could tell them about this but they would surely don’t believe us. Anyway … perhaps this could lead to international efforts so that meteorological data is of free access for research worldwide (not just in the U.S.A.). This could clearly lead to the advancement of climate science.

  73. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Dr. Aitken,

    As a physicist, I can assure you that the HAARP hypothesis of climate change is pure pseudoscience. There simply isn’t enough energy available in any kind of Earth-based projector to do what this idea suggests. And if it could, it wouldn’t have the effects they say.

  74. Guy:

    That is a brilliant piece by Hansen, very readable and comprehensible – huge thanks.

    Is #20 actually a joke? It’s hard to believe it isn’t… “I was convinced by the Occam’s Razor basic science of AGW (Life exists on earth because of the warming and stabilising greenhouse effect / humans emit more greenhouse gasses / earth gets warmer) until I heard about an invisible beam generator that…” no, I can’t even think about it any further than that. Sorry to be blunt, but I think that’s a plot from Austin Powers…

    Hey, shame all this is moot now, eh? Wonder how much “climategate” DID steal momentum at Copenhagen, and potentially seal the fate of millions?

  75. Knut Witberg:

    Administring the Thruth

    Religious people are concerned about the Truth. The Truth has been revealed to them by the God and many believers vigorously defend the Truth.

    It is worrying when scientists say that they modify the data so that “the truth” is more efficiently conveyed. Or that they reassure each other that they only want “the truth” to be clearer. As no one know the truth, and these very data should be used to come as close to the truth as possible, how can one then come closer to the truth by modifying the data?

    Scientists who change data to make the truth more revealing are most likely not criminals. They are simply people who know the Truth, i.e. religious people. It is not criminal to be religious, but scientists should understand the difference between science and religion. Those of us with no confession, spot a religion from miles away, “if it looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck….”

    Likewise, it is important that scientists know the difference between politics and science. When mixed, the combined efforts become much less efficient and the work less useful. One becomes in the eye of the public either a “politician in the disguise of a scientist”, “an unprofessional scientist” or “a religious scientist”.

    If you on top of the mixing in of religion and politics knowingly observe a lack of transparency regarding raw data, methods, software etc, the outcome is disastrous regardless of the quality of the science.

    The common man is not an idiot and should not be regarded as such by the scientific community. Regardless of knowledge and intelligence, the common man has the right to know all details as he please. After all, the scientists have to realize that also their predicament is a democratic society.

  76. Bart Verheggen:

    Tom Fuller (27),

    You write: “If the code is robust, it will help draw a line under the episode.”

    I don’t think that would be the case. Many of those who are criticizing climate science will never be satisfied; they’re not interested in the science, but rather in attempting to discredit it (they even go so far as to steal and release private emails). You may disagree with this take on the situation, but from the “science” side, that’s very much how it appears.

    For those who are sincere in their criticism, their efforts may be better spent in lobbying the funding institutions to fund more of the groundwork for programming. Scientists would probably be very happy with that, and indeed, it could be very useful.

    Moreover, Dhogaza gave some examples of code that is publicly available, as well as succesful replication efforts.

  77. Barton Paul Levenson:

    ZT, what are you doing publishing peoples’ email addresses on-line without their permission?

  78. Norman:

    #66 Ray Ladbury says: Thank you for your response Ray Ladbury.

    “Huh? Dude, it is much warmer now than it was in the 30s. This decade was the warmest on record.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/wheat7.htm

    This is a link to United States record highs. Note the years the highs took place and the temperatures. I have not seen any extemes like that during this warming period.

    In the Omaha Nebraska area, I strongly believed in Global Warming as I could walk around outside in a T-shirt in January on some days. But I have been doing my own study on temps and the same type of temperatures were happening in the 1930’s. In fact the record high for December 18th in Omaha NE was in 1939 at 66 F. I agree it is warmer now, but it still does not look any warmer than the 1930’s.

    Greenland temps were the same in the 1930’s as they are today, so the same type of melting would have been happening in that decade, but the ice recovered between the 30’s and the current warming.

    The 401K example was nice but I looked at your link of the average line drawn between the variations. The station I am observing is so much more noisy than the the few tenths of a degree variations on that graph, 10 times the amount. I can’t imagine that the noisy behavior of the Omaha station will change and I can’t imagine that many other stations are as noisy as the Omaha one. If you graphed the actual data anomalies I am getting they would be way off the chart and the line drawn between them would not be so significant.

    Thanks again.

  79. guthrie:

    Comment #59 breaks the rules of civilised behaviour by leaving loads of e-mails out clear where spam harvesters can get them, therefore needs edited or chopped.

  80. Completely Fed Up:

    “[Response: If you define ‘team’ as Steve McIntyre does, meaning anyone that corroborates these results,…”

    MangoChutneyOKUK is currently spouting this meme over in BBC blogs. He’s under the apprehension that you’re asking for the source code to, for example, the CRU products.

    That so many over in the BBC Climate Blogs should start talking about “The Team” just now and just after McIntyre shows how “open to ideas” they are. Unfortunately, they’re now full and can’t get any new information in…

  81. Completely Fed Up:

    Ray: “And where in the hell are you getting $50 billion? You’d be lucky to account for 10% of that going to real climate research.”

    It’s the currently touted total spent on weather research and prediction over 25 years. As I’ve said before, this is often spouted by the evil without the “25 years” and without “for weather research”, letting you think it is only Climate Research and doesn’t include the observing network or the sattelites etc.

    Compared to the $7.1Bn subsidy the nuclear lobby get in the US ALONE in ***one year***, this is small potatoes.

    Nuclear research has had over the 60 years of life something like $3,500Bn spent on it in subsidy by governments worldwide.

    Now add coal, oil and gas…

  82. Completely Fed Up:

    “[Response: I’m tired of answering this question about previous warming episodes again and again and again. Someone want to take this?–eric]”

    Two things point to “don’t bother”.

    1) “I appreciate”. Well if he doesn’t get it, all he said was “if you can, I’d appreciate it”.

    2) He only *says* he’d appreciate it. Given that many before have said the same thing yet several turn up in other places asking the same thing, I would posit that he isn’t going to listen.

  83. dhogaza:

    Isnt that the way it should work? Nick Barnes and his team are working to improve NASA gisstemp and John Graham Cumming is volunteering his time to check hadcru. ( his code for displaying things is posted and its very clear and readable)

    Yes, Mosher, and much more productive then yelling “Piltdown Mann”, don’t you agree?

    Note that Nick Barnes isn’t a skeptic, and that GISTEMP has been available for some time. Apparently a genuine interest in examining the code and algorithms by a serious software engineer provides a lot more motivation than screaming “fraud! fraud! fraud!” because the fraud-screamers haven’t done a damn think with the code they scream must be available for a “proper audit”.

  84. dhogaza:

    ZT, I see absolutely nothing untoward in any of the emails you spammed us with.

    Scientists discussing the best way to try to get their message across in press releases to journalists with no training, imagine. Trying to come up with a common message to share when asked why GISTEMP and HadCRUT differ using the sixth-grade vocabulary so many newspapers restrict themselves to.

    Stating that “the second through sixth are in a statistical tie for second in our analysis. This
    seems useful, and most reporters are sort of willing to accept it.” Wow, the horror. Getting journalists to report a ranking of temps *and* the fact that these years are in a “statistical tie” proves … proves … proves … what does it prove, ZT?

    They’ve got to put these things into terms that weathermen like Anthony Watts can understand, if there’s to be any hope of it being properly reported on TV. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get someone like Watts to understand even basic science?

  85. dhogaza:

    This is a link to United States record highs. Note the years the highs took place and the temperatures. I have not seen any extemes like that during this warming period.

    The United States is not the world. In fact, it’s a small percentage of the world. Yes, the dust bowl era was an extremely warm period of time in the United States. Regarding the world … not so much.

    In the Omaha Nebraska area

    Omaha isn’t even Nebraska, much less the United States, or the world.

    You’re really going to question global temperatures based on records from one city in the United States?

    Prepare yourself for some rude responses, if you are. Maybe you should rethink this a bit …

  86. dhogaza:

    Also, Mosher, note how “the team” has been responding to help. And don’t say “it’s because of Climategate” because the Clear Climate Code project predates that, and Barnes et al have been in touch with the GISTEMP code maintainer before.

    #1. Bug fix and patch: murmurs of thanks and appreciation, code gets fixed.

    #2. Screams that the use of FORTRAN proves the code can’t possibly work and therefore all of climate science is a fraud: phone is hung up.

    #1: Clear Climate Code people.

    #2: Typical follower of McIntyre and Watts.

  87. dhogaza:

    Normal …

    If you graphed the actual data anomalies I am getting they would be way off the chart and the line drawn between them would not be so significant.

    You said you have no background in statistics, and it’s showing. You can’t just draw lines between the points.

  88. dhogaza:

    As to the MWP, thanks all the same, Snorbert, but I’ll take the peer reviewed literature over Idsos. I’ve looked at that very plot, and no, the warm periods do not match up globally. In Mexico, it’s 1000-1200. In the Caribean it starts about 1200. In Peru, it’s over before 1100. In Africa, some warm periods don’t start ’til after the Vikings had starved!

    It’s obvious, Ray, the viking dragon ships were really slow, and it took them a long time to transport the MWP from Greenland to the rest of the world …

  89. Jiminmpls:

    #33 ZT ” I have read that the ocean temperatures are decreasing at present ”

    Huh? You ARE joking aren’t you? Ocean temperatures reached record highs in July 2009. If you were even marginally informed, you would know this. This was widely reported. I googled “ocean temperatures record high” and got over one million hits. You don’t have to be a scientist to avoid making embarrassingly stvpid statements like this.

    ZT – You are soooooo typical. You come on here asking seemingly innocent (though astoundingly ignorant) questions, but just a few posts down and your true intentions are revealed: Mindless, groundless attacks. Your combination of ignorance and arrogance is so pointedly offensive that you should be barred from posting here at all. That you are not underscores the amazing kindness and generosity shown by Gavin, Eric and all toward mindless id1ots like you.

  90. Grabski:

    Hansen’s 1988 forecasts; we’ve had a 21 year out of sample test of global ‘warming’…how close are they to reality?

  91. ICE:

    hi
    i was wondering if you were aware of the MIT Great “ClimateGate” debate, with Lindzen, K.Emmanuel, and others ? it’s a rather long video (2h), but some intersting points were made (in particular by J. Layzer, IMO)
    http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/730

  92. Completely Fed Up:

    “Hansen’s 1988 forecasts; we’ve had a 21 year out of sample test of global ‘warming’…how close are they to reality?”

    Still within the error bars for the upper bound of human CO2 production schemes. Remember, this is a complicit system: forecasting climate change depends on CO2 production of humans. If humans stop (because, for example, they agree AGW is a problem) then the forecast which didn’t know this would happen (humans are not CO2 molecules and photons) would have been wrong.

    To counter that possibility, several scenarios of human action are taken.

    And the forecast is managing within spec of the “Humans burn even more fossil fuels even quicker than we thought” scenario.

  93. Craig Allen:

    Norman, for pities sake, go get a book on basic statistics, or find some good resources on the internet. You aren’t going to get this knowledge by asking about it on a blog.

    Work out how to do a regression analysis at least, and get your head around what it actually means. This powerpoint presentation from University of Texas provides a good introduction.

    Also, learn how to test for significance in the difference between two sets of data, or of the slope of a regression line.

    Keep collecting your data and see if you can demonstrate that winter is significantly colder than summer.

  94. Ray Ladbury:

    Norman, First, you need to realize that when you are talking records, you are of necessity in the realm of piss-poor statistics (1 per state by definition). Welcome to the world of extreme-value statistics. There are other ways to look at this that improve the stats somewhat:

    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2009/maxmin.jsp#

    This isn’t perfect either as they stop in the 1950s.

    Second, I cited the post by Tamino as to why the 1930s were warm. You also have to understand how the greenhouse effect works. Increased CO2 provides only a moderate increased forcing–but it provides it ALL THE TIME. You could easily be overwhelmed in the short term by an La Nina or a volcano, but these influences last for months, while CO2’s effects persist for centuries. Moderate and steady wins the race in this case.

    This brings up a point that I think is important. If we suddenly had a real hot spell and all of the state records were broken in a year, you’d probably become a “believer” again, right? And yet, this would be weather, not climate. What really matters is the physics of Earth’s climate–that is why despite what the thermometer says today or tomorrow, we are confident that we are still warming. Well, that and the fact that all the melting ice and earlier springs and later winters… support the fact that we are warming. Of course, if the temperatures diverged significantly from predictions for an extended period of times (decades), we’d have to look for new physics. However, the data are still VERY consistent with expectations.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/how-long/

    I urge you to come over to Tamino’s blog if you really want to learn how to deal with statistics.

  95. Aaron Lewis:

    The current El Nino characterized as “moderate”. By the formal El Nino standards based on the temperature of the equatorial Pacific, it certainly is moderate. And, moderate El Nino events are commonly associated areas of warm water on the surface of the South Pacific, see for example: http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/1997/anomnight.12.16.1997.gif and http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2002/anomnight.12.16.2002.gif .

    However, the current El Nino is concurrent with an area of warm water in the South Pacific that appears to be unique in the satellite record of South Pacific sea surface temperatures for its breadth and intensity (http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2009/anomnight.12.17.2009.gif). Granted, this water is still very cold compared to the tropical waters where El Nino is defined, but it is still a lot of heat compared to what I expect in the surface of the Southern Ocean, even in the context of Dec. 1985.

    Why do I seem to be the only one saying, “Oh, Wow!”?

  96. Ray Ladbury:

    Jiminmpls,
    While ZT has parroted more than a few denialist talking points, his cade does point to a problem in the Intertube age. No analysis or news story or mistake ever completely goes away. The NPR story he cited did not link to the subsequent explanation–calibration error. Now granted, due diligence would demand looking for an update , but not everyone is as Internet savvy as Hank Roberts. Knowing that you had to look for stories on Argos, for example, might not be obvious. The problem is that of the all the sides in this debate, only one (the scientists) really cares about learning how climate works. The denialists or the greenie true believers just look as far as the websites that tell them what they want to hear.

  97. Ray Ladbury:

    Knut Witberg @75
    What a load of post-modernist, looneytarian crap. The whole point of science is to take a huge pile of data and use it to illustrate the truth. For my thesis experiment, I looked through tens of millions of interactions of neutrons with a Be target and teased out about a hundred events that were of interest. The whole point of a 20-year scientific education is to learn how to do this properly and make the truth about ones field of study apparent to ones fellow researchers.

    What we do not need is a bunch of liberal arts and business majors who have never solved a differential equation, looked through a microscope or done a Maximum Likelihood analysis to come along and tell us how to do science. It’s fine if you want to learn the science, but please try to learn enough of the basics so that you don’t embarrass yourself as Knut has done here!

  98. Ken W:

    ZT (42):
    “Prof. Hansen is discussing how to present information optimally such that ‘most reporters are sort of willing to accept it’. This may well be an example of taking a line out of context.”

    I’d agree, your inference does seem to be taking this out of context. Read further down in the e-mail thread and you’ll see:
    “I try to address this when talking to journalists, but they generally ignore this level of detail.”

    In other words, most journalist tend to gloss over when a scientist tries to explain complex things. So they have to scale explanations to a level that journalists will “accept”, otherwise they’ll write articles that misinform the public.

    The word “accept” doesn’t suggest believing a lie. Merriam-Webster includes in it’s definition: “b: to regard as proper, normal, or inevitable c: to recognize as true”

  99. sidd:

    Mr. Lewis: the last link in your comment has an extra ‘)’ at the end. The correct link is
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2009/anomnight.12.17.2009.gif

    and the warm pool in the south pacific is quite striking. thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  100. Ken W:

    ZT (56):
    “the gist of 1200651426.txt is a discussion between various climate science groups trying to get their figures to agree”

    The gist of that e-mail is absolutely NOT “trying to get their figures to agree”. If all they wanted was agreement between their different analysis firgures, they’d just ‘cook the books’. But that’s not the case. They are discussing why their independent analysis comes up with differences (something I’d hope all scientists would do) and how best to explain that to journalists that aren’t interested in details.

  101. Jim Bouldin:

    Jim Hansen and 3 others were interviewed about Copenhagen last night by Charlie Rose. Good discussion. Should be available at the show’s website now or soon.

  102. Daniel J. Andrews:

    Knut @75
    IOW, science is just another religion, or so it seems you are saying. As Ray has already pointed out you are just repeating outdated post-modernism, which you wouldn’t do if you were passingly acquainted with science. Google Nature of Science. There are a few articles you might enjoy.

    I encourage you to also read science books written by scientists who are communicating for the general public in whatever area your interest lies. With all the commenters here we should be able to recommend books no matter the field you’re interested in.

    Eric said

    Some naive and optimistic folks start a blog explaining the basics of skyscraper construction, but to little avail.–eric]

    Wrong. When I first started reading here I probably didn’t understand half the posts. I recognized the words (usually) but sentences didn’t make sense. Same with the comments. It was bewildering. Using your skyscraper analogy, I was having difficulty learning to operate the front door.

    But I kept reading anyway, looking things up, finding explanations elsewhere, and locating other climate sites based on the links in RC posts and from the comments.

    Now I understand most posts, and while I couldn’t build a whole skyscraper myself I can probably do some of the dry-walling. :-)
    (don’t trust me with the electrical work though).

    [Response: Thank you! I am glad to hear our efforts are worth it. It’s good to be reminded of that sometimes.–eric]

  103. Norman:

    #85 dhogaza says: “You’re really going to question global temperatures based on records from one city in the United States?

    Prepare yourself for some rude responses, if you are. Maybe you should rethink this a bit …”

    No, that was not the intent of my post. I am just doing this project to get a “feel” for temperature beyond my memory of it and how the information looks. I collected an incomplete data set last year on record highs and lows (about 260 days worth) the 1930 had by an far the majority of record highs. While putting in the daily High and Low and comparing it to the Normal average, I was getting really noisy data. I am sure I could see the difference between summer and winter in the noise but I am not so sure of a small variation of 1 degree or so. The Global temp varies by about 200 F everyday. The noise level is extremely loud in the data set, how do you hear the sound of warming in loud noise was my question. From other posts, it is probably the fact I did not take a class in Statistics that harms my thinking.

    But don’t discount Omaha as a hinge point on climate. Look at its location. Central of a continetal mass not moderated by oceans or large lakes. The temperature deviation from the mean is determined by large air masses from the South or North. I can see the extent of the air masses and they are quite large. This link gives me global views of air mass temps.
    http://www.findlocalweather.com/weather_maps/temperature_north_america.html

  104. Norman:

    #93 Craig Allen says: “Norman, for pities sake, go get a book on basic statistics, or find some good resources on the internet. You aren’t going to get this knowledge by asking about it on a blog.”

    I do need to read some basic Statistical theory. Time is one problem.

    #94 Ray Ladbury says: “Norman, First, you need to realize that when you are talking records, you are of necessity in the realm of piss-poor statistics (1 per state by definition). Welcome to the world of extreme-value statistics. There are other ways to look at this that improve the stats somewhat:”

    Thanks you both for your patient understanding with my ignorance of the science of statistics and what is it able to do.

    Here is an analogy of what I am having trouble with. I drive the Interstate Monday-Friday. The speed limit is 60 mph (I like driving at around that speed). In the far left lane the speed seems about 70-75 mph.
    The far right (with merging traffic and all) might average 50-55 mph.
    So you have all these speeds. If you took the average speed of each car to create a data set you would have the noisy data I am finding with temperature data. Variations of 20 mph. Now you could easily see bad weather conditions or an accident in the noisy data as the speed would drop considerably. But if you were using this data to see if the speed had increased 0.5 mph over the last year and would then go on to state this increase will lead to more drastic speed increases in the future which will have the negative effect of more accidents and deaths, this is what I am perplexed about.

    Extremely noisy temperature data (ranges 200 F or so a day) and finding a 1 degree F increase in 100 years of collection and claiming the world is headed for a disaster. I do understand the theory to Carbon dioxide warming the earth. I just don’t understand statistic well enough to see the signal in the noise.

    [Response: Norman, your analogy isn’t very good but I do get your point. But the answer is easy — if you want to know if the average speed has increased by 0.5 mph, it doesn’t matter if the variations are 20 mph, or even 200 mph. What matters is how much data you have (N) relative to the variance (sigma^2). How well you know the mean value is given by sigma/(sqrt(N)). If you have large N (for example, hundreds of weather stations, or many many cars, then the uncertainty can be small. Indeed, as N gets very large, then the uncertainty goes to zero. On top of that, we don’t need as large N as you might suppose because the signal is much bigger than you seem to think, relative to the noise. Daily variations are weather; we’re talking about climate. The year to year variations are in fact just a few degrees, not 20, or 200 as you seem to think. So following up on your analogy, we’re looking at signal of something like 5 mph out of a variation of 20, not 0.5. And of course everyone knows the difference between 55 mph and 60 mph does change the accident rate significantly. I hope this helps.–eric]

  105. ZT:

    I appreciate the comments. Let me try to explain. Prof. Hansen groups temperatures like this:
    1 2005 0.62C
    2 1998 0.57C
    2007 0.57C
    2002 0.56C
    2003 0.55C
    2006 0.54C
    7 2004 0.49C
    …in order to explain the disagreement between NOAA and NASA as to how warm 2007 was relative to other years. However, in Prof. Hansen’s PDF and in the email we see that differences less than 0.1C are not significant. Hence (for example) 2005 and 1998 are actually indistinguishable when one accounts for their uncertainties (which changes the groupings). In fact this grouping/ranking is probably quite artificial. However, explaining this would yield a much more complicated answer, and so it wasn’t preferred in the email, hence there is an economy with the truth.

    I guess that temperature uncertainties also make it difficult to adequately say how 1934 compares to recent years.

    Given the question from the journalist: “If NOAA and NASA can’t even agree what the temperature was last year, how can we believe what they are saying about the future climate”, and given the email trail, I think a more direct answer would be “The error bars don’t give us the necessary resolution”.

    This seems to be the crux of the problem in climatology. The error bars are significant. However, the correct answer is widely understood within climatology, and the resulting positioning and messaging to present that correct answer leads to squabbles, when different parts of the story need to be neglected to present what is believed to be the correct answer.

    There seems to be an unhealthy desire within climatology to avoid dueling in public (resulting in peer review manipulation and email trails like this). Hence Real Climate and people who bother to respond to questions are to be applauded, I certainly appreciate it.

    As a responder above notes, the story on the web is far from clear (for example, the NPR story on ocean temperatures was published more than a year after the instrument or calibration problem was uncovered, hence the NPR story doesn’t really have an excuse as to why this wasn’t included).

    I don’t have an agenda. I am just curious as to what is going on in this important field.

  106. Completely Fed Up:

    Norman, if you want a “feel” of the situation, read the IPCC reports and go from there.

  107. SecularAnimist:

    Kim Cobb wrote: “feel that as climate scientists we must put ourselves at the very center of the discussions surrounding the causes and consequences of anthropogenic global warming. In doing so, some may come dangerously close to policy advocacy …”

    First of all, climate scientists have exactly the same right to engage in policy advocacy as any other citizen.

    They certainly have just as much right to engage in policy advocacy as do the various ExxonMobil-funded propaganda mills, frauds, cranks, “right-wing” media personalities, cynically dishonest second-rate hack writers, and deluded Ditto-Heads who flood the public discourse with lies and distortions in order to advocate a policy of doing nothing that would reduce the business-as-usual consumption of fossil fuels.

    Moreover, climate scientists are uniquely qualified to advocate specific policy goals that must necessarily be informed by climate science, e.g. what we should aim for as a maximum anthropogenic temperature increase to avoid catastrophe, what we should aim for as a peak GHG concentration in order to limit temperature increase to that amount, and how quickly we must reduce emissions in order to limit the peak concentration to that amount. It may even be said that climate scientists have an obligation to advocate such policy goals.

    The only caution I would offer to climate scientists is that while they have as much right as anyone to advocate any policy about anything, when it comes to aspects of policy that are outside their field of expertise — e.g. the potential of different energy technologies to reduce emissions, or the merits of cap-and-trade vs. carbon taxes — they are also no more qualified than anyone else, simply by virtue of being climate scientists, to comment on them.

    When James Hanson talks about the urgency of limiting CO2 concentrations to 350 or less, I am persuaded. When he talks about the urgency of investing in “4th generation nuclear” or rails against cap-and-trade, not so much.

  108. strangefriend:

    Ray Ladbury retorted to Snorbert that if he thought the CRU e-mails were a smoking gun, he must be smoking something. Wrong drug, dude. It’s obvious from their posts they are TWEEKERS (speedfreaks.) Doesn’t all that paranoia just slap you in the face? I bet they have huge arrowhead or nuts and bolts collections.

  109. Jiminmpls:

    #96 Ray

    You’re right. If ZT did try to corroborate the NPR article through a google search using “are oceans cooling?”, he/she would get a mostly positive result. So, I was wrong to attack him/her on that point.

    Still, I found his/her whole line of seemingly innocent and naive questioning and then the sneak attack to be particularly offensive. Reading any one of dozens of basic primers on global warming would have answered most of his/her “questions”.

    I guess I’ll just go back to lurking and listening and not contribute to the noise.

  110. Tenney Naumer:

    re: #5

    Dear Zorro,

    The temperature data sets begin mid 19th century because control of the data sets was wrestled free of the Knights Templar from that point in time onwards.

  111. Ken W:

    Norman (103):
    “But don’t discount Omaha as a hinge point on climate.”

    The state of Nebraska makes up approximately 0.03% of the global (i.e. planet Earth) surface area. So how is it that Omaha should be considered a “hinge point” on global climate information?

    Why not choose this station in Manitoba Canada (no ocean there either):
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=403718670006&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    It shows a nice warming trend-line of 0.12C/decade and a 10 yr average shows both of the last 2 decades significantly warmer than the 30’s.

    While playing with individual station temperatures can be fun, it’s a meaningless exercise when considering the subject of global warming.

  112. dhogaza:

    ZT …

    Hence (for example) 2005 and 1998 are actually indistinguishable when one accounts for their uncertainties (which changes the groupings). In fact this grouping/ranking is probably quite artificial. However, explaining this would yield a much more complicated answer, and so it wasn’t preferred in the email, hence there is an economy with the truth.

    There’s nothing wrong with ranking them using the numbers generated by GISTEMP and then saying “note, rankings within 0.01C (or whatever) of each other are statistically equivalent”, and there’s nothing wrong with the way the “smoking gun” suggests stating it for journalists. “Here’s the ranking, but 2-6 are statistically tied” or whatever the precise wording was.

  113. Jiminmpls:

    #103 Norman

    I know I said I would just lurk and listen, sheesh!

    Norman. Dude. The 1930’s were really hot – in the contiguous United States and in the central plains, particularly. No one disputes that. In fact, 1934 is typically cited as in a statistical tie with 1998 as the hottest year on record – in the contiguous USA. The same does not hold true globally.

    Southest Australia recorded the highest temps ever in February 2009. They had huge fires that killed over 200 people. Does that mean that 2009 was the hottest year over across the globe? No! In fact, the winter of 2008-2009 was unusually cold in the US central plains and New England.

    Don’t confuse local events with global trends.

  114. Ken W:

    ZT (105):
    “I guess that temperature uncertainties also make it difficult to adequately say how 1934 compares to recent years.”

    In the US, yes, but globally 1934 isn’t even close. Notice the error-bars on this chart:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

    “There seems to be an unhealthy desire within climatology to avoid dueling in public (resulting in peer review manipulation and email trails like this).”

    The same can be said about evolutionary biologists (or any other scientific field where there’s a significant ideological-driven bias against the science in the public). Public squabbles about minute details confuses some of the public into thinking the entire theory is bankrupt. The proper place for scientific debate is in the scientific literature, where the audience is sophisticated enough on the complexities of the subject matter. And there’s no peer review manipulation other than wanting to keep the quality of journals high (i.e. keep out junk science or poorly written papers).

  115. pete best:

    Re 102,

    This is the best scientific website ever constructed. I did not understand one word in ten 3 years ago when I started here either but on finding out all of the terms elsewhere and looking up the authors here to I came to understand the science of AGW. Most of all though I came to understand science itself and how it works. Denial makes no sense from a scientific perspective because science is skeptical on the whole. Sure a few scientists might always think they are right (perhaps – I have no proof of this) but most are skeptical and hence the only thing demonstrating a hypothosis or theory to be incorrect is peer reviewed science itself.

    Denialists/contrarians etc do not submit skeptical work for peer review. They just blog and write stuff in the media and get on TV. OK some scientists themselves are in denial (Cristy and Gavin on TV the other day for example actively disagree) but they cant demonstrate their denial in peer review. Hunches without evidence dont get past peer review I would imagine on the whole.

  116. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #3 Snorbert Zangox

    You are essentially questioning integrity here. But you are not considering the contexts involved.

    There is nothing wrong with discussion and gleaning out problems.

    There is nothing wrong with saying idiots are idiots as justifiable (or do you have a problem with free speech).

    There is nothing wrong with testing data sets with different methods (‘tricks’ of the trade so to speak).

    There is nothing wrong with dismissing ridiculous assertions such as yours that are to immature to have relevance in reality.

    On the other hand, there is something wrong with someone hiding behind the moniker ‘Snorbert Zangox’, which shows that you don’t have enough integrity to post your full legal name.

    “Pot meet kettle.”

    PS You state:

    I also believe that climate scientists must respond positively to the allegations that are arising from examination of the leaked CRU data. RealClimate appears reticent to do so and Cobb’s article does not indicate that he is ready to do it either.

    What do you think all these articles and posts are about? Are you incapable of understanding all of this? If so, stop posting, you need to go back to kindergarten and start over (preferably in a European school where critical thinking is taught pro forma, obviously you have mastered the paradigm of the rote method).

  117. Snorbert Zangox:

    Ray,

    I am certain that carbon dioxide contributes to the ongoing warming, which I maintain is natural. I maintain that IPCC has greatly overestimated the role of carbon dioxide in the increasing warmth and has therefore greatly overestimated the effects that reduction in carbon dioxide concentrations can effect. Does the relative cooling of the stratosphere that you mention indicate the amount of warming that carbon dioxide is causing?

    It seems to me that the environmental effects that you mention, increased warmth (ergo lengthened growing seasons), higher carbon dioxide concentrations (ergo more tree food), and widespread pesticide use (ergo fewer insect infestations) all would enhance the growth of trees. So why, in spite of the favorable conditions did the growth of trees abate during the late 20th century.

    The Idsos have compiled results from hundreds of peer reviewed studies and determined that there was a warm period centered about 750 years BP that was world wide in breadth. You apparently do not like their interpretation of the data. There is no reason for anyone to believe that your conclusion that you base on a momentary glance at their results chart is superior to their conclusion.

    [Response: Sorry, but there is no good evidence for “world wide” warmth at 750 years BP. And this sentence “I am certain that carbon dioxide contributes to the ongoing warming, which I maintain is natural” makes absolutely no sense.–eric]

  118. the larch:

    (17) oh, this meme again? i call DOUBLE D-K EFFECT. lalalalalala.

  119. Norman:

    #104 response by eric.

    eric, I want to thank you for you explanation. That does make a lot of sense. The noise of all those stations is much smaller than the local noise I am seeing in the one station and the signal to noise is easy to see.

    I can see this in the other data manipulations I am doing. The difference between the average low and high is only about 2 degrees F. The daily difference in the daily data between high and low temp is very noisy.

    Thanks for taking the time to educate me.

  120. Ray Ladbury:

    ZT, I want you to notice something about all the years you’ve looked at. They are all in this decade except 1998–the biggest El Nino in recent memory. It realy does not matter whether 2005 is second warmest or 2002. However, by assigning a numerical value to the temperature anomaly, we achieve a unique ranking. That is unavoidable. It takes a twisted, and frankly rather thick, mentality to project any sort of conspiracy on this.

    However, one year is weather. To get to climate, it takes 30 years. And guess what. Seventeen of the twenty warmest years since 1880 have been in the past 2 decades. Even with red noise, that is significant. Now you can either learn something here at RC, or you can stay in your conspiracy-theorist fantasy world. Your choice.

  121. Ray Ladbury:

    Snorbert, have you bothered to look at the chart the Idsos designed? I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you have not. Some of the “warm periods” occur from 800-1000 CE, some from 1000-1200 CE and some start after 1200 CE. It takes some rather, shall we say interesting, notions of time to look at all those disparate and distinct warm periods and call it single global warm period.
    It does no good to keep repeating the same meme over and over again when it has been challenged and specific instances of failure have been cited. Either abandon the position or state why you still hold it. “Yes it is, la-la-la-la…” does not constitute scientific debate.

  122. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #117 Snorbert Zangox

    Eric answered you inline but I wanted to expand on the problem of your first sentence (which did not stun me because I have read your other posts and was therefore prepared for the inanity that may be expected from you):

    You state:

    I am certain that carbon dioxide contributes to the ongoing warming, which I maintain is natural.

    You acknowledge that CO2 contributes to warming but maintain it is natural. Are you now willing to admit that burning fossil fuels does not add CO2 to the atmosphere?

    Are you now able to show everyone here in the thread that you have identified the source of increased CO2 in the atmosphere from the pre-industrial to current levels, and it is completely natural and has nothing to do with humans burning fossil fuels?

    Please do enlighten all with your knowledge.

    Other problems with your post:

    You maintain that IPCC has overestimated the role of carbon dioxide. Okay, show us your math in how you determined this.

    As to “why, in spite of the favorable conditions did the growth of trees abate during the late 20th century.”

    Well, land use changes… or are you unaware that we cut down forests to make cities and farmland?

  123. dhogaza:

    Thanks for (eric) taking the time to educate me.

    Norman – and thank you for willing to be educated. So many people come here asking naive questions while posing as being genuinely interested in learning, only to expose themselves as being outright denialists lying in wait to hurl long-debunked cut-and-paste nonsense when people answer those questions in good faith, that regulars here tend to be cynical and mistrustful. That includes me.

    There *are* many people who attempt to extrapolate single-station results into proof that it’s not warming, or that necessary adjustments in the record to account for new technology or station moves, etc are “fraudulent”.

    Glad you’re not one of them after all.

  124. dhogaza:

    However, by assigning a numerical value to the temperature anomaly, we achieve a unique ranking. That is unavoidable. It takes a twisted, and frankly rather thick, mentality to project any sort of conspiracy on this.

    The alternative that would be acceptable to ZT seems to be to not rank them at all … which is flat-out silly.

  125. Snorbert Zangox:

    Eric,

    Of course, it makes sense. Carbon dioxide contributes a small amount to the warming that began about 500 years ago when the climate began recovering from the Little Ice Age. Carbon dioxide contributes little to that trend. Furthermore, carbon dioxide alone will contribute little to future warming. Even the GCMs must invoke the spirit of positive feedback from water vapor and clouds to reach the heights of future temperatures that they predict. It seems to me that belief in those positive feedbacks is closely akin to a religious belief.

    If you dispute the conclusion that the Idsos have made after their investigation of the literature of proxy temperature measurements, why don’t you prepare a rebuttal and submit it to them at http://www.co2science.org/about/contact_info.php. They have always been willing to accept criticism and to engage in debate with responsible persons who disagree with them. I will enjoy reading the exchange.

    [Response:Are you referring to the unsubstantiated, unreference assortment of half truths, misconeptions, out of date nice-sounding but fundamentally wrong concepts and outright lies here, or to an actual piece of research?–eric]

  126. Nick Barnes:

    Thanks for the appreciative remarks about Clear Climate Code. I’d like to emphasize a couple of things about it:

    1. It’s not really “Nick Barnes and his team”. Yes, it was my idea, and I started it, so I’m taking most responsibility (i.e. doing some project management, moderating blog comments, etc), and some of the work is also done by colleagues at my company, but I’m not writing most of the code, so I don’t deserve most of the credit.
    2. No, I am not a sceptic, but the project welcomes sceptics. Everyone is welcome to join in.
    3. It’s not as far advanced as one might guess from dhogaza’s comment 34. We have nearly reached the all-Python milestone (aiming for next week), and we have formed the view that GISTEMP does implement the algorithm described in the relevant papers. But much of the code is still too obscure to be definitive on this point.

  127. Wes:

    Molnar(67). Interesting link, but it doesn’t cover the time period (1840-1910) of interest. During this period Crowley discovered warming at a rate comparable to recent periods. Crowley says that Mann also discovered the same warming trend during the same time period, but eliminated it from his graphs for reasons I don’t yet understand.

    Crowley thought it should be included, so he did. Mann thought it should not be included, so he didn’t. Had Mann not removed this warming from his graph, the character of Mann’s resulting graph would have been considerably different.

    Any thoughts on this ?

  128. ZT:

    As to comments about the ranking, the problem is that the groups are separated by less than 0.1C, but the uncertainty in differences between the measurements is 0.1C. Hence the assignment of temperatures to specific bins (needed for the simple messaging) is misleading.

    You can rank on any variable, but the ‘trick’ (in the usual climatology, i.e. non-pejorative sense) is to choose a bin size which yields a desired ranking of the groups.

    Another question. If I look at the ocean temperature rise with time in Fig 3. of Prof. Hansen’s PDF. The temperature increase seems rather stable and linear, with time from about 1950 onward. Do the global temperature models reproduce this line, or do they show a more aggressive change in temperature with increasing CO2 concentration in the future?

    I googled this, and found a nice article:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/not-computer-models/

    However, the fit to the land temperature data was so good (and therefore noisy), that I couldn’t pick out the long term trend. Presumably going out for a few more decades would show this – any recommendation on where to find such a model based projection? I am after a model which shows the effect on global temperature of an ongoing linear increase in CO2 concentration into the future.

  129. dhogaza:

    Nick Barnes, regarding #3, I’d read this post by “drj”:

    It is our opinion that the GISTEMP code performs substantially as documented in Hansen, J.E., and S. Lebedeff, 1987: Global trends of measured surface air temperature. J. Geophys. Res., 92, 13345-13372., the GISTEMP documentation, and other papers describing updates to the procedure.

    Yes, OK, “our opinion” and “we have formed the view” are weaker statements than my statement that you’ve “verified” that this is true.

  130. steven mosher:

    Dhog you wrote:

    “Also, Mosher, note how “the team” has been responding to help. And don’t say “it’s because of Climategate” because the Clear Climate Code project predates that, and Barnes et al have been in touch with the GISTEMP code maintainer before.

    #1. Bug fix and patch: murmurs of thanks and appreciation, code gets fixed.

    #2. Screams that the use of FORTRAN proves the code can’t possibly work and therefore all of climate science is a fraud: phone is hung up.

    #1: Clear Climate Code people.

    #2: Typical follower of McIntyre and Watts.”

    Dhog

    You need a fact check. First, I’m well aware that the work Nick has been doing predates climategate. He and I met a long while back on CA where he told be about his work. It makes you look silly to not be aware of this. Second,
    The very day NASA announced that they would release GISSTEMP I went onto the thread at CA and asked everyone to show some class and post a thank you on RC.
    I immediately proceeded to RC where I posted a thank you. That’s it. a thank you.
    The post didnt make it through moderation. Further, since I had dinner last night with the one guy I know who has the GISSTEMP code running ( yes fortran) I can pretty much assure you that your imagined scenario with people calling up NASA and complaining about Fortran is wrong. The 4 programmers who sat there discussing GISSTEMP had nothing bad to say about Fortran. Most of us had worked with Fortran code, undocumented research code ( in my case code from NASA Dryden and AMES) We bitched more about the inclusion of Python. On other occassios we have complained about fortran, but then C programmers always do this. The thing that caused me the most concern when I first saw the code was not the fortran. It was the large number of IO steps ( probably required because of system limitation) It was a pretty fragile design. That doesn’t make it wrong, just danger will robinson.

    The issue Gavin and I have is a philosophical one. It transcends the climate debate. It’s probably why I’ll agree to disagree with him for now. He believes that a written description is Necessary and GENERALLY sufficient to replicate results. I believe code is sufficient. I believe code is the best documentation of what science was actually performed because the words in a paper are not the science. They advertise the science. When the words are not sufficient to replicate the results, scientists find themselves in a position where personality ( witness scafette’s behavior) can insert itself. This should be avoided at all costs because personality can be just as corrosive as corporate interest, more so I think.

    In 2007 Dr. Curry joined me in suggesting that more transparency would improve things. If you don’t like taking suggestions from me and other people who want open access to these things, then perhaps you will listen to her.

    Finally, in the end I really don’t care if people want to rewrite history and pretend that they were always for the release of code. As I’ve said before. AGW is the best theory we have. I believe it. and the sooner people are more transparent with their code and data, the sooner some lingering doubts about minor matters will be removed and the sooner we can get on with the business of taking the appropriate actions. Why some people on the AGW side want to delay is beyond me, but the record is pretty clear that the strategy of stonewalling had a downside that was not unforeseen or unique in history.

  131. Didactylos:

    steven mosher said: “I believe code is sufficient”

    This is clearly false, as Nick Barnes’ work shows. Merely reproducing the exact result only shows that the code runs. Without a description of what it is supposed to do and how it is supposed to work, no amount of analysis can show that the code does what it is supposed to.

    You do, indeed, have a philosophical problem.

  132. Antiquated Tory:

    I don’t know if this is the place to post this and I don’t know if Eric or Gavin will read this, but here’s an anecdote I’d really like to share with you.
    I was talking today with a young woman who is a university student in a field unconnected with climate. Her boyfriend, who never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like, was telling her that AGW is a hoax and sending her links to Monckton and the usual suspects. The young woman read all of this and Googled every one of their talking points. One of the places she ended up was here at RC. Her conclusion: the objections to AGW had either been refuted long ago or had no substance to refute in the first place, and her boyfriend, much not to her surprise, was talking bollocks.

  133. David B. Benson:

    ZT (126) — You are aware that CO2 concentrations have increased approximately exponentially? That gives a linear increases in ln(CO2) forcing, if that is what you meant.

  134. Eli Rabett:

    Steve Mosher is either silly, mendacious or naive (YMMV, but feel free to pick one) when he advises simply opening up the proprietary data in the CRU. Since others have provided examples of how some of the data is proprietary, no further answer is needed to Mosher and others who are claiming that none of the data the CRU uses is proprietary. They are WRONG. The major issue is open up proprietary data without permission and the next day you stop getting data updates. Tick your suppliers off enough and they put in a codicil that anyone who shares the data with you will get cut off. If you are in the business of building a long term record you can kiss your business goodbye. Since Mosher claims he is up to speed and serious. . .

  135. John Davidson:

    One of the things that is very noticeable is that some of the people from both sides of the climate debate are very selective about their selection of time spans. For example, some deniers like quote the last few years as “proof” that we are now facing a cooling phase.
    AGW supporters could also be criticized for starting their graphs around 1880 – the end of an unusual dip in temperatures. This means that we don’t see see temperatures for the medieval warming that preceded this period. It would be more convincing to see recent warming in the context of what has happened to temperatures over since say 1000 BC.

    [Response: Yes, of course. That’s why the deniers spend so much time trying to trash Mike Mann and Phil Jone’s reconstructions that go back 2000 years, since they are one of the best illustrations of this point. My emphasis in italics.–eric]

  136. dhogaza:

    Further, since I had dinner last night with the one guy I know who has the GISSTEMP code running ( yes fortran) I can pretty much assure you that your imagined scenario with people calling up NASA and complaining about Fortran is wrong.

    You need to get out more. The denialsphere’s been flooded with people making idiotic comments about choice of language, among other things.

    Perhaps you’re not one of them. That doesn’t make the basic point I’ve made false.

  137. dhogaza:

    I believe code is sufficient. I believe code is the best documentation of what science was actually performed because the words in a paper are not the science.

    Oh, geez, trying to reverse-engineer the physics from the code is about like saying you prefer to reverse-engineer C source code from the object bits rather than read what the programmer has written. The higher-level exposition in a scientific paper is much easier to follow, just as the higher-level abstraction of a modern computer language is much easier to follow than a few million 32-bit integers strung together.

    Abstraction exists for a reason.

  138. dhogaza:

    As I’ve said before. AGW is the best theory we have. I believe it. and the sooner people are more transparent with their code and data, the sooner some lingering doubts about minor matters will be removed and the sooner we can get on with the business of taking the appropriate actions. Why some people on the AGW side want to delay is beyond me

    And if you believe it’s the fact that some code hasn’t been released in source form that’s holding back political action, you’re insane. Knowing that you’re not insane, I draw another conclusion.

  139. ZT:

    #132. David B. Benson. Many thanks for your response. No I wasn’t aware that CO2 had increased exponentially – but that doesn’t sound unreasonable. The effect of exponential CO2 increase on temperature seems to be linear (I guess that this is what ln(CO2) forcing means). (I have to say, I am not at all sure what ‘forcing’ means. I have googled ‘CO2 forcing’ (etc.) and the ‘non-denier’ sites which show up (e.g. http://www.john-daly.com/forcing/forcing.htm) are quite baffling to me.)

    I am curious to know what the models predict assuming a similar rate of increase in CO2 concentration, similar to the rate of increase that we see presently (even if this is exponential), say 30 years into the future. Is there a good link to such predictions?

    [Response: http://www.IPCC.ch; RealClimate’s glossary]

  140. Ray Ladbury:

    ZT @127 These are the 20 hottest years on record:
    Year La+Oc Land
    2005 0.6058 0.9553 0.4884
    1998 0.5768 0.8321 0.5087
    2002 0.5575 0.8309 0.4784
    2003 0.5566 0.7711 0.5102
    2006 0.5524 0.8159 0.4669
    2007 0.5499 0.9804 0.3874
    2004 0.5332 0.7075 0.4809
    2001 0.4939 0.7204 0.4416
    2008 0.4869 0.7758 0.3721
    1997 0.4618 0.5584 0.4498
    1995 0.3991 0.6531 0.3191
    1999 0.3953 0.6760 0.3237
    1990 0.3701 0.5484 0.3279
    2000 0.3632 0.5175 0.3406
    1991 0.3239 0.4094 0.3105
    1988 0.2886 0.4196 0.2585
    1987 0.2867 0.2963 0.2999
    1994 0.2820 0.3597 0.2699
    1983 0.2715 0.3718 0.2508
    1996 0.2586 0.2184 0.2986

  141. Ray Ladbury:

    Let’s try that again. Notice something about the years in question? Yup, they’re all within the past 30 years. And what is more, this decade is well over 0.1 degrees hotter than the last and well over 0.2 degrees than the one before. What is more, GISTEMP clearly displays error bars of +/-0.1 degrees on their charts. Are you really dim enough that you think there’s a massive conspiracy when they are clearly displaying their error bars and giving the same errors in private emails? Good Lord, you are thick.

    [Response: My emphasis.]

  142. Ray Ladbury:

    Snorbert, since you refuse to address specific issues raised about your little science project, I can only conclude that you are trolling. I really urge people to go to the website you cite and compare those graphs in detail. It will show just what lying sacks of rhodent feces the architects of said propaganda are.

  143. ZT:

    #141. Thanks Ray! Unfortunately we are not quite talking about the same thing. I am saying that Prof. Hansen’s suggestion for the dealing with the fact that NOAA and NASA disagreed about a given year’s temperature was economical with the scientific fact of uncertainty in the temperature measurements. Prof. Hansen was trying to provide a short sound bite which answered the journalist’s question, with respect to NOAA and NASA’s comments about temperature.

    I was just looking at the facts of one email. I was doing that as I was curious to see whether the climategate emails are nothing to worry about – as asserted by many – or an indication that something could be improved.

    I am not denying that the world is getting warmer!

    There does seem to be a strong drive to ‘simplify’ the message almost to the extent of obfuscation – and I think that can’t be helping the messaging.

    Thanks for the links on forcing and also model projections – they certainly help.

    I am trying to digest Hansen et al, JGR, 2002, 107 – it will take me a little while! So far it looks like the projections in the future temperature in the paper have turned out to be high. This could well be a weather versus climate accident. (If there are more recent papers – please let me know).

    I suspect that if the projections are correct – then nuclear power will be the only way that society can not implode. From what I have read here – that may be Prof. Hansen’s view too.

    (Can I write in bold too?!)

    [Response: nope.–eric]

  144. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #125 Snorbert Zangox

    It seems to me that belief in those positive feedbacks is closely akin to a religious belief.

    Are you saying that when water warms it does not evaporate faster?

    [Response: my emphasis –eric]

  145. Brian Dodge:

    re the Idso’s MWP project;
    they quote one paper as saying “significantly warmer” (+3.2°C) “than present.”
    The paper’s online abstract says “…we modeled paleoclimate during the time of sympatry to be significantly warmer (+3.2°C annual minimum temperature) and slightly drier (−24 mm annual precipitation) than present,”
    Another paper(the first one I got from their crap map page – 4 popup windows? WUWT?) states”Hence, we conclude that the peak mean warmth of the MWP was about a quarter of a degree cooler than that of the most recent decade or two of the CWP.” i.e. not global.
    A few other selected quotes –
    “(MWP: AD 800-1100)”
    “driest 20-year period of their reconstruction was 1237-1256″
    “occurring between 450 and 900 AD.”
    “AD ~700-950.”
    “the relative abundance of Azpeitia nodulifera (a tropical diatom whose presence suggests the occurrence of higher sea surface temperatures), was found to be far greater during the Medieval Warm Period than at any other time over the 2000-year period studied, while during the Modern Warm Period its relative abundance was actually lower than the 2000-year mean.”[can you say [divergence problem”?]
    “Hence, there was probably no significant difference between the mean annual temperature around AD 985 and the mean annual temperature of the 1980s and 90s.”

    The only “level one study” for New Zealand they could find dates from 1979, so I checked google scholar(“new zealand” mwp) and found
    Evidence for a ‘Medieval Warm Period’ in a 1,100 year tree-ring reconstruction of past austral summer temperatures in New Zealand
    Edward R. Cook et al GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 29, NO. 14, 1667, 10.1029/2001GL014580, 2002
    “Of equal interest in the reconstruction is the sharp and sustained cold period in the A.D. 993-1091 interval. This cold event is easily the most extreme to have occurred over the past 1,100 years.”

    I conclude that at different times somewhere between about 450AD and 1250AD temperatures in various locations around the globe were warmer and cooler than current temperatures. The Idso’s see something different. YMMV.

  146. Jaime Frontero:

    @142
    Mr. Ladbury – and the rest of you on the side of the angels…

    Look, invective can have value I suppose – not the least of which (in ideal circumstances) can be sparking the coveted “Oh! I’m an idiot” moment. At least where people like Snorbert Zangox (et al, 2009) are concerned.

    But the thing is, it’s a waste of thought and effort to construct suitable and artistic invective for these people. They don’t care.

    I mean… they’re *paid* to do this, right?

    JF

  147. Neil Pelkey:

    Phil’s advisor, Gavin’s boss, and Caspar’s and Mike’s coauthors are hardly “not associated with real climate” any more than Maggie L. Fox is “not associated” with Mark Udall. All of these people are fine people and quite knowledgeable, but claiming that they are unassociated opinions is a bit of an exaggeration.

    [Response: If you don’t like ‘not associated’, then how about “having no influence over”. I’m talking about RealCLimate, not its individual members.–eric]

  148. Jim Eager:

    Eric, why do you bother wasting time on someone so obviously divorced from reality as Snorbert Zangox?

    [Response: Because reasonable but uninformed people might take him seriously, and his questions are not — on the face of it — necessarily all off base.–eric]

  149. Dwight:

    #122’s response to the question, “why, in spite of the favorable conditions did the growth of trees abate during the late 20th century.” is

    Well, land use changes… or are you unaware that we cut down forests to make cities and farmland?
    —————–
    THAT is an answer? I am sure that there are a lot of variables which affect tree growth (which bothers me about all tree ring data in general) but usually, removing other trees (all other things being equal) positively affects growth, as I assume higher CO2 levels would as well. Has there been any corroboration from foresters that tree growth has slowed?

    [Response: No, growth hasn’t slowed, in general. See e.g. here.–eric]

    On a separate note, I found Hansen’s statement, that for all he knows, we could be entering another Maunder Minimum, er “interesting.” Should that scenario unfold, we would know beyond a reasonable doubt that Gaia has a sense of humor.

  150. Daniel C. Goodwin:

    Re 143: “I suspect that if the projections are correct – then nuclear power will be the only way that society can not implode. From what I have read here – that may be Prof. Hansen’s view too.”

    In “Storms of my Grandchildren” Hansen speaks out loud and clear in favor of 3rd and 4th generation nuclear power – even to the point of expressing anger about the unreasoning, unconditional opposition to nuclear power that he sees in otherwise thoughtful people.

  151. David B. Benson:

    Dwight (149) — One sensible study of the 10Be proxy for solar concluded that the variations, such as the Maunder Minimum, appear to be random events.

  152. Jim Eager:

    Fair enough Eric, although I assume you meant to write “Because reasonable but uninformed people might take him seriously

  153. Jim Eager:

    In the spirit of Eric’s reply…

    Re Snorbert Zangox @117: “So why, in spite of the favorable conditions did the growth of trees abate during the late 20th century.”

    Two possible factors for Snorbert to look into, assuming his question was at all serious:
    1- global dimming from industrial aerosols (lower sunlight levels)
    2- acid rain from those same aerosols (soil mineral leeching and root damage)

  154. ZT:

    #150. Thanks Daniel. Hansen is a distinguished scientist*.

    From my somewhat growing understanding, going nuclear for all power generation and other forms of energy (e.g. transportation with hydrogen fuel) would be the conclusion I would reach – if the models are correct. Hopefully, this isn’t too much of an insult to Prof. Hansen or anyone else.

    My two cents – is that climate scientists get into knots when a journalist says:

    “If NOAA and NASA can’t even agree what the temperature was last year, how can we believe what they are saying about the future climate”.

    or

    “I’m sure you’ve seen the NOAA/NASA press releases and the news stories about the 2007 global temperatures. ‘ NASA says tied for “2nd hottest”. . . NOAA says 5th warmest global and only 10th in US.’ Who does this serve but create confusion and add to the skeptics/denialists argument. . .”They can’t even agree on last year’s temperatures. .why should we believe them?”

    (as in the email cited) and then instead of saying – ‘the error bars are large – but the trend is the same’ (which is what Ray has been saying in bold) (I think – my interpretation) – the climate scientists get tempted into creating a grouping scheme which exceeds the uncertainty of the measurements, but does allow the ranks to emerge roughly the same.

    In this case – big deal! It is kind of a slippery slope though to saying ‘we’ll just not plot the diverging information – it will only confuse the masses’ or ‘we’ll coordinate our reviewing to prevent a confusing messages appearing’, or ‘we’ll never hand over our data’. (as in other messages).

    *I can hear some of you saying ‘If he were, you would not know it!’ – to which I say ‘fair comment’ – but I can testify that he writes very clearly – which is a good way of disseminating the scientific message.

  155. Ray Ladbury:

    ZT, I have worked as a as a science reproter–though in my case I was summarizing and simplifying research for physicists outside the field. To communicate, you need a narrative, and all you will do by putting in too much detail is lose your audience.

    Do you really consider it nefarious for climate scientists to want to understand the message that the planet is warming–which you yourself accept? If not, then how would you communicate it to the public without exhausting their gnat-like attention span or dragging them through details they wouldn’t understand anyway?

  156. Steve Fish:

    Comment by Jim Eager — 19 December 2009 @ 8:27 PM:

    Another answer to your question–“Eric, why do you bother wasting time on someone so obviously divorced from reality as Snorbert Zangox?”

    As long as the questions and problems posed are not too simplistic and agonizingly repetitive (e.g. manaker), readers like myself continue to learn from the responses. Learning this difficult material from the (excuse me) horse’s mouth, is really quite a privilege.

    Steve

  157. Molnar:

    Wes (127):
    “Interesting link, but it doesn’t cover the time period (1840-1910) of interest.”

    ???

    From skepticalscience:
    “The two driving causes of natural climate change over the past few centuries as we’ve emerged from the Little Ice Age were solar variations and volcanic activity. Both have showed little variation over the past half century and cannot explain recent warming”

    Also, LIA in Crowley and Lowery (2000) reconstruction is not very different from all the other reconstructions, so I don’t know what you are getting at.

  158. Dwight:

    Thanks for the link to the treeline tree ring studies discussion. The question(s) which Paul Gosling asks regarding the flipping of the response to warmth based on a changing relationship to positioning vis a vis a changing tree-line, exemplifies to me te problem with tree rings. They are neat to study to establish a date for timbers in old buildings, but to use them as a reliable indicator for one factor, when they reflect a number of them, seems shaky to me.

    But as a former teacher of literature, including the Epic of Gilgamesh, I found fascinating the suggestion by someone that the apparent warming circa 2000 BC might help explain the flood stories of Utnapishtim and Noah. Who knew that it didn’t rain forty days and forty nights, but that a lot of ice melted? :-)

  159. Dwight:

    Thanks for the link to the treeline tree ring studies discussion. The question(s) which Paul Gosling asks regarding the flipping of the response to warmth based on a changing relationship to positioning vis a vis a changing tree-line, exemplifies to me the problem with tree rings. They are neat to study to establish a date for timbers in old buildings, but to use them as a reliable indicator for one factor, when they reflect a number of them, seems shaky to me.

    But as a former teacher of literature, including the Epic of Gilgamesh, I found fascinating the suggestion by someone that the apparent warming circa 2000 BC might help explain the flood stories of Utnapishtim and Noah. Who knew that it didn’t rain forty days and forty nights, but that a lot of ice melted? :-)

  160. Sandra Kay:

    “For journalists it’s a dead end, offering essentially no place to take the story and centered on a topic that is at root deadly dull for most people.”

    Really now?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/12/18/ST2009121800006.html?sid=ST2009121800006

    This scandal is not going away.

    To gain back a semblance of credibility, all data, code and “adjustment” schemes should be made public.

  161. Jiminmpls:

    #149 and others on rate of tree (and other plant) growth in 20th C

    This is a topic under intense study. I don’t think anyone can say that tree growth has slowed – or not – in the 20th C. It depends. Climate change may provide better or worse growing conditions depending on the specific location and species of tree(s).

    Aspens appear to be growing like weeds
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091204092445.htm

    but tropical tree growth may be slowed by higher temps.
    http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0423-forests.html

    Here’s a layman’s intro to one study underway:

    http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/meas_tech/hardwood.htm

    U of MN – and I’m sure many others – is doing some work on CO2 and plant growth. They just happen to be a customer of mine.

    Just googling “university of minnesota co2 and plant growth” finds lots of articles with a wide range of findings.

    Interesting reading.

  162. Kevin McKinney:

    Dwight, you might want to go back and absorb the bit about likely magnitudes of solar vs. CO2 forcings.

    Bottom of p. 5 in the pdf.

  163. Jiminmpls:

    As I was perusing the U of MN articles, I came across this:

    http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/disc.html?gpp=22384&pst=1361052

    It’s a commentary on climategate from someone who is not at all associated with CRU or GISS.

  164. bananabender:

    “Southest Australia recorded the highest temps ever in February 2009. They had huge fires that killed over 200 people.”

    Wrong. By far the worst year for bushfires was 1852 – this was also the year when Melbourne had the hottest day ever recorded. The second worst bushfires were in 1939. The only reason that the death toll was high in 2009 was because of the large numbers of people living in fire-prone areas.

  165. Andrew:

    For what its worth: I think Dr. Allen’s thoughts are on target and finally, clearly, he gets his arms around the CRU Hack.

    Dr. Cobb acknowledge’s embarrassment over the content of the CRU emails. I would bet that her comments left some readers thinking that she believes portions of climate science are an embarrassment. She assumes the reader knows her comments are in regards only to the unprofessional tone expressed in some of the emails; yet that thought is only implied.

    Her words:

    There is no doubt that the CRU e-mails are an embarrassment to climate science in general, and to paleoclimate in particular. I have read the “greatest hits”, and cringe along with everyone else at their content. But in my professional opinion, these e-mails reveal nothing more than brief, emotion-fueled remarks made in the face of unrelenting and often disingenuous attacks. Far more importantly, the conduct (questionable or not) of a handful of climate scientists in no way undermines the scientific support for anthropogenic global warming. The conclusions reached in the IPCC report do not critically depend on the work of these few scientists.

    I don’t know what she thinks she is telling folks, but I can read this two ways. The non-scientist side of me reads that she believes “the work” of Dr. Jones and the other “few scientists” was conducted inappropriately. She isn’t specific enough about what she means when she says “conduct”, and yet she specifies “paleoclimate”. Is she talking about scientific conduct or personal relations? General readers may not know that Dr. Jones worked with paleoclimates and may well think Dr. Cobb believes the way paleoclimate studies have been conducted is an “embarrassment”.

    This in turn will lead many readers to assume this is just the tip of the iceberg. Today the CRU and paleo reconstructions, tomorrow the radiative physics of carbon dioxide. That is how “scandal” journalism works after all. The general public has been well trained to know that scandals are revealed slowly in a serial manner so the readers buy the next edition or keep watching. In this way climate science is just the next OJ trial. And it is Jr., M and M, FOX and such who are gleefully writing the totally bogus next editions (I think the main stream press has caught on that the CRU Hack isn’t about climate science).

    I have had the opportunity to speak to many good reporters. Ones who really wanted to understand what I knew and what my opinion was. They constantly pointed out that what I was quoted saying often read the opposite of what I wanted to say. After a while I learned to adjust, though I still make sure I get all of my quotes to go over in a separate sitting than the interview to assure they read well.

    I want to make clear that I don’t think Dr. Cobb believes Dr. Jones or any other scientist has misrepresented or cooked or made up data, nor do I think she is embarrassed by them. But I don’t think her blog post was clearly written for the non-scientist.

    For what it’s worth my opinion of CRU Hack: emails are often equivalent to private, spoken, conversations. When viewed as this, the tone of the CRU emails is completely understandable. I don’t think there is anything to ask forgiveness over.

  166. Thomas Lee Elifritz:

    unreasoning, unconditional opposition to nuclear power

    What, pray tell, is unreasoning and unconditional about energy scales that are mismatched by nearly 10 orders of decimal magnitude between states, or do you just have an appreciation and a desire for massive columnar defect damage and the outright sludge it creates that some of the rest of us don’t?

    That can hardly be deemed ‘direct energy conversion’ even independently of the severe cost, waste, proliferation and availability of fuel problems.

  167. J:

    If anyone wonders why people believe IPCC-approved climate science is subjective, biased, closed-minded with a high degree of egotism and hubris combined with a political agenda, re-read the responses on this thread. You are your own worst enemy and it only takes common sense to know it’s perilous to place great trust in your results.

    Until and unless AGW is proven, this trust is essential, and you’ve lost it. This may not matter to you, but if you really believe society must take strong action, it is essential to that goal. The majority don’t believe you and they don’t trust you. You don’t behave like trustworthy scientists, or like trustworthy stewards of science, or anything else that matters. You behave like conceited schoolyard bullies who gang up on anyone who is not in the gang – because they’re not in the gang.

    If you can’t see this, you’re not going to change, and you won’t understand when it just gets worse.

  168. oakwood:

    Great editorial by mike at the Washington Post.
    (Many of the comments were a bit rude though. Too bad)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/17/AR2009121703682.html

  169. VG:

    As a Skeptic I have to thank you now for your change of heart re allowing criticism of you AGW thesis based on C02. There is of course a great future in long term forecasting and it is needed (models etc) This is not a sarcastic comment. I hope you continue to prosper and advance this science.

  170. Bob:

    Although I’ve found Jim Hansen to be very civil in personal correspondence, I can’t say I have ever found him to be objective on the topic of climate change. Santer is a product of CRU. Saying “Look over here, some scientists that aren’t Real Climate admins are exonerating us!” is very little like saying their opinions are objective or will somehow whitewash the unfortunate evidence of poor judgement that has come out of the pilfered emails. Further, I thought this was a science website? What I am seeing instead is a full blown rhetorical blitz here. Bluntly, the correspondence that has been revealed is just shameful. The suppression of dissent couldn’t be more plain, and this collage of scientists saying it doesn’t matter does your cause no credit. If the science is correct, stick with that.

  171. Completely Fed Up:

    If anyone wants to know why people get the feeling they are being ignored just need to read J’s content-free rant in 167.

    J have you read this sites comments and noted the number of times the same bloody question gets asked again and again?

    Sometimes people are ridculed because they are ridiculous. Sometimes one side is just wrong. But the New Political Correctness that the rightwing spout all the time means that nobody’s views are ridiculous (unless it’s those damn liberals) and everybody’s right (unless you’re a damn liberal).

  172. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Norman,

    Do a linear regression of the lower-48 temperature anomalies through time. I did. Want the figures since 1880? I’ve got ‘em for you.

    Note, also, that the lower 48 is 1.5% of the Earth’s surface. Not really completely representative.

  173. Completely Fed Up:

    Molnar is surprisingly unskeptical of skepticalscience. I don’t see any skeptical discussion of the model they’ve used and where it may be wrong and where they KNOW it’s wrong but don’t know which way nor how competing ideas are anulled.

    Not really skepticism.

    More like gullibility.

  174. Completely Fed Up:

    “You acknowledge that CO2 contributes to warming but maintain it is natural. Are you now willing to admit that burning fossil fuels does not add CO2 to the atmosphere?”

    Has ZT answered this point yet?

  175. Jiminmpls:

    #164 I didn’t say the 2009 brushfire in SE Australia was the worst ever. I said they had the hottest temps ever recorded. While “only” 200 people died in the brushfires, death rates in general soared and hundreds more (probably) died from the heat.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/statements/scs17d.pdf
    http://www.theage.com.au/national/death-toll-soared-during-victorias-heatwave-20090406-9ubd.html

  176. Barton Paul Levenson:

    SZ: Carbon dioxide contributes a small amount to the warming that began about 500 years ago when the climate began recovering from the Little Ice Age.

    BPL: The Little Ice Age lasted until 1850.

    SZ: Carbon dioxide contributes little to that trend.

    BPL: Look again:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

    SZ: Furthermore, carbon dioxide alone will contribute little to future warming.

    BPL: Look again:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/ClimateSensitivity.html

    SZ: Even the GCMs must invoke the spirit of positive feedback from water vapor and clouds to reach the heights of future temperatures that they predict. It seems to me that belief in those positive feedbacks is closely akin to a religious belief.

    BPL: Look again. The strongest feedback is from water vapor, and that has a clear physical theory behind it (the Clausius-Clapeyron Law) AND empirical verification:

    Brown, S., Desai, S., Keihm, S., and C. Ruf, 2007. “Ocean water vapor and cloud burden trends derived from the topex microwave radiometer.” Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Barcelona, Spain: IGARSS 2007, pp. 886-889.

    Dessler AE, Zhang Z, Yang P 2008. “Water-Vapor Climate Feedback Inferred from Climate Variations.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L20704.

    Held, I.M. and B. J. Soden, 2000. “Water vapor feedback and global warming.” Annu. Rev. Energy Environ., 25, 441–475.

    Minschwaner, K., and A. E. Dessler, 2004. “Water vapor feedback in the tropical upper troposphere: Model results and observations.” J. Climate, 17, 1272–1282.

    Oltmans, S.J. and D.J. Hoffman, “Increase in Lower-Stratospheric Water Vapor at Mid-Latitude Northern Hemisphere Site from 1981-1994,” Nature, 374 (1995): 146-149.

    Philipona, R., B. Dürr, A. Ohmura, and C. Ruckstuhl 2005. “Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe.” Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L19809.

    Santer, B. D, C. Mears, F. J. Wentz, K. E. Taylor, P. J. Gleckler, T. M. L. Wigley, T. P. Barnett, J. S. Boyle, W. Bruggemann, N. P. Gillett, S. A. Klein, G. A. Meehl, T. Nozawa, D. W. Pierce, P. A. Stott, W. M. Washington, M. F. Wehner, 2007. “Identification of human-induced changes in atmospheric moisture content.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 104, 15248-15253.

    Soden, B.J., D. L. Jackson, V. Ramaswamy, M. D. Schwarzkopf, and X. Huang, 2005. “The radiative signature of upper tropospheric moistening.” Science, 310, 841–844.
    http://www.gfy.ku.dk/~kaas/forc&feedb2008/Articles/Soden.pdf

  177. Barton Paul Levenson:

    J,

    1. Science doesn’t prove things, it can only disprove things. It is inductive, not deductive. It depends on evidence, not armchair logic.

    2. The scientists at RealClimate do not behave like bullies. The ones behaving like bullies are the denialists who have slandered scientists, sued them, harassed them, stolen from them, and recently (Limbaugh and Breitbart) called for them to be executed.

    All: I’m drawing up a list of incidents of intimidation of climate scientists by the denialists. I’m up to 20. If you know of any, and have a complete reference, please send me the details. When I have a respectably-put-together list I’ll post it on my web site.

  178. Jim Eager:

    Re J @167: “The majority don’t believe you and they don’t trust you.”

    And what “majority” would this be?

    “Public Opinion Stunner: WashPost-ABC Poll Finds Strong Support for Global Warming Reductions Despite Relentless Big Oil and Anti-Science Attacks

    Today’s new Washington Post-ABC News Poll demonstrates yet again that the American people want action to “regulate the release of greenhouse gases from sources like power plants, cars and factories in an effort to reduce global warming.” Respondents supported this statement by more than two to one (65 percent favor, 29 percent oppose). This poll was conducted December 10-13, at the height of the trumped up brouhaha over stolen emails from a British climate research institution. These findings are consistent with the Associated Press-Stanford University poll released on Tuesday.”

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/12/18/public-opinion-stunner-washpost-abc-poll-finds-strong-support-for-global-warming-reductions-despite-relentless-big-oil-and-anti-science-attacks/

  179. Alan of Oz:

    Tom @27, I have a degree in computer science and 20yrs commercial experience, as others have pointed out the code is available if you care to look. However OSS is not going to suddenly find some grave error that everyone has overlooked. The reason being that more than one code base is used to replicate the results, it’s like using many seperately written versions of grep and getting the same result with each.

    If it was a single monolithic block of code that all climate scientists relied on (like the operating system) then you might have a point but it’s not, it’s numerous independent source trees running on different O/S’s. I know of no better way to verify code, do you?

  180. tamino:

    Re: #164 (bananabender)

    According to Special Climate Statement 17 from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, it was in 2009 that:

    Many all-time site records were also set in Victoria on 7 February, including Melbourne (154 years of record), where the temperature reached 46.4°C, far exceeding it’s previous all-time record of 45.6°C set on Black Friday (13 January) 1939. It was also a full 3.2°C above the previous February record, set in 1983. Three of Melbourne’s five hottest days have now occurred during this event.

    Have you been bending more than bananas?

  181. Ray Ladbury:

    J@167,
    Oh, sweet baby Jeebus, another crybaby for anti-science! J, if you look at each individual exchange (with the newbies, not with the hard-core denialists), they start off quite civil. It is only when the poster starts repeating the same discredited denialist memes that they are dismissed as a troll.

    Perhaps you are new here. This website is here so people can learn about the SCIENCE. To the extent that people really are here to learn, they are welcome. Trolls are by definition ineducable and merely impede other peoples’ learning. That is why the reception they receive is less than cordial–well that and the fact that scientists don’t take kindly to gratuitous and unfounded accusations of fraud.

  182. Ray Ladbury:

    Sandra Kay,
    The adjustments, the code and most of the data are all available.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/wheres-the-data/

    [edit – please feel free to offer pointers without editorialising]

  183. Alan of Oz:

    bananabender @164: Sorry but it is you that is wrong not the person you replied to. First of all Black Friday (1939) killed 78 people compared to Black Saturday (2009) that killed 173. This is despite the fact we had bulldozers, airial water bombing, modern fire engines, satellite survailence, mains water, 100,000 fire-fighters and cars to flee the flames. None of which were available in 1939.

    Also the danger of bushfire weather can be quantified. The BOM uses a measure called the Forest Fire Index (FFI) to judge wether or not to declare a total fire ban. A FFI of 50 is extreme. Black Friday had an FFI=100, Ash Wednesday = 120, Black Saturday = 190. To paraphrase the Victorian fire-chief – “we don’t know what a FFI of 190 means, except to say it’s off the scale”.

    I drove thru kilmore on the night of the fire and I also witnessed Ash wednesday up close. Black Saturday had a smoke plume more 15km high it was more like Mt Pinabo than a forest fire. The radiant heat was leathal at 200 meters making the normal refuges of footy parks a death trap. What other bushfire have you encountered that burnt at 3000 deg C and melted the engine blocks of cars?

    I don’t know much of the top of my head about the 1852 fires you mention but I do know that 1852 was the start of the gold rush and Melbourne was little more than a shanty town carved out of the bush.

  184. Ray Ladbury:

    ZT says, “It is kind of a slippery slope though to saying ‘we’ll just not plot the diverging information – it will only confuse the masses’ or ‘we’ll coordinate our reviewing to prevent a confusing messages appearing’, or ‘we’ll never hand over our data’. (as in other messages).”

    Again, you slip so easily into accusations. You seem to think that standards for scientific truth should be different when it is telling us something we don’t want to hear. That’s a recipe for self-delusion–but then that seems to be your ultimate goal. I am sure that your progeny will see your actions in a much clearer light.

  185. Guy:

    Again, as I read this thread I see the “religious belief” fallacy invoked to taunt scientists and those who take notice to what they do. Does anyone have any idea of how to stop this particularly ludicrous accusation, that is little short of being an epidemic in public stupidity?

    What is especially telling about the taunt is that the reverse argument has a very strong case. As has been demonstrated time and again, contrarians / denialists have a faith-based position to begin with – “there is no such thing as AGW”, and their ground shifts from one fallacy to another to avoid dealing with the actual science. There is no logic in moving from “there is no warming” once that battle is lost, to “mankind is not responsible”, but that’s what consistently happened as arguments were lost. Now we’re back on “there is no warming” again, but in another couple of months when every inquiry reports that “climategate” does not change any of the data, the ground will shift again. Why? Because there is a faith-based position to begin with – “there is no AGW”.

    Science has no faith based positions. It gathers and examines data. It looks for flaws and makes adjustments, throwing out that which is found to be wrong. The process is obviously imperfect, but the contrast with the contrarians (not the incorrect label of skeptics, by the way) is stark.

  186. eric:

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts. For some reason I think almost everyone has been (mostly) civil on this post. Perhaps it’s the holiday season. With holidays in mind, comments are now ‘off’. –eric