Unforced variations

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

(Continued here).

1,159 comments on this post.
  1. Richard Ordway:

    Ooops… scientists getting hit…a new Washington Post-ABC News poll after “climategate.” Scientists “significantly” losing credibility with the public:

    “Scientists themselves also come in for more negative assessments in the poll, with four in 10 Americans now saying that they place little or no trust in what scientists have to say about the environment. That’s up significantly in recent years. About 58 percent of Republicans now put little or no faith in scientists on the subject, double the number saying so in April 2007. Over this time frame, distrust among independents bumped up from 24 to 40 percent, while Democrats changed only marginally. Among seniors, the number of skeptics more than doubled, to 51 percent.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/18/AR2009121800002.html

  2. Mark Schaffer:

    Most of this hit is due to the superficial, at best, coverage given to the non issues of email releases, etc. Without the continuous feed of misinformation from ideological driven anti science people we could get on with addressing the serious ramifications of AGW.

  3. Alexander Ač:

    Hello RC,

    I would like to welcome post on interaction of peak oil and carbon emissions.

    Some people suggest that peak oil might reduce total emissions, but others say, peak oil might even increase emissions – through implementing nonconventional reserves and coal-to-liquids etc…

    Also, there is a strong indication that we are already past the peak oil. As we have seen, high oil prices helped to destroy financial system and the global economomy, and it might be worse (or beter?) in the future. Anything on this topic from climate scientists is highly desirable :-)

    best,

    P.S. Ramanathan says we are committed to 2,4°C no matter what wee do (due to dimming aerosol effects) – was this exact number discussed here? (I guess yes!)

  4. Think:

    Richard Ordway: This is not related to climate science but rather to the perception war by the denialists and those who fund them.

    Read “Doubt is their product” by David Michaels,
    http://www.amazon.com/Doubt-Their-Product-Industrys-Threatens/dp/019530067X
    Limited preview of “Doubt is their product”

    There is a big business in creating doubt in science so that the public is influenced to a harmful direction. The tobacco industry did it, chemical companies did it, and now it is the big oil companies.

    The sad thing is that some of those denialists are not aware they are being taken for a ride.

  5. John P:

    The earth’s ecosystem and the laws of physics do not care what the Washington Post thinks. The enlightenment still means something in Europe. Here in the USA (I’m in Chicago), what we have is more like what I call the benightenment. It’s a sad day for America when so many do not “believe” in evolution or AGW.

  6. matt:

    #1
    Postings like this are the signs of the failure of the denier crowd. The fact that you can only point to polls and opinions (which we both agree should not affect science). Considering that even a brilliant illegal poach of some 60mb of confidential and personal communication…yielded no conspiracy and no evidence of data manipulation. I should think with all of the gigabytes of published data, codes, reports and illegally obtained communication there would at least be a few crumbs for the deniers…but no.

    It must be very frustrating to hold an opinion based on feelings. I’m sorry you feel that the climate scientists are wrong. But we can’t run this planet on feelings.

  7. Bob:

    Any loss in the credibility of scientists, at the hands of ignorant politically motivated pundits, is a huge loss and liability for America as a whole. Huge segments of our lives and livelihood are based on science. A world where people only accept what they want to hear, and dismiss those who are better trained, educated and able to get to the truth of matters is not going to do anyone any good, be it on issues of climate change, pollution, health and medicine, or anything else. This is probably the second great casualty of the Climate Wars, the fact that the ignorant have learned how to wield their ignorance as a powerful weapon, to the extent that trust in the educated and informed has been dangerously eroded at a time in our civilization when we can least afford it.

  8. Martin Vermeer:

    Yep, the gloves are off.

    Bringing up my old idea for a ‘climatology legal defense fund’. The way libel-actionable content is plastered all over the Internet today, I would expect this to be a self-financing operation…

  9. Robert Shomoh:

    It seems to me that the republicans and others were just looking for a reason to go back to business as usual.

  10. Lance Olsen:

    I take it as fact that 1) public opinion can be volatile and that 2) volatility can be a two-edged sword. A recent case in point was demonstrated when Business Week could quote an auto company exec exclaiming that the Ameerican public’s retreat from gas-guzzlers was surprisinngly rapid once gasoline cost rose to $4 a gallon, and by subsequent reports that gas-guzzlers were selling fairly well once gas prices sunk to about $2 a gallon. None of which means that public perception of science and scientist will be reversed soon. But I think that all of science can take some encouragement from an anticipation that public opinion about deniers and skeptics is no less volatile than any other sudden, swarm-like shift of mass opinion.

  11. John Atkeison:

    Here is something I would like to see y’all discuss:

    Has the onset of climate changes and their symptoms been accelerating beyond expectations? (Seems that way to me.)

    Was this unexpected?

    If the acceleration is real and it was not uniformly unexpected, why was there not more outcry by the human beings who are scientists in the relevant fields?

  12. REL:

    I would love to have your response to a YouTube video that is making the rounds, “The Hockey Stick vs. Ice Core Data”. The graphs are obviously dubious in their “correlation” but it would be great to have more specific comments from someone who knows the science.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFbUVBYIPlI

    It is exactly these types of things that help the public feel comforted in their dismissal of climate science.

  13. Jonathan:

    There’s a push to grow tree’s to offset emissions, rather than simply lowering said emissions. Could someone tell me if my thinking is correct when I conclude that an area the size of the USA would be needed to be reafforested every year to offset annual CO2 emissions from burning fossile fuels. From what I can gather the annual CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are 28 billion tonnes, and forests capture 25 tonnes of CO2/ha/year. ie about 1 billion ha required.

    My conclusion- an unfeasible solution to rising CO2 levels and one destined to affect lands that would be suitable for reafforestation, chiefly agricultural.

  14. Sufferin' Succotash:

    As a scientific semi-literate but also as a political semi-professional, I’ve been trying to follow Climategate while simultaneously reading Mark Brown’s Science in Democracy (just published by MIT Press) which deals precisely with some of the science-and-society issues raised by Climategate.
    And I’m wondering if there’s some very dumbed-down but nonetheless scientifically valid way of presenting the methods by which climate change data is collected and produced. I realize this may seem like squaring the circle (or maybe passing a camel through the eye of a needle), but this is one of those situations where esoteric methods, if they remain esoteric, can become a major political liability.

  15. Tony Clifford-Winters:

    There are two technical aspects of climate change that, as far as my research can tell, are not covered well in the scientific literature and these are the latency between CO2 emissions release and, to a lesser extent, the rate of release of methane from permafrost. I know that work is being done on the latter but I have not, so far, found any projections on permafrost melt and concomitant methane release. But on the first issue, of CO2/temperature latency, I can find little. Any comments please.

    TCW

  16. Jaime Frontero:

    “Suggestions for potential future posts…”

    I’d like to have you deal with the nuclear power issue, as relates (especially) to its contribution to climate change, potential to come online quickly, and its security issues. Oh – and the likelihood of a solid and continuing fuel supply…

    Personally, I don’t see it. Not that I’m adamantly opposed.

    But my understanding is it takes 10-20 years to bring a new nuclear plant online (*one!*), it can’t (won’t) be insured unless the government underwrites the whole package, and that – aside from various potential nefarious uses for the fuel and waste products – peak oil’s got nothing on ‘peak uranium’.

    On the other hand, solar power produces power right now, and from the first panel installed in any location, it does considerably less damage to the environment (even aside from warming gasses), it has no appreciable waste products, and is politically and strategically benign.

    I have a tremendous respect for Jim Hansen… but his focus on nuclear power is something I don’t get.

    I’d like to see RC do a thorough examination of nuclear vs. solar.

  17. greywolf:

    It is regaining that trust that is paramount (the trust in science and its integrity). I wish all folk involved in research could just be like the average Joe, but that isn’t possible, especially now. Transparency, complete contemporary updates, sharing (I note a recent post concerning a scientist unwilling to share an algorithm, which, although perhaps a technically unimportant point, was, in fact, at the heart of this entire recent debacle…that pettiness has no place any more in the process)and ultimately successful public dissemination are critical. Americans in particular are science-deficient, and it will only get worse if scientists themselves participate in gamesmanship and unguarded sniping, even in their private e-mails. We all need to vent, but do it in person, or over the phone, perhaps. The unscrupulous part of the skeptic camp has decided on an all out, unethical war on science. It has potent spokespersons in such personalities as the late Michael Crichton, George Will, and the weepy but effective Glenn Beck. Even Aw Shucks Six-Pack Sarah Palin weighs in as though she had some valid contribution to make. And we must remember this: CNN promptly gives her a prominent quote. Think about that.

  18. José M. Sousa:

    One interesting subject is to talk more about the future of climate change rather than the past, to feature the consequences of different temperature increase. What would be the consequences of 2, 3, 6ºC to living beings in this planet.

  19. Luc Binette:

    From the outside, it is obvious to me that information system in the US is manipulative and ideological, with the exception maybe of Public channels and Democracy Now (internet). These meadia are so arrogant that they apparently cannot conceive that, in this regard, various other countries are much ahead because their news are based on facts and Science. I listened this morning to the German TV news (ARD channel) over internet. The Director of the Potsdam climatology reaserch center was interviewed at length in this news broacast (a full third of the journalistic report on Copenhaguen). He said that the science was vindicated in Copenhaguen, but the politicians of the greatest poluters (US, China) were the cause of the conference failure to come up with real targets. You may wish to consider that America too has really great scientists in the field of climatology, like James Hansen and many others, but they are not given a chance to be heard properly. Why is that? Why are the East Anglia UK scientists be the only ones that interest the US media for the last 7 weeks? Interesting, Dr Hansen was not mentioned once in the East Anglia email leak. Because of this, I would have expected that he would benefit from a renewed attention by the US media. But no! His research group benefits from an independent data set, distinct from the Brithish data set, and with a more complete temperature record of the polar regions. I recommend reading his latest article on world temperature records (up to 2009! almost), where one finds that 2005 was likely the warmest year in record, rather than 1998. The role of the El niño and La niña are analysed and appear to explain why 2008 was somewhat cooler than, say, 2007. You may read his letter here
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailing/2009/20091216_TemperatureOfScience.pdf

  20. Slioch:

    re. #1 Richard Ordway

    Worrying, but not surprising, statistics.

    My own view is that there is far too little effort made by scientists and scientifically literate individuals into combating denialist views in the places where it is most frequently expressed – newspapers and the various denialist websites. Websites like Realclimate do a fine job and one could not expect those who write articles for Realclimate to do more, but one often looks in vain for scientifically literate contributions at the lower end of the spectrum of comments. As a result, torrents of ignorant and misleading comments go unchallenged. Is it any wonder that large numbers of people become misinformed?

    Those of us who have looked into the science of climate change have had to begin to accept that the cosy world we knew as children, where, whatever else was wrong, we at least could rely on the climate, is coming to an end. Unless far more effort is made by the scientific community as a whole into combating AGW denial at a basic level, we may also have to start to accept that the world where science is regarded in high esteem may also be ending.

  21. Petteri Karvinen:

    Weaknesses of non-AGW theories could be interesting to read about.

  22. Dave Rado:

    Re. Richard Ordway, #1 – this is part of an extremely depressing trend. The important question is, what can be done about it? The anti-science lobby is very effective and extraordinarily powerful. Realclimate and similar efforts aren’t denting the trend: in fact the anti-science trend has greatly accelerated in recent years, despite the best efforts of educational efforts such as Realclimate – both in intensity and effectiveness. My own attempt at countering the misinformation if anything backfired.

    A few years ago the media appeared to be starting to move away from providing a false “balance” that gave the public a highly misleading impression of where the centre of gravity of scientific knowledge lies; but in the last year they have gone rapidly in the opposite direction, with denialist voices being given massive unchallenged exposure in many mainstream media.

    Do you have any constructive ideas?

  23. Ed Davies:

    Something that I’ve been wondering about for a while and which has come to the fore a bit in recent discussion (e.g., surrounding the “travesty”) is the matter of ocean heating. As I understand it, a lot of the wibbles in surface temperatures (e.g., the “cooling” of the last few years) are a result of the varying rate of heat storage in the ocean.

    Therefore, a post giving an overview about what is currently known about the way heat is stored and what is being done to improve measurements would be very welcome.

    Following on from this, I wonder if it would be better to publish heat information rather than surface temperatures (MJ·m⁻² relative to some baseline or whatever) to give a better understanding of the heating process.

  24. Jeffrey Davis:

    re Richard Ordway’s comment and the sentiment behind it.

    It’s a nonsensical sentiment. Pure manufactured hokum. If you spend enough money and fling enough pooh, you could turn the “public sentiment” against Ann Frank, Mother Teresa, and Albert Schweitzer.

  25. Magnus:

    RC’s view on this http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/a_climatology_conspiracy.html would be of interest.

    [Response: DCPS contains a statistical test that is absolutely and fundamentally in error. It is the equivalent of comparing the uncertainty in the average of a finite number of die throws (3.5 +/- some small number) with the range of valid throws of a die (1-6). Their test (as shown in Fig. 5b in Santer et al) would reject perfectly valid realisations more than 60% of the time, when the claimed rejection rate is 5%. That Douglass and Christy still fail to acknowledge this mistake is very telling. The original RC piece is here (and follow-ups here and here). These were not ‘unsigned’, they were group pieces implying input and support from the whole RC team. There is no ‘conspiracy’ when multiple authors with interests in the issue discuss how best to proceed in rebutting a bad paper, and indeed going forward in exploring how best to look at the problem. The Santer et al paper was significantly more than a rebuttal to DCPS, even though that is how it was originally conceived. If Douglass and Christy think that there are mistakes in Santer et al, they are at liberty to submit a comment or new paper pointing this out. To date they have not done so (AFAIK). – gavin]

  26. Mesnowedin:

    So what’s the best response to the people who are saying loudly this morning that yesteday’s north-eastern record snow proves there is no such thing as global warming?

  27. Chris Colose:

    I’ve pointed it out elsewhere, but for those who haven’t seen, I highly recommend watching the talk by Dr. Richard Alley at AGU 2009 on the role of CO2 on Earth’s climate over geologic time. It is very well put together, and demonstrates very nicely the predictive and explanatory power involved in CO2’s influence on climate. This also puts into perspective the intellectual bankruptcy of those who insist on “CO2 lagging temperature” or those who believe no paleoclimate evidence exists to support the strong role of Carbon Dioxide in maintaining Earth’s climate.

  28. Dr. B. Gerard Bricks:

    This is absolutely to be expected. It is completely consistent with:

    1.) The well-known fact that we of the scientific community have over time, in general, done a relatively poor job of communicating things scientific to the general public.

    2.) The overall poor level of scientific education, even at the ‘Physics for Poets’ level, of the general public.

    3.) The right-wing, anti-science, noise machine led by pundits such as Will, Stossel, etc., and by the corporate-funded, right-wing think tanks such as Heritage, Heartland, AEI, etc., who feed the punditry with dubious, politically motivated information.

    4.) The ‘fair and balanced’ mentality of the traditional media which give equal time to those of #3 without fact checking, thereby allowing them to distribute mis- and dis-information on things scientific in a ‘he said, she said’ type of discourse where truth is assigned equal value with untruth.

  29. Rich:

    On the social science side, I’d be very curious to see the Venn diagram between those who do not believe in climate science and those who do not believe in evolution. Also, it would be interesting to know what percentage of the people who believe in evolution, believe in climate science. It seems to be that if someone does not accept evolution, there is little hope of explaining climate science to him or her.

  30. Charles Raguse:

    Seniors tend to be suspicious by nature. After having watched the world for six, seven or even eight or more decades, they have seen too many promised occurences that inevitably either failed to materialize, or faded away with little influence on the future, never to be seen again.

  31. Marcus:

    Subjects that would be interesting to see posts on (in my opinion):

    Ocean heat content: What’s the best current reconstruction of the past 50 years, what are the uncertainties, where is the science going in this field?

    Satellite temperature trends: there’s UAH, there’s RSS, and there’s the Fu analysis which has a different correction for stratospheric temperatures: what are the strengths and weaknesses of each, and how well do the satellite “surface” level measurements correspond with GISS/NCDC/HadCrut on a regional basis. Given that satellites don’t capture the very high latitudes (as I understand it), how much difference is that expected to make in trends?

    Natural variability: how much variability do unforced models have, and how does that correspond to observed variability. How does one even do such a comparison?

    A critique of the Lindzen-Choi paper.

    An analysis of how much the recent “deep solar minimum” would be expected to decrease temperatures compared to the counterfactual, with appropriate uncertainty bounds.

    Impacts posts: An analysis of Arctic sea ice retreat and projections, given the last few years data. Greenland/Antarctic melt. Permafrost melt + high-latitude methane release. An ocean acidification post.

    That’s my personal wish list, anyway. Or at least, a small portion of it. =)

    -Marcus

  32. Dappled Water:

    Comment #1, yup plain to see how this is going to play out – when it starts to turn to custard for western societies, people will be saying “By why weren’t we told?”.

  33. Al Solomon:

    A fairly insightful editorial appeared in the L.A. Times on Dec 16 (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-sarewitzthernstrom16-2009dec16,0,3859887.story) by Daniel Sarewitz (AzStUniv Prof) and Samuel Thernstrom (Am Enterprise Institute) describing the fundamental problem of climate-gate as being oversimplification of science as being perfect and pure, versus its being full of lies and obfuscations. That Fox News should be so fair and balanced! I take from it that the public requires a more realistic view of how science is accomplished, by people with human strenghts AND weaknesses, which does very little to diminish the value of scientific information for policymaking.

  34. Tenney Naumer:

    Would anyone like to post on what the models say happens in the Arctic and mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere as temperatures in the Arctic keep rising and that nice cap of once relatively stable cold air weakens and gets shoved hither and thither by warmer water vapor streams coming from the south?

  35. Nick:

    I agree with a suggestion from above:

    “What would be the consequences of 2, 3, 6ºC to living beings in this planet.”

    Perhaps reach out to a few evolutionary biologists to discuss specific environmental changes, time frames, and natural selection.

  36. Spaceman Spiff:

    I am an avid reader of articles at RC, and in the climate science literature. I think I have a decent grasp of many of the important issues, but a question has lain in the back of my mind.

    Q: My understanding is that in the past, many or most of the large swings in climate have been due largely to radiative forcings from variations in Earth’s orbital and rotational characteristics (Milankovitch cycles). This drove up the water vapor content, and resulting increased temperatures eventually drove CO2 (and methane, …) into the atmosphere, which then acted as additional positive feedback(s).

    But for the first time since some catastrophic volcanic/tectonic event in the distant past, CO2 is being used as a hammer to Earth’s climate — it’s the radiative forcing agent. So my question is this:

    how does this difference matter, either in the short term or long? Or does it?

    thanks!

  37. Deech56:

    Future posts: Mann, et al. Science 2009? Any other new publications of interest.

  38. Wes:

    For Molnar (#157 on Hansen comments) and general discussion:

    In addition to Mann, Thomas J.Crowley has also explored warming over the past 1000 years, and has published some results different from Mann in potentially critical ways. Paying particular attention to the years between 1840 and 1910 in Fig. 2 of the article by Crowley and Lowery,

    http://ambio.allenpress.com/archive/0044-7447/29/1/pdf/i0044-7447-29-1-51.pdf

    shows that Crowley displays rapid warming during that interval that is absent from the Mann plot for the same period.

    Crowley infers that Mann was aware of the apparent warming during this period but chose not to show it for reasons I don’t yet understand. Crowley remarks on this “considerable deviation”, saying:

    The deviation occurs in 5 of our records (White Mountains,
    Colorado, Urals, and west and east China records), has
    been observed before (10, 33) and been attributed to (10) anomalous
    tree-ring growth due to the late 19th century rise in CO2.
    Mann et al. (10) addressed this problem by removing the postulated
    CO2 growth effect before estimating past temperatures.
    However, because this response also occurs in the Chinese phenological
    data set, another source of variance for high tree-ring
    growth rates cannot be excluded.

    Obviously, Crowley understood Mann’s reasons for omitting this warming trend, but nonetheless chose to include the trend in his presentation. I take this as Crowley believing the warming trend real. As shown in Fig. 4, this decision clearly makes the Crowley and Mann graphs dramatically different in the late 1800s.
    [edit]

    It seems vital that we understand and evaluate [edit] this possible important
    feature of the warming record.

    Any help here would be welcomed.

    [Response: Your reading in of motivations and actions is very far from reality. I suggest you read the appropriate papers for more understanding – Mann et al 1999 for instance. Also have a look at more up to date literature to see how this feature is represented in reconstructions with far more data than was used in 1998. – gavin]

  39. J.G.:

    I think Tocqueville can give us some insight as to why Americans are so unwilling to believe science:

    “The nearer the people are drawn to the common level of an equal and similar condition, the less prone does each man become to place implicit faith in a certain man or a certain class of men (scientists in particular). But his readiness to believe the multitude increases, and opinion is more than ever mistress of the world.”

    “At periods of equality men have no faith in one another, by reason of their common resemblance; but this very resemblance give them almost unbounded confidence in the judgment of the public; for it would seem probable that, as they are all endowed with equal means of judging, the greater truth should go with the greater number”

    So we see that American culture tends to foster a skepticism of any idea or any set of ideas that do not come from public opinion. This is a source of America’s uneasy relationship with science. Science is NOT democratic, simply because public opinion believes that a certain idea is closer to truth does NOT make it so – and people hate that.

    In regards to talent (especially scientific talent):

    “They do not fear distinguished talents, but are rarely fond of them. In general, everyone who rises without their aid seldom obtains their favor”

    I believe this may be another source of the American public’s uneasy relationship with science, it is exactly because scientists rose to their positions of authority without their aid or advice that they are unwilling to believe their ideas or theories.

  40. Completely Fed Up:

    “I note a recent post concerning a scientist unwilling to share an algorithm, which, although perhaps a technically unimportant point, was, in fact, at the heart of this entire recent debacle…”

    You mean this one?
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/please-show-us-your-code/

    :-)

    re #11 Yup, I liken this to someone swimming in the ocean and someone on a boat nearby. The one in the boat shouts out “there’s a shark in the water”.

    “There’s no shark. That’s a dolphin.

    Boat: “No, a dolphin has a horizontal tail, that one’s vertical”.

    Sea: “Well, it’s half a mile off, stop bothering me”

    Boat: “It’s getting closer”

    Sea: “No it isn’t and like I say it’s probably a dolphin. Anyway there’s no proof I’ve seen of sharks attacking humans in open water”

    Boat: “No, it’s a shark all right. And it’s coming straight for you!”

    Sea: “Rubbish. It’s a dolphin and sharks don’t eat people and you just want the sea for yourself and stop bothering me!!!”

    (we are at this point)

    Sea: “Hang on, that’s a shark” starts swimming frantically for the boat. Sweating and scared and frantic, climbs aboard:

    Sea: “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME EARLIER!!!!”.

  41. Completely Fed Up:

    re 13, Charles, like “Germany wouldn’t invade France”?

  42. NikFromNYC:

    It is a myth that thermometer records only extend back to the 1800s. Abundant records do kick in precisely in1850 (see a scatter plot of them from GHCN here: http://statpad.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/ghcnadj_a.jpg), but there are lots of records from classically old cities that extend the record much further back. Thermometers were not that accurate prior to the updated Fahrenheit scale of the mid 1700s in absolute value readings but they were likely quite good at recording variability over time and what they suggest is that recent variation in temperature is not a strong argument for AGW:

    http://i45.tinypic.com/kqbd4.jpg

    A couple sites do show a suggestive upturn from the usual trend as can be seen here:

    http://i47.tinypic.com/2zgt4ly.jpg

    A few other sites show various slope changes here and there (e.g. Paris slopes up in 1885). However, none of the longest running non-proxy records support a hockey stick version of the past as shown in Mann’s recent spaghetti graph (PNAS 2008):

    http://i48.tinypic.com/mc9elt.jpg

    My plots use raw data. They are all from urban areas. My point isn’t that this proves AGW to be false. My point is that since thermometer records do not support it, AGW is a more speculative theory than its supporters are usually willing to admit.

  43. Steve R:

    Yet another hit job: on the 17th. CRU emails are the tip of the iceberg, I should know, my articles have been rejected, blah blah blah, peer review has been corrupted, blah blah blah. And 330 comments, and among them only one voice of reason. And yet there are so often dozens of voices of un-reason in the comments here. Perhaps journalists are monitoring blog comments, when they should be monitoring science sources.

    (My apologies if the link doesn’t work; I’m a little clumsy with even basic html.)

  44. MapleLeaf:

    This form the UK Met office:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2009/pr20091218b.html

    “New analysis released today has shown the global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office’s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming. ”

    And

    “The new analysis estimates the warming to be higher than that shown from HadCRUT’s more limited direct observations. This is because HadCRUT is sampling regions that have exhibited less change, on average, than the entire globe over this particular period.”

    So much for allegations of CRU “fudging” the data to “amplify” the warming.

    [Response: Indeed. But I wish press releases would put in links or at least references to the actual study they are talking about. Anyone have a clue? – gavin]

  45. Jim Bouldin:

    Less attention to bad science and junk claims. Let that crap die of neglect, as it should.

    More attention to the enormous amount of behind-the-scenes and otherwise unknown (to the public), but utterly crucial, work.

  46. Deep Climate:

    From Deep Climate http://www.deepclimate.org

    Contrarian scholarship: Revisiting the Wegman report

    Update, Dec. 19: This post has been substantially revised to remove speculation about Donald Rapp’s possible role in the Wegman report. I apologize for any embarrassment caused to Donald Rapp or Edward Wegman by that speculation.

    The post has also been updated to reflect new information about the provenance of Wegman et al’s section on tree ring proxies, as well as more background detail on some of the events leading up to the Wegman report. There are also more details about large swathes of unattributed material found in the Wegman report and in Donald Rapp’s book Assessing Climate Change.

    It is clear that the circumstances and contents of both the Wegman report and Rapp’s text book deserve closer scrutiny.

    Dec. 20: Comments are now open again.

    Key paragraph:

    Part of the answer lies in the close examination of the Wegman report. Surprsingly, extensive passages from Wegman et al on proxies have turned up in a skeptic text book by contrarian author Donald Rapp. And at least one of these common passages on tree ring proxies closely follows a classic text by noted paleoclimatologist Raymond Bradley, but with a key alteration not found in the original. Moreover, Wegman’s section on social networks appears to contain some unattributed material from Wikipedia and from a classic sociology text.

  47. CL:

    I’d be interested in a discussion on the implications of the recent NASA press release about AIRS:
    “NASA Outlines Recent Breakthroughs in Greenhouse Gas Research”
    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2009-196

    Perhaps a guest post by Dessler?

  48. Jim Bouldin:

    I would be very interested in a discussion of strategies and methods for climate model evaluation–what types of data are most limiting to that enterprise (e.g. paleo vs current), prospects for obtaining or improving such, possible workarounds or shortcuts, etc.

  49. Rumble:

    Future post suggestion:
    Scientific theories with predictive power have great credibility because their testability stands them apart from conjecture e.g. the discovery of Neptune was made based on Newtonian theory.
    In the following paper . . .
    (URL: http://www.pnas.org/content/105/suppl.1/11466.full)
    David B. Wake and Vance T. Vredenburg. “Are we in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? A view from the world of amphibians.” Proc Natl Acad Sci; (12 August 2008). 105(Supplement_1): 11466–11473

    . . . the authors state without qualification:
    “The first event predicted by the IPCC panel,
    ‘Amphibian Extinctions Increasing on Mountains,’ is now an empirical fact.” With 200-plus upland and montane species now gone suddenly extinct and a third of all amphibians now threatened with extinction, one can only agree.
    Contrarians and non-scientist can too easily dismiss long-term climate projections and sneer that “they can’t even tell us what the weather will be next week”. But they can’t dismiss what was PREDICTED earlier and HAS happened. The growing toll of dead frogs, mass mortality events in trees, coral bleaching, the sudden disappearance of the 18,000 year old Chacaltaya Glacier in Bolivia etc.
    Could RC put together for lay readers a score sheet, if you like, a reality check of the story so far – this is what science said would happen, this is what has, and hasn’t, happened.
    It would be very useful and instructive for may reasons.
    Thanks.

  50. Sandra Kay:

    “Most of this hit is due to the superficial, at best, coverage given to the non issues of email releases, etc. Without the continuous feed of misinformation from ideological driven anti science people we could get on with addressing the serious ramifications of AGW.”

    There is no doubt that Climategate has severely damaged the credibility of Pro-AGW advocates. Another factor is the doom and gloom, catastrophic scenarios that have been predicted over the decades that have NOT come to fruition.
    There is only so much crying wolf that people will take before ignoring the fear mongering.

  51. Johnno:

    I agree with earlier comments that we need more analysis of tree planting offsets (w.r.t. permanence and reliability) and of the implications of all fossil fuels depleting. Some insist that IPCC high emissions scenarios cannot happen since coal will peak circa 2030. As we speak reduced supply of oil could be impacting on demand for coal and perhaps will have a bigger effect than carbon taxes. The view is that we’ll have 80% less man made CO2 by 2050 regardless of any human decisions.

    Another ‘sleeper’ is the effect of confused seasons on farming. The summer/winter crop dichotomy is becoming less clear. Winter crops that need dry Mediterranean summers to harvest are being ruined by rain. Summer crops that need steady warmth are being ruined by unseasonal cold snaps or frosts.

  52. Martin Vermeer:

    #26 Mesnowedin: Their loudness serves to drown out that small voice inside. Keep reminding them.

  53. MapleLeaf:

    Sorry Gavin, no idea. Maybe it is something they quickly put together in response ot the IEA “report”.

    Why do we not use reanlyses data to construct a global SAT record and anomalies? Maybe they do and I’m ignorant.

    [Response: Actually, it’s pretty easy to do. However, there are limits to how useful it is since some of the weather station data is assimilated into the reanalysis. Thus, they are useful for assessing how good the extrapolation is to the global mean based on the sampling of stations, but they aren’t completely independent of the surface instrumental record. Note that different reanalyses use different data sources and so you need to be aware of what actually goes into them. – gavin]

  54. Joel Shore:

    Re #25: I actually like to point out that the notion in Douglass et al of using the standard error rather than the standard deviation as the method to characterize the models is in fact “doubly wrong”: As Gavin has noted, it is wrong the first time simply because of the issue that a single realization of the climate system has internal variability in addition to a forced response and thus it is not correct to compare our actual realization of the climate to the models in a way that averages over the internal variability in the models.

    However, even if we ask the question, “Is standard error or standard deviation the correct thing to use as a reasonable estimate of the uncertainty in the forced response?” the answer … at least as implicit in the IPCC report … is that the standard deviation is more appropriate. To see this, for example, one can simply take the equilibrium climate sensitivities (ECS) of the various climate models in the IPCC AR4 report (conveniently given in Table 8.2 of the WG-1 AR4 report) and compute the standard deviation and the standard error and then compare this to the statement that the IPCC makes about the ECS (i.e., that it is likely [66-90%] chance to lie in the range 2.0 to 4.5 C).

    What one finds is that if the IPCC really believed the models could be trusted enough that their standard errors would be a measure of the uncertainty in the forced component of the response, then they had no business giving such a large range for the ECS. In fact, even using standard deviation as a measure of uncertainty, one finds that the IPCC statement on the likely range for the ECS is compatible with the standard deviation only if one assumes that the “likely” range really means there is ~90% chance of it falling in this range and not just the 66% chance.

    I know that technically speaking, the IPCC quoted its likely range of ECS based more on empirical data than on directly what the different climate models give for the ECS. Nonetheless, I think my basic point still stands, namely that if one believes that the standard error in the model predictions is a good measure of the uncertainty in the forced component of the climate response then one is placing way, way more faith in the models than the IPCC is!

  55. Tom Dayton:

    Regarding the AIRS press release that CL pointed to:

    You can see a drawing of and info about the AIRS instrument, and the AQUA spacecraft it is on, and CO2 levels on a 3D, interactive, rotating image of the Earth, at the NASA Eyes on the Earth 3D site. It works on Macs with the Safari browser, but at least on my Mac it doesn’t work quite right with Firefox. I presume it works properly with other browsers on MS Windows.

    At that site, at the top left there is a button labeled “AQUA” (the satellite). Click it. You can click on the spacecraft as it orbits the Earth, to zoom in on it. Then you can click on the AIRS instrument to see more about it.

    On the right side of the window the panel now should be labeled “AQUA” (that’s what does not appear for me in Firefox on my Mac). In the bar labeled “Show Data Map,” click the “CO2″ button. Tht will show you the past two weeks of CO2 levels around the globe, as colors.

    You can drag the globe to rotate it, click the + and – buttons at the top left of the page to zoom, use the controls at the bottom of the page to adjust the passage of time of the satellite’s orbit, and even click the Real Time button to see where the satellite is in real time.

  56. Brian Brademeyer:

    #27 Chris Colose,

    Thanks very much for the link to the R. Alley lecture. Very interesting!

  57. Richard Ordway:

    “Do you have any constructive ideas?”

    “Let’s get together, yah, yah yah” to paraphrase a Beetles’ song (for mainstream scientists about their thoughts on climate change).

    …and like the Beetles published their song…

    So perhaps should mainstream practicing scientists…

    The IPCC does it in the scientific way…but no one understands that.

    I don’t think the people in the United States have the slightest idea about what 95% of actual practicing scientists think about climate change…and would be surprised if they knew…

  58. David B. Benson:

    John Atkeison — AFAIK there is no unanticpated acceleration in global warming. What seems not to have been anticipated is the response of the cryosphere.

  59. honorable:

    There is a 1 hour documentary on climate on Fox News tonight from 9h00 PM to 10h00PM

  60. Alexandre:

    I´d like to see more stuff on projected regional climate changes. What can we expect to experience, as common mortals, if climate change goes unmitigated.

    I know that there´s a lot of uncertainty in this area, but graphs and tables don´t usually reach the uninitiated.

    You probably wouldn´t cover my country (Brazil) for lack of readers. But still…

  61. Nobody At All:

    Can the links to Sets A and B from “Are the CRU data “suspect”? An objective assessment” please be posted?

    I agree that the best way to verify this is to make an independent random sample. But people are pointing to the lack of a link as further evidence of a vast conspiracy.

  62. Jim Bouldin:

    A big ol’ second on the request for more discussions on regional climate.

  63. Leopold:

    The “FAQ on Climate Models” series did not include a post on how Climate Models such as the Model E handle ENSO.

  64. Eva Berglund:

    As a researcher in psychology I feel like the problem with climategate has to do with two things mainly.

    1) The eventual publication bias that could occur in all kinds of sciences, in that “significant” results tend to become published, while non-results not.

    2) I think that after the “climategate-scandal” and the hurricane of denialists, it is an absolute need for more openness in the climate science. Within medicine and health ( http://www.cochrane.org/ ) and within some social sciences (education, criminology and social welfare issues, http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/ ) there have been a development of research cooperation to create systematic reviews with a system of open protocols BEFORE reveiws are done and open reviews AFTER they are done, where severe critique could be added to the papers or the papers could be withdrawn.

    Anyway, I don’t know if this is possible to adapt to your science, maybe it could in some modified form? I very much want to stress the need for virtually complete openness from now, as your work is of utmost importance for the public.

    My best wishes to the climate scientists, it is important that you in those difficult times keep up the important work.

  65. Jim Bouldin:

    Er, “Beatles” fellas, not Beetles.

    Youngsters.

  66. Perplexed:

    “Considering that even a brilliant illegal poach of some 60mb of confidential and personal communication…yielded no conspiracy and no evidence of data manipulation.”

    The sad fact is that there was no need to find a conspiracy or evidence of data manipulation, all that was needed was a few choice words to be pounced upon and repeated without any explanation of what was actually said.

    I would hope that these emails have not been able to convince reasonable people that AGW is all a scam and that all we are seeing is the same people that have always being angry about it just becoming louder.

  67. Dave Rado:

    Re. #50, Sandra Kay:

    There is no doubt that Climategate has severely damaged the credibility of Pro-AGW advocates.

    Only because it has been so appallingly covered by most of the media.

  68. Schmert:

    From an exterior perspective, it’s probably very difficult for the public to descern one argument and think yes that right, science on the subject might just look like a load incoherent of bickering.

    Or who wants the biggest research grant ?

    At least our Beloved Presidents of the U.S of A & China have not just said yes then ignored the issue completely, which in real terms would have been a far easier thing to do.

    And that also means that the situation is being treated very seriously by the most important people that it could be.

    ……………………

  69. David B. Benson:

    Alexandre (60) — On the web I found a report projecting regional changes for Argentina. I carefully read the section on Patagonia and found no surprises except for the southeasternmost part. The projection found the changes in central Chile to be pronouced enough to mention despite being an Argentinian project.

    I have not looked, but I certainly expect there to be a similar projection by and for Brazilians.

  70. Howard S.:

    I’d leave a comment and suggestion but my IP address has been blocked for a couple months now.
    In the event the moderators find fairness I would post the suggestion that RC engages fully and openly the topics and dicussions at WUWT.
    With millions of visits per month WUWT is the premeiere site for climate discussion with no exclusions for opposing veiwpoints.

    From my experience I cannot say the same for RC.

  71. Phil Scadden:

    “The “FAQ on Climate Models” series did not include a post on how Climate Models such as the Model E handle ENSO.”

    ESNO emerges from the model, its not an input.

  72. meteor:

    Hi

    in Mann et al 2009

    global signatures and dynamical origins of the LIA and MCA

    Why, in figure 1, reconstructed temperatures don’t go to the end of the graph?
    Is it for a reason of clarity or another?
    I understand that the calibration period was1850-1995, so reconstructed temperatures must follow instrumental.
    Is it exact?

  73. david:

    A few years ago I visited the “mystery spot” in Santa Cruz, California. It’s a tourist attraction where the lack of a horizontal/vertical visual reference leads to some optical illusions. Each group is taken around by a guide, who uses of a combination of cheap parlor tricks, obfuscations and outright lies in order to make it more mysterious. Most of the adults in my group appeared to believe every word.
    Later, I met a 13 year old who had visited as part of school trip and immediately identified it as showmanship with no particular relationship to reality. She had scientifically literate parents.

    This is the divide that faces people trying to communicate science, and it seems to me that many people in the scientific community have no idea how big it is. Even here at realclimate, where the authors are really working hard (and I commend your efforts), most of the material is beyond the reach of most people. e.g. the “C02 in 5 easy steps” page includes discussion of the TOA radiation budget. Even if people knew what “TOA” stands for (and you should explain this in the article, by the way), most people have no idea what is meant by radiation.

    So I would like to see more discussion of science education. In particular, how do you/we get in at the ground floor (primary school) to improve education before people become too lazy / set in their ways / time poor to learn.

    (by the way, TOA = Top Of Atmosphere (I presume))

  74. Andy Gates:

    I’d be interested in seeing the latest thinking in what the summer Arctic melt might do to the world’s weather; and also a treatment on the timescales involved in the near-future climate – how much heating is baked-in from the current emissions, how fast would decarbonizing take effect, that sort of thing.

  75. David B. Benson:

    Howard S. (70) — I fear you are flatout wrong.

  76. Matt Trezise, CYP:

    We proponents of action to minimize global warming are losing the argument in the public sphere. A few observations –
    • Climate scientists are understandably busy dealing with AGW issues at government level;
    • They have little time and less patience for responding to naïve or disingenuous contrary views in the public sphere;
    • It is highly likely that governments will be swayed by popular opinion even when it is contradicted by informed advice;
    • Most people believe what they want to believe; they are incapable of objectively assessing what the consensus of informed opinion is;
    • They will never be swayed by technical argument about particularities of interpretation of data;
    • Even when pressed to acknowledge that the data probably indicate AGW, many people oppose the call to action because they see it as “politically correct”, a new orthodoxy being imposed by an (always resented) “smart” elite;
    • Certainty about AGW is interpreted as fanaticism of a religious nature;
    • Willful, quixotic, irrational – exactly what a knowledge of history or psychology should lead us to expect;
    • Should this just be ignored and our attention kept on bureaucratic processes?; that seems to be what is happening so far, even the excellent responses to “climategate” on this site are unlikely to be read by skeptics, it is preaching to the converted;
    • There is an urgent need for respected and high profile scientists and institutions to employ their credibility capital in the public sphere to say, and not in a condescending way, that the problem is real;
    • I don’t understand why more respected authorities from fields like medical research, space research, engineering, mathematics, economics, sociology etc are not out there saying “I’ve reviewed the research and AGW is a reality that we must deal with urgently”;
    • Perhaps scientists generally are observing the usual protocol of not commenting on fields not their own – we can’t afford to be that precious;
    • I fear that if we don’t turn around public opinion, government initiatives will be too little, too late.

  77. Charly Cadou:

    Looks to me like the climategate snafu could have been avoided if the global temperature analysis using surface weather station data had been done under the aegis of the WMO rather than by a bunch of however well intentioned loose canons. The study would have been better structured and coordinated and I believe queries from outsiders better satisfied.

  78. Ray Ladbury:

    Charly Cadou,
    What you fail to understand is that the source does not matter. The quarrel of the contrarians is with physical reality.

  79. Ray Ladbury:

    Howard S. @70

    Bwaaahaaahaaahaaa. Oh thanks, Howard. I needed a laugh. WUWT performs a very useful service for RC. It serves as an asylum and echo chamber and keeps the loonier elements from polluting otherwise worthwhile discussions. But I have zero interest in “engaging” with the inmates there.

  80. Steve L:

    Responding to the title of the post, and assuming that means feedback, and wanting to make a helpful suggestion for a topic, I would like to see something that discusses hope, however unfounded it may be — I would appreciate a post on probable, possible, and improbable negative feedbacks.

    I’m quite interested in ocean acidification lately and I’m pasting this from the wikipedia article on that topic:
    “Recent work examining a sediment core from the North Atlantic found that while the species composition of coccolithophorids has remained unchanged for the industrial period 1780 to 2004, the calcification of coccoliths has increased by up to 40% during the same time.[30] While the full ecological consequences of these changes in calcification are still uncertain, it appears likely that many calcifying species will be adversely affected. There is also a suggestion that a decline in the coccolithophores may have secondary effects on climate change, by decreasing the Earth’s albedo via their effects on oceanic cloud cover.[33]”

    I really don’t know how this chemistry works (would like to!), but what if the chemistry and ecology of the change resulted in more of the species that promoted higher albedo via their effects on cloud cover? … So I’m requesting something on negative climate feedbacks or an update on the ocean acidification topic.

  81. Josie:

    I would really appreciate a post specifically on the idea of ‘runaway’ climate change. The media focusses on this idea a lot, but I have not found much material from scientists exporing the concept and saying clearly whether it could be a real danger. As an interested non-scientist I would really appreciate some more clarification and discussion on this.

    [Response: See this previous post. on runaway tipping points of no return. – gavin]

  82. EL:

    Ideas for a new post:
    1. Discuss the mathematics behind global warming.
    2. Are natural variations currently masking global warming?
    3. Are natural variations responsible for the stabilization of the earth’s climate? IE: avoiding cascading effects.
    4. What exactly makes global warming dangerous? Do higher temperatures make global warming dangerous or does the growth rate on increasing temperatures make global warming dangerous?
    5. How much extra energy is required to produce the rise in global temperatures?
    6. Will global warming have any effects on volcanoes from the melting of ice? IE: due to less pressure.

  83. R. Hayley:

    How does ice affect temperature wrt latent heat? I’m aware of the albedo effect, but if the arctic icecap does melt, would we see stepwise higher temperatures in the north?

  84. Mesa:

    There is a large community of scientifically educated individuals whose intuition does not buy the positive feedback, disaster scenario heating arguments on a planet where difficult periods of climate have been typically marked by severe cold. This community understands that CO2 is not a pollutant, but can certainly (and probably has) biased the climate in a warming direction, all other things being equal. This community understands that a lot of historical proxy work is difficult under any circumstances, and hence should not be the poster child for global political movements that aim to restructure the world’s economy. This community is familiar enough with the history of suppression of opposing viewpoints to have developed a natural questioning posture towards many of the results presented as canonical (many of which may well turn out to be canonical after additional scrutiny). This community is indifferent to political fad or fashion, and as such is not impressed with scientists who run national climate research centers holding press conferences or writing personal ideological essays.
    This community has experience in scientific research, and can immediately discern that an enterprise like the IPCC designed to produce a consensus could not be more poisonous to honest scientific debate. This community separates itself from any political agenda, and will follow the truth wherever it may lead. We applaud and encourage your sincere participation.

  85. Jim B:

    To #76 – I am a scientist in an outside field originally trained in physics. I’ve been interested enough in this to read (almost) the entire AR4 and a small selection of papers.

    No disrepect to the hard working researchers, but it is not a field of impressive accuracy or credibility simply internally by its own documentation. Yes, there may be many red herrings thrown at you from a noise machine, but it strikes me as a science in relative infancy compared to physics. I’ve spoken with a physicist or two who seem to think that simply because the underlying physics of co2’s absorption spectrum is simple, the whole issue is, but most have more refined views.

    The purported situation is that there is not really time to become adroit climate forecasters or have a lot of “predictions come true” confirmation of the cause and effect story that usually gives sciences credibility. I mean, most predictions that have come true seem independent of the emissions connection and more or less simply consequences of climate change itself which is less contentious than the degree it is attributable to CO2 — the main target of regulation. The latter and the credibility of model forecasts are what have the most bearing on policy choices.

    Massive lists of professional organizations that have signed off on a strong consensus for weak claims such as the climate is changing and will continue to do so, typically totally unquantified and also typically a series of inequalities with no “reference scale” such as x% more damage due to effect y. While not a parlor trick, it seems policy-inadequate and is also counter-balanced by activists who portray this as consensus for apocolyptic visions which is an inferrence as nuts and like not believing in evolution as anything you might point to. There is at best consensus on threat and nothing remotely approaching consensus on even the possibility at Cheney’s 1% level of climate apocolypse.

    I would recommend a book by Mike Hulme called “Why We Disagree on Climate Change”. Besides being a simply outstanding writer, I think he is good at addressing some of your questions.

  86. Daniel C. Goodwin:

    I would like to see an update on what’s going on with atmospheric methane levels. Also, I’d like to find a publicly-available source of current atmospheric methane data.

  87. Chuck Kutscher:

    An article by John Tierney in the December 15 issue of the New York Times discussed a proposal by Ross McKitrick to assign financial penalties on carbon emissions proportional to the global temperature. The idea is that if the skeptics are right and the Earth does not continue to warm, there will be no increase in penalties. But if the vast majority of climate scientists are correct, the price of carbon will grow.

    Now I can see a lot of problems with this. We’re already past 350 ppm, and we are rapidly losing ice at both poles and in 90% of mountain glaciers. There is a lag between CO2 and temperature, so waiting for temperature to rise means we would not be accounting for warming that is in the pipeline. And, of course, ENSO, the solar cycle, and other effects add a lot of year-to-year noise to the temperature curve. Nevertheless, there is something intriquing about this kind of idea, which is akin to saying, “put your money where your mouth is.” Perhaps we could come up with a carbon pricing policy that accounts for warming to date (as well as warming in the pipeline) with future increases somehow tied to the running average of global mean temperature (or loss of ice mass).

    Of course, this won’t stop some skeptics from arguing, “It’s warming, but it’s a natural variation, so let’s just adapt and address it with improved future technologies and future discounted costs.” But other skeptics who are convinced it’s not warming (or is even cooling) may like this “Put up or shut up” approach. In any case, the idea of somehow tying penalties to actual climate change might at least make for an interesting discussion topic. And based on what just happened in Copenhagen, it’s not like we have something better going on.

  88. wayne davidson:

    I find it really literally funny when contrarians speak of the huge climate scientific conspiracy , fudging the numbers to fit a warming graph curve or another, because I do live and observe in the Arctic, which is the region of the world with the most effects caused by AGW.

    It all looks like a professional wrestling match to me, when contrarians pounce on a perceived weakness, again and again, like hitting a wrestlers knee after recent surgery Climate Unit conspirations revealed. some scientists turn up forcefully defending something that never happened, and so the wrestling organizer, the media in many instances, trying to balance science, and finding none opposed but with people having deceptive paranoia as a ploy to confuse the masses.

    The only way out is to report what is going on up Here or at other imperiled locations. Copenhagen like meetings should be I in the Maldives or Tuvalu, at the changing climate fronts. In the Arctic, monthly temperatures being regularly 5 degrees C above normal don’t mean much , it would still be still cold for most humans, but when sea levels threaten the very existence of planet earths most exotic cultures (or its bio-cultures),
    a nice tropical location, paradise lost, most people notice more.
    These events fall flat way behind most pressing issues such as a fake clmategate but since very few people actually live where AGW hits its worse, no one notices until it
    becomes big, like all time Arctic sea ice minimas,.

    And so when in September 2007, when Arctic Ocean ice almost disappeared around the North Pole, some took notice, as I remember, this was contrarians worse nightmare, reality hitting their nerves, they became quiet, or simply did not talk about sea ice. RC should Report often and hard on such events as they happen, this mobilizes the younger generation more than any right wing story, the call to arms, my weapon of choice with respect to AGW, is reality, but more often than I like, RC debates contrarians in the wrestling arranged ring of their choice, distracting and precluding reality as a side show.

    Reality standing out has in itself mobilized the IPCC science effort, it also gathers people to get involve and transform stupid pollution habits into a proud renewable way of life solution.

    RC should probably make Arctic sea ice as a permanent topic.. Much more dissertations on the latest research on ENSO. More work on differentiating ENSO with temperature trends, exposing weighed perspectives reveals AGW. Before a major climate event happens, predicting it also differentiates true scientists in the field with armchair contrarians, poor critics at best. I agree that next year should be the warmest in history, as some are already saying, its good to bring out those who predict successfully major climate events in advance, these are great scientists who judge their knowledge against what will transpire, success in predictions are well known but still underrated or unappreciated by mass medias.

  89. David B. Benson:

    Jim B (85) — Climatology can be thought of as beginning with a paper in 1824 and then continuing with experiments in 1859. Then Arrhenius published his work in 1896. All long before relativity and quantum mechanics.

    So, instead, I recommend you actually study some of this history by reading “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    and then possibly continuing with the Charney et al. report on CO2 and climate
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12181&page=R1
    to see just how much was understood thirty years ago. Following that, you might like some climatology with more mathematical content. I suggest Ray Pierrehumbert’s
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html

  90. Doug Bostrom:

    Comment by Mesnowedin — 20 December 2009 @ 1:18 PM

    “So what’s the best response to the people who are saying loudly this morning that yesterday’s north-eastern record snow proves there is no such thing as global warming?”

    Replay with a question: “Where did you hear that it would never freeze again, anywhere, because of global warming?”

    Anyway, to the extent that it does still freeze anywhere and conditions are correct for precipitation, copious snowfall is entirely consistent with warming. More warming, more evaporation, more precipitation.

  91. eidelon 8:

    For future posts, I am interested in possible consequences in the Northern hemisphere when the effects of Arctic sea ice loss reach to lower latitudes meet the effects of an expanding tropical zone and knock on effects in subtropical and temperate zone,including cyclone activity and arid belts, etc. If the ITCZ is shifting, as documented by Sach and others for the Northern hemisphere, how will it manifest for regions such as SE Asia where the ITCZ currently sweeps through twice a year….?

  92. Doug Bostrom:

    “There is no doubt that Climategate has severely damaged the credibility of Pro-AGW advocates. ”

    Maybe in the echo chamber you inhabit, but try this: Ask 100 randomly chosen people on the street, “Hey, what do you think of climategate?”.

    Prepare for a lot of blank looks.

    If you’re hanging out on climate-related websites like this one or McIntyre’s satire, or you’re among the relatively small number of people who take Fox News or the Wall Street Journal seriously, this seems like a big deal. But it’s not. Tiger Woods’ peccadilloes, now -those- are a big deal.

  93. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim B., Somehow, I find your whole post rather hard to believe. You certainly take no specific issue with anything in the AR4–confining your criticism to banal generalities. In my read of the literature, I’ve found lots of quite cogent evidence–for example the simultaneous cooling of the stratosphere and warming of the troposphere, polar amplification, greater effects in Spring and Fall and a plethora. See here for a summary of the things it looks like you might have missed:

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    And then there is a claim that you are a “scientist” or trained as a “physicist”. You certainly give no indication to your field of expertise–an oddity since most real scientists are eager to talk abut their research. And your post has bupkes in the way of physics-based arguments.

    As to Mike Hulme, I agree he has some interesting ideas on the politics of climate change. However, I would submit that we cannot engage in constructive dialog with anyone who rejects physical reality–and physical reality includes the reality of climate change and the threat it poses to the health of human civilization.

  94. Jeffrey Davis:

    About large snowfalls and global warming it seems to me that an increase in larger snowfalls would be an obvious result: more water in the atmosphere. The rise in temps to date has been around .9C so winters still get cold enough to snow.

    Result: an increase in larger snows.

  95. Richard Ordway:

    Sandra wrote:

    “There is no doubt that Climategate has severely damaged the credibility of Pro-AGW advocates. Another factor is the doom and gloom, catastrophic scenarios that have been predicted over the decades that have NOT come to fruition.
    There is only so much crying wolf that people will take before ignoring the fear mongering.”
    ————————————————————————–

    This is utterly false Sandra. Name one doom and gloom scenario, I repeat one that scientists’s journals predicted with high odds of happening?

    Y2K of being devastating?…about a ~6% chance of happening in the journals…the media played it up.

    Bird Flu on any particular year of being devastating?: ~6%. The media played it up.

    Deep freeze ice age?. Unknown probability in the journals, but the journals stated that the cooling was fighting with global warming (sulfate aerosols vs. carbon dioxide…both were indeed happening. In no way did the journals show even slightly of a consensus of an immediate ice age. Media played it up.

    Big asteroid hitting and destroying Earth?… 1 in a 15,000 or so chance odds per year in the journals.

    Where is the scare Sandra?

    Now global warming…90+ % chance of it happening in the journals…HOLY SH_T, Sandra.

  96. Ray Ladbury:

    Mesa, this isn’t about “intuition”. It’s about evidence–and ten separate lines of evidence show that the feeback adds up to a sensitivity of about 3 degrees per doubling of CO2. What is more, they preclude a sensitivity of less than 2 degrees per doubling.

    As to problematic periods of warming, google the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).

    And no one is excluding anyone. All you have to do is publish–that is if you have anything to add to the understanding of climate. If you do not…

  97. Ray Ladbury:

    Al Solomon,
    Thanks for the LA Times editorial. It raises a very important point–that science delivers robust and reliable results, even when individual scientists don’t behave ideally. Scientific fraud is discovered quickly and treated mercilessly. The competitive nature of science guards against groupthink, and the difficulty of the profession ensures that most of those who persist in the profession do so because they are fascinated by the subject matter and motivated by a desire to truly understand it. Ultimately, science works–and for very good reasons.

  98. Richard Ordway:

    Jim B says:

    Jim, with your expert knowledge of physics, I plead with you to publish your problems with climate change in mainstream journals. If you do not do so, I strongly wonder at your sincerity or your legitimacy as a “scientist”.

    Even economists, geologists and many contrararians have printed (but on the large arguments their work does not hold up). So, get to it, or I sincerely wonder about your background and motives. Examples of contrarian writings(an incomplete list):

    Soon and Baliunas, 2003.
    Soon et al, 2003.
    Schwartz, 2007, Journal of Geophysical Research.
    Scafetta and West, 2005.
    Scafetta, N., and R. C. Willson, 2009.
    Scafetta and West, 2006.
    Scafetta and West, 2007.
    McKitrick, McIntyre 2005.
    Lindzen, 2001.
    Miskolczi, 2007, Idojárás.
    Tsonis , 2009, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS.
    Craig & Lohle 2008.
    Douglass et al.2007.
    Klotzbach et al, 2009, J. Geophys. Res.
    McClean et al, 2009, J. Geophys. Re.s
    Gerlich and Tscheushner, 2009.
    Essex, McKitrick, Andresen, 2007.
    Chilingar, Khilyuk, Sorokhtin, 2008.
    Nordell, 2008.
    IPCC, (which only synthesizes)

  99. Cthulhu:

    Daniel up to date methane data can be viewed here:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/

  100. Hank Roberts:

    Jim B., re Hulme: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/12/hulme.php

  101. Chuck Kutscher:

    Regarding potential future topics, I would also like to see a discussion of the pros, cons, and potential of biochar, which is getting a lot of attention these days. There have been interesting exchanges in Science between biochar proponent Johannes Lehmann and David Wardle. Hansen, et al. mentioned it in their Targets paper, which prompted George Monbiot to attack biochar on his blog (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/24/george-monbiot-climate-change-biochar) and Kharecha and Hansen responded (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/25/hansen-biochar-monbiot-response). Molina, et al. advocated it in their recent PNAS paper on reducing abrupt climate change risk.

    Of course, biochar faces many of the same questions as biofuels in terms of impact on land use. (The British group Biofuelwatch has been actively attacking biofuels in general and biochar in particular.) However, the intriguing thing about biomass is that it is the one renewable energy source that can be utilized in such a way that it is carbon-negative, instead of just carbon-neutral, and we need ways to actually remove atmospheric CO2 to get below 350 ppm this century. One thing I wonder is how integrated gasification-combined cycle (IGCC) electric power plants fueled with biomass (which can displace baseload coal) coupled with carbon capture and storage would compare to pyrolysis to produce biochar, which directly yields carbon that can be sequestered (and may well benefit the soil) but produces less energy (and thus displaces less coal) per kilogram of biomass.

  102. Emanuele Lombardi:

    Public opinion polls are not the place to debate the veracity of global warming science. The debate over the largest tax increase in history and the direct inflated costs of energy of all kinds resulting from legislation currently in the senate. For those of us that have significant doubts about the validity of the proposed actions that will occur, the public debate is the correct forum.

    Emanue Lombardi

  103. Hank Roberts:

    Lessons learned, as suggested by professionals in public health:
    For example:
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2809%2961959-0/fulltext?_eventId=login
    (free registration required)

    Summary: http://www.prwatch.org/node/8767 which begins:

    “A newly-published article in The Lancet (available with free registration) summarizes the many similarities between tobacco control and climate policy, and how the lessons learned from tobacco control can be applied to the way countries approach climate policy….”

    Reprint permission:
    https://s100.copyright.com/AppDispatchServlet?publisherName=ELS&contentID=S0140673609619590&orderBeanReset=true
    Title: Climate policy: lessons from tobacco control
    Author: Maria Nilsson, Robert Beaglehole, Rainer Sauerborn
    Publication: The Lancet
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Date: 12 December 2009-18 December 2009, Copyright © 2009, Elsevier

  104. Ron Taylor:

    Gavin (et al), it is frustrating, but you have to keep hammering the truth home as best you can, even if it is being distorted and misrepresented. There will come a point when the pendulum begins to swing in the direction of truth as a result of what is observed in the real world. At that point it will be important to have a continuum of narrative that is smoothly congruent with the reality of climate change. Otherwise, it will just seem that you are jumping on a bandwagon. This will be important, not only for climate science, but for public acceptance of science in general.

  105. MalcolmT:

    As a non-scientist following the debate as best I can, I’d like to add my votes for the topic suggestions above:
    3 (peak oil)
    16 (nuclear)
    49 (validated predictions)

    Re 22 (countering media denialism): A couple of years ago Rupert Murdoch publicly said we would have to do something about AGW and committed his media empire to becoming carbon neutral. Is it too much to ask him to say that again, loudly and clearly, to all his senior journalistic staff?
    Sigh.

    Malcolm

  106. MarkB:

    I kind of like the topics of posts John at SkepticalScience has been doing lately (the last several months). Anything that can be added to these posts would be good.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com

    At the top of my holiday wish-list…

    As the decade comes to a close, it would be nice to have a summary post of the key advances in climate science over the last decade or so and the key challenges that remain. A summary with links to details would be good.

    It wasn’t more than a decade ago contrarians were claiming differences in surface/satellite records debunked global warming and that appears to be one issue mostly resolved. While climate scientists might be very familiar with this, I’m not sure it’s something the casual reader is aware of. I still see references to Spencer’s 1997 NASA article claiming it was cooling since 1979.

  107. john byatt:

    the denialists only see themselves in conflict with the climatologists,
    the actual number of the science fields that they are contrary to must be enormous, any list ?

  108. jyyh:

    john byatt, no the denialists don’t see themselves in conflict with climatologists, they are denying science. The actual number of science fields they are in denial is large, but as one denialist brings up only one topic at a time the comprehensive list of their inaccuracies/misrepresentations/falsehoods/utter lies about science would need to include references what was said and when and by whom.

  109. Jiminmpls:

    I’d like to see three permanent and ongoing discussion forums on

    1) The science (understanding the past, prediction the future)
    2) The effects
    3) Mitigation strategies

    I know this is a blog and not a discussion forum, but I don’t know of any other site with such a group of experts. If there is already such a forum, please let me know.

  110. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #87 Chuck Kutscher

    Yup. The way I see it they are just trying to buy time to line thier pockets as long as possible.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/ross-mckitrick

    I call it the McKi ‘Trick’

  111. Lawrence Coleman:

    Just seen an interesting article on ninemsn/world news about two recent studies by Chinese and US scientists studying the air concentrations and temp of the Pliocene era 3-5Mya. It shows using ocean sediment data that around that time the temp was 2-3C hotter than today and yet the CO2 level was the same or similar than it is today. They also say that the time difference between temp and CO2 was extremely close. What they project is that even if CO2 concentrations were maintained at 385ppm as they are at present we have still locked in a 2-3C further temp increase. If we allow CO2 to plateau @ 450-500ppm as the world powers that be, kicking and screaming slowly convert to renewables which is most likely the scenario we will follow anyway we can expect a much higer figure than that…Catastophic in it’s truest sense!

  112. Ron R.:

    Decentralized energy to the rescue. Why not use that energy which falls freely around each of us everyday?

    ScienceDaily (Nov. 22, 2009) — New scientific discoveries are moving society toward the era of “personalized solar energy,” in which the focus of electricity production shifts from huge central generating stations to individuals in their own homes and communities.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104122522.htm

    Journal article
    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ic901328v

  113. James Killen:

    #6
    matt, don’t shoot the messenger! Richard simply pointed out a worrying trend as evidenced by a recent poll. Nothing in what he wrote justifies the conclusions that he “holds opinions based on feelings” or even that he “feel[s] that the climate scientists are wrong.”

    There really is no need presumptively to treat people as enemies. And the trend Richard points to, whether it has been influenced by the CRU crack or not, is worrying.

  114. David Wright:

    I have no argument with scientists who study climate or evolution.
    My argument is with social engineers who think that they can command and control either one.

  115. Ron R.:

    john byatt #106 said: the denialists only see themselves in conflict with the climatologists,
    the actual number of the science fields that they are contrary to must be enormous, any list?

    They tend to work for rightwing “think tanks” that consistantly take the opposing position on any issue that might adversely impact on Big Business and industry. Thus these groups have fought the regulating of proven hazardous chemicals, they were against the Montreal Protocol, Support Big Tobacco etc. They really should put out a shingle “Liars-4-Hire“.

    Here is some documentation that used to appear on Wikipedia’s Global Warming Controversy page but which was fought vigourously by the denialists calling it an ad hominem attack. They finally succeeded in having it removed from the article. What it really amounted to is that they did not want people to know their other dubious achievements.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Global_warming_controversy&oldid=280378850#CFCs_and_ozone_layer

    So I would like to see a post on the other issues the skeptics have opposed. Maybe RC has already done one.

  116. Edward Greisch:

    16 Jaime Frontero: If you wish to understand the issue, please read the following 2 books:
    “Power to Save the World; The Truth About Nuclear Energy” by Gwyneth Cravens, 2007 This is a very easy to read and understand book. Gwyneth Cravens is a former antinuclear activist who took the time to find out the truth.
    and
    “Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy” by Comby. Available only from http://www.comby.org/livres/livresen.htm
    and the price is high. It is available in many languages, including English. Review of this book by the American Health Physics Society
    http://www.comby.org/media/articles/articles.in.english/HealthPhysics-NUC-July2002.htm

    And see the following web sites:
    http://www.cleansafeenergy.org/
    http://bravenewclimate.com/integral-fast-reactor-ifr-nuclear-power/
    http://www.ecolo.org
    http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com [This is a company that will manufacture 4000 nuclear reactors. Installation time will be very short.]
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=letters-dec-09&sc=CAT_SP_20091207
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_radiation
    http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev26-34/text/coalmain.html
    clearnuclear.blogspot.com/
    I an a retired federal employee with no income other than my federal retirement.
    Note that there are many books and web sites by coal industry fronts that tell you lies.

  117. Edward Greisch:

    18 José M. Sousa See “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas and
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00037A5D-A938-150E-A93883414B7F0000&sc=I100322

  118. John Mashey:

    1) I’d be pleased to see a little more frequent (if via guests, perhaps) discussions of biological indicators. I’ve had a number of discussions where someone has wanted to argue about UHI, bad stations, etc, etc … and I just start going down the list of biological indicators, noting that bark beetles don’t read thermometers, don’t generally live near cities, and are thriving further poleward, including chewing through B.C. into Alberta, etc. etc, etc. Some people are convinced easier by that sort of evidence.

    2) Katharine Hayhoe pointed me at Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, from U.S. Global Change Research Program. I haven’t had a chance to read it in detail yet, but a quick skim made me think it was a really nice document for a general audience, *especially* because they devoted 40+ pages to region-by-region impacts. I think a lot of people relate better to regional specifics than just “2C, 3C, 4C”. Anyway, I’d be interested in comments on the document, perhaps to discuss some in more detail than would have been appropriate there.

  119. dhogaza:

    Anyway, to the extent that it does still freeze anywhere and conditions are correct for precipitation, copious snowfall is entirely consistent with warming. More warming, more evaporation, more precipitation.

    There’s a reason nor’easters are called nor’easters. They start south and move north with the moisture they pick up, and dump it as snow when they get far enough north.

    It doesn’t have to be that cold to snow … actually it doesn’t snow if it’s too cold.

  120. Daniel J. Andrews:

    So I would like to see a post on the other issues the skeptics have opposed. Maybe RC has already done one.

    Ron R @115. Google Naomi Oreskes and American Denial of Global Warming. If I remember correctly, I think she covered some of this in her talk–the SDI, acid rain, tobacco smoke, 2nd hand smoke, ozone and CFCs with the ‘skeptics’ fighting against the consensus science each time–but its been a while since I watched it.

    You can link to it from desmogblog.com/node/3569. This blog also follows the spin and money trail, and a search there might bring up some more connections. They have a database http://www.desmogblog.com/global-warming-denier-database with the names of prominent denialists and their involvement in other dubious projects (e.g. see S. Fred Singer’s bio). That will also give you many of the answers you are looking for.

    Anyway, hope that helps.

  121. Jim B:

    @93 – Ray, I was merely responding to a particular request which was rather to be about banal generalities. I’m sorry you misunderstood that my intent was not to argue in detail with you because “someone out there on the internet is wrong”. I have not the time nor energy to engage someone like you questioning my honesty. Any casual reader can confirm my assertions about strong consensus for weak and/or vague claims and weak consensus on strong claims. All they have to do, really, is read many of those statements carefully.

    To simply reply to the one point about model reliability — this is obviously a large and complex issue — Levenson’s praise of “about how warm and about how fast” truly underscore simply the low standards of accuracy in the field. The “abouts” are only barely beyond statistical errors with relatively low p-values. Maturity in my mind and I expect the minds of most in science is more about precision — be it in p-values, standard errors/deviations or what have you — than how many decades or centuries a topic is under discussion. Maturity is not needing to rely on “balance of the evidence” style arguments because you have firmer ground. Yes, each individual researcher in his area thinks that unnecessary, but most compilers and compendiumizers of this work broadly seem to feel the need to make such arguments.

    Are the broad reviewers really savvy about the implicit Bonferroni multiple hypothesis type problem they have as they amass their balance of the evidence style conclusions often in environments with known heavy tails? I hope so, but wouldn’t it seem like a more “mature” field if that didn’t seem so critical to make a firm conclusions? Obviously, there is a spectrum of maturity. No scientist in any area would deny this. Indeed, the AR4 has plenty of sections about this or that being newer or rougher. My goodness. There is a multi-field comparison standard related to reasonably normalized error sizes compared to effect sizes.

    As a casual observation, your skepticism of my honesty and appeal to emotion and insulting language rather makes you seem to me in the group as bad as any of the deniers. The “us vs them” embattled mentality of all of this is why things like Climategate get the style of media coverage they do. You seem to be inclined to contribute to this polarization. Good luck with that. I am not a climate scientist, but I have seen enough diverse areas in my fourth research area now, that I am aware of the divergences of credibility different realms of human investigation possess and I have enough background to read and interpret research results, and no, I do not need to be a climate scientist in order to compare probabilities or errors-to-effects. Believe it or not, there is a fairly standard language of “credibility” in its broadest sense, and people can reasonably argue about all sorts of things related to decision making under uncertainty. Such things can be informed by more than science.

  122. Richard Ordway:

    Hank Roberts 103:

    Thanks for peer reviewed article: “Lessons learned, as suggested by professionals in public health:”

    …The following peer-reviewed, juried study is a collary involving climate change published in the peer reviewed American Journal of Public Health. It has stood up so far since 2007:

    It includes the words:

    “We explore the ways science has been misused, the attempts to measure the
    pervasiveness of this problem…”

    http://www.ajph.org/cgi/reprint/97/11/1939.pdf

    American Journal of Public Health | November 2007, Vol 97, No. 11

  123. Hank Roberts:

    I hope someone puts a reference to the article from The Lancet into the Wikipedia article that Ron R. mentions. Maybe with The Lancet as a reference, the denial will be less effective.

  124. Edward Greisch:

    Comment #1: Consider this: 14% of Americans are now openly secularist or irreligious or atheist or agnostic. None have been arrested for their non-belief. They even put up advertising on a bus without getting arrested. How different from a few centuries ago! The problem is that we need another 500 to 1000 years of social progress in the 5 years we have to rescue ourselves from climate disaster. All of the power players and all of the moneyed interests are on the other side, as usual. Yes, it is a race, and the odds are very bad. Q, on Star Trek, was correct: We are pathetic.

  125. john byatt:

    #105 tried that with Lindzen
    typical reply… what has smoking and asbestos got to do with global warming
    you cannot debate a creationist nor an AGW denier .
    we must answer their letters to the editor drivel , this is now happening in my region, the excellent articles here and at skeptical science, invaluable
    to achieving that. Sic em harry .

  126. Hank Roberts:

    Here’s one for the forestry people, if it leads to anything interesting — it’s about about assessing forest carbon capture:
    http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/08-0588.1

  127. Rod B:

    matt (6), you’re shooting the messenger (#1). You’re right that scientists can work away diligently in their lab to their heart’s content and not give a hoot about things like those poll figures. Then again some scientists would like someone to take some action based on their scientific discoveries — a whole ‘nother ball game.

  128. Paula Thomas:

    To the commenter who mentioned nuclear v solar can I recommend this website.

  129. Patrick 027:

    I always like discussions about atmopsheric circulation.

    What would be interesting:

    mechanisms involved in global warming or _____ – related shifts in NAM, SAM, extratropical storm tracks, jet streams, etc.

    How the quasistationary wave pattern would be affected

    how changes in latent heating, stability, low level and high level temperature gradients affect storm tracks and cyclo(genesis/lysis) and anticyclo(genesis/lysis) and the characteristics of horizontal size, motion, intensity, duration…

    —-

    Not that this is expected to happen, but among possible changes to modes of internal variability (changes in average indices, temporal textures, shapes of modes?? (I read recently that the El Nino – weak Atlantic hurricane season link could be changed by global warming)) – 1. could any modes of internal variability become phase locked to produce new prominent modes; 2. could new modes emerge (such as via higher SSTs making teleconnection patterns more sensitive to SST anomalies because of exponential increase in water vapor…); 3. could existing modes go ‘extinct’ (an example would be a permanent El Nino) or bifurcate into different modes…

    (Maybe not much of that would occur with great significance with regard to AGW, but certainly it could in response to more general climate change – ENSO would dissappear if the Pacific ocean shrinks enough (via continental drift), for example.)

  130. ccpo:

    “Any loss in the credibility of scientists, at the hands of ignorant politically motivated pundits, is a huge loss and liability for America as a whole. Huge segments of our lives and livelihood are based on science. A world where people only accept what they want to hear, and dismiss those who are better trained, educated and able to get to the truth of matters is not going to do anyone any good, be it on issues of climate change, pollution, health and medicine, or anything else. This is probably the second great casualty of the Climate Wars, the fact that the ignorant have learned how to wield their ignorance as a powerful weapon, to the extent that trust in the educated and informed has been dangerously eroded at a time in our civilization when we can least afford it.

    Comment by Bob — 20 December 2009 @ 12:15 PM”

    I would like to encourage all here to consider that this behavior would not likely be successful in a less complex society. This is not like times in the past where some new thinking came along and upset the status quo as with gravity or the sun being the center of the solar system. No, AGW was the dominant understanding that has since become undermined by the intentional obfuscation of vested interests.

    Because the topic is something that a layperson cannot easily get though on their own, they are dependent on scientists. The funny thing is, in no other field are scientists so summarily dismissed. Only climate. Why? Vested interests. And laypeople also have vested interests. What they don’t have is the time or inclination or skills to determine who is telling the truth and who is lying. How can they? If we all spent the time to do so, little would get done. There’s just too much going on. Life is too complex.

    The entire system is too complex. Look at the economy. Look at this. Look at the crappy political environment where both politicians and the general public can pretend the president is a terrorist and is taking away all our freedoms by supporting health care and climate mitigation, even as the president who did take away many freedoms was praised.

    The problems we face are systemic, and not just the climate system.

    I suggest, as I long have, that the solutions we seek do not exist at the governmental level. Walk outside. Look your neighbors in the eye. Start a conversation. Let local action become neighborhood action, that become town or city, that state, that regional.

    Send Mr./Mrs. Smith to Washington. Or just tell any level of government that refuses to listen to sense to just get the hell out of the way.

    Cheers

  131. ccpo:

    “Bringing up my old idea for a ‘climatology legal defense fund’. The way libel-actionable content is plastered all over the Internet today, I would expect this to be a self-financing operation…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 20 December 2009 @ 12:16 PM”

    Since the scientists won’t do this for themselves, I’d like to hear a lawyer’s take on a class action suit.

    Cheers

  132. Jeff Boarman:

    Hello, I would like to see a post on how the ERBE data, factual results made from satellites, (not models) shows that the Earth is radiating more heat back in space than the UN and IPCC is modeling.

    If this is true, even in CO2 levels were to double, the effect on temperature would be many times less than what the UN and IPCC predict.

    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-7715-Portland-Civil-Rights-Examiner~y2009m8d18-Carbon-Dioxide-irrelevant-in-climate-debate-says-MIT-Scientist

    [Response: Lindzen’s paper is not likely to be robust, and the diagnostic he looked at doesn’t appear to be very indicative of long term sensitivity. This will be discussed in the literature in due time, but unfortunately it isn’t the kind of simple issue that can be easily tackled in a blog post. Unlike the graphs in your link which are extremely misleading (to say the least). – gavin]

  133. John Mashey:

    Q specifically for Rasmus Benestad:

    Might you shed any light on the editorial process/staff at Springer-Praxis? The combination below of the Leroux book 2) and the Rapp b) and c) do not seem encouraging.

    1) Springer-Praxis published several editions of your book, which seemed sensible. Their Advisory Board is listed. Your book was tagged “Subject Advisory editor – John Mason”, who appears to be a British astronomy person.

    2) He also shows up in the same role in 2005’s Global warming: myth or reality : the erring ways of climatology”
    By Marcel Leroux, which was discussed slightly in RC a few years ago.

    3) Mason again shows up in that role for 3 books by Donald Rapp, a long-time JPL person, who says:
    “I have surveyed the wide field of global climate change energy and I am familiar with the entire literature of climatology.”

    a) Human missions to Mars: enabling technologies for exploring the red planet, 2007. It seems plausible that a senior JPL person might know this topic.

    b) Assessing climate change: temperatures, solar radiation, and heat balance, 2008.

    This begins “Global-warming alarmists believe…” and references many papers, including Tim Ball @ Marshall Institute site, Bob Foster @ Lavoisier, Gerlich & Tscheuschner, several Idso’s, several Jaworowki, marlo Lewis, Monckton, the OISM paper by Robinsons & Soon, etc, etc. The Front Matter & Back Matter (including references) are online here. A second edition appears in a few weeks.

    c) Ice Ages and Interglacials: Measurements, Interpretation and Models, 2009. front and back online here.
    I haven’t looked at this much, but the preface includes:
    “However, the connection between CO2 emissions and global warming is far from firm. Because the CO2-warming connection has been heavily politicized, much of the literature is biased.”
    He references your book .. .but also Michael Crichton, Soon&Baliunas, Douglass+Cristy (to appear in E&E), etc.
    ===
    As to why this is of particular interest right now, see Deep Climate, or Science Bypass, in which 3 astronautics/engineering professors (Rapp, Kunc, Gruntman) @ USC were in a group looking for California & federal funding for climate research, but had signed the APS petition that basically claims to nullify existing climate research, a strange juxtaposition.

  134. Edward Greisch:

    36 Spaceman Spiff: The Great Death, alias the End-Permian alias the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction was CO2 driven by a super-volcano. It was the biggest extinction event recorded in the rocks in the past 600 million years. But it was slower than what we are doing. It took a million years to erupt something times 1000 cubic kilometers of lava. Hence the fear and terror felt by people like me.

  135. James McDonald:

    Why is it so hard to find a terse, cogent explanation of the CRU controversy?

    On one side, you have right wing blowhards spouting short quotes out of context and proclaiming this is “proof” of an AGW conspiracy.

    On the other side, it is maddeningly difficult to get a terse, cogent explanation of the quoted material in context. Instead, there are long rambling posts supporting the scientists, equally long and convoluted explanations of minutae associated with the research, or short but tangential remarks that don’t address the specific quotes being bandied about.

    What I would like to see is something like the following, but written by someone who has really and truly delved into the matter and can speak with authority, and a consensus among experts that it is a correct characterization.

    The “trick” was to replace inferred values computed from suspicious tree ring data with numbers taken from thermometers.
    The suspicious computer code was never used to produce results for any peer-reviewed paper.

    If that’s accurate, maybe fine tune it. If it’s wrong, then write something true but equally terse that captures the essential point.
    But make it something that can be read and comprehended in 30 seconds. I refuse to believe that cannot be done, and cannot understand why it hasn’t been (at least not in any of the 100 places I’ve looked or half dozen emails to researchers that have not been answered).

    Sorry to rant, but this has gotten beyond absurd. There are many people out there willing to spread the word, but you have to give them something manageable to run with.

  136. Anne van der Bom:

    The recent post (Are the CRU data “suspect”? An objective assessment.) by Kevin and Eric only tells half the story.

    I would like to see a more in-depth analysis on what sort of issues you have to deal with regarding temperature measurements and how and why you need to correct for them.

  137. John Mashey:

    This is somewhat about climate science, but more along the lines of education, and what’s appropriate for different levels of education.
    Specifically, perhaps RC readers might take a look at The Environmental Literacy Council, specifically Air, Climate & Weather. Look at links at the right under Climate, and sample them. Also take a look at the Council itself.

    I’m looking for opinions on ELC. Does anyone think anything odd is going on here?

  138. AlC:

    http://forums.intpcentral.com/showthread.php?t=38867
    Richard Lindzen has apparently written another Op-Ed piece in the WSJ 12/1/2009. It has been a busy time here with the stolen emails and then Copenhagen, but maybe there is time now to comment on it.

  139. Edward Greisch:

    Amazingly, CNN aired a show called “Planet in Peril” on global warming on 20 December 2009. It was a decent showing of what is presently happening to polar bears and people living on islands that are just barely above sea level.

    I think it was NBC that had a show on a possible future 100 years where life got gradually harder due to global warming. I don’t remember the date.

    These are progress.

  140. Bart Verheggen:

    Interesting topics for posts:

    An update on sea level rise estimates, both from the perspective of equilibrium SLR to be expected in the long run (e.g. Rohling et al, Nature Geoscience 2009, and Kopp et all, Nature 2009) and the speed at which it may take place.

    What ‘early warning signals’ might we have, that signal big changes ahead (before we’re in the midst of it)?.

  141. Completely Fed Up:

    “We explore the ways science has been misused, the attempts to measure the
    pervasiveness of this problem…”

    Yeah, science HAS been misused.

    Plimer’s work, for example. The hijacking of skepticism by those who are selectively credulous. Etc.

  142. Richard Pauli:

    Someone asked about permafrost melt… here is a nice visualization of how that could progress http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2009/12/time-lapse-video-of-arctic-coastline.html
    “…northern coastline of Alaska midway between Point Barrow and Prudhoe Bay is eroding by up to one-third the length of a football field annually because of a “triple whammy” of declining sea ice, warming seawater and increased wave activity, according to new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.”

    Would really like to see RC discuss some tipping point scenarios derived from climate models.

  143. Completely Fed Up:

    “The debate over the largest tax increase in history and the direct inflated costs of energy of all kinds resulting from legislation currently in the senate.”

    There wasn’t much debate over the biggest tax cuts in American History, was there? That gutted the surplus into a deep debt which led to…

    not much debate on the biggest failure of a war since WW1 and the Somme. Which was surrounded by…

    not much debate in the passing of the worst bill in the History of the US, undoing what was the ONE singular achievement of the US, the US Bill Of Rights: The laughably named “PATRIOT Act”.

    If I were a truther I’d suspect that Tony B and GW Bush were deliberately corrupt and incompetent so that when they lost (as GW had to: term limits) they would poison the water for any political deal on AGW.

    Tony did that already with his Cash For Questions with the newly minted commercial Lords. The Lords had been a thorn in his side, stopping populist but ill thought out bills passing.

    If I were a truther.

  144. richard zurawski:

    Its a war on science and it is very important development. It is not just a blip created by the emails hacked from the East Anglia computers. This has been going on for years and continues in other areas of science as well. The closing of SIPI, the Scientist’s Institute for Public, Information by Reagan back in the 1990s, losing the science advisor position to the president, the firing of all CNN science reporters this year, the creationists vs Darwinism, the resurgence of pseudo medicine. It’s a positive feedback loop where the science is increasing diluted, over simplified and treated as subject to rhetoric. A combination of language, media consolidation and vested interests are, because of the low threshold of science in the public, fostered by the media, able to make pseudoscience an alternative in the public’s mind. We are all losing unless we can role this back.

  145. Stephan Lewandowsky:

    Re #25, there appears to be a response (of unknown provenance) there: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0905/0905.0445.pdf

    As far as I can tell this has not attracted a response/rebuttal to date.

  146. CM:

    Sandra Kay (#50) said: “There is only so much crying wolf that people will take before ignoring the fear mongering.”

    That goes for doubt-mongering and crying “fraud”, too.

    Think of all the accusations and innuendo that have been launched in the CRU e-mail affair. Yet nothing has come to light from the stolen files, as far as I have managed to follow the debate, that will require a single paper to be retracted, a single public data set to significantly corrected, nor a single IPCC finding to be changed.

    After this, the public might be so inured to groundless accusations and spin that a significant percentage won’t even buy it if some climate scientist someday *were* caught red-handed committing scientific fraud.

  147. CM:

    I second all of Marcus’s (#31) suggestions for future posts. That should keep you busy for a while in the new year.

    Meanwhile, may I suggest you enjoy your holidays. They have been richly earned, especially after your past month and a half of standing up for science against an exceptionally vicious campaign, consistently providing the most judicious commentary in any medium.

    Before the CRU hack, I used to respect climate scientists.
    Now I admire you.

  148. Silk:

    “This community has experience in scientific research, and can immediately discern that an enterprise like the IPCC designed to produce a consensus could not be more poisonous to honest scientific debate. This community separates itself from any political agenda, and will follow the truth wherever it may lead. We applaud and encourage your sincere participation.”

    Yet this ‘community’ can’t manage to publish any papers in peer reviewed journals and resorts to publishing trash in E&E that a Freshman Physics student could knock down in 5 minutes.

    The ‘community’ can be safely ignored, by scientists (though not politicians) because this ‘community’ is not a scientific community.

    And eventually, when the impacts of climate change get so severe that the public start shouting “Why didn’t you tell us?”, “Why didn’t we do more?”, the deniers, and liars, and obfuscators will crawl back under their stones.

  149. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim B., I’m sorry, you must be new to the Internet. Here’s the thing “Jim”: On the Intertubes, ANYONE can come on here claiming to be a physicist. An apellation such as “Jim B” makes it impossible to verify one’s bona fides. Indeed you could have been inspired to take that moniker by what you were drinking at the time. And in your second missive, I see the same vague accusations and aspersions I saw in the first. I see absolutely nothing that supports your claim of having any expertise in physics.

    In fact, the only technical point regards a technical term in statistical inference–which any grad student in the physical sciences worth his salt is aware of, whether or not he could name the Italian Mathematician who treated the phenomenon. In fact, a psychologist or a lawyer who knows how to interrogate an expert witness would also be aware of the phenomenon.

    You seem to be ignorant of the fact that anthropogenic causation of the current warming epoch is a PREDICTION of the consensus theory of Eart’s climate.

    You refuse to engage in a serious discussion of the very real successes of climate models, preferring instead to dismiss them with an imperious wave of the hand. That’s not how science works, Bunky. If you make an assertion, you back it up, preferably with peer-reviewed research.

    And as a matter of fact, it is US vs. Them–it is science vs. anti-science. Climate science, Evolution, Medical science, Environmental science–even physics and cosmology–are all under attack by well funded interests who don’t want to confront the uncomfortable truths science makes us confront. So you will forgive me for my skepticism, but YOU have yet to establish which side YOU are on.

  150. chris:

    re #12 REL 20 December 2009 at 12:29 PM (apols for the long post!)

    It’s worth pointing out a couple of things with respect to that video, and considering Alley’s Greenland summit ice core temperature data in the light of our current understanding of the Greenland summit temperature evolution over the last 100-150 years.

    Inspection of Alley’s data in the NCDC archive [*] shows that the most recent temperature data point for the GISP 2 core is for around 150 years before 2000 (the last temperature point in the core is at -95 years BP and BP refers to “before 1950” .

    According to the reconstruction this temperature was -31.6 oC.

    In the intervening period, the Greenland ice sheet temperature (2 metre surface height) has risen by 1.5 oC or more, averaged over the whole ice sheet [**]. It’s likely that the ice sheet summit area where GISP 2 is, has warmed more than this (NASA GISS analysis puts the warming at the Grenland summit where the GISP 2 core was drilled to more than 2 oC [***]

    So if we are comparing like with like [i.e. the temperature at the Greenland ice sheet summit at GISP 2 at the “height” of the MWP, say, (-30.5 oC), and the temperature at the Greenland ice sheet summit at GISP 2 at the turn of the 20th century, say, (-31.6 oC)], we should really consider the temperature change since then at the same location. This is at least 1.5 oC warmer and likely at least 2 oC warmer than 100-150 years ago.

    So current temperatures at the Greenland summit at the GISP 2 site are likely already warmer than for the height of the MWP (by 0.5 to 1.0 oC or more) according to the Alley’s data, and taking account of the temperature record of the last century.

    The Greenland summit temperature were likely somewhat warmer deeper back into the earlier periods of the Holocene. The evidence indicates that the orbital properties of the earth that drove the world out of the last ice age transition resulted in an “overshoot” of temperature, and that the N. hemisphere temperature has fallen somewhat since then. A recent analysis indicates that the Arctic regions have cooled extremely slowly through the mid to late Holocene, at a rate of the order of 0.02-0.03 oC per 100 years, and this is consistent with established N. hemisphere insolation changes due to precession of the solstices around Earth’s elliptical orbit [****].

    In the last 100-odd years this Arctic cooling trend of around 0.02-0.03 oC per century, has turned into a warming trend of around 1 – 1.4 oC per century. Note that we expect the Greenland temperature to continue to rise. Box et al [**] note that while the Greenland temperatures have generally risen in phase with the N. hemisphere temperature rise during the last 100-odd years, Greenland’s temperatures are currently lagging behind the N. hemisphere, and if they were to “catch up” as expected, the overall Greenland temperatures should be an additional ~ 1.0 oC warmer than they currently are…

    [*]ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/gisp2/isotopes/gisp2_temp_accum_alley2000.txt

    [**]
    Box JE et al. (2009) Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Air Temperature Variability: 1840-2007 J. Climate 22, 4029-4049

    [***]
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/

    (make your own map – e.g. compare the current (5 year temperature average to the 5 year temperature average around the start of the 20th century)

    [****]
    D. S. Kaufman et al. (2009) Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling Science 325, 1236-1239

  151. Anne van der Bom:

    Mesa,

    that CO2 […] can certainly (and probably has) biased the climate in a warming direction

    You are hereby nominated as contender for the ‘euphemism of the year’ award. ;-)

  152. NoWayOut:

    Although it (unfortunately) still is a bit outside the “standard” climate change debate, i’d love to see an update on ocean acidification and/or in general on the ocean sink. I can’t understand why it is so neglected.

  153. John Mason:

    Gavin et al,

    You asked for ideas for new posts. Can I suggest one please?

    As a bit of a severe weather photography buff I am often asked what events will be “caused” by AGW. Now, I reply that AGW does not cause weather events as such but instead it influences them and their outcome – an example being the recent Cumbrian floods. In this case, a well-understood synoptic set-up – the Warm Conveyor – gave record-breaking totals. I am at ease with suggesting that these will trend towards ever higher precip intensities as things warm up. But how about convective storms? Has any work been done that has modelled trends with thunderstorms, and especially with respect to the essential wind-shear that is required to generate supercells and tornadoes? Other than suggesting that convective storms that form in the tropical maritime airmasses that sometimes make it to the UK are liable to generate more intense precipitation due to greater available moisture, I know not what to say on the matter either way!

    So a post delving into current effects of AGW would be of great interest.

    Cheers – John

  154. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Alexandre,

    Brazil has done more than most other countries to fight global warming by switching its cars from gasoline to sugar cane ethanol. On the other hand, it is allowing ranchers and loggers to cut down the Amazon rain forest far too rapidly and too indiscriminately, adding to the problem.

  155. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Mesa: There is a large community of scientifically educated individuals whose intuition does not buy the positive feedback, disaster scenario heating arguments on a planet where difficult periods of climate have been typically marked by severe cold…

    BPL: People who decide scientific issues on intuition tend to make large, glaring mistakes. It is intuitively obvious that the world is flat on average, that the sun and the whole sky orbit the Earth, that when you push on something it goes faster in proportion to how hard you push, that women’s menstrual periods are related to phases of the moon, that some races are more intelligent than others, and that there’s no way a people as primitive as the ancient Egyptians could have built the pyramids without help. Surprise! All those intuitions turn out to be wrong.

  156. Spaceman Spiff:

    re. #134 Edward Greisch

    Yeah, I am vaguely aware of such catastrophic events having occurred, but that wasn’t my question. Here it is restated:

    Many of the past climate variations were driven via radiative forcings due to variations in the absorbed solar radiation (Earth spin axis/orbit characteristics). Presumably, this coupled with ice/albedo and water vapor feedbacks eventually led to pumping/removing of carbon from our atmosphere, acting as yet another feedback (it’s likely more complicated than that, but never mind). But now we are using carbon as a hammer to Earth’s climate (we’re coming at it from the reverse direction), and I wondered what this difference informs us regarding predictions of future climate (e.g., climate sensitivity to CO2, or the H20 feedback effect to the C02 forcing, for example). I have a substantial physics/maths background and a general interest in planetary climates, I am asking an honest question.

    Thanks!

  157. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jim B: it [climate science] strikes me as a science in relative infancy compared to physics.

    Let’s see… Aristotle divided the world into torrid, temperate, and frigid zones around 300 BC. Torricelli invented the barometer in the early 1600s and discovered that pressure falls with altitude. Hadley mapped the Earth’s large-scale atmospheric motions in the 1750s. Fourier showed that sunlight alone couldn’t keep the Earth as warm as it is in 1824. Tyndall identified the major greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere as water vapor and carbon dioxide in 1859. And Arrhenius proposed the theory of anthropogenic global warming, complete with quantitative predictins, in 1896.

    On the other hand, while Newton came up with good mechanics in the late 1600s and electromagnetism and celestial mechanics were well developed by the 1900s, quantum theory wasn’t even proposed until Planck suggested it in 1900, it wasn’t put in an easily usable form until Heisenberg’s work in the 1920s, and the theories of relativity weren’t published until 1905 (special) and 1915 (general). So you could say modern climatology is older than modern physics, though of course the two fields are intimately intertwined. They both deal with reality, now, don’t they?

  158. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jim B,

    You want p values? Try here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

    I have to agree with Ray. I don’t think you’re really a physicist. I’ve never known a REAL physicist who wouldn’t give his name when talking to colleagues, even in another field. Ray is a Ph.D. physicist. I’ve just got a bachelor’s in the field, but even when I was a teenager writing to astronomers in the USSR and RSA, they were always polite enough to call me “Doctor” and even send me reprints with commentary. You, on the other hand, have yet to identify your name, where you got your degree, where you work, or even what your specific field is.

    And as for precision… do you know for how many, many decades astrophysicists couldn’t agree whether the value of the Hubble constant was closer to 50 km sec^-1 Mpc^-1 or 100? Is that what you call “precision?” And let’s not forget that the early values were 500-600. It took what, 70 years, to pin the value down with 5% error bars?

  159. Barton Paul Levenson:

    ccpo: in no other field are scientists so summarily dismissed.

    BPL: Evolutionary biology?

  160. Greg Leisner:

    RC,

    There is lots of talk about the temperature of the atmosphere and some about the temperature of the ocean’s upper layer. There is almost no talk about the temperature of the land’s surface and nothing about Earth’s total surface heat content.

  161. drew3000:

    1. Don’t get too drawn into the bickering. Keep with the science blogging. While it’s probably not a good idea to ignore the skeptics entirely, let’s give equal time to the facts rather than the “sides” of the debate. Show the science that refutes the claims, but don’t blow them out of proportion.

    2. Posts on some of the supposed “solutions.” I’d like to see some science posts on the impact of nuclear energy sources as well as possible outcomes from carbon emission trading schemes, both of which seem to put the problems off rather than dealing with them.

    3. Open source data projects. It would be good to see more innovation in mashed up projectsions based on the data, using google maps and predicted scenarios and that sort of thing.

    Happy new years folks.

  162. Ray Ladbury:

    James MacDonald asks, “Why is it so hard to find a terse, cogent explanation of the CRU controversy?”

    Because providing context for anything takes more time and space than taking it out of context and constructing a lie in which to embed it. Because people would rather believe what they want to believe than confront reality. Put another way: Reality is more complicated and often more disturbing than bedtime stories.

  163. Ed Hawkins:

    Re #53 (MapleLeaf)

    At a recent meeting of the Royal Meteorological Society (UK), Adrian Simmons from ECMWF presented exactly what you suggest. He showed global mean temperature from ERA-40 (and ERA-Interim) reanalysis estimated in two different ways. Firstly he subsampled the surface in the same manner as HadCRUT, and got essentially the same answer for global temperatures over the past 40 years. He then averaged over the whole surface and got a larger warming in recent years. In fact, both 2005 and 2006 were warmer than 1998 in that reanalysis, mostly because HadCRUT does not include the Arctic.

    http://www.rmets.org/events/detail.php?ID=4346
    The details of the presentation are not online yet, but are in a submitted paper.

  164. Duae Quartunciea:

    I have a suggestion, if this is do-able. You currently have RSS feeds for the main blog, and another for the comments. Would you consider having an RSS feed for the “inline response” comments?

    I find following your inline responses are a useful way to get a bit more out of the blog.

  165. Cinoom:

    I would like to hear RealClimate take on peak oil.

  166. Completely Fed Up:

    “#
    165
    Cinoom says: I would like to hear RealClimate take on peak oil.”

    Try “The History Of Oil” by Robert Newmann

  167. Anne van der Bom:

    Paula Thomas,

    ‘Without hot air’ is nuclear propaganda. Prof. MacKay holds renewables to a higher standard than nuclear.

    Let me explain. In the first chapters he starts building his stacks of consumption vs. generation. He ends up with a 125 kWh per person per day consumption stack and then concludes renewables can never accomplish that. Current electricity consumption in the UK is ~18 kWh per person per day.

    But see what happens when he introduces the nuclear option. The 125 kWh per person per day is nowhere to be seen. All of a sudden he switches to a much more reasonable 18 kWh per person per day, based on current electricity consumption.

    Ask yourself why he does that.

    The other misleading part is consistently equalling electricity to heat. We all know that electricity is a higher grade form of energy than heat from the burning of fossil fuels. This difference is very easily dismissed by him.

    I do not say his facts are wrong, but they are presented in a misleading way.

  168. Completely Fed Up:

    “There will come a point when the pendulum begins to swing in the direction of truth as a result of what is observed in the real world”

    The problem is that will come so late it’s far too late to stop the collapse.

    Although it would be nice to rub Mad Max’s face in it and go “SEE YOU WERE WRONG”, it’s not going to make up for the end of the world (as we know it). E.g. if we’re committed to 50 years warming and we delay another 20 as BAU, that could tie in 100 years warming no problem.

    That puts us at “West Antarctic and most of Greenland melt”. NYSE and the LSE will be borked, land will become a premium. And many of those pissing in the pool will have gotten out “scott free”.

    It’s not a good trade.

  169. Jim B::

    Ray, frankly to frame the issue as me not wanting to discuss the “successes” of the area assumes what you are trying to prove so dramatically way that I don’t even know how to respond.

    Bart – your reply is fun, of course, but non-responsive. I was specific what I meant by maturity which is not a timeline. I never said nor implied in any way that climate was not “dealing with reality”.

    So! It seems the motto of the day is strawmen, perhaps in an attempt to bait, and perhaps that is simply the motto of the internet, but it seems prudent to now bow out. I suppose you are both just “staying on message”. Not having much familiarity with the comment threads here a quick look back makes me think you both somewhat in the realm of shedding more heat than light, at least in your tone. Small sample bias in this conclusion admitted, but I do not have time for a more thorough vetting. Good luck to both of you, though.

  170. Ray Ladbury:

    ccpo, Your post #130 raises an interesting point–dealing with the complexity of climate change for a lay audience.

    Yes, the physics of greenhouse gasses is complicated–thermal radiation, line broadening, collisional relaxation, equipartition, etc.

    However, what climate change really comes down to is energy balance–at equilibrium, you have it and temperature is stable, while now we have a mechanism that takes a chunk out of the outgoing radiation, so the system MUST heat up.

    How much must it heat up? Well, the short answer is until we have energy balance again. The long answer is again complicated, involving equilibrium between many heat reservoirs, complicated feedbacks, etc. It could be a career understanding all of these intricacies. However, fortunately, we already know what the answer to this question is to a large extent: Every time you double CO2, you raise the average global temparature by 3 degrees. This is known empirically and constrained by 10 different lines of evidence:

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

    What is more, we know that CO2 sensitivity can’t be as low as 2 degrees per doubling given the same evidence.

    I don’t see anything there that I couldn’t explain to an intelligent 12 year old. I don’t see that this high-level explanation does violence to the truth. And it is evidence based, so any denialist disputing it would be forced to confront the evidence–which, as we know, they are reluctant to do, for obvious reasons. What do you think?

  171. CM:

    I *wouldn’t* like to hear RealClimate take on peak oil. Or solar vs. nuclear. The energy business is not their specialty.

    Well, actually, if the RC contributors did comment on these issues, I’d probably read with interest, because they’re bright people, probably follow these issues a bit, and can do the math. But I don’t think it’s the best use of anybody’s time.

  172. Hank Roberts:

    > I find following your inline responses are a useful
    > way to get a bit more out of the blog.

    Yes yes yes yes.
    —-

    And, how about a sticky button at the top of each page that says “Nuclear Power, Boon or Bane? (This Way to the Egress!)”–> linked to BraveNewClimate

  173. Christopher Hogan:

    I’d like to see an update on arctic methane. You last prior posts were fairly sanguine on the issues of catastrophic release from menthane hydrates, and on the overall role of arctic GHG releases in amplifying global warming. I’d like to see if your judgment about these issues has changed.

    Second, I’d like to see a general overview of the long-term quasi-period cycles that get mentioned from time to time (pacific decadal oscillation; atlantic multidecadal oscillation). I occasionally do time-series econometric work, and I find it hard to grasp how people can claim evidence for (e.g.) a 90-year cycle out of a instrumental record that is only (say) 150 years long. (But I’m not so interested in it that I want to ferret out the answers myself, so I was hoping for a cogent discussion here.)

    Third, since the decline of the arctic sea extent seems to be one of those unabiguous, hard numbers; and since the ice extent is down to almost exactly to the low 2007 level (as of today); and since the predictions for “an ice free summer Arctic” vary so widely, and since the US Navy appears to have picked 2030 as the date to play for an ice-free arctic; and since the information on age and thickness suggests that the decline is greater than the data on extent alone suggest; … well, I’d like to see a nice synthesis of current information.

  174. Blair Dowden:

    My questions:

    1) The most basic consequence of global warming is the poleward shifting of climate zones. This means an expanded tropical zone, which I understand has already been detected. My question is does the semi-tropical dry zone only change position, or does it also expand in size?

    2) Climate models predict increased intensity of precipitation, because warmer air holds more moisture. In today’s world precipitation intensity increases as we move toward the equator. Is the predicted increase only because more of the Earth will be warmer, or is there some reason that a region with a given temperature in the new climate regime will receive more precipitation than a region in the old climate regime with the same temperature?

    3) Ocean acidification due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is reducing the pH of the oceans. This is supposed to reduce the ability of organisms to produce calcium carbonate shells, impacting plankton and coral reefs. Precipitation of calcium carbonate from dead plankton is a major cause of carbon removal, creating limestone deposits.

    Carbon dioxide levels have been much higher in the past, particularly during the Cretaceous. Yet there is a lot of evidence for Cretaceous coral reefs, and a lot of limestone and chalk deposits, as a visit to the south coast of England demonstrates. The explanation I have heard is that is because the rapid rate of carbon dioxide increase means the ocean does not have time to transfer the carbon dioxide to the deep ocean, so the surface gets acidified. So my question is how long does it take the ocean to turn over, so it comes into equilibrium? If it is less than a few million years, then the Cretaceous ocean had plenty of time to come into equilibrium, and the entire ocean should have been more acidic than today. Which does not seem consistent with coral and limestone formation.

  175. David Miller:

    I’m with #74 and 83 and others – I’d like to know more about what is likely to happen to NH weather systems as a result of the arctic ice cap melting.

  176. Christopher Hogan:

    I’d also like to know more about the effects of soot and other particulates. My proximate interest is that I’ve converted to heating with wood. Now I wonder whether the sootiness of wood fuel relative to natural gas fuel offsets the fact that it’s biomass not fossil fuel, and if so, by how much. I had the impression that the particles in woodsmoke were fairly large (and thus ought to drop out locally, when emitted from a residential chimney), but I’d really like to see a discussion of the issue.

    Not just my small issue, but the global issues as well. I see that a significant portion of arctic warming has been attributed to particulates, but I’d like to have somebody explain how. Intellectually, I grasp that it can change the albedo of the snow it falls on. And I get that most of it is from burning coal. And I see that forest fires contribute. But am I adding to that with my modern, airtight, high-efficiency woodstove? If so, if there any way for me, the lay reader, to estimate the net benefit (if any) of converting from natural gas to wood.

    As an aside, the one great advantage of heating with wood is that I am constantly reminded of how many tons of fuel I consume over a typical winter. Whereas, with natural gas, the mass of the fuel is similar, but it’s totally obscured. Having to tote around a couple of cords of wood gives me a much more serious attitude toward air leaks and insulation.

  177. Knut Witberg:

    To Ray Ladbury @ 97
    You write:
    “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.”
    With other words: from that “huge pile of data” you can select data as you please to illustrate “the truth”!

    Thanks Ray, I believe that you have most convincingly illustrated my point.

    I am not a “post-modernist” regarding my view on science. If you read what I have written, you will see that I acknowledge that there is a “truth”, only that we don’t know the (exact) truth. When we want to get closer to that exact truth, we just can’t discard data as we please in order to illustrate the truth, simply because we don’t know that (exact) truth. It may be an effcient illustration, but it is not proper science. I am surprised that you have problems with understanding this.

    [edit – not]
    and I will therefore present my own background. I have an MBA in economics and statistics and I have a degree in mechanical engineering. I have taught statistics at an university and I been doing research. From my background, you can probably figure out that yes – I have done Maximum Likelihood analysis and estimates. As I am sure you appreciate, statisticians are very seldom “post-modernists” in their views on science, that would be schizophrenic. They are trained in the choice of methods and in meticulous scientific procedures.

  178. Completely Fed Up:

    “Carbon dioxide levels have been much higher in the past, particularly during the Cretaceous. Yet there is a lot of evidence for Cretaceous coral reefs, and a lot of limestone and chalk deposits,”

    When the sun was cooler and the corals differently evolved. Remeber, even crocodiles and horseshoe crabs have evolved even though they have apparently been unchanged for millions of years.

    Your genes have to run fast just to keep still.

    “1) The most basic consequence of global warming is the poleward shifting of climate zones.”

    And it’s seen.

    Or are gardeners in on the scam (and why?):

    http://www.ahs.org/publications/heat_zone_map.htm

  179. Completely Fed Up:

    Ray, the problem is that if you simplify the climate then the denialists complain where you’re missing out “important information that proves you’re wrong”. If you fill the gaps in the simple argument, you’re going to lose the layman.

    Heads they win, tails they lose.

    I think the only way to win is not play.

  180. meteor:

    hi gavin

    sorry, but this is the second post I sent concerning past temperatures reconstruction.
    for the latter this concerned Man et al 2009, and I asked why the proxies temperature did’nt go to the end of the figure 1 graph.
    Is the reconstruction problem not interesting since few days, or, more likely, is there a technical problem, another, which avoid my posts to appear on the comments list?

    [Response: The methodology is described in in the Supplemental Material and in Mann et al (2008). As I understand it, these methods use a Climate-Field-Reconstruction approach which uses the proxy data to fill in for the instrumental data – but only where this doesn’t already exist. Thus there is no ‘proxy reconstruction’ in the modern period. However, you can tell how well this procedure works using separate validation/calibration intervals (for instance fig 2 in Mann et al 2008). – gavin]

  181. Hank Roberts:

    The UK Met Office press release
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2009/pr20091218b.html
    “… The study, carried out by ECMWF (the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) with input from the Met Office, performs a new calculation of global temperature rise.”

    points to this site, though I didn’t find a press release there:
    http://www.ecmwf.int/research/

  182. SecularAnimist:

    ccpo wrote: “The funny thing is, in no other field are scientists so summarily dismissed. Only climate. Why? Vested interests.”

    Parapsychologists are often “summarily dismissed”. Indeed, I would venture to predict that perhaps a majority of the scientists from other fields who comment on these pages will be inclined to “summarily dismiss” parapsychologists. They might even be inclined to suspect parapsychologists as a group of fraud or incompetence and to take offense at the very mention of the field in the same breath as climate science. Yet these are attitudes analagous to those of AGW deniers towards climate scientists, typically based on just as little actual knowledge of the science and the scientists involved, and typically “informed” by organized “skeptic” groups that are hostile to the science itself. Lord Monckton, meet The Amazing Randi. Heritage Foundation, meet CSICOP.

    And why the hostility? Again, “vested interests”. But obviously not vested financial interests as is the case with climate science — rather, vested ideological interest in a world view that classifies certain types of human experiences as a priori “supernatural” and therefore illegitimate for scientific study, and thus views any scientific study of them as necessarily illegitimate.

    As to possible subjects for RealClimate articles:

    I am particularly concerned about drought. It seems to me that quite a lot of attention is given to questions about sea level rise. And yet, it seems likely that global warming-driven drought is likely to become a serious, even catastrophic, problem for human civilization long before sea level does. Even in what I understand to be the plausible worst-case scenarios for sea level rise, it would take decades before we would be evacuating major coastal cities. But a decade-long, continent-wide megadrought could strike any of the world’s major agricultural regions any time, and we could have worldwide food shortages or even famine within a few years. There are signs that this is already starting to happen is some areas.

    So I am very interested to know what climate science can tell us about the prospects for drought.

  183. Curmudgeon Cynic:

    Hi Chaps

    Firstly a declaration – I am Joe Soap member of the public. I am not a scientist. I care whether we are making the planet fry – I also care if I am being conned. I have read and listened to the output from the “alarmists” and the “deniers”. It is impossible for a layman to come to a conclusion based upon such conflicting, heart felt opinions from both sides.

    Therefore, as a layman, but as a middle aged curmudgeon and cynic (WMDs, Swine flu, end of boom and busts, etc)can we check the “consensus” please?

    It is oft quoted that 2500 scientists can’t be wrong and that the science is settled. The denier camp casts doubt on this and claims that the IPCC report is written by just a few scientists and that anyone that disagreed was cut out but still quoted as “contributors” (thus including them and discounting them at the same time).

    [Response: Not true. Many thousands of scientists have participated in the IPCC process and all had opportunity to critique the text and the conclusions and suggest improvements. Many of them did so. I am only aware of a single case (Reiter) of a contributing author not wanting to be associated with the final product, which given the scope and number of people who have taken part seems a minor thing. – gavin]

    Can someone write (email) each scientist and get their views on the IPCC report conclusions?

    [Response: People have tried to do this, and (no surprise) there is general support for the IPCC conclusions. However, the methodology of these kinds of things and getting enough responses to be meaningful is hard. – gavin]

    It seems to me that the historic data needs to be agreed before we can sensibly form opinions and I am aware (from reading) of, on the one hand the Medeival Warm period and the little ice age theory, and of Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph on the other.

    Which one is a true and fair representation of historic global temperatures? The answer is surely the key to the debate. Can we ask the 2500 scientists which graph they believe?

    [Response: First, you probably overestimate how important these things are. The ‘attribution’ of climate changes in the twentieth century is the key result that gives us cause for concern in the future. The ‘hockey stick’ issues – however much play they get in the blogosphere just aren’t that important. Even if Mann et al were completely wrong (which they aren’t), the warming over the 20th C is clear, and the arguments for what caused it are unaffected. Read the IPCC FAQ linked from the “Start Here” button above for some more background. – gavin]

    As an aside I have some “lay” questions.

    1. I understand that we have launched 100,000 ships in the last century. Is the total displacement of those ships in anyway “material” to increasing world wide sea levels?

    [Response: I wouldn’t think so. Quick calculation – the biggest boats around weigh about 100,000 tons, so 100,000 of them weigh ~10^13 kg, which displaces about 10^10 m3, which spread over the area of the world’s ocean is about 0.03 mm. And this is very much an upper limit. Sea-level rise is about 3 mm every year. – gavin]

    2. I also understand that we pump sea water underground to get oil to come out. Is the amount of sea water that is now “underground” as a result of the years f pumping ina any way “material” to overall sea level?

    [Response: This may be a factor. Depletion of ground water resources is a global problem, and in IPCC AR4 they discuss (p418) some of the estimates but they are quite uncertain. Recent results from GRACE point to a larger contribution than may have been expected. – gavin]

    Sorry if the questions are naive.

  184. Richard Ordway:

    173 Christopher Hogan says: “You last prior posts were fairly sanguine on the issues of catastrophic release from menthane hydrates…”

    I agree, I talked to arguably the top NOAA CO2 researcher here in Boulder, and he is not so sanguine at all.

  185. Ken W:

    Jim B (169):
    “I suppose you are both just “staying on message”. Not having much familiarity with the comment threads”

    If you don’t want to be treated with the “respect” that a deniar deserves, they please don’t post like one. Given the frequency of anonymous deniars that come around playing coy in their actual views, surely you can understand the skepticism of regulars when you come along claiming to be a scientist and posting a broad-brushed belittlement of the entire field of climate science. That’s been done far too often by pretenders.

    Scientists from other fields often visit here and post specific doubts or questions on climate science. But they generally use their real names or at least specify their actual field, and post specific questions. They are responded too with due respect and offered resources to help them gain understanding. Perhaps you should reconsider how you initially join discussions. At least, if you really are a scientist and not just another drive-by shooting deniar.

  186. Chris S:

    I’d like to see Real Climate’s take on this conference: http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/programme.php – particularly Drs. Allen & Swart’s presentations & Prof. Schellenhuber’s opening address.

  187. Ron R.:

    Daniel J. Andrews #120: Sourcewatch has a lot of info on these people and groups as well. Though it’s a wiki so ocassionally the info just disappears.

  188. MapleLeaf:

    Ed Hawkins @163, thank you for the link and information.

  189. chris:

    Another possible subject for RealClimate analysis:

    Hansen has recently suggested that the climate sensitivity on long timescales might be considerably larger than the Charney sensitivity of near 3 oC of warming per doubling of atmospheric CO2.

    Recent analysis of Pliocene CO2 levels and temperature [*] tend to support this interpretation. A discussion of this would be helpful….what are the timescales involved?….what are the physical responses underlying raised sensitivity on the long timescale?

    [*]
    B. Schneider & R. Schneider Palaeoclimate: Global warmth with little extra CO2 Nature Geoscience in press

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo736.html

    M. Pagani et al. (2009) High Earth-system climate sensitivity determined from Pliocene carbon dioxide concentrations
    Nature Geoscience in press

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo724.html

    Lunt, D. A. et al. (2009) Nature Geosci. doi:10.1038/ngeo706 in press

  190. Former Skeptic:

    Jim B:

    What Ray said in 149.

    OK, you also claim to have read (almost everything) on AR4 “and a few select papers”…and yet you remain unconvinced. Really? Could you please give us a few specifics, rather than the vague generalities?

    I found the regional projections of impacts in WG2 rather disturbing – especially for the American SW, where I currently reside. What was your reaction, pray tell?

    And yes, I read Hulme’s book too but thought it was rather lightweight in its general treatment of AGW, especially with how it has been politicized (which is well covered by Mooney’s “Republican War on Science” and more recently by Hoggan and Littlemore’s “Climate Cover Up”). At the end of his climate science chapter, Hulme includes Weart’s book as good further reading. I (like the others who have read it here) do recommend it as the primer on climate change.

  191. Ray Ladbury:

    Sorry, Knut@177, but your approach is postmodernist whether you’ve realized it or not. Look, science works, and it works and delivers robust approximations of truth for very good reasons. You are alleging that folks are just throwing data out–which would be serious misconduct. You had better have more than vague accusations when you make such allegations. OK so you understand Max Lik. Fine. Now try to understand the physics.

  192. Didactylos:

    Anne van der Bom,
    It is true that David MacKay, like some environmentalists, but unlike others, has no disproportionate fear of nuclear power. However, you accuse him baselessly of being against renewables, which is clearly silly, given that the whole book is examining practical ways of implementing renewable energy on a large scale. He not only views renewables as a necessity, his analysis concludes that renewables can generate a far larger fraction of the UK’s power generation than any previous study has concluded.

    You should also remember that the results are specific to the UK. The UK doesn’t have much land to spare for wind generation, so the best energy mix is likely to be very different to, for example, the US.

    James Hansen also views nuclear power as a sensible option.

    Anne, your other claims about the book don’t seem to be true at all. Can you provide references to back up your assertions?

  193. Radge Havers:

    Wut the hey. Here’s my half penny’s worth: Although it might be too bureaucratically wonkish for this venue, I’d kind of like to see some discussion of the organizational relation of science and public policy aimed at keeping politics from polluting climate science in particular. It might be a confidence builder for how science is perceived/respected.

    Possible points of interest:

    — the role and structure of the IPCC and agencies like the banished Congressional Office of Technology Assessment

    — firewalls that limit direct public contact with scientific consultants during planning or that filter how dialogue informs policy

    — the status of peer reviewed lit in decision support

    — laws against meddling with reports from scientists (esp. censoring)

    — how public information officers for science departments and agencies interact with the press

    — even lobbying and campaign finance reform

    It would be nice if there were some way to implement a sort of peristaltic policy algorithm able to work the nutters and ne’er-do-wells out of the system and tumble them discredited into foil-lined rubbish bins where they belong.

  194. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim B. says, “Ray, frankly to frame the issue as me not wanting to discuss the “successes” of the area assumes what you are trying to prove so dramatically way that I don’t even know how to respond.”

    Fine, since you don’t want to discuss issues or evidence, we’ll just put you under the category “TROLL” shall we? Unfortunately for you, since this is a website about climate SCIENCE, that doesn’t leave much for you to talk about. For future reference, let me enlighten you as to two mistakes you made.

    1)You said you were a physicist, thinking that this was a field sufficiently broad to give you cover for not knowing specifics, and sufficiently general to give you an air of authority. You evidently didn’t anticipate that there would be several phyisicists here waiting for you.

    2)You thought that saying you were a physicist would lend authority to what you said. It doesn’t. If you come on here spouting supercilious twaddle as you did, you could be a frigging Nobel Laureate, and people here would be sufficiently knowledgeable and confident to call you on it.

    If instead you come on here asking sincere questions and really wanting to learn, you will find folks here more than happy to answer any question no matter how elementary or off the wall. And Barton and I would be among the first to try to answer them.

    Here’s the thing, Jim. Climate science is a very broad subject. A lot of climate scientists really were educated as physicists. A lot of them have worked in other areas of physics. And a lot of physicists have been over this research with a fine-toothed comb, because it will impact funding for their subfields of research. And you know what? The American Physical Society has validated what the climate scientists have done. But then, I guess you must have missed that in all the physics journals you read, huh?

  195. ghost:

    Virtually every time I want to ask why X hasn’t been discussed, or what the answer to Y is, it usually turns out to have been addressed here, maybe multiple times. If I could request the near-impossible (and be the 10000th person to think of this), it would be to maintain a robust and current link library to papers and external discussions, divided into topic headings. I don’t know if I comprehend how huge a job that would be and how big a can o’ worms it could open, though. From viewing their sites and comments here, I know that the solid and routine posters here encounter rigorous topical material elsewhere. Tamino, BPL, Ray Ladbury, Timothy Chase, Lynn, dhogaza, Hank Roberts, John Reisman, Eli Rabbett, and all the others I cannot recall but whose contributions I cherish no doubt could add important links weekly. Perhaps it could be run as an off-topic section of the site to avoid distracting the mods from the site’s primary mission. Perhaps guest posts from those related climate fields could be rotated on to the main board, and maybe a balance could be found between efficient information flow on the one hand, and watering down the crucial contribution that the core of RC makes on the other hand. I do know that Gavin, Eric, et al spend some amount of time directing queries to previous discussions, and maybe a more comprehensive internal index would help that also (maybe it wouldn’t). An obvious problem with an external link library is how to avoid mis-categorized links, and links to junk. I rather doubt that in-field experts have much free time to volunteer, but some expertise in the field of the linked external material would help. Maybe lay volunteers would cause more havoc than the time savings is worth. Maybe the whole thing’s a terrible time-and-resource-sucking idea, a debasement of science, and another reason why I don’t get invited to these sort of parties :)

  196. Blair Dowden:

    Re #178: “Completely Fed Up” (and some others here) should reconsider their hostile and paranoid response to what could be honest questions. Remember, even if the author of the post has an agenda, many of the hundreds of other readers do not, and are put off by what amounts to bullying. These should be exactly the people you are trying to reach.

    I never questioned if global warming is happening, and in fact confirmed it in the next sentence. As for the Cretaceous issue, thanks for the suggestion, but somehow I doubt that thousands of organisms all simultaneously evolved a new method of fixing calcium carbonate. I am sure the answer, if known, is much more complex than that.

  197. Brian Schmidt:

    My two post requests would be first, the clearest explanation of stratospheric cooling from GHGs that you can give (I find it confusing) and second, a discussion of whether CO2 transfers absorbed radiation by vibrational quenching instead of re-emission of infrared. Thanks!

  198. Pete:

    I’d like to see a more extensive discussion on Global Warming Potential (GWP) for greenhouse gases on different time scales (e.g., 20 year GWP, 100 year GWP).

    Using methane as an example, should I be thinking of GWP as 12 years of methane in the atmosphere (its approximate shelf-life) having a positive forcing equivalent to 79 times that as CO2 would have over 20 years in the atmosphere, and 33 time that as CO2 would have over 100 years in the atmosphere? Are we looking at the shelf-life impact of any particularly greenhouse gas stacked up against CO2 at various time intervals for CO2?

    If this is the case, is that why greenhouse gases with a longer shelf-life than CO2 have higher GWPs for 100 years than they do for 20 years?

    I think part of what makes it confusing (at least for me), is that the way GWP is sometimes described, it sounds like the 20-year or 100-year GWP for methane means that methane is actually in the atmosphere for more than 12 years (20 and 100 years in this instance). Since this is not the case, I’m left with the construct I’ve made above. Am I way off the mark? If so, a discussion on GWP in a post that goes beyond what can be found in the 2007 IPCC report or wikipedia would be fantastic.

    Thanks!

  199. Completely Fed Up:

    “reconsider their hostile and paranoid response”

    Paranoia is when they aren’t out to get you.

    Check out the paranoid rantings of the denialosphere (oh, hang on, your truth-sensitive glasses block that out) where you’ll read that AGW is just a way to tax everyone. A way to make the third world slaves. A way to siphon off the west’s wealth to the thidr world. A way to create a New World Order with Barak Obama as the new Muslim In Chief.

    They really exist, those arguments.

    [edit]

  200. Completely Fed Up:

    “If I could request the near-impossible (and be the 10000th person to think of this), it would be to maintain a robust and current link library to”

    Google.

  201. Rotten Ham:

    I have a question about stratospheric cooling. If the stratosphere is cooling because of both ozone loss and an enhanced tropospheric greenhouse effect, is there any way to assign proportional blame to these two factors? How much cooling is from ozone loss and how much is from more heat being trapped in lower layers of the atmosphere? Does the amount of cooling attributable to each factor vary with latitude and altitude? Is there a reliable source on the web for this information? Also, do the greenhouse properties of CFCs warm the stratosphere and offset any cooling from the loss of ozone?

  202. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    I also really like the idea of RSS on inline comments.

    Suggestion for a post:

    ‘Show The Code’

    Let’s ask Svensmark and others to show their code and methods for verification.

    I updated the Svensmark page with the Laschamp Event graphic for those interested:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/henrik-svensmark

  203. Rotten Ham:

    Reply to #197:

    Seconded!

  204. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #197 Brian Schmidt

    If you block heat from escaping from the troposphere by adding GHG’s then the area above it would be cooler. sort of like living in a two story house and closing some heat vents that go up to the top floor. More heat downstairs, less heat upstairs.

    Hope that helps.

    [Response: No, this is not correct (think about what occurs at equilibrium where the net flux changes must be zero. The stratospheric cooling because of increasing CO2 is a function of the spectral nature of the absorption and the presence of other emitters in the lower atmosphere. – gavin]

  205. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #195 ghost

    To get to papers:

    http://scholar.google.com/

    You are right, it would be a lot of work. I try on the OSS site to bring in together and ref. to source. That of course is also done in the RC posts.

  206. Spaceman Spiff:

    @197: Brian Schmidt:

    The last of these topics (if I understand your question) was covered in a recent RC post, and I will try to reproduce the gist of it here. The collisional rates between C02 and other molecules exceed the radiative rates of C02 by orders of magnitude, at least in the densest portions of the lower atmosphere, where local thermodynamic equilibrium is a good approximation. Typical collisions then result in de-excitation of the radiatively excited CO2 molecules, so that the collision is inelastic kinetic energy-wise. As the density drops with altitude, the collision rates drop off and radiative de-excitation becomes important. One of the experts can fill in the gaps.

  207. Mike:

    26 *So what’s the best response to the people who are saying loudly this morning that yesteday’s north-eastern record snow proves there is no such thing as global warming?*

    One might hazard the guess that
    (A) increased global temperatures result in increased evaporation from the oceans aand more frequent precipitation events i.re. more snow or rain and more vioolent rainstorms and snowstorms. These would be more likely to occur over certain areas where air masses converge – especially the mid latitudes.
    (B) Increased retention of energy of ultimately solar origin in the increasingly carbon rich atmosphere results in a high proportion of that energy being trtansferred to e.g. the Greenland ice cap where it causes melting and the storage of latent heat in the meltwaters. This means that from the polar regions there
    will be increased probability of incursions of relatively cool air masses into lower latitudes, bringing chill weather and snowfall.

  208. Edward Greisch:

    156 Spaceman Spiff: What I am saying, then, is that either way, we are toast. The climate can be sent into catastrophe by several mechanisms. I can’t give you a better answer.

  209. Doug Bostrom:

    Comment by Curmudgeon Cynic — 21 December 2009 @ 11:11 AM

    Regarding ships displacing sea water, stimulation of oil fields, you might be interested in the role dam construction has played in the twentieth century.

    Calculating the total volume of new impoundments filled during the past 100 years reveals a probable temporary masking of anthropogenic sea level increase, on the order of ~0.5mm/year, for a total effect of some 30mm.

    Astounding, really, yet based on fairly reliable data.

    Of course this is a -temporary- effect. As new dams are filled and the bulk of available sites are exploited, this effect will diminish.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/320/5873/212?rss=1

  210. R. Hayley:

    Where can I get a year by year table of global temperatures for all the met offices that are collating such averages? All I can find are graphs with poor resolution. I’d like a resource on RC that collates and updates all the info every year.

  211. Ron Kent:

    Heat of Fusion: As a PhD organic chemist, my training exposed me to some thermodynamics and a modest understanding of the physics of water phase transitions. When I hear arguments skeptical of even the existence of global warming based on quibbles over global temperature data, my inclination is to insist that simple recognition of widespread ice melting alone is sufficient proof of a significant change in the earth’s heat balance. Further, I suspect the basic fact that the ice – water transition occurs with no change in temperature may well contribute to an explanation of why ocean temperatures can show limited change or even decrease locally during melting. Are these lines of reasoning sound from the perspective of knowledgeable climate scientists?
    Peak Oil: This has more to do with politics and policy than with climate science, but I’m hoping to recruit supporters for my idea – or learn why I’m all wet. My thinking goes as follows:
    Conservatives are resistant to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) because proposed corrective actions impose great costs with poor assurance they will be effective. The root of the resistance is uncertainty in the extent of climate impacts and uncertainty in our ability to prevent them. At the same time, we face a much more easily understood issue encapsulated by the term peak oil – the growing disparity between global crude oil production and world demand. I see it as being much easier for laymen and businessmen to grasp the economic impact of rapidly growing costs and sporadic shortfalls of petroleum products than it is to understand the dire projections of AGW. Businessmen especially can recognize the consequences of an annual growth rate of even as little as 1% in the difference between supply and demand and just about everyone today has memories of the gas lines and material allocations of the 70s and the effect of the recent speculative spike in oil price. The corrective actions that address peak oil – conservation, increased energy efficiency, reduction in petroleum dependence, alternative fuels, etc – are also a big component of any program to address AGW. So my point is if there’s an urgent need for action instead of fighting AGW deniers we’re better off focusing on convincing laymen and corporations alike of the need to take these actions in the name of peak oil, not AGW. The truth is a majority of the petroleum industry has already accepted the peak oil scenario. If, as Senator Inhofe claims, AGW turns out to be a sham then there’s no loss. If experience shows AGW is real, we’re already started on the program we need and we have justification to expand it.
    This rationale is based partly on my impression that the timeframe for dire peak oil effects is shorter than that for AGW. I foresee peak oil economics within 10-20 years whereas I expect AGW impacts of comparable magnitude are farther out.

  212. Ray Ladbury:

    Rotten Ham,
    My understanding is that stratospheric cooling due to ozone loss would be maximum around 20 km, while greenhouse-induced stratospheric cooling is predicted to be in the 40-50 km range. This is precisely what is observed. Here’s a pretty good summary:

    http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2009/05/upper-stratosphere-cooling.html

  213. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    hmmm… brain fuzz again. RC just did a post on ‘Show The Code’.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/please-show-us-your-code/

    Are there others, other than Svensmark, that would fit well into this category? If so a list of those that should ‘show the code’ would be a follow up as it becomes appropriate.

  214. Joel Shore:

    Blair Dowden (#174) says: “Carbon dioxide levels have been much higher in the past, particularly during the Cretaceous. Yet there is a lot of evidence for Cretaceous coral reefs, and a lot of limestone and chalk deposits, as a visit to the south coast of England demonstrates. The explanation I have heard is that is because the rapid rate of carbon dioxide increase means the ocean does not have time to transfer the carbon dioxide to the deep ocean, so the surface gets acidified.”

    Actually, as I understand it (and someone can correct me if I am wrong), the timescale issue is not so much associated with the transfer of CO2 to the deep ocean but is instead associated with the rate at which limestone can be leached from the land into the ocean where it can neutralize the acidification caused by the CO2. Also, this timescale issue works in the opposite way than you have proposed: When the change is slow enough, the ocean ends up not becoming more acidic because there is time for the neutralization processes to occur (as opposed to your point-of-view that when the change is slow enough, there is sufficient time for acidification to occur).

    So, the Cretaceous did not have a strongly acidic ocean simply because there was enough time associated with the rise in CO2 levels that there was time for the limestone leaching to neutralize the increased acidity associated with a rise in CO2 in the oceans. At the PETM event, where there seems to have been a quite rapid increase in CO2 levels, there is evidence for significant acidification of the ocean. And, some combination of this acidification and the climate change (and maybe other effects?) caused a quite dramatic extinction event.

  215. Ray Ladbury:

    Blair, This looked like a pretty good treatment:
    http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/20_2/20.2_caldeira.pdf

    A couple of things to remember. Coral now is very different from what it was in the Cretaceous. Also, the carbon cycle then was a lot faster than it is now.

  216. Charly Cadou:

    Rephrasing my question: do you think the science is settled? So what is the purpose of the CERN CLOUD experiment. Also notice that Svensmark is not that popular around this blog. Too bad, he seems like someone who thinks hard about the science.

    [Response: New rules: #1. No-one is allowed to ask whether the ‘science is settled‘ because there are still papers published or experiments done. #2. Nobody gets credit for ‘appearing to think hard’ – when what matters is whether you think logically – irrespective of how hard that might be for you. – gavin]

  217. Phil. Felton:

    Blair Dowden says:
    21 December 2009 at 1:07 PM
    I never questioned if global warming is happening, and in fact confirmed it in the next sentence. As for the Cretaceous issue, thanks for the suggestion, but somehow I doubt that thousands of organisms all simultaneously evolved a new method of fixing calcium carbonate. I am sure the answer, if known, is much more complex than that.

    You might find some references here. You’ll see that in times of previous global greenhouse climate conditions sea water chemistry were times of calcite seas whereas to the present we are in the aragonite sea mode.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcite_sea

  218. Nick Bone:

    Gavin,

    I’d like some discussion on your recent paper with Lunt, Haywood et al:
    “Earth system sensitivity inferred from Pliocene modelling and data”. In particular, the high level conclusion that Earth system sensitivity is around 30-50% greater than Charney sensitivity.

    A couple of questions arising from this:

    1. How does this compare to Hansen et al’s estimate in “Target Atmospheric CO2 – Where Should Humanity Aim?”. Namely that Earth System Sensitivity is approximately double Charney (fast feedback) sensitivity, based on the Last Glacial Maximum. Why does the Plicoene estimate differ from this?

    2. What does the Pliocene climate imply about Hansen’s 350 ppm target? My initial concern is that it would still be too high as a long-term stablilization target, because:
    i) 350 ppm results in around 1 degree warming based on fast feedbacks,
    so maybe 1.5-2 degrees of warming based on the slow feedbacks (admittedly over several centuries).
    ii) The slow feedbacks would still imply a return to something like the Pliocene world with sea levels maybe 6-9 metres higher than today. In practice, that means sea levels continually rising by 1-2 meters per century for the next few centuries until the slow feedbacks are complete (and continual inundation of coastal cities, beaches, tidal zones etc. throughout that period).
    Surely this constitues “dangerous” climate change?

    3. Given the shambles in Copenhagen, what are the real long-term implications? What are the options for us getting back below 350ppm if we continue to overshoot massively into the middle of the 21st century? Should we be considering air capture, biochar or even more radical measures (foresting deserts, trying to dump alkili or limestone in the oceans etc)? Could we get right back to early industrial or pre-industrial levels, which is what we seem to need? What is the fastest we could reduce CO2 by such means, and do we have long enough?

    Thanks,

    Nick

  219. John Mashey:

    re: Peak Oil
    I suggest not going there, espe. In any case, Peak Coal (natural, or via regulation) is likely a lot more relevant. Perhaps, every once in a while, if there is a good paper that combines improved models of fossil fuel resources and climate, that might be worth a mention.

  220. Thor:

    I would like to see a good scientific writeup of how and why tree rings respond in a linear fashion to temperature. I guess this must include a discussion of both density and width of early and late wood as well as the importance of the trees micro climate. The writeup should also describe how different species might respond differently as well as any caveats and limitations when using tree rings as a temperature proxy.

  221. Andrew Adams:

    Hi, I have a quick question about the data used by CRU and GISS for their global temperature calculations. Do they largely use the same raw data? I’m aware of the differences re the arctic temperatures, are there other major differences in the way they calculate global temperatures?

  222. Andy:

    I’d like to see more posts on the evidence that global warming and loss of artic sea ice may cause changes in Hadley Circulation Cells, atmospheric occillations, etc. See this article abstract as an example of perhaps unexpected climactic changes caused by AGW.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035607.shtml

  223. David B. Benson:

    Doug Bostrom (209) — That number needs to be offset by groundwater removal.

  224. gary thompson:

    i think you should post a graph showing what the temperatures will look like for 2010. since you obviously have it all figured out and understand the earth’s weather system on a fundamental level, prove it. give monthly predictions with error bars and then track your score through the year. If your models are accurate then put them to the test. will 2010 be hotter than 2009?

  225. Spaceman Spiff:

    @208 Edward Greisch:

    Thanks for your reply. I certainly realize the toast part, but I was interested in the potential differences from an academic point of view. I suppose, as you indicate, we can use the catastrophic volcanic events to compare to what we’re trying to do…

  226. Bob Arning:

    For the benefit of the statistically-challenged among us, perhaps you could comment on:

    http://www.foresight.org/nanodot/?p=3611

    specifically, the graph at:

    http://www.foresight.org/nanodot/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/cubic.png

    Does this curvy line (making climate look like it’s going nowhere in particular) have some value compared to the linear trends we often see associated with climate data.

  227. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #204 Gavin, Thread

    It’s going to be harder to devise an effective simple communication analogue for that.

    I will review the troposphere posts again. If I can get it visualized properly in my head I can develop better analogues. I’m just not there yet. Absorption ad different frequencies in the spectrum are not something I have assimilated well, yet.

    I reviewed http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/20c.html (Thanks Ray)

    Can cooling due to ozone still be illustrated by saying the stratospheric vents are left open to the troposphere allowing more IR to penetrate downward and not agitate as much in the stratosphere?

    But it still seems though that the greenhouse effect can be described in part by closing some upward vents? Maybe each blocked frequency needs to be considered a different vent for my analogue?

    In my mind, this raises a question. Has the mean altitude of a relative equilibrium state changed? Then has it become lower and by how much? I apologize as I’m still unsure what I am asking and trying to get a better picture in my head.

    If the stratosphere emits radiates more heat into space, then maybe the picture is a roof with more holes than the floor below being more solid (troposphere)?

    It also looks like there are two different floors, the ozone floor and the Co2 floor. So maybe for my analogue I need two houses?

    Any help here would be appreciated :) I have been wanting to update my troposphere page for a while, but I don’t have enough confidence yet.

  228. Hank Roberts:

    > gary thompson says: 21 December 2009 at 3:0 PM

    Ya know what I wish you’d provide here, Gavin?
    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/4107

  229. CM:

    Another request for the New Year, inspired by the mysterious spectral nature of Gavin’s inline #204:

    The Ultimate How and Why of CO2-induced Stratospheric Cooling for Dummies (that is, With Very Little Math)

    OK, I understand why you might prefer to gnaw off your leg than have another go at this. I have checked out Gavin’s attempts here as well as Stoat’s, Eli’s, and Dr. Uherek’s ESPERE page, all somewhat different. I’ve even consulted Ray’s Principles of Planetary Climate textbook, which says Eq. 4.56 explains it — well, not for Dummies. Gavin and Eli seem to agree that Dr. Uherek does the best job of explaining it, and he certainly does so in few and simple words, but…?

  230. Doug Bostrom:

    David B. Benson says: 21 December 2009 at 3:19 PM

    Yes indeed. I read somewhere that India alone may be making a significant contribution via groundwater, and of course that’s going to offset the impoundment deficit. I have a vague memory of somebody applying groundwater extraction against Chao’s results but dang if I can find it now…

  231. Chris Colose:

    I thought I would share some humor regarding CLimateGate

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/08/fox-news-fuzzy-math-claim_n_384308.html

  232. David Horton:

    Obviously the CRU robbery was timed to lead up to Copenhagen (why did they bother?). But I winder if it has been even more coordinated than that. It seems to me on every climate change thread on every site there has been a massive increase lately of denialist posters with new IDs flooding in with a consistent party line (even more consistent than usual). As well as the obligatory climategate conspiracy (leaked, of course, by an insider fed up with the lies), we have MWP (very big this month), climate has changed before, CERN cloud analysis (just you wait and see, all the climate scientists are going to feel raindrops falling on their heads), Greenland, and one world government. Al Gore, as always, is an obvious extra (in favour of one world government to make trillions of dollars from solar panels – who knew?). They drown out any other discussion, their madness and ignorance (nothing about climate change has ever been discussed before for these newbies) even more strident than it was just a few months ago. This looks to me like a ramped up astroturf operation, the starting gun fired as soon as the emails were leaked. Anyone else noticed the pattern?

  233. Dan Lufkin:

    Perhaps someone has already posted this but MIT has put a video of a two-hour forum on “Climategate” on

    http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/730

    It’s essentially Kerry Emanuel vs. Dick Lindzen. Worth watching.

  234. Charly Cadou:

    Gavin: Since no-one is allowed to ask whether the ‘science is settled’, that indicates to me that it is not. Therefore where is the rush to tackle AGW/climate change, are the politicians being fed cherry-picked info?

    [Response: Please read the article I linked. -gavin]

  235. James Staples:

    As I’ve mentioned before, I think we should be paying much more attention to the North Atlantic Conveyor – or, more precisely, the Deep Cold Return Flow; as this is the biggest potential ‘fly in the ointment’ for all of the ‘other’ theories and models out there.
    Of course, since talking about the the effects of the shut-down of this conveyor could be misconstrued as an excuse to say that ‘AGW is fake science’ (it would plunge Northern Europe into a new Ice Age – but it would also warm the Southern Oceans so dramatically, that the Antarctic Ice Sheets would melt so quickly, that oure entire Coastal Infrastructure would soon be inundated), we need to point out that it’s no ‘solution’ to AGW.

  236. John Mashey:

    re: #216, “New rules”
    It would be really nice if a top-level menu item were “Comment Policy”, and if one were posted, whatever it should be. I observe that some blogs have very good ones, and establishing the rules seems to help, such as at John Quiggin.

  237. Jim Bouldin:

    Open letter to American Farm Bureau Federation:

    Three scientists have recently written a letter to The American Farm Bureau Federation, challenging their stated questioning of the influence of humans on climate change. The UCS is accepting signatures to the letter from PhDs or candidates with knowledge of climate science, at the first link above, but I encourage anyone without those credentials to write their own message to the AFB.

    Modification of agricultural practices, especially in the United States, has the potential to make a very large impact on carbon emissions, through numerous pathways. These include especially, the effects of fertilization, pesticide application, and tillage practices on soil carbon storage and fossil fuel use. Current ag practices have other major impacts as well, particularly on the nitrogen cycle and its effect on far-removed aquatic ecosystems such as estuaries and deltas. The AFBF does not want farmers to have to change their land management practices in response to climate change concerns, and does not recognize the potential economic benefits in doing so if carbon is priced and management practices are altered in response.

    I hope others will read the statement and the scientists’ response, and make their voices heard by the AFBF. Thanks.
    Jim

  238. Don Shor:

    “26 *So what’s the best response to the people who are saying loudly this morning that yesteday’s north-eastern record snow proves there is no such thing as global warming?*”

    Try this:
    There is no direct relationship between the steady increase in global temperature and your local, current weather. What matters is what is happening in the long run.

  239. Bernhard Niederreiter:

    It ist very interesting for me to see climate research getting out of the dark hole of conspiracy. Even by the mass of data it is unlikely, that a new discussion leads to an agreement between different parties. As selecting dataset supporting the own opinion is a method to rule results the power of media presence will decide the game.

  240. Completely Fed Up:

    David #232 we also have the appearance of a new meme spreading “The Team”.

    I don’t know why that’s supposed to be derogatory, mind, but I think it’s meant to be.

  241. Completely Fed Up:

    “i think you should post a graph showing what the temperatures will look like for 2010. since you obviously have it all figured out”

    What garry hasn’t figured out (and having failed to do so has proven his opening statement is incorrect) is that the temperature in 2010 is weather.

    Not climate.

    [Response: True, but it doesn’t mean there is no predictability. Starting off with an El Nino event definitely gives 2010 better than even odds of beating out 2009 for instance…. – gavin]

  242. Completely Fed Up:

    “My thinking goes as follows:
    Conservatives are resistant to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) because proposed corrective actions impose great costs with poor assurance they will be effective.”

    Your thinking is begging the question: will the costs be great?

    Stern report says we would be ~4 years late in reaching the same total GDP and we won’t see any significant collapse.

    Given we already had ONE collapse caused by conservative dogma beating human intelligence/cynicism, and that WAS significant, why the scare over this?

  243. James McDonald:

    To my request for a terse, cogent description of the CRU controversy, Ray Ladbury replies “Because providing context for anything takes more time and space than taking it out of context and constructing a lie in which to embed it.”

    That’s not a reasonable response. There ARE short explanations of the CRU controversy. I could generate a dozen in the next five minutes. What I don’t know is which are true and which are false. (Were the fudge factors in the code appropriate or not? Yes or No. What was that code used for? Everything published on the subject, a few major papers, a few technical reports, a teaching assignment, nothing, it never even compiled. Which is it? Was the “trick” to replace derived numbers with more direct measurements? Yes or no? Why Is is so damn hard to get definitive answers to a few concise questions? )

    Everything I’ve seen indicates there are short, simple, and truthful replies to the skeptics, but no one is producing them.

    So I repeat my request.

    [Response: The ‘fudge factor’ calculation was an attempt to see if the calibration statistics were affected by the MXD post 1960-decline and were written up for publication but never actually published. It was a vaguely interesting calculation perhaps, but has no implication for anything else. The numbers themselves were calculated as a principle component of the divergence pattern. The “trick” was to get around the problem of wanting to produce a smoothed picture of the long term temperature trends when you have a discontinuity in the middle. Jones used a splice before smoothing in one figure in a WMO brochure 10 years ago that I had never seen prior to last month. Again, an issue of rather minor importance. We should however put up an FAQ on these kinds of things though to save time in the future. – gavin]

  244. Andy:

    http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2363

    Disassembling and explaining the science and siginficance to climate modeling of this USGS study on Pliocene deep ocean circulation modeling would be a welcome post.

  245. Anne van der Bom:

    Didactylus #192

    The 125 kWh benchmark for renewables is on page 103: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c24/page_166.shtml

    The calculation on land use for Britain with nuclear power is on page 166-167: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c24/page_166.shtml. You will see he uses a number of 22 kWh per person per day (the 18 I remembered incorrectly).

    To make an honest comparison prof. MacKay should have calculated the number of nukes based that 125 kWh p.p.p.d. Can you show me where he does that?

    “allege baselessly”? No sir.

    It is complete nonsense to us a 125 kWh per person per day consumption stack as if the UK will ever need so much electricity.

    You know, the book was featured on ‘The Register’ a few years back. You know what sound bite made it in the article? “We need to cover the whole of Whales in wind turbines to power half our cars.” I’ll leave the calculation of the real number as an exercise to you.

    If Prof. MacKay likes renewables, he has a funny way of expressing it.

  246. Anne van der Bom:

    Didactylus,

    My memory faltered even more (must be getting old). It’s even worse. The consumption stack is a whopping 195 kWh pppd. Ten times the current British electricity consumption.

  247. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #1 and “four in 10 Americans now saying that they place little or no trust in what scientists have to say about the environment”

    This is sort of interesting, bec before RC, I didn’t have much trust in what scientists had to say about the environment, and that was based on how some have rigged the science to prove this or that chemical is not harm to humans….some scientists for the Formaledyde Institute even being sent to prison for falsifying their science. Read TOXIC DECEPTION for more. And then there is THE INSIDER and how industry scientists work. Also, some government scientists (esp state gov scientists) find it in their best interest to finnagle the science on toxic harms, etc. (there is diluting the experimental or treatment popultion with untreated people; and then doctoring the results, cherry-picking in and out data that do not fit the greed of the industry or government that is funding the science, etc).

    So I may have been one of those people placing little or no confidence in what scientist have to say about the environment had not RC come along — I completely trust RC scientists, but I don’t know about others.

    For instance, I place little or no confidence in what the climate skeptic scientists have to say.

    So the question (from a scientific survey standard perspective) is really a bad question, obviously created unwittingly or wittingly by some media polling service, and we all know about the well-oiled media and how both sides of their bread are buttered by oil and toxins, etc. The question is another example of bad science that lowers people’s confidence in science.

  248. Green For Peace:

    So, defending the “quality” of the science is obvious a perennial issue if not the raison d’etre for this blog. Gavin’s oft quoted range for sensitivity seems to be an IPCC-esque 1.5 .. 4.5 (or maybe 2..4.5, don’t let me misquote!).

    The FAQ has material on this as well as reports, but a colleague of mine recently asked me why there has been so little “apparent progress” in reducing this range over the past 20 to 30 years in spite of many efforts.

    Is this a) a misperception — the range has come down from a 6X spread to a 3X spread, b) (my impresseion) a basically correct perception but with various explanations.

    Coincidentally, BPL seems to have just mentioned the Hubble constant discrepancies of cosmology’s past. IIRC that was mostly many things on one side and globular clusters on the other for several decades with globular clusters ultimately being the things considered misleading. The situation with climate sensitivity seems more subtle and complex than this, and I was not able to address it.

    Perhaps there is simply a resource I don’t know about already here…

  249. David B. Benson:

    Nick Bone (218) — Hansen et al. wrote something similar to “350 ppm and likely less”. For lowest risk and highest climate stability, I propose close to 300 ppm CO2ewa (ewa: equiivalent with aerosols). But first we have to stop rising and start descending. That gives planty of time to determine the best value.

  250. TRY:

    Ray, you suggest that Jim B. does not support his claims that organization support for AGW is comprised of strong support for weak claims or weak support for strong claims. You suggest he read the APS statement, which I include below in it’s entirety. Note that there is exactly one statement in support of AGW:
    “If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur.”
    ‘Likely’ is weak support. No timeline is weak support. Here’s what a strong statement would say: “We are highly confident that average global temperatures will rise 3 degrees over the next 100 years, causing x y and z, if mitigating action is not taken in the next 5 years.”

    Yet they don’t say that, do they? And in fact, they are now reviewing it for changes to clarity and tone. I would guess that the support will be weaker and the claim will be weaker after this review.

    Suggesting that this statement expresses strong support for any specific claim of temperature rise within any time period would seem to be pure rhetoric.

    “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.

    The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

    Because the complexity of the climate makes accurate prediction difficult, the APS urges an enhanced effort to understand the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, and to provide the technological options for meeting the climate challenge in the near and longer terms. The APS also urges governments, universities, national laboratories and its membership to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.”

  251. Steve Bloom:

    Re #216 response (new rules for RC): *applause*

  252. Joel Shore:

    gary thompson says: “I think you should post a graph showing what the temperatures will look like for 2010. since you obviously have it all figured out and understand the earth’s weather system on a fundamental level, prove it. give monthly predictions with error bars and then track your score through the year. If your models are accurate then put them to the test. will 2010 be hotter than 2009?”

    Good straw man there, gary! Do you understand the difference between the forced component and internal variability in the climate system? Do you understand which aspects are sensitive to initial conditions and which are not? Do you understand the difference between knowing everything about a system and not knowing nothing?

  253. blueshift:

    Hi,
    Gavin’s inline response to #204 is:
    “[Response: No, this is not correct (think about what occurs at equilibrium where the net flux changes must be zero. The stratospheric cooling because of increasing CO2 is a function of the spectral nature of the absorption and the presence of other emitters in the lower atmosphere. – gavin]”

    Could someone elaborate on this, or link to a more complete explanation? I’m afraid I’ve spread misinformation as I used a similar argument earlier today.
    My understanding now is that models predict stratospheric cooling until the climate system reaches thermal equilibrium. (Not necessarily a cooling trend until that point, but cooler than “baseline”.)

    Thanks

    [Response: Ok, let me try again. First point. CO2 is a much more important absorber/emitter in the stratosphere than in the troposphere (because it’s very dry up there). This is illustrated clearly in the Clough and Iacono figure. Increases in CO2 in the troposphere increase absorption @ 650 cm^-1, warming the atmosphere and increase emissions up across the rest of the spectrum. If you are in the stratosphere looking down, you will see less radiation at the 650 wavenumber as CO2 increases and more radiation elsewhere as a function of the temperature rises. Thus in the stratosphere, you have less 650 band radiation to absorb from below, but because you have more emitters (higher CO2) the emission to space is greater. The net effect is less-in/more-out and therefore more energy to space in that band (leading to a cooling to re-establish a steady state). – gavin]

  254. Ray Ladbury:

    Bob Arning @226,

    That post is NUTS. Why on Earth would you fit to a cubic polynomial. As John von Neumann said: “Give me 4 parameters, and I will fit an elephant; five and I will make him wiggle his trunk.” The list of what these guys don’t understand would be LONG–but suffice to say, they seem to think that humans needn’t worry about Earth because soon we’ll be inhabiting other planets. This is not a group I want to be in charge of maintaining the health of the only habitable planet we know of.

  255. Dwight:

    The debate has obviously taken on deep political over-tones, which permit righties to howl about world government, redistribution of wealth, etc.

    I think that if more greenies and scientists said loudly, “Look, this CO2 problem is so serious that as much as we dislike it, we are embracing nuclear power as the only reasonable way to generate the energy needed…there would be a PR breaktrough.

    Since I can’t see any reasonable way to supply the power needed through, solar, wind, conservation, or any other of the greens favorite solutions, and the cap and trade stuff is also ideologically suspect scientists should, like Hansen, loudly jump on the nuclear bandwagon. Believe me, that would get people’s attention and nullify a lot of the “political” dynamics here. The idea of AGW seems lefty, green, and extremist to all righties and many independents. As a centrist, I am predisposed to be sceptical, whenever I have te least excuse to be. There are hundreds of “crises” a year which rise, make for some great headlines and feature stories, and then go poof, but as I often do, I belabor the obvious.

    The way things are now, people who buy electric cars or hybrids which need to be charged, power them up with electricity produced by coal-fired plants. Hmmmmm.

  256. Ray Ladbury:

    TRY, “LIKELY” is not support at all. It is called qualitative language. And pray, why should there be a timeline in a policy statement by a professional organization of physicists?

    Now, do you classify “incontrovertible” as weak? How about “We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

    Sounds pretty urgent to me. See, here’s the thing folks like you and Jim are not taking into account. You automatically assume that uncertainty favors your attitude of complacency. It doesn’t. If we are wrong about CO2 sensitivity, it’s much more likely that our estimate is too low than it is that it is too high. And you assume that a failure to specify a time period means you don’t have to worry–when most of the uncertainties (tipping points, irreversible climate change, a growing population that will make future mitigation ever more difficult, etc.) lead to greater peril. Uncertainty is NOT your friend, TRY. If you knew anything about climate, you’d understand that.

  257. Luke Lea:

    Per gavin’s response to comment #252: could you reference your technical points to journal articles in the scientific literature? Thanks,

  258. Scott A. Mandia:

    BPL,

    The stratospheric cooling issue is a tough nut to crack. Here are two sources that can help:

    Ajavon, et al. (2007, February). Scientific assessment of ozone depletion: 2006. Retrieved from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earth System Research Laboratory Chemical Sciences Division Web site: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/csd/assessments/2006/report.html

    Randel, W. J., et al. (2009). An update of observed stratospheric temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D02107, doi:10.1029/2008JD010421

    To summarize:

    In the global mean, the lower stratosphere cooled between 1979 and 1995 but has not noticeably cooled since 1995. This is no surprise because ozone levels are increasing since 1995 so there is increasing incoming solar radiation absorption.

    In the middle and upper stratosphere there was mean cooling of 0.5–1.5 K/decade during 1979–2005, with the greatest cooling in the upper stratosphere near 40–50 km. Ozone concentration above 35 km is minimal so ozone depletion is much less a factor at these levels than below.

    Model calculations suggest that the upper stratosphere trends since 1979 are due, about equally, to decreases in ozone and increases in well-mixed greenhouse gases. All climate models predict further cooling of the stratosphere as the year 2100 approaches due to increased GHGs even though full ozone recovery is predicted to occur around 2060.

  259. Jim Galasyn:

    Just found this disturbing post from James Randi:

    AGW, Revisited

    …some 32,000 scientists, 9,000 of them PhDs, have signed The Petition Project statement proclaiming that Man is not necessarily the chief cause of warming, that the phenomenon may not exist at all, and that, in any case, warming would not be disastrous.

    Et tu, Randi?

  260. Jiminmpls:

    # Ron Kent

    The problem with using the peak oil angle, is that the denialists and their minions don’t believe that there is a limit to oil reserves either – esp in the USA. They really believe that the USA has enough oil for the next 100-200 years if the environmentalists would just let us “drill baby drill”.

    You cannot reason with them. They will state with all certainty that we are not drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve even heard people claim that we don’t drill for oil in Alaska!

    I’m out in the real world. Most people just don’t care. They’re not informed and they don’t want to be.

  261. Jim Galasyn:

    Hmm, then Randi backtracks here:

    I Am Not ‘Denying’ Anything

    Still disconcerting.

  262. Crazy Bill:

    Dwight #255 – As a centrist you probably should not use the reluctance of certain greenies to embrace nuclear power as a basis for siding with the deniers on the climate issue. Remember that there are many greenies who think we use far too much power as it is and hence don’t see any compelling need for nukes. Conversely, there are many greenies who are promoting the nuclear option vigorously.

    As a centrist you will want to look at the arguments logically, and on that basis the denialist position is severely lacking. You also might want to take the precautionary principle, as Stern did, and again you’d have to discard the denialist arguments as irresponsible (at best).

  263. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim Galasyn @259, Randi has subsequently backtracked a bit,
    http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/806-i-am-not-qdenyingq-anything.html

    but this has been disastrous for his reputation as a skeptic. It doesn’t hurt climate science, because his understanding of the subject is so feeble, not even the denialists could embrace it. It’s sad, really. He really doesn’t know enough to be in denial, and yet, for some reason, he seems to think he has to take a position–making him selectively credulous rather than a true skeptic.

  264. Jiminmpls:

    Here’s a suggestion:

    Guest commentaries from scientists working in other disciplines – biologists in particular – on research related to climate change.

  265. Doug Bostrom:

    Jim Galasyn says: 21 December 2009 at 7:12 PM

    Wow, amazingly naive, regurgitating many shopworn talking points. I suppose Randi is too busy to do the homework required to produce a more competent evaluation?

    This reminds me of “SuperFreakonomics”. Feet of clay, etc.

  266. dhogaza:

    It doesn’t hurt climate science, because his understanding of the subject is so feeble, not even the denialists could embrace it.

    In his retraction he mentions that he knows that there’s a lot of heat generated by the burning of fossil fuels, etc …

    As though he thinks this, not GHGs, are what climate scientists have determined is causing the problem.

  267. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #256 Ray Ladbury

    Excellent post!

    I spend a lot of time trying to get people to understand that “Uncertainty is NOT your friend”

    My two favorite pictures showing things are worse that we can model:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/arctic_sea_ice_extent6_800pxW.jpg/view

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/sea-level/synthrepfig1.jpg/view

    For those thinking that we don’t know enough about precisely what will happen on a particular day sometime in the future so we should wait before any policy decisions are made…

    I suggest you begin contemplating the reality that what uncertainty means in this context is that it’s more likely than not to be much worse that we can predict, especially when one adds the economic inter-dynamics.

  268. Dan L.:

    Randi should be cut a little slack, I believe. It appears he was pestered into taking a position on a subject in which he had little interest. That his response was scientifically inadequate is not surprising.

    Randi is a woo-woo debunker. Science denial is not his bailiwick.

  269. David B. Benson:

    John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) (267) — You might care to study a bit about the statistics of extreme events.

  270. Andrew:

    How much more rain is expected with Global Warming?

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/317/5835/233

    Maybe this has already been covered on this site; if so, then please show me where.

    Otherwise, it would be interesting to review the apparent divergence between models and observations with respect to water vapor, rainfall and wind shear.

    I understand some climate models may not be modeling the radiative forcing of clouds properly.

  271. Dwight:

    #262 Crazy Bill wrote:
    As a centrist you will want to look at the arguments logically, and on that basis the denialist position is severely lacking. You also might want to take the precautionary principle, as Stern did, and again you’d have to discard the denialist arguments as irresponsible (at best).
    ———-
    Well, I am becoming impressed (especially as I learn on this site and elsewhere) with the depth of the CO2 and related studies over the last 100+ years and see that a lot of the deniers’ positions have already been addressed by what is now “known” about the history of our climate.

    But as a person who makes it a point to consume very little, I hold out little hope that the average American is going to consume less, unless absolutely forced to. Recession is a hell of a lot more effective than conscience or guilt, that’s for sure. So any pragmatic analysis would conclude that the world’s energy use will only grow; it will never shrink unless there is an economic crack-up. The rate of growth may vary, of course, but that’s all.

    Therefore, short of some miraculous technological breakthrough, we need nukes. We “proved” that we did not need them before because we could just burn oil, coal, and gas, which has gotten us where we are.

    In the meantime, I am burning five cords of wood a year and get a longer growing season for my big garden. The white tail deer have returned with a bang to Southeastern Mass. Their protein is appreciated, but their ticks are not.

    A centrist has to use the extra CO2 as best he can. :-)

  272. dhogaza:

    Randi should be cut a little slack, I believe. It appears he was pestered into taking a position on a subject in which he had little interest. That his response was scientifically inadequate is not surprising.

    Then he should’ve said “I don’t know enough about the subject to have an informed opinion.”

  273. hf:

    I haven’t been following the comments above, but given the open ended topic I hope that my question is appropriate. Is the reference to the IPCC in the quote below valid? I have not read the fourth report, but I have not seen this kind of economic data in parts of the report that I have read or scanned. I’m speaking of the 1-5 percent figure referring to economic output.

    “According to the authoritative U.N.Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), under a reasonable set of assumptions for global economic and population growth, the world should expect to warm by about 2.8°C over the next century. Also according to the IPCC, a global increase in temperature of 4°C should cause the world to lose about 1–5 percent of its economic output.”

    The text was taken from the following article.

    http://www.chiefexecutive.net/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications::Article&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=9610EE159C324660849861BD80E2999E

    My interest is based on a conversation that I’m anticipating regarding the article.

    Thanks in advance for a response, and happy solstice to all!

    The text above is from an

  274. MacDoc:

    Would not mind seeing more on the influence of ocean current changes – particularly implications through the North West passage and secondarily the influence on glacial erosion.

    Not sure if it’s bang on the topic but surely changes in the circulation volume temp would have a ENSO like influence on regional climates particularly the poles.

  275. Jim Galasyn:

    Re Randi, he’s undergoing chemotherapy after surgery for a malignant intestinal tumor, so I’m inclined to cut him some slack. The comments make for interesting reading.

  276. Steve R:

    RE: 232 David Horton,

    They drown out any other discussion, their madness and ignorance (nothing about climate change has ever been discussed before for these newbies) even more strident than it was just a few months ago. This looks to me like a ramped up astroturf operation, the starting gun fired as soon as the emails were leaked. Anyone else noticed the pattern?

    Does anyone here have the code chops to do something like seining for particular phrases on a representative list of blogs? And then analyze their repeated appearances statistically, compared to other climate blogs? I suspect, too, that there’s an awful lot of cutting and pasting going on (see the Wall St. Journal article comments from the 17th–I linked it above in comment 43).

    My other suggestion is for people who participate on this site to roll up their sleeves, hold their noses, and plunge into some of those comment threads from time to time. I think a lot of the participants in those groups get the impression, from hearing only their own strange misconceptions mirrored back at them, that the whole world is of one mind, which gives them rather too much confidence.

    I also fear that cuts at newspapers have left us with journalists who don’t understand the science turning to blogs (one visit to RC, one to one of those others for “balance”) for explanations.

  277. Lady in Red:

    A recent post on DeepClimate about the Wegman Report got me thinking.

    DeepClimate discovered that some parts, for example the explanation of the importance and use of tree ring proxies, was “lifted” from another source. That’s uncool, tacky. Unethical, but, also, not particularly germane to the report’s thrust, does not negate the report’s conclusions, in particular, that the climate science peer-review process is, at least, inbred and that climate scientists need more cross-disciplinary mathematical expertise in their work. [edit]

    I would be interested in reading two overviews of the chronology of climate science, dating back, say, to the 1970’s, done by both skeptics and believers in AGW. If science is to build on prior science, should not all interested individuals have access to everything upon which peer-reviewed and published papers are based, including the selected data and models?

    I envision only a couple of pages, with head-to-head comments by the “other” side appended to each – but written for the intelligent lay community. Allowed comments being like “direct hits” instead of diversionary and distracting sideways slings.

    In the 1970’s, I believe, persons attempting to understand the world’s oceans, and others studying the atmosphere were called oceanographers and meteorologists and atmospheric scientists. Mostly, scientists focused on a narrow swath, like the biology of the ocean, or a study of its currents. Air-sea interactions were very complex, nuanced mysteries, I thought.

    When was “climate science” invented as a discipline, separate from previous earth sciences? What are the course requirements, what universities confer degrees in “climate science,” instead of, or alongside, traditional earth sciences? How much math, statistics, and physics are required for a “climate science” degree?

    Below is a succinct explanation of the difference between science and engineering and why we should open our confusing “settled science” about climate to qualified engineers:

    http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2009/12/21/the_perverse_economics_of_climate_modeling_97559.html

    Who were the first persons to attempt to do long-range, climate predictions? When? What were the predictions? In the 1970’s some folk were predicting a new Ice Age. The source most often referenced is a Newsweek article, which is derided by the AGW community as not authoritative, or peer-reviewed. I find it hard to believe that, one week, Newsweek went over the top and reported something completely without any scientific basis whatsoever. So, what was the genesis of that article? Who did the research and what became of them and their work? When did the consensus view shift from global ice to problematic warming?

    When did the IPCC issue its first report and how have its predictions borne out over time? How does the IPCC build upon its earlier predictions with each new report? What is the IPCC overall predictive track record?

    I am confused, and there appears to be controversy whether the last decade was the warmest in history (excluding 1934, possibly…?), is getting somewhat warmer, or is cooling. I’ve seen a U-Tube video of a ten year old and his father doing an analysis of US temperature data outside of urban centers which is a flat line, and read about cherry-picked data and temperature sensors mounted atop buildings beside air conditioning units. Why is the temperature record — from just the past ten years! — so controversial, more complicated than a junior high school science project, binary list of do’s and don’ts? Why isn’t satellite data incorporated more into contemporary analyses of global temperatures?

    In the past months I have read DeepClimate, ClimateProgress and RealClimate on the AGW side of the aisle.

    ClimateProgress reports today that a new, independent study by the British Met Office in conjunction with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting has – so quickly? – determined that prior HadleyCRU global warming predictions have been more conservative than the data and analysis now indicates and includes a terrifying, new hockey stick graph of warming from 1860 to the uptick present. The problem, of course, is that I have no confidence in the independence of this analysis and wouldn’t know if the graph were upside-down. (I am, however, impressed with the rapidity of this analysis and am left wondering why, if so easy and fast, this data cannot be analyzed by independent statistical experts and engineers.

    (There are often dismissive references from within the climate science community about the importance of trusting only peer-reviewed articles written by those with the appropriate academic degrees, the only ones entitled to have opinions on matters pertaining to climate. There is a modest, thin, little-known book by the late, great Jane Jacobs, an intellectual gadfly of great proportion, titled Dark Age Ahead – a subject not ungermane to matters at hand. There are three chapters of particular note: Credentialing Versus Educating, Science Abandoned, and Self-Policing Subverted. The entire book is an easy yet compelling read. Look it up. Read it.)

    [edit]

  278. Alex BUrton:

    One thing I have wondered is whether the increases in CO2 concentration can have small effects on our cognitive abilities. I know it has marked effects at higher concentrations. At long term low but elevated levels might it be that the denial of AGW observed is exacerbated by loss of cognitive abilities.

  279. happypuppy:

    What is real Climate’s response to the Fox News special on change change?

  280. John E. Pearson:

    277: Who were the first persons to attempt to do long-range, climate predictions? When?

    Joseph Fourier in 1810 is the earliest attempt that I know of to make scientific climate predictions. I have no idea what he predicted. There wasn’t enough science known at the time for his predictions to be taken seriously. You should read the Spencer Weart’s “Discovery of Global Warming” http://www.aip.org/history/climate/ if you’re seriously interested in this.

  281. David Horton:

    Yeah, right, Lady in Red, a genuine searcher after knowledge aren’t you?

    Bit of a hint though – “In the 1970’s some folk were predicting a new Ice Age” – sort of gives it away.

  282. Tim Jones:

    Re #16, “I have a tremendous respect for Jim Hansen… but his focus on nuclear power is something I don’t get.”

    Jim Hansen clearly refers to 4th generation nuclear power. He’s thinking of reactors that use thorium instead of uranium as the primary fuel. The process also burns up weapons grade fissionable elements and nuclear waste. It reduces the danger of storing nuclear waste from millennia to centuries.
    http://seekerblog.com/archives/20090902/jim-hansen-on-4th-generation-nuclear-power/
    see also:
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/energy/nuclear

  283. Chris Colose:

    Andrew (#270)– Concerning precipitation, water vapor, clouds:

    There’s several issues here. First of all, precipitation should go up much less rapidly than Clausius-Clapeyron in a warming world, so we expect differences between the accumulation of water vapor and the precipitation (which also suggests the atmosphere could be more sluggish getting rid of its water). The Wentz paper suggests the possibility of a discrepancy between models and observations in this regard (I would suggest our ability to model associated precipitation changes are currently inadequate), although others (e.g., Previdi and Liepert (2008)) suggest that the Wentz results may not necessarily be indicative of longer-term global warming due to the inter-decadal variability of precipitation changes. This is certainly something that needs work.

    That said, you’re quite right about clouds being represented inadequately in models, particularly through their role as a feedback mechanism to greenhouse-induced warming. It is unclear what their magnitude (or even sign) is, as this is not well constrained. It is fair to say much of the IPCC sensitivity range of 2 to 4.5 degrees C/2xCO2 is largely the result on uncertanties in cloud feedback in a warmer world. Projected precipitation changes should be less sensitive to these issues because the tropospheric energy balance (which determines precipitation) is not really dependent on albedo feedback issues, as only feedbacks that affect tropospheric energy *absorption* affect the tropospheric energy budget (see the argument in Lambert and Webb 2008).

    Water vapor is different than clouds, and there’s pretty high confidence that scientists are not off the mark that much concerning the radiative feedback influence of water vapor.

  284. Doug Bostrom:

    Lady in Red says: 21 December 2009 at 9:37 PM

    …I understand nothing about this

    I am confused…

    I hope it’s not snipped…

  285. Jim Galasyn:

    Interesting editorial decision over at Chemical & Engineering News, to include the contrarian position in their climate change overview: Into the heart of the climate debate.

    “The only contentious aspect of the IPCC assessment is attribution –– what is the cause of global warming and climate change,” says atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer, who is president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project, a public policy institute based in Arlington, Va. “We have looked at every bit of data that IPCC has brought forth, and we see no credible evidence for human-caused global warming. None.”

    [Response: They missed the next part of the quote: “Whether that has anything to do with the fact we’re wearing a blindfold, while sitting in the dark with our heads buried in the sand, I couldn’t possibly say.” – gavin]

  286. Radge Havers:

    “In the past months I have read… RealClimate…”

    Seriously? Did you go to thestart here page on this site and read deeply? Then move on to search the articles and comments for answers to your remaining questions?

    (Don’t say that you did.)

    “I also read WattsUpWithThat, The Air Vent, and, of course, ClimateAudit. Frankly, I find them more closely aligned with facts, with science and with numbers.”

    Huh? How so?

    “Somehow, I feel that…”

    Oh, I see. Never-mind. It’s all about the feelings… somehow.

    The science is going to be very hard to wrap your head around if you’re accustomed to forming you opinions based solely on seductively descriptive text with no math. Even core undergraduate courses in calculus and statistics will be insufficient. The closest you can come to getting around that is to spend a lot of time rigorously examining the mechanics of the discussion. You will see that climate scientists in general go to great lengths, if not always successfully, to break down difficult concepts, while denialists tend to cycle through rhetorical devices and debating tricks. While these occasionally get dressed up in new ways, I believe that any reasonably intelligent and literate person can learn to identify them with a little practice. (For instance your comment comes very close to “Gish Galloping.”) In the end, we have to go with our best estimate. We can’t just fantasize that there must be a better explanation and then make decisions based on that fantasy.

    So. AGW. Deal with it.

    Just in general, RC is a scientists’ site. It’s not like e-mailing your congress critter with countless talking points, and because he/she panders to polls, it will be taken seriously. If you want your comments to be truly influential, you’d better bring some game and some mad skills. Otherwise have the good graces to respectfully warm the bleachers.

  287. Neil Pelkey:

    I think a thread on why this is such a male dominated site would be interesting. Women are typically more pro environmental leaning than men. Is the lack of women a result of the state of physics in general–Prof. Bradley’s outfit has a few female grad students, but the postdocs and collaborators are all male. There is only one female tenure track faculty in that group–is she taken seriously? She doesn’t publish much. Are women in physics taken seriously? If women and American domestic minorities (also pretty non-existent in academic level physics) come to see AGW as another white male pissing match, then the scientific battle might be won while the policy space is lost.

    [Response: Actually that is a good question. But it’s one I don’t really have an answer for. There is no shortage of female scientists in climate – though it does vary according to sub-discipline. And although we’ve had numerous guest posters (e.g. Kim Cobb, Cecilia Bitz, Figen Mekik, Dorothy Koch, Beate Liepert…), no-one (so far!) has wanted to do this as a continual thing. There are of course multiple pressures – these are generally early career people, and they have to publish, get grants, teach, raise families (optionally), be good community people etc – and so part-time blogging might look difficult to fit in. However, we are very keen to encourage people to use RC as a means of public outreach, and we’d welcome questions and suggestions from other potentials posters if they were interested in contributing one, two or multiple posts at whatever frequency they’d be happy with. It can be a lot of fun (at least some of the time ;) ). – gavin]

  288. John E. Pearson:

    254: It’s shoddy and certainly not anything someone interested in getting at truth would stop with, but I’m not sure it’s completely nuts. I wonder what the best fit would be over the modern temperature record? I would think one could search for a best fit using something like the BIC or AIC (I’m not sure which one would be more appropriate for this). Say you want to fit to global averaged annual mean temperature. You could try to extract a time dependent trend v(t) (with v representing the time rate of change of temperature as a function of time t) using splines of various orders to fit to time averaged windows of varying lengths. Obviously the best least squares fit would one with as many parameters as there are years of temperatures but BIC (or AIC) penalize for over-fitting. You definitely wouldn’t find the best BIC score came from a fit with 100 + parameters. My guess from eye-balling the temperature record is that the fit of the tempertaure data from 1880 until now with the best BIC score would have around 5-10 parameters. It would be interesting to see. Maybe somebody has already done an analysis along these lines? I think 226’s were honest questions. My guess is that the site he linked to has no interest in providing honest answers.

  289. EL:

    Gavin,

    http://www.examiner.com/x-28973-Essex-County-Conservative-Examiner~y2009m12d10-Context-for-hide-the-decline-discovered

    [Response: Your point? – gavin]

  290. Steve Fish:

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 21 December 2009 @ 5:03 PM:

    I agree with what you are saying, but here is a little more information from the inside. Early in my career as a scientist (neurobiology), among my advisers and friends we made a distinction between pure science and applied science. Pure science was done by individuals at universities and basic science institutions that didn’t have a bias in their mission. Science was done for its own sake and scientists followed their interest.

    Applied science was, in my area of research, the province of industry (e.g. drug companies) and physicians doing contract work for drug companies. The most extreme examples where money was spent to discover, or develop a specific product or process, we called biotechnology. If you are not familiar with an area, “follow the money” is a good guide.

    I had colleagues that went into applied science because the salary and benefits were much better. Some of them went into jobs that produced good research, but you would have to know the individuals in order to decide if their research was biased or not. In my experience they were often willing to talk candidly about this.

    Climate science is pure basic science. Steve

  291. Rod B:

    Dwight (255), we certaintly don’t need an AGW debate to howl about world government, redistribution of wealth, etc.

  292. Spaceman Spiff:

    @277 Lady in Red:

    You bring up a lot of points, most of which are non-issues. What I mean by that is (a) some were never issues to begin with, and (b) most of the rest climate scientists, atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, geologists, and physicists have addressed with *data and the convergence of evidence* and the successful predictions of their (yes, imperfect) models. Yet no matter how many times these and similar questions are answered, a segment of the population doesn’t care to learn from them, or care that those who are answering them are members of the scientific community that are collecting data and otherwise practicing the science. You might imagine the frustration that eventually sets in.

    Nevertheless, I’ll try to address a few of the points you raise.

    1) re. “global cooling predictions” of the 1970s. This has been answered (again and again and again, and…).
    The most recent and complete review of this non-issue can be found here: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008BAMS…89.1325P (the electronic on-line article should be available for free; otherwise try googling: “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus”).

    2) Mann’s “hockey stick” has been replicated (and improved upon) by other researchers in study after study since his original work, using many different methods for temperature reconstruction. See the studies linked from here, for example:
    http://www.desmogblog.com/this-is-not-a-hockey-stick . The US National Academy of Sciences investigated the climate reconstruction issue (Mann’s “hockey stick”), and essentially confirmed its scientific usefulness: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=11676 . Now 3-4 years on, the case for the ‘hockey stick’ has only been strengthened.

    And what’s more, even if these particular data did not exist the scientific conclusion of the future arrival of a climate train wreck is hardly dented. This is because of the multitudes of convergent independent evidence across many scientific disciplines with regards to Earth’s climate.

    4) Engineers, statisticians and all are welcome to submit their climate data and physical or statistical interpretations thereof to the appropriate journals for consideration of publication.

    5) You are invited to learn for yourself the more important processes and phenomena associated with the science of Earth’s climate. Along the way you will find that on the one hand, there are many 1000s of scientists of climate-related disciplines collecting and publishing their data, publishing replicated model predictions as well as continually expanding and improving the climate models. There is a working overarching physical model for Earth’s climate (and I am not referring to a particular computer model) — one that explains and unifies the observations, despite the uncertainties that climate scientists are more than happy to reveal. There is at present no competing model that does the same.

    May I recommend beginning this quest for understanding by watching this most effective video of a presentation given by a highly recognized actively practicing paleogeologist, Dr. Richard Alley, of the American Geophysical Union at their annual meeting regarding the role that CO2 has played in the long history of Earth’s climate:
    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml .
    It is an excellent presentation that shows how interlocking independent lines of evidence result in understanding.

    All the best.

  293. Norman:

    I wonder what the solution is?

    If the continued burning of fossil fuels will cause untold damage to the planet via potential runaway “Greenhouse Effect”, what is the answer?

    Should the 6 billion plus people be forced to live unpleasant difficult lives, low on food, comforts, etc?

    Are the plans to get rid of 80% of the current population (odds would be that I would be in that 80%) to make things more manageable?

    Wind is not very reliable and you need vast amounts of windmills to provide enough electricity for a comfortable existence. What is the energy of the future? Why does it take so long to figure out fusion? Why can’t the World’s Nations develop Fusion power?

    What will all the billions of people do? The bigger question is what should we be doing? In order to have a Nation of fully employed citizens it seems necessary to carry out an extremely wasteful consumer oriented society. One where many items of no particular use are manufactured and sold and buried in the ground after they, by design, break. If we are to consume less fossil fuels then someone needs to design an economic system where the citizens can partake in meaningful labor but not need to be hyper consumers. We can enjoy the comfort of a warm house and plenty of food without the excess needed to keep this current form of economy running.

    Does anyone have an answer? You can prove release of Carbon Dioxide by man will cause a drastic warming of the planet, the next phase is to figure out a new economic model that would work.

  294. ZT:

    I was intrigued to have a message on this thread not posted, and then to read of the suspicion that people posting asking dumb questions might be an astro-turf operation. So – I just wanted to let you know that I (at least) am not some kind of stooge. I am or was just asking questions to satisfy my curiosity.

    I think that you are going to find that people who don’t know anything about climatology are going to know something about climategate. That isn’t suspicious – that is just a result the fact that climategate makes people curious about climatology, but not apparently, vice versa. Once one is curious about climatology, one asks questions about the accuracy of data (etc.), then one asks about projections (modeling, etc.), then one learns about the fact that long term trends are important, and that leads to wanting to know about the MWP, etc.

    In my case I hadn’t come across the concept that models couldn’t be used for prediction – and at that point I seem to have become uniformly banned :-( anyway my questions weren’t supposed to be annoying.

    Anyway, the progress from climategate to having questions is fairly natural – and not a malevolent plot. I am just mentioning this as I see the climatology people turn on people in these threads – and that will simply convince anyone that knows nothing of climatology that they are in fact ‘a skeptic’ and send them elsewhere for information. That isn’t the game plan is it? (or is this site in fact run by big oil!).

    Anyway – just my two cents – feel free to delete this message like my last if you want.

    [Response: People are free to clutter up all manner of bulletin boards and forums and threads elsewhere with repetitive, oft-debunked random talking points. Just not here. If you want to have a dialog about science then we’re good, but if you want to insult scientists, insinuate wrong-doing or post random links to the same, then that isn’t going to work. Feel free to try again. – gavin]

  295. Susann:

    I haven’t had the opportunity to read all 280+ comments yet, but in response to the first post re polling results, the denial industry (doubt is our product) can claim at least a temporary victory. This end — discredited science through discrediting the scientists — was precisely their goal. If you can’t cast doubt on the science, cast doubt on the scientists. Most people are not equipped to judge the science but they do like judging each other.

    Sadly, the denialists were able to hound the scientists enough that they made some ill-advised comments to each other in emails that have been taken out of context and used to inflame those inclined to be so. Very sad.

    Time will tell of course, but by the time there is evidence that is beyond doubt, it will be too late to do anything but mitigate through even more risky geoengineering projects. The cost will be much more in lives and money than if we were to act sooner. Filthy lucre rules.

  296. Dougetit:

    Breaking News!

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=119745

    [Response: Oh my!. – gavin]

  297. venge:

    40% of American co2 comes from coal and natural gas power plants. Nuclear is the only cost effective co2 neutral alternative. Unlike what people like #16 would have you believe, solar is ridiculously expensive (~10x as expensive as nuclear without subsidies). I’ve personally done extensive research on the costs of different power sources, from a variety of government, green, and industry sources, and its blatantly obvious that only switching to nuclear will allow us to meet the 2°C target without bankrupting our economy. And yet hippies and greens are fanatically opposed to nuclear because “they’re scary”. Until the green movement pulls its collective head out of the sand, they will continue to be mocked by people that can do math.

  298. Spaceman Spiff:

    @277 Lady in Red:

    There were two other questions you asked that I can help you with.

    1) The history behind climate science; try the links here, from the American Institute of Physics: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

    2) “What are the course requirements, what universities confer degrees in climate science, instead of, or alongside, traditional earth sciences? How much math, statistics, and physics are required for a climate science degree?”
    (omitting the quotes around climate science)

    As an active researcher in astrophysics, I can tell you my career path. I would be surprised if it differs much (except in details in particular course work) from those who work in the climate sciences:

    a) majored in physics and astronomy, with plenty of courses in mathematics. Degree: B.S.

    b) Graduate school in astronomy. Two years of advanced course work in physics, astrophysics and astronomy. After passing 2 rigorous PhD candidacy exams, there are 3-4 additional years to complete an original research project, write and defend the dissertation. Degree: Ph.D.

    c) postdoc research positions — These are 2-3 year long terminal positions at a university or observatory, during which time one performs research, publishes results, tries to gain research grants. Here, your research mettle is being tested. Most do two postdocs, some do 1 or 3.

    Based on the above research record, attempt and hopefully land a regular research/teaching position at university, laboratory, observatory. One is then on a “6-year plan” to teach, mentor students, perform research, publish the results, actually gain research grants, become recognized in your field. Based on evaluations of these, one might become tenured and continue exploring the universe.

  299. David Klar:

    Real Climate does a great service by providing climate science education for both the lay public and scientists and science teachers(like myself). Sometimes the evidence(particularly the statistics based ones) cause my eyes to glaze over, but generally, I give you an “A” for clear presentation of up to date climate science.

  300. Prof T Heidrick:

    Check:
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20090408/
    To pull the NASA scientists quote out:
    “We will have very little leverage over climate in the next couple of decades if we’re just looking at carbon dioxide,” Shindell said. “If we want to try to stop the Arctic summer sea ice from melting completely over the next few decades, we’re much better off looking at aerosols and ozone.”
    SO if we focus on Carbon we will lose the Arctic!

    [Response: No. If we just focus on CO2 then it will take a long time to affect concentrations, but in the meantime, reductions in ozone precursors (particular methane) and black carbon, will improve the situation with a more rapid impact. No exclamation marks required. – gavin]

  301. James McDonald:

    First, Gavin, thank you for your response repeated here:

    [Response: The ‘fudge factor’ calculation was an attempt to see if the calibration statistics were affected by the MXD post 1960-decline and were written up for publication but never actually published. It was a vaguely interesting calculation perhaps, but has no implication for anything else. The numbers themselves were calculated as a principle component of the divergence pattern. The “trick” was to get around the problem of wanting to produce a smoothed picture of the long term temperature trends when you have a discontinuity in the middle. Jones used a splice before smoothing in one figure in a WMO brochure 10 years ago that I had never seen prior to last month. Again, an issue of rather minor importance. We should however put up an FAQ on these kinds of things though to save time in the future. – gavin]

    However, this is still not quite the kind of soundbite I’m seeking.

    The goal is an assertion that will withstand scrutiny yet can be used to counter some spurious claim in a chaotic *political* debate.

    As an example of what I’m after, would you agree with these, or are they misleading in any substantive way?

    * The ‘fudge factor’ calculation was in “what-if” code that was never actually used for anything.

    * The “trick” was simply the use of a splice function to bridge old and new temperature data derived from different sources.
    (but this doesn’t explain “hiding the decline” or whatever was written)

    You say these are of “minor” importance, but the right wing is killing you with these unanswered accusations.

    They are waging a FUD campaign against you, so ALL bogus claims in their echo chamber need to be debunked swiftly and decisively. After a few days of currency, these claims begin to damage your credibility among the public at large (the ones who elect the people who allocate research funds). And each day they are not rebuked, those spreading them are embolded to intensify the signficance of their unanswered claims. Just ask Al Gore, Max Cleland, John Kerry, etc. what happens after a month or two.

  302. dhogaza:

    I wonder what the solution is?

    If the continued burning of fossil fuels will cause untold damage to the planet via potential runaway “Greenhouse Effect”, what is the answer?

    Well, climate science doesn’t support the notion of a “runaway greenhouse effect” (ala venus or whatever), so perhaps it is better to focus on what climate science *is* telling us.

    Which is a relatively yet extremely expensive and painful rise in global temperatures unless we take action soon to reduce CO2 emissions. If we don’t, it gets more expensive and painful.

    No need to exaggerate by raising strawman “runaway greenhouse effects”. The reality of the science message is scary enough.

  303. Prof T Heidrick:

    The problem is we don’t have resources to do all. So we must focus on the immediate problem first. It won’t do any good to spend resources on the long term if the Arctic disappears in the interim.We also know particulates kill people so this truly is the highest priority.

  304. Patrick 027:

    Re 134 Edward Greisch –

    Just a small clarification in terminology – a supervolcanic eruption tends to cause global cooling via aerosols, and is short-lived at least relative to geologic time if not even shorter time periods.

    The volcanism that may have caused the end-Permian extinction is flood-volcanism.

  305. Rattus Norvegicus:

    Lady in Red, I’ll try and answer as many of your questions as I can.

    1. Regarding Deep Climate’s post. Yes, it does not directly call into question the conclusions of the Wegman report, but it does call into question the quality of the scholarship behind the report. This very site has replies to the MM criticisms here and here. Both of these links show, to my satisfaction at least, that the problem with the original analysis made no difference to the conclusion. In the CRU emails Mann himself said that McIntyre “almost had a point about the PCA stuff, if it had made any difference to the conclusion”.

    As far as a chronology of climate science goes, Tyndall in 1856 identified CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Arrhenius in 1896 identified anthropogenic releases of CO2 as being a factor in warming the climate. This hypothesis was strengthened by the work of Guy Callender in the 1930’s. By the 1950’s the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere was pegged to man by Seuss. In the 1960’s Manabe built the first climate model. I would guess that it might be difficult to get data and code going back even 50 years, much less 150 years. However, the papers are available.

    Climatology as a discipline takes in many disciplines. As the systematic nature of the study of the climate system became clearer, more and more scientific disciplines were taken in. Like ecology or evolutionary biology climate science is an intensely interdisciplinary field.

    The first IPCC report was released in 1991. I can’t answer the rest of this question.

    As far as the 1970’s “ice age myth” I suggest you read this. I think that by the time this hit the popular press Schneider had already corrected his paper which started this myth. The 1979 NAS “Charney” report predicted the possible extent of global warming as being about 3C. The fallout from the basic theory of how the climate works was pretty well established by 1980, and the estimates of temperature change due to a doubling of CO2 have not changed much in the last century.

    The last decade is the warmest in the history of the instrumental record. The 90’s are the second warmest, etc. etc. When GISS corrected their analysis explained well here 1934 was in a statistical tie with 1998 for the warmest year in the lower 48. Of course prior to the correction, 1934 was in a statistical tie with 1998 for the warmest year in the lower 48. Globally, the correction made no difference, and in GISS 2005 is still the warmest on record. CRU still has 1998 as the warmest on record, but CRU and GISS use different methods for analyzing global temperature. Specifically, GISS attempts to estimate the temperature in the high arctic by interpolating temps based on a result which Hansen published in the mid 1980’s showing that temperature anomalies have spatial coherence at a 1000km scale.

    As far as blogs go, I would avoid WUWT and TAV. Steve occasionally has a point to make, but he is far more often off base. The latest example of this is his Yamal accusations in which he used an incorrect method for constructing a regional RCS chronology. If you are interested in a blog which discusses time series analysis I would follow Open Mind. Tamino does this for a living and publishes in the peer reviewed liturature. He is no dummy and is a very good writer who can communicate well on a variety of levels. I have learned a lot from reading him (although the higher math in some of his posts loses me. I only took differential and integral calculus and haven’t had to use it in my career at all over the last 30 years.

  306. Toby Thaler:

    Norman (291) asks the right questions. I have no answer, but some observations:

    I’ve worked on the law and policy of natural resource management for over thirty years, mostly forestry in the NW U.S. In the 70s scientists who were interested in salmonids started coming up with very strong work showing that forest practices harms fish, primarily (but not exclusively) as a result of the roads and sediment produced by them. Forty years later, we, as a society, have yet to stop trashing fish habitat with crappy forest roads. The timber industry made sure of that. And a political system that is controlled by “representatives” bought by the corporatists and a few weak “liberals” perpetuates “business as usual.”

    I have seen the same story repeated time and again. The scientists point out an impact on public health or the environment, and it takes years and huge effort to make changes that address the problem. Public health issues get a bit more traction, perhaps because people “get it” easier; the impacts are more directly relevant to their own lives and experience. Like the asbestos mining disaster in Libby, Montana.

    The same sorry story with climate change is playing out. Too many people, too many lacking in intellectual curiosity or sufficient education to understand the science, even if explained, or the consequences of “business as usual.” Too much greed and shortsightedness. Too much fear, which leads directly to denial.

    The current debate feels a lot like the nastiness around the Obama – McCain campaigns. And the “liberals” actually won, and what did we get? Business as usual. The liberals aren’t really liberal, they’re just slightly less corporatist in their outlook, but that doesn’t move the masses on the need to change our economic, cultural, technological paradigms. Susann (293) has it right; the “filthy lucre” wins out over ethics and critical thinking.

    My answer: I believe we’re toast–unless some plague takes our population down fairly quickly, there will be no effective societal response that can avoid all sorts of miseries for the entire biosphere. But my cultural and ethical background drive me to keep plugging away. What choice do we have? As the word magnets on my refrigerator say: “Teach courage or be lost.”

  307. Toby Thaler:

    297, re: nuclear power as part of the answer. I have been one of those “hippies and greens” for decades because the cost/risk and waste issues were never adequately addressed (can you pronounce WPPSS?). I now agree that nuclear may be part of the answer due to the current crisis from burning carbon. HOWEVER, I think we would be far better off if we invested in diminishing our need for electricity through conservation and, more importantly, by reducing our need to consume so many material goods. We need to stop producing so much “stuff” that requires large amounts of power, and takes more power to deal with as a “waste stream.” How much crap do we need to give each other for Xmas/Hanukah/Kwanza in order to be happy?

    How about more distributed generation? If we spent as much R&D on that as we have on centralized power and moving carbon around, I suspect we’d be well on the way to having an economy that works well without being linked to GHG emissions.

  308. Rattus Norvegicus:

    In reading my previous comment, it might be good to have a page with links to seminal papers in the study of the climate system. Easier just to point to that than to keep answering the same stupid questions over and over.

  309. sidd:

    Re: Suggestion for future post

    Ice sheet models

  310. John Mashey:

    re: #277 Lady in Red
    before you commented about
    “does not negate the report’s conclusions, in particular, that the climate science peer-review process is, at least, inbred and that climate scientists need more cross-disciplinary mathematical expertise in their work.”

    Were you aware of the composition of the Wegman committee and those thanked for help? I.e.:

    “This report was authored by Edward J. Wegman, George Mason University, David W. Scott, Rice
    University, and Yasmin H. Said, The Johns Hopkins University. We would also like to acknowledge the
    contributions of John T. Rigsby, III, Naval Surface Warfare Center, and Denise M. Reeves, MITRE
    Corporation.”

    1) WEGMAN is a distinguished statistician @ George Mason.

    2) David W. SCOTTt is a distinguished statistician @ Rice, obviously asked by Wegman. In reviewing his C.V.:

    a) His C.V. references Wegman 6 times besides the Wegman Report:
    2 book chapters he wrote for Wegman-edited books, 1986 and 2005.
    4 sessions he organized in which Wegman was an invited speaker: 1987, 1987, 1989, 1990.

    b) Among his industrial consulting clients are Exxon and Dresser Industries (gear for oil&gas industries.) Of course, given his Houston location, that wouldn’t be odd. However, if one ranked cities in their concern about AGW, I suspect Houston would not be high on the list.

    All of this may be totally irrelevant, and Scott is certainly a distinguished statistician … but I’d think any useful social network graph would strongly connect him and Wegman, even if there are no co-authored papers.

    3) YASMIN SAID (Johns Hopkins) … got her PhD in Statistics from GMU, PhD Advisor = Wegman.
    http://genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu/id.php?id=90582

    4) JOHN T. RIGSBY III (Naval Surface Weapons Center) was doing his MS in Statistics 2001-2005 @ GMU, likely part-time while @ NSWC.
    http://www.galaxy.gmu.edu/stats/colloquia/ColloquiaFall2004.html
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-rigsby/6/4b1/917 says he was doing MS then.
    Google Scholar: wegman rigsby yields
    King, Rigsby, Bernard, Wegman 2004
    Said, Wegman, Sharabati, Rigsby 2008

    5) DENISE REEVES (MITRE) did her final PhD Defense @ GMU May 19, 2009. Her dissertation advisor was Wegman.

    How strong a link is 2 senior people having know each other for 20+ years? Does a senior professor have any influence over a recent PhD student, a then-current PhD student, and a recent MS student with whom he had already written one paper? Maybe the Lady in Red might draw us the social network graph of the authors criticizing the climate scientists for having a tight social network?

    REGARDING INTERDISCIPLINARY ISSUES:
    1) In my experience, the complaint that some other scientists did not get enough involvement from statisticians … is not rare, and it’s sometimes even appropriate. (It is quite analogous to the complaint by software engineers that a lot of other engineers and scientists fail to consult them when writing code.)
    On the other hand, I’m curious if Lady in red has any real-world experience of the realities of this?

    Let me offer 2 university examples, which I have good reason to believe are reasonably representative, and one (unusual) industry example, which is not, but is educational.

    a) Stanford University has ~30 {Professors of various flavors, research associates}, etc, and they do try to provide internal consulting, mostly by grad students. Stanford has about 1900 faculty total (~60:1), of whom I’d guess about half might be helped by statistics advice now and then. Let’s say that’s about a 30:1 ratio, somewhat of a barrier to getting a lot of help. In addition, in any field, journals have some ranking by prestige, and publication in better ones may not be so helpful, especially if rarely/never read by statisticians. Except for those statisticians who particularly relish team efforts in application areas, the incentives do not encourage them to be looking to spend much time on other areas. [This is too bad, especially for a lover of interdisciplinary things, but universities can easily become stovepiped unless senior people work very hard against that.]

    b) At my alma mater, Penn State, the Stat department is about 30 people, but the total academic staff is ~6000, so that’s about 200:1, and even half need statistics help now and then, that’s 100:1, and again, the academic incentives do not overly encourage statisticians to spend a lot of time helping people publish articles in non-stats journals.

    c) Now, the odd case, Bell Labs, circa 1980. We had roughly 25,000 employees, probably 80% in R&D.
    We had a Mathematics&Statistics Research Center, of about 60 people, run by the (impressive, I heard him speak when I was in high school) Henry O. Pollak, and about half that group had some kind of stats-label. This included folks like Joseph Kruskal, and John Chambers (who did S, from which R came, oddly the reverse order from B->C). However, the Associate Executive Director above this was a fellow named John Tukey, and if someone doesn’t recognize this name, they might want to rethink any strong opinions they have about statistics.

    So, these folks did statistics research, and in some sense, they were a much smaller fraction of the total staff (say 21,000:30 = 700:1), BUT:
    – there were of course other departments focussed on statistical work. In Bell Labs, large $$$ rode on good statistical analysis, so people cared.
    – part of their job was explicitly to promulgate better statistics methods among the staff at Bell Labs. Hence, they built stat packages, S, etc.
    – they were supposed to be responsive, and supposed to be involved with other areas, and BTL-internal publications counted, not just external stat journals.

    and finally:
    – inside BTL, if you were going to publish a paper externally, it first had to go through internal peer review, which meant that it had to go to at least 2 Divisions outside your own line of management. You sent the paper up through your line of management to your Executive Director, who sent it to two others, who got reviews from people inside their organizations, and sent them back to *your* ED, from whence it worked its way down.
    Scathing comments to your ED were viewed as career-limiting moves … so of course, if doing anything unusual, people knew it was a good idea to go over and ask for some help, and expect to get it.

    Maybe some university works this way, but if so, I haven’t seen it.
    ===
    For what it’s worth, I offer an opinion, based on Tukey’s general approach (like EDA), internal reputation, and public quotes, that he might have niggled a little at MBH98 and MBH99, but generally would have approved of them as good early attempts to extract signal from the noise. I rather doubt he would have thought much of endless torturing of data that seems to impress some people. Of course, since he is deceased, we can’t ask him, which is too bad, as he tended towards pithy comments.

  311. PeteB:

    I thought this was quite interesting (not that I was much reassured that we could end up at 600ppm) – Any comments – (somebody claimed this included tar sand extraction etc)

    http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5084

    The studies published so far that take into account both peak oil and climate change are a truly minuscule number in comparison to the total number of papers that deal with climate change. This says a lot on how the problem was neglected so far. Nevertheless, a consensus seems to be emerging. Even with different models and different assumptions, it appears that geological constraints pose an important limit on CO2 emissions. All the studies discussed here arrive at the conclusion that, even without policy interventions, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will stabilize in a range that goes, approximately, from 450 to 600 ppm. These values are far below those of the “business as usual” (bau) scenario of the IPCC that predicts a CO2 concentration of about 1000 ppm by the end of the century.

    Based on these studies, peak oil (and, in general, peak fossils) is going to have a strong effect on the climate issue. For one thing, it may well make the Kyoto treaty obsolete. There would be no need for policy measures to enforce the Kyoto targets. The emission limits that today are often seen as an insufferable set of constraints on the economy, could become, in the near future, just a consequence of the reduced supply of fossil fuels coupled with a contracting economy. On the other hand, the targets of the Kyoto treaty might well turn out to be insufficient to counter global warming.

    At this point, there is no consensus among the authors in terms of policy recommendations relating to these results. Some of the authors cited here conclude that peaking of fossil fuel production will be sufficient to maintain CO2 at a level below that considered dangerous by many climate experts. But this conclusion is not shared by other authors who maintain, instead, that even if we could be sure that CO2 concentrations would remain in the 450-550 ppm range, we would still face dangerous levels of global warming. Clearly, this is a difficult issue to solve, given the uncertainty in the scenarios and in the calculations of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and the temperature effects. Furthermore, there are several phenomena that the climate models don’t consider and that could make warming much more serious than currently believed. Among these, the saturation of the CO2 sinks, the positive feedback of the methane hydrates and those of the ice/albedo system. We just don’t know enough to be able to say whether depletion is enough to “save” us from global warming.

  312. Roger Tan:

    Hello, i am looking for studies that show connection between human activity and climate change. So far i could not find any that would actually show such connection. Could anyne please help me by pointing me towards one?
    Thanks,
    Roger T

  313. Anne van der Bom:

    venge #297

    its blatantly obvious that only switching to nuclear will allow us to meet the 2°C target without bankrupting our economy

    If it is so blatantly obvious, show us your research. I don’t believe you:

    The US consumes ~4000 TWh anually. If they switched to electric cars and electric heating (heat pumps), let’s say that would double it to 8000 TWh anually. You would need ~3 TW of wind power to supply that. The cost would be roughly 5,000 billion dollars. That is 250 billion per year over a period of 20 years. 250 billion is 1.5% of GDP.

    This calculation is not complete, but at least suggests that it is not ‘blatantly obvious’.

    Bankrupt the economy? That’s alarmism.

  314. Bill K:

    @300: Or you could just do geoengineering, which RC.org has a unscientific, kneejerk reaction against. The fact that RC.org refuses to even consider geoengineering is one of the reasons this is a politics site, not a science site.

  315. Edward Greisch:

    Spaceman Spiff: You have reminded me of the idea that I would like RC to bring in other kinds of scientists to talk about their own research:

    Paleontologists to talk about previous extinction events.

    MDs to talk about what climates humans could take, how much H2S in the air etc.

    Archaeologists to talk about who survived previous collapses. Like when the Canaanite Empire collapsed and the survivors became the Israelites, was it the rich, the poor, the ones with long legs or the fat ones who survived? I bet on the fat ones with long legs.

    Somebody to talk about the range of climates humans could survive in, hotter or colder? In which climate would more food grow? In the ice age was there more farmable land than now, since the continental shelves were above water? Were there more fish in the sea during the ice age?

    Somebody who can say whether there are already more people than the planet can support.

    Giant asteroid impacts. An explosion of 100 Million Megatons is an Extinction Level Event.

    I heard that we prosper more when there are more sunspots, because the sun is brighter then. Is this true? Do crops grow better with more sunspots? So we need cold and bright?

    How slowly do we need the climate to change? How tightly do we need to control the climate, both hotter and colder?

  316. Mathieu Rouault:

    I would like to see a debate on science in developing country. I feel the international community of scientists do not do enough to help their brothers. Some countries do not have enough scientists, some have none in many important fields. Education is lagging. I would like to see a developing countries science perspective here. I would like reaclimate to ask George Philander who recently wrote a piece on an African perspective on climate change to write a piece on realclimate.

  317. Completely Fed Up:

    #287 what sex is Vicky Pope?

  318. Completely Fed Up:

    “we are embracing nuclear power as the only reasonable way to generate the energy needed”

    Done to death many times, but if Wall Street and the Nuclear industry itself WILL NOT build new power stations unless underwritten to guarantee a profit by government, then nuclear cannot be the only reasonable way to generate the energy needed.

  319. Vincent van der Goes:

    This has probably been mentioned before, but I would be highly interested in a post on best current estimates of future methane release (and its impact) from melting permafrost and clathrates.

  320. Paul UK:

    Re: 297 and nuclear energy vs renewables.

    Erm – complete junk. Heard of the phrase ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’?

    Greens aren’t fanatically opposed to nuclear. They just like to point out that wind turbines don’t produce radioactive waste, or can cause big accidents that render many square miles of land useless of many decades.

    I can do the math ‘venge’, in fact I did a wind turbine analysis for my employer. The World Nuclear Association has done the maths as well and they think wind energy and other renewables are OK to.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/why/default.aspx?id=36&terms=renewables

    So the argument is over capacity, not cost, carbon footprints or energy payback and of course the WNA have their own preference.

  321. Lab Lemming:

    First, an answer, then a question.

    Uranium reserves, like all reserves, are reported as ammount of uranium extractable at a given price. Historically, the U price has been low- tens of dollars per pound- since the end of the arms race. As a result, reserves are calculated using these numbers.

    Because the price of fuel is a very small cost of operating a nuclear plant, they can be cost effective at fuel prices substantially higher than the historical ones. Once you reach about $100 per pound, it becomes economically viable to extract uranium from phosphates mined for fertilizer, and the amount of available uranium in the ground becomes the phosphate reserve divided by about 20,000 or so- orders of magnitude larger than the current uranium reserve.

    The myth that Thorium is more plentiful is explained on my blog here:
    http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com/2008/05/thorium-uranium-ratios-and-atomic-power.html

    Disclaimer: I worked as an exploration geologist for a company that targeted both uranium and phosphate deposits(along with other resources) in 2007 and 2008.

  322. Lab Lemming:

    Question:
    Is the stratospheric ozone layer a significant greenhouse contributor?

    [Response: Yes (though not very large). Depletion of stratospheric ozone is a small negative forcing (fgure 2.20 in IPCC AR4). – gavin]

    And a followup, is Ozone depletion over Antarctica keeping it cool?

    [Response: A little. This seems to be mostly a dynamic effect (via changes in the winds because of the colder polar vortex aloft) rather than a radiative effect (i.e Shindell and Schmidt, 2004). – gavin]

  323. Ray Ladbury:

    Norman@293, Wow, so many red herrings in one post. Anybody bring rye bread, mayo and red onions?

    First, we are not talking ruinous penury as a result of mitigation. We are talking on the order of 1-2% of GDP–less than the cost of the Iraq war or the bailout. What is more, this is not money thrown down the drain, but rather money invested in energy savings, clean energy and responsible development in the third world.

    Yes, we face tremendous challenges as the global population crests toward 9-10 billion people. Yes, addressing climate change does add to these challenges. The real threat comes if we do nothing. I presume you want specifics:

    1)Conserve as much as possible while still living a decent life
    2)Support politicians (or whatever party) who embrace reality and the challenges it poses. Reject ideologues of all stripes.
    3)Support policies designed to conserve energy and develop clean energy
    4)Educate yourself–both about climate and energy, but also how science in general works. This will make you less vulnerable to astro-turfers and scam artists.
    5)Come up with ideas yourselves!!!

    This isn’t impossible if we approach it realistically. Our progeny will thank us. It’s time for us to step up and be the greatest generation–or at least yet another greatest generation.

  324. Ray Ladbury:

    Do-u-get-it, says “Breaking News!”

    From Whirled Nut Daily, more like “Breaking Wind!”

  325. Nick O.:

    I should like to construct a thread of three components.

    First, let’s see a review of the climate model forecasts/predictions made over the last 30 years or so, starting with the simplest models and bringing us up to the present day with the most sophisticated ocean-coupled models. The review is to include a comparison of the predictions with how the climate has actually turned out, with regard to average temperature and so on; it should also include how the forecasts made with the older, simpler models compare with those obtained from the later, more physically complete ones.

    I should then like Real Climate to lay down a challenge. This should be open to all comers, but particularly to experts in virtually any other formal discipline, whether from the social, political or engineering sciences: show us any model forecast made by your discipline 25-30 years ago that has turned out to be correct, or at least as nearly correct as the forecasts made in climate science have turned out to be, with regard to the behaviour of large, complex systems.

    The challenge should then be followed up with a question, particularly pertinent I think to commentators from economics and politics who seem to treat climate science with so much distrust or contrarianism: given the record of your own discipline with regard to long term forecasting, on what is your critique of the climate science community and its work based?

    I think this could turn quite neatly into a case – or cases – of ‘the biter bit’, and not before time either.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Yr to all …

  326. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Secular,

    I dismiss parapsychology, and at the same time I believe in ESP! I have HAD such experiences myself. What I have NOT had is experiences of that sort that could be independently verified. And none of the experiments on ESP so far have come up with that kind of evidence. A century of null results means there’s going to have to be some kind of major change in the approach before parapsychology can be considered a “science.”

    Yes, I know about the randomizer experiments. Same statistical sloppiness as Rhine’s, just more subtle. The fact that believers get good results and nonbelievers using the same methods don’t should be a clue.

    [Response: This OT even for an open thread. -gavin]

  327. Completely Fed Up:

    Just perusing but J’s attempt to scorn RC and some robust comments made by AGW proponents to denialists made me think.

    Have a look at the google results for:

    Al Gore interior of the Earth is several million degrees

    and the results for

    ian plimer sun is made of iron

    and see the difference in tone.

    Note also that Al Gore isn’t putting himself as a scientist but Ian Plimer is.

  328. Completely Fed Up:

    “The cost would be roughly 5,000 billion dollars. That is 250 billion per year over a period of 20 years. 250 billion is 1.5% of GDP.”

    Additionally, that 250 billion would be pushed through the economy. The workers building the turbines would buy gifts and toys and more essentials, stimulating the economy.

    Since there is a highly competitive market for making such items as wind turbines and solar arrays, there is a greater proportion of the workforce employed and more competition keeps costs down. Remember, the majority of employers in any robust economy is employed by the small and medium business sector.

    Being smaller companies, the executives will be paid less and hoarding of wealth will be less prevalent, ensuring that the money keeps moving through the economy rather than squirreled away or used for “makework” inve stments that only concentrate more wealth in the wealthy.

    What, after all, was the reason for the loa ns to banks? To keep the economy moving by making sure money MOVED.

    This spend could increase GDP easily outweighing the costs.

  329. Completely Fed Up:

    “Uranium reserves, like all reserves, are reported as ammount of uranium extractable at a given price.”

    There is also the rate at which extraction can be made.

    Easy oil is gone. Easy Uranium if not gone, going.

    “Peak Oil” isn’t “there is no more oil” it’s “the oil we can get out cannot expand to fill demand”.

    And the demand increases whilst supply doesn’t increase as much, what happens next?

    Prices rise.

    What have oil prices done for the last 15-20 years? Gone up dramatically.

  330. Completely Fed Up:

    “Or you could just do geoengineering, which RC.org has a unscientific, kneejerk reaction against. ”

    I think you pointed the unscientific kneejerk reaction the wrong way.

    Sulphur smokestacks? An eternal and increasing burden. Guaranteed income for the companies doing it, though. And that’s ignoring the problems of acid rain.

    Carbon trees? How about a hovercar too?

    And the ZERO COST solution for a large reduction? USE LESS POWER. Sweden use 1/3-1/4 the US average yet they are in a colder and darker clime than the US. They also have a better standard of living.

  331. Completely Fed Up:

    “* The “trick” was simply the use of a splice function to bridge old and new temperature data derived from different sources.
    (but this doesn’t explain “hiding the decline” or whatever was written)”

    Yes it does.

    It doesn’t seem to to those pushing “it’s a conspiracy” because they want (and unless you’re one of them, to apparent good effect) that the statement means

    “hide the decline in temperatures”

    It doesn’t. It means hide the decline in the issue being talked about: the thickness of the tree rings.

    PS: Please answer how you figure you can hide the decline (in temperatures) by using the real temperature data?

  332. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Brian Schmidt: My two post requests would be first, the clearest explanation of stratospheric cooling from GHGs that you can give (I find it confusing)

    BPL: Good absorbers are equally good emitters (Kirchhoff’s Law). In the stratosphere, there is little thermal infrared (4-200 microns) around, but a lot of ultraviolet. There’s ozone there, and that absorbs the UV, heating it. The ozone collides with everything else, including CO2, heating that. The CO2 radiates in the infrared, cooling the stratosphere. The heat balance in the stratosphere is between ozone UV heating and carbon dioxide IR cooling.

    When CO2 increases, there’s more efficient radiation of IR from the stratosphere, and it cools. At the same time, the greenhouse effect near the ground is increased because of all the IR flying around there.

    There is also some stratosphere cooling from ozone depletion, but not enough to account for observations.

  333. Barton Paul Levenson:

    John Mashey has a good idea there–a big, conspicuous link to “COMMENT POLICY–PLEASE READ” might help things slightly. If someone violates it and then complains when they get called on it, Gavin or somebody could say, “Didn’t you read the comments policy?”

  334. David Furphy:

    Maybe this is outside the boundaries of Real Climate but…

    Many people I talk to sort of get that there’s a problem but have absolutely no idea about the magnitude of the challenge we face trying to limit to 2 degrees C. Which means they don’t really care or see the urgency.

    I would be interested to learn more on emission trajectories that might actually meet such a target – especially since that was the only solid comittment in the Copenhagen Accord. Andrews and Bows (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 2008) suggest stabilising at 650 ppm CO2e and 3 to 4 degrees *might* be feasible but 450ppm and 2 degress probably isn’t.

    I guess I’m interested in the science of the policy/political options. Is a developed world target of 80% reduction by 2050 enough. How long before China and India *must* reduce emissions. Is 350 ppm possible? Will my next car have to be my last? Is there any place for coal in a 2 degree constrained world. How will Australia survive from 2020 to 2040 with zero coal power and coal exports? No that last one is just too hard!

  335. J:

    For previous doom and gloom, see “The Doomslayer”

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.02/ffsimon_pr.html

    Or follow Al Gore on any given day. Or the NYT, WaPo, ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR…

  336. Dan Hughes:

    re:# 282

    Thorium-based fission is not necessary for burning weapons-grade plutonium. Uranium-based reactors will, and are even now, work. Some uranium-based reactors designed and constructed in the 1960s and 1970s were designed to be able to use 100% MOX.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOX_fuel

  337. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Neil,

    Don’t forget, too, that we have knowledgeable, articulate women posting here fairly frequently, such as Anne van der Bom and Lynn Vincentnathan.

  338. Blair Dowden:

    Joel and Ray (#214 and #215), thanks for the response about the Cretaceous. The piece of the puzzle I missed was that runoff from the erosion of silicate rocks provides the calcium for the marine organisms that remove it and the attached carbon dioxide from the ocean. A warmer climate causes more runoff, which removes more carbon dioxide.

    There are other differences in the Cretaceous. The ocean was more stratified. Also, the chemistry was different, it was a calcite ocean rather than the present day aragonite ocean. I do not know what difference this makes to shell formation and pH levels.

  339. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Norman: Are the[re] plans to get rid of 80% of the current population (odds would be that I would be in that 80%) to make things more manageable?

    BPL (sitting in a wheelchair, obsessively stroking a white Persian cat): Yes. We decided on that in 1973 at the first meeting of the Cabal to Reorganize and Unify Society and Humanity (CRUSH), a secret organization of wealthy, Satan-worshipping, Jewish liberals who secretly control everything. At the end of the meeting, we sacrificed nine black puppies to Hecate and went home to our underage gay live-in companions and goat concubines. Your attempts to resist us are futile! Ha! Ha! Ha!

  340. Bob:

    A Simple Change in Behavior

    I’m often frustrated at the people that declare that any attempt to address the climate problem will destroy our economies, particularly when I look at all of the simple lifestyle changes that would garner a 10% to 40% reduction in individual (not total, obviously) fossil fuel consumption. Not all of them can be undertaken unilaterally by individuals, but certain societal changes would make it easier, or even required, and have huge effects. In particular:

    1) Trips to the store… if people simply organized their errands better, and stopped running to the store for just bread and milk, this would have a noticeable impact.

    2) 9-5… in today’s global economy, with business partners in multiple time zones, and 24-7 customer service for 24-7 lifestyles, there is very little reason for most businesses to operate 9-5. Spreading the working hours both within and among businesses would dilute everyone’s commute, which would have many benefits… less time spent idling in traffic and producing CO2 without progress, less construction required for smaller, less congested roadways, and more time for people as individuals to enjoy their lives (with less frustration).

    3) Telecommuting… here it is, almost 2010. I myself have been telecommuting for 15 years, but I still meet resistance from employers/clients that want me on-site 5 days a week (often 10 hours a day). Yet with so may of today’s jobs being information and technology dependent, along with the power of the Internet, I think that a large number of people in a variety of industries could work from home 1-2 days a week, if not more, using the same amount of electricity at home as they would at work, but completely eliminating their commute, which both eliminates that chunk of fossil fuel usage, and reduces the congestion that increases the fossil fuel usage of other commuters.

    4) Internet deliveries… I feel horribly sinful when I buy something through the Internet, usually something costing $15 to $50, with a $6 shipping charge. Then you realize you need it for a birthday or holiday, so you overnight it for $10 more. All around you, dozens of neighbors are doing the same thing. The CO2 charge for this isn’t too much more than if the product had been shipped to a nearby store, and you drove to pick it up, but imagine if we took advantage of this. Imagine if Internet deliveries to your neighborhood were bundled, so that for example “Internet Delivery Day” in your own neighborhood was every Wednesday. If you took that as an option, both your shipping charge and fossil fuel use is greatly reduced (the one shipping company driver is making one trip to your neighborhood instead of 5 different shipping companies making 20 distinct trips that week). Regional, shared warehouses of products would further reduce cross country shipping requirements (instead of requiring every company to organize and run their own warehouses, collectives run by the shipping companies could be used to optimize fuel usage — let’s stop shipping individual boxes that are 80% air and packing all over the country). This should allow products to be shuttled around the country using more fuel efficient methods than air freight.

    5) Regular neighborhood deliveries can even be extended to options that are currently available but rarely used. Most people still do their own grocery shopping, even while many grocery stores offer a shop-and-deliver service that only the old and infirm take advantage of. But there are fuel savings there, too, if one delivery truck can drop off all of the groceries for hundreds of families, eliminating hundreds of individual car trips to and from the store.

    Interestingly, there would probably be some cascading effects due to these changes. The increased use of small delivery vans to neighborhoods would begin to make it cost effective to use higher mileage hybrid versions of such vehicles, or their eventual replacement with electric versions powered by electricity delivered by large scale clean energy sources). Many of these savings result in more time spent at home, which becomes an impetus to make our homes more energy efficient, and reduces the office space (and therefore energy consumptions) required at places of work.

    I’m sure that others can think of similar areas where all we need to change is our behavior, and perhaps some of the attitudes and organization of society around that behavior.

    [Side note: In any cap and trade scheme, all businesses should be eligible for credits if they take significant steps to reduce employee fossil fuel usage by using flex hours, work-at-home options, and the like).

    If we could just get beyond the black-and-white, all-or-nothing, death-by-warming-or-death-by-poverty line of thinking, we could get some of these things done.

  341. Wildlifer:

    @331 … should that be to “hide the decline” in the proxy’s reaction to temperature – ie density, not width?

  342. Wildlifer:

    A post explaining more of this “pre-pub” release:

    “The first analysis of emissions from commercial airline flights shows that they are responsible for 4-8% of surface global warming since surface air temperature records began in 1850 — equivalent to a temperature increase of 0.03-0.06 °C overall.”

    would be nice.
    http://www.nature.com/news/2009/091221/full/news.2009.1157.html

  343. John E. Pearson:

    312: Roger Tan says:

    “Hello, i am looking for studies that show connection between human activity and climate change. So far i could not find any that would actually show such connection. Could anyne please help me by pointing me towards one?
    Thanks,
    Roger T”

    Start with the report of WOrking group I in the 4th assessment report of the IPCC. Once you’ve read the 800 or so pages let us know if you need further assistance. You’re welcome. John P.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_wg1_report_the_physical_science_basis.htm

  344. Rod B:

    Anne van der Bom (313), so $5 trillion is just chump change, even over 20 years? And we can build nation-wide wind power for less than $2/watt?

  345. HCG:

    A skeptic acquaintance tells this story:

    Will Happer was appointed a DOE director by the first George Bush. When he was with the government all of the climate scientists in the government reported to him. He told me that they were different from all the others who reported to him. They resented being asked questions and often refused to answer his questions.

    Now having seen his highly ideological performance at the Congressional hearings in February, does anyone on this list have more information about his tenure at DOE?

    Assuming that his version is accurate, one hypothesis is that he behaved ideologically while at DOE and the scientists there were trying to protect themselves.

    Can anyone illuminate this?

  346. David Miller:

    I’d be interested to hear more about ozones role as a GHG and whether levels are likely to go up or down in the next century.

    Can O3 oxidize CH4 or are OH radicals required?

  347. Lady in Red:

    Rattus Norvegicus wrote to me:

    “As far as the 1970’s “ice age myth” I suggest you read this. I think that by the time this hit the popular press Schneider had already corrected his paper which started this myth. The 1979 NAS “Charney” report predicted the possible extent of global warming as being about 3C. The fallout from the basic theory of how the climate works was pretty well established by 1980, and the estimates of temperature change due to a doubling of CO2 have not changed much in the last century.”

    Spaceman Spiff also referred me to the same article, “The Myth of the 1970’s Global Cooling Consensus.”

    [edit]

    I did find these original, popular press reports, however, from both Time and Newsweek. Please re-read them. I would suggest that these articles below are not easily dismissed as “myth” and it does appear that, in the 1970’s, there was a scientific consensus about a coming ice age.

    Which leaves me with the question: what changed?

    I will work through the other suggested references and, actually, I will read Connolley’s article about the Ice Age Myth. I would be interested in how he handles dismisses all the perceived concern below. Best. …..Lady in Red

    [edit – use links instead of cut and paste. And please be aware that changing user names in order to pretend to be new to the ‘debate’ is not good practice.]

  348. Completely Fed Up:

    #344. Yes. If you have proofs or figuring that shows otherwise, please tell, don’t just snide away at someone else who has posted their workings.

  349. Completely Fed Up:

    re 341, yes, it is density rather than thickness. Had to read up, though. I don’t do biology. It’s just applied physics anyway…

    :-)

  350. Silk:

    “Can O3 oxidize CH4 or are OH radicals required?”

    Wrong question.

    OH is formed from O3.

    O3 + a photon (jO1D) -> O1D + O2
    O1D + H2O -> 2OH

    In dry atmospheres, I guess oxygen atoms can react directly with CH4. In the troposphere, however, it’s OH that does all the work.

    Two questions about my (former) work in one week! Hurrah!

  351. Ray Ladbury:

    Mathieu Rouault @316 “I would like to see a debate on science in developing country.”

    OK, having worked as a science teacher trainer in West Africa, I feel I can comment with some degree of familiarity. There is certainly interest in science. One of my first free-flowing conversations I had as I was learning French was trying to explain to an African why his perpetual motion machine wouldn’t work–it was really pretty sophisticated. As I worked with teachers, I found a lot of creativity, but also a lot of despair and feelings of isolation. If you think people don’t understand scientists here, imagine what it is like in a very traditional culture where most people lack all but the most rudimentary education.

    Now, granted, this was 20 years ago, but I think that the biggest problems in science in Africa are still lack of resources and isolation. I am sure the internet has helped immensely with isolation, but it is still hard when you don’t have somebody to chalk things out with at the blackboard. And as far as resources go, everything was expensive–from sheet metal, to lumber to tools.

    One thing that was interesting–even 20 years ago, lay persons were way ahead of Americans in accepting the reality of climate change. Why? Because they listened to the oldest people in the village who had all experienced the changes. I specifically remember one very old man who had a mango orchard. He’d planted every tree himself by hand, and now he had an impressive number of 40 and 50 year old trees producing some of the best mangos I’d ever had. Even he didn’t know how old he was, but he spoke German and remembered the German colonists–and Germany was tossed out of the country in 1914 by French and British colonists. Now completely blind, but mentally very sharp, he talked about how much hotter it was, how the rains were fewer and more unpredictable. He was just one of many old people who told similar stories.

  352. Silk:

    “I did find these original, popular press reports, however, from both Time and Newsweek. Please re-read them. I would suggest that these articles below are not easily dismissed as “myth” and it does appear that, in the 1970’s, there was a scientific consensus about a coming ice age. ”

    The answer is in the names of the ‘journals’ you are reading. So far as I recall, neither Time or Newsweek is a scientific publication.

    There was NO scientific consensus about global cooling.

    There were a few journal articles that posited it might be a reality.

    Some news outlets picked up on these and ran scare stories.

    This is IN NO WAY comparable to the THOUSANDS of papers, and researchers, looking at climate today, and reporting a very strong concensus.

    If you /want/ to believe that scientists in the 70s thought the earth was going to get colder, and a similar number of scientists today believe the earth is going to get warmer, with a similar amount of evidence, then that’s fine.

    This is not even close to being a reflection of reality, however.

  353. Ray Ladbury:

    Lady in Red,
    The hypothesis of a cooling period due to aerosols (Schneider’s hypothesis) rested on the assumption that CO2 sensitivity was significantly lower than it was. There most certainly was no consensus on this issue. It was considered a possibility. Some scientists thought Schneider was right; some thought he was wrong, with this latter group probably being larger.

    Lady, it is useful to think of scientific consensus not in terms of a “vote” or an “agreement”, but rather in terms of the ideas, techniques and phenomena without which one cannot understand the phenomenon being studied. There is a consensus that we are warming the planet because the ideas that support that (CO2 as a greenhouse gas with a sensitivity around 3 degrees per doubling, etc.) are indispensable for understanding Earth’s climate. It is why the consensus scientists are publishing (that is, progressing in their understanding of climate) while so-called skeptics have an abysmal publishing record and an even poorer record for having their work cited.

  354. Scott A. Mandia:

    I need your help. I am working on a blog post called How to Talk to a Conservative about Climate Change and would enjoy your comments to make this a better tool to use when faced with a conservative-leaning skeptic. The goal is to end up with something that we can all use. I need no credit – I want this to be a goup effort.

    http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/how-to-talk-to-a-conservative-about-climate-change/

  355. dhogaza:

    I did find these original, popular press reports, however, from both Time and Newsweek. Please re-read them. I would suggest that these articles below are not easily dismissed as “myth” and it does appear that, in the 1970’s, there was a scientific consensus about a coming ice age.

    So, let’s see, on the one side we have a survey of refereed papers coming down on the side of global warming, not cooling, by something like a 4:1 ratio.

    On the other hand, we have popular press reports from both Time and Newsweek.

    And your conclusion is that the popular press reports trump the literature survey and “prove” there was a scientific consensus about a coming ice age?

    By which I assume you mean one coming earlier than tens of thousands of years in the future? (there was and is a consensus that milankovich cycles do exist, obviously).

  356. Douglas Wise:

    re Anne van der Bom #313

    Anne, it would be instructive if you were to contribute your opinions on BraveNewClimate which not only considers climate change but also solutions thereto. You repeatedly attack those with a pro nuclear stance (and even David MacKay who attempts objectivity). However, RealClimate appears averse to diluting its input with debates about climate solutions. Why not do as Hank Roberts suggests and comment on BraveNewClimate threads? There are several there who are also hostile to a nuclear solution. As one who has gradually been convinced that renewables do not offer a satisfactory, politically possible or affordable solution, I have been left with the view that nuclear fission power (and 4th generation power in particular) represents the only hope of a solution that would avoid the scenario that Barton Paul Levenson speculated about in #339. Clearly, you don’t agree. Why not come over and see how your opinions stack up against those who share my view but have greater expertise on the subject?

  357. Marco:

    I don’t know if it’s already been mentioned, but this lecture by Richard Alley should at least be a permalink:
    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml
    (I hope it stays on forever, it’s going to be my favorite link to ‘skeptics’/contrarians/deniers)
    and also would make an interesting discussion point on realclimate. That’s my 2 cents…

  358. John Atkeison:

    Hey, David (#58),
    I think you misunderstood the question (#11):
    “Has the onset of climate changes and their symptoms been accelerating beyond expectations?”
    I did not mean teh *warming* but the resulting climate changes.
    John

  359. Spaceman Spiff:

    @347 Lady in Red said:

    “I did find these original, popular press reports, however, from both Time and Newsweek. Please re-read them. I would suggest that these articles below are not easily dismissed as “myth” and it does appear that, in the 1970’s, there was a scientific consensus about a coming ice age.

    Which leaves me with the question: what changed?

    I will work through the other suggested references and, actually, I will read Connolley’s article about the Ice Age Myth. I would be interested in how he handles dismisses all the perceived concern below. ”

    The Peterson, Connolley, and Fleck paper I linked to is simply an accounting of what was published by whom, when, and what the scientific issues were. There is no “handling” or “dismissing” involved. BAMS is the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

    The 1960’s and 1970’s were the early days of modern climate science (e.g., satellite observations of the Earth and Sun, “fast” computers made their appearance, break-thrus in paleoclimatology, amongst many other developments). Climate scientists (which comprise many disciplines in science) were amassing data and piecing it together to help them understand how and why Earth’s climate changes. By the late 1970s, a large majority of the publications were investigating the implications for our climate of the rising C02 content in the atmosphere. There was no scientific “consensus” of global cooling.

    In fact at home I still have a front page news article I cut from the Chicago Tribune written by their science writer (gee, what a concept) around 1980 (I’d have to check) on climate scientists’ concerns of a potentially rapidly warming climate due to the rapidly increasing C02 content of our atmosphere.

  360. Always Searching:

    Ray Ladbury seems to be suggesting that listening to the personal local experiences of elderly in West Africa is some laudable inferrence that is somehow remotely relevant to global climate. I would take issue with praise of this inferrence (though not climate science in general) as very unscientific and anecdotal. This is important because such inferrential chains could actually easily have gone the other way (and people probably have stories of other regional shifts that do!). So, it is a bad argumentative precedent.

  361. Rattus Norvegicus:

    Ray, it is important to note that even Schneider was in the “Schneider is wrong” camp :).

  362. Norman:

    #302 dhogaza says: “Well, climate science doesn’t support the notion of a “runaway greenhouse effect” (ala venus or whatever), so perhaps it is better to focus on what climate science *is* telling us”

    I got the idea of the runaway (not like Venus but still plenty hot) from reading a peer reveiwed article on mass extinctions millions of years ago. The theory was that a small increase in global temperature will melt the permafrost which has a vast amount of methane hydrate. When this melts large quantities of methane will be released and react with the atmospheric O2 to produce a vastly greater amount of Carbon Dioxide than we are currently releasing. This will create the runaway effect which was claimed to have killed of 95% of the living species of that time.

  363. Clarity2009:

    Study shows CFCs, cosmic rays major culprits for global warming
    http://insciences.org/article.php?article_id=8012

    Character assassination from the usual suspects to follow, I’m sure.

    [Response: Oh dear. Dr. Lu’s mechanism has been comprehensively debunked. See links from here. This extension of his results to global warming is based purely on a correlation with CFC levels and is very dubious (for obvious reasons), whether it is reported in the ‘prestigious’ Physics Reports or not. – gavin]

  364. Norman:

    #323 Ray Ladbury says: “5)Come up with ideas yourselves!!!”

    Thank you for your thoughtful and reasoned response to my questions.

    I do not know how to solve this one. I am of strong opinion that greed is the number one problem here and I have no solution on how to stop this human motive. I can state I think it is the Number One problem but that will not stop it. Nor do I, in my lowly status, have enough influence in any circle to even attempt a solution.

    The current U.S. economy is a consumer driven spend and waste system. In order for huge profits to be made. Consumers must purchase many products. I do not have an economic solution that would work to employ everyone but not have a consumer driven economy (“Are you still wearing those clothes, they are so out of style”….only a year old…this type of thinking in needed to keep factories open and people working.)

    Now employ all 6 billion, give them good living standards and food. Tell me how many windmills and solar cells would you need just to grow and transport all the food?

  365. Lady in Red:

    Snowed in as I am, with 30 inches up my quarter mile drive and no plow man in sight, I have read the Peterson, Connolley, and Fleck paper about scientific opinion in the 1970’s regarding climate. I found it fascinating! ….as I did reading the original 1970’s Time and Newsweek articles about the looming ice age.

    Peterson et al wrote: “During the period from 1965 through 1979, our literature survey found 7 cooling, 20 neutral, and 44 warming papers.” In the years Time and Newsweek were writing cover stories about serious scientific concern about the new ice age, it looks like only 1/5 of one paper was published concerned about cooling. One fifth of one paper? How can that be? My very quick count of references found 97, between ’65 and ‘79. Peterson only identifies 71 in Figure 1. Why the discrepancy? How can I determine which ones were part of the cooling, neutral or warming piles? Is there a possibility there is a mistake here? When this paper was peer-reviewed by AMS, did someone actually check those numbers? Is there scientific consensus about Peterson et al’s definition of what a cooling/neutral/warming paper might be? How can/was Peterson’s “paper count” verified for accuracy?

    On the one hand, it appears that scientific consensus for global warming was building during the 1970’s and, yet, mainstream media were writing dire stories about an ice age. (According to the paper, Andrew Revkin dubbed the media’s attention to ice their need for a “media peg.”)

    All this creates dissonance in my mind. Time and Newsweek were too stupid to get it right in the 1970’s, are they getting it today? When Revkin checks in with Phil Jones before publishing in the New York Times now, is that more accurate? Or, when Seth Borenstein, part of the bag of released CRU emails, writes that Associated Press has done an exhaustive review of the CRU emails and there’s nothing there, should I believe that? What are Id and Watts and McIntyre concerned about?

    Can you give me something more impartial to bite into? Or, explain how the mainstream media went so over-the-top crazy about an ice age at a time the preponderance of scientific opinion was concerned about warming? Why did mainstream media refuse to write about global warming when that was where the science actually was?

    Also, can you reference a continuing thread of IPCC predictions from the beginning, to the present which will help me?
    ….Lady in Red
    PS: Apologies for the cut/paste instead of a link. They are here:

    Newsweek:
    http://www.denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm

    Time Magazine:
    http://neoconexpress.blogspot.com/2007/02/time-like-newsweek-predicted-iceage-in.html#

    I have always and only been interested in peeling the layers of the onion to a genuine understanding — at least for myself.

  366. Doc Savage Fan:

    The evidence continues to build for substantial GCR climate forcing. An update on this would be nice since most everything you have here is quite dated….much has changed the last few years.

  367. Gary Rissling:

    I believe that we are finding an “occam’s razor” test being passed, not by AGW hypothoses , but by observable cosmic ray evidence. In this peer reviewed paper, Qing-Bin Lu presents evidence that CFC’s and cosmic rays have had a much more profound impact on our climate than CO2. I would imagine that CERN’s CLOUD findings will also provide empirical data consistent with Lu’s experiments. At least Lu’s findings will give AWG proponents an “out” as technically CFC’s impacting the climate would mean that climate change is, in part, anthropogenic; just not in relation to CO2 emissions.
    http://insciences.org/article.php?article_id=8012

  368. JCH:

    There are two subjects I would like to better understand: clouds and oceans. Awhile ago there was a post about why greenhouse gasses heat the ocean. I think a post with another go at that would be particularly interesting.

  369. David Miller:

    PeteB in 311 suggests increases in CO2 may be self-limiting due to “peak fossils”.

    Pete, I’d agree with you if fossils were limited to oil, or maybe oil + natural gas.

    Unfortunately, it also includes an immense amount of coal, tar sands, and shale “oil”. Hansen suggests that there is enough carbon in those sources to assure the Venus effect.

    We may be smart enough to leave the other sources in the ground. There may be a sufficiently little energy returned for energy invested for it to make economic sense to mine these sources.

    Economic depression from rising energy prices and climate change – not to mention current economic problems – may considerably reduce consumption.

    But we’re a very creative species, and if someone can make a buck turning a ton of bitumen into a gallon of oil with in-situ combustion to heat the tar, that’s probably what will be done.

    It’s not at all clear that oil becoming more expensive will reduce carbon emissions; for some length of time it may well increase them.

    Another issue is that at some point it ceases to matter whether we keep emitting carbon or not. At some point positive feedbacks kick in (permafrost melting, for example) and it doesn’t matter what we do. It’s not clear where that point is. I, for one, would like for it never to be clear where that point is.

  370. Jeff:

    I am curious if there are examples of the CRU homogenization process leading to a decrease in warming trends. I have seen several examples of cherry-picked examples where warming was added by the process. I also read the rather well considered random sample post here showing near comparability between raw and adjusted. For full balance, I would like to see (admitted up-front) cherry-picked examples of the CRU adjustments leading to lower temperature reading trends from a station. Links to such a thing would be appreciated. Thanks!

  371. Doug Bostrom:

    Rattus Norvegicus says: 22 December 2009 at 2:04 AM

    “In reading my previous comment, it might be good to have a page with links to seminal papers in the study of the climate system.”

    One can hardly do better than Weart’s history:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

    Ray Ladbury says: 22 December 2009 at 10:57 AM

    “If you think people don’t understand scientists here, imagine what it is like in a very traditional culture where most people lack all but the most rudimentary education.”

    Ray, I think we in the U.S. have a pretty large population living in a very traditional culture lacking in all but the most rudimentary education. That’s why the statistics on AGW comprehension in the U.S. are so dismal. The acceptance of industry-funded propaganda is diagnostic of lousy education.

    Neil Pelkey says: 21 December 2009 at 10:53 PM

    “I think a thread on why this is such a male dominated site would be interesting.”

    First thought: They have more common sense than to batter themselves senseless like moths against a lightbulb, endlessly arguing over the same stale topics.

  372. Hank Roberts:

    Norman, what article are you talking about? Pointer, please?
    I’d guess it was probably referring to the PETM events:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+PETM

  373. Lyle:

    RE #323 Yes the mitigation cost is reasonably low, but of course the alarmists on the pro climate change get the press, because it brings eyes to the adds they run. (The we need to decimate the population, reduce to the stone age … crowd). Do you ever see the 2-3% of gdp over 40 years run on the press (TV in particular). If you do the math and assume a 2% gdp growth rate thats only a difference between 2.23 and 2.25 times the gdp in 2050.
    However the Elites in society have destroyed their credibility over time. First in the 1950s electricty was going to be to cheap to meter. Then the tobacco harm follies where it became standard to assume scientists were for sale. Now the financial follies. Combine this with the historic populism in the US and you get denialism.
    Then you have the hard doomsters who lead to apocolypse fatigue, and to the conclusion lets eat drink, do drugs and be merry for tommorrow we die. These folks get the media attention not the more reasonable folks, particularly in the TV faceoff talking heads mode— (got to stop now to go to break).
    Business types don’t have any trust in engineering types, who when given a reasonable challenge can meet it (see refrigerator efficiency standards 75% improvement is not bad)
    So what will happen is the situation will worsen until a world wide Manhattan project style effort is needed, because thats the way society works.

  374. xtophr:

    This story would be an interesting one to cover:

    WATERLOO, Ont. (Monday, Dec. 21, 2009) – Cosmic rays and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), both already implicated in depleting the Earth’s ozone layer, are also responsible for changes in the global climate, a University of Waterloo scientist reports in a new peer-reviewed paper.

    In his paper, Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, shows how CFCs – compounds once widely used as refrigerants – and cosmic rays – energy particles originating in outer space – are mostly to blame for climate change, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. His paper, derived from observations of satellite, ground-based and balloon measurements as well as an innovative use of an established mechanism, was published online in the prestigious journal Physics Reports.

    “My findings do not agree with the climate models that conventionally thought that greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, are the major culprits for the global warming seen in the late 20th century,” Lu said. “Instead, the observed data show that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays most likely caused both the Antarctic ozone hole and global warming. These findings are totally unexpected and striking, as I was focused on studying the mechanism for the formation of the ozone hole, rather than global warming.”

    His conclusions are based on observations that from 1950 up to now, the climate in the Arctic and Antarctic atmospheres has been completely controlled by CFCs and cosmic rays, with no CO2 impact.

  375. Gary Rissling:

    #354 How to talk to a conservative about climate change:

    You can start by not overstating the science. I would advise saying that there are several hypotheses to explain global climate change ranging from natural to anthropogenic, and though AGW currently seems to be the prevailing hypothesis, the inaccuracies of AGW computer models demonstrate unequivocally that there are myriad variabilities in the global climate that the AGW hypothesis simply cannot yet account for.

  376. dhogaza:

    Just in case anyone’s wondering why all these GCR/Lu woo-woos came from, I took a quick peek and yes indeed, WUWT has a piece on Lu as its top post at the moment.

    Of course, the last time Watts published something about Lu and cosmic rays it was because he thought the paper refuted CFCs role in reducing stratospheric ozone (Watts didn’t know what “halogenated” means).

  377. Deep Climate:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/22/wegman-and-rapp-on-tree-rings-a-divergence-problem-part-1/

    Today we’ll take a closer look at Wegman et al’s tree-ring passage and do a detailed side-by-side comparison with its apparent main antecedent, chapter section 10.2 in Raymond Bradley’s classic Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary.

    That comparison leaves no doubt that Wegman et al’s explication was substantially derived from that of Bradley, although the relevant attribution appears to be missing. There are, however, several divergences of note, also in the main unattributed, and some of Wegman’s paraphrasing introduces errors of analysis.

    But the real shocker are two key passages in Wegman et al, which state unsubstantiated findings in flagrant contradiction with those of Bradley, apparently in order to denigrate the value of tree-ring derived temperature reconstructions.

  378. SecularAnimist:

    Scott A. Mandia wrote: “I need your help. I am working on a blog post called How to Talk to a Conservative about Climate Change and would enjoy your comments to make this a better tool to use when faced with a conservative-leaning skeptic.”

    Gary Rissling replied: “You can start by not overstating the science …” [followed by various boilerplate, scripted ExxonMobil-funded denialist pseudoscience talking points].

    I would suggest that you start by telling your “conservative-leaning skeptic” that one’s political ideology has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO with the scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming. You might also ask him when did it become “conservative” to deny the existence of difficult, challenging problems, rather than proposing solutions to them? When did “conservatism” cease to be a genuine political ideology capable of proposing solutions to difficult problems, and become a fossil fuel industry propaganda campaign aimed at Ditto-Heads who believe every word they are spoon-fed by Rush Limbaugh and call themselves “skeptics” for doing so?

  379. David Klar:

    RC, please clarify the statement “a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration increases average global temperature about 3 degrees C”. Is this based on empirical data, physical chemistry theory, or both? Is this based on some baseline CO2 concentration, or a specific CO2 value? Does my original statement need to be modified? Thanks for any clarification.

    [Response: See here. – gavin]

  380. Matthew L.:

    #84 Mesa,
    at last, somebody who understands me!

  381. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #347 Lady in Red

    William Connolley did a great job:

    http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/nas-1975.html
    http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/misc-non-science.html

    He was taking the quotes from the actual 1975 report.

    I worked from his work and tried to add a little more perspective:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/global-cooling

    You can’t trust the Time and Newsweek reports because they did not give a clear or concise view of the ‘scientific’ understanding. If you want to know what they were saying in the report you actually need to read the report.

    http://www.abebooks.com/search/isbn/0309023238

    #365

    It is important to keep things in context. Cooling was in discussion because the Milankovitch cycles had pretty much been confirmed by the deep ocean sediment core studies. So it was in now way inappropriate to discuss cooling at the same time as warming. In other words discussions of Milanovitch and cooling in natural cycle as well as human caused global warming potentials were being discussed.

    Remember, media is not climate science but rather interpretations based on the media source to sell newspapers and magazines. They are rarely thorough or representative of reality but rather tend toward glam phrasing that makes headlines.

  382. Gail:

    For a post topic I would like to see some collaboration between botanists, foresters, and chemists and climate scientists about impacts of toxic greenhouse gas emissions on vegetation. The last post here had this comment:

    ” 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.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I think the researchers eliminated recent decades because they realized the smaller growth tree rings were anomalous. The question is why? I don’t know that they even attempted to determine that, because it’s another field of science entirely.

    Personally I think it’s because the same pollutants that are warming the climate, particularly ozone and acid rain from volatile organic compounds which have been demonstrated to be very harmful to plants, have been suppressing the growth of trees for many years, at great distances from the generation of the gases.

    This can be readily seen now because so many of them are dying.

    This Stanford study says the health consequences of ethanol emissions to humans and to vegetation are worse than from gasoline: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2009/12/aauuuuuggghhhh-no-duh.html as if epidemics of cancer, emphysema, asthma, and irreversible tree decline aren’t already bad enough. Here is a story about missing food for wildlife: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2009/12/hunger.html

    Why is the EPA mandating the addition of ethanol to gasoline throughout the US? Not to mention, the petroleum based fertilizers required to grow the corn release nitrous oxide, another known plant poison.

    I asked one forester who agreed with my opinion why there isn’t more research and discussion on the topic recently and he told me he and any others who had raised the issue of pollution were harassed and intimidated until they gave up. “These people are vicious,” he said. “BE CAREFUL.” I kid you not – that’s exactly what he wrote.

    This is really important. A quote from the last article I linked: “The grocery store [for wildlife] is pretty empty right now,” he said. “It’s hard to look at the situation and not call this a mast failure.”

    Human grocery stores and crop failures are next. Here’s a picture of what ozone does to a leaf: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2009/09/we-are-all-watermelon-now.html

  383. Geoff Wexler:

    re #16

    Nuclear power?

    I am only a reader of RC but this is my opinion.

    I have my doubts about Realclimate trying to tackle a topic like nuclear energy. This is one of the best web sites for climate just because it has contributions from serious experts. But ‘energy’ (the practical sort) is a totally different topic with different experts, often but not always with vested interests. I have also noticed that some excellent books on climate change have the odd chapter on energy and this is not always at the level of the other chapters. The one exception is that of geoengineering because attempts to change the climate (e.g. with sulphate aerosols) will involve modeling the consequences.

  384. David B. Benson:

    Roger Tan (312) — Being unsure what degree of technicalities would interest yoou, I’ll just suggest reading climatologist W.F. Ruddiman’s popular “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum”. He did a guest thread here on RealClimate awhile ago and his professional papers, available from his website, are quite readable.

  385. Hank Roberts:

    > Liu
    Those relying on that should first look for something more than a reprint of the press release, which originates here:
    http://newsrelease.uwaterloo.ca/news.php?id=5152

  386. Spaceman Spiff:

    re. #365 (Lady in Red)

    Why you think it is useful to compare two Time and Newsweek articles to the work over decades by 1000s of scientists of many disciplines from all over the world? As a matter of fact, in 2006 Newsweek did a retraction article of their “famous” April 1975 article. Q: did your source of the 1975 Newsweek article also post the retraction article? Maybe it did and you just missed reading it? Or…?

    This is a nice decade by decade review of the topic of “global cooling”, along with cited references and external links for more information.

    Finally, in addition to the tallying of journal papers and citations thereof re. earth’s climate, the Peterson et al. paper gives an excellent overview of climate science in the decades leading up to 1980.

  387. Anne van der Bom:

    BPL
    22 December 2009 at 9:12 AM

    Thanks for the compliment, but I must disappoint you. In the Northern part of The Netherlands, Anne is also a male name.

    See these two (sort of) known male Dutchmen called Anne:

    Anne de Vries

    Anne Vondeling

  388. Louise D:

    #211 Ron Kent
    “So my point is if there’s an urgent need for action instead of fighting AGW deniers we’re better off focusing on convincing laymen and corporations alike of the need to take these actions in the name of peak oil, not AGW.” You’re not eh only person thinking along these lines – see http://transitionculture.org/ – this is what the Transition Town movement is all about.

  389. Jerry Steffens:

    #375
    “I would advise saying that there are several hypotheses to explain global climate change ranging from natural to anthropogenic”.

    Yes. (Except that “hypotheses” would be better rendered as “mechanisms”.) But do you not realize that this information is a result of research by climate scientists? They’re not trying to hide anything!

    “there are myriad variabilities in the global climate that the AGW hypothesis simply cannot yet account for”

    A straw man. YOUR version of the “AGW hypothesis” apparently is something like this: “Because of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, all natural climate processes have ceased.” This is NOT a hypothesis being put forth by any respected climate scientist.

  390. Ray Ladbury:

    Norman@364, While I agree that you won’t stop greed, that does not necessarily preclude coming up with a solution. Adam Smith’s triumph was his realization that the human vice of greed could lead to a societal good–just as Marx’s downfall was his failure to realize that human nature cannot be educated out of us (I’ve always liked social-insect biologist Ed Wilson’s quote: “Marx was exactly right. He just had the wrong species.”)

    If we’re to solve this problem, some people are going to get filthy rich off of the solution. We just have to make sure that what gets rewarded actually leads to the solution.

  391. Anne van der Bom:

    Rod B,
    22 December 2009 at 10:24 AM

    Look at page 14 of this report: http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/ems/reports/lbnl-275e.pdf

    An analysis of 89 projects done in from 1998 to 2007 show an installation cost of 1000-1800 dollar per kW.

    I made that back-of-the-envelope calculation to show that it is not blatantly obvious that renewables are impossible.

  392. Anne van der Bom:

    Oops, make that page 20.

  393. DocumentTheData:

    It is precisely because of sites like this that non-AGW skeptics do not trust your science or scientists. You demonstrate group-think and self-reinforcing logic with little objective and open debate necessary for real scientific advancement. The labels you chose to use for those who aren’t in your club are revealing such as: “anti-science crowd” which is more accurately the “anti-junk-science crowd”.

    As others have noted here (and especially elsewhere), it’s the unbelievable lack of controls over source data and the complete lack of transparency on the specific homogenization actions taken *on each piece of raw data* that leaves those with an open mind left with no alternative than to reject your work. This does NOT mean your work is wrong, but it means you MUST improve your scientific practices if you are to be believed. The CRU leaked code and email attests to these real problems and has brought this problem to the attention of a much wider audience, myself included.

    This brings me to the primary point of my post which follows the intent of this thread:

    1) Please conduct a thorough review of the process used to homogenize the data in the GHCN dataset (the strict policy that is followed IN ALL CASES to refute the current impression that it is haphazard policy that is open to the whims of and political presures placed on the homogenizer)
    2) Show the details and the reason behind every raw data point that was changed in the GHCN dataset including any code that was used to enact this change so that there is a clear path from raw value to homogenized value with every step in between clear to all including the reasons for those changes (claims of fudging the numbers would be easily put to rest with such transparency; there ARE many good reasons why homogenization is needed but the current practices leave AGW proponents wide open to legitimate skepticism regarding this all to critical “base data” on which much of the AGW theory rests)

    P.S. Those who have observed that the American public is woefully inept at evaluating scientific literature and can be easily fooled are dead one but it’s not the anti-junk-science crowd that is fooling them, it’s YOU!

  394. Norman:

    #372 Hank Roberts says: “Norman, what article are you talking about? Pointer, please?
    I’d guess it was probably referring to the PETM events:”

    Mr. Roberts, the article I was reading is in this link.

    http://www.iscv.cl/pdfs/PDFSeminars/BioGeografia/Bibliografia/IIFundamentosteoricosymetodosBiog/2Especiacionextincionmodosdeevolucion/ENDPER1.PDF

  395. Anne van der Bom:

    Lady in Red and the persistence on the cooling myth. Name ANY myth and you will find support for it in the popular press. Sometimes journalists just write anything to fill pages.

    Save your energy for things that really matter.

  396. Jiminmpls:

    #356 Doug Wise – I’ve been over to Brave New Climate. They claim that new nuclear power plants in the US will cost less that $2k/kWe. Of course, NONE of it is backed with any real world data. The fact is that the ONLY cost projection that is publicly available is that for Turkey Point in FL at $5-8k per kW. Toshiba and Areva have declared all other cost projections “proprietary” and have deleted the cost projections from the applications on the NRC site. They’re asking for tens of billions in subsidies – shouldn’t they at least be required to make their cost projections public?

    China has the most ambitious nuclear power program in the world right now – yet nuclear will only provide 15% of their electricity by 2030. Wind will overtake nuclear in capacity by 2020.

    If Toshiba or Areva could manage to build JUST ONE plant on time or on budget, then maybe we could reconsider nuclear power. As it is, nuclear power too expensive to matter.

  397. David B. Benson:

    John Atkeison (358) — Changes in the cryosphere seem to me to be proceeding faster than anticipated. I don’t know enough about changes to flora and fauna to comment.

  398. James McDonald:

    Fwiw, I stumbled across the following response that is often a very good reply to many confused posts out in blogland:

    “Local weather. Global climate. Learn the difference.”

    It’s surprising how many times that comes in handy…

  399. Anne van der Bom:

    David Wise,
    22 December 2009 at 11:38 AM

    You repeatedly attack those with a pro nuclear stance (and even David MacKay who attempts objectivity).

    If what I wrote merits the label ‘attack’, I did with facts. That is fair.

    Do you have anything to say about the specific problem I have with prof. MacKay’s book? Since neither Paula Thomas nor Didactylus responded, can you perhaps tell me why he spends 100 pages suggesting the UK needs 195 kWh per person per day of renewable energy, a benchmark that is nowhere to be seen when he treats nuclear power? I find that a very weak attempt at objectivity.

    I am very much aware that discussions about renewables are mostly OT on RC. But this is sort of a ‘free thread’, so I allowed myself some comments on this subject. And when I think other posters misrepresent the facts, I do react.

    As for BraveNewClimate, I don’t know if I can find the time to follow yet another blog.

  400. Anne van der Bom:

    Sorry, should be Douglas Wise.

    When do we get the preview back? Indispensable to catch these unnecessary typos.

  401. Ron R.:

    If you can use them here are some more visuals for you John Reisman:

    First, another great site THE PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE
    http://tinyurl.com/5de5o

    Lots of great “then and now” glacier photos (if you don’t already have them) clearly and cleanly shown. How can one argue with this?
    http://tinyurl.com/das6n

    More glacier loss photos here
    http://tinyurl.com/yafr9ue
    http://tinyurl.com/y8vs95o

    Thawing Tundra
    http://tinyurl.com/yapno4j

    Another representation of Arctic thaw
    http://tinyurl.com/ybjz3h5
    Again, I’d probably put the 1979 and the 2008 Arctic summer ice minimums side-by-side too.

    Permafrost loss graph
    http://tinyurl.com/4dqg8y

    Birds and Climate Change: On the Move
    http://tinyurl.com/at48v2

    Coral Bleaching Observations
    http://tinyurl.com/ybfulo4

    Migratory Species and Climate Change
    http://tinyurl.com/ycsfby6 (PDF)

    Boreal Forests Shift North
    http://tinyurl.com/yd496oh

    Change in Number of Category 4 and 5 Hurricanes by Ocean Basin for the 15-Year Periods 1975-1989 and 1990-2004
    http://tinyurl.com/ybcpnfj

    RC, rather than so much talk about possible future changes or the minutae of temperature data etc maybe we should have more discussion and visuals about the already observed changes occurring.

    http://tinyurl.com/yeewn3j
    http://tinyurl.com/y8r2wlf

    Or we can just show this one
    http://tinyurl.com/3n94n7
    hmmm, maybe it won’t be so bad after all…

  402. lgp:

    I don’t know, how about this topic? Something y’all can really whack around like a pinata for egregious failure to peer review!

    In the case of melting glaciers in the Himalayas, the IPCC 2035 claim has led to, in Nielsen-Gammen’s words, an egregious mistake becoming “effectively common knowledge that the glaciers were going to vanish by 2035.” Like the common (but wrong) knowledge on disasters and climate change that originated in the grey literature and was subsequently misrepresented by the IPCC, on the melting of Himalayan glaciers the IPCC has dramatically misled policy makers and the public.

  403. rob m.:

    I am just a passerby who is trying to get a handle on AGW. I think I understand the proponents of AGW in that humans are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere thus creating warming. But there has been warming in the past. What started the production of CO2 in the past that lead to GW? What stopped so that the earth could cool?

  404. Robert P.:

    _Physics Reports_ is indeed a prestigious journal, but it’s a very peculiar place to publish a finding of this sort. _Physics Reports_ published review articles rather than primary research papers. While it is not unheard of for reviews to include some original research (indeed, the best review articles in my experience are those in which the author really engages with the papers being reviewed, to the level of presenting a simplified derivation of a published result or showing how the conclusions of paper X do, or do not, support the conclusions of paper X), it’s not the sort of place where one would *first* present an argument that purports to overturn established results.

  405. UpNorthOutWest:

    You all ought to have fun picking apart and dismissing this

  406. Philippe Chantreau:

    Gary Rissling mentioned the CLOUD experiment, which has been going on for a long time and is going nowhere as it always has. Yet it continue being funded. If I were a “skeptic” how would I comment on this use of public money? They found out that whatever results they had were too contaminated by interactions with the chamber walls to mean anything. Meanwhile, out in the real atmosphere, CCN number between 100 and 1000 per cubic centimeter of air, and nicely ionized over the oceans too. Chances that GCRs have a meaningful contribution to cloud modulation? Well, if I were a “skeptic” considering this, where would I start? If only all the nonsense was 2-sided…

  407. Philippe Chantreau:

    Lu is arguing based on a “temperature decrease” since 2000, which has a strong smell of BS. How does that square with 2005 tying with 1998? If 2009, or 2010, or both, are hot years, what does that do to his hypothesis? The “skeptical” treatment needs to be applied here.

  408. Nick Bone:

    Re: Comment 334 [David Murphy]. This is closely tied in with my own comment above (218) on Earth System Sensitivity and target CO2. Also see David Benson’s comment (249).

    It strikes me that the difficulties with limiting to a 2 degree rise are now so profound that they become mind-numbing.

    1. As you say, 450ppm *might* be feasible, but only if polluting countries agree to cap emissions very soon, and start making big annual cuts by 2020. However, if they were at all minded to agree to such a trajectory, we would have had a very different result from Copenhagen. We didn’t get that result, so it won’t happen. (Judging by Copenhagen, and the pitiful “progress” it represents over Rio and Kyoto, it’s not clear that we’ll stabilize at all this century at any level.)

    2. Even if (by some miracle) we stabilize at 450ppm, it’s still not good enough. That gives us ~2 degrees of rise from the “fast” feedbacks. But then the “slow” feedbacks kick in over subsequent centuries and give us another 1 to 2 degrees. So it is not enough to stabilize, we need to start going down.

    3. Even if we then get down to 350ppm (which the 350.org campaign want), it’s *still* not good enough. 350ppm commits us to a world somewhere between the last interglacial (~300ppm?) and the Pliocene (~400ppm?). We still get around 2 degrees of temperature rise, and massive sea level rise (6+ metres).

    4. So we need to go even *further* down – to 300ppm, or even right back to pre-industrial levels (280ppm). And we need to do it before the slow feedbacks take hold and sea level rise becomes unstoppable.

    5. The problem is that I’ve no idea how fast we could feasibly and safely get CO2 down, even if we wanted to. A whole planet’s worth of industrial activity right now is pushing us up 1-2 ppm per year. If we could arrange to stop that rise completely (zero emissions!) and then come down by 1 ppm per year (air capture, biochar, reforestation, ocean neutralization??), we’re still looking at a century to get from 450 down to 350 and then the best part of another century to get right down to pre-industrial levels. Since the “slow” feedbacks hit on the same timescales, my main concern is that we just run out of time.

    6. Even if we have the time to do it, how much would it cost and who’s going to pay for it? Extracting 1ppm or so per year is not going to help anyone this year, or this electoral cycle. Why would anyone fund such a long-term project? How would the world have to be organized before we *were* prepared to fund such a project?

    These are the sorts of questions we now need to be addressing.

  409. Eliot:

    Right now there is a major volcano in the Philipines, poised to erupt. When Mt. Pinatubo went off in 1991 there was a significant cooling for two years.

    If it’s not this volcano, it will be another one in the next decade. How will the climate community deal with the deniers once the world temperature temporarily dips?

  410. Theo van den Berg:

    On Climate Sceptics: I work in IT and many of my collegues are such sceptics and I greatly enjoy my attemps to show them the light. Some hide behind the company line, which has a need to make money irrespective of Global Warming, but privately, the are sceptics too. Biggest resistance is accepting that it is man-made, cause that may mean that they need to do something about it. But right now, when you dig deep enough, most seem to agree that the earth seems to be warming somewhat. Turns out, that after these many discussion, I am a sceptic too. I accept the previous premises and I even belief that we can theoretically do something about it, but to actually implement what needs doing on a global basis seems pretty unlikly. My reaction to that is that since 2007, I have been building Theo’s Arc, cause whatever the world gets up to, some of us WILL survive.

  411. cougar_w:

    Possible topic:

    We know that there is a lot of coal and oil in the earth. We know that this represents buried plant life from 100s of millions of years ago. Once the carbon that was buried is back in the air we’re stuck with it, UNLESS we can sequester it back into living plants.

    So given the fossil reserves, and the likelihood that most will be released over the next 100 years, and the observation that a little more can be absorbed by the seas yet, how many mature trees of an average kind would have to grow over how much arable land just to pull that carbon out of the atmosphere and entrain it in the biosphere?

    It’s a back-o-envelope calculation I suppose, but I sense and fear the approximate solution would be chilling.

    cougar

  412. hf:

    Re Lyle

    Relative to your post 373, would you have any comments on the following brief article? Thank You.

    http://www.chiefexecutive.net/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications::Article&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=9610EE159C324660849861BD80E2999E

  413. Theo van den Berg:

    On dirty coal and other filthy human addictions: Humanity would still be using horses for transport without that industry and it is not right to make them into the baddies overnight. Here in Aus, we had heavy demonstrations straight after Copenhagen stopping us from exporting coal to our mates in China. We have been lucky to have lots of that stuff in the ground, cause doing something with that, keeps our economy going. If I had a power station, I would turn it off for a day, to see how people would like that. Bet ya, the same demonstrators will be at my gate. But seriously, we need to INCLUDE them in our doings, not alienate them.

  414. Jiminmpls:

    How to talk to a conservative about climate change? A good place to start may be http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/energy_climate_views.aspx.

  415. SCM:

    I would like to wish RealClimate and all its contributors a Merry Christmas and New Year. Thanks for all the the climate commentary during 2009 and a special thanks for the grace under pressure shown by Gavin and others following the CRU hack. I hope we’ll see more great posts in 2010!

    All the best for 2010 to the regular commenters too – you all add a lot to the posts.

  416. Theo van den Berg:

    …and while the door is open to general posts:

    (1) ABC news in Aus was tentatively using the p-word and how it absolutely rated no mention in Copenhagen or in any climate discussions. Even the best procedures to mitigate Global Warming will pale into insignificance, unless we do something about humanity’s favourite entertainment.
    (2) What’s this thing about rating countries on their CO2 emissions per captita? The Netherlands with similar polulation is rated much lower than Australia on this ladder, but you should see how much dirt they produce per square kilometer. Sure, ours is higher per capita, but have you ever attempted to roll out a national broadband network in a country the size of Australia. The Nederlands is one big city and what they call “the country” is smaller than my backyard. It should be OK for me to use a coal fire, cause I am sure that the millions of trees around me will compensate for that.

    Anyway, maybe these 2 point can be used for further discussion? PS. I used to be a dutchman and I still love them.

  417. Eric:

    Hi, first time poster and someone really trying to cut through the politics so I can form an unbiased opinion.

    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.

    In no particular order my concerns are:

    1. The analytical mathematics:

    This is what I do. Without writing a thesis on it, put simply if the mathematical answers are wrong one or more of three basic things are happening. (a) crucial data is missing (b) input data is misrepresented or incorrect (c) the hypothesis or equation is wrong.

    Whilst dissecting and trying to follow the maths on AGW I keep running into the above problems with the models and suppositions. The disturbing element of the so called “Climategate” emails wasn’t argument over tree rings etc, it was the arguements over how much to manipulate data and suggestions that some inconvenient data was being left out – or “cherry picked”. Adjusting data is things Engineers do to try and make something workable. It is NOT science and definitely NOT mathematics.

    From my “wanting to learn more” perspective, it looks too much to me like trying to fit cubes into round holes. Either the data is wrong, something else yet to be identified and / or understood is having an effect, or the theory is wrong. It is making it very difficult for me to have confidence in such “findings” or the scenario’s they suggest.

    2. The basis mathematics:

    If I move on and accept AGW and CO2 as the prime driver despite the above “science” and “mathematics”, to determine how much of a reduction of Co2 is required to meet various scenario targets requires quite a lot of careful basis maths. I need to know how much Co2 man is pumping out, how much nature is pumping out, how much nature will pump out as temps increase, how much the earth can use and absorb, and most importantly how much will result in a 1 degree temp increase, how much will form a stable temp, and how much will result in cooling.

    There’s a lot of “need to know’s” above. I am really struggling to find peer reviewed and followable mathematics that provides these answers – or even some of them. Without ALL of them the world’s leaders can say what temps they’d like until they’re blue in the face – God knows how we’ll achieve it!

    3. From a mathematical viewpoint – the end result:

    With so few answers, and most of it intelligent but nonetheless educated guesswork, how the hell do we take action?

    If the general modelling has flaws, and lets not debate it – they do, then our first problem is we don’t know enough and / or the theory could be wrong. Not a good start. Then add at best “guestimations” or no real answers to the “must know” Q & A’s and we’re really nowhere.

    We could all wake up tomorrow and have a 100% agreement on the theory of AGW and 100% agreement that Co2 is the cause. But we would still be absolutely nowhere near knowing how to achieve a “2 degree cap on warming”. Sadly, we’d also be nowhere near knowing by just how much we need to cut emissions – and what other effects that might have.

    This being the case, how on earth can we even hope politicians will magically figure it out? And how the hell do we know what will work?

  418. James McDonald:

    To Completely Fed Up: Sorry I wasn’t clearer.

    First, I’m looking for ammunition to squelch denialist rumors, but to some extent that requires knowing your enemy, and knowing the kinds of arguments that will work against them. The best seem to be short pithy rejoinders which can, if challenged, be supported with lots of easily accessible references. The rejoinder itself doesn’t need to be detailed–it just needs to point out the flaw in the denialist’s assertion.

    Regarding “hiding the decline”, all I meant to say is that splicing could work both ways (to hide or enhance something) and a more complete sentence would explain that derived data was being hidden in favor or more direct data, but then the sentence gets just a bit to long to be pithy. (I.e., I’m not saying a better sentence couldn’t be written, just that “my” sentence was a bit lacking.)

    To anyone else, including Gavin, I’m really, truly trying to help here. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve corrected some idiot on some news site. The problem is that I have a day job (and a night job, and kids, and …) so when something like the CRU incident comes up I’m at a loss to understand exactly what’s going on, and I HATE correcting someone only to find out I was mistaken in my correction–if nothing else, it undermines any other comments I have in those threads. Hence my appeal for the 15-second elevator pitches, from those in the know.

    Thanks for your patience.

  419. vboring:

    I’d like to see a logic map for the need to address anthropogenic climate change. It would be a way to depict how robust the science really is and how even if you threw away everything that ever came out of the UEA, the case for immediate action would be unaltered.

    It’d show the complete logical and scientific analysis from how we know atmospheric CO2 reflects heat to how confident we can be that a given international policy will be effective at preventing damage to our habitat.

    I understand that a lot thorough science has taken place approaching each step in the proof from several directions. I think a graphical representation would be the best way to communicate how thorough and robust this process has been and whether there really are any data or analysis choke points (any single crux of the issue that if proven false would damage the case for action).

    The diagram would ideally depict feedbacks, like using temperature records to verify models via hindcasting and references to the most definitive work on each step.

    I’ve read the “six steps to climate change” and find it an insulting oversimplification of the issue. I’ve watched scientists on TV yelling about how “the science is settled.” I want to believe the claim and I think this kind of diagram would be a big help.

  420. EL:

    Gavin – [Response: Your point? – gavin]

    Seems like the claims are more and more outrageous.

  421. S. Molnar:

    How about a brief post on how to use an index and search engine? That way, instead of linking for the umpteenth time to an RC column on a subject someone asks about, you can just link to the post on how to find it. But seriously, one despairs of educating those who won’t make the least effort to scan the literature that’s right under their noses.

  422. Chris Colose:

    # 379 (David Klar)– The link gavin gave is good, but just for some further clarification:

    The 3 degree C per 2xCO2 does not depend on the baseline CO2 concentation since a logarithmic relation suggests the climate change from 280 to 560 ppmv (which would be the “first doubling” since pre-industrial time) would produce the same effect as going from 1000 to 2000 ppmv. That is the “forcing” part of the temperature change, but the whole change also depends on feedbacks. The climate sensitivity will change somewhat under different baseline climates since feedbacks might behave a bit differently, although this shouldn’t be a very big factor over the current range of climate changes under consideration.

    There is not really a good theoretical ground for this value. You can get parts of it theoretically (doubling CO2 by itself gives you about a degree, atmospheric water vapor content will increase in a warmer world, although basic thermodynamic arguments like Clausius-Clapeyron are not quite sufficient to tell you the full answer, especially in the upper atmosphere where the radiative impact is strongest). Warmer world means less snow and ice which should mean less albedo, but it’s hard to say how big of an impact that is without numeric modeling. Clouds are tough, and we still don’t really have a handle on the magnitude (or even sign) of cloud responses.

    The past climate record (especially glacial times) are the best tool for assessing climate sensitivity. There’s been a lot of deep-time work as well (see some work by Dana Royer, or Richard Alley’s recent AGU 2009 talk ), as well as using the modern instrumental record to contrain sensitivity. Researchers have looked at all types of stuff– the seasonal cycle, the response to volcanoes, the solar cycle, and obviously modeling is a big deal– some of it is more useful than others, but the IPCC constraints are based on a wide range of tests. See this post for some more background, and especially the Knutti and Hegerl paper which you may find most useful for summarizing the various lines of evidence for the current equilibrium sensitivity estimates. The AR4 is a good place to go as well.

  423. xtophr:

    > dhogaza: Just in case anyone’s wondering why all these GCR/Lu woo-woos came from, I took a quick peek and yes indeed, WUWT has a piece on Lu as its top post at the moment.

    Hi dhogaza,

    I’m new to the whole climate-science corner of the blogosphere, and yep, I read it on WUWT. Still trying to figure out who’s who (I take it that RC and WUWT are something like antipodes; I’ve gotten that far). That’s why I came here with the Liu article. Anyways, no hard feelings about the “woo-woo” comment.

    I take it you have an opinion about the Liu piece? Maybe you can help me understand.

    Cheers.

  424. Doug Bostrom:

    DocumentTheData says: 22 December 2009 at 5:09 PM

    Much of what you want is available. More importantly, the temperature records that you’re worried about are at this point becoming increasingly less important, which is counterintuitive but less so as time goes by. If we had no global record of temperatures, as opposed to an imperfect one, we’d still find ourselves pressed to explain a lot of phenomena that, taken together, reflect a change in conditions. As it stands, we happen to have a messy record of temperature that corresponds to and helps explain many other changes.

    Think of it this way: if you’re dumped in Death Valley with no access to water it’s not the heat that’s going to kill you, it’s dehydration. Even if you have no clue about temperature or what it means, you’ll still feel thirsty, and you’ll still die.

    rob m. says: 22 December 2009 at 6:41 PM

    Bookmark this:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

  425. calyptorhynchus:

    Denialists often take issue with AGW on the grounds that it is merely deduced from ‘models’.

    It would be amusing to assemble a list of industrial, financial and social processes and services which are based solidly on models. Presumably the list would run for many pages.

  426. Lyle:

    Re #412

    If the costs are as low as the article cites then we should do those conservation measures that make sense anyway, (of which there are quite a number such as when renovating a building or building a new one make it energy efficient, since it saves utility costs (ignoring the problem of the incidence of costs versus the incidence of savings) Now many on this board will say the article states much lower costs than will happen. Its kind of hard to decide to buy insurance when you don’t know the risk and you don’t know the premium. Insurance is what the mitigation measures are, take it out to prevent the bad thing happening. In particular its hard to decide when the benefits will likely not come to one but ones children and grandchildren.
    In that case people (like me) who have no children and are of an age where they won’t have any will likely have a different point of view than those with children.
    Unfortunately much of the mitigation argument is conducted on a moral basis, which gets to a fundamental (perhaps the fundamental) issue of human kind (In the parable of the good samaritian sense “Am I my brothers keeper”). Opinions on this differ wildly, and because they proceed from different premises create a 2 way monologue not a dialog. Many allege that taking an economic view of the issue is immoral. Following from the Scientific American article a while ago on what the discount rate for the climate change should be (ranging from +8% following from the average increase of the us stock market since 1871 to 0% ) expresses these different points of view.

  427. dhogaza:

    I’m new to the whole climate-science corner of the blogosphere, and yep, I read it on WUWT. Still trying to figure out who’s who (I take it that RC and WUWT are something like antipodes; I’ve gotten that far).

    Yes, RC and WUWT are something like antipodes:

    1. RC is run by some of the leading climate scientists in the world.

    2. WUWT is run by a guy with a high school education who has no scientific training. He's a TV weatherman, old enough that he doesn't have to have the BS in meteorology that is required for modern certification.

    I would go to WUWT for advice on what kind of makeup would make me look best on TV.

    I go to RC to learn about science.

  428. Lamont:

    #417: for the mathematics start here:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Radmath.htm

    Then start chewing through this link:

    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html

    The mathematical equations are going to be similar to the equations that we went over in my undergraduate astrophysical stellar envelopes course. Even at the advanced undergraduate level, we did not directly solve the equations of state for an atmosphere and extracurricularly I validated that runge-kutta methods blew up. The planetary atmosphere is arguably more difficult to model than a lot of stellar models since you need a stratosphere and you need to care about convection.

    There’s this idea that if science isn’t simple enough for the average man on the street to figure out numerically that it must be incorrect. In many cases, however, once you get out there it gets difficult. Good luck trying to do anything numerical with Quantum Chromodynamics or anything non-trivial with General Relativity (and those are far less understandable and unapprochable than AGW).

  429. ccpo:

    Re: Comment by Curmudgeon Cynic — 21 December 2009 @ 11:11 AM
    It is oft quoted that 2500 scientists can’t be wrong and that the science is settled. The denier camp casts doubt on this and claims that the IPCC report is written by just a few scientists

    [Response: Not true. Many thousands of scientists have participated in the IPCC process

    They are lying with the truth. What they are referring to is the number of people who literally typed out/edited the final sections of the full report. They are attempting to diminish the import by lying that a few tens of scientists participated in doing the science.

    2. I also understand that we pump sea water underground to get oil to come out. Is the amount of sea water that is now “underground” as a result of the years f pumping ina any way “material” to overall sea level?

    If it were, it would be a reduction in sea level, masking a higher level, so not good news, if so. We have produced around 1 trillion barrels of oil. That’s 42 trillion gallons. If this were replaced by sea water on a 1:1 ratio, then we’ve put 42 trillion gallons of water in the ground.

    First, only wells that are in declining production use advanced recovery techniques such as water flooding. Second, not all of it is sea water, iirc.

    Even if it is 42 trillion gallons, I can’t help but think this is a vanishingly small percentage of total sea water.

    [Response: This may be a factor. Depletion of ground water resources is a global problem, and in IPCC AR4 they discuss (p418) some of the estimates but they are quite uncertain. Recent results from GRACE point to a larger contribution than may have been expected. – gavin]

    He asked about sea water, but I do think this is the far more important issue. Aquifers are dropping all over. This is a very bad thing for agriculture, in particular.

    Cheers

  430. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Well, here’s a fine how-do-you-do. I wrote some radio program, CrossTalk, that comes on my local Christian station re their discussion of climate change, and corrected some of their mistakes. They wrote back, “We recommend ClimateDepot.com for a more scientific assessment of the fraud called ‘climate change.'”

    I briefly checked out the site and figured this one is really over the top denialist. I hate to even go to those sites.

    But if anyone can stomach it, it might help to assess these denialist sites — rank them from bad to worse, or something.

    ClimateDepot is a shame on our nation, a shame on Christians who use it for their science, and a shame on all of humanity. Man’s inhumanity to man never fails to shock me, even at my age.

  431. jsc:

    My idea for a topic to discuss is

    “The great AGW Debate”

    I would bill it as a *completely* unmoderated event where scientists, “alarmists,” and “deniers” alike can try and contribute to the discussion.

    Assuming the science is overwhelming (sadly I have no expertise in this field), it should not be a contest, but it would be interesting to see what people said.

    Admittedly signal to noise would be issue, but this happens all the time on the internet and it is really not that hard for intelligent people to discern the contenders from the pretenders.

    Anyway, on my wishlist.

    jsc

  432. PeteB:

    There was an interesting recent comment on the ‘peak fossils’ oildrum thread that I posted an excerpt from suggesting the author was being over optimistic

    ‘You ask above if climatologists read this. Sure. Myself working at least with atmospheric aerosol particles and clouds.
    Here some general critic, loosely connected to your question above concerning linear scenarios, hope you like it and can see opportunities for improvements of your text, so to speak:

    You write “but it is starting to appear clear that geology is placing a major constraint on anthropogenic CO2 emissions and, therefore, on global warming. Here, I present a brief summary of some of the recent papers that have appeared on the subject.”

    This I do not agree to; it is not “appearing clear”, only a few individuals ponder today on these questions; on a large timescale, (that you should define for the discussion), there is a constraint on emissions, yes, but you write “therefore, on global warming”. With the current scientific knowledge today, I cannot agree, (and it seems as if many would not,) that global warming for the next say 5 generations (my suggestion, again you do not mention the timescale you like to discuss) will be “constrained” with that scenario. It is not excluded that global warming can be large (ie there could be “pain” for humans, eco-systems and or the economic system we live in) even if “anthropogenic CO2 emissions” would become small!
    (Do you mean now all CO2 or only from fossil fuels, btw? Not clearly written, a scientific text can be done better!)

    Thus it is risky to recommend to study “tipping points” more, then to only study the current climate, just because a few individuals suggest scenarios/models which include smaller CO2 emissions…

    You further write you present papers on this, but at least a few papers that you present seem to me, to arrive to the opposite then what you describe, namely that with a constraint in CO2 emissions climate change can be at least substantial. i e Kharecha and Hansen, and Hansens 350 ppm paper, Brecha and the reply from Zecca and Chiari. I find your introduction thus not clearly describing your content.

    You further write “simulations of future climate have been run without taking into account “peaking” of the major fossil fuels”. I suppose you mostly mean in the IPCC. Scenarios are there defined. Not simulations. The scenarios include for example A1T which foresees use of “non-fossil energy sources”, and the B1 group including “introduction of clean and resource-efficient technologies”.
    ——
    A further point you mention is that these are the only papers with both scenario/model and climate simulation, this is not very surprising, as mostly a scenario is used as input for the climate simulation, thus the two processes can be done apart.
    Only if you do a new “unexpected” scenario you might need to run that yourself, as it is not mainstream. A point to think about?
    —–

    This is critical: you write “These values are far below those of the “business as usual” (bau) scenario of the IPCC that predicts a CO2 concentration of about 1000 ppm by the end of the century.”

    Are you talking about ppm CO2, or are you talking about CO2 equivalent ppm? This you should clearly write out. 600 ppm CO2 correspond roughly to 1000 CO2 equivalent ppm!!!’

  433. ccpo:

    Breaking News!

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=119745

    [Response: Oh my!. – gavin]

    Comment by Dougetit — 22 December 2009 @ 12:21 AM

    Indeed. We can’t have real scientists editing science topics with… real science.

  434. Anne van der Bom:

    DocumentTheData

    22 December 2009 at 5:09 PM

    This does NOT mean your work is wrong […]

    Ok, sounds reasonable….

    […] not the anti-junk-science crowd that is fooling them, it’s YOU!

    Or is this what you truly believe?

    You contradict yourself.

    Choose:
    a. The science is probably right, but you should try harder to make the process more transparent.
    b. Scientists are conspiring to mislead the world with junk science and no matter what you say or do will ever make me change my mind.

  435. Anne van der Bom:

    Jiminmpls
    22 December 2009 at 5:17 PM

    There are some more that I know of:

    Lee Nuclear Station: 11 billion for ~2200 MWe.

    Or the *only* compliantbid the Ontario Power Authority received for a new 2400 MWe station was 26 billion (canadian dollars).

    None is even close to 2$/W. And these are only the projections. Cost overruns are standard when constructing nuclear plants, so the real cost will end up even higher.

    I am not afraid of nuclear, but I don’t see it surviving in a post cold war capitalist market place.

  436. Punksta:

    While the post-1998 flattening of temperatures was not predicted by any of the models, it is claimed that this period is nevertheless still consistent with the models, ie within their bounds of error I assume.

    How much longer would it need to not warm significantly before
    (a) minor doubts arise ?
    (b) major doubts arise ?
    (c) they are rejected ?

  437. Anne van der Bom:

    Theo van den Berg
    22 December 2009 at 7:42 PM

    Biggest resistance is accepting that it is man-made, cause that may mean that they need to do something about it.

    I call it ‘preemptive conscience protection’.

    Most people can’t be bothered to deal with climate change, but will never admit that they simply don’t care. Somewhere deep inside they feel it is likely true and are afraid of feeling guilty once the consequences manifest themselves in an undeniable fashion. They will actively tell themselves that the signals are unclear and climate science is suspect so they can later claim innocence by ignorance.

  438. simon abingdon:

    I have asked before, so again, what is this “noise” that swamps the signal of the underlying warming trend, other than the myriad effects that we just don’t yet understand?

    [Response: The unforced component. The stuff is not predictable as a function of changing boundary conditions. But note that one scientist’s noise is another scientist’s signal. – gavin]

  439. Edward Greisch:

    318 Completely Fed Up: You haven’t considered the costs of protesters. It is the anti-nuclear protesters who create this self- fulfilling prophecy thing. The protesters make nuclear power financially risky, and they have made nuclear power far safer than is reasonable.

  440. Douglas Wise:

    re #396 Jiminmpls

    “I’ve been over to Brave New Climate. They claim that ….”

    You use this as a starting point to imply that all those commenting on BNC are under the misapprehension nuclear power will be cheap relative to that produced by alternative means. You continue by giving your own contrary view that it will prove too expensive to adopt.

    Presumably, your attempt at brevity has led you into this trite response. The discussions at BNC are far more nuanced and balanced than you imply.

    The best chance of major global emissions reduction (short of societal collapse) is to replace fossil fuels, particularly coal, with an alternative energy source that is as cheap or cheaper. Industrial societies, capitalism and democracies currently all depend on continuous economic growth. Without it, we’re in a zero sum game such that the enrichment of one nation will lead to the impoverishment of another. Access to cheap and readily available energy is a necessary precondition for economic growth. It is scarcely surprising, therefore, that the Copenhagen Conference ended in a shambles. It might be argued that rich nations may be able to maintain the quality of life of their citizens by using energy more efficiently. However, this will not compensate for the growth in human population already in the pipeline and nor will it allow for the justified and rising aspirations of the citizens of developing nations.

    If energy is to be cheap, it has to have a high ERoEI – in other words it must emanate from a high net energy source. CCS coal and renewables, with the possible exception of onshore wind, cannot fulfil this criterion. Wind has other problems (see Peter Lang on BNC) which, IMO, severely constrains its utility. Nuclear power seems to be the only possible major solution since it is the only one that has the potential to provide energy with a very high ERoEI (>100) and, given successful deployment of 4th generation reactors, that can be regarded as sustainable. Admittedly, there remain concerns over economic return on investment which will only be overcome by political action. The materials and fuel costs of nuclear are low relative to those of other energy technologies. The current costs of nuclear and time to deployment are as long as a piece of string and, at present, in Western democracies largely depend upon investor uncertainty and the consequent massive interest charges.

    I am not suggesting that a nuclear approach will necessarily solve the problem we all face but I would suggest that it is the only solution with the potential to provide a soft landing – one, furthermore, that, in theory, could provide sufficient cheap energy to capture atmospheric CO2 should the need arise. Finally, I would like to make it clear that I am more of a Malthusian than a Cornucopian and would not wish cheap power to be used as an excuse for future generations to continue to live in our unsustainable manner.

  441. Edward Greisch:

    304 Patrick 027: Thanks for the clarification on terminology. I meant “really big” volcano that dumped out a lot of CO2. Flood volcano it is, not super volcano.

  442. Douglas Wise:

    re #399 Anne van der Bom

    I have spoken to David MacKay about your opinions of his book and your claims that he has treated nuclear power too favourably. I originally approached him to express the contrary view, namely that I considered fast reactors had the potential to provide much more sustainble power than he claimed without recourse to uranium extraction from oceans.

    Why don’t you take your concerns directly to David rather than criticising him behind his back? He’s very approachable. Before doing so, you may wish to look at his Chapter 27 (in particular Fig 27.9). I can see no way that anyone could claim that he wasn’t treating all potential sustainable sources of energy in an equal manner.

  443. P. Lewis:

    In his research, Lu discovers that while there was global warming from 1950 to 2000, there has been global cooling since 2002. The cooling trend will continue for the next 50 years, according to his new research observations.

    Well! On the assumption that press release accurately portrays Lu’s findings, then how can accredited scientists continue to perpetrate this cooling myth by ignoring 2005 and 2007?

    Year JD DN
    2002 56 57
    2003 55 52
    2004 48 50
    2005 63 62
    2006 54 53
    2007 57 59
    2008 43 43
    2009 ** 56
    [GISS L&S]

    And given

    Most remarkably, the total amount of CFCs, ozone-depleting molecules that are well-known greenhouse gases, has decreased around 2000

    why not reference the “cooling” since 2000 or 2001?

    Year JD DN
    2000 33 34
    2001 48 45
    [GISS L&S]

    Is it an egregious cherry pick? Or, given Lu has been working with stratospheric ozone, then perhaps he’s only been looking at stratospheric temperature trends.

  444. Anne van der Bom:

    Theo van den Berg
    22 December 2009 at 8:34 PM

    It should be OK for me to use a coal fire, cause I am sure that the millions of trees around me will compensate for that.

    1. Interesting, but it fails to account for history. We Dutchmen didn’t choose to be in such a densely populated country. It just kinda happened over the centuries.

    How would Monaco or Vatican City ever be able to comply?

    2. I think that if ever any binding agreement is made, wouldn’t it enforce *net* CO2 emissions per country. So as long as you can guarantee that the CO2 you emit is indeed captured by the trees around you and stays there, Australia should be fine.

  445. Ferran P. Vilar:

    As of now, every projection, not to mention those of the IPCC (except temperature) have fallen short. Why is this? Why always the error goes the same side?
    Moreover, how can we be sure that current values are correct and there is not only another step for further worsening? Some recent paper still go this way.
    I’m very surprised, as an engineer, for the low use of dynamic systems theory, and the equilibrium analysis this technique can provide. The bottom-up approach is like trying to calculate the GNP by summing all the bills! You will always fall short, o have errors.
    Why don’t use stability analysis, eigenvalues, stability margin, etc, and have CO2eq as the control input?
    I guess insisting in how to get +2ºC with the heat in the pipeline and the (uncertain) cooling by sulfate aerosols (or others?) will be a general interest topic.
    What do you think about fertilizing Sahara as a recent paper in Climatic Change suggests? Do you think it is technically feasible? What are the dangers?
    From Barcelona, thanks for your work.
    Ferran

  446. Ray Ladbury:

    Eric @417, Good Lord, man, where in the hell are you getting your misinformation/disinformation. Did it ever occur to you that the released UEA emails might also be cherrypicked–taken out of context to paint the science in the worst light ahead of Copenhagen.

    As to the rest of your screed, all it does is raise questions as to whether you are in fact as you say an “analytical mathematician”. I sure didn’t see any math in your post, nor any understanding of data analysis or modeling. The adjustments to the data are well documented and made for valid reasons. And the models actually do an excellent job reproducing the main features and behaviors of Earth’s climate. You even get features that correspond to ENSO. My recommendation would be to educate yourself so that your understanding of the science constitutes more than just a straw man. Because all a post like yours does is wreck your credibility from the start. Start here:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

  447. Ray Ladbury:

    Elliot says, “If it’s not this volcano, it will be another one in the next decade. How will the climate community deal with the deniers once the world temperature temporarily dips?”

    By using these events to validate the models, just as was done for Pinatubo. What is at issue is not whether temperatures climb continually. They won’t. What is at issue is how well we understand the climate. Climate scientists were able to put the data into their models and model the effects of the eruption. On the other hand, when denialists put the data into their models…. Oh yeah, that’s right. The denialists don’t have any models, no answers, no clues. They just throw up their hands and complain that it’s all too complicated to understand.

  448. Ray Ladbury:

    Rob m. @403, In the upper right corner of the page, you will find a button that says “START HERE”. Start there. Seriously. Not only will you understand this issue a lot better, but it truly is a fascinating subject.

    The basic answer to your question though is that most previous warming epochs were started by changes in sunlight reaching Earth’s surface due to changes in Earth’s orbit, orientation, etc. After a few centuries, permafrost melted and CO2/CH4 was released, increasing and extending the warming period. Note that we have not yet triggered such natural releases–they are a potentially catastrophic feedback.
    One epoch that was greenhouse induced (probably, at least), was the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, which coincided with one of the greatest mass extinctions in geologic history.

    Go check out the resources on the START HERE page and come back and ask questions.

  449. Anne van der Bom:

    Eric,
    22 December 2009 at 8:38 PM

    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.

    Climate science is a continuous quest to reduce uncertainties. You could say that 200 years ago the climate sensitivity was somewhere between -100 and +100 K per doubling. Over the years, a lot of research efforts have reduced that to a range of 2 to 4.5 K. With 90% confidence (IIRC). No, not 100%.

    I like to compare the world to a general that has to decide: where to attack the enemy. He sends out his spies to gather information. Some of them do not return. Others come back with fragmented information, sometimes contradictory. The general has 3 options:
    – Send out new spies over and over again, until 100% of them return with complete and consistent information.
    – Declare the effort hopeless and do nothing.
    – Act on the best available information.

    Option 1: The general will wait forever, because perfect intelligence does not exist. The enemy will overrun him while he is still making up his mind and win the war.
    Option 2: The enemy will take the initiative and win the war.
    Option 3: He attacks the enemy at what is probably its most vulnerable point, and therefore there is a good chance he will win the war.

    It is clear that option 3 has the best chance of success. In real life you never act on certainties alone, you act on the best available information.

    So I would suggest that step 1 for you is come to grips with the fact that uncertainties are inevitable.

    Step 2 is to realise that doing nothing is also a choice. Or better: a gamble. A gamble on the remote chance that an entire field of science has been consistently wrong for many decades.

  450. Barton Paul Levenson:

    HCG,

    I can tell you that Will Happer is the nut who keeps saying we’re in a “CO2 famine” and that “the CO2 is the lowest it’s been in millions of years,” neither of which is anything like true.

  451. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Scott,

    It’s important to point out that a really statist, tyrannical approach to climate stabilization would be to create a new agency with broad powers to micromanage industry and transportation. The actual solutions that have been proposed–carbon taxes or cap-and-trade–use the power of the market to accomplish the same end more efficiently and at lower cost.

  452. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Spiff,

    Note, also, that in 1969 and 1970, respectively, Budyko in the USSR and Sellers in the US simultaneously discovered the runaway glaciation effect. A drop in illumination of 2% or less might cause a snowball Earth in their energy-balance models. This was believed for over a decade, and Hart (1978) used it to constrain “continuously habitable zones” around stars to a very narrow range (0.958-1.004 AUs for the sun), implying that Earthlike planets were few and far between.

    It wasn’t until 1981 that Walker, Hays and Kasting pointed out the existence of the carbonate-silicate cycle, which stabilizes Earth’s climate against illumination changes, or temperature excursions of any kind (though it failed for the three episodes of snowball Earth we’ve actually experienced). We know now that creating runaway glaciation takes very special circumstances which we’re just not anywhere near on present-day Earth.

  453. Jiminmpls:

    #391 AvdB

    Let’s be fair and cost out wind power using the same methodology as for nuclear. In addition to the “overnight” construction costs, you have to include costs for financing, land acquisition, transmission upgrades, operation and maintenance, decommissioning costs, etc. I’d have to search to find the data, but I’ve seen estimates of an all-in, non-levelized cost at $2-2.5k per kW for well-sited, land-based wind farms at 25% efficiency.

    This is FAR below projected costs for new nuclear power plants in the US. The buildout is also MUCH faster.

    I personally don’t take an extremist position. IMO, the Chinese nuclear program makes sense for China. I generally support both the relicensing and upgrading of US reactors. I can even see the need for a handful of new reactors in the southeast, even though the cost will be excessive.

    4th generation nuclear may change the game entirely, but that is a long way off.

  454. Barton Paul Levenson:

    RC,

    I tried to post a list of articles about GCRs, but got smacked by the spam filter again. Other web sites manage to avoid spam without this kind of infuriating, pain-in-the-ass, guess-and-try-again maze for the user to get through. Why not just have the user answer a question a bot wouldn’t get, like “Which would you use to put out a fire? Water or gasoline?” Have a hundred such questions and ask them at random.

  455. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Or just maintain a list of contributors whose email address are not spam-sources. Only use the spam filter on post attempts by newcomers.

  456. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Anne,

    I apologize. I didn’t know that. No offense intended.

  457. AlanB:

    I’d very much large to see a fuller defense of “hide the decline.”

    The standard attack (e.g., Palin’s editorial) is that Jones’s data showed a decline in global temps, which he “hid” by using other “manipulated” data. And the standard defense is: the tree rings exhibit the divergence problem, so Jones, in accordance with precedent, “hid” them with instrument data and disclosed what he had done.

    We know that the standard attack is wrong (obviously, global temps did not decline 1961-1998)–but the standard defense has some holes, too.

    First hole: We say that the rings diverge from true temps beginning in 1961, but how do we KNOW this? Yes, we know they diverge from global temps, but how do we know that they really diverge from regional temps? My understanding is that the instrument record for that region is quite weak, especially in the post-Soviet era.

    Second hole: A recurring refrain is that what’s important is global trends, not regional trends, and, of course, that’s true. The tree rings are regional, but, when they diverge, he replaces them with global data. Is this quite kosher? Shouldn’t he have replaced them with regional temps and, if they’re no good, just not do it at all? What, really, is the justification for replacing regional data with global data if we keep saying that regional trends and global trends can be quite different?

    Third hole: There’s a lot of back & forth about Jone’s disclosure of what he did. Since most of us can’t get to the Nature paper, this is a bit of a black hole, and it’s tending toward a he-said-she-said argument. Did he disclose in the paper exactly what he had done, or not? Did he show both datasets (as Mann apparently did), or did he simply replace the tree rings with instruments post-1961?

    A good post covering these issues (and anything else that comes to mind) would be really helpful.

  458. Barton Paul Levenson:

    rob m,

    In a natural deglaciation, with the Earth warming from changes in the distribution of sunlight (Milankovic Cucles), the oceans have lower solubility for carbon dioxide, so it degasses CO2 and warms the Earth further. In the present warming, the CO2 is not coming from the ocean, but mainly from burning fossil fuels–we can tell from the radioisotope signature of the new CO2.

  459. mommycalled:

    Alwaysearching #360

    Indeed your are correct IF there were only a single anecdotal report it would be “very unscientific and anecdotal”. Unfortunately that is not the case. Ask
    any one who has been on meteorological field campaigns
    in Africa or South America and you will here the same story repeated over and over again. My own field campaign experiences in Africa mirror Ray’s. You don’t need to go to Africa or South America to hear the same stories. Talk to families in upstate New York or Wisconsin who have had their farms over many generations

  460. Vincent van der Goes:

    RE: post 369 by David Miller

    “Hansen suggests that there is enough carbon in those sources [coal, tar sands and shales] to assure the Venus effect.”

    I had no clue that things could possibly get out of control that badly. Could you please give me a reference? Thanks.

  461. Barton Paul Levenson:

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

    BPL: If astronomers want to know the local radial velocity of distant galaxies, should they adjust the figures by subtracting the cosmological red shift component, or would that NOT be science and definitely NOT mathematics? If economists want to know the actual growth rate in industrial investment over the years, should they deflate the figures by an inflation measure to get constant dollars, or would that NOT be science and definitely NOT mathematics? In short, do you know what you’re talking about?

  462. Chris Dunford:

    @Lady in Red (347):

    I did find these original, popular press reports, however, from both Time and Newsweek. Please re-read them. I would suggest that these articles below are not easily dismissed as “myth” and it does appear that, in the 1970’s, there was a scientific consensus about a coming ice age.

    I suggest that you re-re-read them and look carefully for any predictions from scientists. When you do that, you won’t actually find any, because there aren’t any. They’re all talking about how cold it already is and what will happen if it stays cold. But neither article has any scientists explicitly predicting that it will stay cold or get colder.

    (Newsweek does say that “The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.” But it’s not clear what “these predictions” actually are, and there’s no information on where they came from or who made them. The preceding text deals mostly with food production and contains no actual predictions.)

  463. Barton Paul Levenson:

    xtopher,

    In brief, Lu’s physics is good but his climatology is incompetent.

  464. Anne van der Bom:

    Suggestion for an article on RC.

    There is much ado about the temperature datasets lately, but what about other weather parameters that meteorological organisations routinely gather like humidity, pressure, wind speed, precipitation, cloudiness, visibility.

    Are these being processed too by CRU/GISS et al? What is their value?

  465. The Wonderer:

    I’d be interested to see a posting on the state-of-the-art of climate monitoring, what projects are planned, and even more interesting given an administration that might be more supportive, what projects are proposed, and which of those would be most beneficial.

  466. Jim Ryan:

    I have a brief question about the ‘divergence problem’ regards the tree ring proxy temps compared with the instrumental record since 1960. Is it true to say that because of this observation (the divergence), and in spite of a good correlation between 1850 and 1960, we cannot conclude that this relationship has been constant throughout the last thousand years i.e. pre 1850 (pre-instrumentation). In other words because of divergence since 1960 how can we know there wasn’t divergence between proxy tree ring temps and actual temps at different time periods over the last millenium? The suggestion is that the reconstruction of past proxy temps based on tree ring data are undermined and therefore there is no reliable temp record in the thousand years before modern instrumentation.
    Am I right in concluding that there are many other methods to estimate proxy temps, and which are consistent with or indeed validate the tree ring proxy temp record over this period and that ultimately the extrapolation of the relationship from 1850 to 1960 to the thousands years or so pre-1860 is a valid one?

  467. Hank Roberts:

    Jim Ryan:
    I pasted your question into Google, cut and paste using your words*

    First result:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Hockey-stick-without-tree-rings.html

    It’s a good answer to your question.

    (the next four hits were denial PR sites, so ‘feeling lucky’ worked).
    ________
    * http://www.google.com/search?q=other+methods+to+estimate+proxy+temps%2C+and+which+are+consistent+with+or+indeed+validate+the+tree+ring+proxy+temp+record

  468. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    #431 & “My idea for a topic to discuss is ‘the great AGW Debate’ I would bill it as a *completely* unmoderated event where scientists, ‘alarmists,’ and ‘deniers’ alike can try and contribute to the discussion.”

    I have an even better idea. People interested in really knowing the established science should either trust the scientists here, or read the peer-review literature (including the IPCC AR4, which is based on peer-review articles). Now, as has become painfully obvious, peer-review is a necessary, but not a sufficient cause in establishing scientific facts, but if you read enough peer-review articles about AGW, you will quickly see where the vast bulk of the science is stacking up. You can get email alerts re climate change topics by going to http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/alerts/main & signing up. You will have access to abstracts, and those articles you can’t get, you can either view at your local university library, or purchase — it’s been an invaluable resource for my own research. However, fair warning, scientists are extremely conservative, and their articles don’t get published if the evidence doesn’t back their claims with 95% confidence. (Would you accept a doctor’s diagnosis that he/she was only 94% confident your lump was cancerous, so come back next year to see if it could get up to 95% so they could be sure and operate?)

    So there’s an even a better method, which I used well-before the first peer-reviewed studies started coming out in 1995 with 95% confidence in AGW. That is Pascal’s wager between the 2 wrong choices — (1) What if the scientists are wrong and AGW is not happening, but you mitigate it anyway. Well, since I was able to reduce my GHG emissions more than 60% by becoming energy/resource efficient/conservative, reducing-reusing-recycling & going on alt energy cost-effectively, saving money, without lowering my living standard (and since the U.S. can reduce 75% without lowering productivity — see http://www.natcap.org & http://www.rmi.org — then not only is the no loss, but there is even a gain, plus it mitigates many other problems (environmental, military, taxes, etc).

    (2) OTOH, if the scientists are right and AGW is happening, but we fail to mitigate, then the result will be not only losing out on all the great savings and economy strengthening from mitigating, but a dying hell on earth, and a much hotter place than a globally warmed world for all eternity.

    So, take your pick. I personally chose (1) way back in 1990, well before scientific confidence was established — and so did Pope John Paul II and other mainstream churches.

    Another quick and dirty method to decipher which scientists are telling the truth is this (bec I do know some scientists engage in fraud — some Formaldehyde Institute scientists even went to prison for falsifying science that revealed the harmful health effects of formaldehyde): If the scientists are finding things that big biz (e.g. Exxon) doesn’t like, the findings will likely be accurate. If, however, they are finding things that big biz likes, be skeptical, be very skeptical.

    Or, you could go to http://www.ExxonSecrets.com to see about various orgs and persons, and whether they are funded by Exxon, and if so, don’t trust their science. But of course that will only give you a partial list — there’s also King Coal and other industries that could be funding the fraudulent science and spokepersons.

    When I heard something fishy re environmentalists being neo-pagans — the old neo-pagan strawman argument — on EWTN (the Catholic TV channel), I looked up the spokesperson’s Action Institute on ExxonSecrets, and found them funded by Exxon. Case closed.

  469. Edward Greisch:

    453Jiminmpls: Nuclear power is the cheapest there is. See my previous post and http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com
    The final electric rate is 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour, delivered for nuclear.
    Batteries are not included for your wind power. Adding batteries adds $10,000.00 per household per year to wind power.

    From: Jim Jones at hyperionpowergeneration.com
    To:
    Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 2:27 PM
    Subject: Re: $.05 to .06 per KWh

    Assume HPM costs $30M and plant side doubles it:

    $60M divided by 25,000kw = $2,400/kw
    $2,400/kw divided by 5 years = $480/KWyr
    $480/KWyr divided by 8760 hours = $.0547945/KWhr (Call it 5 and half cents per KWhr)

    OR

    $60M divided by 20,000 homes = $3,000/home
    $3,000/home divided by 5 years = $600/home/year
    $600/home/year divided by 12 months = $50/home/month (How’s that for an electric bill?)

  470. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Sorry, that’s Acton Institute, not Action Institute (my last paragraph above)

  471. Chris Dunford:

    @Jim Ryan (466):

    In other words because of divergence since 1960 how can we know there wasn’t divergence between proxy tree ring temps and actual temps at different time periods over the last millenium?

    Hank Roberts’ reference (467) is good, but here’s another Skeptical Science post that answers your question directly:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Hockey-stick-divergence-problem.html

    See the third paragraph.

  472. The holy church of AGW:

    I love how you MSM internet sites spin stuff

    Earth’s Upper Atmosphere Cooling Dramatically –

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/091217-agu-earth-atmosphere-cooling.html#comments

    “New research shows that the outermost layer of the atmosphere will lose 3 percent of its density over the coming decade, a sign of the far-reaching impacts of greenhouse gas emissions. As the density declines, orbiting satellites experience less drag”.

    We already got it that those who don’t belong to your AGW church are “denialists”. And yeah , snowstorms right after Copenhagen – that joke is right back on you.

  473. David Miller:

    Vincent van der Goes in #460 asks about Hansen and the Venus Syndrome:

    Vincent, download http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.pdf and look at pages 22-24. On page 23 he says:

    Given the solar constant that we have today, how large a forcing must be maintained to cause runaway global warming? Our model blows up before the oceans boil, but it suggests that perhaps runaway conditions could occur with added forcing as small as 10-20 W/m2.

    and on 24:

    There may have been times in the Earth’s history when CO2 was as high as 4000 ppm without causing a runaway greenhouse effect. But the solar irradiance was less at that time.
    What is different about the human-made forcing is the rapidity at which we are increasing it, on the time scale of a century or a few centuries. It does not provide enough time for negative feedbacks, such as changes in the weathering rate, to be a major factor.
    There is also a danger that humans could cause the release of methane hydrates, perhaps more rapidly than in some of the cases in the geologic record.
    In my opinion, if we burn all the coal, there is a good chance that we will initiate the runaway greenhouse effect. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale (a.k.a. oil shale), I think it is a dead certainty.

  474. Jim Ryan:

    Chris and Hank,

    Thanks very much for the feedback. Perfect answers.

    The ‘divergence’ issue and tree ring proxies emerges frequently in ‘sceptic’ circles. Extraordinary how these people focus on one piece of data, usually decontextualised, and ignore everything else. Without a doubt many of these co-called skeptics are not motivated by genuine scientific scepticism but rather by socio-political considerations.

    I have an interest in evolutionary biology lmyself but ‘creationist’ inspired misrepresentation and disinformation in regrad to this discipline pales by comparison to what climate scientists have had to witness over the last couple of decades. Truly unprecedented, the age of reason and enlightenment seems as distant as ever. Nevertheless the climate scientists on this site and elsewhere shall remain a beacon of light.

    Keep up the good work and don’t let the illegitimates grind you down!

  475. Ron R.:

    More great before & after glacier photos!

    http://www.livescience.com/php/multimedia/imagegallery/igviewer.php?imgid=626&gid=42&index=0

    We really need all the visual evidence on one site.

  476. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #472 The holy church of AGW

    Another anonymous post from a person that can’t tell the difference between signal and noise. Or weather and climate:

    – Weather (short term variability like snow, rain, sun, wind) and
    – Climate (30+ years of trends with identified attribution).

    A warming of 0.7C does not mean it stops snowing in Copenhagen in the winter. You might consider as an example, say your average winter temp is minus 8C, if you warm 0.7C does that bring you above freezing? Now think hard… … … …

    General:

    I was answering a friend who had questions from friends this morning and I thought it was a fun line so I thought I’d share it with the thread as it seems to fit here as well:

    Nice argument technique they are using… tonight’s special is Red Herring served with a Straw-man and a bottle of Whine. For dessert we have a lovely Logical Fallacy whipped into a frothy Argument From Belief to keep the conversation going.

  477. Fred Buhl:

    I hadn’t seen coverage here in RealClimate of the new Nature paper mentioned in this link:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/16/AR2009121604191.html?hpid=topnews

    20-30 feet sea level rise by the end of the century, even if we keep to 2 degrees celsius?

    Looks like the relevent paper is linked here:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v462/n7275/edsumm/e091217-01.html

    (Haven’t read through the above 475+ comments, so apologies if already mentioned.)

    *f*

    [Response: Be careful here! The sea level rise at the last interglacial may have taken hundreds or maybe thousands of years to stabilise – and so it is not correct to associate the temperature rise then and at 2100 with the sea level then and at 2100. This is basically the same issue as was discussed in the Overpeck et al (2006) paper. The key phrase is the “long-term” rise (i.e. where you would eventually get to if you stick to a 2 deg temperature rise). It is not very strong constraint on the rapidity of that rise. – gavin]

  478. Joe Blanchard:

    Ron R.

    Evidence of glaciers melting is evidence of glaciers melting and only that. No one disputes that – not even the skeptics. But it does not prove that it is caused by human activities.

    [Response: True. But it completely undermines claims that the world hasn’t been warming or that the whole thing is cooked up because of the urban heat island or homogeneity adjustments. Perhaps you can inveigh upon the ‘skeptics’ to stop using those arguments? – gavin]

  479. alway searching:

    @459, mommycalled — No, actually. You are setting yourself up for easy denialist rebuttal. Natural regional variability is quite a bit larger than any shift explicable by climate science over the time frames in question (see AR4, various RC resources or whatever). You are being subject to confirmation bias in your sampling and what you are describing is really not remotely climate science. You and advocates for climate science like you are among the reasons that the public views this entire situation as “us said, they said”. The particular climate variables with any skill, and the particular statements these people made would need extraordinarily better vetting than your “best guess” (or Ray’s or anyone’s) to even begin to approach evidence of anything. Simply being on “our team” does not give you people a pass to undermine scientific methodology anymore than simply being an advocate for what you want gives Gore a right to play fast and loose with various things and embarrass us.

  480. Richard Ordway:

    @Lady in Red (347):

    “I did find these original, popular press reports, however, from both Time and Newsweek. Please re-read them. I would suggest that these articles below are not easily dismissed as “myth” and it does appear that, in the 1970’s, there was a scientific consensus about a coming ice age.”

    I would suggest reading the peer-reviewed report on the 1970s work on the global cooling:

    http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0477/89/9/pdf/i1520-0477-89-9-1325.pdf

  481. John Mason:

    Re: 476

    One thing that constantly amazes me with the contrarians is that they do not have a consistent approach, which you think they might given such confident, sweeping statements. But instead we get a pick and mix from the following:

    The world is not warming
    The climate is changing all the time
    The climate is warming but it’s nothing to do with Man
    The glaciers are not retreating
    The glaciers are retreating but it’s nothing to do with Man
    Er, it was hotter in the past

    And so on. The least thing you folks could do for yourselves is be a bit more consistent!! ;)

    Cheers – John

  482. MattInSeattle:

    Anne van der BOM:

    Anne, even though your calc is an admitted first order calc, you’ve neglected the base load requirements and the regional performance of sites in the US.

    At Texas’s current performance, 8T KWH of generation would require 26TW of nameplate to get power 60% of the time.

    If you wanted to increase the availability to 85% and higher, which is what the companies need to give the consumer nearly >95%, you would need to multiply that by 10 to 20X. (see “Supplying baseload power….” by Archer and Jacobson.

    Thus, the annual cost to transition us to all alt energy would be exceed $1T/year.

    Nuclear has much better economics. There’s a reason China is deploying nuclear at the rate they are. And there’s a reason Germany is throttling back their lofty wind generation plans.

    So, the figure you cite of $5T to cover the US is way too low. Also, keep in mind that states like Texas outperform states like Washington in terms of wind generation efficiency by 10X. So that figure would climb by perhaps 2-5X more if the generation had to occur in other states.

    I watched in the 80’s as people argued nuclear out of existence, because they claimed alt power was right around the corner. And here we are again. Same claims, same fuzzy math. Since the 80’s, we’ve pumped out 50GT of CO2. Much could have been avoided if we’d taken the path of France.

  483. John Mason:

    (oops – not post #476 any more – I was referring to the one by Joe Blanchard, replied to by Gavin. Cheers – John)

  484. Richard Ordway:

    @Lady in Red (347):

    “I did find these original, popular press reports, however, from both Time and Newsweek. Please re-read them. I would suggest that these articles below are not easily dismissed as “myth” and it does appear that, in the 1970’s, there was a scientific consensus about a coming ice age.”

    I would suggest reading the peer-reviewed report on the 1970s work on the global cooling:

    Sorry, The link I gave above seemed broken, hopefully you can get the PDF through one of these:

    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2008BAMS2370.1&ct=1

    Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
    Article: pp. 1325–1337 | Abstract | PDF (4.13M)

    Peterson, 2008 Volume 89, Issue 9 (September 2008)

  485. ZZT:

    Any comments on Von Storch’s climategate opinion? He seems to express an interesting middle ground in the debate.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704238104574601443947078538.html

    ‘Elevated greenhouse gas concentrations have led, and will continue to lead, to changing weather conditions (climate), in particular to warmer temperatures and changing precipitation. Such a change causes stress for societies and ecosystems.’

  486. mommycalled:

    alway searching (477

    Maybe I misread Ray’s post, but I don’t think so.
    His comment like mine referred to the fact that the people I referred to (people in Africa/South America, dairy farmers in NY and WI) and those that Ray referred to have observed significant changes in their environment over several generations (between 50 and 100 years). When I give talks at US farmer bureau meetings the question isn’t whether global warming is occurring rather how bad will it be. For those in Africa and South America the question is: we see changes, are these changes due to global warming. In some cases the observed changes in Africa and South America are local or cyclical and hence I say no. For other instances the answer is yes, your personal observation is consistent with the fact that global warming is occurring. The point you are missing is that people who are closely tied to their environment have seen significant changes in the environment and have already accepted that global warming is occurring. This observation (people see changes in their environment and accept global warming) is consistent across those of us who spend most of their time in the field.

    Frankly I have almost given up on those who refuse to accept any observation, invoke the algore arguement (invoking algore should be another law like Goodwin’s law) and have given up the denialists. To paraphrase Barney Frank trying to carry on a science based discussion on global warming with a denier is liking carrying on a conversation with a dining room table

  487. R. Hayley:

    David Bellamy claims that CO2 encourages plant growth, has there been any evidence that forests have been growing faster like larger tree rings? If so, will CO2 have a shorter half-life in the atmosphere at higher concentrations?

  488. Doc Walt:

    Although I am a biologist, I follow the climate change literature, and have become aware of something that may be worthwhile to examine. Repeatedly, I have seen reference to the fact that tree-ring information in the last half century begins to deviate from earlier correspondence with temperature. Since the narrow group of wavelengths that plants use for photosynthesis is in the red end of the spectrum, could it be possible that increasing amounts of CO2 are causing the decline of the necessary wavelengths? Could this happen a predictable fashion based on elevation and CO2 levels at the time the ring was formed?

    Might be worth looking into…

  489. simon abingdon:

    #476 John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation)

    “Another anonymous post from a person [who] can’t tell the difference between signal and noise”.

    OK John, let’s have your definition. (BTW I don’t accept Climate = Signal, Weather = Noise).

    As far as I can see Signal is what we’ve so far learnt to identify and measure, Noise is the all the rest that we’re still trying to understand. [#438 Gavin – “But note that one scientist’s noise is another scientist’s signal[!]. Gavin also asserts that “The stuff [noise] is not predictable…”].

    Sounds pretty defeatist to me, Gavin. Why is the stuff in principle not predictable, as you say even “as a function of changing boundary conditions”? And why do you dismiss “noise” as the “unforced component”? In a deterministic world is not everything forced if you choose your terms of reference suitably?

    [Response: You are reading in meaning that are not there. Take ENSO, this has a pretty good predictability a few months in advance based on the current conditions in the Pacific. For the people that study this, that is their signal. However, ENSO in ten years time is not predictable either as a function of the initial conditions, nor as a function of changing levels of CO2. And by the way, deterministic doesn’t imply predictable in practice (cf. Lorenz). For the climate change issue, the year-to-year ENSO variations are noise. For the ENSO prediction community, that is their signal. – gavin]

    And why should your “unpredictable” Noise not include unsuspected properties that might compensate to a greater or lesser extent for the painstakingly observed Signal? Has not life flourished for billions of years simply because of the uncanny stability of our climate? Is this really suddenly going to be stymied by a century’s worth of burning fossil fuels? And is there honestly a correlation between rising CO2 emissions and recently-observed temperatures?

    Anyway, back to JPR. Let’s have a convincing definition of the difference between Signal and Noise from you John. I’m looking forward to it.

  490. Didactylos:

    Anne van der Bom said:

    The 125 kWh benchmark for renewables is on page 103: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c24/page_166.shtml (sic)

    The calculation on land use for Britain with nuclear power is on page 166-167: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c24/page_166.shtml. You will see he uses a number of 22 kWh per person per day (the 18 I remembered incorrectly).

    To make an honest comparison prof. MacKay should have calculated the number of nukes based that 125 kWh p.p.p.d. Can you show me where he does that?

    “allege baselessly”? No sir.

    It is complete nonsense to us a 125 kWh per person per day consumption stack as if the UK will ever need so much electricity.

    You know, the book was featured on ‘The Register’ a few years back. You know what sound bite made it in the article? “We need to cover the whole of Whales in wind turbines to power half our cars.” I’ll leave the calculation of the real number as an exercise to you.

    If Prof. MacKay likes renewables, he has a funny way of expressing it.

    If this is your reading of the book, then your reading is faulty. For each power source, David MacKay calculated the maximum that could be reasonably and practically obtained. For energy sources such as nuclear which can be scaled up to exceedingly high levels, he used a reasonable model (France).

    You will see that he calculated 50 kWh/d for photovoltaic farms, 20 for onshore wind, 32 for offshore wind. In this context, 22 kWh/d for nuclear is perfectly rational and not disproportionate in any way.

    I see you quote “The Register” in defence of your argument. That particular website has such an anti-AGW bias that I no longer waste my time with it. Quoting it can’t damage your argument, since you don’t have one. However, it does damage your credibility. If you don’t understand the dangers of global warming, what is your motive for attacking nuclear?

    I think you should read the book. If that doesn’t work, read it again. If you still come up blank, then feel free to present your own calculations. Regrettably, it sounds to me like you are trying to repeat an argument you have heard elsewhere, and have managed to get it mangled to the point where it no longer even makes sense. I strongly suspect you have confused the idealised consumption model used in the early part of the book with the energy plans presented in the second section as being achievable by 2050. Nuclear is discussed before this short-term model is introduced.

  491. Ray Ladbury:

    Ferran P. Vilar, Looks pretty consistent to me:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/riddle-me-this/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/what-the-ipcc-models-really-say/

    Maybe you ought to reconsider your choice of information sources.

  492. Ray Ladbury:

    Always searching and mommy called,
    Any single account taken in isolation is of course a local change. However, I have heard very similar stories in West and East Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Paris, Brazil, Central America and a variety of other places I’ve traveled. Taken together, they are evidence of global change. It must be considered in conjunction with all of the other evidence, and when one does this, it paints a very consistent picture of greenhouse warming.

  493. Scott A. Mandia:

    #414 – Jiminmpls

    I hope you are kidding about ExxonMobil’s efforts “to help” with climate science. :)

    #451 – BPL

    That is a good point. Could I trouble you to post that on my blog?

    http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/how-to-talk-to-a-conservative-about-climate-change/

  494. Hank Roberts:

    > abingdon

    Rate of change. Look into it.

  495. TRY:

    re 481:
    “The world is not warming
    The climate is changing all the time
    The climate is warming but it’s nothing to do with Man
    The glaciers are not retreating
    The glaciers are retreating but it’s nothing to do with Man
    Er, it was hotter in the past”

    Most reasonable skeptics that I’ve read state:

    It’s warmer now than it was in 1800.

    We know that climate has some natural variability.

    The various measurement uncertainties and statistical choices underlying the statement “it’s warmer now than it’s been in 1300 years” make that statement very difficult to support in a rigorous, highly confident manner.

    The various measurement uncertainties and statistical choices underlying the statement “mean global temperature is .5 C higher today than in the 1961-1990 period” make that statement very difficult to support in a rigorous, highly confident manner.

    Given finite resources and time, we must choose carefully where we spend them – clean water, black soot (particulate) reduction, disease control, etc.

    Given all this, it’s reasonable to call for a more stringent review of historic data collection and analysis, and for investment in better data collection going forward.

  496. TRY:

    and a quick question:
    The core argument that AGW proponents build on, as far as I can tell, is the forcing effect of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere – very simply, CO2 absorbs infrared radation from the ground and and then re-emits it to the ground and to space, effectively sending more energy to the ground than if there was no CO2.

    Ultimately, looking at the planet from space, you would see a different emitted radiation pattern with CO2 vs without CO2?

    So, we know that CO2 in the atmosphere varies seasonally. So we would expect to see seasonal variations in emitted radiation signature? And as CO2 grows annually, we should expect to see a trend in emitted radiation?

    And I’m speaking of the specific wavelengths at which CO2 absorbs.

    Why not do a study like this? I expect we have some satellites with these types of sensors collecting data.

  497. alway searching:

    @486 – No, again. I’m sorry – I don’t meant to be mean or abrupt. Regional variation — even observed over a (questionable due to anecdotalhood (sic)) long human life *might* — as I say, if the questions were well studied instead of more than likely “fed” or biased in some way — lead to some kind of evidence for a very spatially confined (um, just where you went) set of time-extended observations. This is *better* than the “weather” at one point in space and one day/week/month/year, but does not nearly rise to the level at which people can attribute these variations to co2 rises or even the general global trend.

    Consequently, it would not be difficult for adversaries to find samples of other people, in other very poorly globalized spatial samples, that speak in exactly the opposite direction.

    What you are saying is roughly equivalent to “people where the weather/local effects match the global thesis you want are convinced”. Shocker. This is no more or less than the observation that people, out in the developed or developing world, do treat “weather” or “local” as their mainstay for vetting a science’s claim about the global.

    This kind of argument/evidence is paper thin and not scientific. For someone like Ray who seems to enjoy railing against anti-science with passion, it is poor form to choose his presentation poorly to suggest this type of thinking. People can have off days, but it should not really stand. *thermometer* corrections with their +/- 2 C kinds of issues are bad. Corrections for the calibration of the memories of elders are surely much worse…People’s memories are highly influenced by outliers, never mind the data collection issue and never mind that as I mentioned the actual system-noise at that scale makes attribution dramatically harder. So, even without the likely horribly inadequate globalization issue, there are a variety of complaints along these lines.

    And Gore really does need to have things he says papered over with “um, mostly right” or other very artfully re-qualified forms from our more vocal scientists. I’m not attempting to demonize him or throw out a red herring. { By not listing them, I’m not actually trying to be evasive, but rather trying to give less voice to his missteps. } I’m saying that kind of thing should not be a “model” for argument and often leads to stepping in doo doo. I am by no means a skeptic of any of the really established results, but that does not mean I need to agree with poor arguing out of “brotherhood against the hordes at all costs” or something. Maintaining an argumentative high ground is important or you amplify ranting lunatics on both sides.

  498. SecularAnimist:

    MattInSeattle: “I watched in the 80’s as people argued nuclear out of existence … Much could have been avoided if we’d taken the path of France.”

    I don’t understand why nuclear proponents always say this. The USA operates 104 nuclear power plants, France only has 59. The USA, not France, generates more electricity from nuclear power than any other country in the world. So, obviously the suggestion that nuclear was “argued out of existence” in the USA is absurd.

    The reason that nuclear power plants have not been built in the USA for decades has nothing to do with opposition from environmentalists — that is simply a pro-nuclear myth with no foundation in reality. The reality is that nuclear power was and is an economic failure, and private investors were not willing to put up the money to build new nuclear power plants, because they don’t like losing money. Nuclear power could not compete then with natural gas and coal, and it cannot compete today with wind and solar (let alone efficiency improvements, by far the most cost-effective way to reduce GHG emissions from electricity generation). That’s why private capital STILL will not invest in new nuclear power plants — unless, as the nuclear industry has been loudly and clearly demanding, the taxpayers and rate payers are forced to absorb all the costs and all the risks, including the risk of economic losses, up front.

    Given the entrenched political power of the nuclear industry, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more new nuclear power plants are built in the USA in coming decades (especially if the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies in draft climate-energy legislation in the US Senate are passed). And perhaps some will even be completed and go online and provide some electricity to the grid before they are rendered obsolete (and unprofitable) by the ongoing rapid growth of wind and solar.

    But nuclear power simply cannot and will not make a significant contribution to reducing GHG emissions from electricity generation. It is too costly, and it takes too long to build. Resources invested in expanding nuclear power will be squandered ineffectively instead of being used much more cost-effectively elsewhere, and thus will hinder, rather than help, the effort to reduce GHG emissions.

    MattInSeattle wrote: ” … because they claimed alt power was right around the corner.”

    “Alt power” is not “right around the corner”. It’s here. Solar and wind are the fastest growing new sources of electricity in the world, and both are growing at record-breaking double-digit rates year after year — and attracting tens of billions of dollars of private investment every year, unlike nuclear power. The world has vast commercially exploitable wind and solar energy resources, more then enough to provide more electricity than the whole planet uses, in perpetuity. The ongoing worldwide boom in solar and wind technology is only the beginning of harvesting those resources.

    Meanwhile the “new generation” AREVA nuclear power plants under construction in France and Finland are — surprise, surprise — billions over budget, years behind schedule, and plagued with safety problems. And skyrocketing cost estimates (not to mention nuclear contractors who are unwilling to commit to any firm cost estimate or any firm completion schedule) are causing proposals for new nuclear power plants to be canceled all over the place.

  499. SecularAnimist:

    simon abingdon: “Has not life flourished for billions of years simply because of the uncanny stability of our climate?”

    No, not really — the Earth’s climate has not been “stable” for “billions of years”, and life has not always “flourished”, given the several mass extinction events that have wiped out much of the Earth’s biosphere at various times.

    The Earth’s climate has, however, been relatively stable and particularly well suited to the evolution of a rich, diverse, resilient biosphere for tens of thousands of years, the time during which human civilization, agriculture, industry, etc. developed under benign and favorable climatic conditions.

    simon abingdon: “Is this really suddenly going to be stymied by a century’s worth of burning fossil fuels?”

    Yes. Why are you surprised that releasing massive amounts of carbon that has been sequestered underground for millions of years, within a single century, is causing dramatic changes?

    simon abingdon: “And is there honestly a correlation between rising CO2 emissions and recently-observed temperatures?”

    Yes. And not only is there an observed correlation, but well-established causation.

  500. Chris Dunford:

    @John mason (481)

    And so on. The least thing you folks could do for yourselves is be a bit more consistent!! ;)

    My personal favorite:

    – Maybe Arctic ice is retreating, but Antarctic ice is growing!!! No global warming!!!
    – Mars is warming too, without any SUVs!!!! (Because there is a series of a few pics showing some short-term ice melt in one small region.)

    And of course, there’s the fact that temp data is “manipulated” only if it’s going up. If it’s going down, it’s the word of God.

  501. Louise D:

    Happy Christmas to all at Real Climate and thank you for all your hard work. I’m fairly new to this site and find it compulsive reading. I’ve been concerened with AGW for several years but have mainly read about it from an environmental perspective. My understanding of the science was limited. I did a physics degree just over 40 years ago, but that’s a long time ago. I’m trying to learn more about climate science now, mainly using your site. I’m also reading a book from the library aimed at first yeaer undergraduates doing environmental sciences, which is alreading helping me understand more of the science(Global Environmental Change: an atmospheric perspective.Hoerl, J & Geisler, J 1997)
    I’ve got two questions
    1. Any suggestions for books the library could buy? The only books they seemed to have in stock were the above text and a book by Nicholsa Stern the others all sounded like ones by deniers. They did say they had some money to buy new books and if I could suggest some good ones they might buy them. I live in th UK and think the best books would be ones that were reasonably acessible to people with little or no scientific knowledge. I suspect the book I’ve borrowed would be beyond many people. I know there are books featured on the website but I’m not sure what level they’re pitched at.
    2. tipping points and runaway climate change.
    I’d previously come across the suggestion that a 2 degree rise in temperature would cause the permafrost to melt and methane to be released which would be a positive feedback which would take us up to a point where the amazon would burn and become a huge emmiter of CO2 which would take the temperature up even more. I understood that this was why the 2 degree limit was so important. how true is this? I read the link on this site on ‘tipping points’ and this seemed much more uncertain, and I believe Gavin has stated that runaway climate change is unlikely. I was feeling a little reassured until post #473 which references the Bjerknes Lecture 2008 by Hansen where he states ‘Now the danger that we face is the Venus syndrome.’ p.22

    for future blogs I’d like you to stick to climate science but perhaps occasionly bring in people like ecologists who could discuss the implications of the predicted temperature rises.
    Thank you again for the blog.

  502. Scott A. Mandia:

    The Copenhagen That Matters by Thomas L. Friedman in today’s NY Times

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/opinion/23friedman.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper

    An excerpt:

    Although it still generates the majority of its electricity from coal, “since 1990, Denmark has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent. Over the same time frame, Danish energy consumption has stayed constant and Denmark’s gross domestic product has grown by more than 40 percent. Denmark is the most energy efficient country in the E.U.; due to carbon pricing, through energy taxes, carbon taxes, the ‘cap and trade’ system, strict building codes and energy labeling programs. Renewable resources currently supply almost 30 percent of Denmark’s electricity. Wind power is the largest source of renewable electricity, followed by biomass. … Today, Copenhagen puts only 3 percent of its waste into landfills and incinerates 39 percent to generate electricity for thousands of households.”

  503. Ray Ladbury:

    jsc proposes a topic:

    “The great AGW Debate”

    I would bill it as a *completely* unmoderated event where scientists, “alarmists,” and “deniers” alike can try and contribute to the discussion.

    Been done. In the peer-reviewed literature. It was and is a rout. You shoulda been there.

  504. alway searching:

    I’m sorry, Ray, but I disagree.

    What are your error bars on this evidence? Are the accounts all in the same direction? If so, that alone is probably evidence of a large bias, actually. Scientific evidence has quantifiable uncertainty. Yours does not seem to be amenable to this.

    The observation that people there are more easily convinced of a global change would seem to be no more than the observation that weather convinces. We all already know and are frustrated by this fact.

  505. alway searching:

    re my last comment (of course I mean scientific evidence of this style…some sorts can be binary indicators, but not what I see as at issue in climate variation assessment.)

  506. Ray Ladbury:

    TRY@495, Gee, there are what, a couple of dozen temperature reconstructions that show that global temperatures are significantly higher than they were in 1300. Indeed, there is no research that even shows a global MWP, but rather the data show many disjoint warm epochs at different times between 800 and 1400 CE.

    And as to current global temperatures, there is zero evidence of any systematic bias in any of the 4 separate temperature analyses, all of which agree on the trend within errors. There are ice-melt and phenological data which also lend qualitative support. Sorry, Charlie, you don’t have a leg to stand on.

    And as to finitude of resources. Hmm, so we have enough money to spend 3 trillion dollars on a country that posed no threat and to bail out rich bankers again to the tune of 3 trillion dollars, but we can’t address what may well be the greatest threat to human civilization that we face. Uh, right, pull the other one. It’s got bells on it. Anthropogenic climate change is established at the 90-95% CL. Why is it that you only accept science when it tells you what you want to hear?

    TRY@496, The problem with this measurement is that it would have to differentiate the signals in the northern vs. southern hemispheres. This means you’d probably need a low-earth orbit satellite, and you’d literally have to integrate the signal in a matter of minutes per orbit. It might be doable by looking at averages over many orbits, but that’s tricky with a time-dependent signal. Something like the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO–now called the Oceanic Carbon Observatory, since the launch failed) might have been able to do this, but it’s not an easy measurement to make (particularly factoring in issues such as space radiation, etc.).

  507. Norbert:

    Not sure if this is sufficiently on topic: R. McKitrick wrote a response to Schmidt(2009), available online, but apparently not published yet. Is there a response available, or upcoming?

    [Response: Actually he co-wrote a new paper which was in effect a comment on Schmidt (2009) but which was not submitted as such. This isn’t so uncommon and can be appropriate if there is enough new material in the submission. I was asked to review it (as I assume other people were) and my review was submitted. I do not know what the current status is. – gavin]

  508. Sean:

    Hi there,
    Given how important peer review is to any field of scientific study, it would be very interesting to get to know the process a little bit better, (at least for a layperson like myself that does not submit papers to journals). Specifically how are the reviewers for a particular paper selected and by whom are they selected. Furthermore, are reviewers bound to a minimum level of due diligence when they review a paper? Or can they just skim the conclusions and pass it along? I would expect that all reviewers should have to submit their critiques of the paper, including all supporting or refuting calculations. If these crtitiques exist are they accessible to the wider audience of scientists?
    Thanks

  509. Spaceman Spiff:

    Re. #486 mommycalled:

    I am not certain of the point “always searching” was making. However, it is certainly worth keeping in mind that anecdotes *local in both space and time* are not by themselves reliable indicators of climate change, let alone global climate change — too much noise (the most absurd of which is that it’s snowing in Copenhagen). However, as these types of changes begin taking up more “volume” in both space and time (i.e., trending in greater space and longer time intervals), then what must be occurring is a major net change in energy flow into/out of the system.

    Observations such as the changing of planting zones and durations of planting seasons in North America are consistent with a globally changing climate, but they could also be consistent with a major shift in an important mode of ocean energy transport (e.g., gulf stream, ENSO,…, although in the present case nothing of the sort has been observed). It’s when many such and similar phenomena are observed over the globe, and trending on decadal time scales, that one can gain confidence that these observations are telling us something about the net energy flow on a global scale.

    Or perhaps I’ve missed the point entirely…

  510. Punksta:

    478 Joe Blanchard
    Evidence of glaciers melting is evidence of glaciers melting and only that. No one disputes that – not even the skeptics. But it does not prove that it is caused by human activities.

    Response: True. But it completely undermines claims that the world hasn’t been warming – gavin

    And could I prevail on one of the Realclimatologists to address 436 please?

  511. Doug Bostrom:

    Louise D says: 23 December 2009 at 2:38 PM

    “1. Any suggestions for books the library could buy? ”

    Weart’s book “The Discovery of Global Warming” is excellent. Comprehensive, written to be approachable, includes important historical underpinnings, revised in 2008:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

  512. Punksta:

    Herewith the disappeared half of my previous message (dodgy tags?) :

    Is Gavin’s response right – do melting glaciers necessarily mean global warming? Couldn’t changing wind and current patterns do it without requiring warming?

    [Response: If it was an isolated instance perhaps. But when the same patterns of glacial retreat are seen in mountain glacier regions from Alaska to the Himalayas it’s hard (i.e. impossible) to find any other reasonable explanation. – gavin]

  513. David Miller:

    TRY #496 suggests an experiment to measure outgoing radiation

    Funny thing, that. There was just such a test device designed. NASA built it. A satellite to trail the Earth in orbit and measure all the outgoing radiation. As I understand it, said satellite could give authoritative data regarding radiation and quantitatively prove AGW beyond any shadow of doubt.

    It was to be launched during the Bush administration. My understanding is that Cheney personally intervened to kill the launch.

    Said satellite still sits in storage at NASA; I’m hoping the current administration will see fit to launch it soon.

  514. Lady in Red:

    There is an important op-ed out today about the importance of open science. I have been trying to lead to that.

    I do not expect this comment to be allowed to air, but for the “insiders,” I hope you will read and, at least, think about this:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704238104574601443947078538.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

    [edit – more appropriate link]
    Merry Christmas. I am sorry my stamina broke.

    I did try. ….smile. ….Lady in Red

  515. John Mason:

    Thanks Ray (506) – job done! Saved me a job in any case!

    I sometimes think it would be easier to argue with a plate of blancmange than with a climate contrarian! Obfuscation is the word, and boy do they excel in that!

    Cheers – John

  516. Spaceman Spiff:

    Barton Paul Levenson@452

    Yes, I agree completely. The situation you paint of rapid break-thrus on many fronts in climatology was part of the point I was making: there could be no consensus of either long-term cooling or warming in 1975.

  517. Hank Roberts:

    >> “1. Any suggestions for books the library could buy? ”
    >
    > Weart’s book “The Discovery of Global Warming”

    Even better, make sure there’s a sticker in the book pointing people to his website (first link in the right hand sidebar under Science, on each RC page). Any library nowadays has access to the Internet, and a reference librarian who can help readers learn how to find the science.

  518. Punksta:

    Gavin 512:
    But why would glaciers be retreating due to heat, if temperatures have been flat for 10 years?

    [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]

  519. Jiminmpls:

    #433

    I clearly see the Medieval Warming Period – and the Little Ice Age in Mann’s graph. They’re not hidden – just not as significant on a global basis as sediment core from the Sargasso Sea may indicate.

  520. Jiminmpls:

    #435 AvdB

    I stumbled on a report that you may find interesting. It reviews the relative costs of various electricity sources – in different countries. The same costing methodology is used for each electricity source and country. It seems very well-balanced and well-researched.

    The relative costs vary greatly by country. Wind, for example, doesn’t fare very well when all countries are considered, but is VERY cost-competitive in the USA.

    http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/Downloads/PDF/07/0706_TPA_A_Review_of_Electricity.pdf

  521. Spaceman Spiff:

    Louise D @501

    I will recommend this one: Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, and this one: The Discovery of Global Warming, and maybe this one, too: Global Warming: The Complete Briefing.

    Cheers!

  522. Bob Coats:

    For an excellent article on who is funding the climate change deniers around the world, go to: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/12/23-2
    The original source is an article in the Dec. 23 issue of Mother Jones.

  523. Jiminmpls:

    #482
    “Nuclear has much better economics. There’s a reason China is deploying nuclear at the rate they are.”

    But China is deploying even more wind power. By 2020 wind will overtake nuclear in capacity.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKPEK33615120090420

    China pays cash for nukes. Makes a big difference on overall cost.

  524. Doug Bostrom:

    “Said satellite still sits in storage at NASA; I’m hoping the current administration will see fit to launch it soon.”

    Money was appropriated to return the craft to flight status, or at least ready-for-flight status.

    Pretty tragic story. More here:

    http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2007/11/when-will-we-see-dscovr-again.html

    In the here and now, NOAA-N Prime has some pretty nice IR sensors. Coming from Lockheed (inventors of upside-down G sensors, etc.) it’s had a hard time getting to orbit but was finally launched early this year.

    For the strong of stomach, here’s what happens when Lockheed forgets to see if a satellite is actually attached to its work platform:

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=10299

    So much for the infallible private sector.

  525. JCH:

    Couldn’t changing wind and current patterns do it without requiring warming?

    [Response: If it was an isolated instance perhaps. But when the same patterns of glacial retreat are seen in mountain glacier regions from Alaska to the Himalayas it’s hard (i.e. impossible) to find any other reasonable explanation. – gavin]

    And, as Gavin pointed out to me once, recent years have had arctic winds and currents that actually favor the buildup of perennial ice, and it did not happen; instead, perennial ice continued, I believe, to decline despite the favorable conditions.

  526. Jiminmpls:

    #469 Ed

    I hadn’t seen the Hyperion, but I have see other similar underground “pods”. They are indeed very cost-effective and could be rapidly deployed. When I refer to nuclear, I am referring to large scale conventional nuclear reactors. I stand corrected.

    Question – Do the Hyperion reactors use the same type of fuel conventional reactors? The EIA used to have lots of information on future uranium supplies that has mysteriously disappeared from the site. As China’s new plants come on board and the supply from Russia dries up, I foresee pretty serious shortages and price increases after 2015-2017. At $20/lb, fuel cost isn’t an issue, but at $130/lb it is. (It was up to $113/lb in 2008 – now it’s down to around $56, I think.)

  527. alway searching:

    @509 spaceman spiff — you have my meaning. What some guy (however smart) “remembers” from however long ago what long village elders “remember” from longer ago about a couple dozen personal visits — it just doesn’t meet basic standards.

    Even a formal, very carefully conducted survey trying hard to be globalized would still have a host of issues.

    I don’t think any of the scientists here would really say this kind of thing rises to “evidence”. It’s actually difficult to construct survey questions without leading people on, and even more difficul if your questions/dialogue with them is not standardized and even more difficult if… so on and so on.

    If you wanted to cite evidence that had some more “human touch” to it, at least consider something like almanacs where someone carefully wrote something down long ago. (I’m not saying that even that sort of thing is great, but it at least approaches the analyzable…).

    And as to what persuades the natives, it sounds like all he’s saying is weather does which I don’t have a cite for, but could be considered from the “I wish it weren’t so climate journal of duh”. I mean, was even a single case of this sort of thing in any region where there was local cooling? We know there have been such places.

    So, neither point seems valid — either evidenciary or the kind of weird spin he seemed to be putting on it about people listening to their elders or whatever. Lemmee see…

    Ray Ladbury wrote: lay persons were way ahead of Americans in accepting the reality of climate change. Why? Because they listened to the oldest people in the village who had all experienced the changes

    I consider this a totally ridiculous thing to say, akin to but merely a mirror of trying to get people to not focus on weather anecdotes.

  528. alway searching:

    And I don’t meant to insult Ray broadly or anything. He does a good job of giving people pointers here. I just think this line of thinking is so amazingly vulnerable to co-opting/reversal with little effort that it crosses over beyond the weakest line of defense for any claim and does not rise to what I would call ‘science’, though I suppose we all have a variety of standards.

  529. Ray Ladbury:

    Always searching,
    It is clearly evidence, and it could be used in a Bayesian analysis. I have seen zero evidence that people would on the whole be biased toward a conclusion of warming over a conclusion of cooling. And there is simply no reason to assume that this conclusion would persist across the globe. All I am saying is that it is much more consistent with what one would expect in a warming world than what one would expect from a system near equilibrium. This coupled with consistent warming trends from the terrestrial and satellite data, with phenological data and with ice-melting trends leaves little credence to assertions in the denialosphere that the warming trend is “manufactured”.

  530. Jiminmpls:

    #425 calyptorhynchus

    Estimates of oil and gas reserves are largely based on models. The probability that AGW is not occuring and that CO2 is the primary (not sole) cause is the same as the probability that there is NOT ONE DROP of recoverable oil in ANWR.

  531. alway searching:

    Look Ray — as I say, your memories of consistency, your memories of how you asked questions about their memories or even what the elders memories of their memories were, teased out this information, your vague non-quantitative assertions…Did you even keep an accurate journal? They don’t amount to a Bayesian update for any scientist, journal, or other information sink. As this is a blog about credible science, they really don’t have much place here.

    The reason to think there might be a bias might literally be in that you are talking about personal experiences of one person who might ask his questions or collect his evidence in a particular way — unscrutinized by anyone. I’m truly sorry you don’t see how almost impossibly subjective this style of claim is…a telephone game several times removed integrated by some single or couple of actors? Come on.

    I have holiday things to do and no longer time to discuss the fineries of what I do not think is a very subtle point. Cheers

  532. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Lamont,

    The atmosphere has a stratosphere, yes. But the sun and a lot of other stars have non-convecting layers as well. Same physics, really.

  533. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Punksta: While the post-1998 flattening of temperatures…

    BPL: Doesn’t exist. Look again.

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Ball.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Reber.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/VV.html

  534. alway searching:

    Just as a rhetorical point, “This coupled with consistent warming trends…” is totally out of order. All that other consistency is a reason for belief. A few interviews by a few people (all of which interviewers probably had been exposed to modern climate theory and most likely had some strong prior belief…) of highly anecdotal memories…all during a period where the actual highly credible measured global shift has been quite small…I think you have a good case to make that people are persuaded by local weather and that regional climate varies. But we knew that. And it kind of bugs us. Let’s not perpetuate it inversely/rhetorically when it suits us.

    I also agree with the other comment that going forward if we actually start seeing wild rises like 6C/century that changes may become extreme that even massively contaminated and almost useless style of collection for a 1900-2000 range might actually have a non-trivial signal to noise ratio, but really only with very careful information gathering. Such testimony will be more or less unnecessary due to modern global measurement technology…There will be no talk of conspiracies or manufactured anything in 100 years if the temps rise as forecast. Gotta go! Not dismissing/cheezing out…just have to check back in a few days.

  535. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Louise D.,

    A good non-mathematical introduction to the field is George S. Philander’s “Is the Temperature Rising?” (1998), though there is some math in the appendices. For those willing to look at the math, John T. Houghton’s “The Physics of Atmospheres” is very good–that or Grant W. Petty’s “A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation.” And for the history of AGW theory, try Spencer Weart’s “The Discovery of Global Warming” (2nd Ed. 2008).

  536. Anne van der Bom:

    Douglas Wise,

    Why don’t you take your concerns directly to David rather than criticising him behind his back?

    When I express an opposing viewpoint, you say I am attacking people. When I discuss a *public* book on a *public* forum you say that I am talking behind someone’s back? Don’t you think you are being a bit heavy-handed?

    Before doing so, you may wish to look at his Chapter 27 (in particular Fig 27.9). I can see no way that anyone could claim that he wasn’t treating all potential sustainable sources of energy in an equal manner.

    I know about his energy plans, but they are near the end of the book. A few questions:
    – Why does he spend 100 pages painting a picture of renewables woefully inadequate to provide us with enough energy for a comfortable life, only to correct that image later on in the book? Why not paint a realistic picture right from the start? Why fill 18 chapters building a case that has no merit?

    – The current primary energy use in the UK is IIRC 105 kWh per person per day. Why not use that number to put against the 180 kWh pppd renewables stack? The fact that he brings up the fictitious ‘moderately affluent brit’ seems to me a neat trick to pump up the demand from 105 to 195 kWh pppd so the renewables stack is LOWER than the consumption stack. His energy plans in chapter 27 only project a future need of 68 kWh pppd.

    – How many people will get until page 203? You know what they say about the first impression. By the time the reader gets to page 203, the damage has already been done. Many will not even get that far, thinking “I know enough”. The reason why I know this is true is the coverage this book was given on The Register some time ago. They only took information from those first 18 chapters to hammer in the message that renewables are not to be taken seriously.

    I can not see how someone can read that book and still think all forms of energy are treated equally.

    I am not going to comment more on this. Everyone knows where to find the book and form his own opinion.

  537. Rob:

    Gavin@253
    Again you fail to explain this, I wonder if you could engage someone else who might have more pedagogic training to try to explain this important bit of science to me and others.

    E.g. “…Increases in CO2 in the troposphere increase absorption @ 650 cm^-1, warming the atmosphere and increase emissions up across the rest of the spectrum….”

    What does this mean?? Is it even English? Please Gavin, it’s not the first time someone wonders about the CO2 absorption theory? Is it explainable at all?
    I’m so frustrated with this, do you think I’m too stupid? (I did understand what Mann did, reading the Wegman report).

    [Response: Huh? It’s pretty hard to condense complicated science into something short and understandable to everyone. Short I can do, understandable I can do – but not always together. It is not stupidity that is the problem here, but instead the need for a background in some aspects of the topic that might be lacking. Read about the spectra of black body radiation, read about absorption characteristics of gases, and look at some graphs. Then think about what I said again. You will at least be able to ask better questions. – gavin]

  538. Phil. Felton:

    alway searching says:
    23 December 2009 at 4:55 PM
    Look Ray — as I say, your memories of consistency, your memories of how you asked questions about their memories or even what the elders memories of their memories were, teased out this information, your vague non-quantitative assertions…Did you even keep an accurate journal? They don’t amount to a Bayesian update for any scientist, journal, or other information sink. As this is a blog about credible science, they really don’t have much place here.

    And yet such oral tradition can be surprisingly accurate. For instance the Lemba of S Africa claim descent from Jews and follow some jewish cultural practices. Subsequent DNA studies (Y chromosome) show ~50% semitic origins with a high number carrying the particular polymorphism peculiar to the Cohens.

  539. Jiminmpls:

    #493 #414 – Jiminmpls

    I hope you are kidding about ExxonMobil’s efforts “to help” with climate science. :)

    Actually not. The question was “How to speak with CONSERVATIVES…….?” I think pointing out that even Exxon Mobil has changed their position in the past few years. They no longer question the science and advocate a multi-faceted mitigation strtegy and a direct tax on carbon.

    Now, whatever Exxon did in the past and may continue to do behind the scenes to undermine climate change mitigation is a whole other topic, but to a CONSERVATIVE, Exxon’s stated public policy should carry some weight.

  540. Aaron Lewis:

    Re 302 dhogaza
    Would you say that current permafrost melt conditions resulting in exposure of Arctic organic matter as discussed by Hinzman in his 2009 AGU presentation (http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/C24A.shtml) is supported by climate science? What about the recent discoveries of methane releases from the sea floor in Arctic areas and lake bed sources? These are observations, but did climate science predict such processes to proceed to such an extent in the near term?

    I think the feedbacks of exposed Arctic carbon and sea bed clathrates are issues that have not been appropriately addressed.

  541. trizer:

    finally i hacked into this comment section…
    relax or delete it, but you cant change the truhts

    I read a comment somewhere here. Didnt found it again.
    Probably deleted by “the scientist” or somehow…
    afaik i changed it a little bit.
    Maybe the most important short message debunking everyhing so called scientist ever claimed.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvpwLFFqIV0

  542. David B. Benson:

    I recommend, in addition to the prvious (excellent) suggestions, two books by W.F. Ruddiman
    (1) his popular “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum”
    (2) his introductory textbook “Earth’s Climate: Past and Future”.

  543. Eric:

    Thankyou to those who responded. Particularly for the links and pointers – which is exactly what I was after. Now I have some Christmas reading.

    To those who barely restrained themselves from attacking, you’re missing the political point of all of this: Nothing will happen without popular support. Popular support won’t tip the balance without understanding. I vote and pay taxes – I represent the millions of people needed. Don’t turn us away, no matter how frustrating it may seem or you’ll do more harm than a closed minded denialist.

    The BIG question of post remains un answered. Fair enough because I don’t believe it can be answered at this stage, but that in essence is the problem I’m struggling with. That is, without good mathematics, what action WILL “cap temps at a 2 degree increase”? That’s the so-called “Copenhagen Accord”. How is it done?

    As for the military analogy, I agree decision is far better than indecision. But this is a multi front war and several battles need to be won. (1) Understanding (2) Mitigating action (3) A plan to cope with the consequences of damage already done, and changes made to mitigate the damage. From my perspective we’re still struggling with (1), proposals for (2) are scaring the $@$^ out of the people needed to make it happen because of the struggle with (1), and very little effort is going into (3). Your “General” is losing.

  544. Anne van der Bom:

    Didactylus,

    You will see that he calculated 50 kWh/d for photovoltaic farms, 20 for onshore wind, 32 for offshore wind. In this context, 22 kWh/d for nuclear is perfectly rational and not disproportionate in any way.

    No, the calculation he made was not to show ‘what could nuclear provide’, but how much nucelear the UK would need to fulfil their needs. A completely different calculation. The needs at that point have suddenly dropped from 195 to 22 kWh pppd. That is the central point of my objections.

    My rationale for quoting The Register is that it shows the book appealed to them. It apparently conveys the right message to confirm them in their anti-environmentalist dogma.

    If you don’t understand the dangers of global warming, what is your motive for attacking nuclear?

    You have become so polarized that you can’t see the difference between attacking nuclear and defending renewables. Read back my posts, the only negative thing I have said about nuclear is that, looking at the cost estimates for proposed new power stations, it is expensive and slow to build.

    think you should read the book. If that doesn’t work, read it again.

    I have read it, some sections more than once. I know what I am talking about.

  545. Ray Ladbury:

    Always searching,
    That’s just it. I wasn’t asking questions. I was enjoying the shade of a mango tree in the nooday sun as I purchased some REALLY GOOD mangos and talked with a delightful old man. He volunteered these observations in 1991, despite having never heard of Jim Hansen. I had similar experiences in East Africa and many other places up to Sri Lanka last month, where several people mentioned changes to monsoons, etc. I do not claim that these experiences represent hard evidence, but it certainly is not consistent with the claims in the denialosphere that the warming is an artifact of the analysis. Likewise, no one piece of phenological data is evidence of climate change, but taken together they support the proposition that we’ve had significant warming. And a melting glacier is not evidence of global change but melting glaciers GLOBALLY is.

  546. Ray Ladbury:

    Doug and Spaceman Spiff,
    The measurement TRY is considering cannot be of the globe, but must, rather have sufficient spatial resolution to differentiate between hemispheres. This means the bird would have to be Low Earth Orbit, not GEO (like NOAA-N) and certainly not at L1 like DISCOVR/TRIANA. It might be doable. However, it would require averaging over many orbits and the signal is time-dependent. You’d be looking at the mid-IR and making precision measurements, so you’d probably have to use a cryogenically cooled detector. It would be an interesting mission, I think.

  547. S. Molnar:

    1. Books: RC has has had several posts about books; in fact, it might be an annual post if there is one in the next few days. Look for “books” on the index page.

    2. I think the suggestion of a review of the peer review process is a good one, considering the importance placed on it. A quick summary as I understand it (and I’m sure there are differences across disciplines and journals): A paper is submitted. The journal editors choose several experts in the field, or related fields, to read the paper and comment on any deficiencies or possible improvements in content or exposition, as well as the general quality, originality, and noteworthiness. The authors respond to these critiques with revisions as they see fit. Rinse, lather, repeat until possible publication. In the denialsphere the peer review process is somewhat different: if Viscount Monckton likes it, it’s a go.

  548. Hank Roberts:

    How about a piece on what’s really needed in
    — ecological research
    — satellite support
    — etc.

    I recall Gavin commenting that we need more than just Triana/DSCOVR (another one like it at the libration point on the other side of the planet, if I remember correctly, to get the whole 24 hours covered).

    Something to clarify and extend comments like this one:

    WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 18 Dec 09 Washington, DC
    2. CERES: SO WHAT WAS IN THE CLIMATEGATE E-MAILS? A hacked e-mail passage that was widely quoted in media accounts of climate- gate, begins: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” Francisco Valero, Director of the Atmospheric Research Laboratory at the Scripps Institution for Oceanography, says the statement is totally correct. The problem began where most of our problems began: at the start of The Bush administration. Because Al Gore initiated it, the Bush administration postponed and eventually canceled the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), meant to continuously monitor Earth’s radiance from the L1 point between Earth and Sun. Instead NASA began a program to get the information from low Earth orbit: CERES, Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES). The problem is that the low-Earth orbit satellite is so close that it sees only a narrow swath on each pass around the planet. Climate models require accurate radiance measurements over the diurnal cycle, and those data are not at hand. DSCOVR was designed to provide what the low-Earth orbit satellites cannot. An $18.7 billion NASA budget sent to the White House last Sunday includes only $5 million for continued refurbishing of DSCOVR. That is also a travesty.

  549. Anne van der Bom:

    Matt,
    23 December 2009 at 12:24 PM

    I knew in advance that using only wind to get a ballpark figure of the cost for renewables did open the door for the wrong interpretation that wind alone can and must cover our energy needs. The solution is of course a mix of technologies. Please note also that I doubled the US consumption to be ‘on the safe side’.

    The German Fraunhofer Gesellschaft has done research on baseload and renewables (it’s in German, don’t know if an English translation is available):
    http://www.wind-energie.de/fileadmin/dokumente/Themen_A-Z/Erneuerbare-Strompotenziale/090915_BEE_IWES_Studie_PK_Hintergrund.pdf

    In short: If the share of renewable energy rises to 47% by 2020, the conventional baseload (coal, nuclear) can be almost halved (from 44 GW to 24,5 GW). In their renewable energy mix, wind accounts for roughly half.

    Another key success factor for renewables is connecting the generators over large areas to reduce variability. You can not look at the variability of 1 turbine and use that as a measure for a whole state or country. The larger the area, the smaller the variability.

    Nuclear has much better economics.

    What is your opinion about the link I posted here? C$ 26 billion for 2400 MWe? I don’t see the better economics.

    I might be looking at the wrong thing, so feel free to support your case with evidence (not a sales brochure of a nuclear company).

  550. Hank Roberts:

    Another wishlist item:

    Best explanatory graphics (not a thread filling up with nitwit comments, but a page with pictures and links to explanations).

    When I do a Google and a Scholar search for climate answers, I also try to remember to do an Image search. So far the results suggest there’s PhD material there for a scholar of search engines. The image search is _always_ every single time utterly loaded with links to the big five or six denial/PR sites.

    They OWN the imagery universe, on all climate questions. Which means they get the votes of anyone who looks at pictures and votes accordingly.

    Bad bug. Please fix.

    This is one such good image, a hard one to spin:
    http://bp3.blogger.com/_7NrAt8xGd0E/SCXfzDRcsJI/AAAAAAAAAts/JNe5Nuf0A9o/s1600-h/20080429.gif

  551. David B. Benson:

    Climate Wizard — web tool
    http://www.theengineer.co.uk/news/climate-wizard/1000419.article

  552. David Pepper MD:

    As a physician, if we treat the earth as an “organism” with an addiction (to oil/coal/energy) then an SBIRT (screeing, brief intervention, referal to therapy) model applies…….for which the screening is positive – we have adverse effects. But are we really willing to take any interventions? Drive cars less? live smaller? From the human addiction model, its usually only when a person really is hurting that change happens. In this vein – it seems Hansen’s Carbon tax is the best proposal eg a “stick”. Then we can start using the generated capital to create transit/bike/alternatives all to help reduce our use. We’ll likely see how much “pain” it requires in the form of negative impacts, major climate events (droughts, fires, hurricanes, heat waves) and human suffering. Hopefully we embrace the need for change before the organism (the Earth) suffers irreversibly.

  553. Hank Roberts:

    Something on how actual fuel use and emissions are estimated, measured, reported, and verified would be very interesting.

    Here’s why:
    http://www.sej.org/headlines/half-kids-jewelry-tested-contains-pure-lead-health-canada

  554. EL:

    Gavin,

    I got this in an email from ACM. The link is to a web based tool that may be good for helping people understand climate change.

    http://www.climatewizard.org/

  555. John E. Pearson:

    508:

    Reviewers are selected by editors of the journal to which the paper was submitted. These editors are mainly unpaid. For example most (all?, not sure) of the editors of PNAS (Proceedings of the Academy of Science of the United States of America) are members of the academy. They will select reviewers that they feel are competent to review a given article. Their belief that a given scientist is competent to review an article would be based on their knowledge of that scientists work which is generally a matter of public record. One way to find reviewers is for the editor to quickly read the paper and find the key references and select authors of the key references. Are reviewers remarks avaialble to the general public? No. Occasionally a journal will publish a very controversial paper and make some qualifying remarks regarding the work. I believe this has happened during the last two decades with regard to “cold fusion” and also to a paper or two that purported to show a scientific basis for homeopathy. That is the editorial board of the journal making a statement which is substantially different than making public the reviewers remarks. However, scientists can comment in a variety of ways on published papers. The most common way to comment on a paper that one doesn’t agree with is simply to ignore it. Most scientific papers are doomed to obscurity; the vast majority are never cited.

  556. Ken Rogers:

    Inferred from your concern about the planet’s temperature going up, you believe there is an optimum, (cooler), temperature for the planet. Could you provide the optimum temperature.

    [Response: You infer incorrectly. The problem is change, not value. – gavin]

  557. Jiminmpls:

    #487 Does CO2 enhance plant growth?

    Yes. This has been well-established in both controlled greenhouse and (to a much lesser extent) field studies. Increased CO2 levels also enhance drought resistance.

    As with most things of importance, however, it is not that simple. Plant growth may be limited by nitrogen availability – enough to make planting trees as carbon offsets ineffective. Growth may actually be slowed with increased precipitation and/or ozone. Nutrient density may be substantially reduced (though improved in some plants.)

    This is an area of intense study and the articles and papers make for interesting reading.

  558. ccpo:

    “Gavin 512:
    But why would glaciers be retreating due to heat, if temperatures have been flat for 10 years?

    [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]”

    This is simple: the glaciers were built in a colder world. The past decade has been the warmest for a very, very long time, so think of it this way:

    Take an ice cube out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator. You can even turn your fridge to the lowest setting, which should still be above zero. What happens to the ice cube? (Hint: it melts because the temps, while still cold, are not cold enough.)

  559. Ron R.:

    Joe Blanchard #478: What Gavin said.

    Punksta #512: See Comment #401. Glaciers melting are just one part of the GW picture.

  560. B Sueksdorf:

    No Gavin (#556) It is the rate of change locally in time that is important not the absolute number.

    [Response: That’s what I said. – gavin]

  561. anonymous:

    What strikes me most – as a climate change agnostic – is that the whole debate, politically speaking, revolves around consensus and appeals to authority. And you know what the problem with this is? I can’t reproduce Mann’s results. Granted, I understand that I have a lot to understand regarding climate change, but even a cursory analysis of temperature data shows cooling in the last decade. Had the political proponents of AGW not pinned their arguments on the “consensus” of scientists, but rather, evidence based methods, the CRU leak would mean little, if anything. Instead, I must look at the actual data because both sides have well-articulated, convincing, opinions. How else would a laymen know whom to trust? Or perhaps we should not trust anyone, and those scientists arguing for AGW should phrase their arguments in such a way that the average layman can reconstruct their results for themselves…

    [Response: What result are you trying to reproduce? Mann et al 2008 and 2009 are that groups latest papers and all the code is available on line. And none of it has anything to do with temperatures over the last 10 years. I applaud your desire to learn things for yourself, but I strongly suggest starting with the actual papers and the IPCC reports rather than online sources that don’t appear to be too reliable. – gavin]

  562. B Sueksdorf:

    Let me restate that ,It is the 2nd derivative that is important not the first.

  563. Ben F:

    Suggestion for an ongoing thread: “Climate Change in the Media”.

    Rationale: I think a lot of people (including me) are coming into the climate debate and trying to understand the issues enough to make intelligent personal and political decisions. We read popular science accounts and try to figure out (a) If the information is accurate, and (b) If we’re understanding the implications correctly. I would love to have a place where I could put a link to the story up along with my understanding of the implication and get intelligent comments (and hopefully a minimum of politics/name-calling).

    Here’s an example of the kind of story I would love to get a perspective on: About a month ago ScienceDaily ran an article that said in part:

    “A new study indicates that major chemicals most often cited as leading causes of climate change, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are outclassed in their warming potential by compounds receiving less attention.

    Purdue University and NASA examined more than a dozen chemicals, most of which are generated by humans, and have developed a blueprint for the underlying molecular machinery of global warming. The results appear in a special edition of the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Physical Chemistry A, released Nov. 12.

    The compounds, which contain fluorine atoms, are far more efficient at blocking radiation in the “atmospheric window,” said Purdue Professor Joseph Francisco, who helped author the study.”

    I don’t have access to the original study and probably couldn’t understand most of it if I did, but the article leaves me with several questions: Is this getting reported accurately? If so, is the information in the study accurate? Is the study saying that current warming is mostly caused by the chemicals they talk about, or that these chemicals will become a more serious problem than CO2 at some point in the future?

    There have been a lot of things like that in the news lately and I would love to have a place to go to get intelligent scientific comments on some of them.

  564. David Horton:

    #556 and #560 Gavin only gives a partial answer to the “Could you provide the optimum temperature” which is perhaps the denialist meme which makes me angriest. perhaps that is the intention. The implication of course is that there is nothing more involved in the temperature of the planet than there is in moving a thermostat up or down by a degree or two. And if the denialists and their friends want the temp moved up by a degree or two or three, then who are we to say that this is too warm? The “optimum temperature” is about what it was say 100 years ago or thereabouts. This is the temp (and its consequences) that all the present day plant and animal species have in effect adapted to. This is the temp (and its consequences) that has allowed agriculture to feed 7 billion people. It is the temp (and its consequences) that has resulted in the current pattern of occupation (mainly around coasts) of those 7 billion humans. It is the temp that allows them water supplies. It is the temp (and its consequences) that allows them to gain a large proportion of their food from the sea. It is the temp (and its consequences) that allows the forests and oceans and ice caps to act as stabilisers for climate.

    Turn up the thermostat and the consequences aren’t just a few warmer days in winter in Chicago, but dust bowls in grain growing areas of Australia and Africa and, yes, America, and dying coral reefs and forests. Turn up the CO2 and you are not adding “plant food” but acidity to already overstretched ocean ecosystems. Turn up the warmth and melting glaciers remove water supplies from billions of people. Raise the sea levels (and increase storm activity) and life on the coasts will become deadly for hundreds of millions of people. Do all of those things and the massive loss of plant and animal species, unable to adapt fast enough, will ruin ecosystems that are millions of years old. Ecosystems that in turn have helped to support human life.

    Here is another anecdote to add to the others. I farm in Australia. The changes already are making it clear to anyone with half a brain that agriculture in Australia, especially the southern half, is going to become impossible. So this is not just some academic clever clever little jest about these funny scientists and how they presume to judge where we should set the Earth’s thermostat. This is real life. And real death.

    So go away and do some study, little man, and stop with the denialist talking points of “optimum temp”. I’m too hot, and too concerned about bush fires, to respond gladly to fools.

  565. tamino:

    Gavin: give us a thread where we can create a “buzzword bingo” game for RC threads.

    For instance: a square for when someone says “you believe there is an optimum, (cooler), temperature for the planet. Could you provide the optimum temperature.”

    Another square for “cooling in the last decade.”

    Another for “cyclical.”

    “Urban Heat Island.”

    etc. etc. etc. etc. etc…

  566. Chants:

    Skeptics and the rest of us agree that CO2 is a GHG, and it contributes to global warming, and that it has caused warming. What would be interesting is a discussion on an the current scientific discussion regarding the positive feedback of CO2.

  567. Tom Dayton:

    R. Hayley #487 regarding increased CO2 helping plants grow:

    The generalization of Jiminpls’s #557 response to you is that plants can’t grow any better than their limiting factor, which might be not CO2, but nitrogen, water, light,…. Even if they do grow “better,” the betterment often is not to the advantage of farmers; for example, the extra mass can go into non-consumable woody stalk, which makes the crop more expensive to process than any extra grain/fruit value. And weeds such as poison ivy and kudzu respond much “better” to increased CO2 than do many crops, but “better” is not better for people, and not better for plants that those weeds compete with.

    See the Skeptical Science posts CO2 is not a pollutant and Global warming is good. For details see the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s report on climate change.

  568. Tom Dayton:

    Some plants grow worse at higher temperature, offsetting gains from CO2 spurring growth. For details see the USDA report I linked to in my earlier comment.

  569. Tom Dayton:

    TRY #496 wrote “Ultimately, looking at the planet from space, you would see a different emitted radiation pattern with CO2 vs without CO2?”

    Yes, it’s been done and seen. See Skeptical Science’s How do we know CO2 is causing warming?

  570. Mark A. York:

    Alas, Tim Lambert’s sceptic bingo has never been more appropriate. It handles all agw critics easily.

  571. Hank Roberts:

    > Is this getting reported accurately?
    Close enough
    > If so, is the information in the study accurate?
    Time will tell, but probably
    > Is the study saying that current warming is mostly caused
    > by the chemicals they talk about,
    No
    > or that these chemicals will become a more serious problem
    > than CO2 at some point in the future?
    Not likely anytime soon

    That’s just my opinion from what I’ve read in the past, someone will come up with a cite to the actual paper, then we can look for it.

    Some history:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=global+warming+potential+of+chlorofluorocarbons

  572. Kevan Hashemi:

    I’m looking for some kind of study of the systematic errors in the global surface trend that might arise from disappearing stations. I have discussed this with Tom Drayton, but I can’t find anything in the literature. See here for graph of surface trend with number of stations in each year. (Tom: have been generating the graphs you asked for.)

  573. Rattus Norvegicus:

    The press release seems about right, at least as you quote it. This does not seem to be particularly original research, perhaps the ranking is what got it published?

    The one thing that is left out are the amounts released into the atmosphere. If the amounts are small, the effect is small. And the amounts are vanishingly small. There was some discussion of this earlier this year in blogworld, I believe the culprit being discussed was NF, but I could well be wrong.

  574. dhogaza:

    “anonymous” said …

    What strikes me most – as a climate change agnostic – is that the whole debate, politically speaking, revolves around consensus and appeals to authority. And you know what the problem with this is? I can’t reproduce Mann’s results.

    This could be evidence of "fraud" on Mann's part …

    Or sheer incompetence on yours. Since Mann's results have been substantiated by many other researchers working with other proxy results, etc …

    I'd suggest that a second deduction – you're incompetent – is more likely.

    But if you're not incompetent, publish, save the world, win a reputation much like Michael Jordan's, and save us.

    Go for it.

    Before you've crossed your i's and t's though – don't waste our time, finish up and publish.

    We'll still be here when you do … I mean don't.

  575. dhogaza:

    Skeptics and the rest of us agree that CO2 is a GHG

    Bull, you people are still arguing that anything and everything is responsible for current warming other than CO2.

  576. Doug Bostrom:

    anonymous:

    “…the whole debate, politically speaking, revolves around consensus and appeals to authority.

    “How else would a laymen know whom to trust?

    perhaps we should not trust anyone, and those scientists arguing for AGW should phrase their arguments in such a way that the average layman can reconstruct their results for themselves…”

    Trouble is, even if scientists bend over backwards to simplify the necessary descriptions, the layman is going to need an “E” for effort. So your choices are, do work, or rely on authority. If you don’t make your brain burn the necessary glucose, you’re going to be at the mercy of authority. If you do the work, you’ll find out soon enough what’s what. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck at “agnostic”, and not a very good one, either.

  577. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #489 simon monckton

    My my, weren’t you just waiting to pounce. As always, context is key. The discussion is climate, so weather is noise. You simply can’t look at the weather on a given day and tell anyone how much of it has to do with Anthropogenic Global Warming and how much of it is just weather. Gavins ENSO example is a perfect illustration of context.

    Try to remember, this web site is called RealClimate not RealWeather.

  578. Spaceman Spiff:

    anonymous @561 said:

    “Granted, I understand that I have a lot to understand regarding climate change, but even a cursory analysis of temperature data shows cooling in the last decade. Had the political proponents of AGW not pinned their arguments on the “consensus” of scientists, but rather, evidence based methods…”
    ….

    This is the latest posting of global average temperatures from NASA/GISS since 1880. 2009 is expected to arrive somewhere near that empty box at the far upper right of the plot. What sort of “cursory analysis” indicates cooling over the last decade? Other than the fact that 1998 had a granddaddy of an El Nino event, how do the past 10 years differ from any other 10 year period, in terms of the up-and-down-about-the-trend?

    Look what happened in the decade 1980-90 (look at the yearly data points not the running average in red). It went up for two years, then down for a year, then back up for a year, and then back down for two years, then back up for 3 years, then back down the next, and finally up in 1990. Go back 1 decade and repeat. Go forward 1 decade and repeat. The short term behavior stuff looks pretty much the same.

    Q: So is the Earth cooling or is it warming?
    Answer — we cannot tell on any baseline less than ~10 years or so, because the signal in global changes in climate can accumulate to overwhelm the “noise” only on longer time scales. Much of that 1-2 year up-down business is the background hiss of annual-scale sloshing of energy within ocean and atmospheric currents (e.g., ENSO, volcanoes, and other such shorter term effects). It is the long-term trend that is telling us something different. Can you see the big picture?

    There are apparent medium-term events as well. For example, you might wonder about about the ~25 year plateau in temperature, ~1945-1970. There are many other factors besides injection of CO2 in the atmosphere that act as important climate forcings. Aerosols from “dirty” industrial/power-generation sources of combustion can and did dim the Sun before most of the industrialized world cleaned up their smokestack emissions (this is likely over-simplified, but hopefully useful nevertheless — the experts can chime in). The excess aerosols did so directly and indirectly by acting as cloud seeding nuclei. The Sun has ~11-year oscillations in total irradiance, as well as gentler longer term trends upward or downward — as illustrated here. And the climate scientists can provide you with a list of various climate forcing agents that act on various time scales, both at present and times past. Some are better understood than others.

    These and other climate forcing signals sum together both destructively and constructively, using an analogy. And yet despite all of that going on, the green markers tell the story of interest here — a long-term, if non-monotonic, trend upwards.

    Tamino illustrates the story in pictures and maths better than I can in words.

  579. Doug Bostrom:

    Ray Ladbury says: 23 December 2009 at 6:49 PM

    Fortunately NOAA-N Prime is indeed in polar circular orbit, ~102 minutes. Even better, equipped w/multi-channel hi-res radiation sensor.

    Now, hopefully it’ll last long enough to be of value!

    Nice pamphlet here:

    http://www.osd.noaa.gov/POES/NOAA-N_Prime_Booklet_12-16-08.pdf

  580. Frank Giger:

    For an article may I suggest a “Pitfalls of Discussion” entry?

    I am American, Southern, and a Republican – the very image of the most common slurs found on this and every other Global Warming site, and its gotten me more than a little disgusted at stereotypes thrown my way.

    What’s missing is a Do and Don’t list in discussions, as well as some basic education. My suggestions:

    1) Clarify what “peer review” really is. Unless its changed or is different in climatology, I was taught peer review is inherently skeptical. The casual tossing about of the word “consensus” seems to drive right over my assumption that peer review starts with one scientist looking at another’s work in an error checking fashion, from starting assumptions to data set to forumula and techniques right on to the grammar used in the summary. Skepticism and science were explained to me to be very close cousins. The villification of the word “skeptic” sends up a huge red flag to me and others, as it should be an alien concept when science is concerned.

    2) Scientists should be the first howling down politicians and activists that use specific weather events as proof of AGW. Hurricane Katrina was given poster child status for Global Warming, particularly by German Environmental Minister Tritten (though echoed by many) as a prime example. When the next few years failed to produce hurricanes to match Katrina, much of the dire warnings of Global Warming sounded very hollow. One can’t have it both ways – proclaiming a specific disasterous weather event is a call to action on Global Warming and then stating that a weather event that doesn’t fit the template is irrelevant goes to the heart of credibility.

    3) Stop villifying Americans. The USA is no less enlightened than any other Western nation, and we haven’t cornered the market on stupid people. Beginning a conversation with an insult is the least likely way to gain positive influence.

    4) Similarly, tying one unrelated belief to another is counter productive and irrelevant. If a Flat Earther is convinced of AGW does it make it bunk science since he clearly has other beliefs that are easily proven false?

    5) One can be highly skeptical and opposed to political solutions offered to counter Global Warming without being a “denialist.” Too often being critical of mechanisms to counter Global Warming is written off as irrational denial of the problems before us rather than an invitation to discussion. For example, I am in favor of permissive action before restrictive ones; tax incentives for devices that generate less emissions are far more easy to accept than punishing taxes. We replaced our central air and heating unit for a much more efficient one for self evident reasons; had the government forced us to do so outside of our own financial means with the rallying call of Global Warming it would have been less so.

    And so on…

  581. Edward Greisch:

    526 Jiminmpls: I gave you the email address at Hyperion. Ask them.

    Fuel supply for nuclear: Yucca Mountain holds a plentiful supply. Just recycle as we did in the old days. Coal ashes and cinders also hold a bountiful supply of uranium and thorium. See:
    http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev26-34/text/coalmain.html

    There are plenty of places to mine uranium by in situ leaching all over the world.
    U239 breeds to trans-uranics which are good fuel. Thorium breeds to U233 which is good fuel. Any price problem is purely artificial.

  582. Edward Greisch:

    549 Anne van der Bom: The price of the nuclear power plant has to be averaged over its 40 or 60 year life because, once you build it, the fuel is almost free. Fuel is almost free because so little is needed. You need 100 Million times as much coal as uranium to get the same energy. You buy uranium by the pound and coal by the trainload. Don’t be fooled by up front price.

  583. Edward Greisch:

    550 Hank Roberts: Reference: “Google and the myth of universal knowledge” by Jean-Noel Jeanneney 2007 The original is in French.

    When you do a Google search, you get “sponsored” links on the right side and “non-sponsored” links on the left. The “NON-SPONSORED” links on Google ARE LISTED IN THE ORDER OF THE HIGHEST BIDDER to lowest bidder. Companies pay dollars to Google to get web sites other than their own that lie in favor of the paying company to be at the top of the “non-sponsored” list. Google search results in your getting nothing but corporate propaganda. Since the coal industry has a $100 Billion per year income at stake, they can and must share a lot of money with Google.

    Page 32: 62% of internet users questioned make no distinction whatever between advertising and other information, and only 18% proved capable of telling which data were paid for by companies for their promotion and which were not.”
    “92% of users of search engines have full confidence in the results of their search, and 71% (users for less than five years) consider that information from this source [Google] is never biased in any way.”

    Suggestion: Use only Google Advanced or Google Scholar. On Google Advanced, specify either the .gov domain or the .edu domain. Otherwise, use only web sites that http://www.RealClimate.org uses or the IPCC.

    There should be a law requiring Google to disclose the above and the donors and the dollars for each “non-sponsored” link. Environmentalists should work on Google legislation first.

  584. Rob:

    You always say the AGW message stands strong independent of Mann et al. There are no hockey sticks produced that does not depend on either Mann’s Bristlecone pines or Briffa’s Yamal trees. I.e. excluding both and still looks lika a hockey stick.

    In another thread eric was referring to this paper showing the Mann “independence”. In what way does this paper show any temperature reconstruction backing Manns claims. Wasn’t evident from the summary at least.
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/crowley.html

    the other thread:
    **********
    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]/
    **********

  585. Rob:

    Gavin@537
    Seems hard yes. Since this thread is a wish-list thread. My wish is that you dedicate a thread explaining how it is possible that CO2 are able to trap more heat though it would be satisfied, or close to, already by the amount of CO2 currently up there. Thanks!

  586. Ray Ladbury:

    Anonymous says, “What strikes me most – as a climate change agnostic – is that the whole debate, politically speaking, revolves around consensus and appeals to authority.”

    WRONG!!! Climate change is about basic physics and evidence, and anyone who is not too lazy or stupid to learn the basic science can inspect that evidence.

    “…even a cursory analysis of temperature data shows cooling in the last decade.”

    WRONG AGAIN!!!

    The warming trend continues. This was the warmest decade on record.

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

    Look, dude. There’s a “START HERE” button up in the upper right hand corner of this page. Go there. Start learning. But please take one thing with you. Scientific consensus is about evidence, because as scientists we have agreed to side with the preponderance of evidence. This isn’t just some altruistic decision. Our success as scientists depends on our ability to use the evidence to acheive an understanding of what we are studying. In this case, the evidence is overwhelming. Go learn it.

  587. Ray Ladbury:

    Ron, blueshift, et al.
    Don’t get discouraged. Stratospheric cooling is not that easy to understand. In addition to the figure from Clough and Iacono that Gavin cited, you have to remember the temperature profile of the stratosphere:

    http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter1/vert_temp_strat.html

    In contrast to the troposphere, temperature in the stratosphere increases with height. As a result, you will have more CO2 molecules in their excited vibrational state high in the atmosphere than you will down below. At least some of those molecules will decay radiatively. If you increase the amount of CO2 in the stratophere, that’s more excited CO2, more radiative decays and hence more IR radiation escaping. And so you get a cooling stratosphere.

    The cooling with increasing altitude that you get in the troposphere leads to warming with increased CO2. Hopefully that reminder fills in some gaps. If not, ask some more questions, but don’t get frustrated.

  588. Ray Ladbury:

    Frank Giger @579,
    First let me say that I sympathize with your predicament. Despite being somewhat left of center in my own politics (mainly social issues), I also agree that merely using climate change as a platform for bashing conservatives is counterproductive.

    I think it is important to distinguish between the science of climate change–which is very solid–and mitigation and prevention mechanisms which are very much a work in progress. However, accepting the science is a prerequisite to an effective program for mitigation. I agree that skepticism is essential to science, but skepticism must be based on understanding. Merely rejecting the science because it is counter-intuitive–or worse, because one does not like the implications of the science–is not skpeticism, but rather ignorance at best (that’s curable) and possibly denialism.

    I will be among the first to applaud the leadership of Lindsey Graham in advocating a vigorous response to climate change. You must admit, though, that Senator Graham is conspicuous among Republicans in this support. Senator Inhofe is much more vocal in his denial of reality, and there is a strident wing of your party that is extremely irresponsible in their rejection of science. While this may bring them temporary success, even adulation, I think it is potentially disastrous, not just for the Republicans but also for the US. For one thing, it makes it very easy for your opponents to paint the party as being anti-scientific, and scientists would have to be superhuman not to be put off by the strident attacks on science (both here and wrt evolution) and scientists.

    As liberals and conservatives, there are areas where we can agree to disagree, but there are areas where we must find common ground. I hope that you will agree that acceptance of sound science is one of these areas. By all means, you should advocate for solutions that are acceptable to you politically, but these solutions must be effective against the threat. Acceptance of the science must be the start.

    The strategies for dealing with climate change are being developed even as we speak, and true conservatives (as opposed to reactionaries) are under-represented at the bargaining table. I hope that reasonable conservatives such as yourself will realize that the threat is real and bring constructive suggestions to the dialog.

  589. Douglas Wise:

    re #578 Spaceman Spiff

    You suggest that the temperature plateau between 1945 and 1970 can be explained by polluting aerosol dimming which has subsequently been rectified. I am familiar with this explanation and have tended to accept it. However, to what extent have the Indians and Chinese cleaned up their acts? Are their aerosols less severe than ours were? Alternatively, should we expect much more warming if they clean up or are their black carbon emission effects swamping those of SO2 such that a clean up would cool?

  590. Anne van der Bom:

    Edward Greisch,
    24 December 2009 at 3:20 AM

    You are omitting two things:

    1. Retubing. Nuclear plants need refurbishment every 20 years or so. This can be a costly business as the case for Bruce nuclear plant proves: http://ca.news.finance.yahoo.com/s/04112009/2/biz-finance-transcanada-expects-delay-bruce-nuclear-power-plant-refurbishment.html. If the article is correct, they have spent 3.1 billion already. And it suffers the usual delays. This project runs for years already, during which the plant produces no electricity and generates no income.

    2. Interest. At a modest 4% interest rate, an investment of 26 billion will cost you $1 billion per year in interest payments. At an estimated 80% lifetime capacity factor a 2.4 GW plant will produce ~17 TWh anually. The interest alone then sets a minimum price of $0.06 per kWh.

  591. Barton Paul Levenson:

    anonymous: even a cursory analysis of temperature data shows cooling in the last decade.

    BPL: This meme is like a vampire that just refuses to die, but keeps getting up from the grave. It is NOT COOLING!!!

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Ball.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Reber.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/VV.html

  592. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Ben F–the story means each molecule of those chemicals blocks a lot more IR than a molecule of CO2. It doesn’t mean they’re a major influence on climate because there’s a lot more CO2 out there than other greenhouse gases.

  593. Deech56:

    RELouise D.

    1. Any suggestions for books the library could buy? The only books they seemed to have in stock were the above text and a book by Nicholsa Stern the others all sounded like ones by deniers. They did say they had some money to buy new books and if I could suggest some good ones they might buy them. I live in th UK and think the best books would be ones that were reasonably acessible to people with little or no scientific knowledge.

    Louise, for a lay audience, a couple of books stand out: Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change (if you do some searching, you can find her New Yorker articles entitled “The Climate of Man” on which the book was based) and Gavin Schmidt and Joshua Wolfe’s Climate Change: Picturing the Science. I would also consider David Archer’s The Long Thaw: How Humans are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate, which has an excellent explanation of the science and Joe Romm’s Hell and High Water, which has more details on the political side, including possible solutions. Books that are focused on the dire consequences include Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas and Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future by Peter Ward.

    All of these books are at our public library, and I found them all to be pageturners. There are other good books recommended by other posters here, but I haven’t had the chance to read them yet. Gavin’s book is pretty recent and might get the slight edge, and it has pictures.

  594. Jiminmpls:

    #582

    I’m sorry Ed, but you are misinformed. Fuel cost does matter – not as much as for coal or natural gas, but it does matter. For every doubling in uranium fuel costs, the cost of electricity production will increase by 7%. Uranium fuel costs have and will continue to increase far more rapidly than the cost of oil.

    Construction costs of new nuclear plants does indeed matter. FPL customers will be paying 30% higher rates for ten years BEFORE the new Turkey Point plants even come online – and that’s with a 50% federal subsidy.

    4th generation plants – including Hyperion’s mobile reactors – will be game changers, but they are years if not decades off. Westinghouse and Areva made grandiose promises about their third generation designs that have proven false. Even in China, the overnight costs for new nuclear power plants is over $2.5k per kW.

    [edit – no personal attacks]

  595. Ray Ladbury:

    Hi Douglas @589, The aerosols that caused the dimming from 1944-1975 were caused by burning high-sulfur fuels. That was where the clean air legislation made the biggest difference. China and to a lesser extent India are relatively new to the energy-intensive economy game. However, they have at least been somewhat sensitive to the issue of high-sulfur fuels. In India, they were worried about damage to the Taj Mahal due to acid rain and restricted power plants around Delhi-Agra. And it may be that sulfate aerosols are having a dimming effect. It is just that CO2 levels are high enough now that we are overcoming that effect.

  596. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Rob: There are no hockey sticks produced that does not depend on either Mann’s Bristlecone pines or Briffa’s Yamal trees.

    BPL: Dead wrong. Mann et al. got the same results in 2008 excluding ALL the tree ring data. Go read the paper:

    Mann, Michael E.; Zhihua Zhang, Malcolm K. Hughes, Raymond S. Bradley, Sonya K. Miller, Scott Rutherford, and Fenbiao Ni 2008. “Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia.” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 105, 13252-13257.

  597. Didactylos:

    Anne van der Bom:
    Any honest comparison of energy costs will use full lifecycle costs, from building to decommissioning and waste management. Trying to nickel and dime the outcome by questioning line items is, therefore, a waste of your energy.

    The most comprehensive review of global energy costs I have found so far can be found here: http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/Downloads/PDF/07/0706_TPA_A_Review_of_Electricity.pdf

    It explains the methodology, what is included, and what isn’t.

    Here is a completely different analysis of mitigation strategies, which concludes that nuclear is cost-neutral when used to reduce carbon emissions: http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/strategic-options-for-climate-change-mitigation-global-cost-curve-for-greenhouse-gas-abatement-measu

    It irritates me no end when people try to argue that nuclear power is not economical. Clearly it is! France makes a lot of money selling surplus electricity to other countries.

    The problem with wind isn’t economic either (although presently it is, on average, more expensive than some other forms of energy). It is simply a matter of finding places to build, and dealing with all the obstructionist NIMBYs. Really, wind has exactly the same problem as nuclear. People!

  598. captdallas2:

    I would like to see a discussion on which solar reconstructions should be used. Older studies are still given more citations than newer, probably due to publishing lag. There are quite a few TSI reconstructions in print and all the newer ones (TMK) indicate less variation of TSI in the past.

    [Response: Oddly enough, I just finished putting a lot of these together for the paleo-component of the set of model runs being done for the next IPCC report. Comments welcome! – gavin]

  599. Dwight:

    I agree with the general suspicion regarding the usefulness of anecdotal data, even if it is related to the kind of thing which makes a majority of the population go thumbs up or thumbs down on AGW. If people don’t FEEL that it is getting warmer (that really hot summer which gave Pat Robertson a Road to Damascus experience; or so I have heard) then they will be hard convince to dig into their pockets or inconvenience themselves.

    But something like Thoreau’s Journal, with its recording of flowering dates of many species, and often first and last frosts, is a more substantial kind of record and very convincing that we have warmed (especially in relation to growing season) since the 1850’s. Obviously, there is still a lot of noise in that he can be describing a winter thaw on a given date, while we are experiencing bitter cold and vice versa.

    I have read a number of journals from the period and always try to connect descriptions of storms, first frosts, last frosts, etc. I know from reading someone else’s journal that Thoreau’s first summer at Walden was exceptionally hot and have wondered if that fact, unmentioned by him in Walden (which, unlike the journals is NOT a good weather indicator, since he models his data considerably, even includes incidents which happened long after he left Walden etc.)
    contributed to his deciding NOT to grow beans in his second summer and have to do the related sweaty weeding etc.

    Some local professor is doing detailed research with the journal to document the warming. My level of study is simply grounding each of my current days with accounts of that date in the past. On this date in 1854, they had just gotten three inches of snow an then a light rain glaze.

    I have spent a lot of time, maybe too much, reading stuff on this site, lately, but I am learning. I still have questions about why the Viking graves are in perma-frost, if current melting has supposedly gone beyond what happened then, but also realize that it does not prove much conclusively in the bigger picture, one way or the other.

  600. KeithGuy:

    BPL: This meme is like a vampire that just refuses to die, but keeps getting up from the grave. It is NOT COOLING!!!
    Since we’re approaching the Pantomime season:-
    OH YES IT IS!

  601. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #489 simon monckton

    My my, weren’t you just waiting to pounce. As always, context is key. The discussion is climate, so weather is noise. You simply can’t look at the weather on a given day and tell anyone how much of it has to do with Anthropogenic Global Warming and how much of it is just weather. Gavins ENSO example is a perfect example of context.

    Try to remember, this web site is called RealClimate not RealWeather.

    #572 Kevan Hashemi

    Actually, you can remove all the temperature stations and the glaciers and Arctic will still melt. One thing has nothing to do with the other.

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/ross-mckitrick

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/glacier-retreat

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/temperature-records

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/climate-extremes

  602. Douglas Wise:

    re #594 Jiminmpls

    You refer to Prof Brook’s [edit – quoted comment was removed]

    Give evidence of or citations for these “repeated claims”. I am a regular reader of BNC posts and cannot recall anything that would justify your statement.

  603. arch stanton:

    Gavin, FYI, my security software gives m a warning about your link in # 398: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unforced-variations/comment-page-12/#comment-151134 “The security certificate presented by this website was not issued by a trusted certificate authority.” ?

    BTW, Happy holidays to all and thanks for another informative year of climate education.

  604. Dale:

    I think we need some type of an article which focuses on how we got to where we are in the scientific consensus. It would be a narrative that starts out sometime in the eighties when the media first started picking up on AGW. I don’t think most deniers know that the overwhelming majority of scientists during that period of time really couldn’t buy into the theory in its entirety. It’s possible that by showing how the different skeptical scientists were swayed by the research that they did in their particular field of science and how that eventually brought them around. It could show how absurd the denier’s arguments are about a huge conspiracy. I’m betting that if it could be made into a movie drama that would be ideal. You might be able to keep the attention of those who have no interest in science let along AGW.

  605. arch stanton:

    Make that “#598” in my last post…

  606. pete best:

    A 170 paper peer reviewed scientist speaks on the earths history of co2.

    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml

    Amazing.

  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

  608. captdallas2:

    [Response: Oddly enough, I just finished putting a lot of these together for the paleo-component of the set of model runs being done for the next IPCC report. Comments welcome! – gavin]

    Nice list. Looking forward to seeing the results.

  609. Steve Fish:

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 December 2009 @ 3:27 AM:

    For non-specialized searches, check out Scroogle.org and try their Scroogle scraper to avoid advertising and paid for links.

    Steve

  610. SecularAnimist:

    Frank Giger wrote: “… The villification of the word “skeptic” sends up a huge red flag to me and others …”

    I don’t vilify “skeptics”.

    I “vilify” people who are deliberate, corporate-funded liars and falsely claim to be “skeptics”.

    I “vilify” megalomaniac cranks who are ignorant of actual climate science but imagine that their crackpot “theories” have overturned scientific understanding that is the hard-won fruit of a century of science, who call their belligerent, arrogant ignorance “skepticism”.

    I “vilify” people who slavishly, obediently believe every single bit of idiotic ExxonMobil-funded drivel that Rush Limbaugh is paid to spoon-feed them, and call themselves “skeptics” for doing so.

    The real skeptics are the thousands of climate scientists who have spent decades diligently investigating and studying the problem of anthropogenic global warming. We owe our understanding of anthropogenic global warming to their skepticism.

    Gavin and the other scientists who moderate this site are real skeptics. They are worthy of the honorable name “skeptic”.

    The fossil fuel industry’s bought-and-paid for liars, frauds and cranks, and the gullible dupes who uncritically accept their lies and distortions and pseudoscience because they have bought into the fake, phony, pseudo-ideological party line that any action to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels (and thereby reduce ExxonMobil’s profits) is an attack on “liberty” by a “worldwide conspiracy of liberals”, are NOT “skeptics”. And they have no right to that name.

    And it is they, and not the climate scientists, who have brought shame and disrepute on the word “skeptical”.

  611. John E. Pearson:

    605: Thanks for that. I’ll listen to this repeatedly. Absolutely awesome.

    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml

  612. Spaceman Spiff:

    Rob @585:

    In addition to the time taken to discuss the science from journal papers in the literature, RC provides a lot of links dedicated to helping the non-scientist understand climate science (or attempting to do so, at least).

    To get you started, this is an article that addresses your question.

  613. J. Bob:

    #538, Phil, you might also add the presence of cadence in the ancient ballads, or saga. They acted as a elementary CRC check used in digital communications.

    Speaking of the digital world, one has to ask why the software programs, or what ever were, not subject to ISO standards. Having developed software for NASA, DOD, IDA and ARPA, we were REQUIRED to conform to these standards. How is it that some government agencies, where trillions of $’s are at stake, do not follow the same rules?

  614. Aaron Lewis:

    Considering thunderstorms in Northern Regions http://www.springerlink.com/content/l883761701177w78/ ,
    what are the implications of permafrost regions melting, draining, drying, and – burning?

    Old climate science such as http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/dlawren/publications/ls.grl.2005.pdf does not really address it. What is new?

  615. PaulinMI:

    re #300
    WATERLOO, Ont. (Monday, Dec. 21, 2009) – Cosmic rays and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), both already implicated in depleting the Earth’s ozone layer, are also responsible for changes in the global climate, a University of Waterloo scientist reports in a new peer-reviewed paper.

    In his paper, Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, shows how CFCs – compounds once widely used as refrigerants – and cosmic rays – energy particles originating in outer space – are mostly to blame for climate change, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. His paper, derived from observations of satellite, ground-based and balloon measurements as well as an innovative use of an established mechanism, was published online in the prestigious journal Physics Reports.

    “My findings do not agree with the climate models that conventionally thought that greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, are the major culprits for the global warming seen in the late 20th century,” Lu said. “Instead, the observed data show that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays most likely caused both the Antarctic ozone hole and global warming. These findings are totally unexpected and striking, as I was focused on studying the mechanism for the formation of the ozone hole, rather than global warming.”

    His conclusions are based on observations that from 1950 up to now, the climate in the Arctic and Antarctic atmospheres has been completely controlled by CFCs and cosmic rays, with no CO2 impact.

  616. Frank Giger:

    Dwight, the use of anecdotal examples is the worst sort of red herring and intellectual dishonesty within the discussion – and the public knows it. It breeds skepticism at the core of people’s belief systems.

    The vast variations in weather and weather patterns within living memory put a pantina of lie and deception on everything said before and after it.

    Having lived in both the extreme north and south of the USA (as well as a stint in the Arabian desert), I’ve seen some pretty odd weather. Snow in June in Montana. Heatwaves in the South, as well as both drought and wet seasons.

    The Southeast USA, for example, just ended a three year drought. During the drought, many folks pointed to it as proof of Global Warming. However, when the drought broke this year, their “proof” was undone. Worse, local politicians, when pressed to solve a lack of rainfall they threw their hands up and advised people to pray (as one can’t put a chair in a drought to show that they don’t control the weather). When the rains came, who looked more credible – the activists using a temporary weather cycle to justify a larger climate trend or the local councilman who suggested God would fix it?

    New Orleans has been wiped out by Hurricanes three times in recorded history. Blaming Katrina on AGW and using it as a political club shoved me into the political opposition camp pretty firmly.

    The NW passage opened in the 1940’s. A one off event? Possibly. When it opened briefly a few years back, however, it was once again pointed to as unprecedented proof of AGW.

    For every citation of a specific weather event that “proves” AGW there is one that is similar that happened within modern history that can’t be blamed on AGW. For all the cries of how stupid and ignorant Americans are, we do know how to crack open a history book or talk to our grandparents. Predicting a dust bowl as a result of AGW and saying it is the reason we must cut a large check to the Sudan (and that it will stop it from happening) makes anyone who has seen a newsreel or knows someone who lived through the 1930’s run screaming from the room.

    On the energy front, why not use a mix of all sources, including nuclear? Its not a panacea, but is the most effective way of producing carbon neutral electricity. The answer is simple – the objections are based not on price or sustainability, but the underlying and subverted concern over nuclear weapons. Indeed, if it were not for the concern over nuclear weapons we could reprocess spent rods and reuse them, a political impossibility as it would then make nuclear weapons grade materials firmly within legitimate energy generation. Every non-proliferation agreement would be rendered moot.

    [Response: It appears to me that your beef is with media coverage and ‘pop’ attributions of specific events to climate change made by people who might not be experts. Attribution is hard – and generally is not done the morning after a storm, or a flood or a drought. I would suggest that you not ascribe the worst excesses of a superficial media culture to the scientists actually doing any of this work. Read the IPCC reports, or the chapter on extreme weather in my book ;-), to get an idea about what the scientists are really saying. That might well improve our credibility in your eyes and give you pointers for who and what to trust in the future. – gavin]

  617. Daniel J. Andrews:

    Gavin, as Arch points out, your link gives my browser a warning too (Firefox). Can you confirm it hasn’t been commandeered by other parties?

    [Response: Yes. But I will inform them of the problem. Probably won’t get fixed until the new year. – gavin]

  618. Hank Roberts:

    > Edward Greisch says: 24 December 2009 at 3:27 AM
    > a Google search, you get “sponsored” links on the right side …

    Good reminder, I often forget that many people do see far more ads than I do, thanks. I’ll have to set up a dumb account to use to see that crap.
    I see nothing on the right side unless I unblock that stuff.

    (Firefox; AdBlock, NoScript, BetterPrivacy, Ghostery, Greasemonkey, Platypus, RefControl, and TACO, now. Think of me as in denial about advertising; it’s a constant effort not to see things I don’t want to.)

    (For those leaping to the defense of advertising–anything that has NOT been shoved in my face, I may buy–when I find it by actively searching for something I need. If it’s been pushed, I won’t, on principle.)

  619. Lamont:

    604: the story is here: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    594: not only do fuel costs matter, but uranium suffers from a ‘peak uranium’ issue, just like ‘peak oil’. we’re going to hit a maximum uranium mining capacity, just like we’re going to hit a maximum oil pumping capacity. increasing the demand beyond that point will lead to skyrocketing prices, which places a cap on how useful nuclear plants will ever be, and makes the whole idea of using nuclear just kicking the can down the road a little bit (even if the plants themselves could be made for a 10th of the cost and time).

  620. Lamont:

    #532: Thanks BPL. Yeah, its the same physics. The simple non-convective models was beyond what i had the time to do in my undergrad days though. When you look at the full complexity of what gets published in the astrophysics literature to model envelopes the problems are probably similar in complexity. However, I know that a 1-dimensional atmospheric model is going to be beyond what time I have to devote to it now.

    And this really is the problem with explaining the science of climate change. 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”. However, I’ve used the results of numerical analysis that were ‘too complicated’ to do that analytically and would take a chaper in a book to treat properly (just like radiative balance in an atomsphere with a stratosphere takes a chapter in a book) and I’ve validated that the results of that analysis work. Therefore, *I* trust that scientists can get something complicated right.

    There’s this bizzare egalitarianism coming from the right wing in this country where if the average man can’t fully replicate the results of scientists it is too complicated and therefore wrong. If you try to argue that fully explaining radiative balance in climate science simply exceeds in time and mental capacity the average person sitting with a napkin, that means you are being ‘elitist’.

    There’s lots of things that I don’t have the time to do, however. And even though I’ve probably got the mathematical chops to handle the physics of climate change, there’s a lot of other math (e.g. advanced general relativity) that i think might just be beyond what i’m capable of — even if i had all the time in the world — that doesn’t make general relativity wrong, though. Gravity still works, even though *I* will never fully understand it.

  621. Douglas Wise:

    re #619 Lamont

    Presumably you’ve never heard of fast breeder reactors or don’t believe they will ever be constructed?

  622. Anne van der Bom:

    Didactylus
    24 December 2009 at 8:15 AM

    Huh? I was trying to show Edward that simple economic laws dictate that the capital costs *do* have a huge impact on energy cost, even if the lifetime of the plant is estimated at 40-60 years. I wasn’t “Trying to nickel and dime the outcome”.

    The report that you call comprehensive is only a presentation of the results. Do I have to trust the authors? I’d rather have something with data and calculations so it is transparent and I can learn from it. You don’t happen to have a link to something more substantial?

    The other report is very large and will take more time read. A very quick glance didn’t reveal any data or calculations either. But I’ll give it a more thorough look.

    It irritates me no end when people try to argue that nuclear power is not economical

    So I have noticed :-)

    I simply cannot ignore the inevitable effect of construction cost on electricity price. I see one half billion dollars of annual capital cost (interest + depreciation) for 17 billion kWh of electricity. Pretty simple to work out a bottom line kWh cost from those two. Am I being simplistic? If you could show me how it really works, I’ll be happy to listen.

    Clearly it is!

    I hope you understand that simply saying “it is!” will not convince me. Evidence will.

  623. Critical Thinker:

    @545 – The only Bayesian update here is Ray’s judgement about what constitutes “evidence”. When contemporary memories of things long past match his current beliefs he accepts annecdotal weather-ish ideas and praises folk wisdom, but when they don’t he chastises them. No. No reason to suspect any lurking bias at all! ;-)

    I’m still kind of reeling that he doesn’t see how there could be a bias larger than whatever effect he thinks he “measured” which could be incorporated into anyone’s belief system Bayesianly (besides, perhaps his own brain). I mean, was it even a stable report? Did he check back with the same 1991 people in 94? 99? This is so not a way to teach scientific thinking at least as I understand it.

    The “journal proxy” as a new T proxy/seasonal shift proxy might be interesting, though personally I would be quite surprised if it were not much, much noisier and confounded than other proxies we have available.

  624. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #607 Bill Teufel

    I can see you are worried about computer models

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/models-can-be-wrong

    So maybe you should concentrate on the observations.

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images

    The glaciers ice mass is lowering globally

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/glacier-retreat

    In the natural cycle, pre-industrial

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-cycle

    we were around thermal equilibrium near 0.0W/m2 radiative forcing, but now we are around +1.6 W/m2. Doesn’t seem like much until you add up all the meters and ask yourself how much power is that on the surface of the planet?

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    So, what is warming the planet above pre-industrial temperatures? Especially when we are past peak forcing of the Milankovitch cycles

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/milankovitch-cycles

    which should be allowing for a slow entry into the next ice age in about 20k years, or so…

    We know CO2 is a greenhouse gas, along with CH4, N2O and fluorins

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/index.html

    We know we have increased the levels of these gases in the atmosphere

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/globalghg.html

    And the Arctic Ice Volume is dropping at around 10% a year and has a good chance of virtually disappearing in the summer melt season in 7 to 10 years.

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/arctic/20070822_oldice.gif/image_view_fullscreen

    So, since we have no other plausible explanation for the warming, the ice is melting when it should be relatively stable, and since we know we added all those GHG’s to the atmosphere, the last answer standing is human cause.

  625. SecularAnimist:

    A comment on the nuclear power discussion:

    In the context of discussing anthropogenic global warming, the crucial and relevant question about nuclear power is whether it can make a significant contribution to reducing GHG emissions from electricity generation, within the time frame that climate science informs us such reductions are needed in order to (hopefully) avoid the worst outcomes of unmitigated AGW.

    And a related question is whether nuclear power is better able to do so than other alternatives to fossil fueled electricity generation, or even — as some nuclear proponents assert over and over again — uniquely able to do so.

    In short: is expanding nuclear power an effective means to reduce emissions? Is it more effective than the alternatives? Is it, in fact, a necessary solution, or even THE necessary solution?

    I believe that the evidence is abundantly clear that expanding nuclear power is neither an effective nor a necessary solution. There is simply no remotely plausible path of nuclear expansion that can achieve significant GHG emissions within the necessary time frame. Fortunately, there is also no need for expanding nuclear power, because efficiency technology, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy can get the job done, far faster and at far lower cost than expanding nuclear power generation.

    If nuclear power were an effective and necessary solution, then it would make sense to debate whether we need to deal with the very real, very serious, harms and risks of expanding nuclear power as the price of reducing GHG emissions. Arguably, even the occasional reactor meltdown might be a price worth paying to prevent catastrophic global warming. But nuclear power is neither effective nor necessary, so there is no need to deal with those problems.

    My primary concern about nuclear — my opposition to building more nuclear power plants — has relatively little to do with safety concerns. Rather, my concern is that construction of new nuclear power plants will consume resources that would be FAR more cost-effectively invested in efficiency and renewable energy. Thus the “opportunity costs” of investment in new nuclear power hinder, rather than help, the effort to reduce GHG emissions from electricity generation.

    Now I will listen to Frank Giger telling me that while I may think that is my reason for opposing new nuclear power plants, the real reason I oppose nuclear power is concern about weapons proliferation (as though that were somehow irrational), and to Edward Greisch telling me that I have been paid by the coal industry to oppose nuclear and support wind and solar. (I guess the coal tycoons also pay me to call for shutting down their entire industry within ten years.)

  626. Hank Roberts:

    > PaulinMI says: 24 December 2009 at 12:10 PM
    That’s the same press release others have several times already.
    Search for a sentence from it to find the other appearances of the same text.

  627. Anne van der Bom:

    PaulinMI,
    24 December 2009 at 12:10 PM

    …CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays…

    We have a new conspiracy theory!

  628. Ray Ladbury:

    Critical Thinker,
    Perhaps I was not clear. I am not saying that any one person’s memories constitute significant evidence of anything. Even the lore from many people is only weak evidence (though it is still evidence). What I am saying is that when you get very similar stories from widely dispersed locations and all of them are consistent with all the other phenological, ice-melting, etc., then it certainly is not consistent with the contention of your ilk that the temperature trends are manufactured. Don’t like anecdotes? Fine. Look at the temperature data. Or the ice-melt data. Or the phenological data (some of which goes back to the 17th century). BUT FOR CHRISSAKE, look at some of the evidence. I hope that is clearer, even to you.

  629. Didactylos:

    Anne van der Bom said: “Am I being simplistic?”

    Your argument is based on what *might* happen. Which is clearly a dubious proposition. My argument is based on history: nuclear power has been economical in the past, is still economical now, and you have advanced no reason why things should change in the future.

    All energy investments have to deal with capital costs, and the associated interest payments. Singling out nuclear makes no sense.

    Anne van der Bom said: “Evidence will.”

    Anne, you have made no effort to provide evidence in support of your argument. If you don’t like the sources I have provided, then feel free to find some more reliable ones.

    SecularAnimist said: “My primary concern about nuclear — my opposition to building more nuclear power plants — has relatively little to do with safety concerns.”

    Given everything you have already said on the subject, I don’t think you will get far trying to change tack at this late stage. As the source I quoted earlier says, nuclear power should be cost-neutral, so the financial argument just doesn’t get off the ground.

    Why don’t you stop hacking away at nuclear and leave it to its own devices? If it’s uneconomical as you claim, then it will die on its own. Since you’re wrong, it will get plenty of private investment and do just fine. You should concentrate on those new energy sources that *do* need a lot of help.

  630. guthrie:

    PaulinMI #615- Qing-Bin Lu’s paper is interesting, but his discussion of AGW is wrong and basically flying a kite.
    Rather than look at the broader picture, he just says “oh, its been cooling the last few years even when more CO2 is being produced, just as there’s less CFC’s, and hey look the warming since 1950 is the same rate as the increase in CFC’s.” I can’t quite see how he thinks CFC’s have such a massive warming effect, and he dismisses the IPCC’s estimates with a wave of his hand, whilst still acknowledging that CFC’s are greenhouse gases.

  631. tamino:

    I understand the desire of RC moderators to let everybody have his say — no matter how stupid or contentious they may be.

    But the signal-to-noise ratio is getting too low. We’re still bombarded with silly claims about a decade of cooling or some cyclic pattern to the instrumental temperature record. People are still saying you can’t get a hockey stick without tree rings. If these incorrect ideas were in any way original, there might be merit in confronting them. But this isn’t just the 20th time we’ve heard the same old fabricated song-n-dance, it’s the two-hundredth — and often from the same old hucksters.

    So here’s an idea: if RC wants to continue to entertain anybody’s and everybody’s junk opinion, create regular open threads for exactly that purpose. That’s where folks can argue till they’re blue in the face about the “trend” in the last 6 years’ of temperature data, about the “cycles” in the instrumental record, about the “recovery” of arctic sea ice, and about CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays. I won’t bother reading those threads.

    Here’s the part where the moderators have to change their ways: for other threads, if it’s not on-topic and above the “stupid threshold,” hit the “delete” button. Those threads, I’ll read.

  632. June R:

    RC folks,
    As others have said, you all deserve medals for patience and forbearance. I hope that you will continue to focus on the science. You only have so much time you can devote to this blog, so please do what you do best. There are a number of other good sites for discussions of the socioeconomic and political aspects of climate change.

    I am sure that you have a lot of “quiet” regular readers such as myself. I am an educated layperson who does not suffer from Dunning-Kruger. I have taken the time to learn the basics, but short of going back to school for several years (too old, too few good neurons left), I am never going to understand many of the technical details of various aspects of the science. But I make the effort to improve my understanding, and I appreciate having the scientists at RC available to explain and provide context for ongoing research. I rely on people with expertise (education…what a concept!) to help me discern good studies from poor ones, what the implications are, and how results fit into the broader picture.

    It’s rather frustrating to me that the denialists seem to be showing up with ever greater frequency on the comments threads. I learn a lot from reading thoughtful comments, but there’s getting to be a lot more rubbish to wade through. Maybe a stricter comments policy would help. The willfully ignorant will complain regardless of what you do. They’re not here to learn. Let them go elsewhere.

    We need you now more than ever!

  633. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #629 Didactylos

    Regarding current nuclear technology: We have not fully integrated the cost of nuclear waste storage in the future nor have we fully considered the degradation of nuclear waste storage facilities.

    If we don’t succeed in 4th gen. nuclear, then we will have other problems amplifying, that we are already concerned about. The cost of attempting to prevent the acquisition and use of nuclear weapons on the black market as governments begin to teeter in say 40 to 50 years.

    Nuclear material is rumored to have passed to terrorist organizations in the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Consider the cost of attempting to retrieve or prevent use.

  634. Philippe Chantreau:

    Didactylos, I, for one, am not opposed to nuclear but rather to the way it is proposed, especially in the US. Because the initial costs are so massive, nobody with the know-how can actually afford to build a plant. They need public money. However, once built, they all want to operate it as if it was their private business. That’s what’s already being done with a number of coal plants in the US and it’s nonsense. If your business can’t exist in the first place without my money, you have to cut me a (much) better deal than a purely private operation, period. Anything else is rubbish.

  635. Douglas Wise:

    re #625 Secular Animist

    Happy Christmas. I think your comments were excellent though I totally disagree with your conclusions. I may be totally wrong but so may you. This is not the site to discuss these matters and, to an extent, we are exploiting a rare open thread. Please defend your position on BraveNewClimate. I am sure that you wouldn’t be ignored. I am a learner in the field of global warming solutions but have been brought to believe that expenditure on renewables wiil detract from expenditure on nuclear power which will be FAR more effective and cost effective in mitigating AGW. I think we are in total agreement over efficiency. I am also pretty convinced that your views are as honestly held as my own. Could we not carry on the debate in an appropriate forum? My mind is not closed but I do need to identify flaws in my my current thinking before changing my opinion. It is only a couple of years since RealClimate and other sites convinced me to change my sceptical views on AGW. Having been converted, I concentrated on studying possible solutions. Rightly or wrongly, my current thinking is that the anti-nuclear stance that you adopt (and those of most other correspondents on this site)represents a serious threat to future civilisation which can only be assured by 4th generation fission power. I am a retired research scientist but only in the biological field. In the fields of AGW and solutions thereto, I am, therefore, a layman. If I am totally misled, please tell me why – with facts rather than assertions.

  636. Ray Ladbury:

    A suggestion for a post:

    At this point, denialist memes have become so repetitive that you really cold play bingo with them. How about a post citing the common denialist memes, each one numbered, and a quick refutation (with references) thereof. The person posting the meme could be directed to the post and to the relevant number. Maybe you could have a denialist bingo card at the top of the card for those of us at home that want to play along, too.

    If this works, maybe we could repeat it with topics that commonly derail threads–beginning with nukes.

  637. Doug Bostrom:

    J.Bob:

    “Speaking of the digital world, one has to ask why the software programs, or what ever were, not subject to ISO standards…”

    Perhaps because for much of the period covering the software in question, the pertinent standards did not exist? Even for relatively richly funded industries it commonly required a decade after inception of applicable standards for certification to be reached. And now that standards do exist, who is going to pay for certifications? It’s not free; ISO has become a deep consultancy trough, a self-appointed, self-perpetuating industry determined to grow like any other. In any case, there are legitimate questions about the utility of ISO adherence. Microsoft’s products are a case in point.

    Cool about the idea of cadence as error detection, though!

  638. David Miller:

    Didactylos says a in #630:

    Your argument is based on what *might* happen. Which is clearly a dubious proposition. My argument is based on history: nuclear power has been economical in the past, is still economical now, and you have advanced no reason why things should change in the future.

    In what way do current construction costs not count as a reason why it isn’t cost effective to build new nukes?

    All energy investments have to deal with capital costs, and the associated interest payments. Singling out nuclear makes no sense.

    It makes perfect sense if that’s what makes it uneconomic. And in talking about cost per delivered KwH for different types of generation it’s included.

    Anne van der Bom said: “Evidence will.”

    Anne, you have made no effort to provide evidence in support of your argument. If you don’t like the sources I have provided, then feel free to find some more reliable ones.

    Current construction costs by Areva don’t count? Bids to Canadian power companies don’t count? What planet do you live on when some online publication of what someone estimates new nuclear power *should* cost count more than what real companies are charging real customers for real power plants?

    Why don’t you stop hacking away at nuclear and leave it to its own devices? If it’s uneconomical as you claim, then it will die on its own. Since you’re wrong, it will get plenty of private investment and do just fine.

    Exactly what do you think is happening now?

    My real-world observation is that there are few firms willing to build new nuclear plants and few utilities willing to pay for them, and that no one wants to take the financial risk because we have a 30 year history of major cost overruns in the industry.

    Name a single nuke plant that came online in the last 20 years on-time and on-budget. Just one. I’m not aware of any. Maybe I’m just seeing the results of an anti-nuke conspiracy, doubtless funded by the coal industry. OTOH, I’m very aware of plants that are years late and have billions in overruns.

    I submit that what’s happening now is what’s been happening in the US for the last 30 years – that construction of new nuclear plants is not economically justifiable to either the utilities or the investors, and that no new plants will be built unless financial incentives are arranged for the taxpayers to take all the risk – insurance and cost overruns included – while the investors realize the profits.

    As others have said, 4’th generation nukes sound great, but are a couple of decades away from being deployed. We need to retire a lot of coal stations long before then. Current generation nukes haven’t been cost effective for 30 years, and that’s why they haven’t been built.

  639. dhogaza:

    ISO has become a deep consultancy trough, a self-appointed, self-perpetuating industry determined to grow like any other. In any case, there are legitimate questions about the utility of ISO adherence. Microsoft’s products are a case in point.

    As is Linux, or PostgreSQL, or Apache, for those who believe that such adherence is necessary for the production of quality software.

  640. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #631 tamino

    i greatly respect your work. I beg to differ in this case. I could be wrong but I still think that mandatory use of real names would help, as I believe that would reduce the noise level due to the recognition factor…

    I doubt that the moderators have much time to moderate yet another thread and people still need these things debunked, tedious though it is. I believe that mainly, debunking in ‘this’ thread is most important because of the moderators and their skill and credibility.

    So, in a weird way the silly people are helping in the fight. When newbies come in to read the thread, they see that these things have been knocked down in multiple posts.

    I also enjoy referring people to this thread because it is habitated by scientists that state their names and positions so everyone can see that they actually work actively in the field. This helps with credibility for those more reasonable that the denialsit ilk. To me its the difference between a straw (man) house like WUWT and here where the foundations of the understanding are built with bricks.

  641. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #636 Ray Ladbury

    I like that idea!!!

  642. Timothy Chase:

    In 623 Critical Thinker states:

    The only Bayesian update here is Ray’s judgement about what constitutes “evidence”. When contemporary memories of things long past match his current beliefs he accepts annecdotal weather-ish ideas and praises folk wisdom, but when they don’t he chastises them. No. No reason to suspect any lurking bias at all! ;-)

    … and goes on:

    I’m still kind of reeling that he doesn’t see how there could be a bias larger than whatever effect he thinks he “measured” which could be incorporated into anyone’s belief system Bayesianly (besides, perhaps his own brain). I mean, was it even a stable report? Did he check back with the same 1991 people in 94? 99?

    Are you saying that Ray Ladbury leaping to conclusions and being all dogmaticky yesterday? Well, why don’t we see what you were responding to…

    Ray Ladbury wrote in 545:

    That’s just it. I wasn’t asking questions. I was enjoying the shade of a mango tree in the nooday sun as I purchased some REALLY GOOD mangos and talked with a delightful old man. He volunteered these observations in 1991, despite having never heard of Jim Hansen. I had similar experiences in East Africa and many other places up to Sri Lanka last month, where several people mentioned changes to monsoons, etc. I do not claim that these experiences represent hard evidence, but it certainly is not consistent with the claims in the denialosphere that the warming is an artifact of the analysis.

    He specifically states that he “do[es] not claim these experiences experiences represent hard evidence…” As such, he seems to realize that the annecdotal evidence is just that: annecdotal.

    But lets see what he does take to be strong evidence:

    Likewise, no one piece of phenological data is evidence of climate change, but taken together they support the proposition that we’ve had significant warming. And a melting glacier is not evidence of global change but melting glaciers GLOBALLY is.

    Melting glaciers. Not individual glaciers, but global mass balance.

    For example:

    Greenland
    http://i33.tinypic.com/9km9sy.png

    Antarctica
    http://i36.tinypic.com/2d2aadz.png

    … from:

    Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet decay, continued
    October 13, 2009
    http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/greenland-and-antarctic-ice-sheet-decay-continued/

    … and:

    Global Glacier Thickness Change
    http://nsidc.org/sotc/images/glacier_thickness.gif

    … from:

    State of the Cryosphere: Glaciers
    http://nsidc.org/sotc/glacier_balance.html

    I do hope that this isn’t the sort of thing you would consider to be annecdotal evidence.

  643. Spaceman Spiff:

    Lamont @620 says:

    “And this really is the problem with explaining the science of climate change. 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”…

    There’s this bizarre egalitarianism coming from the right wing in this country where if the average man can’t fully replicate the results of scientists it is too complicated and therefore wrong. If you try to argue that fully explaining radiative balance in climate science simply exceeds in time and mental capacity the average person sitting with a napkin, that means you are being ‘elitist’.

    There’s lots of things that I don’t have the time to do, however. And even though I’ve probably got the mathematical chops to handle the physics of climate change, there’s a lot of other math (e.g. advanced general relativity) that i think might just be beyond what i’m capable of — even if i had all the time in the world — that doesn’t make general relativity wrong, though. Gravity still works, even though *I* will never fully understand it.”

    As a practicing research astronomer who is also an avid (lay) consumer of the physics of climate change, similar thoughts have swirled in my head, and I’ve had the notion to put them down in a post. But you beat me to it, and said it very well indeed.

    Thanks!

  644. David B. Benson:

    Ken Rogers (556) — IMO the optimum global temperature is that most conducive to agriculture, including no rise in sea level.

  645. J. Bob:

    #637, Doug, programming standards were well on their way in the 60’s. Do you think you would write software for a significant item without worrying about maintenance, (i.e. ICBM or Shuttle systems & subsystems). The same was developing for software relating to government contracts. Not necessarily to ISO standard now, but concern about accuracy & maintenance. So there was plenty of time to get these CRU software programs up to a higher standards level then recent postings have shown.

  646. Frank Giger:

    Gavin, thanks for your comment! Unfortunately, I was addressing many in this thread (which has been successfully derailed from its intended task) as much as activists in the media.

    Um, David, the same companies that build coal fired plants also build nuclear ones!

    This is one of my favorite Big Lies on the political front – that energy companies are defined by bright shining lines, when in fact they are busy with fingers in as many pots as they can get. Coal fired plants are the rage simply because they are the cheapest and most effective for the money spent. Nuclear power has a higher buy-in and regulatory oversight, but is actually more effective than coal in the long run – and even if it is more expensive per KwH, has zero GHG emissions.

    We’re told that in order to Save The Planet we’ll have to all spend more for energy and sacrifice. Replacing two or three coal fired plants for one nuclear one would seem to be a step in the right direction.

    The conspiracy theories about corporations trying to poison the planet for the sake of poisoning the planet are specious, IMHO. If someone were to develop a very cost effective, energy effective way of producing electricity that was cheaper than coal, energy companies would jump on it. If solar and wind cut the mustard, utilities would dive in whole hog in every region of the USA.

  647. Rod B:

    SecularAnimist, since you define it as you wish, you can then I suppose vilify anybody you so chose without impunity.

    Exxon-Mobil pays Rush to espouse his AGW thoughts? You think??

  648. Rod B:

    Gavin (616), you’re correct, of course, and as you have rightly said before, you are not responsible for any posters here other than maybe the moderators. Beyond that, those other posters pepper RC often with personal anecdotal “proofs” of global warming.

  649. David B. Benson:

    Ray Ladury — There is another web site with numbered denialist talking points.

  650. Philippe Chantreau:

    That’s a big strawman you’re pushing Frank. I am not aware of any theory postulating that companies are poisoning the planet for the sake of poisoning the planet. I am aware, however, of established instances of companies poisoning the planet, or people, for the sake of profit. Lead paint. Tobacco. Spewing of carcinogenic cyclic compounds. Low safety standards. Resistance to regulations. Non compliance with regulations when it is known they won’t be enforced, or weakly enforced. Etc, etc.

  651. Spaceman Spiff:

    for Rob@537 (or anyone else interested):

    Barton Paul Levenson has presented a simplified, yet mathematically self-consistent (using maths no more complex than algebra), conceptual model for how greenhouse gases keep the Earth’s surface warm, and why they act as radiative forcing agents as their concentrations change. However, do not mistake this very simple toy model of Earth’s overall energy balance for anything like the physics that goes into the atmospheric radiative transfer/Global Circulation Models.

  652. Spaceman Spiff:

    From the blog, Carbon Fixated:
    _____________

    How to comment on ClimateGate: a handy reference guide

    Nov 29th, 2009 by CAM

    If you have just learned that global warming was all a massive fraud being perpetuated by Commie scientists in East Angular, your blood is all angried up and you can’t wait to just jump right in and start SHOUTING about it – but don’t quite know where to start – then this post is for you!

    Just copy and paste the following texts, remembering to delete the words you don’t want…. ”
    _____________

    These form letter rants are priceless!

  653. Barton Paul Levenson:

    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?

    BPL: Yeah. Check out the IR spectrum from the sky 30 years ago and now. It’s been done. When I get home, I’ll post the references.

  654. Imback:

    636 (and 641):

    How about a post citing the common denialist memes, each one numbered…

    Numbering has been started here:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

  655. Hank Roberts:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/04/gwsbingo.php

    “Global Warming Sceptic Bingo

    Posted on: April 16, 2005 12:10 AM, by Tim Lambert

    “Reading and listening to global warming sceptics can get a little tedious because they keep trotting out the same discredited arguments. So I’ve come up with a little game you can play to make it more interesting. I call it Global Warming Sceptic Bingo! Just tick the box when they use the argument next to it. Get four in a row and you win!”

    ——–
    Any Javascript programmer out there want to come up with a machine that will disgorge a new randomly arranged ‘Bingo’ type card with the currently stock copypaste notions on it, freshly arranged for each new player/game?

    I guess the frequency of use of each item could be derived from the Skepticalscience tally, so the frequency of each on the cards could approximately match the frequency in the real survey he keeps up.

    Heck, each card could be tied to the Skepticalscience nomination link:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/add_article.php
    The actual article being read would feed the info back to Skepticalscience for further accounting; just a modification of the checklist he provides?

    Programming is wonderful!
    Nonprogrammers like me
    do nothing more than wave our hands
    and wish, and wait, and see.

  656. Spaceman Spiff:

    First on my wishlist for this website: a post preview option, so that when I invariably screw up some html I can go back and fix it myself.

  657. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    Ron R. sent me this link from http://www.globalchange.gov, which shows current changes that are occurring now and of course expected to increase

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/changes-current/Regional-Spread.jpg/image_view_fullscreen

    This is really what it is about. This will impinge on infrastructure, economy and living standards. The longer we wait, the more expensive it gets.

  658. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Did: Why don’t you stop hacking away at nuclear and leave it to its own devices? If it’s uneconomical as you claim, then it will die on its own.

    BPL: I’m willing to do that. Just repeal the Price-Andersen Act and, as far as I’m concerned, you can build as many nukes as you want–if you can get anyone to invest in them.

  659. Shirley:

    I’d like to see more discussion of paleoclimate reconstruction techniques (that’s the area of study I’m pursuing) beyond ice cores and tree rings, because the general public seem to think we know very little about past climate. Before I took this educational path, I had no idea about the many methods used and how they’re combined: foraminifera, chironomids, OSL, varves, stalactites, conodonts, clam shells, O isotope variations, cosmogenic isotopes etc., etc. and how these combine to tell us things about past climates.

    Too often, I hear people say ‘we don’t know enough” but it’s they who don’t know how much we know. People also like to say that climate science is in its infancy. I’d like to see discussions about climate studies done in the 50s. I recently read an article from 1959 (Ericson, D.B.; 1959. Coiling Direction of Globigerina pachyderma as a Climatic Index, Science Vol. 130. no. 3369, pp. 219-220.) and others that have been very enlightening. A lot of people seem to think climate science is all just about modelling, but don’t understand that the notions behind the modelling have real world scenarios driving them, much of it extrapolated from the fossil (and sub fossil) record. Even the numerous End Devonian extinction events are being pieced together with increasingly better resolution (I’ve been involved with this kind of research but will be moving onto Pleistocene stuff next year). I think the more people better understand how much we know about the past, the more they’ll understand that modelling isn’t such a crap shoot, and that overall, it doesn’t matter if models tell us that sea level will rise by one or two feet when we can show them with certainty that it has risen further than that in the past!

  660. dhogaza:

    So there was plenty of time to get these CRU software programs up to a higher standards level then recent postings have shown.

    Don’t come back until you’ve read this

  661. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Thanks, Spiff! I’m glad somebody actually read that.

  662. Doug Bostrom:

    J. Bob says: 24 December 2009 at 3:43 PM

    “So there was plenty of time to get these CRU software programs up to a higher standards level then recent postings have shown.”

    Hmm. I agree with you on the value of building maintainable software, but I suspect that we’re looking at a situation where budgets and other impinging facts of life preclude the kind of staffing needed for top-down engineering, authoring, trawling and refactoring of code in pursuit of standards adherence.

    More, the objectives of the code in question seem inherently unfriendly to the approach one might take when a full set of and requirements and specifications is available prior to design and delivery. The code we’re speaking of here appears to be an integral part of a discovery process. It’s not a case of “here is a description of a double-entry bookkeeping system, fully characterized, now let’s design and build code”, more a matter of incorporating new findings into a live system.

    Leaving aside implementation history, while elegance, efficiency and maintainability are excellent contributions to any software project, those more qualitative measures are all in support of success in attaining objectives. In this case, after all the hindsight critique, I don’t see any credible attack on the output of the code in question. Can anybody point to actual failures of the software?

    What I do see is another case of going over a tree with a magnifying glass while failing to take note of the forest of which the tree is a part.

    Detail-oriented deconstruction of current and historical climate science methods is potentially helpful in weeding out edge effects but at the end of the day seems unlikely to produce a robust and useful synthesis sufficiently broad in scope to explain the congruence of phenomena we see around us.

  663. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #654 Imback

    SkepticalScience is doing a wonderful job. Same as with my previous considerations, I like to see things done here on RC because it is a good chunk of concrete to set things on.

    Example: I don’t believe the OSS site has as much weight in credibility as RC. Simply because I don’t have a group of scientists. I do my absolute best to represent what is said reasonably and link back to here and other institution pages, but I don’t claim to have the same brand of concrete RC has.

    As I learn and become more solid, I then represent things on OSS but look at my Stratosphere analogue up-thread and you see the main problem… some things are just damn hard to put into a good public communication analogue. So I don’t put it on OSS until it works and survives some review.

    So I would love it if RC would validate the list skeptical science has or any of the perspective arguments I have done on OSS, or any of the other sites for that matter that represent the science well as there are now many. Once it’s in a list here, and linked up, then I suggest everyone (climate bloggers) copy, repeat and link back to source.

    Personally, I like to think of RC as the mother-ship of climate science blogs and we should all be heavily connected to it.

  664. Rod B:

    tamino (631), but what good is a circle-jerk pep rally if the team never plays any opponent – other than offering a bunch of secret self-gratification?

  665. David B. Benson:

    I happened to notice the existence of

    Florin Diacu
    Megadisasters: the science of predicting the next catastrophe
    Princeton University Press

    which appears worthy of a RealClimate review.

  666. Rod B:

    Ray (636), sounds good. Like the old joke, everybody can just post, “NUMBER 62!”

  667. michael:

    #635 Douglas Wise

    Douglas, there is a useful series of posts on nuclear here which includes positions stretching across the spectrum http://www.marklynas.org/2008/9/19/why-greens-must-learn-to-love-nuclear-power

    A key issue for those promoting nuclear energy is to provide a convincing case that sea levels will not rise and cause a risk to plant sitting on the beaches, noting that operational lifetimes of existing and planned plant may extend well beyond 2100.

  668. Ray Ladbury:

    Maybe we could have a series of Intertube bingo games–

    Climate change denier, featuring such goodies as “the 10-year cooling meme”, “the optimal temperature fallacy,” etc

    We could have Internet debate fallacies: Godwin’s Law, Poe’s Law…

    Damn! This could be a business!

  669. dhogaza:

    tamino (631), but what good is a circle-jerk pep rally if the team never plays any opponent – other than offering a bunch of secret self-gratification?

    No one is suggesting that scientists shouldn’t have to deal with opponents who *do science*. What’s happening today is more like a soccer team running into hordes from a Mexican drug cartel. One side is used to playing by rules. The other side is just interested in slaughtering people.

  670. David B. Benson:

    Ray Ladbury (668) — Check the Januaray 2010 issue of Scientific American to discover how you might make it pay!

    :-)

  671. Jonathan:

    re 624,

    “The average amount of forcing change that occurs between an ice age and a warm period is about 3.4 W/m2.” http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/milankovitch-cycles

    and you say we are +1.6W/m2 now, the question I pose is-
    Are we peaking CO2 emissions too early to avert an otherwise inevitable ice age? Should we save fossil fuels for later?
    We do a lot of talk about our legacy to our grandchildren, but has anyone done any work on thousands of generations hence, and their possible protection? History suggests Ice ages are not that pleasant for humankind.

  672. Jim Dukelow:

    ZT wrote (in the Hansen thread):

    “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).”

    He or she is wrong, but it doesn’t appear that anybody got around to correcting him or her before the thread was closed to comments.

    If you heat water, it warms roughly linearly until the temperature gets close to either the freezing point of water or the boiling point. As it approaches those temperatures, more and more of the heat will go into heat of fusion (melting any adjacent ice) or into heat of vaporization (boiling off the water). The water will effectively “sit” at those temperatures until all of the ice is melted or all of the water has boiled away.

    The relevance of this simple thermodynamics to “water heating all of a sudden” is that when the Arctic sea ice is gone, all of the solar heating of the water will go into raising the temperature of the water, rather than into melting ice. The heat of fusion is around 333 kJ/kg of ice. Once that kg of ice is melted, the same 333 kJ of solar heating will raise the temperature of the resulting kg of water by approximately 80 deg Celsius. That is “sudden heating”.

    Best regards.

    Jim Dukelow

  673. Daniel J. Andrews:

    Mapleleaf…if you’re reading. Just saw your comment to me at DC on the Wegman report. You’re barking up the wrong tree. :-))) I’ll endeavor to express myself better to avoid these types of misunderstandings. btw, any comments I post on WUWT are pretty quickly deleted. ;-)

  674. Radge Havers:

    @620

    “Bizzare egalitarianism…Gravity still works, even though *I* will never fully understand it.”

    I agree. Bizarre indeed. And egalitarian in rhetoric only. People who are looking for short cuts to answers in order to feel magically special are very vulnerable to manipulation and reinforcement by disgruntled voices of a similar bent.

  675. Daniel J. Andrews:

    Rod B @664 said

    amino (631), but what good is a circle-jerk pep rally if the team never plays any opponent – other than offering a bunch of secret self-gratification?

    Look at Tamino’s examples. Anyone using those examples isn’t an opponent…they’re the village idiots who have managed to blunder their way onto the playing field without any knowledge of what game is being played, much less the rules. Those examples are points that have been soundly refuted hundreds of times.

    How many times do people like Tamino have to kill the “the globe is cooling” meme? Even my first year bio students straight from high school know how to draw trend lines properly albeit without CI. How are people who are incapable of doing basic high school math “opponents” of any sort?

    Re: Gavin’s link. Thanks Gavin. I’ve accessed that site now.

  676. David B. Benson:

    “Scientists Map Speed of Climate Change for Different Ecosystems”:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223133337.htm

  677. Atom Age Democritus:

    On the subject of books…this title may have been mentioned already, but I found it quite stimulating and pertinent:
    Science in Democracy, by Mark B. Brown.

  678. Atom Age Democritus:

    As your basic scientifically illiterate lay person, my most logical reason for agreeing with the argument for AGW is to take one look at the sort of people who disagree with it(think Cardinal Bellarmine or Soapy Sam Wilberforce but without the brains). But I do you think you smart-alecky science people could regain street cred by producing a comprehensible account of how your data is produced. I know I know, it sounds really dopey, but it’s no less necessary for all that. Unlettered peasants need to feel some intellectual connection with this scientific enterprise, even if it’s something as dumbed-down as Walt Disney’s Our Friend the Atom (where I first learned something about nuclear physics, BTW). This is especially true, given that the serfs are the ones paying a lot of the bills, not mention electing or threatening to elect the likes of Sen. James Inhofe(Moron-OK).

  679. Imback:

    Imback:

    Numbering has been started here:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    John P. Reisman:

    SkepticalScience is doing a wonderful job. Same as with my previous considerations, I like to see things done here on RC because it is a good chunk of concrete to set things on.

    Agreed. It would be nice to have a single standard enumeration, though.

  680. Rod B:

    Daniel J. Andrews (675), I won’t resurrect the dead horse of your example, but, in essence, the definition of a skeptic as proffered is a person who agrees with everything said about AGW but has some areas that he/she doesn’t quite fully understand. Nice “skeptic” to do business with if you can find one.

  681. Ray Ladbury:

    Dhogaza says, “What’s happening today is more like a soccer team running into hordes from a Mexican drug cartel. One side is used to playing by rules. The other side is just interested in slaughtering people.”

    I’d say it’s more like a soccer team running up against a squad of circus clowns, hundreds of which keep geting out of the same VW.

  682. sidd:

    I entirely agree with tamino. For me, the volume of uneducated comments is becoming far too large to wade through. I am afraid I shall just have to read the articles that deal with the published and peer reviewed literature and skip the comments. This is unfortunate, since every now and then I do find very good arguments and references in the comments. In short I would prefer heavy handed moderation, since signal to noise here is dropping through the floor.

  683. Hank Roberts:

    > a circle-jerk pep rally
    Ya know, Rod, it seems like you come out with something like this any time you’ve been catching on to the science and getting clear answers to your persistent questions. Maybe you should consider whether each increment of progress understanding the science brings out this side of you. Verging on unthinkable thoughts?

    Happy holidays.

  684. Edward Greisch:

    658 BPL: Here’s the deal: Price-Andersen Act for no protesting nuclear.
    The Price-Andersen Act and the high installation and long lead times are caused by anti-nuclear protesters. So, if you can guarantee no lawsuits, no protests etc. then we can repeal Price-Andersen.

  685. Edward Greisch:

    I just saw a PBS NOVA TV show on human evolution. It said that the rapid cycling of climate caused the evolution of Homo Habilis’s brain. It said that several million years had gone by with no brain evolution before Homo Habilis.

    Climate change must be a terribly blunt instrument of natural selection. So many of the relatively smart must die along with a few more of the relatively stupid, and extinction is always the alternative.

    Perhaps this topic is too “hot” for RC? It would be an interesting topic.

  686. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #671 Jonathan

    Estimates of entering an ice age are still about 20,000 years off. Besides, we really don’t know if we have tipped the system enough yet to kick in long lasting feedback mechanism that would prevent us form normal entry to the next ice age? For all we know or don’t know, we may have prevented entering an entire cycle… All the things that are not understood well are on the side of how much warming and how long?

    But when you start discussing grandchildren, it has nothing to do with preventing an ice age. We are warming, and we have enough Co2 in the atmosphere to keep warming for a good amount of time and stay warm, possibly for centuries, and possibly longer.

    I don’t think ice ages were so unpleasant though, people were nomadic pre agrarian age so no big deal to move. Entering an ice age takes some time, so no big rush there anyway. It’s certainly not as fast as what we are experiencing now which is rapid climate change. At this point in human evolution, I think it would be much easier for mankind to go into an ice age without understanding and technology. Not so hard to move south in your solar powered vehicle which I imagine would be perfected by then if we did not crash the global economic structure which then prevented us form mitigation of AGW.

  687. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #678 Atom Age Democritus

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

    and this: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

    and for the dumbed down version:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/the-leading-edge/projects/environment/global-warming

  688. Edward Greisch:

    667 Michael: ““depleted” uranium left behind by conventional reactors” is WRONG.
    Depleted uranium is pure U238 that has NEVER been in a reactor. It is the left-over from the enrichment process. What we take out of a reactor is “Spent fuel” NOT depleted uranium. Your reference is good otherwise as far as I have read.

    This terminology is a hot topic because the US Army used Depleted Uranium ammunition. DU Ammo is so not radioactive that it is harmless to users in spite of the hysteria that has been generated by anti-nuclear protesters/ nuclear denialists. The US Army uses DU because it works so well at destroying enemy tanks. The after-war effects are nil regardless of the hysterical reactions by nuclear denialists. This usefulness is caused by metallurgical properties and density, NOT by the psychological connection with anything nuclear.

  689. Edward Greisch:

    619 Lamont: We have nuclear fuel for “5000” years if we recycle, breed thorium into uranium and use 4th generation reactors. And that is on this planet alone. I put 5000 in quotes because predicting the future is always hazardous.

  690. Martin Vermeer:

    #631 tamino: hear hear. Repetition is a well known propaganda weapon, and it’s crazy to allow its use on a serious site. Debunk the first instance — better, lift it to its own debunking thread, once –, and junk the rest.

    Tamino himself is doing that now, after trying and failing the “100 flowers” model that is still being tried and failing here. I was one of those harshly criticizing him at the time. Now, tamino’s site is a pleasure to visit and contribute to. And actually useful for learning without having to wade through oceans of muck.

  691. Edward Greisch:

    638 David Miller: Then why are the French paying 1/3 LESS for electricity while the French government takes a PROFIT from their nuclear power plants? Your accounting is off. The problem with nuclear cost in the US is that entirely too much safety is required.
    Nuclear power is the safest kind, bar none, for everybody.

    Deaths per terrawatt year [twy] for energy industries, including
    Chernobyl. terra=mega mega [There are zero sources of energy
    that cause zero deaths, but not having the electricity causes the
    far more deaths because not having electricity is a form of poverty.]

    fuel……… ……..fatalities… …..who……… …….deaths per twy
    coal……… ………6400…… ……workers……….. ………342
    natural gas….. ..1200…… …..workers and public… …85
    hydro…….. …….4000….. …….public………… …………883
    nuclear…….. ………31…… ……workers………… ………….8

    Nuclear power is proven to be the safest. Source: “The Revenge
    of Gaia” by James Lovelock page 102. As you can see,
    psychological problems are preventing the wider use of nuclear
    power. Chernobyl is included.

    I have no connection with the nuclear power industry. I have
    never had any connection with the nuclear power industry. I am
    not being paid by anyone to say this. My sole motive is
    to avoid death in the collapse of civilization and to avoid
    extinction due to global warming.

  692. Douglas Wise:

    re #667 Michael

    Thanks for the link. I’ve spent the last hour and a half reading it, an admittedly odd thing to do on Christmas morning but awaiting an influx of relatives!

    The discussion is interesting. The subject matter is mainly covered in more technical detail on BraveNewClimate but it is useful to gain another perspective.

  693. captdallas2:

    Since Tamino is getting tired of the decade of cooling and climate cycles posts, perhaps a discussion of climate shifts would be in order. Tsonis could provide some information on his dynamical method to predict climate shifts. The math he uses is a bit difficult though :)

  694. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Here are the references I promised, complete with abstracts or extracts thereof. All emphasis in boldface I added.

    Chen, C., J. Harries, H. Brindley, and M. Ringer 2007. “Spectral signatures of climate change in the Earth’s infrared spectrum between 1970 and 2006.” EUMETSAT Conference and Workshop Proceedings 2007.

    “Previously published work using satellite observations of the clear sky infrared emitted radiation by the Earth in 1970, 1997 and in 2003 showed the appearance of changes in the outgoing spectrum, which agreed with those expected from known changes in the concentrations of well-mixed greenhouse gases over this period. Thus, the greenhouse forcing of the Earth has been observed to change in response to these concentration changes. In the present work, this analysis is being extended to 2006 using the TES instrument on the AURA spacecraft. Additionally, simulated spectra have been calculated using LBLRTM with inputs from the HadGEM1 coupled model and compared to the observed satellite spectra.”

    W.F.J. Evans, W.F.J., and E. Puckrin 2006. “Measurements of the Radiative Surface Forcing of Climate.” 18th Conference on Climate Variability and Change, P1.7

    “…Climate models predict that the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere has altered the radiative energy balance at the earth’s surface by several percent by increasing the greenhouse radiation from the atmosphere. With measurements at high spectral resolution, this increase can be quantitatively attributed to each of several anthropogenic gases. Radiance spectra of the greenhouse radiation from the atmosphere have been measured at ground level from several Canadian sites using FTIR spectroscopy at high resolution. The forcing radiative fluxes from CFC11, CFC12, CCl4, HNO3, O3, N2O, CH4, CO and CO2 have been quantitatively determined over a range of seasons. The contributions from stratospheric ozone and tropospheric ozone are separated by our measurement techniques. A comparison between our measurements of surface forcing emission and measurements of radiative trapping absorption from the IMG satellite instrument shows reasonable agreement. The experimental fluxes are simulated well by the FASCOD3 radiation code. This code has been used to calculate the model predicted increase in surface radiative forcing since 1850 to be 2.55 W/m2. In comparison, an ensemble summary of our measurements indicates that an energy flux imbalance of 3.5 W/m2 has been created by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases since 1850. This experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming.”

    Griggs, J.A. and J.E. Harries 2004. “Comparison of spectrally resolved outgoing longwave data between 1970 and present.” EUMETSAT Conference and Workshop Proceedings 2004.

    “Measurements of spectrally resolved outgoing longwave radiation allows signatures of many aspects of greenhouse warming to be distinguished without the need to amalgamate information from multiple measurements, allowing direct interpretation of the error characteristics. Here, data from three instruments measuring the spectrally resolved outgoing longwave radiation from satellites orbiting in 1970, 1997 and 2003 are compared. The data are calibrated to remove the effects of differing resolutions and fields of view so that a direct comparison can be made. Comparisons are made of the average spectrum of clear sky outgoing longwave radiation over the oceans in the months of April, May and June. Di®erence spectra are compared to simulations created using the known changes in greenhouse gases such as CH4, CO2 and O3 over the time period. This provides direct evidence for significant changes in the greenhouse gases over the last 34 years, consistent with concerns over the changes in radiative forcing of the climate.”

    Griggs, J. A., and J. E. Harries 2007. “Comparison of spectrally resolved outgoing longwave radiation over the tropical Pacific between 1970 and 2003 using IRIS, IMG, and AIRS.” Journal of Climate 20, 3982-4001.

    Hanel, R. A., and B. J. Conrath 1970. “Thermal Emission Spectra of Earth and Atmosphere from Nimbus-4 Michelson Interferometer Experiment.” Nature 228, 143-&.

    Harries, J.E., H.E. Brindley, P.J. Sagoo, and R.J. Bantges 2001. “Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997.” Letter, Nature, 410, 355-357.

    “…Here we analyse the difference between the spectra of the outgoing longwave radiation of the Earth as measured by orbiting spacecraft in 1970 and 1997. We find differences in the spectra that point to long-term changes in atmospheric CH4, CO2 and O3 as well as CFC-11 and CFC-12. Our results provide direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth’s greenhouse effect that is consistent with concerns over radiative forcing of climate.”

    Philipona, R., B. Du”rr, C. Marty, A. Ohmura, and M. Wild 2004. “Radiative Forcing–Measured at Earth’s Surface–Corroborate the Increasing Greenhouse Effect.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, L03202

    “…Here we show that atmospheric longwave downward radiation significantly increased (+5.2(2.2) W m-2) partly due to increased cloud amount (+1.0(2.8) W m-2) over eight years of measurements at eight radiation stations distributed over the central Alps. Model calculations show the cloud-free longwave flux increase (+4.2(1.9) W m-2) to be in due proportion with temperature (+0.82(0.41) deg C) and absolute humidity (+0.21(0.10) g m-3) increases, but three times larger than expected from anthropogenic greenhouse gases. However, after subtracting for two thirds of temperature and humidity rises, the increase of cloud-free longwave downward radiation (+1.8(0.8) W m-2) remains statistically significant and demonstrates radiative forcing due to an enhanced greenhouse effect.”

  695. Walter Manny:

    Frank Giger, thank you for taking the trouble to raise an intelligent voice in opposition. I hope you will stick around for a little while.

  696. Didactylos:

    Hey, Edward Greisch – don’t underestimate the effects of depleted uranium. The problem isn’t handling it, the problem is leaving lots of heavy metals in the soil of a war zone. Uranium may not be toxic in the way plutonium is, but it’s at least as bad as lead. People are still studying the long-term effects, and my understanding is that the effects are generally not good.

    DU has good uses – it is used in medical shielding and aeroplane counterweights. Just like with nuclear power, it’s not using it that’s a problem – it’s misusing it.

    Happy Christmas, RC peoples!

  697. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod B. @664 says, “tamino (631), but what good is a circle-jerk pep rally if the team never plays any opponent – other than offering a bunch of secret self-gratification?”

    I think, Rod, that this might highlight one of hte difficulties you have here. You view the purpose of the website as a place of conflict and competition, rather than a place where folks can come to learn the science. The latter model is not boring. On the contrary, learning the science is interesting and easier on the blood pressure–and it is the primary purpose of Realclimate.

    The problem with the debating-society model is that only one side is using science, while the other is using character assassination and repeatedly discredited memes. That isn’t how scientific debate is supposed to go. In my 30 years as a physicist, I’ve heard some realy intense debates on some contentious scientific debates. Some have lasted for years and never been resolved. The thing was that while not always respectful, they rarely got personal, and none of them degenerated into accusations of fraud.

    On the other hand, when you have debates of science that has been established for 50 years and which has no compelling evidence against it, the only positions are science and anti-science–that is, that science is working or that it isn’t. You know which side you will find the scientists on.

  698. Critical Thinker:

    I think Ray needs to reconsider his logic. I’m not a denier and do not need some list of links at a site which has a huge (nice) array of such (though it is silly for me to feel I have to *say* this). Not being evidence for warming goes right along with not being evidence against a conspiracy and implies nothing and is poor arguing style at best and unscientific at worst. The very notion that one can disagree with someone’s “everyone agrees is off” rhetoric (on the topic of anecdotal evidence for warming) and the conclusion is that they need some refresher course in climate facts is absurd.

  699. J. Bob:

    #660, dhogaza
    The report (2008) conclusions states:
    “The Met Office has developed a software process that is highly adapted to it’s need, which relies heavily on the deep domain knowledge of the scientists building the software, and is tightly integrated with their scientific research practices”.

    Hmmmm, there seems to be some disconnect to good software practices and the lofty stated wording in your reference. Or could it be the poor coding is tied to the “needs” of the Met office.

    [edit]

    #662 Doug, if the world is going to spend trillions of $’s on a still to be proved theory, and then cannot spend the few million to adequately staff the project, would that indicate something is wrong, big time? I do not feel comfortable having my tax money and future generations lives influenced by a operation “run on a shoestring”.

  700. Denihilist:

    Just wishing you all here and them there a Merry Christmas and praying for an enlightning New Year.

    To the mods and all other helpers, thanx for your time, it is appreciated!

  701. Ray Ladbury:

    Critical Thinker, Thank you kindly, but I am quite familiar with the science and have no need of a refresher from an anonymous concern troll who is more interested in distorting what I said than in making any particularly valid point. Systematic analysis of anecdotal accounts is evidence. It is difficult to quantify, which is why it is more suited to Bayesian analysis. I was not even attempting to do that, instead merely pointing out that the accounts are inconsistent with the loud voices of the tin-foil hat brigade claiming that the evidence of warming is somehow manufactured by and evil climate cabal.

    If you were actually to read what I wrote, you will note that I was not claiming this was hard evidence. Indeed, I was relaying my impressions in response to a particular query about science in developing countries. I’m afraid your post leaves me with little substantive to which I can respond, but then what could one expect from a concern troll.

  702. David Miller:

    Frank says:

    We’re told that in order to Save The Planet we’ll have to all spend more for energy and sacrifice. Replacing two or three coal fired plants for one nuclear one would seem to be a step in the right direction.

    I disagree about requiring sacrifice. I agree we need to use less energy, but would argue that a better insulated home requires less energy and is more comfortable. The only “sacrifice” required is the cost of insulating it – something paid back many times in the following years.

    I would agree about replacing coal plants with nukes, but only if it can be demonstrated to be cost effective versus the alternatives. At this point in time it’s not. By far the best investment we have is in efficiency, followed by renewables. *New* nuclear is last on the list.

    The conspiracy theories about corporations trying to poison the planet for the sake of poisoning the planet are specious, IMHO.

    Wow. Just wow.
    That’s a pretty tall strawman you’ve assembled there. I’m afraid it’s going to fall over in the lightest breeze all by itself.

    (hint: no one has ever said companies conspired to poison the planet)

    If someone were to develop a very cost effective, energy effective way of producing electricity that was cheaper than coal, energy companies would jump on it. If solar and wind cut the mustard, utilities would dive in whole hog in every region of the USA.

    Exactly what do you think they’re doing? Why do you think more wind capacity was added last year than coal?

    Please bear in mind there’s a big difference between adding new capacity and replacing old capacity. No one is ripping out coal plants that are still in their useful lifespan. But new coal plants, like new nuke plants, cost lots more to build than the old ones did.

  703. David Miller:

    Ed says in #691:

    638 David Miller: Then why are the French paying 1/3 LESS for electricity while the French government takes a PROFIT from their nuclear power plants? Your accounting is off. The problem with nuclear cost in the US is that entirely too much safety is required.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s because the cost per KWH that they’re now paying is averaged out across older plants that cost less to build.

    Ed, it doesn’t seem to matter how many times people tell you this, you’re just not getting it. New nukes cost too much to build. It’s not just US safety standards: estimates for the Ontario plant came in off the charts. The plant being built by Areva (French, state owned company that built the plants you cite in France) in Norway is years behind schedule and billions over budget. A nuke anticipated in Florida – for which residents are already paying years before the first shovel of dirt is moved – is estimated to come in at 15 cents per KWH.

    Citing an article online somewhere that says nukes *should* be able to be built for some reasonable rate is just wishful thinking. Real plants built for real customers in the real world are all coming in north of 15 cents/KWH.

    Nuclear power is the safest kind, bar none, for everybody.

    I haven’t been arguing that at all. My sole point is that right here and now new nuclear plants can’t be built at a competitive price. You can quote all the existing plants built 20 years ago, you can quote something you found on the internet somewhere – but you can’t change what real companies charge real customers. Until that goes down nuclear is simply the highest cost option.

    As has been pointed out on other posts, there’s a ramp-up issue too. If we put X billion dollars into wind or solar thermal we get some of the power in a year or two as the units are put into production. With nuclear power we get nothing back for the decade or so it takes to build the plant.

  704. Barton Paul Levenson:

    RC guys,

    The link to my climate sensitivity page uses the old http://www.aol.com/bpl1960 address, which hasn’t existed since October 2008. My present web address is http://BartonPaulLevenson.com, and the climate sensitivity page is http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/ClimateSensitivity.com

  705. Tenney Naumer:

    Happy Holidays! You all are the best!

    Tenney

  706. Ray Ladbury:

    JBob says, “#662 Doug, if the world is going to spend trillions of $’s on a still to be proved theory, and then cannot spend the few million to adequately staff the project, would that indicate something is wrong, big time?”

    Still to be proved, eh? Well, JBob, given the mountains of evidence that support the consensus model of Earth’s climate AND its most famous prediction (anthropogenic climate change), I am just curious: What would, to you, constitute proof? Because if you want absolute proof in the mathematical or theological sense, you aren’t going to get it. On the other hand, if we are talking about a reasonable scientific standard of proof, the 90% confidence level ought to suffice, and we’re well past that.

    And as to the underfunding of science, well hop to it man, and ask your senators and congressmen to raise your taxes (hey, maybe even a carbon tax!!!) ever so slightly to pay for better funding not just of climate science, but of all the sciences. That said, I would hope you would agree that even funded on a shoestring, science–and that includes climate science–has been amazingly successful.

    Just another aside: ISO certification is not a particularly good model when it comes to a scientific research organization. The system is not always sufficiently flexible to accommodate a field where progress in methodology is continual and rapid. Our ISO surveys have provided us with some of our biggest laughs. And anyone who threatens to bring in Six-Sigma is liable to fine a methylene-chloride soaked rag wrapped around his brake-line.

  707. Bill:

    Get off your computers you sad people, go find your friends and families and stop your miserable chatter ! Its Christmas !! Get a life and go enjoy the rest of the day . Happy Xmas to all/

  708. SecularAnimist:

    Didactylos wrote: “Given everything you have already said on the subject, I don’t think you will get far trying to change tack at this late stage.”

    With all due respect, I don’t know what you are talking about. I have consistently and repeatedly said that I oppose building new nuclear power because it is neither an effective nor a necessary means of reducing GHG emissions from electricity generation, and because it would squander resources that would be more effectively put into efficiency and renewables, and thus hinder rather than help the effort to reduce emissions. I have consistently and repeatedly said that concerns about the safety of nuclear power are secondary, in that there is no need to even address them, since their is no need or necessity for building any new nuclear power plants.

    I have in no way “changed tack” and your assertion that I have suggests that you are not even reading my comments, but rather imagining me to be saying what the one-dimensional cartoon comic-book stereotype of an “anti-nuclear activist” who lives in your head always says.

    Didactylos wrote: “Why don’t you stop hacking away at nuclear and leave it to its own devices? If it’s uneconomical as you claim, then it will die on its own. Since you’re wrong, it will get plenty of private investment and do just fine.”

    With all due respect, that comment suggests that you don’t really know anything about what is going on with nuclear power in the real world.

    In the real world, if nuclear power is “left to its own devices”, then it is a certainty that no new nuclear power plants will be built in the USA.

    How do I know this? Because that’s exactly what the nuclear power industry, including manufacturers, contractors, utilities and industry lobbying groups have all been saying loudly and clearly for years: they will not put a shovel in the ground to build even ONE new nuclear power plant unless they are given tens of billions of dollars in subsidies, guarantees, insurance, and large utility rate increases that kick in years before new nukes are even approved, let alone construction started.

    It is the nuclear industry, not me, that has been saying loudly and clearly that there will be NO new nuclear power plants in the USA unless the taxpayers and rate payers absorb all the costs and all the risks — including the risk of economic losses if the power plants are not profitable when they are eventually built.

    If you want nuclear power to be “left to its own devices” to succeed or fail on the basis of obtaining “plenty of private investment” — with the investors absorbing the costs and taking on the risks, without the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies that the nuclear industry has been clamoring for (and is to some extent now receiving as a result of recent energy legislation) — then you are, for all practical purposes, arguing for the same policies that I advocate, because that situation will certainly result in no new nuclear power plants being built in the USA ever again.

    And again, all of this is moot. Nuclear power simply cannot and will not be expanded enough, rapidly enough, to make any significant difference with regard to reducing emissions. And given the rapid rate that today’s powerful wind and solar technologies are being deployed, and the rate at which those technologies are advancing, it is likely that any new nuclear power plants that are started in the USA in the near future, will be uncompetitive, unprofitable and uneconomical to operate by the time they are finished. And the tax payers and rate payers will be left holding the bag.

  709. Denihilist:

    David Miller,

    Have you seen this?

    http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jan/021

    To my way of thinking, if something like this can be mass produced and be within 10-15% cost effecient of todays’ energy supply, this whole debate about AGW will just die a natural death.

  710. john McCormick:

    Gavin, Mike, etal.

    By my count this famous bolg is 6,038 hits from 10,000,000.

    The service you provide is priceless and represents your dedication to real science.

    And, you have collectively invested about 10 million hours in keeping this page open and focused.

    Thank you.

    John McCormick

  711. Timothy Chase:

    John McCormick wrote in 709:

    Gavin, Mike, etal.

    By my count this famous bolg is 6,038 hits from 10,000,000.

    The service you provide is priceless and represents your dedication to real science.

    I might prefer New Years Day if for nothing else than the toasting of what is past, present and yet to come, but it is looking like it will be a very Merry Christmas….

    Congratulations!

  712. Rod B:

    Hank (693), I wasn’t necessarily referring to my personal experience.

  713. dhogaza:

    The report (2008) conclusions states:
    “The Met Office has developed a software process that is highly adapted to it’s need, which relies heavily on the deep domain knowledge of the scientists building the software, and is tightly integrated with their scientific research practices”.

    So let’s see … Steven Easterbrook and his team does an in-depth look at the software methodology and products of the Hadley Centre modeling team and reaches the interesting conclusion that there’s significant overlap with how successful open source projects are structured.

    And J Bob, our self-proclaimed software expert, proclaims:

    Hmmmm, there seems to be some disconnect to good software practices and the lofty stated wording in your reference. Or could it be the poor coding is tied to the “needs” of the Met office.

    What poor coding? Hadley Centre’s modeling software is proprietary, was not part of the stolen payload from CRU, and you’ve never read the source.

    I admit to having tricked you slightly, wondering if you’d pull something like this out of your rear orifice, proclaiming that code you’ve never looked at is poorly done.

    Ray Ladbury says …

    Just another aside: ISO certification is not a particularly good model when it comes to a scientific research organization. The system is not always sufficiently flexible to accommodate a field where progress in methodology is continual and rapid. Our ISO surveys have provided us with some of our biggest laughs.

    ISO certification is largely ignored, and for good reason. J Bob’s belief that you can’t have quality software without it demonstrates a disconnect with reality. Or he’s just playing concern troll. I previously mentioned a few examples of open source software which of are high quality which ignore such things. Does he think Google burdens itself with ISO certification, Six Sigma and the like? Feh.

  714. Rod B:

    Ray Ladbury (697, my use of the term “opponent” was only in line with my metaphor of pep rallies and (implied) football games. I didn’t mean it as a literal description of posters; sorry for the confusion.

    But you continue with the “…science that has been established for 50 years and which has no compelling evidence against it,…” meme which connects clearly with my (actually your’alls) definition of a skeptic: “…a person who agrees with everything said about AGW but has some areas that he/she doesn’t quite fully understand…” Ergo no such thing as a skeptic.

    btw, I hope you don’t think “…character assassination and repeatedly discredited memes…” is a monopoly of skeptics (though I suspect you do).

    btw #2 (706), I concur highly in your assessment of ISO standards. They were basically meant to prove consistency of a program, not whether a program did anything useful. Hence why it fits badly in research orgs.

  715. Sufferin' Succotash:

    John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 December 2009 @ 2:38 AM

    Many Thanks!
    Have a nice holiday!

  716. Bill DeMott:

    Over the last two days I read Jim Hansen’s book “Storms of my grandchildren” and I recommend it. The book provides good information on climate change science and a personal view of Hansen’s experiences, especially during the GW Bush era of attempts to censor or silence government scientists and rewrite press releases to down play dangers of climate chang. Hansen makes a good case for his view that less warming than IPCC predicts may lead to melting of the Greenland glaciers and irreversible and rapid increases in sea level.

    I agree with his argument for a carbon tax as the best and most efficient way of reducing carbon emissions. He states that the much higher (2X) per capita energy use in the USA, Canada and Australia in companion to Europe and Japan is almost entirely due to the higher taxes on energy in the more efficient countries. The tax would be rebated so that it would be neutral for people who use moderate amounts of energy or who invest in conservation and efficiency. The taxes would need to be worldwide–countries that do not collect the carbon tax would see it levied against their exports. Hansen makes a strong case for the notion that current and future investment in coal plants will preclude reaching the necessary emission goals.

  717. Hank Roberts:

    > if something like this can be mass produced (news from a year ago)

    The thing is, plants turn sunlight into carbohydrate, not into tanks of hydrogen and oxygen.

    Imagine every building around you with a solar roof, and a big tank of oxygen and another big tank of hydrogen in its basement.

    Feel more secure?

  718. François Marchand:

    Obviously, Copenhagen was a disaster. Now might come the time to wonder why Kyoto was not, whatever the Americans and their Saoudi friends have said, i.e. doing nothing is always better than trying something. By the way, all the Kyoto states -taken as a group- have met their objectives (Australaia is a bit on the side, Mr. Howard having prevented his country to ratifiy the Treaty until a couple of years ago).
    So, the next step should be for a “Kyoto bis”, but this time with some input from Washington, and -possibly- China.

  719. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #682 sidd #690 Martin Vermeer

    I of course agree with tamino and you about the repetition. Part of it is management and (moderators) time. Then of course you run into the political problem of “My post did not show up on RC so how can they call themselves real scientists since they ignore my lame assertion based on what I read on the intertubes by a guy that says stuff I agree with”.

    RC already has two lists. The index and the myths in the RC wiki. So I would not suggest a third list. We need to beef up the wiki. Then RC moderators can look at repeated memes and send to one or two links [edit link, link]

    Only the ones who actually want to learn will click and there are a lot of people that read this blog. The trolls will eventually crawl back under whatever bridge or rock they came form but in the mean time, when they post here, it allows for others to follow the links.

    Those of my two cents. Anyone that would like to discuss topics, drop me a line on skype I can be found in ‘platoscave’…. I’m usually in the back of the cave roasting marshmallows :)

  720. Walter Manny:

    To Ray’s, “You view the purpose of the website as a place of conflict and competition, rather than a place where folks can come to learn the science.”

    With respect, RC is not a good place to go to learn the science. It is a great place to go, however, to learn what folks who firmly believe in AGW theory think of those who do not so believe. There is not much interest here, for example – moderators aside – in addressing what scientists or statisticians who oppose the so-called consensus view have to say. There is a strong interest in calling them names (“deniers”), mocking their habitat (the “denialosphere”) and questioning their motivations, to be sure, but none of that can be taken seriously by people who think for themselves. Name-calling always raises more questions about those who do it than those whom the name-callers hope to squash.

    The groupthink arguments are advanced here from a strict starting point: AGW theory is rock-solid, only an idiot would believe otherwise, and so those who argue to the contrary are ‘ipso facto’ not to be trusted. Ironically, the leaked EAU e-mails that raise suspicions about scientific motivation just about anywhere else in the scientific community are treated here as “nothing to see” and the primary lesson to be learned from them is that you can jettison the whole EAU project and all its contributors, and still the evidence from everywhere else is more than enough to keep the consensus view perfectly intact. That’s as may be, but the urge to parse trickery and decline-hiding rather than denounce it speaks volumes about loyalty and not so much about genuine scientific skepticism.

    At RC, “learning the science” and “coming to believe what I believe” are synonymous, as anyone who has had the temerity to come here from off the reservation can tell us. It is a great site for learning one side of an argument, which has value, but any advertisements to the contrary are off base in my opinion.

  721. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #716 Bill DeMott

    Here, here.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/economics

    http://www.uscentrist.org/platform/positions/environment/tax-and-dividend

  722. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    Happy holidays everyone, and to all a better year with troll handling, climate science education, and the hope for meaningful policy on GHG emissions :)

  723. sidd:

    Mr. Manny writes:
    “RC is not a good place to go to learn the science.”

    Unfortunately I am inclined to agree with this. There are fewer and fewer articles, not to speak of the comments, discussing the actual research.

    The best place to learn the science, of course, is grad school. Failing which, Mr. Weart’s history is a very good place to start. And Mr. Pierrehumbert has an excellent textbook available on the web as well. I thank both these gentlemen.

  724. Tony O'Brien:

    Merry Christmas to all at RC.
    Thank you for your very informative site. So many times I have thought an issue insufficiently discussed in the science arena only to find RC has already discussed it. My knowledge of climate change is full of holes, while RC might not have completely filled the holes in; at least it has made me aware of many of them.

    I do not know how you maintain your patience with those who refuse to learn, those who reuse the same old discredited arguments time after time.

  725. Greg Goodknight:

    “My post did not show up on RC so how can they call themselves real scientists since they ignore my lame assertion based on what I read on the intertubes by a guy that says stuff I agree with”

    Lovely characterization. Mindless assertions that reinforce the RC status quo are legion on this site, so I can’t really accept it’s the lameness of skeptical posters that drives the censors here.

    If theories and research contrary to the RC wisdom were as weak as RC partisans believe, there should have been no need for the UAE CRU cohort to subvert the review process to kill inconvenient research or to effect removal of editors who weren’t compliant enough.

    I went from ‘lukewarmer’ to full blown scoffer about three years ago. Faced with some ‘denier’ propaganda I started reading journals for myself and found the research from Friis-Christensen, Svensmark, Shaviv & Veizer and others to be both reasoned and reasonable (perhaps because of my own degree in Physics), unlike the attacks made here and elsewhere on them.

    I can’t say my MS EE (would be called a MS CE nowadays) exactly endeared me to the coding standards evident in the CRU FOIA file, either.

    It’s a new year. While there are certainly dittoheads that will just disagree with you due to politics, the overall intelligence (or lack of it) among the rabid left and rabid right is about the same.

    Despite being starved for resources, in two decades the cosmic crowd have gone from noting there’s a correlation between solar cycle length to finding up to a 7% drop in cloud cover worldwide in response to Forbush events, about equal to a 2 watt per square meter solar forcing, more than equal to the best guesses for CO2 warming. Effects are verified, there is a physical mechanism in place. Does this prove that the 20th century warming was entirely natural? No, but it does prove important physics was left out of the GCM and their results should not yet be considered good enough to base drastic public policy changes upon. My own finger to the wind puts it 2/3 natural, 1/3 AGW, including all pollution, CO2 (which isn’t a pollutant), black carbon, deforestation and urbanization.

    Followers of RC dogma are no more moral or intelligent than those who have not swallowed the AGW kool-aid. A new year is approaching; why not drop the old attitude and actually have something of an open debate? Stop denigrating the opposition; everyone who agrees with you are not your friends, and everyone who disagrees with you are not your enemies.

  726. Bill DeMott:

    John P. Reisman

    Although the tax and dividend proposal is by far the best plan, the conservatives who holler and scream at the smallest tax can probably stop such an approach. I’m not sure what Obama’s administration should do. It’s easy to understand why a substantial tax, even one with a 100% refund is unlikely to be politically palatable. I’m nost sure how the Europeans were able to develop a system with high taxes on gasoline and much better support for public transportation. Over my scientific career I’ve worked at institutions in Germany and The Netherlands for about 30 months. I never missed having a car and got around really well by foot, bicycle, bus and train.

  727. dhogaza:

    Greg Goodknight gives us the *bestest ever* definition of what passes for “research” among the denialist community:

    My own finger to the wind…

  728. David Horton:

    “CO2 (which isn’t a pollutant)” – love it, Mr Goodknight, what a remarkable thought.

  729. Hank Roberts:

    > 2/3 natural, 1/3 AGW

    That seems excessive; the natural variation is far larger than that.
    The contribution from AGW is much smaller — but all in one direction.
    That’s why it’s taken so long for the warming signal to be detected.

    If AGW were causing as much as 1/3 of the warming, the climate sensitivity would have to be rather enormous.

    Or have I misunderstood your logic? I don’t have a degree in Physics.

  730. Barton Paul Levenson:

    EG: 658 BPL: Here’s the deal: Price-Andersen Act for no protesting nuclear.
    The Price-Andersen Act and the high installation and long lead times are caused by anti-nuclear protesters. So, if you can guarantee no lawsuits, no protests etc. then we can repeal Price-Andersen.

    BPL: So, basically, we can only have a nuclear industry in a country without a First Amendment? Hmmm… nukes or the freedom of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition for a redress of grievances… let me think here…

  731. Molnar:

    Greg Goodknight: What if you are wrong and most of the warming is not natural?

  732. Barton Paul Levenson:

    EG: Nuclear power is the safest kind, bar none, for everybody.

    BPL: I notice your little table didn’t include solar, wind, geothermal, or biomass, and that you’re still using “31” for fatalities from Chernobyl although you’ve been told before, on this very web site, with links, that it’s at least 56 now and possibly in the thousands.

  733. Hank Roberts:

    Oh, and on those Forbush events — Google is your friend, it found this:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/08/still-not-convincing/
    and the pointer to:
    http://arxiv.org/abs/0906.2777

    The thing about relying on icecap, wattsup, and sepp is they don’t give you the citation so you don’t check subsequent references and find more contemporary science. Try it.

  734. Barton Paul Levenson:

    And, belatedly, for which I apologize, thank you very much for providing a link to my site at all.

    All: You can find more, including some annual time series data for temperature, TSI, and CO2, at:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Climatology.html

  735. Barton Paul Levenson:

    WM: There is not much interest here, for example – moderators aside – in addressing what scientists or statisticians who oppose the so-called consensus view have to say

    BPL: As if dozens of threads here don’t do just that. Go back and read ‘em, okay, Manny?

  736. Barton Paul Levenson:

    GG: My own finger to the wind puts it 2/3 natural, 1/3 AGW, including all pollution, CO2 (which isn’t a pollutant), black carbon, deforestation and urbanization.

    BPL: Deforestation is a problem because it releases CO2 when forests are burned down and removes a sink for it. Which you’d know if you had studied the science instead of studying denialist propaganda about the science.

    As for your “2/3 natural” attribution–ever hear of analysis of variance, O you who claim to be a physicist? Here, free clue:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

    Looks like 3/4 due to CO2 from 1880 to 2007 to me.

  737. Hank Roberts:

    Speaking of unforced variations
    >> 1/3
    > 3/4
    Point being you have to distinguish natural variability — of which there’s plenty — from trend over the longer term, and then consider the causes.

    This might be worth a glance from someone who understands this stuff:

    http://cel.isiknowledge.com/full_record.do?product=CEL&colname=CEL&search_mode=CitingArticles&qid=4&SID=3Fm412@p@BkcHECJgMP&page=1&doc=9
    Adaptation of the optimal fingerprint method for climate change detection using a well-conditioned covariance matrix estimate
    Author(s): Ribes et al.

    Found among the ISI list of papers citing this one:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;292/5515/270

  738. Edward Greisch:

    703 David Miller: What makes you think it takes 15 years to build a nuclear power plant? It doesn’t. 5 years for construction, 10 years to deal with protests and lawsuits. France can build a new nuclear power plant in 5 years and so can we. Hyperion can plant one in days, but the Hyperion nuclear power plants are smaller, 25 megawatts vs 1000 megawatts. Anti-nuclear activists have created their own problem. Every time you do it their way they demand more. It is a never-ending protest.

    If we are to survive as a species, we MUST shut down ALL coal fired power plants worldwide regardless of whether they are old or new, and we have to do it in the next 7 years. That would cut our CO2 by 40%. Wind and solar power have not yet shut down a single coal fired power plant, and they will not do so in time. You are using coal fired power plants as your “battery”. You are saving very little CO2 because the coal fired power plant is kept running at the “spinning reserve” rate. “Spinning reserve” is very little different from full power. THAT is the problem.
    We just don’t have time to wait for new technology like the room temperature superconductors and the energy storage devices we don’t have that wind and solar require. We MUST shut down ALL coal fired power plants NOW. You are welcome to shut down coal fired power plants any way you can, but if you can’t provide the electricity, you will have a revolt on your hands.

  739. Phil:

    I admire the restraint of many of the scientists involved in the CRU hack,
    and before that the ‘Yamal’ debacle. Some of the commentary is clearly
    defamatory and actionable, yet they decline to reach for the lawyers.

    Just recently the absurd WUWT hosted a piece from a ‘converted warmist’
    Bradley Fikes, in which the word ‘outright fraud‘ was hyperlinked
    to a mail exchange (1059762275.txt) between Professors Mann and Osborn.

    Now, being a mere mortal, I’m getting a bit tired, nay, angry about these
    lazy and unsupportable accusations of malpractice and so I challenged Mr
    Fikes in the comments …

    An accusation of ‘outright fraud’ against a scientist is extremely
    serious […] The words “Dirty Laundry” in quotes. Is that the sum total
    of the evidence that a fraud has been committed? Please tell me you’ve got
    more than that. Who was defrauded? Where? When?

    Mr Fikes responded: Deliberately withholding evidence that goes against
    your theory in published research is scientific fraud. It is
    misrepresenting evidence. When you involve someone else in the fraud, that
    is a conspiracy. When this is done in a clinical trial in the
    pharmaceutical industry,people can go to jail.

    Now a private correspondence is not quite the same thing as a clinical
    trial, yet my response was Fair enough. So let us be absolutely
    careful, clear and specific. You are levelling an accusation of outright
    fraud against Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University for the
    withholding of evidence. Is that correct?

    Please be specific, which published theory in which papers was
    contradicted by these data? What exactly do the data show? Please confirm
    that you wish to make a serious and highly public accusation of scientific
    fraud against Professor Mann, in the knowledge that it will almost
    certainly be defamatory if you cannot provide adequate supporting
    evidence.

    Note that Professor Mann did not actually withhold anything, he
    provided some data to a colleague and asked that he be consulted before
    those data were shared more widely. In my opinion, given the absurd
    distortions that some are prepared to indulge in this seems to me more
    indicative of sensible precautions than fraud.

    More detail, please. I am sure that you won’t object to me forwarding your
    allegations on to Professor Mann while we are waiting, and cross-posting
    this to RealClimate?

    Which I have now done. Fikes is an unlikely straw that broke the camel’s
    back, we’ve all read ‘Bleak House’ and the only people likely to gain
    from a defamation case are the lawyers. But surely there comes a point at
    which we conclude ‘enough is enough’?

  740. SecularAnimist:

    Edward Greisch wrote: “What makes you think it takes 15 years to build a nuclear power plant? It doesn’t. 5 years for construction, 10 years to deal with protests and lawsuits. France can build a new nuclear power plant in 5 years and so can we.”

    “France” is demonstrating right this minute that they cannot build a new nuclear power plant in five years. The French AREVA reactor under construction in Olkiluoto, Finland is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. According to the New York Times:

    The massive power plant under construction on muddy terrain on this Finnish island was supposed to be the showpiece of a nuclear renaissance. The most powerful reactor ever built, its modular design was supposed to make it faster and cheaper to build. And it was supposed to be safer, too. But things have not gone as planned.

    After four years of construction and thousands of defects and deficiencies, the reactor’s 3 billion euro price tag, about $4.2 billion, has climbed at least 50 percent. And while the reactor was originally meant to be completed this summer, Areva, the French company building it, and the utility that ordered it, are no longer willing to make certain predictions on when it will go online … In Flamanville, France, a clone of the Finnish reactor now under construction is also behind schedule and over budget … France has not completed a new reactor since 1999.

    So: the flagship of the “nuclear renaissance” is experiencing numerous, serious safety problems; construction delays of at least three years; and cost overruns now expected to double the original proposed cost of the reactor. And AREVA is taking major financial hit as a result of the project.

    And lawsuits? You betcha — not by “protestors”, but by the Finnish utility against AREVA, for billions of dollars in damages from the construction delays.

    With all due respect your comments are consistently full of fact-free proclamations and assertions. When others post substantive, documented information about the very real problems, delays and staggeringly high cost of new nuclear power plants, you respond with hand-waving about “protestors” being responsible for all of those problems, and claims about costs and construction times for new nuclear that reflect outdated nuclear industry propaganda and have no relation to actual nuclear power plants now being built or proposed in the real world.

    If you want to claim that the new AREVA nuclear power plants are being delayed by “protestors” rather than by their own inherent problems, then let’s see the evidence. Show us when, where and exactly how “protestors” have been responsible for AREVA’s problems.

  741. Doug Bostrom:

    “Unfortunately I am inclined to agree with this. There are fewer and fewer articles, not to speak of the comments, discussing the actual research.”

    You’re probably thinking more of comment threads, but the repetitious nature of what you read is not surprising considering many in the the contrarian community are stuck trying to grasp research that was completed in the 19th century while many others are strung out between 1934 and the early 90’s. Sure, there are lots of new results to discuss but those are increasingly narrow in their focus, typical of the evolution of a particular field of research, but those cannot be discussed if the conversation is always swerved back to the “2+2=4″ level.

    As to Walter’s accusations of name-calling, some descriptive word is required to differentiate adversaries. “Skeptic” is too narrow and arguably incorrect in most cases, “denier” is politically incorrect, so “contrarian” seems to be the best general fit. Some would say even that word is too generous.

  742. Doug Bostrom:

    J. Bob says: 25 December 2009 at 11:21 AM

    “Doug, if the world is going to spend trillions of $’s on a still to be proved theory, and then cannot spend the few million to adequately staff the project, would that indicate something is wrong, big time?”

    I’ll say. What I find striking in the contrarian community is the utter silence when it comes to encouraging the expenditure of more resources on climate research even as accusations of “fraud” and “hoax” are so generously awarded to the research community.

    Anyway, the code in question is largely irrelevant now. Useful though it still is, the weight of results produced by the particular group of researchers analyzing temperature data has largely been superseded by other findings that further confirm the predictive power of the original C02 hypothesis. CRU? Get over it, it’s a historical curiosity at this point.

  743. Ray Ladbury:

    Greg Goodknight says, “My own finger to the wind puts it 2/3 natural, 1/3 AGW, including all pollution, CO2 (which isn’t a pollutant), black carbon, deforestation and urbanization.”

    Given where you pulled those numbers from, I would say the wind you put your finger to is broken. Try as I might, I can’t seem to find any actual physic in your post. Just curious, Greg, how do cosmic rays cool the stratosphere right where a greenhouse mechanism would–between 40 and 50 km. Or how is it that you somehow amplify a signal based on a tiny modulation over a mean of 6 particles per square cm per second into a global temperature trend–particularly when there’s no evidence that GCR fluxes are changing significantly and no shortage of cloud condensation nuclei in the atmosphere? And how does any of this invalidate the known physics of CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

    Greg, science consists of a whole lot more than pulling numbers out of alternative orifices. Evidently, your BS in physics didn’t teach you this.

  744. SecularAnimist:

    Edward Greisch wrote: “… we MUST shut down ALL coal fired power plants worldwide regardless of whether they are old or new, and we have to do it in the next 7 years.”

    According to the same New York Times article I linked in my previous comment:

    For nuclear power to have a high impact on reducing greenhouse gases, an average of 12 reactors would have to be built worldwide each year until 2030, according to the Nuclear Energy Agency at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Right now, there are not even enough reactors under construction to replace those that are reaching the end of their lives. And of the 45 reactors being built around the world, 22 have encountered construction delays …

    In light of the realities described above, I would certainly like to see your plan for building enough nuclear power plants to replace all the coal-fired power plants in the world within seven years — and please address the very real safety problems, resource constraints, delays and high costs that are afflicting actual new nuclear power plants (not science fiction “fourth generation” power plants that don’t exist) under construction all over the world.

  745. Edward Greisch:

    709 Denihilist: Interesting idea, H2 from sunlight via catalyst. Question: What is the efficiency? The efficiency of plants is considerably below 1%, which is the problem with biofuel. It would also be nice to have the O2 partial pressure go up a little.
    Problem: Hydrogen gas is one of the 2 leakiest gasses around. The other being helium. When a hydrogen atom looses an electron to the wall of its container, it is just a proton, .001 times the size of the smallest complete atom. ANY solid substance is a sponge rather than a wall as far as hydrogen is concerned. Leakage limits the efficiency of hydrogen energy schemes.

    H2 and He are also so light that the Earth’s gravity is insufficient to hold them. They escape into space, never to return. If it leaks out, it is gone.

  746. Ray Ladbury:

    Walter Manny, If those who oppose the consensus view ever tried to publish their views in peer-reviewed research, there might be interest here. The fact is that their publication record is woeful. Since many of those people are not stupid, how can we explain such poor success other than to say that those rejecting the consensus theory of Earth’s climate are unable to add to our understanding of that subject.

    Walter, the prediction that anthropogenic CO2 would warm the globe is over a century old. The basic forcings and feedbacks that drive Earth’s climate have been known for decades. The models that result from these insights provide understanding of the vast majority of the planet’s climatic behavior. The resulting consensus model of Eart’s climate has been demonstrated to have tremendous explanatory and predictive power. To reject all of that evidence and success merely because you don’t like the implications of the theory and to offer no alternative framework that even approaches the success of the consensus model is simply denial.

    You claim that RC isn’t a good place to learn the science of Earth’s climate. OK, Walter, show me where to find another model that is explains even 10% of what the consensus model explains. Show me a prediction by such a model that has come true with at least reasonable statistical significance (e.g. better than 10% significance). You cannot, and you know you cannot. In other words, you claim, despite all the successes of the consensus model that there’s no science there, and you can’t show us an alterntive model where there is science. Aren’t you just denying the existence of climate science? And you wonder why you get called a denialist?

  747. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod B., you definition “…a person who agrees with everything said about AGW but has some areas that he/she doesn’t quite fully understand…” fits the word STUDENT (at least assuming they are still trying to learn) better than it does skeptic. The fact that you or I may not fully understand all the intricacies of climate science doesn’t mean nobody does.

    A true skeptic must have a sufficient grasp of the subject matter to be able to offer an alternative interpretation of the evidence–all of the evidence. If one is merely unconvinced because of lack of understanding, the proper course of action is to continue trying to understand, no?

  748. Edward Greisch:

    730 BPL I said nothing about a First Amendment. Is France a free country? Yes. But France doesn’t have the nuclear protesters the US does. Figure THAT out. Is it better education in France or something else? It isn’t a lack of freedom.

    732: James Lovelock is corrected. It is 56. 14 deaths per TW Y. It is NOT thousands. There are many places that have higher natural background radiation than Chernobyl has. You may be living in one of those places. Chernobyl IS occupied by humans who live there full time. They operate the remaining 3 reactors.

  749. Edward Greisch:

    696 Didactylos: DU rounds kill enemy tanks and they stay killed. That saves the lives of American soldiers. No other material works like that. A DU killed tank can’t be repaired and sent back into battle. My guess is that, since uranium is pyrophoric, it causes a fire and secondary explosions of ammo stored in the tank. No other material penetrates armor as well, either. Just putting a hole in a tank doesn’t prevent it from killing you.
    If they don’t want their desert sand messed up, they should surrender before we get there. So sorry, but the lives of American soldiers are just too precious to use anything less than DU.

  750. ZT:

    Jim Dukelow:-

    Many thanks for your answer on the heat of fusion of water. That is definitely interesting.

    A related question, when heating increases the amount of H2O in the atmosphere, does H2O accelerate warming, or do the clouds formed by H2O reflect incoming sunlight? It isn’t obvious to me which effect would win. Although, seen from space, apparently the earth does appear to be quite ‘cloud covered’ on occasion.

    I tried googling this and saw the following article which discusses painting roofs white to eliminate global warming:

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

    This mentioned that this technique may be vital to save the planet, 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.”

  751. Hank Roberts:

    > Please confirm that you wish to make a serious and highly public
    > accusation of scientific fraud against Professor Mann, in the
    > knowledge that it will almost certainly be defamatory …

    This sounds like “let’s you and him fight” — do you think there’s any way you can pursue a defamation claim for someone else, even if you provoke someone into doing something that could be called defamation?

    What happens if you provoke someone into an act that could be defamation leaving the person defamed facing the choice of either suing over it, or accepting it without responding?

    Are you trying to trigger a statute of limitation to force legal action?

    Are you sure you’re doing the best thing here?

  752. Philippe Chantreau:

    Edward, you are profoundly mistaken if you think that France does not have people protesting against nuclear power. You’re also mistaken if you think that safety standards are lower there, IMO.

  753. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #725 Greg Goodknight – Is that your real name?

    Wow! You are one of those guys that reads stuff on the intertubes from a guy that by all reasoned accounts presented his ideas out of context of what is known about radiative forcing; and he convinces you that industrial based CO2, CH4, N2O and High GWP’s are not really the problem.

    So you post in RC, talk about your MS EE which would be called MS CE nowadays and say followers of RC are buying dogma. A religious inference, what a surprise.

    Well, forget about dogma and consider the evidence in context.

    1. With all this verification you’re doing, did you notice that GCR”s don’t correlate with warming?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/henrik-svensmark

    Hey, how a bout that Laschamp event. No indicated warming??? I wonder why. Modern and paleo assessments indicate that GCR’s may have an effect but that it is much less than Svensmark thinks.

    2. Luckily I’m not rabid right or rabid left.

    http://www.uscentrist.org/

    3. If the assertion for 2 W/m2 is correct then you also have to prove that the added GHG’s in the atmosphere from industrial sources are not adding to forcing. Add into your considerations that we know how much GHG’s we have added to the system.

    Generally I don’t denigrate those that disagree with me, I ask them to substantiate what they are saying. I do denigrate mindless assertions that are based on fluff and mirrors though.

    You simply can’t understand that GCR’s and temps don’t correlate, even though the GCR levels dropped and temps continued to rise. Hmmm, there’s a word for that.

    But all of this is well quantified with GHG’s and aerosols. Hmmm…

    You claim to want an open debate, but what you don’t realize is that it’s about evidence, not debate.

    So feel free to prove industrial GHG’s do not trap infra red long wave radiation. You think it’s 2/3 natural 1/3 AGW. On what basis. We have tipped this system positive above thermal equilibrium. So even though the Co2 has only gone up about 1/3 in the atmosphere, the warming trend is virtually all human caused. We should be relatively stable within natural variability, we are not.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    Finally, you say Co2 is not a pollutant, but you failed to parse based on the definition of pollutant. I really think it’s funny that you assert that you are intelligent and others are lacking, when you use a word that you don’t even know the definition of.

    Pollution:

    1 : the action of polluting especially by environmental contamination with man-made waste; also : the condition of being polluted
2 : pollutant
    Now, since you are so intelligent I will illustrate for you. Co2 from the natural system is not a pollutant. Co2 that is form industrial aka manmade waste, is a pollutant.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/co2-is-not-a-pollutant

    Arrogance veiled as intelligence is just rude.

    #729 Hank Roberts
    Good point.

    #743 Ray Ladbury
    I agree he has BS in physics.

  754. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #726 Bill DeMott

    I know, but a guys gotta dream… especially when it’s as important as this.

    All I can do is keep pushing and washing the egg off my face. In this case though, I think it is critical that we get the education level up before they sign a deal. There is a lot at stake here and I don’t think people realize how expensive cap & trade will be.

  755. MattInSeattle:

    SecularAnimist: “The USA, not France, generates more electricity from nuclear power than any other country in the world. So, obviously the suggestion that nuclear was “argued out of existence” in the USA is absurd.”

    You are comparing a small country and a large one. And you know better. What if the US were at 80% of our electricity consumption were from nuclear, like France?

    That 60% increase would be be 700M tons of CO2 per year LESS that we’d emit. That’s the equivalent of not driving 116M cars per year.

    Sucks we didn’t do that in 1990, eh?

    Keep on hoping. And in 20 years, when the status quo still shows big oil is in charge, you can pat yourself on the back. I met guys like you back in the 70’s and 80’s all over the place. Alt energy was “here and now!” back then too.

  756. Greg Goodknight:

    It does appear that old habits will die hard here. Picking one out of the target rich environment…

    “As for your “2/3 natural” attribution–ever hear of analysis of variance, O you who claim to be a physicist?” – barton paul levinson
    This is exactly the sort of snarkiness that has no place in science *or* serious politics. Perhaps it’s evidence that it’s easier for a scientist to move towards writing science fiction than for a science fiction author to become a scientist.

    Correlation is not the same as causality. Sometimes the apparent correlation is strictly a matter of coincidence, or choice of endpoints. Try running the same series of C)2 vs temperature starting about 500 million years ago. Do it also for Carbon-14 vs temperature. Let us know what you find.

  757. BFJ:

    The title of this blog says “…….suggestions for potential future posts are welcome.”

    How about “The Inner Workings of the IPCC” ?

  758. MattInSeattle:

    Anne van der BOM: “I might be looking at the wrong thing, so feel free to support your case with evidence (not a sales brochure of a nuclear company”

    I think the most accurate data you can look at is data that is created by a person standing there with money in their hand ready to buy the wind farm or nuclear plant. They have billions on the line, so you can bet they have paid a room full of very smart people to do the calcs.

    If there was a clear winner, then various government agencies (including DOE) wouldn’t be showing world wide neck-and-neck growth for nuclear and alternate energy over the next 20-30 years. And nuclear wouldn’t still be knocking down the wins that it’s showing. And let’s not forget that today’s projections for nuclear in 2025 are 25% higher than 5 years ago. That’s from the International Energy Outlook 2009 from US Energy Information Administration. And that revision occurred during the most wind-friendly period we could ever imagine.

    Keep in mind, too, that nuclear is artificially more expensive that it should be due to excessive regulation. And wind is artificially cheaper than it shoudl be due to subsidies. And if they are being built at about the same rate…that alone should convince you that operational costs of nuclear are indeed lower in an even comparison.

    If someone lives in a place where their population is concentrated near areas that are very windy, then fantastic. Build wind power. But if your population lives 2000 miles from the windy spots, then I can promise you wind isn’t as cost effective. And so what do they do? Build wind anyway and have it cost a fortune and fail? Do nothing and stay on petroleum?

  759. Barton Paul Levenson:

    ZT,

    There is now overwhelming evidence that water vapor increases warming in a positive feedback:

    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

  760. Joe:

    Personally my interest in climate change lies in its consequences only. The science is probably okay, although as any human activity it is probably not as pristine as eg RC make out. You could gain credibility by admitting a mistake every now and then.

    Anyway my interest lies in the consequences to our lives, so maybe you could discuss topics such as

    1- what should to be done
    2- what cna be done
    3- and how much does it cost??

    or maybe that is out of your scope. Or maybe you already have.

  761. BFJ:

    What would constitute proof of agw, Ray Ladbury asks above?

    Of at least as much importance, is : what would constitute falsification?
    In simple terms, 20 years of no overall temperature increases in keeping with CO2 increases?

  762. Ray Ladbury:

    ZT,
    As long as the water stays a vapor, it will increase the greenhouse effect. Once it condenses into clouds (no longer vapor), it will either
    a)precipitate out fairly rapidly
    b)cool things by reflecting sunlight
    c)warm things by reflecting outgoing IR

    The net effect of the clouds is uncertain, but current research indicates a slight net warming effect.

  763. john McCormick:

    Greg Goodknight, in your case,
    “putting my finger to the wind”

    conjures more than the usual connotation.

    John McCormick

  764. Critical Thinker:

    @701 – Apparently anyone who questions Ray’s logic for a particular item phrased in blatantly unscientific terms is a troll. Nice neat state of affairs that is!

  765. dhogaza:

    Correlation is not the same as causality. Sometimes the apparent correlation is strictly a matter of coincidence, or choice of endpoints. Try running the same series of C)2 vs temperature starting about 500 million years ago. Do it also for Carbon-14 vs temperature. Let us know what you find.

    Do we get to take into account plate tectonics and solar physics or will you scream that it’s unfair to point out that no one claims that CO2 is the only thing that affects climate?

  766. Dale:

    Joe #760, you haven’t been here long. There is so much information that you can glean from making RC one of your daily reads. Every one of you criticisms is completely wrong. RC has had to spend a lot of time dealing with people who have the least amount of information while at the same time they seem to possess the strongest convictions.

    On this page alone poster like Barton Paul Levenson, John Reismean, Hank Roberts and Ray Ladbury will give you a lot of insights as well as linking you to some very good articles and data not to mention the topics of disscussion written by gavin and the other scientists.

    Know the truth and the truth will set you free.

  767. Blair Dowden:

    I would like to comment on James Hansen’s claim (in the 2008 Bjerknes Lecturereferenced by #473) that a human induced runaway greenhouse effect (Venus Syndrome) is possible. He claims that a forcing of 10 to 20 watts per square meter (which I roughly translate into four doublings of CO2, or about 2000 ppm) would be sufficient. We had this situation during the Cretaceous, when the solar constant he cites was about 1% lower, and I do not see how slow feedbacks such as weathering have much affect on a runaway greenhouse.

    More to the point, after citing the “snowball earth” events in the past, he failed to spell out how the Earth recovered from them. According to this paper, Ken Caldeira and Jim Kasting estimated that carbon dioxide reached 0.12 bar (120,000 ppm!), and calculations by Raymond Pierrehumbert suggesed that tropical sea-surface temperatures reached 50 degrees Celsius. While these extreme events are controversial, I have never seen them challenged on the basis they would cause a runaway greenhouse effect.

    I would expect such a dramatic challenge to not only the current consensus of the climate community, but also to a major geological theory, would appear in a submission to a peer reviewed journal, with plenty of time allowed for discussion in the scientific community, before it is presented as fact to the public. I consider this to be an example of irresponsible alarmism that scientists who want to be taken seriously should avoid.

  768. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Here’s a topic — some of the (here) uncovered ideas in Hansen’s book.

    For instance (and I feel a bit betrayed that I didn’t know this, as if it weren’t important enough to mention, even though I’ve brought up the possibility of climate hysteresis & runaway warming several times here & could have found this information enlightening) —

    On page 46 (okay, I’m a slow reader), Hansen discusses climate sensitivity, and in the 4th paragraph brings up a caveat re climate sensitivity being a constant…..come to find out it’s actually a U curve (and we’re just in the huge climate range at the flat bottom). That is “if the planet becomes much colder or much warmer [as in going into climate hysteresis], climate sensitivity will increase; indeed we will meet [not really, bec we won’t be extant at that point] the ‘snowball Earth’ and ‘runaway greenhouse’ instabilities.”

    A U curve, who’d have known….except all scientists here.

  769. Walter Manny:

    Ray, it is absolutely the case that I cannot find another, better model than what comprises the consensus model at the moment. Obviously, that does not mean the consensus model is correct, though it is of course enormously appealing to our chronocentric minds to believe otherwise. We theorized a crisis, we found the crisis, and we saved helpless future generations from the result of our potential folly. What could be more gratifying for a scientist to go to his grave thinking he has changed the world for the better?

    Trenberth’s “travesty” lament gives you [and Trenbeth] no pause, no doubt, and you are convinced we are still anthropogenically warming even if our instrumentation is not quite what we want. I read stuff, as you know, and I am unable to share in your monotheism yet. I find any and all single-shooter theories to be logically unlikely, and I doubt I am the only [insert pejorative here] who shies away from: It’s The Sunspots, It’s The Cosmic Rays, Its The CO2, It’s The Aerosols; It’s The Excess Marshmallow Fluff. Surely it’s a mix of things, and even more surely, once we jettison the politics, we will find a better, more complex model that will make our current models look silly. Seems as though history could teach us something there, plus which the last time I looked to the skies, I could swear I saw some Brownian motion up there.

    I find the whole consensus presentation to be grossly oversimplified and, more famously, oversold. As many of the EAU emails show, there is at least some anxiety about how rock-solid the whole thing is and great concern about how matters need to be presented to the credulous public. The debate about sensitivity seems to me almost comically unresolved, the ‘thirty year’ gold standard arbitrarily established, the ten-year pause obfuscated…

    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. I’m sitting in my kitchen now, as an example, chatting with Dick and Will, who are helping me edit this note – hold on, the phone just rang – never mind, it was just Exxon calling again, apologizing for the delay in payment. Oh, hi, Steve, Senator, Roger & Roger [they just walked in]. Sorry, must run… time for more indoctrination.

  770. imapopulistnow:

    A new topic: Science Integrity.

    What is needed most today is the restoration of confidence in all science, particularly climate science.

    This will only happen when the public concludes that scientists and their spokespersons are bending over backwards to be fair, objective and completely open in their efforts.

    You guys got caught in a trap of thinking, expecting the mainstream media and politicians would unquestioningly support your work and this resulted in a lowering of scientific standards and a politicization of the scientific process.

    Now it is time to be totally open. Let the cards fall where ever, discourage the rhetoric and false accusations ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ISSUE and stick just to the facts. Do not belittle, attack the speaker, feign arrogant superior knowledge and moral authority. Rather seek first to understand the positions of everyone and seek to inform and educate. Listen to the contrarians and answer every point thoughtfully. Caution anyone who shows emotional bias – BOTH SIDES – to adhere to the scientific principals of discovery, skepticism and change as new information becomes available.

    [edit]

    Why not add a skeptic to you site to allow both sides to be heard. Or team up with a skeptic site to share in some capacity. Many of us truly just seek the truth. Many of us truly believe we are not being told the truth. We are not deniers, we are skeptics and rightly so. It is your responsibility not to change us into believers, but to present the facts so that we can make informed decisions.

    [Response: But you have already decided. And in fact you have already decided that scientists can’t be trusted. And if everything we say is suspect, how can there be communication? Where are these honest ‘sceptics’ who don’t actually agree with the basic consensus or the six reasons why CO2 emissions are a problem? Find someone who genuinely disagrees and who doesn’t subscribe to juvenile conspiracy theories or keep repeating long-debunked nonsense and perhaps we can talk. – gavin]

  771. Matthew:

    747, Ray Ladbury: A true skeptic must have a sufficient grasp of the subject matter to be able to offer an alternative interpretation of the evidence–all of the evidence.

    A true skeptic is a person who believes that the case had been completely made, a person who gives weight to the omissions or lacunae in the scientific evidence. Einstein, for example, was skeptical of quantum mechanics, and physicists were skeptical of Wegener’s hypothesis without having an alternative explanation. Someone who believes that all the shortcomings of AGW theory will be resolved in favor of AGW is a “believer”, not a “student”.

    The rate of warming from the late 70s through the late 90s has not been sustained since the late 90s. Within AGW there is not a good explanation for that. A skeptic need not have an explanation for that in order to note that it is a reason to doubt assertions by AGW proponents that the warming trend will resume imminently.

    [Response: Your framing of this is all wrong. The issue is that decisions are being made right now that will strongly influence GHG levels in the future. Thus you are required to weight the potential for harm that increasing CO2 levels will have in any ethical decision. (I am assuming (hopefully without fear of contradiction) that the you think that decisions should be made ethically). If people are persuaded that there is substantial risk associated with increased CO2 in the future, then they should act on that. This does not make them ‘believers’ in the pejorative sense you imply. They might well continue to update their opinion in the light of new information. However, people who refuse to update their prior beliefs in the light of new information are rightly lambasted – and frankly that includes a lot of the so-called skeptics who have taken confirmation bias and made it into an art form. The fact that there is no coherent alternative explanation for is being observed weighs strongly in many people’s assessments of what is the most likely explanation of changes so far and thus what might be expected in the future. Informing decisions with the best available information is just common sense. – gavin]

  772. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    #760, Hi Joe. RE:

    Anyway my interest lies in the consequences to our lives, so maybe you could discuss topics such as

    1- what should to be done
    2- what cna be done
    3- and how much does it cost??

    This is where I have some useful knowledge…bec I’ve been doing it. (And if you’re religious, then praying for knowledge about what to do & praying for fortitude to do it really really helps….I even keep an image of a starving African madonna & child in my mind’s eye to inspire me to keep at it….Africa will be worst hit by AGW enhanced droughts & crop/livestock failure and famine).

    There are the basic principles of energy/resource efficiency/conservation. Why “resource” — because the mining/drilling, processing, shipping, manufacturing, shopping, etc also entails lots of energy & GHG emissions. Water entails energy for pumping and heating. Industrial (tractor) agriculture entails lots of energy & water (which entails energy to pump). Also synthetic fertilizers entail other GHGs, as well as energy to extract raw materials & manufacture. There there is all the paperwork at all stages — that’s trees that absorb CO2.

    So that main idea is to REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, and of the 3 REDUCE is the most effective. So double think, “Do I really need this, or really desire it (or is the desire manufactured by others, by advertisers)?” “Will it really bring me greater health, comfort, and happiness?” That should cut our purchases down by 20 to 60%, depending on how frugal we were to start. And think how much money that will save us, and we won’t need ever-increaingly bigger houses to store all that junk we don’t really need or want — so lower electric bills, etc. Moving closer to work on your next move will save money & improve health (less time in fumy car, or walk or cycle to work).

    REUSE is the next principle. Avoid throwaway plates, cups, napkins (we bought a bunch of cheap cotton ones with design to hide the stains for daily use, which we just throw in the laundry), hankies (to wipe hands in public restrooms; avoiding paper throwaways also reduces destroying trees, as does using the other side of paper (I get lots of quality paper at the library, reams of it, which still have one good side, and I hardly ever use new paper). Think how less your trash will be, how fewer times you have to lug it out to the curb, and if everyone did that, the garbage bills could be reduced (less taxes). A low-flow showerhead costing $6 (using 1/2 the heated water) has saved us about $100 in water & water heating bills per year (I actually measured the different with a bucket and stop watch), and that was 20 years ago, so we’ve saved $2000, AND we can’t tell the difference between the old and new showerhead! There are lots of energy/resource products that will help us reduce our bills. Also buy at garage sales; and sell your unwanted stuff there.

    RECYCLE is the next principle — manufacturing from recycled materials saves energy and finite resources. Aluminum tops the list here — I think it is a 90% saving in energy, and we save the rainforests, bec that where bauxite to make aluminum comes from. Other materials have various energy savings from recycling as well. For businesses they can go on “closed-loop” systems, which save them money. I read about a plating company in Mass. in the early 90s that used a lot of water & dumped the polluted water into the river; they were trying to meet the upcoming EPA standards and finally hit upon such a system, recycling the water instead, taking out the pollutants (that were actually valuable resources); they figured they could pay for the closed loop system through water savings in a few years, but ended up paying for itself within a year — the city main broke shortly after they installed it, and they would have had to shut down operations for 3 days, but they were able to carry on, saving them $100,000.

    You can also go on ALTERNATIVE ENERGY — for instance, we are on GreenMountain 100% wind-generated electricity, which is a bit cheaper that the other dirty electric companies in our area.

    Now many of these have no cost or pay for themselves and go on to save money. Once you’ve saved enough and you’re on 100% wind energy, it might be time to think about your next car being an electric or a plug-in hybrid, and drive on the wind.

    And that’s just for starters…..

  773. Louise D:

    Thank you to all the people who have suggested books for the local library I’ll follow this up after the holidays.
    I’ve just got one more question for now. I’ve just watched a you tube video promoting an organisation called WeForest. Its aim is to reforest 20 million square kilometres, with the aim of slowing or preventing climate change. The film states that ‘currently global warming is adding 1.6 watts of heat per sq metre of land. If that sq metre is covered by a cloud 80 watts of heat is reflected back into space. A’2% increase in cloud cover could halt global warming in its tracks.’ I am sure there are many good reasons for reforestation but I find it difficult to believe the above statement, it seems far too simplistic. Could someone with more knowledge than I have comment please.

  774. Brian Dodge:

    Frank Giger — 24 December 2009 @ 12:16 PM
    “The NW passage opened in the 1940’s. A one off event? Possibly. When it opened briefly a few years back, however, it was once again pointed to as unprecedented proof of AGW.”

    http://hnsa.org/ships/stroch.htm
    RCMPV ST. ROCH
    Length: 104 feet, 3 inches
    Beam: 24 feet, 9 inches
    Depth of Hold: 11 feet
    Draft: 12 feet, 6 inches
    Displacement: 323 tons
    “St. Roch was also designed to serve when frozen-in for the winter as a floating detachment with its constables mounting dog sled patrols from the ship. …Between 1940 and 1942 St. Roch navigated the Northwest Passage, arriving in Halifax harbor on October 11, 1942.”

    http://www.sailboatlistings.com/view/14986
    Cloud Nine
    Length 57′
    Beam 14’7′
    Draft 9′

    http://www.startribune.com/local/11606756.html
    “A Minnesota couple completed a 6,600-mile voyage by sailboat through the Northwest Passage.”
    “Retired Minnesota hog farmer Roger Swanson and his wife, Gaynelle Templin…”
    “Assisted by climate changes that have made the Northwest Passage ice-free into September, Swanson and his six-person crew completed the 6,600-mile journey through the Passage in 73 days, setting several firsts along the way.” on “Swanson’s 57-foot sailboat, Cloud Nine,”

    No one can claim with any credibility that conditions in the 40s in the arctic are the same as today.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2008.jpg

  775. Andrew Hobbs:

    #748 Edward Greisch

    You may believe that the toll from Chernobyl is only 56 deaths, but the International Atomic Energy Agency seems to differ.

    http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Booklets/Chernobyl/chernobyl.pdf

    They document at least 15 additional deaths related to progression of thyroid cancer in individuals who were children at the time of the incident. They also document a possible (observed though disputed) 5% increased rate of cancer deaths in the most highly contaminated group (61,000) of recovery workers, plus they have estimated that the incident could be responsible for up to 4000 additional future cancer deaths among the group of 600,000 recovery workers.

    But aside from the deaths, have you included the 5000 or so cases of thyroid cancer which have a ‘favourable prognosis’. Note also that “the increase in thyroid cancer incidence from Chernobyl will continue for many more years, although the long term magnitude of risk is difficult to quantify”. One should also note the many health effects such as a greatly increased incidence of cataracts and circulatory diseases in exposed recovery workers (up to 600,000 of those in total).

    The other Chernobyl reactors are operational but not by people who live there. They are housed in a separate village some 45 km away, outside of the 30km exclusion zone, and transported in each day. These workers are closely monitored for health effects and accumulation of radionuclides.

    There are people who live within the exclusion zone, but these are mostly old people who have refused to leave their homes and have accepted the health consequences of doing so.

  776. Molnar:

    Greg Goodknight: How about answering some of the questions asked here instead of complaining how snarky everybody is, Mr. open debate? How much is your 1/3 man 2/3 nat estimate reliable? What if you are wrong?

  777. simon abingdon:

    #762 Ray Ladbury

    “…clouds (no longer vapor) will either”

    ” a) precipitate out fairly rapidly”

    This is irrelevant since clouds which have not yet precipitated are always replacing those that have. (And may I say again that at least 60% of the Earth’s surface is cloud covered at any time).

    ” b) cool things by reflecting sunlight”

    Yes, clouds passing in front of the sun are cooling, as any fule kno.

    ” c) warm things by reflecting outgoing IR”

    Obviously not more than b) during daylight hours, and while the effect of night-time clouds reduces the effect of radiative cooling, it clearly doesn’t enable any warming as such since the sun has already set.

    “The net effect of the clouds is uncertain, but current research indicates a slight net warming effect.”

    Perhaps this is more than a little surprising in the light of the foregoing, so perhaps you’d like to explain.

    Thanks again for your time.

  778. Martin Vermeer:

    Walter Manny #769, the reason Exxon and friends aren’t paying you is, you aren’t smart enough. Lying successfully is hard work: I suggest you cheat on your wife and get a lover for training. Or study Marc Morano (seriously).

    A successful liar is well familiar with, and understands, the truth he is misrepresenting. Folks like you are suckers, not liars.

    But Exxon loves you anyway :-)

  779. Jaime Frontero:

    Re #282:

    “Jim Hansen clearly refers to 4th generation nuclear power. He’s thinking of reactors that use thorium instead of uranium as the primary fuel. The process also burns up weapons grade fissionable elements and nuclear waste. It reduces the danger of storing nuclear waste from millennia to centuries.”

    With all due respect Mr. Jones, I can only respond to your post thusly; with a quote from Wikipedia:

    “Generation IV reactors (Gen IV) are a set of theoretical nuclear reactor designs currently being researched. Most of these designs are generally not expected to be available for commercial construction before 2030, with the exception of a version of the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) called the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP). The NGNP is to be completed by 2021.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_IV_reactor

    …and from Hansen’s newsletter, quoted in your first link:

    “…If that were the end of the story, I would not have any enthusiasm for nuclear power. However, it is clear that 4th generation nuclear power can be ready in the medium-term, within about 20 years.”

    Now it may be that these reactors could do the job that needs doing. Someday.

    But forgive me – I really do believe that this is a job which needs doing *now*. You can – maybe – have *one* of these reactors online in twenty years. Or so. And then we get to de-bug the concept with practical experience.

    Personally, I prefer the idea of solar. Especially solar PV. It’s ready now. And yes, the grid needs updating – but we’re planning on doing that anyway.

    Sorry. Twenty years away is too late. I won’t even go into the depressingly familiar predictions of *fusion* power generation…

  780. Hank Roberts:

    > Simon Abington
    > while the effect of night-time clouds reduces the effect of
    > radiative cooling, it clearly doesn’t enable any warming as
    > such since the sun has already set.

    So, say you’re sleeping on the beach. You don’t pull a blanket over you when the sun goes down, because that won’t enable any warming. Right?

  781. simon abingdon:

    #780 Hank Roberts

    “So, say you’re sleeping on the beach. You don’t pull a blanket over you when the sun goes down, because that won’t enable any warming. Right?”

    No, I think that’s quite wrong.

    Because what could the source of any warming be? Only the heat of your body fuelled by internal metabolic processes. The blanket just limits the rate at which this leaks away.

    Blankets aren’t a source of warming Hank.

  782. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    #770, Hi Matthew. RE:

    A true skeptic is a person who believes that the case had been completely made, a person who gives weight to the omissions or lacunae in the scientific evidence….Someone who believes that all the shortcomings of AGW theory will be resolved in favor of AGW is a “believer”, not a “student”.

    I’m a believer and student. I use Pascal’s wager (see Wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_wager) as both, and as a stat teacher.

    THE FALSE POSITIVE: If we believe AGW is happening when it is not happening, and we take measures to mitigate, we will save lots of money (see #772 above) and strengthen the economy, and mitigate many other problems — environmental ones such as local pollution (which causes “natural” abortions and birth defects among many other harms) & acid rain & ocean acidification, etc etc; and non-environmental ones, such as averting wars over oil and lives & taxes lost for those.

    THE FALSE NEGATIVE: If we believe AGW is not happening, but it really is and we fail to mitigate, we will not only lose out on all those great money saving, life saving, economy strengthening actions, but will also push the world into a dying hell, and end up in a much hotter place than a globally warmed world….for all eternity no less.

    So the choice is ours. As for me and my house we decide to mitigate.

  783. Spaceman Spiff:

    simon abingdon@777

    The role of clouds in Earth’s climate is complex. Clouds don’t just act as “reflectors” of visible light. They are black to much of the IR.

    Clouds of any type at any altitude on the night side of the Earth keep the Earth’s surface warmer than it otherwise would have been. On the day side, high thin clouds are net “warmers”, while continuous thick low clouds (e.g., the stratus family) are net “coolers”. (Note the key word “net”.) The primary reason for the latter case is because the IR optical depth measured from low altitudes outward is already huge in clear skies, so the additional positive radiative forcing introduced by low-altitude clouds doesn’t add much to the total forcing. On the other hand, the thin clouds at high altitudes (e.g. the cirrus family) are well above much of the water vapor in the atmosphere, so their additional positive radiative forcing is a big deal.

    Keep in mind that the above is still a simplification, and while the effects of clouds continue to be one of the more important uncertainties in understanding Earth’s climate, there is much that is known about them.

  784. Ray Ladbury:

    BFJ asks “Of at least as much importance, is : what would constitute falsification? In simple terms, 20 years of no overall temperature increases in keeping with CO2 increases?”

    Anthropogenic global climate change is a prediction of the consensus model of Earth’s climate–not a hypothesis. If we were to observe no warming for 20 years, it would certainly indicate that our theory was missing something. It would not, however, negate the known greenhouse properties of CO2 as a well mixed, long-lived greenhouse gas.

    20 years? Well, we’ve already had a period of about 30 years where we saw very little if any warming, and what happened? Even at the time, several climate scientists speculated that the lack of warming might be due to aerosols from the combustion of fossil fuels. Some even speculated that this effect could become dominant and result in a mini-Ice Age–I’m sure you guys know about that one as you quote that great scientific journal Newsweek regularly. As it turned out, the reason the mini-ice-age idea was wrong was because the scientists involved thought CO2 forcing was lower than it really is. Subsequently, the effects of aerosols were modeled correctly validating the hypothesis of aerosol cooling from 1944-1974.

    The net result: Our range for CO2 sensitivity narrowed and centered on 3 degrees per doubling. Far from doing away with concern about anthropogenic climate change, this episode showed it was more serious than many had thought.

    If you want to make the spectre of climate change due to anthropogenic CO2 go away, your best strategy is to come up with an alterntive to the consensus theory of Earth’s climate. It it explains the data as well and if it has greater predictive power, climate scientists and the rest of the scientific community will jump at it. ‘Til then, there’s a small matter called “evidence” which we cannot ignore.

  785. fabio:

    can anyone debunk this?

    http://sbvor.blogspot.com/2009/10/climate-change-science-overview.html

  786. dhogaza:

    Why not add a skeptic to you site to allow both sides to be heard.

    And any site run by geologists should include a young earth creationist so both sides can be heard. Any site run by biologists should include a creationist so the anti-science side can be heard. NASA’s site should include at least one blogger who believes the moon landings were hoaxed.

    Etc.

    Good grief.

  787. dhogaza:

    The rate of warming from the late 70s through the late 90s has not been sustained since the late 90s. Within AGW there is not a good explanation for that.

    If this is true, can you explain why individual GCM runs show similar variability?

    Are you *sure* you know what you’re talking about?

  788. SecularAnimist:

    I wrote: “The USA, not France, generates more electricity from nuclear power than any other country in the world. So, obviously the suggestion that nuclear was ‘argued out of existence’ in the USA is absurd.”

    MattInSeattle wrote: “You are comparing a small country and a large one. And you know better. What if the US were at 80% of our electricity consumption were from nuclear, like France?”

    My whole point is that nuclear proponents are being disingenuous when they say that the USA should emulate France.

    For France to generate 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear requires a little more than half as many reactors as the USA already operates. For the USA to generate 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear could easily require ten times as many reactors as France currently operates. There is no remotely plausible plan for building that many reactors in the USA, let alone fueling and operating them for decades.

    Nor is there any need to build hundreds of new nuclear power plants, since the USA has vast commercially-exploitable wind and solar and geothermal energy resources, which are more than sufficient to provide more electricity than the entire country uses, with plenty left over to electrify ground transport — using today’s technology, which is already being rapidly deployed.

  789. dhogaza:

    fabio:

    can anyone debunk this?

    Well, we know that millions of years ago conditions one earth were such that it was inhospitable to our agriculture-based economy that supports billions of humans today.

    Is this supposed to comfort us as we create conditions on earth that in the near future might also be inhospitable to our agriculture-based economy, leading to increased pain, suffering and in some cases death among these billions of humans alive today, and in the next couple of generations?

    I mean … let’s go all out here … go back far enough and EARTH DIDN’T EVEN EXIST! Therefore … nothing to worry about!

  790. SecularAnimist:

    Note the “bait and switch” argument so often used by nuclear proponents:

    First, the argument is that we need to replace all coal-fired power plants with nuclear power within seven years because nuclear power is the only “mature” technology that can do this economically in such a short time frame.

    Then, when the facts show that today’s “mature” nuclear technology simply cannot be scaled up that quickly, because it is staggeringly expensive, and takes far too long to build, is constrained by limited resources, and is plagued by the same safety problems as ever, as demonstrated by the actual delays and actual cost overruns and actual safety problems of “new generation” nuclear power plants that are actually under construction —

    Well then, suddenly the argument is all about “fourth generation” nuclear power plants, which don’t exist except as science fiction, and are not expected even by their proponents to be ready to feed a single kilowatt into the grid for at least 20 years.

    And as to the gigantic cost overruns and lengthy construction delays for new nuclear power plants being caused by “protestors”, please show me the protestors who have caused the multi-billion dollar cost overruns and multi-year delays that are afflicting the French AREVA “new generation” reactors under construction in Finland and France. Show me the news reports of the massive Greenpeace protests and lawsuits that have caused those problems. You can’t, because they don’t exist. Those problems are inherent in the nuclear technology itself.

    But of course, that’s the problem, the nuclear proponents will say. AREVA shouldn’t be building the “new generation” power plants that the nuclear industry has touted as cheaper and faster to build, they should be building “fourth generation” power plants that won’t have those inherent problems and will really be faster and cheaper to build. Once the “fourth generation” technology actually exists, that is. In twenty years.

  791. simon abingdon:

    #783 Spaceman Spiff

    “Clouds of any type at any altitude on the night side of the Earth keep the Earth’s surface warmer than it otherwise would have been.”

    They can’t cause any increase in temperature however. Everything cools at night (disregarding irrelevancies).

    But I’m still surprised that cirrus clouds can cause an increase in temperature since their principal effect must be to “block” the sun’s radiation.

    Maybe my problem is what words are understood to mean in the scientific community.

    For me, “to warm” or “to cause warming” is “to raise the temperature of”, “to cool” or “to cause cooling” is to “lower the temperature of”.

    If cirrus clouds “interfere” with the sun’s incoming radiation, how can they cause temperatures to be raised at the surface?

  792. Ray Ladbury:

    Simon Abingdon,
    Constant temperature is a sign of a system at equilibrium–that is Energy_in=Energy_out. If the system is warming, it can mean that Energy_in is increasing or that Energy_out is decreasing. I hope that is sufficiently clear that you can comprehend.

  793. Brian Brademeyer:

    #777 simon abingdon

    >>>> “…while the effect of night-time clouds reduces the effect of radiative cooling, it clearly doesn’t enable any warming as such since the sun has already set.”

    So reduced cooling clearly doesn’t equate to warming! Nominated for 2009 Howler of the Year!

  794. Ray Ladbury:

    Critical Thinker, No. What makes you a troll is:
    1)Your insistence on distorting what people say into a straw-man caricature and persisting in this despinte being called on it by more than one poster.
    2)Your refusal to engage on substance or evidence.
    3)Your insistence on anonymity and further the adoption of a nomme de Plume that is simply banal.

    What makes you a concern troll is your insistence on criticising the views of others without having sufficient courage to share your own views. I hope that makes the taxonomy clearer.

  795. Timothy Chase:

    Blair Dowden,

    Towards the end of your comment, you state in 767:

    I would expect such a dramatic challenge to not only the current consensus of the climate community, but also to a major geological theory, would appear in a submission to a peer reviewed journal, with plenty of time allowed for discussion in the scientific community, before it is presented as fact to the public.

    I take it that you think we should play it safe. So does Hansen — although perhaps not in quite the same way.

    But lets examine your argument. You state:

    I would like to comment on James Hansen’s claim (in the 2008 Bjerknes Lecture referenced by #473) that a human induced runaway greenhouse effect (Venus Syndrome) is possible. He claims that a forcing of 10 to 20 watts per square meter (which I roughly translate into four doublings of CO2, or about 2000 ppm) would be sufficient. We had this situation during the Cretaceous, when the solar constant he cites was about 1% lower, and I do not see how slow feedbacks such as weathering have much affect on a runaway greenhouse.

    More to the point, after citing the “snowball earth” events in the past, he failed to spell out how the Earth recovered from them. According to this paper, Ken Caldeira and Jim Kasting estimated that carbon dioxide reached 0.12 bar (120,000 ppm!), and calculations by Raymond Pierrehumbert suggesed that tropical sea-surface temperatures reached 50 degrees Celsius. While these extreme events are controversial, I have never seen them challenged on the basis they would cause a runaway greenhouse effect.

    Snowball earth during the Cretaceous! I would say someone should… oh, wait a second, that wasn’t Hansen but your bringing up a 1% reduction in the solar constant during the Cretaceous with the 120,000 ppm of “snowball earth” — to show how absurd Hansen’s claims are. But the hypothetical snowball earth would have been much earlier than the Cretaceous — which was 206-144 million years ago.

    In fact, according to the informal paper you cite:

    Given that solar luminosity 600-700 million years ago was about six percent lower than today due to stellar evolution, Ken Caldeira and Jim Kasting at The Pennsylvania State University estimated that roughly 0.12 bar of carbon dioxide (about 350 times the present concentration) would have been required to overcome the albedo of a snowball Earth. Assuming current rates of volcanic carbon dioxide emissions, a Neoproterozoic “snowball” Earth would have lasted for millions to tens of million of years before the sea ice would begin to melt at the Equator. A “snowball” Earth would not only be the most severe glaciation conceivable, it would be the most prolonged.

    The Snowball Earth
    by Paul F. Hoffman and Daniel P. Schrag
    http://www-eps.harvard.edu/people/faculty/hoffman/snowball_paper.html

    … the hypothetical snowball earth would have been “600-700 million years ago.” Given this, the solar constant at the time would have been not one percent lower than today, but “six percent.” And according to the paper by Hansen that you cite a doubling of carbon dioxide is equivilent to a 2% increase in the solar constant, meaning that we would have an additional 3 doublings to reach 10-20 watts per square meter above current levels. Granting Hansen the benefit of a doubt, lets say that we are talking about an additional 20 watts per square meter above current levels. And following standard practice, rather than assuming that we are talking about current levels (where currently we have 375 ppm) we are talking about 20 watts above pre-industrial with its 275 ppm. This works to Hansen’s disadvantage, but it is the standard way of performing such calculations.

    Now according to the paper by Hansen that you cite, each doubling of carbon dioxide results in an additional 4 watts per square meter. This implies 5 doublings to reach 20 watts per square meter. So at this point snowball earth would have had to have been 8 doublings above current level for it to achieve what would have been equivilent to 20 watts per square meter above pre-industrial. This translates into 128 times pre-industrial. And according to the passage quoted above in the non-technical paper by Hoffman and Schrag you cite, for us to escape snowball earth CO2 levels would have had to have been 350 times — I would presume — pre-industrial.

    Suddenly it isn’t looking like Hansen’s views are such a challenge to snowball earth, is it? That is, since 350 divided by 128 is 2.73. Furthermore, our calculations have been assuming current climate sensitivity — whether we are speaking of watts per square meter per doubling of CO2 or degrees Celsius per doubling. Current climate sensitivity is due to (among other things) the current configuration of the continents.

    No reason to think that continents and their configuration would have been anything comparable to what they are today at the time of the melting of snowball earth. And if climate sensitivity were different that throws pretty much all of the calculations I performed to the wind. Against that a factor of 2.73 really doesn’t seem all that significant.

    Once melting began to take place one could begin to expect rain rather than snow, and with rain at an acidity much higher than current levels (given the extremely high levels of carbon dioxide) and newly-exposed rock we really should expect the process of weathering to greatly exceed current levels. More importantly, it isn’t simply the weathering of rocks which would have taken high levels of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, but cold sea water becoming exposed to the atmosphere for the first time in millions of years. As such the partial pressure of sea water would have been much lower than its maximum and it would have drawn down the carbon dioxide levels much more quickly than weathering.
    *
    Now some of my argument regarding snowball earth simply aren’t applicable to the Cretaceous period. For example, regarding the temperature and consequent partial pressure of carbon dioxide in sea water. Other elements would be — for example, regarding the configuration of the continents and consequent climate sensitivity. As such the tension between Hansen’s claims and various mainstream positions isn’t nearly as severe as you make them out to be.

    This isn’t to say that I think we have to worry about the Venus Syndrome. I don’t. I think it is much more likely that, even if we were to deliberately seek to bring it about by using up all our conventional and unconventional fossil fuel, the climate change that we would experience along the way would be enough to topple modern civilization long before we made the Venus Syndrome an inevitable consequence of our actions.

    However, my views on this matter aren’t necessarily the same as Hansen’s. And I can understand if he wants to play it safe.

  796. Ray Ladbury:

    Matthew says, “The rate of warming from the late 70s through the late 90s has not been sustained since the late 90s.
    WRONG!!!

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/riddle-me-this/

    Matthew continues: “Within AGW there is not a good explanation for that.”
    WRONG!!!

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/what-the-ipcc-models-really-say/

    A skeptic has to have the foggiest notion of his subject. Like so many who would assume that mantle, you don’t have the chops to claim it.

  797. Hank Roberts:

    > Simon Abington
    > while the effect of night-time clouds reduces the effect of
    > radiative cooling, it clearly doesn’t enable any warming as
    > such since the sun has already set.

    So try another thought experiment. You have a hot water bottle.
    You leave it out in the sun all day, then put it under the covers at night.
    What’s happening?

    You have the same amount of water over you as nighttime clouds.
    What’s happening?

    No warming in either case, because the sun isn’t shining?

  798. Edward Greisch:

    752 Philippe Chantreau: How has France dealt with the protests so that a sufficient number of nuclear power plants have been built in France?

  799. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #756 Greg Goodknight

    What you don’t seem to realize is that with your BS physics you are the snarky one, denigrating the actual science and those that represent it in its most reasonable context.

    I don’t fully understand gravity, but like gravity and mass, snark attracts snark in measured response, or overwhelming lunacy. So, you come into a science blog and toss up a bunch of debunked arguments based on your limited (myopic) perspective, and you’re calling others snarky? Snark is as snark does.

    You buy into Svensmarks argument because you don’t understand the science surrounding it in radiative forcing and the quantitative analysis on GHG’s.

    So realistically, you should just take your well veiled snark talk and go somewhere else… he who denigrates intelligence to support argument from belief denigrates himself…

    …unless of course you are now willing to learn, in which case most everyone here would be happy to help you.

    Oh, I’m sorry, was I denigrating? You might like to think so.

  800. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #757 BFJ

    The inner workings of the IPCC are no mystery. It’s merely an organization that has to deliver on collecting the science on the subject of climate change and issuing reports.

    No an easy job though. There are lot’s of contributors and they have to verify the science and confidence levels as best as possible before specific report dates.

    In other words, it’s an administrative organization to deliver reports in accord with specifications.

  801. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #761 BFJ

    How do you figure there has been no warming in 20 years?

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/temperature

  802. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #778 Martin Vermeer

    Excellent perspective!

  803. Ian George:

    Ray @784

    So aerosols caused the cooling from 1944-1974. Fair enough.
    But what caused the temperature to rise quickly (nearly 0.5C) from 1910-1940 when there was an increase in CO2 levels of only 10ppm in that period?
    In the past 30 years we have seen a 50ppm rise in CO2 for about a 0.6C increase in temp.
    The figures do not add up.
    Your theory of catastrophic warming relies not on CO2 alone but the resultant positive feedbacks from water vapour, the largest GHG. Water vapour can of course have a negative feedback through greater cloud cover and precipitation. No one really knows what is happening.
    If you want people to believe you, you must provide the proof, not us who question the ‘evidence’.

    [Response: Perhaps you could point me to the section in the IPCC report where it says that CO2 is the only forcing and that there is no unforced variability in temperatures? While we’re waiting, I’d like to point out that it isn’t scientists’ jobs to prove to you strawman statements that they’ve never made. – gavin]

  804. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #785 fabio

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unforced-variations/comment-page-16/#comment-151380

    Facts out of context. Gee, that was easy. Essentially, the gist of the page is a pile of red herrings. Add rye bread and some cheese and you’ve got some snacks but no relevant perspectives on the science in accord with the ridiculous arguments as presented.

    Think of it this way: Humans did not exist while dinosaurs walked around on the planet.

    Also, our modern civilization and infrastructure has been built in accord with a particular climate, around thermal equilibrium, in the most recent 10,000 years.

    Now we have added a significant amount of forcing.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    That means moving and changing infrastructure. How rich are you?

  805. simon abingdon:

    #793 Brian Brademeyer

    “So reduced cooling clearly doesn’t equate to warming! Nominated for 2009 Howler of the Year!”

    That’s right Brian, reduced cooling (like in a Thermos Flask perhaps) doesn’t equate to warming. Did you think it did?

    Perhaps I should nominate “So reduced cooling clearly doesn’t equate to warming! Nominated for 2009 Howler of the Year!” for “2009 Howler of the Year!”?

    [Response: No. Everyone is discussing temperature anomalies. Warming or cooling relative to some other situation. Using a blanket keeps you wamer than you otherwise would be, GHG, nighttime clouds – or high clouds at any time – keep the planet warmer than it otherwise might be. Please try and go back to arguing about something vaguely interesting. – gavin]

  806. caerbannog:

    #795 Timothy Chase: “But the hypothetical snowball earth would have been much earlier than the Cretaceous — which was 206-144 million years ago.”

    I’m sure that you meant 145-65MYA for the Cretaceous. Didn’t really want to nitpick here — just wanted to deny Dowden the opportunity to jump all over a “thinko” in an attempt to discredit your reply.

  807. Matthew:

    796, Ray Ladbury

    From the second of your two links: ver a twenty year period, you would be on stronger ground in arguing that a negative trend would be outside the 95% confidence limits of the expected trend (the one model run in the above ensemble suggests that would only happen ~2% of the time).

    And after 10 more years of the non-warming, we shall have a better appreciation of which of the models might be correct, and whether they are all wrong in important ways. According to AGW, what is the explanation for the lack of warming of the last 10 years or so, random variation? Trenberth rather bemoaned the lack of an explanation. Does AGW predict that the resumption of the trends of 1855-1885 (appx), 1915-1935 (appx) and 1977-1997 (appx) will occur randomly?

  808. Edward Greisch:

    775 Andrew Hobbs: Benzene is a far more potent cancer causer. Benzene is found in petroleum and coal. I bet on benzene as the cause of those cancers. Radiation doesn’t cause cancer efficiently. If you want a guinea pig to get cancer, you paint it with benzene, NOT irradiate it.

    Background radiation
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_radiation

    Background radiation is the ionizing radiation from several natural radiation
    sources: sources in the Earth and from those sources that are incorporated in our
    food and water, which are incorporated in our body, and in building materials and
    other products that incorporate those radioactive sources; radiation sources from
    space (in the form of cosmic rays); and sources in the atmosphere which
    primarily come from both the radon gas that is released from the earth’s surface
    and subsequently decays to radioactive atoms that become attached to airborne
    dust and particulates, and the production of radioactive atoms from the
    bombardment of atoms in the upper atmosphere by high-energy cosmic rays.
    Since 1945 it also comes from low levels of global radioactive contamination due
    to nuclear testing.
    Contents

    1 Natural background radiation
    1.1 Cosmic radiation
    1.2 Terrestrial sources
    1.3 Radon

    2 Artificial “background” radiation
    3 Artificial radiation sources
    4 Other usage
    5 References

    Natural background radiation

    Natural background radiation comes from three primary sources: cosmic
    radiation, terrestrial sources, and radon. The worldwide average background dose
    for a human being is about 2.4 mSv per year [1] (pdf). This exposure is mostly
    from cosmic radiation and natural isotopes in the Earth.

    Cosmic radiation

    The Earth, and all living things on it, are constantly bombarded by radiation from
    outside our solar system of positively charged ions from protons to iron nuclei.
    This radiation interacts in the atmosphere to create secondary radiation that rains
    down, including X-rays, muons, protons, alpha particles, pions, electrons, and
    neutrons. The dose from cosmic radiation is largely from muons, neutrons, and
    electrons.

    The dose rate from cosmic radiation varies in different parts of the world based
    largely on the geomagnetic field and altitude.

    Terrestrial sources

    Radioactive material is found throughout nature. It occurs naturally in the soil,
    rocks, water, air, and vegetation. The major radionuclides of concern for
    terrestrial radiation are potassium, uranium and thorium. Each of these sources
    has been decreasing in activity since the birth of the Earth so that our present
    dose from potassium-40 is about 1⁄2 what it would have been at the dawn of life
    on Earth. Some of the elements that make up the human body have radioactive
    isotopes, such as potassium-40, so there is also a very small amount of internal
    radiation.

    Radon

    Radon gas seeps out of uranium-containing soils found across most of the world
    and may concentrate in well-sealed homes. It is often the single largest
    contributor to an individual’s background radiation dose and is certainly the most
    variable in the United States. Many areas of the world, including Cornwall and
    Aberdeenshire in the United Kingdom have high enough natural radiation levels
    that nuclear licensed sites cannot be built there—the sites would already exceed
    legal radiation limits before they opened, and the natural topsoil and rock would
    all have to be disposed of as low-level nuclear waste.

    Artificial “background” radiation

    Every above-ground nuclear detonation scatters a certain amount of radioactive contamination. Some of this contamination is local, rendering the immediate surroundings highly radioactive, while some of it is carried longer distances as nuclear fallout; some of this material is dispersed worldwide. Nuclear reactors may also release a certain amount of radioactive contamination. Under normal circumstances, a modern nuclear reactor releases minuscule amounts of radioactive contamination. However, reprocessing plants released waste, including plutonium, directly into the ocean. Major accidents, which have fortunately been relatively rare, have also released some radioactive contamination into the environment; this is the case, for example, with the Windscale fire (Sellafield accident) and the Chernobyl accident.

    The amount of radioactive contamination released by human activity is rather small, in global terms, but the radiation background is also rather low. Some sources claim that the Earth’s background radiation level has tripled since the beginning of the twentieth century. In fact, the total amount of radioactivity released by man is inconsequential to the large quantities of radioactivity in the natural environment [2] (pdf).

    Artificial radiation sources

    The radiation from natural and artificial radiation sources are identical in their nature and their effects. These materials are distributed in the environment, and in our bodies, according to the chemical properties of the elements. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other U.S. and international agencies, require that licensees limit radiation exposure to individual members of the public to 100 mrem (1 mSv) per year, and limit occupational radiation exposure to adults working with radioactive material to 5 rem (50 mSv) per year, and 10 rem (100 mSv) in 5 years.

    The exposure for an average person is about 360 millirems/year, 80 percent of which comes from natural sources of radiation. The remaining 20 percent results from exposure to artificial radiation sources, such as medical X-rays and a small fraction from nuclear weapons tests.

    Other usage

    In other contexts, background radiation may simply be any radiation that is pervasive. A particular example of this is the cosmic microwave background radiation, a nearly uniform glow that fills the sky in the microwave part of the spectrum; stars, galaxies and other objects of interest in radio astronomy stand out against this background.

    In a laboratory, background radiation refers to the measured value from any sources that affect an instrument when a radiation source sample is not being measured. This background rate, which must be established as a stable value by multiple measurements, usually before and after sample measurement, is subtracted from the rate measured when the sample is being measured.

    Background radiation for occupational doses measured for workers is all radiation dose that is not measured by radiation dose measurement instruments in potential occupational exposure conditions. This includes both “natural background radiation” and any medical radiation doses. This value is not typically measured or known from surveys, such that variations in the total dose to individual workers is not known. This can be a significant confounding factor in assessing radiation exposure effects in a population of workers who may have significantly different natural background and medical radiation doses. This is most significant when the occupational doses are very low.

    Reference:
    http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/publications/2000_1.html
    [United Nations] UNSCEAR 2000 REPORT Vol. I

    SOURCES AND EFFECTS OF IONIZING RADIATION

    United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation
    UNSCEAR 2000 Report to the General Assembly,with scientific annexes

    Volume I: SOURCES

    CONTENTS:

    Report to the General Assembly
    (without scientific annexes;17 pages)
    Includes short overviews of the materials and conclusions contained in the scientific annexes

    Scientific Annexes:

    * 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?

  809. Timothy Chase:

    Gavin and all,

    I had stated yesterday regarding your imminent 10,000,000 visitors since 2004 in comment 711:

    I might prefer New Years Day if for nothing else than the toasting of what is past, present and yet to come, but it is looking like it will be a very Merry Christmas….

    Congratulations!

    I stayed up until 3:00 AM PST, and at that point you were shy of 10,000,000 by roughly 1,500 unique hits, so it would appear you did not make it in time for Christmas in any time zone. However, only a couple of months ago you were at less than 9,000,000 hits since December 2004, so it would appear that Real Climate is being looked to more than ever before for an understanding of what confronts humanity. And I would suggest that 10,000,000 will mark a very auspicious beginning to 2010!

  810. Radge Havers:

    @756

    ” This is exactly the sort of snarkiness that has no place in science *or* serious politics.”

    Oh great. A lecture on tone from the guy who arrived announcing himself as a “full blown scoffer,” boasted about his credentials outside of climate science, and blithely dismissed AGW with a wave of his finger, a little bit of jargon and some tired accusations about dogma, kool-aid, and denigrating the opposition — all with absolutely no sense of irony.

    Like we’ve never seen that before.

    Holy moly.

  811. Matthew:

    796, Ray Ladbury

    tamino did it one way. If you do a statistical analysis that allows for “change points” or “switching regressions”, as documented in the econometrics literature and statistics literature (theoretical analyses) and recently published in the peer-reviewed literature (for temperature), there is a statistically significant change somewhere in 1998-2000. Tamino used a statistical technique with very low power to detect a change, should such a change exist.

    Since tamino is a casual link, here is a casual link to the switching regressions report:
    a prediction of cold climate.

  812. David B. Benson:

    captdallas2 — What about “climate shock” do you need tht cannot be found in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart, first under Science Links on the sidebar?

  813. simon abingdon:

    #792 Ray

    “If the system is warming, it can mean that Energy_in is increasing or that Energy_out is decreasing”.

    Ray, I have a problem with that.

    If for example Energy_in is zero and Energy_out is decreasing the system cannot be warming. It’s just cooling more slowly. You need Energy_in to be greater than Energy_out for warming to happen.

    Or maybe I’m using words wrongly.

    If you can sort me out on that I’ll be ready for the rest of your explanation to my #777.

  814. dhogaza:

    According to AGW, what is the explanation for the lack of warming of the last 10 years or so, random variation?

    Last 10 years: warming.

    Last 10.5 years: warming.

    Last 9.5 years: warming.

  815. Ray Ladbury:

    Walter Manny, OK, I’m a little confused here as to what your proposal is. We have a threat here, the effects of which could be disastrous. You admit that the consensus theory of Earth’s climate is the best model (in fact the only model) we have today. The theory–and it is an extremely successful theory–says that if we keep going down the path we are on, we could face very severe consequences, but that if we limit our CO2 emissions, we ought to be able to avoid the worst of those consequences. So what should we do? Should we follow the counsel of what the best scientific model of the climate model tells us, or should we do the exact opposite? Those are the choices, right?

    Now, you say we might have a better model in the future. OK, but how do we make policy based on a model we don’t have now? In particular, even if we were going to get a better model, how likely do you think it is that it would dismiss CO2 to the level of unimportant player in Earth’s climate? Yes, Trenbreth and others express frustration at our inability to model short-term influences. That’s his job–to motivate people to come up with better models. We’ve had posts on that here at RC? That doesn’t invalidate the role of CO2, which is a long-term influence. Do you think that David Hilbert was indicting all of mathematics when he proposed his list of unsolved problems at the beginning of the last century.

    As to sensitivity, I find it rather remarkable that 10 independent lines of evidence all favor a sensitivity of 3 degrees per doubling:

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

    and preclude a level below 2 degrees per doubling.

    And thirty years is not really arbitrary:

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

    And what pause:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/riddle-me-this/

    It looks like a pretty consistent trend to me. In any case, if 2010 were a big El Nino year and suddenly we had another record, would all your doubts about AGW vanish?

    We can either go with the counsel of science or we can go against it. Science or anti-science. There’s no middle ground.

  816. simon abingdon:

    #805 Gavin’s response

    “Using a blanket keeps you warmer than you otherwise would be, GHG, nighttime clouds – or high clouds at any time – keep the planet warmer than it otherwise might be. Please try and go back to arguing about something vaguely interesting. – gavin”

    The sun is the only significant agency that heats the Earth. If things changed and one side of the Earth remained perpetually in darkness, that side’s temperature would fall inexorably towards zero K, more slowly in the presence of GHGs of course, but down nonetheless. If you (and climate science generally) call this a warming effect it may explain why I sometimes find you hard to understand.

  817. Ray Ladbury:

    Ian George, the warming from 1910-1944 is not as well understood as we would like. However, there were several known factors at play:
    1)Increased insolation
    2)decreased volcanic activity
    3)increased greenhouse heating

    Remember that warming due to ghg had been masked in the period from 1944-1974. Once clean air legislation removed the aerosols, the atmosphere warmed rapidly. CO2 is a continual forcing. It is not that temperature is proportional to CO2, but rather that increasing CO2 takes a bigger bite out of the outgoing IR flux, and the globe must warm up more and emit more IR as a consequence to reach equilibrium again. We’ve got the evidence. It’s up to you to learn the science so the evidence will make sense.

  818. Timothy Chase:

    caerbannog wrote in 806:

    #795 Timothy Chase: “But the hypothetical snowball earth would have been much earlier than the Cretaceous — which was 206-144 million years ago.”

    I’m sure that you meant 145-65MYA for the Cretaceous.

    You give me a little to much credit: I am a philosophy major turned computer programmer, not a paleoclimatologist, and as such I really don’t have the time frames memorized.

    caerbannog continued in 806:

    Didn’t really want to nitpick here — just wanted to deny Dowden the opportunity to jump all over a “thinko” in an attempt to discredit your reply.

    You are right, and your correction is most appreciated.

    I was giving the time period for the Jurassic. Cretaceous was 144 to 65 mya, continent configuration would have been decidedly different.

    However, according to:

    Royer DL. 2006. CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 70: 5665-5675

    … referenced in:

    Skeptical Science: CO2 has been higher in the past
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-higher-in-past.htm

    … the last time we would have been as high as 2000 ppmv of CO2 would have been 200 million years ago, which coincidentally would have been very early Jurassic. The configuration of the continents would have been decidedly different, and likewise the climate sensitivity.

    As such it really doesn’t affect the argument, likewise, just as you thought. But it would seem to suggest that both Blair and I have some additional studying to do.

  819. Ray Ladbury:

    OK, Simon, work with me here. Try to concentrate. I started with considering a system at equilibrium–Energy_in=Energy_out. In such a system if Energy_in=0, then Energy_out must equal zero, no. So Energy_out cannot decrease below zero, right? In fact, it can’t even equal zero in a real system.

    And wrt your comment to Gavin about a planet where it’s nighttime 100% of the time, I’m sorry, but we were under the impression that we were talking about Earth rather than your planet. Also, as long as there is a fluid atmosphere, it will carry heat around to the other side, and eventually, you will have so much water ice, frozen CO2, etc. that your planet will tilt it’s axis in any case.

  820. Doug Bostrom:

    simon abingdon says: 26 December 2009 at 3:47 PM

    “The sun is the only significant agency that heats the Earth. If things changed and one side of the Earth remained perpetually in darkness, that side’s temperature would fall inexorably towards zero K, more slowly in the presence of GHGs of course, but down nonetheless.”

    Yeah, well that’s not reflective of actual conditions here, hmmm? I was totally confused about the point you’re trying to make, until I scanned back a few posts and realized that you don’t seem to know how a signal can be affected by noise. The signal of interest here is AGW forcing, the uninteresting signal is unforced variation. If you don’t know what those mean, why are you wasting your glucose with thought experiments about a tidally locked Earth when you’ve got such fundamental homework to do?

  821. Ray Ladbury:

    Matthew,
    If you take a sufficiently complicated model, you can fit any data. That is why Occam’s razor is so important–or equivalently, you could use AIC. There is absolutely no physical reason given for assuming shifts in the data. Moreover, since they are modeling data with a pretty strong auto-correlation, I’d say they are on extremely shaky ground assuming such a complicated statistical model. Sorry, I’ll stick to physics rather than mere curve-fitting.

  822. Blair Dowden:

    Re #795: Timothy, sorry if there was some confusion between the two separate examples of the Cretaceous and Snowball Earth eras. And contrary to certain paranoia here, I am not going to jump on minor errors.

    Lets stick to snowball earth. Since we are talking in very round numbers, I don’t have much trouble with your analysis. I get four doublings of CO2 from pre-industrial levels to get to 16 W/M2, but a doubling of CO2 is a bit less than a 2% change in the solar constant. So Hansen’s proposed forcing to get a runaway greenhouse is something like a factor of three short of what occurred after the snowball earth episodes. This does not really support his argument, although it is not as bad as I first thought.

    I do take issue with the climate sensitivity arguments. The high CO2 levels are reached before the ice starts melting. With the ice gone you are going to get a lot of evaporation and a large water vapor feedback (a fast effect), as well as increased absorption by the ocean and land weathering (slower effects).

    I am not suggesting it is a good idea to force the climate to Cretaceous levels. This might be a little disruptive to our agriculture, not to mention 70 m of sea level rise. There are many good reasons to prevent greenhouse gas levels from getting anywhere near this level. I object to suddenly declaring a runaway greenhouse effect, which seems to be based only on a model that was not designed for those conditions, and some hand waving. A scientist should not be making scientific statements that are not backed by proper research and peer review. I consider this to be irresponsible and unnecessary; it discredits the reputation of climate scientists in general.

    Finally, to undermine my own analysis, I do not understand why the snowball earth hypothesis relies only on carbon dioxide from volcanoes to reverse the process. Surely the same volcanoes would deposit ash on the snow, and in a world with no evaporation, thus no weather, the albedo would continue to decrease and cause melting before CO2 got to such extreme levels. If the hypothesis takes this into account, I have not heard it mentioned.

  823. dhogaza:

    tamino did it one way. If you do a statistical analysis that allows for “change points” or “switching regressions”, as documented in the econometrics literature and statistics literature (theoretical analyses) and recently published in the peer-reviewed literature (for temperature), there is a statistically significant change somewhere in 1998-2000. Tamino used a statistical technique with very low power to detect a change, should such a change exist.

    So go over there and confront him on his own turf.

    Don’t let the fact that he’s a professional statistician who analyzes time series for a living keep you from proving him wrong …

  824. Timothy Chase:

    PS to 818:

    One more correction. Looking at Royer (2006):

    For the calculation, the CO2 records from Fig. 1D are used and solar luminosity is assumed to linearly increase starting at 94.5% present-day values. Values are expressed relative to pre-industrial conditions (CO2 = 280 ppm; solar luminosity = 342 W/m2); a reference line of zero is given for clarity.

    Note to figure 2, pg. 5668 of Royer DL. 2006. CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 70: 5665-5675

    … with the beginning of Phanerozoic ~575 mya having a solar luminosity of 94.5% what we have today and assuming that solar luminosity has change more or less as a linear function of time, 200 mya would have seen a solar luminosity ~1.9% lower than it is today.

  825. dhogaza:

    Oh, Matthew, Matthew, Matthew, the site you link starts off saying …

    …They point to their complex and error prone general circulation models that, after significant re-factoring, are now predicting a stretch of stable temperatures followed by a resurgent global warming onslaught.

    Which is an outright lie.

    You really expect any of us to read further after encountering that?

  826. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #818 Timothy Chase and caerbannog

    deep time (geologic time)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_time_scale

  827. Larry Lidar:

    to Sean @ #508, who asked about details of the peer review process…

    the process is slightly different from journal to journal (and, I expect, from
    field to field too). as John E. Pearson said earlier, the journal editor(s) will typically attempt to recruit reviewers who are familiar with the subject matter discussed in a newly submitted paper. most journals in the atmospheric sciences ask authors to recommend 3 or 4 potential reviewers (though I have no clue how often the editors actually act on these recommendations). when an invitation to review is sent out, prospective candidates are asked to decline if they believe they cannot provide an objective review.

    the degree of effort put into a review can vary widely, and in general a reviewer’s comments are not available outside the journal’s editorial staff. one exception to this is Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, which is a highly regarded “open access” journal that publishes submitted papers and reviews on-line. a complete description of the ACP’s Review Process, including manuscript evaluation criteria and the obligations for reviewers, is available at their website. the reviews themselves are posted online, so that you (and anybody else too) can download and read as many as you want simply surfing over to the ACP’s papers in open discussion section. in my experience, the quality and thoroughness of the reviews posted at ACP are representative of the reviews given for other atmospheric sciences journals.

  828. Matthew:

    817, Ray Ladbury: Ian George, the warming from 1910-1944 is not as well understood as we would like. However, there were several known factors at play:
    1)Increased insolation
    2)decreased volcanic activity
    3)increased greenhouse heating

    Isn’t the same true of the warming from 1855-1885, and the cooling that is identified as the Little Ice Age, and the warming that is identified as the Medieval Warm Period? That is to say, many known and hypothesized causes (Maunder Minimum for the LIA, to name just one), without a thorough understanding of the strengths of all?

    Here is my answer to a question that is sometimes posed: In order for me to stop being a skeptic, I would need to see some more decades of warming like 1977-1997; in the mean time, we should have some prudent preparations, but not try to re-organize the energy economies of the developed nations and BRIC nations. In the US, replace coal with natural gas, for example, and continue to develop biofuels (including algal based) and carbon sequestration and storage. It would be a shame if the world invested in reduced warming and then experienced another little ice age because of the sun’s apparent reduced activity lasting decades. The solar theories are not “better than” AGW, they have problems of their own.

  829. Daniel J. Andrews:

    Walter Manny @769 said,

    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.

    Or you could say…

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

    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.

    See Naomi Oreskes presentation American Denial of Global Warming
    youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    and browse the database and articles at the desmogblog.com, and follow their links to original sources like Exxon’s own budgets, memos, etc.

  830. Timothy Chase:

    Ray Ladbury wrote in 815:

    Walter Manny, OK, I’m a little confused here as to what your proposal is. We have a threat here, the effects of which could be disastrous. You admit that the consensus theory of Earth’s climate is the best model (in fact the only model) we have today. The theory–and it is an extremely successful theory–says that if we keep going down the path we are on, we could face very severe consequences, but that if we limit our CO2 emissions, we ought to be able to avoid the worst of those consequences. So what should we do? Should we follow the counsel of what the best scientific model of the climate model tells us, or should we do the exact opposite? Those are the choices, right?

    Previously, Walter Manny had written in 769:

    Ray, it is absolutely the case that I cannot find another, better model than what comprises the consensus model at the moment. Obviously, that does not mean the consensus model is correct, though it is of course enormously appealing to our chronocentric minds to believe otherwise.

    “Chronocentric” minds?

    It would appear that Walter Manny has been dipping into Kant’s transcendental idealism again! (please see: Section 15: The Two Selves, Something Revolutionary) which I would argue is either self-referentially incoherent (Section 24, ibid.) or engages in widespread circular reasoning (please see: Section 29: Transcendental Idealism’s Primary Line of Defense, ibid.).

    Personally I would much rather go with Ray Ladbury, the scientific consensus, and the best that empirical science currently has to offer — even if Walter and Kant would regard this as a subjective preference on my part.

  831. Proper Gander:

    How can I respond to the people who criticize AGW on the grounds that data and software code are not public? I am aware that some data is proprietary, but is code withheld? If so, what is the reason for that?

  832. Hank Roberts:

    For any kids wondering who’s confused, this is what Simon’s denying:

    http://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_100737.htm

  833. Dwight:

    816 Simon A wrote The sun is the only significant agency that heats the Earth. If things changed and one side of the Earth remained perpetually in darkness, that side’s temperature would fall inexorably towards zero K, more slowly in the presence of GHGs of course, but down nonetheless. If you (and climate science generally) call this a warming effect it may explain why I sometimes find you hard to understand.
    ————-
    Is this just a matter of semantics for you? If clouds in the night keep heat from being lost, then the next day, the heating starts from a slightly higher point, hence the nightime clouds help the OVERALL warming, although should they stick around during the next day, they would cause RELATIVE cooling, even as the temperatures rose.

    I think that your issue is the insistence that a lack of cooling cannot be considered the same as warming, but can you see that the overall effect is warming?

  834. BFJ:

    Testing AGW.
    Ray Ladbury : If we were to observe no warming for 20 years, it would certainly indicate that our theory was missing something. It would not, however, negate the known greenhouse properties of CO2 as a well mixed, long-lived greenhouse gas.

    Sure; but OK, I get that you are also prepared to look at evidence. The question, it seems to me, is not so much just what CO2 is doing, but figuring what out the other (unknown?) factors are doing – the ones that presumably overwhelmed the presumed CO2 effect to give us a net result of no warming for the last eight or so years. What are these factors, and why did they change in about 2002?

  835. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    I do think Cap & Dividend would make a great topic. Would need to get an economist or two involved for the item. Justification is that science directly relates to policy consideration. In fact that is largely why governments fund science, for the public good.

    My Dec. Leading Edge Report was dedicated to this issue.

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge/2009-dec-the-leading-edge

    We pretty much knew they would produce a non binding agreement at COP15 months ago. That might prove to have been a good thing. It gives us a little time to education on ‘cap and trade’ v. ‘cap and dividend’.

    In other words an RC article on Science and potential implications for economy in relation to policy choices. I know it’s complex but I think this is a good idea. Anyone else?

  836. Ray Ladbury:

    Matthew @828, of course the data we have become more sparse and less reliable the further we go back in time. Prior to the invention of the telegraph, it would have certainly been conceivable to have a large volcanic eruption in a sparsely inhabited part of the world without knowing it. ENSO is a relatively new discovery. The world prior to 1957 is vastly different in terms of how well we could observe it compared to the present. So the fact that there are a few epochs we cannot entirely understand does not detract from the successes of the current model.

    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.

    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.

    Matt, climate science has already been subjected to unprecedented scrutiny. Not only have the basic tenets of the theory passed 50 years of peer review and exhibited tremendous explanatory and predictive skill, it has also survived exceptional external scrutiny. National Academy panels, professional organizations of scientists in related fields, congressional committees, DOD, DOT, Foreign government agencies… Panels with impeccable credentials and integrity have looked at the evidence and the science and not one has dissented from the consensus science. Not one! Even the theory of evolution has never been subjected to this level of scrutiny! Sorry, Matthew, we can’t wait just because YOU don’t understand the evidence or science yet.

  837. simon abingdon:

    #819 Ray

    OK Ray, I’m trying really hard.

    You said (#792) “Constant temperature is a sign of a system at equilibrium–that is Energy_in=Energy_out. If the system is warming, it can mean that Energy_in is increasing or that Energy_out is decreasing”

    Although you started with constant temperature you then said “if the system is warming…” (That’s not constant temperature any more is it Ray?) “…it can mean that Energy_in is increasing or that Energy_out is decreasing”. And I said (#813) “If Energy_in is zero and Energy_out is decreasing the system cannot be warming. It’s just cooling more slowly. You need Energy_in to be greater than Energy_out for warming to happen”.

    Ray, does Warming mean Increasing Temperature, or not? Because it does in the world of ordinary people.

    (BTW my Oxford graduate scientist daughter has just confirmed that warming requires the input of some sort of energy. Naturally I’m inclined to believe her).

    And you said

  838. Spaceman Spiff:

    Continuing my post #783 (re. effects of clouds):

    simon abingdon@#791 had a question regarding the role of high thin clouds being net positive radiative forcings. The simple reason is this: they are largely transparent to most of the Sun’s spectrum (and so letting in much of the energy from the Sun), but are still black to much of the IR emitted by Earth’s surface.

  839. fragment:

    I was just referring to someone to an old post ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/learning-from-a-simple-model/ ) and noticed that latex seems to have disappeared, rendering the math notation difficult to read. The archived posts are really useful resources, it would be great if you could manage to get the notation working again.

  840. simon abingdon:

    #820 Doug Bostrom

    “why are you wasting your glucose … when you’ve got such fundamental homework to do?”

    I’m trying to do it. 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.

  841. Walter Manny:

    Ray, I’m sorry but I reject your premise: “The theory – and it is an extremely successful theory – says that if we keep going down the path we are on, we could face very severe consequences, but that if we limit our CO2 emissions, we ought to be able to avoid the worst of those consequences.”

    What is successful in the extreme about this theory? If it were so extremely successful, the smart folks you mention (the ones who are wrong) would not object to it, or they would not, in fact, be as smart as you say. I mean, hell, if my theory predicts temperature rise, I have a one in three chance of being right. You make it sound as though CO2 and global temperature were walking hand in hand down some Yellow Brick Graph.

    What is extreme, however, is the extent to which you would need to change the world to limit the CO2 to the degree purportedly necessary to avoid the “very severe consequences” you fear. Surely that ship has sailed? Do you still believe that pounding the CO2 drum will ever bring down the rate of its growth, let alone reverse it? I suppose it could, but these Copenhagens are getting increasingly embarrassing.

    Incidentally, I’m not referring to Trenberth’s frustration with short-term models. I’m referring to his frustration with short-term [and long-term] observations. “We’ve always had some problems with the observing system.”

  842. Timothy Chase:

    Blair Dowden wrote in 822:

    Re #795: Timothy, sorry if there was some confusion between the two separate examples of the Cretaceous and Snowball Earth eras. And contrary to certain paranoia here, I am not going to jump on minor errors.

    Perhaps when caerbannog suggested you might he was reacting to your use of the term “alarmism” which with me resulted in the association with “alarmists.” Those who use that term are usually the sort that would jump on minor erros.

    Blair Dowden wrote in 822:

    I do take issue with the climate sensitivity arguments. The high CO2 levels are reached before the ice starts melting. With the ice gone you are going to get a lot of evaporation and a large water vapor feedback (a fast effect), as well as increased absorption by the ocean and land weathering (slower effects).

    Water evaporation would have been a fast feedback — but the solar constant would have been closer to 98% of what it is now, not 99%, much of the heat would have gone into the melting of the ice, not evaporation at least for a while (although there would have been increasing sublimation — doubling for each additional 10°C above -40°C), and as I pointed out, much of the carbon dioxide would have been taken up by an ocean where the difference in partial pressure between the ocean and the atmosphere would have presumably been much greater than it is today. Furthermore, the partial pressure of water vapor wouldn’t have increased dramatically above today’s levels in reaction to higher temperatures until most of the ice had melted — and by that time the climate sensitivity that we would be dealing with would be much lower — since most of the ice had melted, exposing dark ocean and rock. The main feedback which would have been an issue during the early part of the transition from icehouse to hothouse would have been due to the albedo effect, not water vapor.

    Furthermore, currently only about half of the carbon dioxide that we emit is left in the atmosphere after the first year that it is emitted. However, this is because much of that carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean — which wouldn’t come into play until the ice covering the ocean began to thaw to reveal the water beneath it. Furthermore, currently, if we were to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, assuming a large slug (4,000-5,000 Gton), one third of what is left of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere would be taken up by the ocean within the first one thousand years.

    Please see:

    pg. 287, David Archer (4 June 2008) The millennial atmospheric lifetime of anthropogenic CO2, Climatic Change, 90:283–297
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/reprints/archer.2008.tail_implications.pdf

    Now admittedly the slug we are talking about in the case of snowball earth is much greater, but then again, in the case of the 5,000 Gton slug added to today’s earth we are talking about an ocean that started out at equilibrium with the atmosphere, not one in which the ocean was heavily depleted of carbon dioxide.

    In either case, a strict snowball earth is itself somewhat controversial. There are suggestions that a slushball earth is much more realistic in which case such high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide would not have been required to result in a transition to a hothouse.

    Blair Dowden wrote in 822:

    Finally, to undermine my own analysis, I do not understand why the snowball earth hypothesis relies only on carbon dioxide from volcanoes to reverse the process. Surely the same volcanoes would deposit ash on the snow, and in a world with no evaporation, thus no weather, the albedo would continue to decrease and cause melting before CO2 got to such extreme levels. If the hypothesis takes this into account, I have not heard it mentioned.

    I honestly do not know. Something worth digging into.

  843. Steve Fish:

    Comment by simon abingdon — 26 December 2009 @ 3:31 PM:

    You said– “If for example Energy in is zero and Energy out is decreasing the system cannot be warming. It’s just cooling more slowly.”

    You have also suggested similar reasoning in subsequent posts, but on a cloudy day the atmosphere still warms, just not as much as on a clear day. There is not zero input through clouds, and the clouds keep more heat in both during the daytime and nighttime. A simple example is an arbitrary clear sky day in the desert that is 90 degrees in the daytime and 40 at night, averaging 65. Compare this to a very cloudy day in northeastern Ohio that is a cooler 80 degrees during the day but only decreasing to 50 at night, so the average would also be 65 degrees. The point is that clouds damp the large day/night swings in temperature, and the question is– what is the net influence. Research suggests that it is slightly positive.

    This is a simple concept and I don’t see why you don’t get it. In fact I believe that you do and your continuing obfuscation is deliberate. Perhaps this is your hobby.

    Steve

  844. Steve Fish:

    Comment by Matthew — 26 December 2009 @ 3:24 PM:

    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.

    Steve

  845. Spaceman Spiff:

    Matthew @#828 says:
    “It would be a shame if the world invested in reduced warming and then experienced another little ice age because of the sun’s apparent reduced activity lasting decades.”

    Well, if we were to begin entering a ~1 century phase of another “little ice age”, we’d already have quite a buffer built into the pipeline, and those who understand the role of CO2 as a radiative forcing agent would know what to do then, right? But more seriously,…

    The earth’s climate is a huge non-linear system. If perturbed gently, it behaves quasi-linearly albeit with delays in equilibrating. These delays aren’t hard to deal with, as long as the disturbances are small. We can do so in principle by reducing the C02 and CH4 that we pump either directly or indirectly into the atmosphere. What we cannot deal with is moving the Earth’s climate far enough away from equilibrium that it enters the strongly non-linear regime, whereupon positive radiative forcings begin reinforcing each other, sources of C02 and CH4 are dumped into the atmosphere and sinks thereof become ineffective. This scenario has happened in Earth’s distant past, as paleoclimatologists and paleogeologists will tell you (and there weren’t 7 billion humans then). Not only are the relatively rapid accumulative effects far beyond our means of control, but their rapidity means that these will be gifts that will keep on giving (and growing) because the Earth takes too long to equilibrate.

    As for betting on the uncertainties — what we know of Earth’s climate, what we have been and are doing to it, and some of the potential consequences is far greater than we know what the Sun is or might be doing over the same time scale. 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.)

  846. Brian Dodge:

    Simon Abingdon, and any one else who wants to do a simple science experiment.
    go to your local House Of Fraser/WalMart/kitchen shop and get two meat thermometers. Get a 50 x 2400 x 1200mm/2″x4’x8’foam insulation board from Wickes/Home Depot/DIY homebuilders shop. Stick the two thermometers into some flat exposed ground 2m/6ft/2 paces apart. leave them exposed during 4 or more successive days of clear weather, but cover one of the thermometers at night with the foam insulation. Record the temperatures of both thermometers every morning and evening. record the local air temperature at a sheltered outdoor thermometer as well. For those who have access to a computer data system, bury 2 temperature sensors 6 inches deep, and record the temperature hourly. I’ll bet a significant warmth of the nighttime insulated ground will accumulate.

  847. Ron R.:

    More before and after glacier shots.

    http://nsidc.org/cgi-bin/glacier_photos/glacier_photo_search.pl?collection=repeat

    info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retreat_of_glaciers_since_1850

    video
    http://www.unep.org/wed/2007/Downloads/Multimedia/WED2007_VNR_English.wmv

    other graphics and images
    http://tinyurl.com/yfx2fnz
    http://www.glaciers.er.usgs.gov/html/add.html

  848. Hank Roberts:

    I see someone has been posting here and at Tamino’s about the Stockwell and Cox paper (“submitted” last July to a forecasting journal); it’s at ArXiv. That ends up saying their statistic “predicts constant temperatures for fifty years to around 2050″ (so starting at the turn of the century) but qualifies by saying their statistic “does not incorporate many of the complexities and natural forcing factors operating to produce climate change in the real world.”

  849. Proper Gander:

    Steve R @276: I’ve begun a blog dedicated to the debates I’m having with denialists. Every morning I search google news for climate and then get to it.

    http://ownid.blogspot.com/

    I’m not a climate scientist; I’m an unemployed geologist with a lot of time on his hands, I’d appreciate anyone to stop by and give me info on things I seem to be missing.

  850. John E. Pearson:

    821: That they are on shaky ground is corroborated by the journal they chose to publish in: International Journal of Forecasting which is a social sciences journal. If I were going to publish a serious article on climate I’d submit it to a journal which specialized in climate science. That they didn’t sets off my alarm bells.

  851. tamino:

    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.

  852. Andrew Hobbs:

    #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.

  853. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #831 Proper Gander

    here’s lots of secret hidden data and code:

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

  854. Matthew:

    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.

  855. Timothy Chase:

    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.

  856. Doug:

    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?

  857. ZT:

    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.”

  858. Timothy Chase:

    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.

  859. Blair Dowden:

    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.

  860. Ljubisa Cvetkovic:

    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.

  861. Radge Havers:

    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.

  862. EL:

    (#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.

  863. Ray Ladbury:

    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.

  864. Norman:

    #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/

  865. Matthew:

    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.

  866. Hank Roberts:

    > 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.

  867. Hank Roberts:

    Doug, try here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/12/ozone-holes-and-cosmic-rays/

  868. Ray Ladbury:

    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?

  869. Ljubisa Cvetkovic:

    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)?

  870. Doug Bostrom:

    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?

  871. Steve Fish:

    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

  872. Gerald Jones:

    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?

  873. Brian Dodge:

    “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?

  874. Timothy Chase:

    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.

  875. Timothy Chase:

    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.

  876. Ron Broberg:

    @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/

  877. Ron Broberg:

    @John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    My hat is off to you.

  878. dhogaza:

    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.

  879. Ron R.:

    Timothy Chase #853: Good work!

  880. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #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.

  881. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #877 Ron Broberg

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

  882. Lawrence McLean:

    simon abingdon:

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

  883. Edward Greisch:

    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.

  884. Ron R.:

    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?

  885. Ron R.:

    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.

  886. Lawrence McLean:

    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?

  887. Edward Greisch:

    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.

  888. Molnar:

    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…

  889. BFJ:

    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.

  890. Edward Greisch:

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

  891. Edward Greisch:

    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.

  892. simon abingdon:

    #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 n