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Unforced variations

Filed under: — group @ 20 December 2009

Open thread for various climate science-related discussions. Suggestions for potential future posts are welcome.

(Continued here).


1,159 Responses to “Unforced variations”

  1. 851
    tamino says:

    Re: #811 (Matthew)

    The paper by Stockwell and Cox is deeply flawed. The Chow test assumes that the random part of the time series is independent normally distributed noise. I’d guess that the normality assumption isn’t really that important, but the assumption of independence is crucial. Yet we know that the random part of global temperature data is not independent, it exhibits autocorrelation.

    For annual averages the autocorrelation isn’t much of a factor, so while the Chow test isn’t really justified rigorously, it could be a useful approximation. But the only way Stockwell & Cox get a change point around 1998 is by using monthly data, and the autocorrelation in monthly global temperature data is so strong as to utterly and completely invalidate their analysis.

    In my opinion this work by Stockwell & Cox isn’t just invalid, it’s really rather amateurish. Since they also throw in a couple of silly and irrelevant references to long-term persistence, I suspect they’re just part of the “let’s confuse the statistical analysis” crowd.

    Matthew, they suckered you good. As for your claim that I “used a statistical technique with very low power to detect a change,” you just made that up to throw some dirt on my analysis. Shame on you.

  2. 852
    Andrew Hobbs says:

    #808 Edward Greisch
    That all may be true but is entirely irrelevant. What I was pointing out was that if you use the Chernobyl accident in a discussion, at least use the correct facts.

    However with regard to the large scale use of nuclear power, then such accidents can and might happen. Even just counting the direct costs of such an accident, these could be quite high, and need to be factored into the costs of electricity generation, otherwise such power is being given a potentially huge subsidy.

    Plus the record of both private companies and public organizations in responding to disasters, taking responsibility, looking after the environment and their use of the legal system as a blunt instrument, hardly makes one enamoured by the prospect of a fleet of nuclear reactors.

  3. 853

    #831 Proper Gander

    here’s lots of secret hidden data and code:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

  4. 854
    Matthew says:

    835,Ray Ladbury: Sorry, Matthew, we can’t wait just because YOU don’t understand the evidence or science yet.

    You seem to have the religious person’s belief that understanding implies agreement; equivalently, non-agreement implies non-understanding.

    If it is true that we can not afford to wait, then we are really in trouble, because wait we shall. the BRIC developmental trajectories are certainly sustainable for some decades, and the governments intend to stay their present courses. It’s a shame that the multi-decadal time scale of peer review forces an uncomfortable patience on people who are absolutely convinced of the need to act now.

    843, Steve Fish: The Stockwell and Cox analysis might have been more convincing if they had also identified the rather obvious break and shift between about 1950 and 1975, for which there is a known cause. They should have first tested the technique by applying it, blind, to several randomly selected temperature series’ from the past in order to be convincing.

    I agree. One statistical study is just one statistical study.

    844, Spaceman Spiff: The 11-year sunspot cycle, with its variability and probable accompanying changes in total solar irradiance, is akin to short-term weather, as regards to the Sun. (I am an astronomer by profession.)

    That is not the only solar cycle. The upcoming cycle is predicted to have a lower peak than the now-ending cycle, based on analyses of the other cycles. We could perhaps discuss the limitations of the solar theories in detail some time. Gavin touched on some of them a few days ago: the correlations between solar activity and earth temperature change are mostly based on statistical summaries of solar activity that have been developed in the last 10 years, so they do not have a strong record of predictive testing and success. But they do make predictions, and if their predictions prove to be more accurate in the upcoming decades than the AGW predictions, then they’ll gain credibility. If the AGW predictions prove to be more accurate, then the AGW will gain credibility.

  5. 855
    Timothy Chase says:

    Walter Manny wrote in 769:

    I especially love the conspiracy bit, that denialism is somehow an industry, that anyone who does not buy the RC line in is some stooge in thrall to the oil-funded scientists sitting around our homes.

    In part, Daniel J. Andrews responded in 829:

    It isn’t a conspiracy. The links between global warming denial and industry are well documented just as they were for the tobacco and cancer denialism.

    Funding was given to think-tanks and politicians with the express purpose of making the public think there was some debate among those researching climate change (and among those researching tobacco and cancer). You and your friends may not be funded by oil, but pretty much every misconception you have can be traced back to think-tank distortions and lies.

    Some of the same people and think-tanks promoting confusion and denial about global warming were involved in promoting confusion and denial about smoking, as well as about asbestos, CFCs, and acid rain. Same playbook, same tactics, different cause.

    As Brown and Williams said in an internal document:

    Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.

    Smoking and Health Proposal (1969)
    http://tobaccodocuments.org/landman/332506.html

    For those who are interested, here is a list in alphabetical order of 32 organizations involved in both the denial campaign surrounding tobacco and that surrounding Anthropogenic Global Warming:

    1. Acton Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Acton_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=5

    2. American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/American_Legislative_Exchange_Council
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=10

    3. Alexis de Tocquerville Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Alexis_de_Tocqueville_Institution
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=89

    4. American Enterprise Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Enterprise_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=9

    5. Americans for Prosperity
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Americans_for_Prosperity

    6. Atlas Economic Research Foundation
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Atlas_Economic_Research_Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=17

    7. Burson-Marsteller (PR firm)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Burson-Marsteller

    8. Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Citizens_Against_Government_Waste

    9. Cato Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Cato_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=21

    10. Competitive Enterprise Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=CEI
    Competitive Enterprise Institute And Global Warming
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Competitive_Enterprise_Institute/Competitive_Enterprise_Institute_And_Global_Warming
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=2

    11. Consumer Alert
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Consumer_Alert
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=31

    12. DCI Group (PR firm)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=DCI_Group
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=143

    13. European Science and Environment Forum (defunct)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=European_Science_and_Environment_Forum

    14. Fraser Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fraser_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=107

    15. Frontiers of Freedom
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Frontiers_of_Freedom
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=35

    16. George C. Marshall Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=George_C._Marshall_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=36

    17. Harvard Center for Risk Analysis
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Harvard_Center_for_Risk_Analysis
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Harvard_Center_for_Risk_Analysis_and_Big_Tobacco
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=40

    18. Heartland Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heartland_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=41

    19. Heritage Foundation
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heritage_Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=42

    20. Independent Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=The_Independent_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=46

    21. International Center for a Scientific Ecology
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=International_Center_for_a_Scientific_Ecology

    22. International Policy Network
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=International_Policy_Network
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=108

    23. John Locke Foundation
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/John_Locke_Foundation

    24. Junk Science (Steven J. Milloy)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=JunkScience.com
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=95

    25. National Center for Public Policy Research
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=National_Center_for_Public_Policy_Research
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=59

    26. National Journalism Center
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=National_Journalism_Center
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=The_National_Journalism_Center_and_Philip_Morris

    27. National Legal Center for the Public Interest (NLCPI)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=National_Legal_Center_for_the_Public_Interest
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=57

    28. Pacific Research Institute
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Pacific_Research_Institute
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=61

    29. Reason Foundation
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Reason_Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=63

    30. Small Business Survival Committee
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Small_Business_Survival_Committee
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=98

    31. The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=The_Advancement_of_Sound_Science_Coalition
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=6

    32. Washington Legal Foundation
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Washington_Legal_Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=69

    Daniel suggests looking at the Exxon documents. I would also suggest looking at the documents at http://www.tobaccodocuments.org. In fact, when looking up the relationship between the denial campaigns surround tobacco, global warming, dioxin, ddt, asbestos, nuclear waste and acid rain, you might try the following Google searches — which for me a returned a count of results which I have placed in parantheses just after the search itself…

    site:http://tobaccodocuments.org “global warming” (194)
    site:http://tobaccodocuments.org dioxin (169)
    site:http://tobaccodocuments.org ddt (244)
    site:http://tobaccodocuments.org asbestos (1070)
    site:http://tobaccodocuments.org “nuclear waste” (90)
    site:http://tobaccodocuments.org “acid rain” (229)

    I personally found the following particularly illuminating. It is from a memo regarding the proposed foundation of an organization to defend the tobacco industry called TASSC – The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition. It seems that they thought that if TASSC was specifically devoted to just defending the tobacco industry and received all of its funding from Philip Morris they might be taken less seriously by the media. So to increase the sources of funding and make TASSC look more credible they started looking at other industries:

    As a starting point, we can identify key issues requiring sound scientific research and scientists that may have an interest in them. Some issues our European colleagues suggest include:

    * Global warming
    * Nuclear waste disposal
    * Diseases and pests in agricultural products for transborder trade
    * Biotechnology
    * Eco-labeling for EC products
    * Food processing and packaging

    pg 3 of Memorandum: Thoughts on Tassc Europe
    March 25, 1994
    To: Matt Winokur / From: Tom Hockaday, Neal Cohen
    http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2024233595-3602.html

    … and incidentally, they put “global warming” at the top of the list, not me.

    Finally, in terms of investing in capitol which can be used in a variety of campaigns, companies have found it useful to invest in libertarian organizations and the ideology — and have been doing so since the 1970s. It and certain far right religious organizations provide a large base of dedicated people with which to launch various industry funded “grassroots” campaigns (“astroturf”) when a body of facts uncovered by science threatens to bottom line. They found that if you really can’t argue the science and even doubt is proving to be problematic, try turning the issue into something political, religious or otherwise ideological and as best you can, avoid the science.

  6. 856
    Doug says:

    Just noticed this on the University of Waterloo website:

    Study shows CFCs, cosmic rays major culprits for global warming
    http://newsrelease.uwaterloo.ca/news.php?id=5152

    Are the claims made in the news release warranted? What about the paper?

  7. 857
    ZT says:

    Many thanks for the comments about water vapor.

    Any thoughts on the importance of painting all roofs white?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/13/AR2009061300866.html

    This article methods that painting all roofs white may be required, as:

    “We may have to figure out a way to artificially cool the planet while the atmosphere is still super-saturated with greenhouse gases,” said Mike Tidwell of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. This could be it, he said, “because the planet, it’s a closed system, it’s an absolutely closed system, except for one thing: sunlight.”

  8. 858
    Timothy Chase says:

    CORRECTION

    The last paragraph of my above comment should read:

    Finally, in terms of investing in capitol which can be used in a variety of campaigns, companies have found it useful to invest in libertarian organizations and the ideology — and have been doing so since the 1970s. It and certain far right religious organizations provide a large base of dedicated people with which to launch various industry funded “grassroots” campaigns (“astroturf”) when a body of facts uncovered by science threatens the bottom line. They found that if you really can’t argue the science and even doubt is proving to be problematic, it is best to try turning the issue into something political, religious or otherwise ideological and avoid the science.

    Sorry — I got a little rushed.

  9. 859
    Blair Dowden says:

    Re Timothy Chase in 841:OK, so I used the code word “alarmist”, and therefore got slotted into the “enemy” camp. My point is that making extraordinary statements without even ordinary evidence confirms the opinion of those who see climate scientists as alarmists. I could say the same thing about Al Gore predicting large sea level rise without giving the (long) time frame it would occur in. This kind of thing serves to rally the faithful and alienate those who are undecided. As does the hostile attitude of many here toward any kind of questioning of the science.

    I don’t really follow your sensitivity argument this time. As soon as open water is exposed evaporation begins, independent of what is happening with the remaining ice. This is the time of the highest climate sensitivity and greatest feedback. That is true even for the slushball earth model. The physical evidence for extreme climate conditions is the presence of the cap carbonates.

    Speaking of David Archer, I happen to be reading his book Global Warming, Understanding the Forecast right now. He shares the opinion that runaway greenhouse due to anthropogenic emissions is not possible. The case for reducing carbon emissions depends on more ordinary things such as impacts on agriculture.

  10. 860
    Ljubisa Cvetkovic says:

    Re 835: And the problem is that we may not have another two decades to waste reverifying known physics. If we trigger large natural sources of CO2 and CH4, we won’t have the option of reducing greenhouse emissions via our own activity.

    We do not need to reduce greenhouse emissions. You said that the aerosol emissions masked warming trend between 1944 and 1975. We simply emit more of those aerosols and the warming will be masked.

    Re 835: And your assumption that we can continue business as usual for a couple of more decades is simply not tenable. We don’t have enough natural gas to fuel growth in the BRIC countries, let along to fuel development if the rest of the third world reaches economic takeoff (as we hope they will). The global energy economy is simply not sustainable, even of anthropogenic CO2 were not an issue.

    So we invest more / subsidize solar/wind/nuclear and eventually (in some 30 years or so) they become cheaper and more widespread than coal/oil.

    Re 835: Sorry, Matthew, we can’t wait just because YOU don’t understand the evidence or science yet.

    I used to be a strong proponent of AGW theory until I decided to study it in detail. After reading TAR and AR4, many real climate threads, and so on, I must now say I am unconvinced. I don’t dismiss the theory as it may yet prove correct, but the evidence is not at all solid. There is only occasional correlation between CO2 and temperature trends and there are plenty of excuses and euphemisms (masked warming for cooling) when they don’t.

  11. 861
    Radge Havers says:

    simon abingdon @ 839

    At the moment I’m struggling with the bizarre notion that in climate-science-speak “warming” doesn’t only mean “increasing in temperature” but can also mean “cooling (decreasing in temperature) but not so rapidly as otherwise expected”. I find this usage altogether confusing.

    I don’t know if this will help, but temperature and heat are different things. Someone can correct me on this, but temperature is just a statistical measure of translational kinetic energy in a system at the molecular level. In discussions like this you can’t take even basic definitions for granted.

    I’ll go out on a limb and make an intuitive if inapt analogy: You could also picturize the fluctuations on a graph as rising and falling like the vibrations of a large misshapen bell that pulses when struck. In the case of the earth, energy is being pumped over time into an in-homogenous (rough) system that doesn’t respond with absolute smoothness.

    Anyone feel free to improve this if I’m embarrassing myself.

  12. 862
    EL says:

    (#417) Eric (Not RC)

    “I have concerns and can honestly say – at this stage I don’t know what to think about AGW or what I should support or reject with regards to action on it. Flame if you must. ”

    I think flaming is a waste of time, but I will give you an honest opinion. Before looking at any technical information, you should first observe the retreating of ice around the planet. You should look at the arctic, and you look at mountains around the world. Nations are actually building huge ships to sail over what use to be ice up north. Some fools will have you believe the earth is cooling when ice is melting all over the earth. If you take the time to observe the huge retreat in ice, you will spend less time reading nonsense.

    “Adjusting data is things Engineers do to try and make something workable. It is NOT science and definitely NOT mathematics.”

    Science is a slave to observation, and it will adjust whenever observation demands the change.

    Anne van der Bom
    “I think the first thing to consider is that mathematics is a different kind of science. It is purely abstract, whereas the other fields of science deal with the real world with all its complications and imperfections. Only in mathematics you can find 100% proof, but never in other fields like physics, medicine, astronomy or climate science.”

    The idea of certainty and 100% proof in mathematics is a myth. Mathematics is an uncertain science.

    (#518) – [Response: Even if they had (which they haven’t), the glaciers integrate over time (decades or longer). They are therefore reacting to the long term change in temperature and in many places have not come close to coming into equilibrium with current conditions. – gavin]

    The {2000, 2010} interval is meaningless and complete nonsense. I can change the interval by {1998, 2010} and I see a flat trend: http://woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1998/plot/wti/from:1998/trend

    Why? Because these short data sets are meaningless. In fact, I can even cherry pick and show a decline in such intervals:
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1997.9/plot/wti/from:1997.9/trend

    Punksta 10 year intervals on graphs mean nothing, and they are almost certainly corrupted even with the best of intentions. If you want to know why ice is melting, look at a large dataset. I hope I’ve illustrated the problems with these short data sets to every single person here.

    (607) – Bill Teufel

    “Is it possible to do any scientific experiements that are repeatable around the globe that proves man is responsible for the warming of the planet? WITHOUT using man-made computer models?
    I can program a computer to output whatever you want it to”

    Do you understand the difference between a computer model and a mathematical model? Computers have been used by mathematicians to discover counter examples in proofs that they thought were correct. Here is a nice lecture from John Von Neumann about computers (You know the very famous matheamticain): http://elm.eeng.dcu.ie/~alife/von-neumann-1954-NORD/

    The computers are used by scientist and mathematicians to perform operations much like a calculator. In fact, the models are really just acting as an over-glorified calculator.

    These are used for all kinds of engineering projects. When you ride in an airplane, you ride in a piece of technology created using computer models. They are also used to simulate nuclear technology. Anwyay, don’t mistake scientific computing with video games.

  13. 863
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Walter Manny, The problems with the observing system(s) are well known and can be treated. There has never been ANY analysis that demonstrated a systematic effect in the terrestrial PRODUCTS, which are corrected for the known problems Trenbreth mentions. And the satellite trends all agree quite well with the terrestrial products.

    Walter, you keep grasping at straws–looking for problems where no one has found them, despite looking very hard for them. So you are left quote mining emails taken out of context.

    Here’s a list of some of the successes of the consensus model:

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    At least half the achievements on Barton’s list constitute strong to very strong evidence favoring the model. Again, we have a successful scientific model. We can set policies accordingly or we can go 180 degrees against it–science or anti-science.

  14. 864
    Norman says:

    #858 Ljubisa Cvetkovic

    I feel much the same way as you do. From stong proponent and debating with people on the reality of AGW theory, to now questioning the theory.

    Like you, I do not dismiss the theory or go into “denial”, I am now in Observation mode and questioning.

    One question I have. Do any have valid evidence that the weather has become more extreme in the last couple of decades? So far my research has not indicated such. I believe there may be more large fires but this might be do to human interference by putting out small fires and leaving lots of fuel until a huge firestorm takes place.

    http://www.epicdisasters.com/index.php/site/comments/the_ten_strongest_hurricanes/

  15. 865
    Matthew says:

    850, tamino: As for your claim that I “used a statistical technique with very low power to detect a change,” you just made that up to throw some dirt on my analysis

    I think you are wrong about that. “Breakpoint” problems arise in lots of contexts (e.g. instrument calibration), and methods like you used have little power to detect the breakpoints. Your criticism of the Chow test is something I accept: the question is, Since all mathematics is at best an approximation to that which is modeled, is their approximation close enough? You lose degrees of freedom for the autocorrelated residuals, but the loss isn’t catastrophic.

  16. 866
    Hank Roberts says:

    > methods that painting all roofs white may be required
    No, it doesn’t. You were expecting black helicopters spraying white paint? Surely they’d be using the shiny white or silvery helicopters for that? Well, maybe they’re only white on the upper side (sigh).

    Point is it costs nothing extra to use a white (or infrared-reflecting, no matter what the visible color is) material _next_time_you_reroof_. Roofs get replaced every ten to thirty years. The idea is to incorporate material that reflects in the infrared. Look up “cool paint” — it’s also being promoted for automobiles, so they won’t be so hot after sitting in the sun.

    Not immediately, not coerced, because _that_ would be a hugely inefficient approach.

  17. 867
  18. 868
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Simon Abingdon, OK. I realize you are British, but surely you’ve seen the sun before. Mr. Sun is continually puting energy into the climate system (meaning over the entire Earth surface). If energy were not leaving the system, then that energy would have to warm the climate, no?

    OK.
    1)Start at time t=0 with the climate at equilibrium (constant temperature, Energy_in=Energy_out). With me?

    2)Now, at some time later than zero, we notice that the temperature is increasing. OK?

    3)This implies that either Energy_in must now be greater than Energy_out, no?

    4)This can happen if either Energy_in increases or ir Energy_out decreases (or both, or some combination…), right?

    OK, so what do greenhouse gasses do? They decrease Energy_out. Unless Energy_in were to magically decrease at the same time, that ought to cause warming. Got it?

  19. 869
    Ljubisa Cvetkovic says:

    I found that total emissions of CO2 in 2006 were 1.5% of the total content of CO2 in the atmosphere. If that level of increase remained the same (1.5% of the previous level), we would get to doubling in 48 years. That’s 2045. By then, solar and wind (and other alternatives) will already dominate our economy. So, we’re in no danger of runaway warming. Am I right with this simple analysis?

    The forcing comes from increasing the CO2 content, not from the content itself (do I understand this correctly?). But at some time in the future (my guess is around 2035, 2045 latest) we will reverse this trend and emissions will fall so low that the CO2 content will start to decrease. Are we going to experience cooling then (maybe delayed, but still cooling)?

  20. 870
    Doug Bostrom says:

    simon abingdon says: 26 December 2009 at 6:09 PM

    “At the moment I’m struggling with the bizarre notion that in climate-science-speak “warming” doesn’t only mean “increasing in temperature” but can also mean “cooling (decreasing in temperature) but not so rapidly as otherwise expected”. I find this usage altogether confusing.”

    It’s not the usage that’s confusing you, it’s your lack of understanding.

    Most of your perplexity is down to your failure to do enough work to understand that the total thermal energy retained on the planet can increase even as the relatively small available mass of air and water exposed to our sensors responds to “noise”.

    If you insert a thermometer with sufficiently undamped response into a beaker of water along with a resistor dissipating a constant amount of energy into that water, you’ll see the temperature at the thermometer go upward on a long timeline even as it shows upward and -downward- variations in temperature on a short timeline. The total energy in the beaker is steadily increasing, the whole time. The seemingly aberrant behavior of the thermometer is misleading even as it is easily explained if you take a moment to think about the imperfect distribution of energy in the beaker.

    The Earth is larger than a beaker, and the thermal transport mechanisms are more complicated.

    See, that was not so hard, was it?

  21. 871
    Steve Fish says:

    Comment by ZT — 26 December 2009 @ 8:53 PM:

    The topic of white roofs was brought up and discussed extensively in another thread some time ago. The upshot was that if you can do this inexpensively enough with a product that is maintainable, it would help keep your house cool and reduce your cooling costs in the summer. The problem, with regard to global warming, is that the area of all the roofed structures on the earth is so miniscule, relative to the total surface area of the earth, that the effect of coating roofs to be reflective would be undetectable. It might seem to be a good idea, but….

    Steve

  22. 872
    Gerald Jones says:

    One of the most persistent arguments the deniers use is that you guys are making BILLIONS off of the “scam”.

    I have debated that grant money is hard to get, it is required to be accounted for to the grantors, that scientist contractors must pay for help and equipment out of those funds, and that I have seen no global warming scientist millionaires. When they ask for proof, I really don’t have any.

    I looked at Motl’s site where he “exposes” the amount of money scientists (esp. Phil Jones) have been awarded and they don’t seem unreasonable, but how do I know? Motl’s figures show 13,718,547 pounds awarded to 24 scientists over 20 years covering concurrently running studies and contracts covering 100 years of research (between 1990 and 2010). Just a straight and simple division with these figures gives each scientist 28,580 pounds a year, or roughly $50,000 per annum.

    So, how many of you are millionaires? Am I right about the contracting part, paying for assistants and gear?Short of publishing everyone’s tax returns, how do we counter this attack?

  23. 873
    Brian Dodge says:

    “Lu said. ‘Instead, the observed data show that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays most likely caused both the Antarctic ozone hole…'”
    xtophr — 22 December 2009 @ 2:28 PM
    “There is only occasional correlation between CO2 and temperature trends and there are plenty of excuses and euphemisms (masked warming for cooling) when they don’t.” Ljubisa Cvetkovic — 26 December 2009 @

    Check http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/o3vsgcr-CVF6u.jpg and tell me what correlations you see.

    “There is this notion that anything which can’t be numerically worked out on a cocktail napkin by the average halfway intelligent engineer is suspect as being ‘too complicated’…” Spaceman Spiff — 24 December 2009 @ 3:35 PM
    How about by a college dropout with Appleworks? Too elitist?

  24. 874
    Timothy Chase says:

    Blair Dowden wrote in 857:

    Re Timothy Chase in 841:OK, so I used the code word “alarmist”, and therefore got slotted into the “enemy” camp.

    I am not saying that slotting you into the “denialist” camp was the right thing to do, only that it was understandable — particularly given how common the use of the word “alarmist” is among the industry-funded and the ideologically-motivated.

    Personally I have some experience that goes beyond that of caerbannog — frankly I enjoyed having you participate in the conversation regarding absorption and emission by greenhouse gases a couple of years ago. You contributed a fair amount — once you no longer seemed to view yourself in relation to the rest of the Real Climate crowd as some kind of opponent. However, you do seem to reserve your criticism for those who regard climate change as a serious threat to humanity. You did then. You do now.
    *
    Blair Dowden continued in 857:

    My point is that making extraordinary statements without even ordinary evidence confirms the opinion of those who see climate scientists as alarmists.

    Perhaps. Then again there are many who claim that the greenhouse effect is a crock that rests only upon correlation rather than well-established physical principles grounded in absorption spectra and more deeply the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics. No doubt some are turned off when they hear that someone is foolish enough to believe in the greenhouse effect where the belief is no doubt due to mere correlation and the rate of increase in carbon dioxide over the past decade hasn’t been followed by a corresponding increase in temperature, or when what is even worse, carbon dioxide always follows temperature — even though it does not.
    *
    Blair Dowden continued in 857:

    I could say the same thing about Al Gore predicting large sea level rise without giving the (long) time frame it would occur in.

    And if the time frame isn’t known should he still give it? Does it matter that much if countless generations are going to have to live with it? And which is really worse water levels that rise only for a century or two, or water levels that continue to rise for a thousand or tens of thousands of years when this means that we will have to abandon or uproot our coastal cities again and again rather than move them only once? When for every meter that the sea level rises one percent of the world’s population is displaced simply by the rise in that level?
    *
    Blair Dowden continued in 857:

    This kind of thing serves to rally the faithful and alienate those who are undecided.

    There is the possibility of complementary schismogenesis — and the rhetoric which helps generate it. Not to mention the disinformation. Have you spoken with Exxon about any of this? The Scaifes, Bradleys, Kochs and Coors?
    *
    Blair Dowden continued in 857:

    As does the hostile attitude of many here toward any kind of questioning of the science.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t mind questions regarding the science so much as questioning the science when this devolves into a convicted, feigned or real, that mainstream science is wrong and the people and the Competitive Enterprise Institute are in possession of the truth — or that “skeptic organizations” are the equivilent of science organizations, or that it doesn’t matter whether an article is printed in a peer reviewed journal of science rather than as an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
    *
    Blair Dowden continued in 857:

    I don’t really follow your sensitivity argument this time.

    Well it is only a rough approximation. However, the idea is essentially this…

    What temperature is ice that is only partly melted, that is, where it is still slush? The answer is 0°C. What about a glass of ice water? Roughly the same. In fact, even in the Arctic during the great melts of the past few years I don’t believe I have heard of the temperature getting as high as 10°C. 5°C? — yes, I have heard of that, but not 10°C. While there is still ice the heat tends to go into melting the ice. Unless it is isolated. In fact, some have suggested that as the volume of ice in the Arctic has continued to drop the past few years (not area or extent — as both have “recovered” to some extent over the past couple of years) this is where much of the heat has gone — the heat of fusion — rather than into warming the lower latitudes. Personally I don’t know enough to say.

    But it takes 80 calories to melt a gram of ice that has just reached the temperature we call “the melting point.” And of course, while water is at zero degrees Celsius there won’t be much evaporation. And in fact the rate of sublimation/evaporation increases by roughly 8% for every degree Celsius above -40°C — or equivilently roughly doubles for every 10°C. For a while at least. So not a great deal of evaporation until the ice has melted. And roughly the same rule applies to the partial pressure of water vapor. But while the ice is melting there will be water at the temperature at which it is the most effective at absorbing carbon dioxide.
    *
    Blair Dowden continued in 857:

    As soon as open water is exposed evaporation begins, independent of what is happening with the remaining ice. This is the time of the highest climate sensitivity and greatest feedback.

    Due to albedo, perhaps. Not due to water vapor. Water isn’t especially good at evaporating when it is cold.

    Blair Dowden continued in 857:

    That is true even for the slushball earth model.

    Not if it didn’t require as high a level of atmospheric carbon dioxide in order to melt it.

    Blair Dowden continued in 857:

    The physical evidence for extreme climate conditions is the presence of the cap carbonates.

    Perhaps you can acquaint me with a reference next time. Or even a bit of context might do rather nicely.
    *
    Blair Dowden continued in 857:

    Speaking of David Archer, I happen to be reading his book Global Warming, Understanding the Forecast right now. He shares the opinion that runaway greenhouse due to anthropogenic emissions is not possible. The case for reducing carbon emissions depends on more ordinary things such as impacts on agriculture.

    I am of much the same opinion, although I also tend to think about such things as methane hydrates, permafrost, eutrophic/anoxic oceans and anaerobic bacteria that emit hydrogen sulfide. But to each his own.

    As far as I can tell Hansen is being honest and speaking out when most find it more convenient to take a much lower profile. Indeed, it isn’t just convenience but physical safety. There were death threats when he went to Texas the last time. Just out of curiousity, who do you think might be to blame for this? Something to think about.

  25. 875
    Timothy Chase says:

    CORRECTION to the above…

    In the following paragraph “convicted” should have been either “conviction” — although I was toying with “convinced” for a few moments while writing the first sentence.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t mind questions regarding the science so much as questioning the science when this devolves into a conviction, feigned or real, that mainstream science is wrong and the people and the Competitive Enterprise Institute are in possession of the truth — or that “skeptic organizations” are the equivilent of science organizations, or that it doesn’t matter whether an article is printed in a peer reviewed journal of science rather than as an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

    My apologies — the trains of thought suffered a head-on collision.

  26. 876
    Ron Broberg says:

    @Proper Gander#831: How can I respond to the people who criticize AGW on the grounds that data and software code are not public?

    GISTEMP code recompiled and run on Ubuntu x86 Linux
    http://www.rhinohide.cx/co2/gistemp/

  27. 877
    Ron Broberg says:

    @John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    My hat is off to you.

  28. 878
    dhogaza says:

    We do not need to reduce greenhouse emissions. You said that the aerosol emissions masked warming trend between 1944 and 1975. We simply emit more of those aerosols and the warming will be masked.

    And, of course, the harmful effects of those aerosols which led to us getting rid of them will magically disappear.

    They won’t cause smog or acid rain today even though they did back then, because … because …

    Umm, why? Damn I’m too stupid to figure it out.

  29. 879
    Ron R. says:

    Timothy Chase #853: Good work!

  30. 880

    #857 ZT

    I painted the roof of my Thule rack and the hood and trunk of my car white. I’m so darn happy that in summer, when I get into my car after it’s sitting in the sun that it is not an oven, even to the point that I can’t touch the steering wheel. I don’t feel like I have to turn on the air conditioner at least

    Painting surfaces white cuts down on energy needed to cool on hot days. it also increases albedo. Personally, I’m glad I have a cooler car.

    I don’t know realistically what the quantitatives are for painting every roof white on energy in/savings, v. albedo, but it’s a lot cooler.

  31. 881

    #877 Ron Broberg

    On the off chance that I did something right somewhere, thank you :)

  32. 882
    Lawrence McLean says:

    simon abingdon:

    Within the Troposphere, temperature decreases with altitude (ever noticed snow capped mountains?) How do you explain that with your view?

  33. 883
    Edward Greisch says:

    852 Andrew Hobbs: “then such accidents can and might happen” is WRONG.
    Chernobyl was and is a primitive Generation Zero reactor without a proper western style containment building. American reactors all have containment buildings that are pressure vessels. [The old Soviet Union has another 136 Chernobyl type reactors. It could happen ONLY in Soviet and Russian built reactors.]

    I have stated elsewhere why reactors canNOT become nuclear bombs. Read it.
    Generation 4 reactors canNOT even melt down NO MATTER WHAT the operator does.
    “then such accidents can and might happen” is NONSENSE and propaganda.

    American and western nuclear power has killed ZERO people. American nuclear reactors are perfectly safe. News media hype is nonsense.

    If you want reactor safety, replace all Soviet and Russian reactors with Generation 4 American reactors.

    By the way, coal fired power plants put uranium into the air. In fact, coal fired power plants put out 100 to 400 times the legal limit of radiation for nuclear power plants. That is still only 10% to 40% of the average natural background radiation.

  34. 884
    Ron R. says:

    I just read about yet another televison program, this one with WWF wrestler Jesse Ventura “exposing” the climate change “conspiracy”. Up till now I kind of respected JV. I guess he’s has to make a living some way though.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/dec/21/climate-scepticism-jesse-ventura

    I just wonder, have there been any television programs exposing the professional deniers? That, rather than the skeptics strategy of innuendo based on nothing more than made-up fantasy can show the wealth of actual documents proving that these cretins are taking money, and a lot of it from industry to deny climate change? If not there sure ought to be. And advertise it far and wide. Time to hit back.

    Why are these guys getting a free ride to slander and smear?

  35. 885
    Ron R. says:

    People should not continue to rely on the fact that info on the professional liars-4-hire is available on the internet. I doubt it if even 1% of interested individuals even know about sites like the heat is online or sourcewatch or climate blogs. Put it on television like the skeptics do. They know the audience they are playing to.

  36. 886
    Lawrence McLean says:

    simon abingdon:

    Another question I would like you answer:
    The night time temperature on Venus is ~730K, the day time temperature of Mercury is ~630 K, the solar flux at Venus is ~20% of what it is at Mercury. What is your explanation of those numbers?

  37. 887
    Edward Greisch says:

    869 Ljubisa Cvetkovic: NO. “The forcing comes from increasing the CO2 content, not from the content itself” is exactly backwards. It is the content total, NOT the rate of change. The content total also includes the results of tipping points that we have crossed, such as lack of polar ice to reflect sunlight and the addition of methane by the melting Arctic ocean clathrates and the melting tundra peat bogs. If we ceased making CO2 entirely right now, we would STILL be in deep trouble because there is so much warming “in the pipeline”. “In the pipeline” means that it takes the planet a long time to adjust to what we have done already. The 1.4 degrees F warming that we have already made is sure to double even if humans suddenly disappeared right now. I expect that a lot of other people have already told you this. We are in deep trouble.

  38. 888
    Molnar says:

    Doug:

    From the article:

    “Most remarkably, the total amount of CFCs, ozone-depleting molecules that are well-known greenhouse gases, has decreased around 2000,” Lu said. “Correspondingly, the global surface temperature has also dropped. In striking contrast, the CO2 level has kept rising since 1850 and now is at its largest growth rate.”

    Anybody who thinks that the world has actually cooled in the last decade is not qualified to comment on global warming, much less to write papers on it…

  39. 889
    BFJ says:

    The Inner Workings of the IPCC

    That this major player in the AGW discussion has a fundamental political motive is obvious; it is after all part of the UN.

    This is something that needs to be constantly monitored and discussed, so as to give perspective to what is being presented as science. To suppress or ignore discussion of how science may have been affected by politics, is anti-science, which I would hope RC is firmly opposed to.

  40. 890
    Edward Greisch says:

    779 Jaime Frontero: We already HAVE one 4th generation reactor in operation. It is NOT future technology or theory. It is available NOW.

  41. 891
    Edward Greisch says:

    A topic for Real Climate: What do we mean by “severe consequences” of global warming? I think the problem is lack of imagination and the expectation that RC is hyping. I have noticed that a lot of people think that BAU [Business As Usual] or nearly so is going to continue. BAU will end soon in one of 3 ways:

    Way 1: We take strong action on global warming. We are already suffering some agricultural problems due to GW, so this best course is not all good. The stronger the action we take now, the less bad the situation gets.

    Way 2: BAU continues until civilization collapses. Could we get Jared Diamond and Brian Fagan to write some articles on this? Modern examples of the situation: The genocides in such places as Rwanda, …… Well, I don’t want to mention the holocaust. Think the situation isn’t serious? Previous genocides didn’t lead to the extinction of Homo Sap. GW certainly could. Think we are having hard times now, or were hard in the Great Depression? Wrong. We are having good times now. Almost all of us survived the Great Depression Grocery stores still have groceries. Your neighbors aren’t hunting you for dinner. Almost 7 Billion people are alive now. Way 2 entails major die-offs, as in 6 billion or more people dead in a year or so. If we don’t go extinct, we will return to the stone age.

    Way 3: We average 1 & 2: Only 3 or 4 billion people die of starvation more or less all at once. Civilization survives in some form somewhere.

  42. 892
    simon abingdon says:

    #868 Ray

    OK.

    1)Start at time t=0 with the climate at equilibrium (constant temperature, Energy_in=Energy_out). With me?

    Yes, t=0

    2)Now, at some time later than zero, we notice that the temperature is increasing OK?

    Yes. It’s obviously daytime. Temperatures decrease at night.

    3)This implies that either Energy_in must now be greater than Energy_out, no?

    Yes of course. The sun’s shining.

    4)This can happen if either Energy_in increases or Energy_out decreases (or both, or some combination…), right.

    Now you’re confusing the issue. Temperature can’t increase at night no matter how much you decrease Energy-out.

    OK?

    [Response: Ok. You win the prize for uneducatability. Everyone else – this conversation is now OT. – gavin]

  43. 893
    Dr. Paul Harris says:

    This is the keyboard using improved version of what I intended to say, please delete my first, and inaccurate, version. I put it into speechmarks.

    “Hey, why do you bother with this blog when everyone knows that AGW is a conspiracy organised by anti-market commies and/or grant seeking ’scientists’ and/or tree huggers? Or,if global warming is real: it is the result of solar activity and/or of cosmic waves and/or of the cycles of the moon and/or of volcanic ash and/or of more or less of whatever. It is little or nothing to do with factories, coal mines, oil wells, cows, deforestisation, cement making and the rest.

    To tranlate into English,from the perspective of a non-physical scientist.

    Hey, you people, great blog site and so helpful to us who want to comprehend the science of AGM but who are non-scientists. You do a marvellous job in doing that. You also do a wonderfully democratic and liberal(those are both positives for me) site in that it is full of debate. Though my own debate perspective is not about the reality of AGW or not,but about whether and how we can save the world for my and your grandkids.

    Kia Kaha,

    Dr. Paul Harris

  44. 894
    Josh Cryer says:

    Ron Broberg, you rock!

  45. 895

    #848 Hank
    Thicker than a plank…. Of ice…. Millions of square kilometers in size.
    Contrarians suffer from myopia, in addition, they certainly don’t understand sea ice as total integrated weather, an expression of climate.

    Let me help the poor climate illiterates who believe in a temperature “pause” or even worse “cooling” since 1998.

    Does this look like cooling???

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_365b.rnl.html

    Indeed more heat at the North Pole translates into thinner ice,
    more fluid without the ability to consolidate, therefore vulnerable
    to transpolar gyre flushing….

    I have never seen sea ice like this:

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/satellite/hrpt_dfo_ir_100.jpg

    Last year was bad, this year worse, numerous small leads are much more visible everywhere. In effect signs of thinnest and fluidity, especially North of the Canadian Archipelago, but these micro leads use to be confined to North of Greenland, now they are everywhere.

    Its bad enough to contemplate the end of permanent sea ice, without having some yoyo hack claiming that it has been cooling! Shame on these contrarians! They have the right to make fools of themselves, but at the expense of slowing us down in an effort to mitigate this heat, they are unforgivably ignorant.

  46. 896

    Greg Goodknight: Correlation is not the same as causality.

    BPL: Duh. You said 2/3 of the present global warming was due to natural causes. If you weren’t talking about variance accounted for, what were you talking about? Your gut? Your scientific intuition? How about actually checking the evidence?

    Your suggestion of running the correlation for 500 million years is absurd because

    1) We don’t have time series data that well resolved for that long

    2) Other things affect climate besides CO2, and many of those things varied wildly over that time scale. No climate scientist EVER said CO2 was the only thing that affected climate, but it IS the only thing driving the present global warming, since all the other known causes (sunlight, cloud cover, GCRs, albedo, etc.) are not varying enough to cause a good portion of the EXPLAINED VARIANCE.

    Crack a book and study a little about data analysis the next time you pretend to be a scientist.

  47. 897

    Spiff,

    I’ll bet you anything simon abingdon doesn’t believe in back-radiation from the atmosphere. I’ve seen this kind of argument on other blogs. I’m waiting for him to say it violates the second law of thermodynamics for clouds to warm the ground.

  48. 898

    Matthew: what is the explanation for the lack of warming of the last 10 years or so

    BPL: That it exists only in the minds of denialists. Read and learn:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Ball.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Reber.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/VV.html

  49. 899

    EG:
    * Annex A: Dose assessment methodologies (63 pages)
    * Annex B: Exposures from natural radiation sources (74 pages)
    * Annex C: Exposures from man-made sources of radiation (134 pages)
    * Annex D: Medical radiation exposures (203 pages)
    * Annex E: Occupational radiation exposures (158 pages)

    How do you know those cancers were caused by Chernobyl?

    BPL: Because Chernobyl was the only thing that CHANGED THE LEVEL OF EXPOSURE. The others were the same after it as before.

    Duh.

  50. 900

    WM: You make it sound as though CO2 and global temperature were walking hand in hand down some Yellow Brick Graph.

    BPL: Here’s the graph:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html


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