The IPCC is not infallible (shock!)

In future reports (and the organisation for AR5 in 2013 is now underway), extra efforts will be needed to make sure that the links between WG1 and the other two reports are stronger, and that the physical science community should be encouraged to be more active in the other groups.

In summary, the measure of an organisation is not determined by the mere existence of errors, but in how it deals with them when they crop up. The current discussion about Himalayan glaciers is therefore a good opportunity for the IPCC to further improve their procedures and think more about what the IPCC should be doing in the times between the main reports.

Update: This backgrounder presented by Kargel et al AGU this December is the best summary of the current state of the Himalayas and the various sources of misinformation that are floating around. It covers this issue, the Raina report and the recent Lau et al paper.

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1,804 comments on this post.
  1. Luke Lea:

    Mightn’t it be better if the Group I reports on the science itself were disassociated from the Group II and III reports? They could be prepared by the scientific societies themselves and do not need UN sanction to gain credibility.

  2. David B. Benson:

    And just who was it who vowed to find all such climate errors and did he spot this one?

  3. w kensit:

    Unfortunately AGW true statements are weighed in a handsfull of goose down and never remembered. AGW stumbles are measured in shovel loads of lead and never forgotten.

  4. Jerry Steffens:

    Is part of the problem due to the fact that the three reports are prepared more-or-less concurrently? Perhaps it would be be better if the report on the science of climate change were completed first and was then used as the basis of the other two reports.

  5. David Horton:

    Nevertheless, the ice melts.

  6. Jimbo:

    “but it is important to realise that this doesn’t mean that Himalayan glaciers are doing just fine. They aren’t, and there may be to be serious consequences for water resources as the retreat continues.”

    I always thought that as they melt they release water for people, plants and animals downstream. Anyway no worries, now just so readers don’t get a one-sided view of this glacier story from RC here are some other views from the BBC, NASA, ETH Zurich and and a senior glaciologist in India.

    “In fact, the new research, by NASA’s William Lau and collaborators, reinforces with detailed numerical analysis what earlier studies suggest: that soot and dust contribute as much (or more) to atmospheric warming in the Himalayas as greenhouse gases.”
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/himalayan-warming.html

    “Based on the differences it’s not difficult to conclude that greenhouse gases are not the sole agents of change in this region. There’s a localized phenomenon at play.”
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/himalayan-soot.html

    “But some scientists claim that glaciers in the Himalayas are not retreating as fast as was believed. Others who have observed nearby mountain ranges even found that glaciers there were advancing.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8355837.stm

    “The report, by senior glaciologist Vijay Kumar Raina, formerly of the Geological Survey of India, seeks to correct a widely held misimpression based on measurements of a handful of glaciers: that India’s 10,000 or so Himalayan glaciers are shrinking rapidly in response to climate change. That’s not so, Raina says.”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/326/5955/924

    “The most recent studies by researchers at ETH Zurich show that in the 1940s Swiss glaciers were melting at an even-faster pace than at present.”
    http://www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/091214_gletscherschwund_su/index_EN

  7. IANVS:

    Eric & the rest of you guys are doing a great job of keeping us informed about the risks & dangers of human-driven climate change.

    Now who’s gonna make sure that our leaders & citizenry get it?

    Where’s our MLK for AGW?

  8. David Horton:

    Good work Jimbo – as usual then, any phenomenon anywhere in the world is due to local factors not global warming. I await the explanation of why the other glaciers of the world, unaware that they don’t need to melt because glacier retreat in the Himalayas is due to local factors, nevertheless also melt. Would almost suggest, would it not, some kind of global process in operation. If only we could get the scientists to investigate what that global process might be.

  9. Doug Bostrom:

    Gee, and I thought I refreshed RC obsessively; it seems doubters are running at many cycles per second..

    Thanks for the update!

    As an exercise, be sure to study the ecology of this story. What I’ve noticed is, like other examples (TomskTwaddle)it’s analogous to some toxin released in an aquatic environment. First it’s picked up by bottom feeders processing sediment, then it moves up the food chain, ultimately poisoning organisms farther up the food chain, increasing in toxicity all the way. WUWT–>Register–>Mirror–>Telegraph–>Times–>? Few journalists are able to resist eating something with even a hint of incompetence or scandal no matter how trivial, so we end up with lots of mentally poisoned media consumers.

  10. Completely Fed Up:

    “as usual then, any phenomenon anywhere in the world is due to local factors not global warming.”

    Well, yeah.

    Unless you count local as “on this planet”, then a local effect won’t be a global one.

    Duh.

  11. Completely Fed Up:

    “I always thought that as they melt they release water for people, plants and animals downstream. ”

    Aye:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A86DUfL6gEM

    As an example…

  12. Tony O'Brien:

    The glaciers are retreating and we need to be prepared to deal with the consequences. There are many uncertainties as to when the glaciers will be entirely gone, but there are already consequences of retreating glaciers.

    Should we be using unduly pessimistic predictions then we will be prepared a little early. Where we use unduly optimistic predictions; then we risk one mitigation effort, after another, being swamped by the rate of change.

    I think it was John Holdren who said we have to “avoid the unadaptable and adapt to the unavoidable” so far we are doing neither.

  13. Chris Keene:

    The climate denying UK tabloid newspaper the Daily Express had a big headline on the front page on Monday 18th Jan ‘The new climate change scandal’. They also use it to criticise Pachauri ‘a former railway engineer with a PhD in economics and no formal climate change qualifications … with a network of business interests that attract millions of pounds in funding thanks to IPCC policies’

  14. Gilles:

    This raises the question : how is the “likelihood” of such events assessed in WG II ? is there any “normal procedure” to compute it ?

  15. Jim Torson:

    More information on Himalayan glaciers is available in the presentation entitled “Satellite-era glacier changes in High Asia.” This contains a good discussion of the complexities of Himalayan glacier behavior and also includes a discussion of the error in the IPCC report. This was prepared as background support material for the NASA “Black Carbon and Aerosols” press conference at the AGU meeting. The availability of this was recently announced in a message posted to the Cryolist email list by an assistant researcher at the University of Arizona:

    Dear Cryolisters,

    Below are links to a revised presentation that was developed as background
    information for a “Black carbon aerosols in the Himalaya” press conference held
    at the 2009 AGU meeting in San Francisco. The background report herein
    represents a 17-authored revision and expansion of the previous version made
    available last month.

    Note three available formats (ppt, pptx, pdf):

    http://web.hwr.arizona.edu/~gleonard/2009Dec-FallAGU-Soot-PressConference-Backgrounder-Kargel.pdf

    http://web.hwr.arizona.edu/~gleonard/2009Dec-FallAGU-Soot-PressConference-Backgrounder-Kargel.ppt

    http://web.hwr.arizona.edu/~gleonard/2009Dec-FallAGU-Soot-PressConference-Backgrounder-Kargel.pptx

  16. John Atkeison:

    It would be very appropriate to publish a current assessment and projection.

    I will continue to use this region and its glaciers as an example of how Global Warming affects everything from agriculture to immigration to weather. It would be good to have at least a link to some current estimates for some levels and timing of impacts in order to speak in a more informed way.

  17. Louis C Smith:

    New Tibetan Ice Cores Missing A-bomb Blast Markers; Suggest Himalayan Ice Fields Haven’t Grown In Last 50 Years
    ScienceDaily (Dec. 13, 2007) — Ice cores drilled last year from the summit of a Himalayan ice field lack the distinctive radioactive signals that mark virtually every other ice core retrieved worldwide.
    That missing radioactivity, originating as fallout from atmospheric nuclear tests during the 1950s and 1960s, routinely provides researchers with a benchmark against which they can gauge how much new ice has accumulated on a glacier or ice field.
    In 2006, a joint U.S.-Chinese team drilled four cores from the summit of Naimona’nyi, a large glacier 6,050 meters (19,849 feet) high on the Tibetan Plateau.
    The researchers routinely analyze ice cores for a host of indicators – particulates, dust, oxygen isotopes, etc. — that can paint a picture of past climate in that region.
    Scientists believe that the missing signal means that this Tibetan ice field has been shrinking at least since the A-bomb test half a century ago. If true, this could foreshadow a future when the stockpiles of freshwater will dwindle and vanish, seriously affecting the lives of more than 500 million people on the Indian subcontinent.
    “There’s about 12,000 cubic kilometers (2,879 cubic miles) of fresh water stored in the glaciers throughout the Himalayas – more freshwater than in Lake Superior,” explained Lonnie Thompson, distinguished university professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University and a researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center on campus.
    “Those glaciers release meltwater each year and feed the rivers that support nearly a half-billion people in that region. The loss of these ice fields might eventually create critical water shortages for people who depend on glacier-fed streams.”
    Thompson and his colleagues worry that this massive loss of meltwater would drastically impact major Indian rivers like the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra that provide water for one-sixth of the world’s population.

    This is now published: Kehrwald N. M., L. G. Thompson, Y. Tandong, E. Mosley-Thompson, U. Schotterer, V. Alfimov, J. Beer, J. Eikenberg, M. E. Davis (2008), Mass loss on Himalayan glacier endangers water resources. Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L22503, doi:10.1029/2008GL035556.

  18. Steve Bloom:

    Re #8: Why are glaciers melting away all over the world? Simple, David — it’s a CO2-fueled conspiracy! So Jimbo should be on board with cutting off their supply, right? :)

  19. David Horton:

    #10 CFU re #8 Should I have put a sarcasm smiley face on my post CFU? Or were you agreeing with my criticism of Jimbo’s nonsense about “local effects”?

  20. t_p_hamilton:

    Jimbo’s link (his 4th) on the Science news story, which is identical to the recent tempest in a teapot about the Himalayan glaciers, shows how this issue was cleverly hidden in plain sight.

    Link 1 and 2: The melting may also be from soot. I am sure that is a great consolation to the people who depend on these glaciers.

    Link 3: BBC story about Link 4.

    Link 5: not about the Himalayas at all.

    All in all, nothing which contradicts what Gavin said, and hence can’t be a “second” view to balance Gavin’s so-called “one-sided” view.

  21. Hank Roberts:

    More (and better) links in a prior post by Tim Jones on the Indian comments about glaciers here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=2625#comment-155302

  22. Sean A:

    So what would be a more accurate time frame for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers? By 2050? 2100?

  23. David Horton:

    re #18 Quite right Steve – and I have some emails from glaciers that prove it.

  24. John Ransley:

    Thanks for this sensible corrective. As expected The Australian newspaper went to town on the issue, starting with a reprint of the Sunday Times report:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/united-nations-blunder-on-glaciers-exposed/story-e6frg6n6-1225820614171, and proceeding to this editorial:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/not-so-fast-why-glaciers-offer-a-lesson-in-caution/story-e6frg71x-1225821003163.

    I quote from the latter, only to illustrate the point that the The Australian’s coverage, although improving, can still be very damaging :

    RULE number one: if you want to claim authority for your science, it’s a good idea not to rely on third-hand sources. The news that the key report driving global policy on climate change used a throwaway line in a popular science magazine to suggest some Himalayan glaciers could disappear in 25 years reads like a Monty Python skit.

    The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has done itself serious damage in its bid to be the primary source of credible research on anthropogenic global warming. Its sweeping generalisation on glaciers erodes public trust in its 2007 report which was the basis for international negotiations at the December Copenhagen summit. To discover its assertion on glacial meltdown was borrowed from a report from campaigning environmental group WWF is disappointing. But it’s laughable to know WWF itself was merely quoting from a 1999 New Scientist phone interview with a little-known Indian researcher.”

    The accompanying feature article in The Australian, by Cameron Stewart, wasn’t too bad overall, although it concludes with the statements:

    “…the revelations this week have opened a heated debate that goes beyond the science of glaciers and to the heart of the credibility of the IPCC.

    As Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation told London’s Daily Mail: “The IPCC review process has been shown on numerous occasions to lack transparency and due diligence”.

    At a time when governments are baulking at taking tough measures to combat climate change, this new blow to the credibility of the IPCC could not have come at a worse time.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/climate-science-on-thin-ice/story-e6frg6z6-1225820985361

    John Ransley

  25. Lamont:

    “Link 1 and 2: The melting may also be from soot. I am sure that is a great consolation to the people who depend on these glaciers.”

    You have to understand that climate deniers live in this sheltered world where they believe climate scientists think that every single climate force on the planet is due entirely to CO2, therefore to come up with an effect which does not have CO2 as a cause disproves AGW…

    Of course real climate scientists believe no such thing, but its so much easier for the deniers to argue with the caricature of a climate science that they hold in their head, than to argue with an actual climate scientist…

  26. Richard Ordway:

    re 13 Chris Keene wrote “”The climate denying UK tabloid newspaper the Daily Express had a big headline on the front page on Monday 18th Jan ‘The new climate change scandal’.”"

    …science by its very nature (luckily for humanity) is on the extreme edge of human knowledge and is open for checking and changing.

    It takes many studies to build a “body of evidence” over many years for things to settle out. That is why you don’t rely on any single study, and science never has, to determine large conclusions… and everything is still open for debate and publishable if you have evidence.

    Human-caused climate change relies on a body of evidence that is thousands of peer-reviewed studies long and reaching back to 1824 (Fourier).

    Sloppy procedures in one of about 3000 pages from one of thousands of studies does not dent in the slightest the evidence from the body of evidence reaching back almost 200 years.

    By comparison many bibles (like the Scofield) are only about 2000 pages long (the 2007 IPCC report was about 3000 pages long). Errors will unfortunately be made in such a huge mass…but you don’t hear of many errors in the IPCC documents, which is amazing in its own right.

    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/11/32/00/PDF/JFourier.pdf

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=tBfQAAAAMAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=MEMOIRE+sur+les+temperatures+du+glob+terrestre+et+des+espaces+planetaires.+M%C3%A9moires+de+l%27Acad%C3%A9mie+Royale+des+Sciences+&ots=KpMEUvCaq_&sig=qgeMNmeDa9uGNGZ6RxDnSdKGw70#v=onepage&q=&f=false

  27. rosie hughes:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all this fixation on get-it-right, got-it-wrong is obscuring the real issue: the truth is what we define it to be, and the truth is that mankind is a scourge on the planet. The sooner we can limit the right to breed, the sooner the planet will recover. If glacier data is a little incorrect but helps that effort, then the data is true in all but a very narrow and clinical scientific sense.

    Common people don’t really understand science. But they understand not having enough to eat and not being able to sit down on a too-crowded subway. if we can educate people not to reproduce there will be many seats and the fewer people will be happier. Indeed, as the capitalist economies of scale are reduced, the atisfaction from making your own clothes and embracing a low-carbon vegan diet will be so intense, reproduction will come to be seen in the same category as child abuse.

    I yearn for the day when i might not have been born!

  28. bruced:

    Perfect reference for this type of situation is Rosholt, J etal., J Geology, 1963, v71, p810 which reads
    “Oh, well, nobody is perfect.”
    referring to a minor error which had no effect on the conclusions.

  29. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Good post. (I’ve already said too much on this earlier.)

  30. cbp:

    Wasn’t it someone from NASA who said “Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice”?

    I think its a pity that, when it comes to climate change, what is clearly a mistake (the 2035 date is pretty absurd when you think about it), gets reported as if something deliberately nefarious is afoot. Its similar to Monckton claiming the ‘x10 typo’ was a deliberate attempt by government bureaucrats to deceive the world, although one would think that if you were going to try and deceive people you would at least make the column add up.

  31. EL:

    Gavin,

    I’m concerned about the reproduction of some the published papers. After seeing how software has been effecting mathematics, I’m becoming wary of it. I think the scientific and mathematics communities need to come together and write a open source scientific platform. Unless this platform is created, I think we are going to be taking some things on faith instead of rigor, and the faith based approach may cause considerable problems on down the road.

    I think this problem is going to be ever increasing as we use computers for more and more things.

  32. John E. Pearson:

    19: David, I know from experience that sarcasm is hard for people to detect here.

  33. cold in the UK:

    Great article from Richard Betts from the UK met office

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8451756.stm

    He Makes a great point

    Climate “sceptics” accuse climate scientists of exaggerating the evidence for human-caused climate change in order to secure their own funding; but actually I think that any vested interests in talking up the problem lie elsewhere.

  34. Tom S:

    From a skeptic, I think you give extra respectability to this site when you lay the facts out as you did. It’s clear this post is not your favorite thing to do. I bounce between here and ClimateAudit (I am plenty aware of the opinion of ClimateAudit here…). The moderation here is very fair, not that it is absent of (perceived) bias, but it is not blinded by it. There is a real effort to keep the facts straight, both pro and con, and that is refreshing with the polarization of this subject. OK, enough of this flattery, back to the fight.

  35. jerry:

    Not only is the IPCC fallible, but NASA is as well, and even more so.

    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

    Had almost the same error, just a little worse.

    “Mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both hemispheres, and may disappear altogether in certain regions of our planet, such as the Himalayas, by 2030″

    Note the 2030 figure, not the 2035 figure. I assume NASA must have used another source.

    The comment has been silently vanished today, but you can still read it in the Google cache.

    If there are any NASA employees here, can they perhaps comment on why NASA published an incorrect statement, and then silently removed it without any comment on their error – unlike the IPCC.

    Will NASA take some steps to remedy the false information that has been read by many of their web viewers? Perhaps by a statement, or even a link on the offending web page pointing out their previous error?

    [Response: That's a joke right? They fix an error, and now you want them to track down and apologise to everyone who may have read it? If something is wrong, it gets fixed. You should be happy. - gavin]

  36. Dave Rado:

    The Daily Express, a UK mass-market tabloid newspaper that has lately turned into a propaganda organ of the denialist lobby groups, recently made a meal of this in a front page article.

  37. Philip Machanick:

    Chris Keene #13: Pachauri has two PhDs (Industrial Engineering and Economics). That a newspaper should attempt to traduce him by making it sound as if he’s unqualified is pretty dishonest (“railway engineer” sounds like someone who drives a steam train).

    If indeed he has business interests that somehow benefit from the IPCC’s work, it’s bizarre that the UK wingnut press happily reports that his “business interests” (actually looks more like a big research lab) were funded by the Tata Group, who stand to lose big time if there are serious moves to cut emissions.

    The brilliant thing about conspiracy theory is that you can make the evidence mean anything you like.

  38. Johnno:

    Glaciers aside the IPCC must respond to criticisms by several groups that some high CO2 scenarios in the 4th report are physically impossible. Oil production has peaked, natural gas may follow within a decade then coal may peak a decade later. The reasons are depletion and lower yields from less accessible deposits. If IPCC dismisses these critics (e.g. Energy Watch Group, Aleklett, Rutledge) without a good explanation they undermine their credibility.

  39. Edward Greisch:

    So when do you think those glaciers will be gone? Will the glaciers in Tibet be gone at about the same time as the glaciers in Nepal? All together the Tibetan and Nepalese glaciers provide summer water for 2 Billion people in China, indochina and the Indian subcontinent. I’m sure that they would like to know for how long they will have water. That water is used for irrigation in all of those places.

  40. jerry:

    Re 21.

    No Gavin, I don’t want NASA to track everyone down. But I would like a public acknowledgment of error as the IPCC have done.

    NASA needs to do their own statement because they put in their own figure 2030 rather than 2035. Or is the 2030 figure in fact an error in transcribing 2035 frm the IPCC? Which in its own right may well have been an error in transcribing 2350?

  41. David B. Benson:

    Johnno (23) — As I understand it, IPCC just picks some scenarios and does projections against those. If the high end scenarios are physically implausible, so much the better.

  42. Winny:

    Gavin, I think your reply at #21 is a little disingenuous. It’s not a question of tracking down and apologising to anyone who may have read the statement, it’s a matter of there being some continuity in the evidence presented.

    The page this statement appears on is headed “Evidence”, then subtitled “Climate Change: How do we know?” This sentence has been deleted;

    “Mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both hemispheres, and may disappear altogether in certain regions of our planet, such as the Himalayas, by 2030″

    and replaced, by this one;

    “Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.”

    I think that there should at least be some acknowledgment, if only as a footnote, that the evidence that was presented earlier was wrong and has now been corrected.

  43. caerbannog:

    jerry,

    You have to look long and hard to find serious goof-ups in the IPCC literature. Now can you point to any “skeptic” literature with errors as few and far between as the IPCC’s?

    Should you respond to this post, please provide direct references (not just empty assertions).

  44. David Miller:

    Johno opines that emissions must fall because we’ve hit peak oil/gas

    Johno, I wish that were so, and to some degree it may be true. Unfortunately, however, it may have the opposite effect by driving us to coal and other alternatives instead.

    For example, I can heat my home with oil now. When oil goes to $10/gal, coal generated electricity at .15/KWH is a lower cost per BTU. But I only get a third as much heat per unit of CO2 produced because of losses in electrical generation and transmission, so I produce three times as much CO2 to keep warm.

    In-situ partial combustion of Canadian tar sands allows the energy return on energy invested to be less than unity because it can be burned by pumping oxygen to the oil. IE, when Saudi oil runs low we can make up for it by burning two barrels of “oil” to extract one in Canada.

    There is a lot of coal in the world still. And Canada has a lot of tar sands.

    The other big unknown is when positive environmental feedbacks start kicking in. Bark beetles kill trees and lightning lights a forest fire. Carbon decomposes faster in warmer, drier soil. Biomass in hotter/drier zones fixes less CO2 from the air. Methane emissions from melting permafrost or clathrates have a frightening potential that is AFAIK still unquantified in any meaningful way.

    Given the combination of these effects, I certainly can’t say with any certainty that our emissions are going down in the next 50 years.

  45. calyptorhynchus:

    I work for a government department and if we produced a report the size of the IPCC that had only one minor error in it we’d be very pleased with ourselves.

    The point is not to try to convince the denialists, who will never be convinced, [edit], but to convince policy makers.

  46. Winny:

    Caerbannog (#43) This is a bit of a non sequitur. Why should it make any difference whether or not some other set of literature is riddled with errors or free of errors?

    The point is that a specific claim was made on the NASA website. That claim has now disappeared without explanation. Surely there should at least be an “oops” footnote.

  47. Dale Power:

    What will be missed by many is that this information, while technically important, is irrelevant to the actual state of Global Climate Change.

    We now get to hear for the next six years about how some corrupt scientist got millions of dollars faking the Glacial melt rate for the entire world…

    You think I’m kidding?

    Really?

    Something has to be done about the organized denial groups. I don’t know what of course, but SOMETHING needs to be done, before they stall us into inaction for the next century.

  48. caerbannog:

    Winny,

    Have you demanded that skeptics who published erroneous information acknowledge their mistakes? If not, will you acknowledge that you have been acting like a hypocrite here?

  49. MapleLeaf:

    This is OT, sorry, but Gavin et al. have you seen this?

    “Why Hasn’t Earth Warmed as Much as Expected?”

    Stephen E. Schwartz, Robert J. Charlson, Ralph A. Kahn, John A. Ogren, Henning Rodhe”

    It sis already doing the rounds amongst denialists. Any thoughts? Maybe a good paper for future analysis and discussion?

  50. Jim Roland:

    The AR4 WG3 notes on biofuels included a number of claims which would be laughable if their ramifications weren’t so worrying. See http://www.grain.org/m/?id=154 which links to a jointly authored letter citing these. For example:

    “Cellulosic crops… may be grown in areas unsuitable for grains and other
    food/feed crops and thus do not compete with food.”

    “implementation [of biofuels in the transport sector] would
    generally have positive social, environmental… side effects.”

    “biofuel blending” as policy, measure or instrument [is] “shown to be environmentally effective… in at least a number of national cases” – a successful Brazilian tabled amendment to the Summary for Policymakers text. It is nowhere explained which national cases are referred to, nor on the basis of which papers, nor why remarks in widely cited papers referenced by the WG3 book that note uncertainty in this area have been discounted.

    This kind of writing isn’t fit for schoolbooks, let alone a peer-reviewed tome of international, interdisciplinary authorship.

    As you say Gavin, “the measure of an organisation is not determined by the mere existence of errors, but in how it deals with them when they crop up.” One does wonder how much of a further media hullabaloo would be needed to get the IPCC to acknowledge any of these faults, or any other, in the reports. Polite multiple emails and a letter haven’t.

  51. Garrett Jones:

    If you think we have reached peak oil, you may wish to buy a bridge I own in Brooklyn or a Senate seat I control in Mass. Oil, gas and coal reserves increase every year they are measured.

  52. Tom Fuller:

    It’s not the mistake, it’s what Rajendra Pachauri said two weeks ago. You all are allowed–even encouraged–to err while searching for the answers to these questions. But if Pachauri had said two weeks ago that ‘I guess we need to look into this and correct any mistakes that we find’ instead of “I’d like to find out the secret source of this divine intervention… I don’t understand the logic of this… I am puzzled where this magical science has come from… This is something indefensible.” and “IPCC studies only peer-review science. Let someone publish the data in a decent credible publication. I am sure IPCC would then accept it, otherwise we can just throw it into the dustbin.”

    …then we could be doing other things right now, such as your excellent recent posts on Plass and your critique of Lindzen and Choi.

    [Response: Perhaps you could point to the exert in the Indian Minister's report where he mentions the IPCC or the 2035 number? And then perhaps you can explain why that piece of un-peer reviewed grey literature is better than the un-peer reviewed grey literature they mistakenly relied on in the first place? Despite everyone's seeming desire to personalise this, the real issue has nothing to do with Pachauri at all. This is an institutional issue, and would exist regardless of who is chair. - gavin]

  53. Oakden Wolf:

    Louis C. Smith at #17

    Thanks for posting that. I was going to post that reference if nobody else did.

  54. jyyh:

    I’ll put this up before someone else does… as I think will in anycase happen: http://www.physorg.com/news183142998.html
    Has someone measured the deep ocean temperature changes in +-0.01K accuracy to verify that this is not the case? Or is it so that once the ocean acidification reaches depths below the photosynthetic layer the hCO2 anions will not settle to solid carbonates with the dead biota falling towards ocean bottom? There’s been quite a while after my chemistry courses so I have to ask can the temperature be measured with such an accuracy and what was the composition of the falling biotic material in ocean and can some constituents in it solidify the CO2(aq) in such (a bit more acidic presently, it’s been told) conditions?

  55. Didactylos:

    rosie hughes said:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all this fixation on get-it-right, got-it-wrong is obscuring the real issue: the truth is what we define it to be, and the truth is that mankind is a scourge on the planet. The sooner we can limit the right to breed, the sooner the planet will recover.

    Rosie, while I sympathise with your motives, you seem to have missed an incredibly important point: population isn’t the key factor in increasing consumerism and high energy use. Ironically, it is quality of life that matters most.

    History tells us that as quality of life increases, population will eventually stabilise. Many of the most developed countries have a stable or even declining population (possibly compensated by immigration).

    Taking just one aspect of the problem as an example: the rapid rise of the middle class in countries such as India and China is creating a correspondingly large increase in the demand for meat. Western consumers are used to casually consuming obscene amounts of meat daily – we hardly pause to think that this isn’t how humanity evolved, or that our meat consumption has a larger impact.

    Yet it does have a larger impact – land is needed for raising cattle, more land, water and chemicals are needed to grow the grain to feed the animals.

    I’m not speaking rhetorically. This phenomenon is the major cause of recent global food price increases.

    I believe the correct question to be asking is “How can we improve quality of life without falling victim to rampant selfish consumerism and destroying the planet?”

  56. Tim Jones:

    Regarding the source of the IPCC statement being discussed:

    I’m sure that the WWF isn’t incapable of citing a scientific paper. Wasn’t the WWF quoting an article in The New Scientist regarding a four year study?

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18363-debate-heats-up-over-ipcc-melting-glaciers-claim.htmlDCMP=OTCrss&nsref=online-news
    (excerpt)
    “The IPCC report sources the prediction to a document published by the environment group WWF in 2005; this document quotes the
    New Scientist article as its source. The WWF report describes the
    prediction as “disturbing”, without specifically endorsing it.”

    Here’s the WWF paper
    http://assets.panda.org/downloads/himalayaglaciersreport2005.pdf
    © WWF Nepal Program, 2005
    (excerpt)
    “As discussed in the thematic introduction to this regional status review, there is particular concern at the alarming rate of retreat of Himalayan glaciers. In 1999, a report by the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology (WGHG) of the International Commission for Snow and Ice (ICSI) stated: “glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the livelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high”. Direct observation of a select few snout positions out of the thousands of Himalayan glaciers indicate that they have been in a general state of decline over, at least, the past 150 years.
    “The prediction that “glaciers in the region will vanish within 40 years as a result of global warming” and that the flow of Himalayan rivers will “eventually diminish, resulting in widespread water shortages” (New Scientist 1999; 1999, 2003) is equally disturbing.”

    186 references are cited. It looks like a rather thorough paper to me. Perhaps not up to the usual IPCC standards, but research in the area is scarce.

    Here’s the 1999 New Scientist article:

    “Flooded Out”
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg16221893.000-flooded-out.html
    05 June 1999 by Fred Pearce
    (excerpt)
    “All the glaciers in the middle Himalayas are retreating,” says Syed Hasnain of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, the chief author of the ICSI report.
    A typical example is the Gangorti glacier at the head of the River Ganges, which is retreating at a rate of 30 metres per year. Hasnain’s four-year study indicates that all the glaciers in the central and eastern Himalayas could disappear by 2035 at their present rate of decline.”

  57. Winny:

    caerbannog (#48) asks me; “Have you demanded that skeptics who published erroneous information acknowledge their mistakes?”

    to which my answer is no.

    caerbannog then asks;

    “If not, will you acknowledge that you have been acting like a hypocrite here?”

    to which my answer is also no.

    I’m not sure of why you think these questions are relevant. My point is merely that the NASA website published an incorrect statement. That incorrect statement has been removed without any comment. I think it would have been at least worthwhile for there to be a footnote acknowledging that an earlier error had been corrected.

    If you and I go and select some incorrect statement from WUWT and agree that it should be changed, how will that affect NASA’s treatment of their error? What possible relevance could it have?

  58. Didactylos:

    Jim Roland criticised the biofuel comments in the AR4 WG3 report.

    But Jim, why are you complaining? All of the statements are true, as a little research will tell you. Brazilian sugarcane ethanol has been wildly successful. New research into cellulosic ethanol production looks promising, but it is far too early for the IPCC to be making quantitative statements about how effective it is.

    I read the AR4 section on biofuels. There were far too many references cited to check them all just for a blog answer. Maybe you should go to the trouble of reading them, Jim? I suspect you will find answers to all your criticisms. And, given that your criticism is that there are no references – obviously you are just wrong. You need to look in the WG3 report, not the SPM if you want to source every claim. Isn’t that obvious? Isn’t the word “Summary” a clue?

    Jim, I see that your “source” is in fact…. you. Well done. You have achieved ouroboros.

  59. mondo:

    “It’s just a flesh wound!”

  60. Hank Roberts:

    Remember, New Scientist is not a science journal. It’s an entertainment magazine. They told me that years ago — pre-WWW, in fact — after I nitpicked at them for several years about errors in articles.

    The WWF generally does a good conservative job of reporting science news.

  61. calyptorhynchus:

    #55 “Rosie, while I sympathise with your motives, you seem to have missed an incredibly important point: population isn’t the key factor in increasing consumerism and high energy use. Ironically, it is quality of life that matters most.

    History tells us that as quality of life increases, population will eventually stabilise.”

    The problem is it will almost certainly stabilise too late.

  62. Hank Roberts:

    Jim Roland, look up the deforestation folks who were at Copenhagen; the acronym is REDD. Here’s one mention:
    http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=2584&title=redd-road-copenhagen-readiness
    You’re entirely correct and you’re raising a big, huge, gaping, awful problem with the international negotiations. Right now (as of the last time I heard someone speak about this) — as of the last meetings at Copenhagen — a natural forest is considered equal to a palm plantation — the definition is something really absurd like continuous plant canopy at least six feet off the ground, as of the last Copenhagen round.

    This is incredible stupidity, omits any consideration of biodiversity and lets countries log off their forests, replace them with palm oil plantations, and show this as a zero net loss for carbon reduction deals.

    I could get real upset about this, except other people are doing a far better job of it. Keep raising the issue.

    The rich/North countries want to claim they can “buy offsets” from the poor/South countries instead of actually reducing fossil fuel use. And both groups want to equate things like palm plantations and natural forests — so the rich can pay the poor to log the forests; the poor get to sell the lumber, plant palm plantations, collect carbon capture money for those, sell the palm oil to the rich, and give the rich “carbon credits” for doing it.

    Outcome — nobody does f-ing anything to reduce carbon use.
    That’s the current plan. People won’t stand still for it, but as usual, people are going to have to lead their governments to be smarter.

    We may be discovering why the universe is silent but for this one planet.

    Or we may be unique in the universe and not screw up and go silent.

    Time will tell.

  63. Doug Bostrom:

    Winny says: 20 January 2010 at 12:09 AM

    Would you mind telling me just what significance this single line holds for you? How many people do you think would read a correction?

    For that matter, how did it come to your attention? You just happened to read it?

    Look, the “gotcha” game is not science. Finding little teeny-tiny errors, a single accidental citation from hundreds, these things are not what’s called “making a case”. They actually are informative of just how bankrupt doubters are when it comes to powerful ideas or concepts. You give yourself away by using such trashy technique.

    Your NASA edit is hollow, vacuous. It’s just PR. Is that -all- you’ve got? Spin? Because guess what, mainstream science has the power of truth behind it; truth is mathematical, eventually folks trying to solve an equation will find out if they have sufficient variables. Shabby PR and spin has no possibility of surviving extended scrutiny. Sure, you can mess with people’s heads for a while, deceive them, misdirect them, but eventually your cause is going to run out of steam because it has no fuel.

    Find another button to push, the one you’re slapping now is disconnected.

  64. Josh Cryer:

    Irony, I blog about the similarity between NASA conspiracy theorists and people who don’t believe in global warming, and someone comments in a RealClimate article making conspiracy-sounding allegations about NASA. Fun times. Good on NASA for swiftly correcting their article.

    When I heard about the 2035 date a few weeks back I didn’t touch it because I couldn’t find one peer reviewed source for it. It was unfortunate that some people did defend it, but I can admit that I have defended positions from ignorance in the past, before. This should send out a signal to those of us who believe AGW is real and who believe it may be a significant threat to our civilization that we should be more diligent with the data and with what we say.

  65. Antony:

    1.2%

    From page 42 of University of Arizona’s “Background support presentation for NASA “Black Carbon and Aerosols” press conference” Dec. 14, 2009 :

    “9. As we have calculated,melting glaciers(specifically, negative mass balance components of the melt) contribute an estimated 1.2% (perhaps factor of 2 uncertain) of total runoff of three of the most important drainages, the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra combined. The seasonal flow regulation influences and the negative mass balance is more important in local drainages close to the glacier sources, where glaciers can dominate the hydrology in arid regions, but on the scale of the subcontinent, glaciers are secondary players in looming hydrologic problems, which stem more from population growth and inefficiency of water resource distribution and application.”

    http://web.hwr.arizona.edu/~gleonard/2009Dec-FallAGU-Soot-PressConference-Backgrounder-Kargel.pdf
    For glacial melting in the Eastern Himalaya’s they suspect black soot (from lorries, factories and fires) as an important cause.

  66. Jaime Frontero:

    @63:

    Nice post, Mr. Bostrom.

    True – through and through.

    And yet… Brown won Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts. Which is not exactly expected to help the cause.

    We’re missing something…

  67. Jimbo:

    Comment by caerbannog

    Winny,

    Have you demanded that skeptics who published erroneous information acknowledge their mistakes? If not, will you acknowledge that you have been acting like a hypocrite here?

    Sceptics on the web are not generally publicly funded. Sceptics don’t have to prove a thing regarding AGW, it’s down to those who make claims and theories to prove and defend their case. Is this not so Gavin?

  68. Winny:

    Doug Bostrom (#63) 20 January 2010 at 1:09 AM says:

    “Would you mind telling me just what significance this single line holds for you?”
    I guess it doesn’t hold any special significance beyond the fact that it was wrong.

    “How many people do you think would read a correction?”
    I don’t know. Does that make it unnecessary?

    “For that matter, how did it come to your attention?”
    I read about it here. I read Realclimate from time to time. I was especially pleased to read this post because it shows that the folks at RC are quick to fess up when they spot an error. It demonstrates that it’s science, not politics. It demonstrates that personality and ego are not a factor. The only thing that’s important is to get the science right.

    “You just happened to read it?”
    See previous answer.

    I’m not sure what inspired the ad-hominem. I don’t think this is a “Teeny-tiny” error. I think, as Gavin appears to, that this is a “more substantive” error. Not in the sense that it overturns all that’s gone before or anything like that, just that it’s a reasonably substantial blunder.

    “The measure of an organisation is not determined by the mere existence of errors, but in how it deals with them when they crop up.”

    The sensible thing to do, is to correct the error, explain that it was wrong, it’s now right and get on with the next thing. Gavin suggest a “corrigendum to the WG2 report perhaps” in the case of the IPCC reports. In the case of the NASA website, it’s hardly necessary to issue a major report, a simple footnote would be ample.

  69. Bulldust:

    Doug Bostrom @ 63:

    So your argument applies equally to the Monbiot attack on Plimer Re. Heaven and Earth? Basically he attacked the manuscript on the basis of a couple of incorrect reference interpretations (out of 2,300 references).

    Now I am certainly not arguing that Plimer got all the rest right, I am just saying there is no difference in that critique and the current Himalayian glacier = IPCC wrong line of argument.

    You can’t have it both ways. What you need is a civil and scientific debate without the censorship and arrogance that is all too often prevalent.

  70. Pete:

    Exactly how does one peer review a phone call?

  71. Jimbo:

    The New Scientist seems non to pleased about the IPCC error.

    13 January 2010
    “When New Scientist heard this comment from a leading Indian glaciologist, we reported it. That was in 1999. The claim later appeared in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report – and it turns out that our article is the primary published source.

    The glaciologist has never submitted what he says was a speculative comment for peer review – and most of his peers strongly dispute it. So how could such speculation have become an IPCC “finding” which has, moreover, recently been defended by the panel’s chairman? We are entitled to an explanation, before rumour and doubt compound the damage to the image of climate science already inflicted by the leaked “climategate” emails.”"

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527432.800-sifting-climate-facts-from-speculation.html

  72. klee12:

    Hello,
    I tried to look up the referenence given in the posting

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter10.pdf

    and found it on page 493, not 436.

    Just in case you might want to make a correction

    klee12

    [Response: Indeed. Thanks. -gavin]

  73. Jimbo:

    “10 CFU re #8 Should I have put a sarcasm smiley face on my post CFU? Or were you agreeing with my criticism of Jimbo’s nonsense about “local effects”?”

    Comment by David Horton
    ———–
    I never said any such “nonsense” about “local effects”?, It was NASA who talked about “local effects” and I quoted them with a reference link. If you have a problem with this then I suggest you take it up with NASA and not me. Read before you reply, thanks and have a nice day.

    [edit - no need to repeat information already posted]

  74. Hank Roberts:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/01/a_beat_up_of_himalayan_proport.php#more

    He there looks at the drafts of the section that had the mistake, and the comments on the drafts — several people had pointed out the need for a citation and contrary information that should have been taken into account — and wasn’t.

    This is why, when someone posts what they believe to be a fact, they should give their source, say why they relied on it, and provide a proper citation so others can look it up and check it.

    I look forward to far more citations being provided by people coming in to post what they believe.

  75. TheGoodLocust:

    That 1921 picture sure has a lot of clouds – like it was taken during winter or after a snowstorm.

    It seems disingenuous to compare it to 2008 without saying what season they were taken in.

    Anyway, there are many reasons for the Himalayan glaciers to be disappearing – “global warming” is the least likely and least provable reason.

    [Response: Thanks for the chuckle. The 'least likely'? Think about it for a while. - gavin]

  76. Johnno:

    On fossil fuel peaking upthread I was referring to primary CO2 from deliberate burning of fossil fuels, not captive methane release or reduced CO2 absorption by forests and oceans. As to coal replacing oil in transport via synthetic liquids or electricity that will take many years and massive investment with uncertainties over carbon taxes and public acceptance. Natural gas can of course be used in either transport or stationary heat and generation. IPCC should therefore pick a credible worst case scenario for human caused CO2 that takes fossil fuel depletion into account. Bottom line if critics are right – before deductions there could be 80% less human caused primary CO2 by 2050 with or without deliberate mitigation.

  77. outeast:

    The claim about Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035 looks to me like a really silly cockup – like claims made about the loss of all Antarctic ice by the end of the century, doesn’t it fail even the most cursory of logic checks? In fact, it would seem to me that Himalayan glacial disappearance by 2035 would be a major problem for climate science to explain: wouldn’t so sudden a loss of high-altitude ice which is at least tens of metres thick be pretty much implausible under even the most pessimistic of current projections?

    It is unsurprising that some errors crept into the IPCC report given its size, scope, and the sheer number of people involved (though it is surprising that so obviously nonsensical a claim as the 2035 date escaped scrutiny till after publication). the fact that so few errors are found despite the intense scrutiny to which the report is subjected should bolster confidence in it, really, but unfortunately every goof that does get caught does a disproportionate amount of reputational damage. This is even the case when the goof (as here) is a silly error that is on the face of it incompatible with the overall IPCC findings rather than being something critical to AGW evidence.

    It may be worth noting that Pachauri’s ill-judged ‘voodoo science’ remark was not aimed at the specific claim that the glaciers will not disappear by 2035 but at the whole of the Raina report, likely based only on Raina’s conclusion that Himalayan glaciers have not been affected by global warming. Anyone interested in actually reading the Raina report can find it online, by the way… and having read it myself I can’t help feeling that Pachauri’s comments were rather over the top (could personal politics have been coming into play?). It doesn’t look like ‘voodoo science’ to me, although it doersn’t look quite like a ‘state of the art review’ either.
    There are controversial claims, but nothing in the paper either denies or claims to refute global warming itself. Raina’s claim actual more narrow – that Himalayan glaciers specifically are unusually slow to respond to climate changes and so should not yet be expected to show major changes which are directly attributable to current warming. This is at odds with the conclusions of some other studies such as Bajracharya et al 2007 (oddly omitted from this ’state of the art review’), but on the face of it is not utterly implausible (given the huge variance in retreat and advance rates described by Raina, and the complex interplay of factors which affect these changes). Perhaps someone with real glacier knowledge could comment on the report for readers here?

    Incidentally, this is not the first time anyone has highlighted the 2035 mistake. A guest poster on Pielke Sr’s blog wrote about it last year (here) but attributed the goof to a migrating zero – a cited paper apparently projected the loss of Himalayan glaciers by 2350, not 2035. This sounds more plausible than the latest explanation (though not really any less embarassing). I wonder which explanation was correct?

  78. A. Paul:

    Everbody knows that glaciers are retreating since the beginning of the 20th century or even longer. Almost nobody knows or spreads it in public, that due to the Little Ice Age, the glaciers have been very large anyway, and with the general warming trend following this LIA, melting can be seen as a natural process without involvement of human activity. It might be an (unfortunate) coincidence, that industrialization and the introduction of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere began right after the end of the LIA.

  79. Kevin Learmonth:

    Great headline and interesting points raised by article and contributions.
    What doesn’t help is sloppy use of graphics. Pictures obviously aim to give impression that glacier is much smaller than before. But what time of year was each picture taken? What date span are we looking at? What is the photographic pattern over 50 years? Is the current picture a particularly hot year? Was the previous picture a particularly cold year / late spring? We don’t know, and aren’t told. The picture is a cheap editorial device which serves only to undermine the seriousness of the article.

    [Response: Their are photos like these from all around the world. Look up the source for this one for more context - but this is not a 'cheap device', it is actually what is going on. - gavin]

  80. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Cute, Rosie, but straw-man.

  81. Tim Jones:

    Re:21

    Thanks Hank.

    As Gavin posted the link, the article:
    “IPCC slips on the ice with statement about Himalayan glaciers”
    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/index.php/csw/details/ipcc_slips_on_the_ice/

    Is much more comprehensive sleuthing than my stab at it. Though Syed Iqbal Hasnain wrote the ICSI Report on Himalayan Glaciology, the date does not appear there, The date 2035 came from “Glaciers Beating Retreat, in “an online publication called Down to Earth published on 30 April 1999″ also written by Hasnain, Chairman, ICSI working group on Himalayan Glaciology

    As Gavin first mentioned, it looks like the date was pulled out of the air… but by the author of a credible report.

    I think he was guessing, couldn’t put it in the report, but could publish it elsewhere. So what is the date of the disappearance
    of the major water providing glaciers?

  82. Christian Dudley:

    almost all glaciers in the alps and himalaya are melting since 1850, the end of the LIA.
    if you want to show (AGW) you should compare pictures between 1950 and 2010.
    look at the alps (europa), there were 80% of the glaciers growing between 1960 and 1980. since that, they were melting again.
    and, it is better for us, that they are melting, not growing like in the LIA.

  83. Jesús:

    “the physical science community should be encouraged to be more active in the other groups”

    That sounds ideal, but a bit burdensome for the WG1. I think that it’s a responsibility of people in the WG2 to check that their statements related to the physical science are (1) backed by WG1 and/or (2) backed by peer reviewed literature.

  84. Ray Ladbury:

    jyyh,
    We’ve warmed about a degree C from pre-industrial temperatures, and CO2 has risen by ~38%. For a 3 degree sensitivity, that’s about 1.4 degrees. The thing is we are not yet at equilibrium, so I don’t see a problem.

  85. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim Roland,
    Been to Brazil? I have, and it is a wonderful example of how to get biofuels right. The US, with its corn-based program is a wonderful example of how to get it wrong.

    Cellulosic alcohol, if it can be accomplished is another example of a good strategy.

    Just because one can execute a good strategy poorly does not invalidate the strategy. Such all-or-nothing thinking is simply wrongheaded.

  86. Completely Fed Up:

    “rosie hughes says:
    the truth is what we define it to ”

    Nope. the Truth is what exists even when we have our eyes closed.

  87. Completely Fed Up:

    “Winny says:
    19 January 2010 at 10:00 PM

    Caerbannog (#43) This is a bit of a non sequitur. Why should it make any difference whether or not some other set of literature is riddled with errors or free of errors?”

    Because it shows your reporting bias, whinny.

    It shows you’re not free from blinding bias.

    It shows that, if you’re going to lambast the entire AGW science for one error out of a thousand pages, the errors that make four or five per page (Ian Plimer’s apologetic book, for example) means that the denialist side is so far from rational and accurate that they can, should and MUST be summarily dismissed.

    If your assertions against this error are not proposed to be a source for silencing the side you don’t like, that is…

  88. David Harrington:

    Yet a couple of minor erros in Plimer’s book on Climate Change are found an this is sufficient to debunk his entire argument? Fair’s fair guys let’s at l;east pretend to play by the same rules.

    This will probably be moderated out by the “thought police” but I thought I would try anyway.

    [Response: A couple of minor errors? Oh yes. And a complete inability to admit even to the most egregious. Please be serious. - gavin]

  89. Sou:

    @Jim Torsen post 15, thank you for the links to the presentation on the Himalayan glaciers. I believe I’ve learnt a lot tonight, which will help me in efforts to counteract so many foolish claims from so many uninformed (and so many ignorant) people.

    (Not all ignorant people are unintelligent, but there seem to be too many less intelligent people who are ignorant but don’t know it.)

  90. Tony Noerpel:

    Jumbo et al

    The lowest estimate for remaining recoverable fossil fuels, I believe, is Dave Rutledge’s. That would be 560 GtC. Divide by 2.1 to convert to ppmV we get 267 ppmV. Divide by 2 to account for what the oceans and forests take back up and we get 133 ppmV. We are at 390 ppmV now and with other man-made gases get to a CO2 equivalent of about 440 ppmV. So even Dave’s estimate puts us at 573 ppmV equivalent. We have 288 GtC in all of our forests. If the most pessimistic of the peak oil community are correct, then I submit that in a world which already contains 7 billion humans, every single tree will be cut down for cooking and heating within a few decades of some catastrophic end to oil production. Add another 72 GtC. Now we are at 645 ppmv and we still have not accounted for any carbon cycle feedbacks like melting permafrost, soils or methane hydrates.

    So even the most conservative peak oil predictions put us in a world of hurt climate wise and there is no way that the IPCC could embrace the outlier opinions of a few while ignoring the projections for fossil fuels from the USGS, EIA, IEA and oil companies. The IPCC could not simply tell the most authoritative sources to kiss off because they were going to believe a handfull of professors instead. Even over at the oil drum, the consensus view is probably closer to 1200 GtC rather than Rutledge’s 560. That puts us at 790, still without the carbon cycle feedbacks.

    best regards

    Tony

  91. Steven Jörsäter:

    The fact that the IPCC is not infallible is hardly a surprise. But an organization that argues for measures that may cost trillions of dollars should have a very high standard indeed of quality assurance.

    [Response: The IPCC does not argue for measures. The reports are policy neutral. - gavin]

    A true researcher could not in any reasonable way confuse an article in a WWF report (itself being very much an actor in the game) with a true peer reviewed research article. Hence I would say that it is very unlikely that this could have been an accident. Instead, I believe that it is due the probably commonplace mixup of science and political ideas and ambitions within the IPCC. This matter should thus NOT be taken lightly as suggested in your article and whether or not the glaciers are in fact retreating can not in any way be used as excuse for glossing over this [edit]

  92. Spencer:

    Unless I’m mistaken, there is ANOTHER SIMILAR ERROR in the WG2 report, in chapter 3. In section 3.4.3 we read that “the entire Hindu Kush-Himalaya ice mass has decreased in the last two decades.”

    The citation is to Barnett et al. (2005), a Nature paper that does indeed say the Himalaya-Hindu Kush area was losing ice. So far so good. But the refereeing there failed, for Barnett et al. cite only two sources for their confident statement: a Chinese paper that, judging from the title (I haven’t tried to find the whole text), actually studied only one ice mass… and figures in the IPCC 2001 report, which turn out to show only temperature rise over the Himalayas, not actual glacier retreat. In short, the scientific communities involved had really poor quality-control in this case.

    Let’s recall that a hundred peer-reviewed papers will contain, oh, maybe a hundred errors. Most of these are insignificant. Many of the greatest scientific papers, for example Niels Bohr’s paper on the quantized atom or Roger Revelle’s on ocean uptake of CO2, are an almost incomprehensible mess from which something new and true can be laboriously extracted. The landmark paper discussed in the
    recent post on Plass is a fine example.

  93. Matthew L.:

    # 49 – MapleLeaf

    This paper acknowledges that the global temperature has not risen as much as expected relative to pre-industrial times if long lived greenhouse gases have the effect predicted in the IPCC cited models (0.8k actual vs 2.1k predicted).

    It then goes on to state that the following possible causes cannot account for all of the apparent discrepancy:
    1. Natural variation
    2. Thermal disequilibrium / lag in the action of GHG

    It concludes that a large part of the discrepency is probably due to either or both of the following:
    1. Atmospheric aerosols
    2. Incorrect calculation of the climate’s sensitivity

    It further states that there is too much uncertainty surrounding either of these factors to know how much of the discrepancy can be attributed to either. One point they make that will probably be disupted by some here is that paleoclimate research is unable to produce sufficiently accurate and uncertain numbers for climate sensitivity.

    The conclusion of the paper is as follows:
    The current best estimate and uncertainty range of Earth’s climate sensitivity suggest an equilibrium increase in Earth’s global mean surface temperature for forcing by anthropogenic long-lived greenhouse gases of 2.1 K (range 1.5 to 3.2 K, roughly 1 s. d.), well in excess of the observed increase relative to preindustrial times, about 0.8 K. The discrepancy is attributed mainly to uncertainty in climate sensitivity and/or cooling forcing by anthropogenic aerosols, also highly uncertain; countervailing natural cooling and thermal lag in climate response seem to be relatively small. Because of the great difference in atmospheric residence times of greenhouse gases and aerosols, the effect of the greenhouse gases will dominate long-term forcing and climate response. Even if Earth’s climate sensitivity is at the low end of the IPCC (2007)
    estimated “likely” range, continued emission of CO2 at the present rate would exhaust in just a few decades the shared global resource of the incremental amount of CO2 that can be added to the atmosphere without exceeding proposed maximum increases in GMST. If the sensitivity is greater, the allowable incremental emission decreases sharply, essentially to zero at the present best estimate of climate sensitivity, and is actually negative for greater values of this sensitivity.”

    The conclusion then goes on to emphasise how important it is that these two factors are better quantified in order to remove the uncertainty and better inform policy makers, and to avoid spending huge amounts in GHG mitigation measures that may not be necessary.

    A big “here here!” to that.

    The sort of thing they are worried about is illustrated by an interesting article in the Economist, a journal generally sympathetic to the IPCC agenda, that concerns the huge costs associated with wind power.

    http://www.economist.com/world/britain/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15287732
    …a story that concludes

    “You can add to the awe-inspiring engineering achievements of the offshore wind industry an unparalleled ability to make nuclear power look cheap.”

  94. Spencer:

    Also worth noting: WGI did have something to say about ice mass, but it was a more general statement about the global decline of ice mass. Glaciers in the Himalaya are only a tiny part of what’s going on, the ice caps (including Tibet etc.) involve a lot more mass and thus heat disposed of. The geophysicists, unlike the impact folks, do have a sound basis for their statement.

    The crucial data for the Panel I report are to be found at
    http://instaar.colorado.edu/other/download/OP58_dyurgerov_meier.pdf
    with a broader overview at http://www.hydro.washington.edu/pub/lettenmaier/lettenmaier_milly_2009/kaser_et_al_grl_2006.pdf (I guess published too late to be included in the IPCC reference list, but they do show the figures.)

  95. Completely Fed Up:

    “The conclusion of the paper is as follows:
    The current best estimate and uncertainty range of Earth’s climate sensitivity suggest an equilibrium increase in Earth’s global mean surface temperature for forcing by anthropogenic long-lived greenhouse gases of 2.1 K (range 1.5 to 3.2 K, roughly 1 s. d.), well in excess of the observed increase relative to preindustrial times, about 0.8 K.”

    And how does that sensitivity fit in with paleoclimate data?

    Will it give us a big enough amplification to get us out of an ice age, for example?

    Remember, physics doesn’t change just because we’re 2001AD. Whatever the comic books say.

  96. Completely Fed Up:

    “You can add to the awe-inspiring engineering achievements of the offshore wind industry an unparalleled ability to make nuclear power look cheap.”

    Funny how it’s so much cheaper for Australia and California to make wind power than this piece seems to suggest.

    Maybe they have different wind?

  97. Completely Fed Up:

    “82 Christian Dudley says:
    20 January 2010 at 5:46 AM

    and, it is better for us, that they are melting, not growing like in the LIA.”

    Which “us”? The ones relying on summer snowmelt to allow them to survive?

  98. Completely Fed Up:

    A Paul: “Almost nobody knows or spreads it in public, that due to the Little Ice Age, the glaciers have been very large anyway”

    And do those who *say* they know this say *how* they know this?

    Do they say *how much* is melting? After all, after a LIA, we have the BIA coming up. So where would the ice be if global warming was not happening?

    If it is melting quicker, then this is not proof that the melting is due to coming out of a LIA.

    If, indeed, you can prove that these glaciers are bigger because of it and the LIA ended in the Himalayas around 1850.

  99. Forlornehope:

    David Miller @44, if you switched to electric heating your optimum solution is to use a heat pump, not resistive heating. The very best air sourced pumps will give you around 4:1 performance. Unless you live in a region where you have prolonged periods with very low winter temperatures, they are almost as good as ground source machines. Either will give you effective heating that is no worse than burning fossil fuels in your boiler. Of course if your electricity supply is made up of nuclear and renewables it will be much better. It’s also worth noting that by getting the very best possible insulation, you can almost entirely eliminate the need for a heating system. You can even fit heat exchangers to minimise the heat loss through ventilation.

  100. Completely Fed Up:

    Jimbo grunts another one out: “If you have a problem with this then I suggest you take it up with NASA and not me.”

    Nope, if you want me to get on to NASA’s case, then you should have kept quiet.

    If you don’t know what NASA means with the figures that you picked out, you can very easily lie about them (as you have done) and dodge it by saying “they aren’t my figures”.

    YOU came up with it, YOU explain it.

    How can a local effect be a proxy for global effect?

    How can a season be a proxy for climate?

    How can you parrot information that you have no clue about and have to try to hide behind anothers skirts?

  101. Completely Fed Up:

    Jimbo “Sceptics on the web are not generally publicly funded.”

    They aren’t?

    How do you know?

    It’s not like the oil industry (or tobacco industry, who’d love to have science proofs ignored, for obvious reasons) don’t have large wodges of cash earmarked for PR lobbying and so on.

    Nor is it that they don’t get great big handouts (like about 75million dollars a year from the US alone), so money spent on PR is public money.

    And how do you know pro-science posters on the web are not generally publicly funded?

  102. KSW:

    Much has been made of the Stephen Schwartz paper in this thread and the blogosphere is all a tizzy today. Dr Schwartz’s home page provides the appropriate background for interpreting this latest release.

    No comfort should be taken by the AGW denialists by this paper.

  103. Geoff Wexler:

    #67 Jimbo

    Sceptics don’t have to prove a thing regarding AGW,

    Saying of the decade. I suppose that they don’t even have to demonstrate a skeptical approach to denialist propaganda.

    #69
    Bulldust.
    Basically he attacked the manuscript on the basis of a couple of incorrect reference interpretations (out of 2,300 references).

    Exaggeration of the decade. On the basis of his web page, Plimer would find it hard to muster two correct sentences in support of his main conclusions. He has recycled almost all of the self contradictory myths in the denialosphere with especial emphasis on the assertion that the observed rise in CO2 is not man made and that there is too much CO2 for any extra to have an effect (the 100 year old saturation error). How about looking at this?

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/do-you-believe-ian-plimer/

    and notice also that he as a ‘geologist’ he does not appear to have heard of isotope analysis.

    Allegations like these are not analagous to the glacier error in wg2 because they are not at all trivial. They could overthrow most of the science in working group 1. Its just a pity they are all wrong.

  104. Harry:

    This is classic confirmation bias at work.

    Information that confirms my beliefs is accepted as fact with little or no proof.

    Real Scientists are supposed to guard against confirmation bias.

    The only way to guard against confirmation bias is to have a ‘skeptic’ review the work.

  105. Ray Ladbury:

    David Harrington says “Yet a couple of minor erros in Plimer’s book on Climate Change are found an this is sufficient to debunk his entire argument?”

    You mean like saying that the Sun is made of iron, perhaps? Plimer’s book is simply a bad joke. You might as well be trying to resurrect Velikovsky!

  106. captdallas2:

    Glacier advance and decline is pretty much non_AGW in my mind. Yes, there is some evidence that there may be an AGW influence, but it is not as strong as hyped. It is unfortunate that some non-peer review stuff gets published as is some non peer reviewed stuff gets dissed. The search is for the truth and the labels are throwing the bloodhounds off the trail.

    Gavin’s workshop for the next IPCC should revise some solar estimates hopefully, to the sane side. And the cloud feedback thing needs some work. Yes, Gavin clouds can warm at times, they also can reflect. One study I would like to see is variation in convective energy during the satellite age. You may not be a fan a L and C but the tropics are the thermostat if there is one.

  107. Ray Ladbury:

    Captdallas2 says “Glacier advance and decline is pretty much non_AGW in my mind.”

    And yet your mind is not the real world. Isn’t it funny that you should have glaciers melting in Montana and New Zealand, the Himmalayas and the Andes. Yes local factors probably play a role, but the fact that the effect is seen GLOBALLY suggests there is also a global driver.

  108. Completely Fed Up:

    David Harrington says “Yet a couple of minor erros in Plimer’s book on Climate Change are found an this is sufficient to debunk his entire argument?”

    And what about this:

    http://www.complex.org.au/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=91

    means “a couple of errors”?

    100 >> 2.

  109. PB:

    In the third paragraph, suggested minor edit:

    “…and there may be to be serious consequences for water resources…”

    That “may be to be” seems like you were in the middle of writing either “may be” or “(appear) to be” and ended up mooshing them together.

    [Response: indeed again. thanks. - gavin]

  110. Matthew L.:

    #95 CFU
    Hopefully some expert on paleoclimatology will be able to answer your questions regarding Mr Schwartz & Co’s article (one or two of those here!).

    #96 CFU
    Not different wind, differnt location. The strongest and most consistent winds in the UK are offshore, in deep water and prone to violent storms. So you have to pin these monsters down pretty hard – a very costly exercise. Onshore turbines would be a lot cheaper, but would deliver a lot less electricity.

  111. Jim Galasyn:

    A child’s garden of deglaciation news

  112. Jim Galasyn:

    Harry says: The only way to guard against confirmation bias is to have a ’skeptic’ review the work.

    Like this?

    Statisticians confirm: no global cooling despite skeptic spin

    And this?

    Science of global warming not faked, AP inquiry decides

  113. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Of course there will be errors in climate science, and in big reports based on thousands of climate studies. Just remember those errors cut both ways — some overestimating, others underestimating the threats.

    In the face of doubt and incomplete knowledge (afterall, there is a 5 or less % chance AGW is not happening), but having to make a decision, ask “What Would Pascal Do?” or WWPD (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_Wager )

    The big difference, however, between Pascal’s Wager and the AGW Wager is that the FALSE NEGATIVE (acting to mitigate AGW, when it isn’t happening) is actually the best of all worlds — great financial savings, saving finite resources, reducing other environmental problems (& great financial & health savings from that), reducing other problem (and great financial & health/life savings from that), increasing health (cycling & eating low on food chain & organic is good for health), reducing crime (studies show that areas were there are more pedestrians and cyclists, reduces crime), reducing taxes (do you know how much money goes to maintaining heavily used roads??), psychological/spiritual benefits (walking and cycling lifts spirits), and, of course avoidance of hell and the gaining heaven (since God may be happy with people who act to do good and solve a problem, even if the problem isn’t happening, but will surely not be happy with those who refuse to consider there’s a problem and refuse to solve it ….. esp given scientists are saying it has 95% confidence of being true. Refusing to mitigate under those conditions seems to me to be flagrant and arrogant disregard for life on planet earth — not a very good stance to get on God’s good side).

  114. Completely Fed Up:

    “Not different wind, differnt location. ”

    What is so special that instead of being about 3 times less expensive than nuclear, it makes your professed conclusion hard to manage globally: they are both rather large and they’d have to become about 5x more expensive.

    What about the location of everywhere else on earth make a difference that large?

    “The strongest and most consistent winds in the UK are offshore, in deep water and prone to violent storms.”

    Uh, the amount of feasible shallow water offshore wind power for UK territorial waters is 1/3 of the european capacity. This does not suggest that the UK is poor in wind power.

    Again, you would seem to be wrong there too.

    “Onshore turbines would be a lot cheaper, but would deliver a lot less electricity.”

    Not really: the Australian, Texas and Californian farms are onshore and they’re much much cheaper than nuclear.

  115. steven mosher:

    I imagine if the report were one written by a corporation about the safety of a drug or the environmental impact on an endangered species or a report about the construction of a nuclear power plant that people would be less sanguine about the errors that slip through. It’s not like lives are at stake in Global warming. On a less sarcastic note, one way to minimize errors slipping through is to allow non peers to review. Very simply, a newspaper journalist or a historian will tend to look at a document differently than a scientist, will check for things like proper sourcing with more rigor than perhaps a scientist might, perhaps. There is, of course, another case of improper sourcing in Ar4, but for the sake of comity I won’t raise it here. Just a bit of constructive advice, add some non peer reviewers.

    [Response: The review process was completely open and all drafts were publicly posted. Even Monckton got to review it. How much more open would you like? - gavin]

  116. Ernst K:

    I must say that I am perplexed by all the “what season were those pictures taken in” comments. Do these guys seriously believe that glaciers advance and retreat several kilometers over a seasonal cycle, or that you can get several hundred feet of ice build up after a snowstorm?

    But at the same time, I feel the suggestions of “serious consequences for water resources” need some more context. Based on the abstract, the reference cited in the article (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/igsoc/agl/2006/00000043/00000001/art00032) focuses on documenting glacial retreat, not the impacts on water resources.

    If we’re talking about the great rivers like the Ganges, Brahmaputra, or Yangtze then I find it hard to believe that glacier contributions represent a large enough fraction of the annual flow in these rivers to constitute serious consequences unless we’re talking about people who live relatively close to the glaciers themselves. Generally, most of the water in rivers this large comes from mountain snow melt, mountain rain, and rain in the lowlands. Even if the glaciers disappear completely, you’ll still have mountains which should get lots of rain and snow. I would be more concerned about changes to the precipitation patterns and shifts from snowfall to rainfall due to warming than the loss of glacial volume.

    That said, you may have noticed that I didn’t mention the Indus River. While I still expect that far more water in that river comes from snow and rain in the highlands than from glacial melt, the Indus Valley itself is a desert so I’m more cautious about the Indus. I’m also concerned about the Qinghai region in China. While it isn’t a desert, it’s still quite dry and it isn’t on the Indian Monsoon side of the Himalayas, so I wouldn’t be as confident that it would still expect a lot of mountain precipitation.

    I should also add that I am much more familiar with these processes in the North American, especially Western Canadian, context than the Himalayan. I would greatly appreciate it if someone could set me straight on the relative contributions glacial runoff in the great Asian rivers.

  117. Garry Hemming:

    This Report from 2001 actually has the quote used in the IPCC report;

    “”Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high”, which is attributed to ‘A 1999 report by the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology (WGHG) of the International Commission for S now and Ice (ICSI)’.

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1807/18070690.htm

    Who are the ‘Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology’ and the ‘International Commission for S now and Ice’?

  118. Doug Bostrom:

    Winny says: 20 January 2010 at 1:58 AM

    Really, you read about an error on a NASA public information web page here? Not in Gavin’s article about the IPCC Himalaya cite. Where? Oh, yes, brought in to comments here by a “Jerry”. That make it very important, and you found it all by yourself and became terribly concerned. Right.

    Bulldust says: 20 January 2010 at 2:01 AM

    “So your argument applies equally to the Monbiot attack on Plimer Re. Heaven and Earth? Basically he attacked the manuscript on the basis of a couple of incorrect reference interpretations (out of 2,300 references).”

    Monbiot’s a pundit, he’s not a scientist. What’s your point? Since you mention his name, as to actual scientists there’s about 1 AU of daylight between Plimer and scientists actually working the field. Try again.

    TheGoodLocust says: 20 January 2010 at 3:45 AM

    Must have been quite a snowstorm, eh? Hundreds of feet of ice in one winter. Also, you might want to take note that glaciers typically do not fluctuate enormously in size on a seasonal basis. Try again.

  119. Witgren:

    OT to the original post, but here is yet another bit of anecdotal evidence for AGW…shipwrecks in the Baltic that have been preserved for six or seven hundred years are now being devoured by shipworms that have been expanding their range into the southern Baltic over the past 20 years.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/01/100119-viking-shipwrecks-worms-shipworms-global-warming/

    Actually, I guess maybe not so OT – this is just part of the plethora of evidence other than glaciers or CRU data that is out there…

  120. Josh Cryer:

    #67 Jimbo, I have pointed out mistakes with skeptics before (and in the future will do a whole lot more). Cheifio was reluctant to retract his claims about Central Park Raw data, and in fact spun it in a completely different way. As far as I know D’Aleo was alerted to his errors, and has failed to correct them (by fully retracting his allegation). Imagine, if in the peer review, someone was shown to be wrong, and then they attempted to spin it a completely different way, without any logic to it at all. No one would take them credibly anymore. If you’re wrong, in science, you’re wrong. Feynman had his own theory of particle physics, but when quarks were discovered he instantly ceded to the process, rather than to try to pawn off his theory as truth.

    I doubt that the majority of skeptics are publicly funded, however, it is clear that some of the make huge amounts of money through ad revenue (WUWT), and most of them are misled by lobbiests whose sole goal is to spread doubt. This is precisely why Cheifio doesn’t feel like retracting an article he posted with misleading and wrong data, because the doubt is the product, not anything else.

    I always say, and it’s really simple, if people have a problem with the data, then submit it to peer review. Lindzen and Choi (2009) show that if you can make decent arguments you can get through the peer review, so objections about corruption in the peer review are garbage, on the face of it. The fact is the vast, overwhelming, majority of arguments by “skeptics” are very weak and usually based on an intrinsic misunderstanding of the data, or a concerted effort to make stuff up.

  121. Olivier:

    An error in the GIEC report ? My God…
    At last, there was errors in D’Alembert and Diderot’s Enclyclopédie too… :-)

  122. Mauri Pelto:

    ErnestK your comments on water resources are good, this is the key. The main controller of glacier runoff is size, and of 51 glaciers examined in the main Himalayan front from-Nepal-Nepal and Sikkim all are retreating. The areal extent loss is significant but still a small fraction of the total ice. Yet in this region we are expanding our use of glaciers for hydropower. Notice the Gangotri Glacier , or Zemu Glacier. Pakistan generates about 45% of its electricity from hydropower on the Indus River. The headwaters of the Indus River are the large glaciers of the Karokoram Range. The Biafo and Baltura are two or the largest. Both glacier have experience rapid retreat and loss of area in the last two decades. The Indus River flows have also declined.

  123. Matthew L.:

    #114 – CFU
    I don’t know why you are arguing with me, I am just quoting the Economist. If you have an argument with their Economics, take it up with them. Personally I do not feel qualified to second-guess the Economist on Economics.

    From your comments it does not look like you have read the article properly. It makes no points about the expense of wind power anywhere else, only the expense of this particular proposal for offshore wind farms in the UK.

    There are all sorts of reasons why on-shore wind farms are difficult to construct here (planning controls, high population density, NIMBY residents, very high land costs).

    Sure, there will be plenty of locations around the world with fewer people, lighter planning regulations, better winds and cheaper land producing better economics for siting onshore wind farms. Unfortunately for us British taxpayers, not here.

  124. Hank Roberts:

    Ernst K:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=relative+contributions+glacial+runoff+Ganges

  125. Martin Hiller:

    I cannot download the backgrounder by Karkel et al AGU that you refer to in your UPDATE. Can someone help?

  126. Michael:

    Re: Ernst K “…I must say that I am perplexed by all the “what season were those pictures taken in” comments. Do these guys seriously believe that glaciers advance and retreat several kilometers over a seasonal cycle, or that you can get several hundred feet of ice build up after a snowstorm?…”

    I have also noted that Gavin has not clarified if he knows during which part of the year both photos were taken. In answer to questions about this he provided a link to the original reference. I followed it expecting to find this information but it does not appear to be there. If he doesn’t know then that is fine and but I feel that we should be comparing like to like.

    Does a glacier advance or retreat on a seasonal basis, I honestly don’t know, but I know that another large body of ice i.e. the Arctic certainly does. It does not then seem unreasonable for the less informed such as myself to at least ask the question. I am also fairly sure that seasonal snow/ice cover could make a difference to the perceived loss of glacial cover in a comparison of two photos like that presented here.

    Can anybody provide further comment on this?

    Kind Regards

    Michael

    [Response: The climbing season on Everest is short (usually around May I think?), and so my first guess is that they are likely to be spring. The lack of fresh snow cover in either picture is suggestive of that or later. But as the other commenters have made clear, it's irrelevant. The ~3-400 ft loss of glacier ice thickness is two orders of magnitude bigger than any seasonal fluctuation. That's why glaciers are useful - they integrate over long time periods. - gavin]

  127. Michael:

    Dear Witgren #119

    The link provides this discussion. “…Why shipworms are suddenly able to spread there remains a mystery, but studies suggest rising sea temperatures have something to do with it….”

    Why are you sure it it anthropogenic GW rather than natural global warming or even changes to local conditions? Even the author does not make the link to human activity that you do.

    Kind Regards

    Michael

  128. Completely Fed Up:

    Matt: “I am just quoting the Economist.”

    Well then they have it wrong, don’t they.

    Because it is 3x cheaper to get power in California.

    You don’t have a clue as to whether they are right, do you.

    PS did the economist say that the UK has only sufficient power from deep-sea offshore wind power? Did they say that onshore turbines were cheaper but couldn’t develop enough power efficiently?

    Did they?

    Or did you.

  129. Completely Fed Up:

    “There are all sorts of reasons why on-shore wind farms are difficult to construct here (planning controls, high population density, NIMBY residents, very high land costs).”

    These all exist in California.

    They exist even harder in Oil-Baron-Land Texas.

    Matt, they are wrong.

  130. foodtube:

    ====> POST #Caption for images in the post: “East Rongbuk glacier just below Mt. Everest has lost 3-400 ft of ice in this area since 1921.”

    A comparison of photos from 1921 and 2008 of glaciers in Jasper park Canada would show a similar shocking retreat. However the photos and a similar caption would not inform the viewer the Jasper glaciers have been melting since at least the mid 1800s(there are photos from the 1850s to prove it). This information is relevant and significant. This type of omission has become so prevalent in environmental “journalism” as to cause otherwise reasonable people to question the reliblity of all reporting in the field.

    ====> POST #3 w kensit says: 19 January 2010 at 5:31 PM “Unfortunately AGW true statements are weighed in a handsfull of goose down and never remembered. AGW stumbles are measured in shovel loads of lead and never forgotten.”

    This simply isn’t true. I’ve been watching the climate change issue since 1994. In the last ten years the vast majority of reporting has supported AGW. To suggest otherwise is silly.

    ====> POST #25 Lamont says: 19 January 2010 at 7:46 PM “Link 1 and 2: The melting may also be from soot. I am sure that is a great consolation to the people who depend on these glaciers.”

    Their consolation may be not paying an additional and possibly useless carbon tax on top of their other problems. It is sad poverty leads people to open air cooking with dirty fuels which leads to soot which may lead to glaciers melting, etc. How about we get the science and story straight before making their lives even harder?

    ====> POST #25 Lamont says: 19 January 2010 at 7:46 PM You have to understand that climate deniers live in this sheltered world where they believe climate scientists think that every single climate force on the planet is due entirely to CO2, therefore to come up with an effect which does not have CO2 as a cause disproves AGW…

    Some comments on RC have degenerated to the level of comments on the Watts site. You speak of denialists as if they are strange and scary creatures from down below rather than your neighbors and family members.

    ====> POST #25 Lamont says: 19 January 2010 at 7:46 PM Of course real climate scientists believe no such thing, but its so much easier for the deniers to argue with the caricature of a climate science that they hold in their head, than to argue with an actual climate scientist…

    Perhaps actual climate scientists should ensure their words and work are not misquoted, misunderstood or purposefully twisted by legions of ignorant and/or mischievious activists and so called journalists.

    [Response: I think you'll find that there are legions of people who purposefully twist what we say (though usually in the opposite sense to what you suggest) - and all our efforts to stop them doing it are pretty fruitless. Perhaps you have a suggestion for how to be more effective? - gavin]

    ====> POST #36 Dave Rado says: 19 January 2010 at 8:49 PM The Daily Express, a UK mass-market tabloid newspaper that has lately turned into a propaganda organ of the denialist lobby groups, recently made a meal of this in a front page article.

    Why worry about one “tabloid” newspaper? Almost every professional and popular publication on the planet only prints pro AGW stories. Unless you spend your time on conservative blogs and web sites it is difficult to find any stories questioning AGW. Why does an occasional article cause such panic?

    ====> POST # 37 Philip Machanick says: 19 January 2010 at 8:51 PM The brilliant thing about conspiracy theory is that you can make the evidence mean anything you like.

    Funny. Denialists make similar statements on their blogs about AGW theory. The switch from the term “global warming” to “climate change” added fuel to the fire.

    [Response: And when do you think that happened? Hint. - gavin]

    ====> POST 45 calyptorhynchus says: 19 January 2010 at 9:57 PM I work for a government department and if we produced a report the size of the IPCC that had only one minor error in it we’d be very pleased with ourselves.

    Thanks for a good laugh. How many errors are acceptable in a government report? The problem with calling this a “minor error” is the IPCC report gives the information legitimacy and thus results in it being repeated as fact over and over and over.

    [edit]

  131. Bill Teufel:

    I’m definitely a skeptic about climate change. Here’s why. Money. There is a ton of money to be made if AGW is real, and a ton of money to be made if AGW is wrong.

    I have asked several times. Can anyone show me a scientific experiment, which can be repeated, that proves man is responsible for the warming of the planet, and does not involve man made computer models? I don’t trust the models since they are extremely complex, and can be adjusted to present the desired results. Especially when you consider the money at stake.

    And on the other side, what are the ramifications if AGW is true? Is it worth spending the money to prevent the inevitable?

  132. trrll:

    “Yet a couple of minor erros in Plimer’s book on Climate Change are found an this is sufficient to debunk his entire argument? ”

    Seems like the key issue is not whether errors are made–everybody makes errors; I routinely find errors in peer reviewed papers–but whether those errors are forthrightly acknowledged and corrected once they are pointed out.

  133. gary thompson:

    i see the 2009 data point was posted for the US. How can the US have such low temperatures for the past 2 years yet the other GISS graphs for the world be on a steady ramp up? are the weather stations in teh US more reliable and provide better data? the more i look at the station data and see the variability between staions that are less than 25k apart the more i lose confidence in this data.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.lrg.gif

  134. kris:

    #90, Tony:

    Except that you assume that all recoverable fossil fuel deposits will be extracted. They won’t. The decline in extraction of fossil fuels will drive the prices up (in fact, it already does). Now, fuel/energy price drives food prices (and inflation). Next stage is an economic crisis, followed by poverty, war and starvation (in any order). The result would be decrease in both the population and industrial output (infrastructure destruction). As a result, the CO2 emissions will stabilize, probably much below current levels. However, at that point it will be largely irrelevant: the massive social changes will have occurred due to peak oil even before the effects of AGW start to have any significant impact.

  135. Doug Bostrom:

    Bill Teufel says: 20 January 2010 at 4:30 PM

    “I have asked several times. Can anyone show me a scientific experiment, which can be repeated, that proves man is responsible for the warming of the planet, and does not involve man made computer models? I don’t trust the models since they are extremely complex, and can be adjusted to present the desired results.”

    Whoa. Leaving aside the money part, you’re getting ahead of yourself as your question indicates!

    Read this and you’ll be able to form your own conclusion. Without it, you’ll be taking your conclusion on faith. Give yourself a few hours, it’s not short:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

  136. Doug Bostrom:

    gary thompson says: 20 January 2010 at 5:14 PM

    “How can the US have such low temperatures for the past 2 years yet the other GISS graphs for the world be on a steady ramp up?”

    I don’t know what the GISS data for the United States shows, but the basic answer lies in what a small fraction of the globe is the USA.

    United States: 9.2 million square kilometers. Earth: 510 million square kilometers, or less than 2% of surface area. Not much weight in the US contribution.

    I’m sure you could find other places with the same feature.

  137. David Miller:

    EarnstK asks about the glacial portion of various rivers total flow.

    Earnst, one thing to keep in mind is that timing matters as much as amount of flow. What’s critical is that crops being irrigated with meltwater have the water when it’s needed. I don’t claim to know when that is, other than “not during the monsoons”. I’m sure that the monsoons deliver most of the water flowing out all the rivers. They also saturate all the agricultural basins, refill reservoirs, etc. That certainly counts for a lot, but it’s the glacial runoff that keeps things alive before/after the monsoons.

  138. Magnus W:

    In Sweden we have professor Kjel Aleklett, that claims that there
    exists to little fossil fuel on the planet to make any of the IPCC
    scenarios possible. I have written a post abut it on our Swedish blog:

    http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=sv&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fuppsalainitiativet.blogspot.com%2F2009%2F11%2Ffinns-det-nog-med-fossila-branslen-for.html&sl=sv&tl=en

    I cant remember ever seeing a serious discussion about it in English… does this debate exist outside Sweden?

    One of his discussion papers on the subject http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/jtrc/DiscussionPapers/DiscussionPaper18.pdf

    Aleklett: http://www.fysast.uu.se/ges/kjell-aleklett

  139. Mark A. York:

    “I’m definitely a skeptic about climate change. Here’s why. Money. There is a ton of money to be made if AGW is real, and a ton of money to be made if AGW is wrong.”

    Where is the ton of money? As it stands there is a ton of money for ExxonMobil to prevent climate mitigation and frankly another ton to do something about it with alternatives. Either way they win. I’d rather have them win and us win too. They already have the high prices working in their favor and against ours. There’s your money trail. Shutting down the coal mines is enough to keep the sceptics flailing away at the truth. That industry is running scared. So far, they’ve won.

  140. Tim Jones:

    IPCC statement on the melting of Himalayan glaciers1

    http://www.eenews.net/features/documents/2010/01/20/document_pm_04.pdf

    Geneva, 20 January 2010

    The Synthesis Report, the concluding document of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (page 49) stated: “Climate change is expected to exacerbate current stresses on water resources from population growth and economic and land-use change, including urbanisation. On a regional scale, mountain snow pack, glaciers and small ice caps play a crucial role in freshwater availability. Widespread mass losses from glaciers and reductions in snow cover over recent decades are projected to accelerate throughout the 21st century, reducing water availability, hydropower potential, and changing seasonality of flows in regions supplied by meltwater from major mountain ranges (e.g. Hindu-Kush, Himalaya, Andes), where more than one-sixth of the world population currently lives.”

    This conclusion is robust, appropriate, and entirely consistent with the underlying science and the broader IPCC assessment.

    It has, however, recently come to our attention that a paragraph in the 938-page Working Group II contribution to the underlying assessment2 refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly.

    The Chair, Vice-Chairs, and Co-chairs of the IPCC regret the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures in this instance. This episode demonstrates that the quality of the assessment depends on absolute adherence to the IPCC standards, including thorough review of “the quality and validity of each source before incorporating results from the source into an IPCC Report” 3. We reaffirm our strong commitment to ensuring this level of performance.

  141. Jim Galasyn:

    Magnus asks: In Sweden we have professor Kjel Aleklett, that claims that there
    exists to little fossil fuel on the planet to make any of the IPCC
    scenarios possible.

    I’ve followed Prof. Aleklett for a number of years, and my impression is that his research on fossil-fuel depletion is solid, but his understanding of climate science might be a bit too superficial to justify his “probably not a problem” position. Iirc, he thinks there’s only enough fossil carbon to get us to around 450ppm CO2, even including all coal reserves. The obvious critique is that climate sensitivity may be such that even in this “best case,” feedbacks will kick in and overwhelm the forcing from human carbon emissions.

  142. Tim Jones:

    addendum to previous post:

    IPCC statement on the melting of Himalayan glaciers1

    1 This statement is from the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the IPCC, and the Co-Chairs of the IPCC Working Groups.

    2 The text in question is the second paragraph in section 10.6.2 of the Working Group II contribution and a repeat of part of the paragraph in Box TS.6. of the Working Group II Technical Summary of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

    3 This is verbatim text from Annex 2 of Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work.

  143. Doug Bostrom:

    BTW, one of the great things about Weart’s history is that you can see exactly where errors in climate science were committed, how they were identified, corrected, etc. It’s a great general demonstration of the self-correcting tendencies we see when a lot of people with powerful curiosity are looking at the same phenomena.

    Seeing all the historical errors in this field rolled up in one place is also conveneient because we don’t have to see those corrections and acknowledgments made time and again in modern literature. If we did, the literature would quickly become too cumbersome to deal with.

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

  144. Molnar:

    Bill Teufel (131):

    “Can anyone show me a scientific experiment, which can be repeated, that proves man is responsible for the warming of the planet, and does not involve man made computer models?”

    Venus :p

  145. Sean A:

    OK, I answered my own question about when the Himalayan glaciers might be gone by reading the report linked in #15 (http://web.hwr.arizona.edu/~gleonard/2009Dec-FallAGU-Soot-PressConference-Backgrounder-Kargel.pdf). Nice overview of the glacial zones in the area and what the future looks like for them.

  146. Doug Bostrom:

    Magnus W says: 20 January 2010 at 6:24 PM

    Most interesting, particularly since it’s not authored by somebody unable to deal w/mainstream science.

    Also of note, the author’s ultimate conclusion seems to be the same as if optimistic reserve estimates were reliable and C02 was the most salient threat: fossil fuel is a dead end, time is scarce, we need to get off the habit before the withdrawal symptoms become too much to bear. Meanwhile t just looking at the energy budget and ignoring C02, the only difference between optimism and pessimism is the amount of time available for a fix, and that’s not ample in either case.

  147. Edward Greisch:

    115 steven mosher “It’s not like lives are at stake in Global warming. ”
    131 Bill Teufel “what are the ramifications if AGW is true? Is it worth spending the money to prevent the inevitable?”
    As I have said many times: LIVES ARE AT STAKE IN GLOBAL WARMING. YOURS AND MINE. How much is YOUR life worth? I have also listed the kill mechanisms many times. Do I have to do so again? Do you understand the concept of extinction? It is us humans who could go extinct, and soon. Would the extinction of Homo Sapiens have enough economic impact for you?

  148. John E. Pearson:

    141 Jim Galasyn wrote: “he thinks there’s only enough fossil carbon to get us to around 450ppm CO2, even including all coal reserves.”

    Hmm. I dunno about new feed-backs kicking in but Aleklett’s belief is hardly an argument that we needn’t wean ourselves from fossil fuels now. CO2 went from 315 to 385 in the last 50 years. Extrapolating this rate of increase puts us at 450 in 50 years. If he’s right (which I strongly doubt) we’d better be phasing in replacements now while we still have energy to do it with.

  149. flxible:

    Ernst & Mauri re glacial melt, hydro and water supply

    Do either of you have any research/observation info re the the Comox Glacier beyond the tidbit from Canwest last month? the picture in the wiki article is pretty much the view from my back yard and this valley derives it’s power and potable water from the lake/river below it. I’m sure it’ll still be there after I’m gone, but it’s always been of interest watching the snowpack variations and late summer shape changes of the mass

  150. Matthew L:

    #128 #129 – CFU
    Pardon? Where do California and Texas come into this? What has it got to do with the cost of offshore wind power in the UK?

    To repeat my last post, this article says nothing about the cost of wind power in California or Texas. Clue: the article is in the section of the Economist headed “Britain”.

    If on shore wind generation were so cheap in the UK then nobody would consider spending three times more building wind farms offshore. Or do you think the power companies are completely stupid and/or enjoy losing loads of shareholders money?

    The Economist is making no judgement on the comparative costs of on or off shore wind. It is simply reporting Govt plans to install massive capacity offshore and its likely costs.

    Insufficient permits have been given to build on shore wind farms in the UK on a scale needed to replace a significant part of our power generation. The reasons are the ones cited in my earlier posts. Yes similar problems may have been encountered in Texas, but clearly this has not prevented wind farms being built in the end. In the UK these problems have prevented wind farms being built – regardless of their theoretical financial viability.

  151. Jerry Steffens:

    Bill Teufel (131):

    “Can anyone show me a scientific experiment, which can be repeated, that proves man is responsible for the warming of the planet, and does not involve man made computer models? I don’t trust the models since they are extremely complex, and can be adjusted to present the desired results.”

    It’s like asking your mechanic to find out what’s wrong with your car, but insisting that he not use an electronic engine diagnosis machine because they’re just too gosh-darned complicated.

  152. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Bulldust,

    Plimer thinks the sun is made out of iron. If you think he’s competent at any science but his own field of geology, you have another think coming. His book is filled with pseudoscience from end to end. Check out the “deltoid” blog on scienceblogs.com to see detailed critiques.

  153. caerbannog:

    A bit off-topic, but the folks at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are *really* ticked-off at John Coleman’s KUSI smear-job.

    http://sio.ucsd.edu/Announcements/Somerville_denialists/

    The “D-word” is used quite prominently, and on the SIO web-site no less — it’s quite clear that Dr. Richard Somerville has had it **up to here** with the yahoos.

    Also, http://www.sdcitybeat.com/cms/story/detail/coleman_is_no_galileo/8888/

  154. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Bil Teufel: Can anyone show me a scientific experiment, which can be repeated, that proves man is responsible for the warming of the planet, and does not involve man made computer models?

    BPL: John Tyndall showed that CO2 was a greenhouse gas in lab work in 1859, so his approach should be easy to replicate. Flask analysis on Mauna Loa shows that CO2 is rising. Radioisotope lab analysis shows that the new CO2 is almost all from burning fossil fuels. And the CO2 level correlated to temperature anomalies to the tune of r = 0.87 from 1880 to 2007.

    What more do you want?

  155. Doug Bostrom:

    There we go, food chain complete:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/20/himalayan-glaciers-melt-claims-false-ipcc

    Almost, anyway. Last stop will be Fox News.

    Doubters need to find some punctuation errors or something equally significant or this is going to fade from public memory.

  156. Ray Ladbury:

    Bill Teufel says: “I’m definitely a skeptic about climate change. Here’s why. Money. There is a ton of money to be made if AGW is real, and a ton of money to be made if AGW is wrong. ”

    Do tell? I agree there is the potential for making somebody very rich if they could find energy or other mitigation solutions. However, I guarantee you the scientists are not making “a ton of money” unless you are paying their grants in pennies. You know, you could check this out. Look at the ads in Physics Today or other publications and see what a post doc or prof makes in climate science. Look what a GS-15 makes in government service. It ain’t much.

    Now as to your distrust of models. Do you refuse to fly airplanes, drive over bridges or take elevators in sky scrapers? Are you similarly skeptical of weather forecasts? Maybe if you learned something about the models you could overcome your fear. You’re not alone. There’s help

  157. Hank Roberts:

    Astronomers aren’t infallible either.
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/01/07/no-a-nearby-supernova-wont-wipe-us-out/
    Stuff happens.

  158. Ernst K:

    Hank Roberts @ 124:

    “http://www.google.com/search?q=relative+contributions+glacial+runoff+Ganges”

    If only it were that easy to get what I was asking for! Many of the papers liked there don’t even talk about the Himalayas, if they do they focus on individual sub-basins (understandably), and most of those only estimate the combined contribution of snow melt and glacial melt.

    But it does suggest to me that the situation in the Himalayas is similar to North America in that changes to snow and rain are far more important than glacial melt when it comes to water resources.

    There is a tendency for people here in Western Canada to exaggerate the importance of glaciers and forget about the more important role of mountain snow (and snow in general). I have seen several “pop” hydrology reports (including one linked in one of Gavin’s responses) say things like “glaciers are the headwaters of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, etc.” in such a way that a layman is left with the impression that these rivers might run close to dry if these glaciers were to disappear.

    This is not to suggest that glaciers aren’t a good indicator of climatic change, or that their decline is not troubling.

  159. Jim Galasyn:

    Observation from a colleague, who’s a technical editor: Climate change: Where are the editors?

    “It wasn’t copy-edited properly.”

  160. gary thompson:

    Doug Bostrom wrote:

    “I don’t know what the GISS data for the United States shows, but the basic answer lies in what a small fraction of the globe is the USA.

    United States: 9.2 million square kilometers. Earth: 510 million square kilometers, or less than 2% of surface area. Not much weight in the US contribution.

    I’m sure you could find other places with the same feature.”

    thanks for reply and associated calcs but but i was going a different direction with my question. why would the US be immune to the 0.8C heating that the rest of the northern hemisphere has undergone (as shown on the northern hemisphere graph)? the last 2 data points show the US temp anomaly at basically 0.0C (for 2008 and 2009).

    the graphs WERE here (http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/) but when i went back to check they have been updated again and now the 2009 data point has been removed from the graph. don’t know why but i guess there was a mistake. anyway, assuming the data point was correct, you now have my rephrased question.

    thanks.

  161. Craig Allen:

    Bill Teufel (131): “Can anyone show me a scientific experiment, which can be repeated, that proves man is responsible for the warming of the planet, and does not involve man made computer models? I don’t trust the models since they are extremely complex, and can be adjusted to present the desired results.”

    Bill here are two videos of lab experiments demonstrating that the infra-red absorption properties of CO2 will cause air in flasks to heat up.

    Experiment 1

    Experiment 2

    Of course these demonstrate just one element of the AGW thesis. If you want to calculate the amount of heating expected given a certain amount of increase in CO2 concentrations in the real atmosphere then you are going to have to become very good with some very complex physics and mathematics. If you don’t want to use a computer, then you had better become very deft with a slide rule and get cracking. If you want to do it experimentally you could find a planet and ramp up it’s atmospheric C02 concentration to see what happens. Oh wait, we’re already running that experiment. Get some popcorn and sit back and wait.

  162. caerbannog:


    Look at the ads in Physics Today or other publications and see what a post doc or prof makes in climate science. Look what a GS-15 makes in government service. It ain’t much.

    The leading climate scientists are all talented enough to make big bucks on Wall Street. But instead of enriching themselves at everyone else’s expense, they chose to pursue careers with a much lower dollar/effort ratio. And the yahoos still try to smear them as “money grubbers”.

  163. flxible:

    gary thompson – the charts are still there to end ’09, with todays date -> US annual means . . . maybe the reason the US is different than the NH is the Arctic and Canada had much higher anomolies than the US, but I’m not sure that you should consider what appears to be about 0.1xC for ’08 and 0.2xC for ’09 to be “basically 0.0C” compared to about 0.6 and point 0.7

  164. Winny:

    Doug Bostrom (#118) says: 20 January 2010 at 1:31 PM

    “Really, you read about an error on a NASA public information web page here?”
    Yes, that’s right.

    “Not in Gavin’s article about the IPCC Himalaya cite. Where? Oh, yes, brought in to comments here by a “Jerry”. That make it very important, and you found it all by yourself and became terribly concerned. Right.”
    No, I’m not terribly concerned, just interested.

    Look, you are obviously interested in the subject and have some background (of whatever sort). I don’t. I’m interested because it’s topical and there seems to be a difference of views. I came here because this place appears to present the mainstream view. I noticed the comment about the NASA website and went to look for myself. I found a correction without comment and that struck me as not quite right. I commented as much.

    Why on earth do you think you need to jump all over that? Why do you just ignore my questions and leap to ad-hominem and sarcasm. Do you think it’s unnecessary to note that change? I guess that’s not an unreasonable view to hold even if I disagree with it. If that is your belief, why would you just note your disagreement, explain why and move on?

    I sincerely encourage you to re-read my comments. They were made in good faith and I still struggle to see how anyone could take exception to them.

    I’m a bit gobsmacked at the responses that I’ve had here.

  165. Garrett Jones:

    re #152, Hate to break it to you Dude, but the Sun has iron in it and will have a bunch more. Iron is effectively the ash from a sun. Iron is the result of fusion burning of everything else. No net energy from iron.

    [Response: This is completely off topic, but Plimer actually appears to believe that the sun is mostly made of iron based on some crackpot theory from one of the old time 'skeptics'. The point being that Plimer's book is just a ragbag of random nonsense picked up from trawling contrarian websites. - gavin]

  166. Martin Vermeer:

    > they chose to pursue careers with a much lower dollar/effort ratio

    Ben Santer knows it.

  167. Didactylos:

    US population density: 32.04
    UK population density: 253.75

    (People per square kilometre)

    It shouldn’t take a genius to see that energy solutions that fit one country may not work so well for another country. Wind and solar both have low power densities – that is, they need to use a lot of land to produce a lot of energy. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but it is a practical limitation.

    On the other hand, the UK has plenty of nearby sea.

  168. Jamie Alexander:

    Gary #160 (and Doug) the current anomaly in the the U.S. and Northern Europe seems to be caused by a reduction in the force of a circumpolar wind that ordinarily keeps cold arctic air over the pole. Cold arctic air has been spilling into lower latitudes and depressing the temperatures over land in the mid-latitudes. Here is a cogent explanation in video:

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

    The particular bit about the Arctic wind starts about 2.5 minutes in…

    Hope this helps.

  169. Rattus Norvegicus:

    I actually wasted almost an hour of my life watching the factually challenged KUSI “special” on global warming. I even wasted a few additional minutes of my time checking out the E.M. Smith and D’Aleo charges about the number of “thermometers” used to report temperatures (well, actually temperature anomalies) in California.

    As far as I can tell the claim is that there are only 6 stations reporting in California, a couple near San Francisco and the rest in the LA and San Diego area. They then go on to show homogenized vs. raw data for the station at Davis, CA.

    Now the first claim seemed odd, and they kindly provided me with a starting place by pointing to the Davis station. So I went to the GISS station data page and typed “Davis” into the search box. This brought up several stations which started with “Davis”, among them “Davis Exp Farm 2wsw”. This station shows a record extending to 2009 and although it is at the same latitude as San Francisco (38.5N) in no way can it be considered as being “San Francisco” or even in the San Francisco area. Hmm… Here was at least one station in the GISS station list not in the San Francisco area or in Southern California and which was still reporting in 2009. Being especially inquisitive I clicked on the “*” link next to the Davis station to get a list of nearby stations. Imagine my surprise when I found around a dozen stations within 100 miles of Davis which were still reporting in 2009! Could these people by trying to mislead me?

    Just to be sure, I checked out E.M. Smith’s blog and found that he was claiming that GISS ignored records prior to 1880! This would be a shocking revelation if GISS did not start their record in 1880. Could the esteemed E.M. Smith not have a clue?

    This short bit of investigation led me to believe that E.M. Smith and Joe D’Aleo did not have a clue about what they were talking about. No further effort was necessary. They are clowns.

  170. Dr. P.S.Negi. India:

    The ambiguity in Himalayan glacier recession rate may be because of involvement of less ground scientists/workers at higher level of IPCC. Most of the findings are seems to be based on perception/media hype rather than ground realities. Because of high level of geographical diversity, the behavior and response of Himalayan Mountains to the climate change, is different from the rest of the World Mountains.

  171. Doug Bostrom:

    gary thompson says: 20 January 2010 at 10:10 PM

    2009 is there. The points are little crushed together, maybe you miscounted?

    It’s still the same answer, slightly restated. The smaller the region sampled compared to the globe, the more variance from the global mean you’ll see. Plus of course the globe’s surface is mostly water, while N. America is mostly land, so that’s going to make the two numbers track even more poorly.

    Same deal as if I were trying to track Seattle’s mean annual temperature. I’m down in a valley, my temperature is not a good sample by itself. Nor is a location on a hilltop. Taken separately, my mean annual temperature is going to be slightly different than a location on a hilltop, put them together and it’s a better indication of Seattle as whole. Add a thermometer located at the middle of the floating bridge over Lake Washington and the total annual mean will be yet again different. That thermometer in the middle of the lake will be tending on the warm side, yet it’s still all Seattle temperature when you take a mean of the three.

    Assume for some reason that Seattle’s temperature is trending upward, you’re still going to see the three individual temperatures bouncing around slightly independently day by day and even as an annual mean. Over time, though, they’ll show the same general anomaly trend. You can see that same effect on the global versus N. America anomaly maps.

  172. Edward Greisch:

    134 Kris: “the massive social changes will have occurred due to peak oil even before the effects of AGW start to have any significant impact.”
    GW is already having an impact on agriculture in Africa, Australia, India, the US and other places. In Illinois and Iowa 5% and 6% of the corn was not harvested in 2009 because the fields were too wet. South Texas had a year-long drought. GW moves the rain. When the rain moves, agriculture collapses. Australia no longer grows wheat and the rice crop collapsed last year. While it is true that there is still plenty of food in the US, that isn’t true everywhere. AGW has already had a significant impact. Peak oil hasn’t yet.

  173. Edward Greisch:

    139 Mark A. York: I don’t have any of that money and I don’t own any stock. Money has nothing to do with it for me. I am a retired federal bureaucrat. Same for the RC people. Some of them get fixed salaries from NASA. Some of them get fixed salaries from universities. In no case do their incomes depend on the outcome of the debate. What does depend on the outcome of the debate is our future as a species.

  174. Hank Roberts:

    Ernst K, a first search is just a start; look for appropriate keywords; find names of authors; use Google Scholar to look for their work. I just gave that initial example and glanced through the first five or six pages of results and saw several that quoted amounts of river flow attributed to rain, snow, melting and runoff — for various watersheds. If you do your best poking through what you can find, and report what you did read and find out, it’s likely to interest one of the real scientists who can help you further — at least, that’s the best method I’ve found. Search, improve the search, find _something. You’ll likely end up finding which authors or government agencies _in_ India are writing about this subject.

    If I have time I’ll look further, but anyone with real search skills and time can do that — so can a reference librarian, and they have far more resources they can search or query, beyond what’s on the web and indexed by Google. Probably several times more total than Google can find.

  175. Pekka Kostamo:

    Bill Teufel: You are so right. There are tons of money to be made. Consider two steps (like any wise investor):

    First, evaluate climate science, review the process, the results and physical impacts.

    Second, evaluate social and economic impacts, including the political process and its results.

    (Third, you may follow some business leader you trust to have made the evaluations already (although this is unlikely as an investor always tries to outsmart everyone else).)

    This way you may find some optimal actionable cases for investment. If your evaluations are wrong or right translates into losses or gains in the marketplace. Nothing exotic in this, just part of a reasonable decision process.

    One investor’s loss is another investor’s gain, the better analyst wins.

  176. Mike:

    I think the next IPCC report should be posted in draft form first and then invite public comments for a couple of years. Mass peer review.

    [Response: That's what they did last time too. - gavin]

    Even final version should still an errata section.

    The public should know what areas are settled (AGW is real and serious) and what areas are not (glacier movement, near term regional forecasting, various environmental impacts) and that they should expect to see contradictory studies and debates among scientists in these areas.

  177. ScaredAmoeba:

    @ 154 Barton Paul Levenson says:
    20 January 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Isn’t this about the 13C/12C ratio?
    In which case, I think ‘Radioisotope’ should read ‘isotope’

  178. Completely Fed Up:

    “why would the US be immune to the 0.8C heating that the rest of the northern hemisphere has undergone”

    They aren’t.

    It’s just that there are variations of something of the order of 1C in regions.

    Therefore if you take any one year, there will be some regions that seem not to have warmed.

    You’re restating the zombie arguments of others: weather is what you’re looking at, climate is what the 0.8C is talking about.

    Check the other years and turn the question about:

    Why is it the US is seeing 0.6+C warming anomalies if there’s no global warming?

  179. Completely Fed Up:

    Matt
    “Pardon? Where do California and Texas come into this? ”

    They are producing wind power at <5c/kWh.

    Nuclear power costs 15-20c/kWh.

    Yet you insist that it costs much more for wind power than nuclear.

    They prove you and the economist wrong.

    "It is simply reporting Govt plans to install massive capacity offshore and its likely costs."

    So when you said you were quoting the economist, you didn't quote them when you said

    “You can add to the awe-inspiring engineering achievements of the offshore wind industry an unparalleled ability to make nuclear power look cheap.”

    ?

    "Insufficient permits have been given to build on shore wind farms in the UK on a scale needed to replace a significant part of our power generation"

    Yet the UK has three times its needs in potential shallow water offshore wind farms. Also note that that statement says nothing about how expensive it is.

  180. Completely Fed Up:

    trll: “Seems like the key issue is not whether errors are made–everybody makes errors;”

    It’s also the number.

    That book managed well over 100 errors.

    AIT got 9 overstatements (not errors: look at the changes required: just add “this is not yet proven” to them is pretty much all that was required) and look how it’s vilified.

  181. mondo:

    “Perhaps you could point to the exert in the Indian Minister’s report where he mentions the IPCC or the 2035 number?”

    Gavin response far above. I think you might mean ‘excerpt’. A PhD education isn’t what it was………..

  182. Jiminmpls:

    #150 Matthew L and CFU

    The Economist is also claiming under $2k/kWhr for new nuclear power, which is too low by a factor of at least three. Offshore wind IS expensive, but still much less expensive than new nuclear power plants. Plus, Britain would have to import 100% of their nuclear fuel – the polar opposite of energy independence.

  183. Jim Roland:

    Hank Roberts at #62. Thanks. Indeed, whereas with climate change you at least get to know and adjust to the predicament a bit better each day, agrofuel-related developments are mostly one mind-boggle after another.

    Ray Ladbury at #85. You are inferring all-or-nothing thinking where it isn’t. Also, you not I opened the subject of strategies, and we need to distinguish between biofuel crops of different origin, biofuel blending as a policy, measure or instrument, and biofuel strategies.

    Re Brazil getting biofuels “right”, see for example Scharlemann and Laurance’s review of Zah et al. which suggests that sugarcane ethanol is more environmentally harmful than petroleum even leaving aside the questions of indirect impacts including Crutzen’s N2O theory, and the non-environmental perils of depleting mineral phosphorus sources for fertilizer used. This study came too late for the 4AR process, nor will it be the last word on the subject, but it shows it is wrong to assume sugarcane ethanol is better merely on the basis of well-to-wheels emissions.

    Comparing a biofuel’s overall environmental footprint to gasoline is itself a different question from whether incentivised blending of that biofuel is benefiting the environment. It is a quite different question again whether R&D on a particular biofuel is a good strategy.

  184. Jiminmpls:

    #160 Gary

    why would the US be immune to the 0.8C heating that the rest of the northern hemisphere has undergone

    You could just as well ask why the Arctic is experiencing temp anomalies that are far greater than the rest of the NH. It’s called regional variability. It’s no secret that the central and eastern US (and Britain and parts of Russia) have experienced far lower than normal temps recently. Other regions – the western US, for example – have experienced temps that a far warmer than normal.

    The climate change that results from global warming ia not linear or evenly distributed – and natural variability will always be there to complicate things even further. That’s the weather.

    Still, on a global basis and over time scales of several decades, the trend is clear: It’s getting warmer.

  185. Jiminmpls:

    #158 Ernst

    “glaciers are the headwaters of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, etc.” in such a way that a layman is left with the impression that these rivers might run close to dry if these glaciers were to disappear.

    It’s not that the rivers would run dry. It will continue to snow in the Himilayas. The problem is that rapid spring time melts will cause severe flooding and then the rivers will run close to dry in the summer.

    Sure, we could just build hundreds of dams. That would produce clean electricity, too. But dams are not benigh. The social and environmental costs associated with population displacements and habitat destruction can be enormous.

  186. Jimi Bostock:

    172 – Edward, did you really mean to say “Australia no longer grows wheat” I am in Australia and I have just recently travelled through our thriving wheat belt. No wonder people doubt the broader line taken on RC. Ludicrious statements like this just cheapen the debate

  187. T Barra:

    OFFTOPIC: A few weeks ago someone posted the URL to the conference proceedings (with PDFs of papers, presentations) of a climate conference that took place in the UK in the last few months. Among the papers were future projections of climate around the world.

    I cannot find this in my bookmark list. Does anyone have the URL handy?

  188. captdallas2:

    “Ray Ladbury says:
    20 January 2010 at 11:03 AM
    Captdallas2 says “Glacier advance and decline is pretty much non_AGW in my mind.”

    And yet your mind is not the real world. Isn’t it funny that you should have glaciers melting in Montana and New Zealand, the Himmalayas and the Andes. Yes local factors probably play a role, but the fact that the effect is seen GLOBALLY suggests there is also a global driver.”

    The GLOBAL decline of glaciers started with the Holocene this time. . Glaciers always retreat during interglacial periods. Teasing out how much the decline is accelerated due to AGW is a tricky problem. No smoking AGW gun in glacier retreat as to date unless you have something peer reviewed and definitive.

  189. Sou:

    #172 Edward Just a nitpick – I don’t think Australia is quite ready to give up wheat production just yet. The five year average is 19.5 million tonnes and this season is expected to be 22 million tonnes. Rice has dropped since some of the main producing areas have been in drought for several years, from a 5 year average of 0.415 million tonnes to 0.165 million tonnes this season. (I’m hopeful we will stop producing rice, or at least seriously limit its production. It’s not good for our waterways or water supply.)
    http://www.abareconomics.com/interactive/09acr_dec/htm/tables.htm
    http://www.abareconomics.com/interactive/AusWheat/

  190. Silk:

    Re 186 : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_wheat_production_statistics suggests that Australian wheat production was, in 2006 and 2007, abnormally low.

  191. Completely Fed Up:

    Jimnpls (182), do you mean $2k/kW rather than kWh?

    I.e. a 100MW nuclear power plant would cost $200Mil.

  192. ScaredAmoeba:

    @ 187 Re T Barra says:
    21 January 2010 at 8:00 AM

    This may be what you were looking for.

    28-30th September 2009
    Implications of a global climate change of 4+ degrees for people, ecosystems and the earth-system
    Environmental Change Institute International Climate Conference
    Despite 17 years of negotiations since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise. Since 2000 the rates of annual emissions growth have increased at rates at the upper end of the IPCC scenarios, presenting the global community with a stark challenge: either instigate an immediate and radical reversal in existing emission trends or accept global temperature rises well beyond 4°.
    The immediacy and scale of the reductions necessary to avoid anything below 4°C, and indeed the human and ecosystem implications of living with 4°C, are beyond anything we have been prepared to countenance. Understanding the implications of 4°C and higher temperatures is essential if global society is to make informed choices about the balance between “extreme” rates of mitigation and “extreme” impacts and adaptation costs.

    Google: Environmental Change Institute International Climate Conference

    http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees/

  193. Forlornehope:

    Apropos the exchanges on UK offshore wind farms and comparisons with nuclear, there is a very good analysis of sustainable energy for the UK in Prof David MacKay’s “Sustainable Energy – without the Hot Air”. It is available online here:

    http://www.withouthotair.com/Contents.html with a further addition here: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sustainable/book/tex/PlanC.pdf

    This is pretty much essential reading for anyone who wants to discuss responses to climate change. I follow Real Climate for the information on climate science. How we respond to the science is the domain of engineers and economists. The biggest frustration is that it is quite possible to deal with the problem without all becoming vegetable growing vegans but the way we are going, we’re just not going to do it.

  194. Completely Fed Up:

    “The GLOBAL decline of glaciers started with the Holocene this time.”

    And has it accelerated over what you’d get if there was no global warming from human produced CO2?

  195. Didactylos:

    Completely Fed Up: why are you repeating errors that we went to all that trouble to correct earlier?

    Just because I agree with you on the basics of AGW doesn’t change the expectation that people should keep their facts straight.

    You know how annoying it is when deniers do it. Please don’t copy them. The most charitable assumption is that you are applying US costs to the UK. The less charitable assumption is that you pulled less than reliable numbers from a less than reliable source, without any consideration to their validity or applicability.

  196. Charlie Laurel:

    Hopefully someone here can clear up a point of confusion for me: NPR this morning, a reporter at a meteorological conference talking with a scientist who says that it would be nice if the temperature data was made public. I also read here on RC “Where’s the Data?” that the data is all available. Forgive me if I didn’t dig deep enough to answer this for myself, but I’d like to be able to respond to NPR simply and credibly on this point.

    [Response: I heard the same piece. He was discussing the proprietary data that the Met. Services don't make freely available for commercial reasons. See this discussion at the UK Met. Office (Question 11 for instance). There is however a lot of free data and you can do a lot with that (GISTEMP for instance, only uses the public domain data). - gavin]

  197. Frank Giger:

    Rosie, #27 wrote:

    “Common people don’t really understand science. But they understand not having enough to eat and not being able to sit down on a too-crowded subway. if we can educate people not to reproduce there will be many seats and the fewer people will be happier. Indeed, as the capitalist economies of scale are reduced, the atisfaction from making your own clothes and embracing a low-carbon vegan diet will be so intense, reproduction will come to be seen in the same category as child abuse.”

    This is funny, as it is arguing FOR the effects of AGW, where the planet becomes less habitable for people.

    Which side of the debate is she on?

    It is also why I remain firmly opposed to the politics of AGW activism. [edit - stick to issues, not inflammatory comparisons]

  198. CM:

    > Mass peer review.
    > [Response: That's what they did last time too. - gavin]

    From which we learn that Murphy’s law applies even for very high values of “more eyeballs”.

    (And that if you want the ‘skeptics’ to make themselves useful and catch glaring bloopers, they’ll miss anything that hasn’t got a big smoking hockey stick painted on it.)

  199. Hank Roberts:

    > … our thriving wheat belt. No wonder people doubt the broader
    > line taken on RC. Ludicrious statements …

    Your logic here is flawed. Commenters on the blog — remember, most people posting here are just visitors like you or me — do often make mistakes; so?
    People caught the error. That’s how it works.

  200. Kevin McKinney:

    Jim Roland, I’m afraid your comment may be misleading to those who don’t follow the link you gave. Zah et al apparently have a scheme which “collapses” impacts into two dimensions: environmental impact and GHG emissions.

    So when you say that Brazilian sugarcane ethanol is more environmentally harmful than gasoline, that means EXCLUDING impacts of GHG emissions–in which the ethanol is immensely superior. Which in itself may suggest that the Zah conceptual map may not be the best way to slice the problem.

    (And even then, the Zah analysis is not in accord with others, such as this one. Hope that link works! If not, it’s to a UNEP report from November 2009.)

    Unfortunately, measuring the environmental “friendliness” of biofuels seems a knotty problem. Not necessarily an insoluble one, but one requiring much attention to detail–and a honest consideration of the problem in the middle of a politicized discourse.

  201. Ray Ladbury:

    captdallas2 says “The GLOBAL decline of glaciers started with the Holocene this time. . Glaciers always retreat during interglacial periods.”

    And yet, if we were following the good ol’ patterns of the glacial-interglacial, we ought to be cooling about now. Odd, that. Now I agree that the alpine glaciers do represent a tiny fraction of the trillions of tonnes of ice that have melted in the past few years, but they do seem to be consistent with that general trend.

  202. Hank Roberts:

    Dagnabbit, Gavin, we need more than “Preview Comment”
    We need a smart button for “Check Citations” as well.

    I wish some genius out there had time to write something like this* for science writing and blogging.

    Something that would pop up the F’ing Paperclip** saying “It looks like you’ve written a belief without any basis in the literature, are you sure you want to post this as an unsupported opinion without a citation to any source?”

    Hmmmm, maybe the IPCC would be a market for exactly this kind of tool.
    I’ll suggest they consider branching out to scientific citation-checking.
    ________________
    * Yeah, I know the guy who writes that, but he’s too dang busy now.
    ** His software doesn’t have that feature, but it should.

  203. Ray Ladbury:

    Mondo says “I think you might mean ‘excerpt’.”

    You know, maybe if you guys attached a little less significance to typos and a little more to physics, you might actually understand some of the science and we wouldn’t have to spend so much time slaying zombie arguments.

  204. Kevin McKinney:

    Further to Ray’s point, Kaufmann 2009 suggested that the cooling “about now” means roughly “cooling for the last 2000 years, consistent with calculated Milankovitch orbital forcings, up until the last five decades or so, when things started warming up again through some other (non-orbital) mechanism.”

    To be clear, Kaufman et al weren’t focussing on glaciers, but on various temperature proxies.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/kaufman2009/

  205. Jim Galasyn:

    Rattus: Win.

  206. Completely Fed Up:

    “Completely Fed Up: why are you repeating errors that we went to all that trouble to correct earlier?”

    Nope, you didn’t correct those figures. You dispute that they apply to the UK.

    According to Matt’s latest take on what he said, he didn’t say anything about how much it costs in the UK.

    Ergo your annoyance is completely self inflicted.

    “The most charitable assumption is that you are applying US costs to the UK.”

    Which is completely correct: it does cost that in the US. So why will it cost more in the UK to such an extent that nuclear becomes the cheaper option?

    It doesn’t.

    And Matt’s proposition that only deepwater offshore wind will produce enough power for the UK is bunk.

    And you shouldn’t decide not to correct me just because we agree on AGW.

    Then again, neither do I accept your assertion when I disagree with it just because we agree on AGW.

  207. Jim Galasyn:

    Jiminmpls: Sure, we could just build hundreds of dams.

    India farmers create artificial glaciers to forestall crop failure

    Stakmo, India — Chhewang Norphel makes artificial glaciers. The reason: The real ones have rapidly receded up the Himalayan slopes in his home district of Ladakh in northernmost India.

  208. Kris:

    #172 Edward Greisch: “AGW has already had a significant impact. Peak oil hasn’t yet.”

    So far, I still don’t see AGW in economic indicators, but impact of high oil prices is everywhere to be seen, and already drives the policy of many states. Plus, AGW impact will be slow, and extend hundreds of years in the future, while peak oil is 2050 time frame. Thus, I am confident that we can economically adapt to AGW, as the costs will be spread over many years, while peak oil will cause a nasty shock.

    Frankly, I find the fixation on CO2 incomprehensible. It is obvious that we have two problems: fossil fuels and AGW. If we eliminate the dependence on fossil fuels, we solve both. But, somehow, the whole debate is about trying to mitigate the symptoms, instead of the root cause of the problem. I mean, we are considering implementing CO2 capture, but how much extra CO2 will we have to produce to power the installations for CO2 capture? I am sure someone has calculated that…

  209. Doug Bostrom:

    captdallas2 says: 21 January 2010 at 8:34 AM

    “Glaciers always retreat during interglacial periods. ”

    Yes, and funny thing, many of them appear set to vanish within the next geological instant, even though they persisted for some 10,000 years past the end of the immediately prior stade.

    Let’s say that “optimistic” predictions are correct, that some of the major glacier systems under discussion last another 400 years. So they vanish in roughly 4% of the total period of the current interstade. That immediately begs the question, if they were shrinking at a constant rate for the prior 96% of time available, how large were they to start with? Take a look at a map, and you’ll see the answer is “too large to fit the available footprint”, terminal moraines not sufficiently distant to fit this hypothesis.

    So it appears that shrinkage accelerates. What an odd coincidence, that we should see that happen just as we’ve modified the atmosphere in a way that could produce that result.

  210. Doug Bostrom:

    Winny says: 20 January 2010 at 11:46 PM

    “I’m a bit gobsmacked at the responses that I’ve had here.”

    Spend a little time on sites like RC and you may understand why patience for dealing with silly peripheral minutiae is thin. The air here is thick with desperate attempts to swerve discussion away from anything that improves general understanding of the topic at hand. Hence, the extraordinary reverberation of the poor provenance of a single paragraph buried in page 968 of an ancillary portion of the IPCC report.

    You unfortunately fell for a ruse and then having unwittingly had a wooden rifle shoved into your hands by cynics, stepped into the line of fire where you promptly became the target of derision for your gullibility.

    I’m sorry it happened to you, I’m sure you’re a nice person and did not intend to go to war for the forces of ignorance.

  211. Nick O.:

    What a wonderfully helpful, safe world the anti-AGW commentators inhabit.

    IPCC ‘wrong again’? So there’s nothing for us to worry about!

    The Arctic sea ice extent at the moment tracking the minimum record set in 2007, and quite possibly set to break the record again this year with a new El Nino forecast?
    (http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png)

    Nahhh …. just local effects, noise in the system, unreliable satellite data etc.

    And also, presumably, all the modelling work on Pine Island Glacier and its imminent collapse?
    (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18383-major-antarctic-glacier-is-past-its-tipping-point.html)

    Nahhh (again) …. all down to faulty models, dodgy input data, some more of those local effects, plus buried volcanoes, and maybe a few high energy pixies floating in the Southern Ocean, but absolutely and definitely nothing whatsoever to do with humans changing the climate.

    How reassuring … er, erm, .. oooh, well, … hmmmmmm …

  212. michael:

    Re 208. The potential economic impact of Anthropegenic Climate Change may be measured in terms of decades, with high impact around mid-century if multi-meter sea level rise occurs. Firstly, consider the effect of SLR-induced take out about 50% of the world’s nuclear fleet on a 30-40 year time scale (nb most of fleet of 440+ are sitting next to sea). Secondly, consider the impacts through global supply chains which require some sort of inputs from the petro- and chemical refineries (nb most of those are sitting next to the sea). Thirdly, consider the impact on next-to-the-sea cities whose sewerage systems fail causing living conditions which may be somewhat unpleasant. Now, track the impacts of these impacts, cross correlate with economic effects caused as inter-related systems fail or transition to inter-locking states of degradation and one has a reasonable scenario for the next 2-3 decades.

    The simple exercise of going through the objects in the typical household and asking “does a global supply … or a local supply relying on something from a global supply chain … need to function for me to obtain another one these” and one soon starts to build up a sense of the potential economic implications of ACC. Just a few items to consider: a medicine, an item of electronics, an item of clothing, a computer, etc.

    It is on account of these types of considerations that one comes to view that a lot of what is peddled as economic analysis of AGW is little more than nonsense.

  213. Hank Roberts:

    Thanks Kevin for the link to that UNEP report. Good one!
    Brief excerpt from that:

    “The production and use of biodiesel from palm oil on deforested peatlands in the tropics is cited. It can lead to significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions-up to 2,000 percent or more when compared with fossil fuels.

    This is mainly as a result of carbon releases from the soils and land. However, a positive contribution to greenhouse gas emissions can arise if the palm oil or soya beans are instead grown on abandoned or degraded land.

    The report Towards Sustainable Production and Use of Resources: Assessing Biofuels is based on a detailed review of published research up to mid-2009 as well as the input of independent experts world-wide.”
    http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=599&ArticleID=6347&l=en&t=long

    (I like to give the readable links for people who print this to read later or copy and paste the comments as text)

    -0—

    This whole area of replacing the remnant natural forest with — anything else! — is a developing [sic] nightmare.

    A few places to look for more on the money-changing aspect:

    http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/carbonwatch/
    http://motherjones.com/environment/2009/11/gms-money-trees
    and
    http://www.centerforinvestigativereporting.org/blogs/project/4231 Carbon Watch

  214. Tim Jones:

    If we can’t translate climate science into policy then the effort is academic. Some posting here have declared to that effect. They may have their wish.

    ROBERT Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said today: “Shed a tear for our democracy. Today, in the case Citizens United v. FEC, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited
    amounts of money to influence election outcomes. Money from Exxon, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer and the rest of the Fortune 500 is already corroding the policy-making process in Washington, state capitals and city halls. Today, the Supreme Court tells these corporate giants that they have a constitutional right to trample our democracy.”

    [edit]

  215. Didactylos:

    “So why will it cost more in the UK to such an extent that nuclear becomes the cheaper option?”

    Many reasons. First, and most simple, is that nuclear is cheaper in the UK, because it hasn’t been regulated out of existence by the coal lobby. Second, land is at a premium in the UK. There simply isn’t much free space to use, and the available space is limited by all sorts of things.

    Anyway, my argument isn’t tied down to what it *will* cost. I’m basing my argument on what is *does* cost. And currently, wind in the UK is expensive, and nuclear is cheap. This is fact, according to every source I can find. You dispute it based on what, exactly?

    Can wind be cheaper? Yes and no. I believe there is room for improvement, but the unfortunate fact is that the most economical sites will be developed first, so it will get harder and harder to find and develop sites as time goes on.

    Both globally and in the UK, nuclear is cheaper than wind. The US, with its wide open spaces, will always be able to rely more on wind than the average country. Nuclear, however, can be made cheaper in the US, if the political will existed.

    And any sensible energy plan for the UK will take advantage of offshore wind. It shouldn’t be hard to see why, any more than it is to see why most parts of the US wouldn’t gain anything much from offshore wind.

    An anti-nuclear argument may be pro-wind in the US, but if you make the same argument in the UK, it is effectively pro-coal. And this is why our government is fiddling around with CCS instead of de-coaling the country. Thanks for that. Foot. Shoot.

  216. t_p_hamilton:

    michael has an idea:”The simple exercise of going through the objects in the typical household and asking “does a global supply … or a local supply relying on something from a global supply chain … need to function for me to obtain another one these” and one soon starts to build up a sense of the potential economic implications of ACC. Just a few items to consider: a medicine, an item of electronics, an item of clothing, a computer, etc.

    It is on account of these types of considerations that one comes to view that a lot of what is peddled as economic analysis of AGW is little more than nonsense.”

    I guess you know better than the economists who wrote the Stern report?

    Did you think of looking in your pantry, to think about what it takes to get food there? 9 billion people will be “fine” as long as we all have iPhones, I suppose.

  217. T Barra:

    @192 – ScaredAmoeba: Thanks for the link to the 4degrees conference!

  218. Completely Fed Up:

    “Both globally and in the UK, nuclear is cheaper than wind”

    Wrong.

    You were wrong on this before.

    http://www.energy.ca.gov/wind/overview.html

    3.5c/kWh.

    A different link, since you didn’t read the last ones.

    And this:

    http://www.mng.org.uk/gh/resources/nuclear_subsidies1.pdf

    talks about nuclear subsidy.

  219. Completely Fed Up:

    Kris: “Frankly, I find the fixation on CO2 incomprehensible. It is obvious that we have two problems: fossil fuels and AGW”

    And fossil fuels cause AGW by releasing the millions-of-years locked-in CO2.

    Frankly I find your lack of comprehension incomprehensible.

  220. ccpo:

    Magnus,

    Try here: http://aleklett.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/%E2%80%9Dthe-un%E2%80%99s-future-scenarios-for-climate-are-pure-fantasy%E2%80%9D-%E2%80%9Dfns-framtidsscenarier-for-klimatet-ar-rena-fantasier%E2%80%9D/

    The problems Aleklett and his followers have are they refuse to accept 1. they could possibly be wrong about reserves and 2. they don’t understand climate science at all.

    For example, they don’t understand that the IPCC reports are basically literature reviews synthesized and analyzed. They argue that if the IPCC hasn’t said it, it is irrelevant. This is, of course, absurd. The IPCC reports, due to their nature, will always be behind the science not just a little, but significantly in some cases, as was shown to be the case with the sea ice and glaciers in the last report. Consider: the report came out in 2007, but the science it reported on was no more recent than 2005, as there was necessarily a cut off date for submission of papers.

    Worse, some of the folks over at Aleklett’s site even make such comments as they are studying reserves, not climate, so stop asking them to! Yet, the discussion is exactly about climate as affected by FF’s!

    I find it hard to take any person seriously who is so utterly myopic and so married to an agenda that they cannot see what is before them. The point was made by me that we are already at dangerous levels, so any additional emissions are a serious problem. The response? Since we couldn’t burn as much as the IPCC worst case said, there was nothing to worry about!

    I also pointed out feedbacks. Response? We don’ care ’bout no stinkin’ feedbacks – they ain’ in the IPCC IV.

    There’s not much help for those who choose not to see, Magnus.

    Also, this has also been discussed at theoildrum.com long ago. These are from 2007:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2697

    http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/2726/

    This is my favorite, from 2008:

    http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/4807

    Here’s one from 2009:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5084/

    There are quite a few more discussions. Use the search function. Also, be sure to read the comments, or you will miss much.

    Cheers

  221. Dave P:

    I get the feeling that with everybody jumping on the climate change bandwagon and trying to get their name in print by making spectacular claims the glacier business was an accident waiting to happen. If it causes people to think before they publish some good may come from this.

  222. Completely Fed Up:

    Another link, Didactylos.

    http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/windenergy/index.html
    http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Cents_Per_Kilowatt-Hour

    http://www.novoco.com/energy/resource_files/reports/windcost_01.pdf

    Fuel Levelized costs (cents/kWh) (1996)
    Coal 4.8-5.5
    Gas 3.9-4.4
    Hydro 5.1-11.3
    Biomass 5.8-11.6
    Nuclear 11.1-14.5
    Wind (without PTC) 4.0-6.0
    Wind (with PTC) 3.3-5.3

    (remember, wind costs have gone down with increasing technology, as you would expect with an emerging tech)

  223. Matthew L:

    # 206 – CFU
    Lots of reasons why it is not possible to put cheap wind farms on shore in the UK. One of the most important is the cost of land.

    Prairie / ranching land in the USA varies a lot in price but wind farm suitable land of poor agricultural quality without residential or other development value is probably less than $500 an acre.

    In the UK the poorest land (that is not actually the side of a mountain) will cost you £2,000 ($3,000) an acre – and if it has any capability to grow any kind of food it will probably cost £4,000 ($6,000) an acre.

    Then there are the planning regulations. With such a high population density, most local Governments are highly protective of their undeveloped land.

    Most land that is at a high enough elevation to catch decent wind and is also not usable for agriculture (and hence too expensive) is probably in a National Park or major holiday destination. The best onshore sites are probably in west Cornwall (densely populated holiday location), west Wales and the Lake District (“National Parks” and “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty”). You cannot put up a shed in your back yard in a National Park let alone a mega sized wind farm.

    The only land in the UK that is even remotely remote enough and with a low enough land price is probably the north-west of Scotland. There are already a few wind farms there but expect huge opposition to the despoiling of the pristine Scottish landscape with the kind of development needed to generate the quantity of electricity we are going to need.

    It is clear you are not familiar with the UK, if you were I would not have to explain all this to you.

  224. ccpo:

    #

    #172 Edward Greisch: “AGW has already had a significant impact. Peak oil hasn’t yet.”

    So far, I still don’t see AGW in economic indicators, but impact of high oil prices is everywhere to be seen, and already drives the policy of many states. Plus, AGW impact will be slow, and extend hundreds of years in the future, while peak oil is 2050 time frame. Thus, I am confident that we can economically adapt to AGW, as the costs will be spread over many years, while peak oil will cause a nasty shock.

    Frankly, I find the fixation on CO2 incomprehensible. It is obvious that we have two problems: fossil fuels and AGW. If we eliminate the dependence on fossil fuels, we solve both. But, somehow, the whole debate is about trying to mitigate the symptoms, instead of the root cause of the problem. I mean, we are considering implementing CO2 capture, but how much extra CO2 will we have to produce to power the installations for CO2 capture? I am sure someone has calculated that…

    Comment by Kris — 21 January 2010 @ 11:47 AM

    This line of reasoning gets wearying to refute, yet it is so simple. Kris, you are not very aware of how climate works. Your assumptions prove this. By assuming climate only changes over hundreds of years, and apparently smoothly, you are putting yourself at great risk.

    The science community used to think this, too, but by the time the 1990′s were finished they realized it could change drastically within a decade, particularly regionally. (See the Little Ice Age.) Subsequent studies, including one quite recently of, I believe, Irish lake sediments, shows that major temperature changes have occurred in months!

    You need to read up on Rapid Climate Change.

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/rapid.htm

    As I have said many times in many places, thinking Peak Oil is everything or that Climate Change is everything are both extremely short-sighted. We must base policies on analysis of both, and their concomitant economic effects.

    Can you say overshoot?

  225. michael:

    216 Yep. Went to the pantry. Looked at ingredient lists on numerous food stuffs. Tracked through supply chains. Identified plants at risks (eg agrichem plants, petrochem plant, agri distribution systems, machinery, etc). Came to conclusion that food supply supply systems would be hit hard. Also looked at recent impacts on fungal infection of key crops – happening now. Projected impacts by mid-century are mind-numbing. Stern admitted he and his team got it wrong.

  226. captdallas2:

    Ray, Doug and Nick,

    I am shocked that my views on glacial retreat are so controversial! Nick’s reference to the PIG retreat is interesting and brings up a point. The western Antarctic is warming and more rapidly than the remainder of the continent. AGW may be a significant part of the warming but it is unlikely that it is all of it. We still have decadal oscillations to factor in and weird climatic changes that are poorly understood. Around 1979/80 for example there was a 2 to 3 degree C spike in temperatures in Scandinavia. GHGs should not produce spikes so it is unlikely that AGW caused that spike. What caused that spike and the unprecedented warming in the Antarctic peninsular? Don’t know. Could be related to shifts in one or more decadal/multi-decadal oscillations or changes in ocean current velocities. Weather occurs. Why did the Arctic Oscillation shift and cause me to nearly freeze my butt off a week ago? Don’t know but it doesn’t appear to be caused by GHGs. Why did the winds in the Arctic change and blow so much sea ice South in 2007. Don’t know, but it didn’t seem to be caused by GHGs.

    I have no doubt that GHG increases are causing warming. I also have no doubt that GHGs are not solely responsible for all the warming. Climate is an interesting puzzle with a lot of pieces.

  227. Liam Hedge:

    Rather than give my two cents on this whole debacle, I have a question which I though was best directed at the fairly informed community here at Realclimate. In Australia we’re currently locked in a political debate on how to minimise carbon in our economy. One of the most interesting claims to me is the idea of carbon sequestration in agricultural soil. I understand the concept if you are going to actually lock the carbon in there for a prolonged time, i.e. by planting carbon intensive plants, but if you are then going to use the land afterwards I fail to understand how you can easily remove the carbon from the natural carbon cycle. If anyone can point me in the direction of any resources on this matter it’d be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Liam

  228. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Just thought I’d repost the link Gavin gave under that last topic — about the melting of the Himalayan glaciers — great overview of the situation and its impacts:

    http://www.asiasociety.org/onthinnerice

  229. Rod B:

    The claim that California is producing usable wind power at less than 5cents/kWh (179) has been debunked numerous times. Sad to see it keeps getting trotted out.

  230. Frank Giger:

    I agree that the solutions are far more hollistic than many present them to be.

    Burning coal to heat water into steam so that it will turn a turbine that generates electricity seems very 1910 to me, and yet it accounts for some 40% of the USA’s GHG emissions. Finding a way to double turbine efficiency would halve that, and I don’t think anyone would be against reducing the coal burned. Nuclear is consistent and has a great bang-for-the-buck, wind and solar is efficient (but not always effective), and hydroelectric has its own set of environmental issues and concerns. The key is to manage all of the resources and balance them.

    As to the error in the report, I can actually appreciate both sides of the shouting match (which is what it really is).

    To say that the IPCC report is imperfect because of the size and omnibus nature of what it set out to do (and therefore is bound to have errors here and there) is reasonable. Even the Bible is given the caveat that while it is inspired by God it is written by men, and therefore imperfect in translation and version.

    However, literally Trillions of USD and entire ways of life are on the line via policy decisions largely based on IPCC reports. Politicians do not quibble with percentages and possible scenarios; they govern from the position of facts, as anything less results in non-action. Some very odd policy initiatives get justified through the IPCC reports, and often through minor or convoluted citations.

    When I tell my son to put on a rain coat when hie is looking to play outside, I dodn’t say “there is a 70% chance of rain,” I say “it is going to rain, put it on.” Unfortunately the stakes are much higher than him being uncomfortable should the rain not come with the Global Warming political debate.

    Unfortunately, because of this, the IPCC reports have been taken be literal truths, and so any falibility is taken to invalidate the whole thing. Both approaches are wrong, naturally.

  231. bushy:

    At-Dale Power. Something has to be done about the denial groups?
    Listen to yourself my friend, your attempt to suppress the opposition may just be wrong and trying to stifle opposing or contrary opinion is counterproductive in the extreme.
    Do you really believe you are correct in your assumptions and that there is no possibility of you being wrong, or are you able to produce proof that you are correct.
    I firmly believe that at our current level of understanding we have no basis for making the claim that AGW is real or even that it poses a threat of any kind.
    Please provide proof of this impending apocolypse if this is available ie. measurable effects of CO2 influence on our climate.
    I suspect that you cannot do this because it is all theoretical and does not take into account all the additional drivers and vagaries of our climate system. Please give us sceptics some credit because for the most part we are at least looking at alternative drivers and causes of climate variation as opposed to the closed minded who only focus on CO2.

    [Response: Who are these 'closed minded' folks? - gavin]

  232. captdallas2:

    227 Liam

    Adding charcoal to soil both sequesters carbon and benefits the productivity of the soil. Unfortunately it takes energy to produce charcoal so the net savings depends on the efficiency of energy use. Other sequestering methods have potential, but it all depends on the net bang for the buck. A variety of biomass options can produce energy and sequester carbon. Algae is my personal favorite of the biomass options since it grows rapidly in saltwater and eats sewage, neither of which are in short supply.

  233. Tom:

    @156 Ray makes a ludicrous analogy that doesn’t even make argumentative sense. Airplanes and bridges afford the possiblity of repeated, honest to goodness trial and re-trial against their respective models. Test pilots were heroes for taking their risks back in the day. The general style of reliance on models in climate is simply not the same.

    I can understand if you are frustrated explaining, but maybe if you understood a little bit more about what makes people doubt you could allay their concerns a bit more effectively. To a bystander, comments like that make you sound like about as much of a loon as those you counter.

  234. David B. Benson:

    captdallas2 (188) — Contemplate this sequence of events in the coastal mountains of British Columbia
    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Fast-Melting-Glaciers-Expose-7-000-Years-Old-Fossil-Forest-69719.shtml

  235. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Re #165,

    Hate to break it to you, Dude, but the sun’s outer layers are 70% hydrogen and 28% helium by mass, with all other elements making up 2%. The inner regions are more helium and less hydrogen, but the “metals” portion is the same. Plimer believes “Iron Sun” Manuel whose theory is that the sun is composed like meteorite and is powered by an “internal supernova.” And if you believe that, I can actually get you public shares in a bridge in New York City–the city is selling interests in the Brooklyn Bridge, and I can get you stock certificates cheap, if you act now.

  236. Hank Roberts:

    > double turbine efficiency
    Increase the temperature difference between the fire and the cooling loop, basically. Look up “supercritical coal” for example.

    > debunked numerous times
    Then it would be easy to provide a source. Got one?

    > bushy
    Bingo?

  237. Doug Bostrom:

    bushy says: 21 January 2010 at 3:08 PM

    “I firmly believe that at our current level of understanding we have no basis for making the claim that AGW is real or even that it poses a threat of any kind.”

    Information is better than faith, usually. Do yourself a favor and spend a few hours wading through this truly excellent summary of where we stand w/regard to our understanding of climate, warts and all:

    http://www.aip.org/history

    You owe it to yourself, regardless of your personal inclinations; why take an unnecessary risk with your reputation?

  238. tharanga:

    Following the inline response to 231:

    An interesting feature of http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/RadF.gif is the relatively low activity of volcanoes in the period 1920-1950 or so.

    On the century timescale, can global volcanic activity be regarded as incoherent and random such that a calm will just happen now and then, or are there some underlying physics at hand?

  239. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Forlorne, MacKay’s book has serious deficiencies, including improper comparisons to make renewables look less promising and nuclear more promising.

  240. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Frank Giger,

    She is lampooning environmentalists, whom she believes want people to revert to a primitive lifestyle. It’s one of the most frequent slanders directed at environmentalists. There is, of course, a lunatic fringe of environmentalists who want to detechnologize the world, but nobody in their right mind pays them any attention–except the far right, when they want to smear environmentalists.

  241. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Kris: Frankly, I find the fixation on CO2 incomprehensible.

    BPL: Think–complete collapse of world agriculture. Billions without fresh water. A hundred million “climate refugees.” Nuclear-armed Third World countries facing off over who owns a glacier (the latter has already happened, BTW).

  242. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Tim Jones,

    Yep. The SCOTUS decision is obscenely stupid–or obscenely evil. Take your pick.

    Imagine telling people in some medieval feudal country, “You have equal rights to spend your money to influence the political process.” 95% of the people listening are penniless serfs. The other 5% are wealthy nobles.

    “The law in its majesty forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges.”

    Human civilization is doomed. I’m kind of upset about that. I liked junk food, watching DVDs and getting on-line.

  243. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Matt. L,

    You can still grow food on land occupied by windmills. The footprint of the windmills is something like 1% of the area.

  244. SecularAnimist:

    bushy wrote: “I firmly believe that at our current level of understanding we have no basis for making the claim that AGW is real or even that it poses a threat of any kind.”

    You are firmly wrong. Your “beliefs” are firmly grounded in ignorance.

    It is always this way with the deniers. The more utterly ignorant they are of even the most basic facts about climate and climate science, the more they “firmly believe” that Rush Limbaugh is right and hundreds of climate scientists are wrong.

  245. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Fred Giger: Burning coal to heat water into steam so that it will turn a turbine that generates electricity seems very 1910 to me, and yet it accounts for some 40% of the USA’s GHG emissions. Finding a way to double turbine efficiency would halve that, and I don’t think anyone would be against reducing the coal burned.

    BPL: I’m pretty sure Consolidated Coal would be.

  246. Winny:

    Doug Bostrom (#210) says: 21 January 2010 at 12:28 PM

    “Spend a little time on sites like RC and you may understand why patience for dealing with silly peripheral minutiae is thin. The air here is thick with desperate attempts to swerve discussion away from anything that improves general understanding of the topic at hand. Hence, the extraordinary reverberation of the poor provenance of a single paragraph buried in page 968 of an ancillary portion of the IPCC report.”

    You seem to think it’s a trivial matter. It’s not. To quote the initial post from Gavin, it’s “more substantial”. At the same time, it’s not earth-shakingly fundamental. To quote from Gavin again, it “cannot be described as a ‘central claim’ of the IPCC.” Your attempts to categorise it as trivial do you and your cause a disservice.

    “You unfortunately fell for a ruse and then having unwittingly had a wooden rifle shoved into your hands by cynics, stepped into the line of fire where you promptly became the target of derision for your gullibility.”

    You unfortunately appear to have forgotten that this is science, not politics. Perhaps you once knew that.

  247. Mike of Oz:

    @233 – Tom, you should examine your own arguments, and perhaps tone down the fairly blatant condescension. The principle of Ray’s (comment #156) analogy is the same, but the time scale is vastly different. This unfortunately works to climate modellers’ great disadvantage when it comes to satisfying a population who want instant confirmation of everything they predict. An aeroplane or bridge designer doesn’t usually need to wait 5, 10, 20 years or more for his model to be “trialled and retrialled”, as you say (though that apparently hasn’t stopped planes crashing and bridges collapsing due to poor design and engineering).

    I fail to see your point with the test pilot analogy. Aeroplane or aeronautical “models” were relied on to a huge extent. The ability to rapidly trial and re-trial them never helped dozens of test pilots back in the 60s. As Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton’s wife once said: “when Deke was a test pilot, I was surrounded by widows”.

  248. Charlie Laurel:

    Piking up from 196
    Oh my. It seemed a shame to leave all the comments to this mornings NPR spot to the skeptics so I piped in. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122799611
    Yikes. This came back and I don’t know how to respond. Does Grossman have a point? Also I don’t know about the etiquette of on-line talk is it okay for me to copy someone’s comment and paste it elsewhere like this?:
    “Bob Grossman (nonothing) wrote:
    Mr. Laurel, I took your link and found this amazing statement from the UK Met Service at the outset:
”The database consists of the “value added” product that has been quality controlled and adjusted to account for identified non-climatic influences. It is the station subset of this value-added product that we have released. Adjustments were only applied to a subset of the stations so in many cases the data provided are the underlying data minus any obviously erroneous values removed by quality control. The Met Office do not hold information as to adjustments that were applied and so cannot advise as to which stations are underlying data only and which contain adjustments.”

This is sloppy science at best! Not worthy of a national meteorological service dispensing global data sets and the science based upon it. I’m both saddened and amazed at this.

Now I must ask the question: WHERE ARE THE METADATA ASSOCIATED WITH THESE GLOBAL DATA SETS!??? IF THEY DO NOT EXIST, THEN THE DATA IS WORTHLESS. ANY GOOD SCIENTIST WILL WANT THIS INFORMATION IN ORDER TO APPLY TRANSPARENT (FOR REVIEWERS) CONDITIONS AND ADJUSTMENTS TO THE DATA AT HAND. 

If I reviewed a paper based upon these data without access to metadata, I’d reject it out of hand.”
    Any help?

    [Response: He hasn't even looked. Instead he is simply looking for an excuse not to pay attention. You could point him to Peterson and Vose (1997) or all the other papers, the raw GHCN data and all the other information, but he'll find an excuse not to pay attention to those either. - gavin]

  249. flxible:

    Doug Bostrum re bushy’s “firm belief” – direct link is http://www.aip.org/history/climate/

  250. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    245 Barton Paul Levenson and Fred Giger,

    Even more 1910 is the AC system from Tesla and Westinghouse that allowed these power plants to be place far away from populated areas such that the lousy 30% efficiency that still persists could be tolerated, since the heat thrown away would not bother people much. This ranks after the automobile as a leading world bungle, since we could be doing much better, even with fossil fuels, while still living our chosen way.

  251. dhogaza:

    Ray makes a ludicrous analogy that doesn’t even make argumentative sense. Airplanes and bridges afford the possiblity of repeated, honest to goodness trial and re-trial against their respective models. Test pilots were heroes for taking their risks back in the day.

    And now they’re just considered well-educated engineer-pilots. The first flight of the 787 entailed very, very little risk, less than flying a commercial DC3 decades ago. Why? Those models you scorn, and which Ray so rightly points to. The models that are so good, you know, that the actual airplane flew just as the pilots expected from training in the model-driven simulator that was developed side-by-side with the real thing.

    The general style of reliance on models in climate is simply not the same.

    True, climate change will affect every person on the planet, not just a couple of test pilots and a bunch of investment money.

  252. Completely Fed Up:

    Tom flaps his gums: “Airplanes and bridges afford the possiblity of repeated, honest to goodness trial and re-trial against their respective models.”

    So you believed it when your daddy told you in answer to your question “how do they know how much a bridge can take” that they load the bridge up until it breaks and then rebuild it and put less than that weight as the maximum load..?

  253. Completely Fed Up:

    ” Rod B says:
    21 January 2010 at 2:49 PM

    The claim that California is producing usable wind power at less than 5cents/kWh (179) has been debunked numerous times.”

    Good trick, because California’s done it.

  254. Jim Roland:

    Kevin McKinney at #200,

    GHG emissions are included, not excluded, in the Zah et al. results. The vertical dimension in the x-y scatterplots is total environmental impact and the global warming potential effect on health is a component of this in both methodologies used. As I said though, it’s only one study. However I must correct that the depletion of mineral phosphorus appears to be counted also.

  255. Completely Fed Up:

    cptdallas2 “I also have no doubt that GHGs are not solely responsible for all the warming.”

    Neither does the IPCC.

    Go check:

    http://www.ipcc.ch

  256. Completely Fed Up:

    “Lots of reasons why it is not possible to put cheap wind farms on shore in the UK. One of the most important is the cost of land.”

    Uh, there’s land needed for nuclear power stations.

    And the roads to and from them (to get the fuel to them and take away the waste).

    And the reprocessing facilities.

    And…

    etc.

    Plenty of land.

    Now can you graze your cattle on a nuke plant site?

    No.

    Grow wheat?

    No.

    Rapeseed?

    No.

    You can with a windfarm.

  257. Frank Giger:

    I wouldn’t worry about Consolidated Coal. A few fat subsidies (okay, fatter subsidies) should fix that. :)

    It shouldn’t be shocking that climate change can manifest itself quickly to anyone studying history. Mammoths embedded in ice with buttercups in their mouths, Otzi being killed on a path across the Alps, covered by a glacier before his body decomposed (only to have the glacier recede enough 3,000 years later to reveal him), towns ground down by glaciers in the Little Ice Age, vinyards in the UK during the MWP, etc.

    With all respect to Saint Patrick, the snakes were never in Ireland to begin with, as when the ice melted it did so quickly enough that the land bridge to the continent was flooded before they could make it there.

    The good news is that we don’t face that sort of dramatic whoosh of upheaval which marked the beginning or end of the last Ice Age; it’s more of a double dip of warming.

    There’s a certain amount of “duh” in the dire predictions for Global Warming disaster, IMHO. Some cities in the SW USA are ill conceived for location and size, and in the long term will go the way of the Anasazi cities nestled in cliffsides for the same reasons the ancient peoples there fled.

    Atlanta’s inherent water resources are far too small to absorb the population growth it has seen on good years; any change long term or short present dire situations. Thinking about mitigation of the problem and sound solutions makes sense without having to drink kool-aid of any flavor.

    The view from South Beach in Miami might be of a giant sea wall, or from an artificial hillock (in much like they filled in the streets of Seattle).

    At any rate, kudoes to RC for addressing the error in the IPCC report in a reasoned manner.

  258. Don Shor:

    256
    Completely Fed Up says:
    21 January 2010 at 4:51 PM


    Now can you graze your cattle on a nuke plant site?
    No.
    Grow wheat?
    No.
    Rapeseed?
    No.
    You can with a windfarm.

    Well actually, you can do all those things in the buffer zones around nuclear power plants, too. Grazing and agriculture are normal near nuke plants in California. But the wind farms here have been very successful: http://www.energy.ca.gov/wind/overview.html
    It is worth noting some of the issues in siting wind farms; they can’t be too close to where people live due to the noise, there is avian mortality, etc. But the cost is lower than other sources of power except, presently, natural gas.
    Since that article was written, another wind farm has been developed in Solano County: http://fromthereporter.com/specials/made/pages/made53.html

    Some of the turbines there are over 400 feet tall! I live not far away, and you can see them from quite a distance. They are a much more attractive site than the cooling towers of a nuclear plant plunked on a California beach, or an oil derrick offshore.

    Unfortunately, we may be running out of sites for large-scale wind farms in California, and the long transmission lines necessary have proved to be a hurdle. But smaller-scale turbines have potential closer to populated areas.

  259. Don Shor:

    Re: wind power costs
    From the same link I posted above (http://www.energy.ca.gov/wind/overview.html)

    “The levelized cost of energy from wind turbines in 1993 was about 7.5 cents per kilowatt/hour. With current wind research and development efforts, the Energy Commission estimates that newer technologies can reduce the cost of wind energy to 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.”

  260. Ken W:

    bushy (231) wrote:
    “Please give us sceptics some credit because for the most part we are at least looking at alternative drivers and causes of climate variation as opposed to the closed minded who only focus on CO2.”

    A legitimate skeptic wouldn’t assume that the dominantly held view of scientists from all over the world that have been studying a phenomena aggressively for the past 30 years was wrong. At least not until they did a significant amount of study first (which your post clearly indicates you haven’t done). I’d suggest you start by watching the excellent lectures (under graduate level) from David Archer (University of Chicago):

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/an-offering/
    http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/lectures.html

    That way you can avoid embarrasing yourself.

  261. Hank Roberts:

    >> cost of wind power
    > California’s done it

    Citation mumble grumble gnash needed.
    Goose, gander, same sauce either way.

    Someone who cares should make the effort to look these claims up. You want to act smarter than those IPCC WGwhatever Chapter 6 authors, don’t you?

    Please?

    Here’s why there may be some challenge and some dueling cites — remember, your task, should you want to look intelligent, is to review the literature and provide not just the answer you WANT but the best answer available now.

    Could it be this?

    http://www.energy.ca.gov/wind/overview.html

    “According to the Electric Power Research Institute, the cost of producing wind energy has decreased nearly four fold since 1980. The levelized cost of energy from wind turbines in 1993 was about 7.5 cents per kilowatt/hour. With current wind research and development efforts, the Energy Commission estimates that newer technologies can reduce the cost of wind energy to 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.”

    Or maybe it’s this?

    http://www.telosnet.com/wind/future.html
    “The cost of energy from larger electrical output wind turbines used in utility-interconnected or wind farm applications has dropped from more than $1.00 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 1978 to under $0.05 per kWh in 1998, and is projected to plummet to $0.025 per kWh when new large wind plants come on line in 2001 and 2002. The hardware costs of these wind turbines have dropped below $800 per installed kilowatt in the past five years, underpricing the capital costs of almost every other type of power plant. ”

    Nah. You can do better. You can even collaborate — as long as you both make the effort to find _the_ facts not _your_ facts.

  262. Dale Power:

    Response to #231: There is a simple misunderstanding here “Denial Groups” in my meaning means denial GROUPS. Groups that are not interested in science, and not individuals with personal beliefs, but groups paid for by corporate interests to try and sow dissent and falsify an argument in the press without merit.

    As for showing you proof of AGW… Have you read the web site called “realclimate.org”? If you start at the begining and read through it, it will give you more than enough information to convince an informed layman about what is really happening.

    If you are an actual climate scientist then you would likely already have all that information.

    *I know I for one am getting tired of “Deniers” and self proclaimed “skeptics” claiming they haven’t seen proof when they are soaking in the stuff! This entire web-site leads you to scientific information and you can ASK some of the top scientists in the world in the field of Climate science if you have questions or can’t understand something! How rare is that?

    Sorry about the rant there and the teasing (about realclimate) but seriously… Something is very wrong if you can read the things here, the answers and the data and still be asking for “proof positive”. Something wrong with your idea of what constitutes proof.

  263. Jiminmpls:

    #256 CFU

    I’m sorry, but you’re wrong on this one. The economics of wind power are always site specific. For many reasons, the UK is not well-suited for onshore wind power. There are many factors that go into site suitability. Large parts of the USA are also deemed unsuitable for any large scale wind deployment. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert, because I’m not – but these people are:

    http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.asp

  264. Philip Machanick:

    Christy has weighed in at IEEE Spectrum, a widely read publication of a society with hundreds of thousands of members.

    A major point he makes is that satellite data shows too little warming of the upper atmosphere. Any good answers? Posting here and at the IEEE site would be useful. Specifically, any update on this earlier RC take on it? Thanks.

  265. Tom S:

    I think a lot of skeptics see the IPCC as an advocacy group with a serious case of group think. Of course it is impossible to nail down such nebulous concept one way or the other.

    One thought I had is, suppose the following line had been put in the IPCC report:

    “The Himalayan glaciers, unlike other glaciers around the world, have been retreating in the past 20 years”.

    The point here is not that this statement is true/false, but that this type of statement would have very likely been investigated and corrected immediately. This is a non-obvious bias, and one that I believe exists in the IPCC group.

    Another example is satellite data that does not match the existing upward trend. It required calibration. Now if the satellite data had matched the trend, or even exceeded it, it would likely be accepted without further processing (until M&M got it anyway).

    AGW proponents are way too sensitive to contradictory information, and either try to suppress it, or explain it away. A red flag to me is the image put out that AGW has ALL the answers and nothing remains unexplained. The scientists don’t say this, but they also don’t go out of their way to correct it either.

    Uncertainity…the big elephant in the room.

  266. Tom S:

    Oops, I meant to say:

    “The Himalayan glaciers, unlike other glaciers around the world, have been getting larger in the past 20 years”.

    Freudian slip.

  267. Ray Ladbury:

    Tom,
    Models serve the same purpose whether for aviation, architecture or climate science–to provide insight into the phenomena. They tell us if we’re on the right track with the physics we put into them. There is absolutely no reason to trust models in one field and not in another unless you have specific reasons–and no, saying “but the climate is complicated” is not a reason.
    Climate models have been validated in some very impressive ways and reproduce most of the features seen in Earth’s climate. So there is simply no valid reason to distrust them any more than you would any other model. Add to this the fact that even independent of the models, there are mountains of evidence showing we are warming, and the models become our best tools for limiting risk. I would urge you to look into how the modeling is done and the role it plays in climate science. An objective assessment would show there is no rational basis for such qualms.

  268. Hank Roberts:

    Well done Charlie Laurel, I followed your link, recommended your post porting some of Gavin’s info, and was fascinated to see the currently most recent post there–January 21, 2010 5:31:31 PM– which adds other good business reason that some data from businesses is provided only with a privacy requirement. Have a look over there folks. They’ve got trolls, of course, but it’s not yet gone septic.

  269. Russell:

    Hello,
    I am new to here, and have some questions that don’t seem to have been addressed in the media:

    1. Why is there still warming with a cold sun?
    I am under the impression that the difference between a warm sun cycle and a cold one can make 0.2C difference, this is suggested as happening between 1920-1940 and causing the warming then.
    However in the last 5-10 years the sun has got significantly colder, but there still appears to be warming. How much effect has the sun had on this, and will it affect average temps for the next decade. The 0.2C from the sun getting colder should have cancelled out the 0.2C/decade warming trend temporarily. (I understand that the sun will have to keep getting colder and colder to stop GW entirely and that isnt really possible)

    2. Some comments from this website:
    http://powerproxy.com/gw/myths.html#mostco2
    “The most CO2 in 650,000″
    Their point about the averaging effect smoothing out peaks seems credible.

    3. “Myth: All “extra” CO2 is human”
    and “shifts in 13C/12C prior to 1850″
    I havn’t heard this before.

    Answers would be appreciated.

  270. Ray Ladbury:

    Tom S.,
    If your putative assertion of growing glaciers had been in the same WG, I think it would have taken just as long to find. Not a lot of people read these summaries. Most view the discussion of consequences as somehow a sideshow. Actually, I don’t think it would have made any difference.

    Look, Tom, I’ve been to Everest basecamp. I’ve seen some of these glaciers. If I’d have read this, it would have raised my eyebrow. I probably wouldn’t have had the wherewithal to check it independently, so I would have let it slide. After all, it is not a cornerstone on which rests the validity of the theory.

    When someone who did have the wherewithal and the experience read the typo and pointed it out, it was (eventually) corrected. That is how the process is supposed to work–self correction.

  271. Hank Roberts:

    In the news:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2010/0120/Mt.-Rainier-s-retreating-glaciers-are-making-a-mess

  272. Timothy Chase:

    Some material regarding global glacier mass balance that may be of interest… I have included links to a couple of very good blogs — which refer those who are interested to recent technical, peer-reviewed literature. Changes in cumulative mass balance may be found here:

    Global Average Glacier Mass Change, 1945-2005 (mass balance)
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/Global_Glacier_Mass_Change.gif

    … from:

    The IPCC’s 2035 prediction about Himalayan glaciers
    Thursday, 21 January, 2010
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/IPCC-2035-prediction-Himalayan-glaciers.html

    … which got the chart from:

    WGMS. 2008. Global Glacier Changes: facts and figures. Zemp, M., Roer, I., Kääb, A., Hoelzle, M., Paul, F. and W. Haeberli (eds.), UNEP, World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zurich, Switzerland: 88 pp. (chapter 5, Global glacier changes)
    http://www.grid.unep.ch/glaciers/

    … and also mentions:

    Zemp, M., Hoelzle, M. and Haeberli, W. (2009) Six decades of glacier mass balance observations – a review of the worldwide monitoring network. Annals of Glaciology, 50: p. 101–111
    http://www.geo.uzh.ch/~mzemp/Docs/Zemp_etal_a50a018.pdf

    Other papers are mentioned, but those should be a good start.

    Regarding both Greenland and Antarctica, you might like:

    GRACE cumulative monthy mass loss from Apr 2002 to Feb 2009 for Greenland
    http://i33.tinypic.com/9km9sy.png

    GRACE cumulative monthy mass loss from Apr 2002 to Feb 2009 for 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/

    … which was discussing the paper that is the original source of these graphs:

    Velicogna, I. (2009), Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L19503, doi:10.1029/2009GL040222.

    Incidently, I believe that even the comments in the “thingsbreak” essay may be of considerable interest to some.

  273. Garrett Jones:

    re # 235, this is an easy to find source, http://www.nasa.gov/worldbook/sun_worldbook.html, you will note the core and surface make up of the sun are rather different. I am sure God will also help you with your anger problem.

  274. Tim Jones:

    Re: 231
    “Please provide proof…”

    Just exactly what kind of proof would you find acceptable?

    “Please give us sceptics some credit because for the most part we are at least looking at alternative drivers and causes of climate variation as opposed to the closed minded who only focus on CO2.”

    I think not, not you anyway. In the first place you’ve got it completely wrong when you write “only focus on CO2.”
    see:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Radiative-forcings.svg

    “Skeptics are looking for alternative drivers.” Are they using shovels?

  275. Hank Roberts:

    152, 165, 235, 273

    Garrett, he’s right, you’re right — and Plimer’s wrong.
    You have to actually look at what Plimer says to realize just how far off the normal sequence his notion is.
    Gavin reminded you of this — did you notice the inline response to your earlier posting?

    Relax. There are about two people in the world, including Plimer, who believes what he seems to believe. You’re not among’em, I’m sure. Nor is anyone here.

  276. Hank Roberts:

    Garrett — an astronomer reviews Plimer’s book:
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/an_astronomer_reviews_ian_plim.php

  277. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    re 261 Hank Roberts,

    Links you provide show (1) six year old data that does not clarify how the accounting is done or how much subsidy is involved.. It boasts of the huge installation at Altamont Pass, which on many sample inspections by me, a large percentage of the rotors are stationary. And (2) 10 year old data that has not panned out.

    State of Portland undertook a massive wind project, and in doing so bamboozled the state voters about how much the subsidy would cost the taxpayers. The state budget office has been found to have fudged the cost analysis. About half the cost was to be supported by free money in the form of tax credits which could be sold to anyone. The developer says he never would have proceeded without the subsidies. This was all revealed a few months ago and was reported in the Portland newspaper.

    (Hank, You out-reference me since I can not give a link — uh maybe not if the linked references are largely meaningless. Perhaps you would discuss references.)

  278. Doug Bostrom:

    Winny says: 21 January 2010 at 4:02 PM

    “You unfortunately appear to have forgotten that this is science, not politics. Perhaps you once knew that.”

    The bulk of the important science needed to form a useful conclusion is done, finished to a high degree of confidence. The very fact that you and I are discussing a single selectively highlighted flubbed cite as opposed to anything of substantial importance tells us that this matter has moved solidly into the political realm.

    Find out about the science here:

    http://www.aip.org/history

    For the political part, you’re better off following the news, then fact-checking.

    Again, sorry I was rude.

  279. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    re 261 Hank Roberts,

    Also to note from a previous discussion here, the large European projects came along with the help of guarantees that the power would be bought at a much higher than market price. That is also a favorite trick that promoters sometimes forget to mention, but it helps get things going. Wait for that impact to hit home now that money is a little tight in Europe like it is here.

  280. Yvette:

    “Something has to be done about the organized denial groups. I don’t know what of course, but SOMETHING needs to be done, before they stall us into inaction for the next century.”

    How true. I unfortunately have to endure the great denier, Senator Jim Inhofe since I live in Oklahoma.

    After reading the news of the error with the 2035 date I recalled reading that 2030 is the date that has been used to say the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone. Someone made a post earlier referencing NASA using the date of 2030 in reference to the Himalayan Glaciers.

    Can anyone direct me to where the 2030 date came from, and is it only a reference for the Glaciers in the Rockies?

  281. mircea:

    Dhogaza (251) and Fed Up (250) I work in flight simulation (my company has done the first 787 ffs simulator) and everything that we do must be verified by measurements in the real A/C before it can enter in the simulation. The flight simulators do not extrapolate anything and do not prove anything. All the actions and results of the simulation must be backed by real measurements on the real A/C. One cannot certify a simulation if it doesn’t match the real data. Any simulated malfunction that takes the simulation outside the known flight envelope (i.e. is not measured on A/C) is not valid and it is rejected by the FAA for “negative training”. It is the same thing in designing. One uses the simulators/simulations to orient himself but then everything must be measured in real life (at least scaled models). For example the wings of the A/C are loaded with weights until they break in order to determine the breaking point, even if one has previously calculated that point through simulation several times.

  282. Don Shor:

    280
    Yvette says:
    21 January 2010 at 11:07 PM
    After reading the news of the error with the 2035 date I recalled reading that 2030 is the date that has been used to say the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone. Someone made a post earlier referencing NASA using the date of 2030 in reference to the Himalayan Glaciers.

    Can anyone direct me to where the 2030 date came from, and is it only a reference for the Glaciers in the Rockies?

    Wikipedia links to the USGS:

    http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/research/glaciers.htm

  283. Rod B:

    BPL (235), way OT, but my recollection is that there is no where near 28% He in the outer shell/envelope of the Sun. My recollection is that He is virtually 100% in the core even after Red Giant Stage and start of He burning. It’s been a while, though; are you sure?

  284. TCO:

    The initial response by IPCC and Pauchari was to double down and to stick with the statement. It took some heat turning up, before they acknowledged the error. I don’t care so much about the error, but about the response when first notified. It reminds me of CBS news spending 10 days sticking by their Memogate story before finally acknowledging that they didn’t have the forensic evidence they had said they did. Not the error, but the recalcitrance at fixing it. Capisce?

  285. Hank Roberts:

    Jim, you missed my point there, I was responding to several people who made statements about the cost of wind power, with various numbers but no sources given. I said ‘citation needed’ after trying to find a good source and not finding one — figuring if they want their paragraph to show up in the next IPCC Report, they better get their citations nailed down on their numbers.

    That’s the topic — reliability of the numbers the ICC prints. Seems like an object lesson for everyone to be able to cite sources. I can dream.

  286. Rod B:

    Hank (236), One of the two that have been cited before: The California Renewable Energy Sources Act of 2009 calls for a charge from the windfarm provider to the distributor/retailer (delivered at the edge of the windfarm) of $0.125 to $0.132/kWh indexed for inflation over a 20-year contract. Some exceptions call for $0.08 to $0.09, and $0.25 for small windfarms. Assumes no federal subsidies. Folks should quit quoting dreamy futuristic rates that assume super technology improvements and no pragmatic restrictions as if they were real.

  287. Doug Bostrom:

    mircea says: 21 January 2010 at 11:17 PM

    You’re speaking about simulators for operational training.

    First the airplane has to be designed, which these days is heavily dependent on models, which are simulations.

    The Boeing 787 has a had a full fidelity simulator up and running for some time, long before the aircraft flew or for that matter complete physical systems integration was completed.

    Thanks to models, newly created aircraft offer only one major area of potential surprise during flight testing, flutter.

  288. Winny:

    Yvette (#280)

    The 2030 figure appears to relate to the Blackfoot–Jackson Glacier Basin (Glacier National Park). I can’t find any instance of it being used for the Himalayan glaciers outside the NASA website.

    The figure is used in a 2003 paper published in Bioscience (Hall & Fagre, Vol. 53, No. 2, Pages 131–140). I haven’t read the paper in detail, but basically it posits two scenarios, one with a doubling of CO2 and one with a linear temperature extrapolation. Under the first scenario “the glaciers in the Blackfoot–Jackson Glacier Basin disappear completely by the year 2030.”

    The paper is available online here;

    http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/full/10.1641/0006-3568%282003%29053%5B0131%3AMCIGCI%5D2.0.CO%3B2

  289. Kevin McKinney:

    #281–which would be why climate model output and observations are constantly being compared six ways from Sunday. Model validation is a big area of research.

  290. Edward Greisch:

    170 Dr. P.S.Negi.: Thank you. I hadn’t thought about geographical diversity in that area. It really is a large area involving a number of countries. Could you tell us more?

  291. Edward Greisch:

    179 Completely Fed Up: You are the one who has the cost figures reversed for wind and nuclear. Let’s talk about glaciers in the region where the Indian subcontinent impacts the rest of Asia.

  292. EL:

    51. If you think we have reached peak oil, you may wish to buy a bridge I own in Brooklyn or a Senate seat I control in Mass. Oil, gas and coal reserves increase every year they are measured.

    Discoveries would have to be made in very high and ever increasing frequency because the world has exponential growth rates on fossil fuel consumption. When people think about peak oil production, they would do well to remember that oil is a finite resource.

    #55 rosie hughes said:
    Rosie, while I sympathise with your motives, you seem to have missed an incredibly important point: population isn’t the key factor in increasing consumerism and high energy use. Ironically, it is quality of life that matters most.

    I disagree, and I think Rosie is quite correct. Quality of life is linked into population size. When population becomes high, the resources to support the population is low; as a result, the quality of life is low. For an adventure in history, compare the quality of life for the average person before and after the black death in 1348-1350.

    Kevin McKinney:
    GHG emissions–in which the ethanol is immensely superior.

    What assumptions are you using here?

    Didactylos:
    nuclear is cheap. This is fact, according to every source I can find. You dispute it based on what, exactly?

    Nuclear is many things, but cheap is not one of them. The fixed cost for nuclear power are through the freaking roof.

    In General

    Some people seem to be confused about computer models. I think the phrase “Computer Models” should be redefined by the scientific community so that confusion can be avoided. Instead of “Computer Models”, the scientific community should use “Computer Assisted Mathematical Models.”

    Too many people think of video games when they hear “Computer Models.” The change in description could communicate a level of rigor that goes into scientific models.
    Just my 2 cents… (and its 3rd world coin)

  293. Edward Greisch:

    186 Jimi Bostock: Thanks for the update. Where exactly in Australia? I’m in the central US. I have read reports from Australia that say that wheat has not grown in some part of Australia for some years. I don’t know Australian geography well enough. I also heard that the rice crop failed in Australia last year. Again, I didn’t know Australia grew rice at all. Do you know a URL that has Australian crop reports?

  294. Hank Roberts:

    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2010/01/ams2010_data_gaps_and_errors_m.html

    Oops.

  295. Edward Greisch:

    189 Sou: Thanks for the URLs. Looks like the drought didn’t last as long as I was lead to believe. Do you have similar URLs for India? Somebody posted on Climate Progress that India was having a problem with its monsoon rains.
    Would this be a good topic for a big RC post? How and when and where GW will affect agriculture is something to be concerned about.

  296. Edward Greisch:

    207 Jim Galasyn: How do you make an artificial glacier?

    208 Kris: No argument. I’m all for eliminating fossil fuel use. Where I am, last year was so wet that 5% or 6% of the corn was not harvested per the local newspaper. Was that due to climate change?

    RC Group: 214 Tim Jones has a point as far as you published. The denialosphere is about to get unlimited funding.

    243 Barton Paul Levenson: Windmills can and have come apart in windstorms. The turbine part is wing-like, enabling that 60 ton machine to fly 1/3 mile. Do you want it landing on your head?

  297. CM:

    Philip #264, this the update you were looking for?
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/10/tropical-tropopshere-iii/

  298. Didactylos:

    “Completely Fed Up”:

    Your link doesn’t say anything about global wind costs. It doesn’t even say anything about where or how it derives the figure it does – except to say “estimates that newer technologies can reduce the cost of wind energy to 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.” Which seems to say very explicitly that this is not a calculation of actual costs. It is speculation. Even then, it appears to apply only to the US, and possibly only to California.

    And my primary source already considers full lifecycle costs, so nitpicking nuclear doesn’t help you. You should also take into account the degree to which other energy sources are subsidised (lots!) but you didn’t even touch on this.

    If you want to make a serious argument, provide some serious facts, please.

    I can’t imagine how you think a page entitled “Overview of Wind Energy in California” applies to the UK, far less the whole planet.

  299. Edward Greisch:

    263 Jiminmpls: Thanks for the wind power map. I notice that the Aleutian islands have superb wind, and lots of big cities are in white spaces with apparently no wind. Wind availability seems to be sort-of inversely proportional to the need for it.

    265 Tom S: “Uncertainity…the big elephant in the room.” Uncertainty is a 2-edged sword. It cuts both ways. We can’t prove that we won’t be extinct in 5 years or that we will be extinct in 100 years if AGW continues. AGW is just too risky.

  300. Magnus Westerstrand:

    Thank you ccpo after a bit of reading there and on other places I also recommend the following:
    Risks of the oil transition, AE Farell and AR Brandt 2006
    Scraping the bottom of the barrel: greenhouse gas emission consequences of a transition to low-quality and synthetic petroleum resources AR Brandt and AE Farell 2007
    Implications of “peak oil” for atmospheric CO2 and climate PA Kharecha and JE Hansen 2008

    Any one got more up to date info about any of this?
    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=11977

    http://energyseminar.stanford.edu/node/37

  301. Completely Fed Up:

    mircea: “Dhogaza (251) and Fed Up (250) I work in flight simulation (my company has done the first 787 ffs simulator) and everything that we do must be verified by measurements in the real A/C before it can enter in the simulation.”

    But the scale size of turbulence is not modelled and therefore when you put your scale in the tunnel you don’t have the same system as the real thing.

    You can put a boeing complete wing in the tunnel, but you’re missing the rest of the plane.

    You rely on what you KNOW to be wrong not to matter because your simulation says this is good.

  302. Completely Fed Up:

    Jim: “It boasts of the huge installation at Altamont Pass, which on many sample inspections by me, a large percentage of the rotors are stationary”

    And that less than 100% is taken into account, Jim.

    It still works to 3-6c/kWh from 1996 technology.

    We have bigger better and more effective rotors today.

    It’s called “advancing technology” and works just like the progression from the nuclear power tech in the 50′s to the modern pebble bed reactor that has not yet proven itself safe.

  303. Completely Fed Up:

    ” Jiminmpls says:
    21 January 2010 at 7:28 PM

    #256 CFU

    I’m sorry, but you’re wrong on this one. The economics of wind power are always site specific”

    And so is nuclear, coal, gas and all the other products:

    If you’re near the mine AND the processing plant, your nuke plant is cheaper. If you’re on the coast, tidal power is cheaper.

    The UK is windy.

    Very windy.

    You’re wrong.

    Please show how the UK can be more than 5x more expensive for wind than the US.

  304. Completely Fed Up:

    PS: And it seems that the argument for why it’s not possible to do onshore wind power (despite the evidence of wind farms on land in the UK, with farming going on around it) is that people say it won’t work because people say it won’t work.

    I.e. NIMBYs getting the groundwork in/

  305. Completely Fed Up:

    “265
    Tom S says:
    21 January 2010 at 8:07 PM

    I think a lot of skeptics see the IPCC as an advocacy group with a serious case of group think.”

    Which is a serious case of groupthink, don’t you think?

    Or are you part of that groupthink, Tom?

  306. Reinhard Bösch:

    “The IPCC is not infallible(shock!). Certainly not.But you, dear members of the group always told us about the highest scientific standards there. You called people with reasonable doubts “denialists”. And now your reaction to this informational desaster is sheer amusement? I wish you lots of readers at Real Climate. You´re turning lots of interested people into skeptics.

  307. Completely Fed Up:

    259, Don Shor: yes, I even quoted that myself.

    In 1993, what was the biggest rotor available?

    Now in 1999 you had how many years of operation to work out how much it costs. Do you have an adequate number of years to do the same measurement with modern more effective and efficient turbines? No.

    But you DO know how much the smaller ones do, so your error isn’t going to be huge.

    Not “yet more expensive than the older tech”.

    And 7.5c is still lots cheaper than nuclear.

    Again, how can this show that wind power has made nuclear power seem cheap?

  308. Completely Fed Up:

    “Well actually, you can do all those things in the buffer zones around nuclear power plants, too. ”

    Which will have worse problems from the NIMBYs.

    “Glowing milk???”

    “It is worth noting some of the issues in siting wind farms; they can’t be too close to where people live due to the noise, there is avian mortality, etc”

    The noise is a NIMBY complaint.

    The avian mortality of sky scrapers are factors larger, yet you don’t see people tearing them down to save the little burdies, do you.

    It’s another NIMBY complaint.

    NOTE: the early small turbines spun quickly and therefore were hard to avoid.

    Larger ones spin much slower (hence some efficiency gain) and massively reduce the mortality.

    And we now have raptors using them as perches to wait out the search for food.

  309. Completely Fed Up:

    PS a lack of sites doesn’t make wind more expensive anyway.

  310. Completely Fed Up:

    PS re 281: however, do we build 787′s to deliberately kill the passengers? Do we build one complete aircraft merely to crash it and then never build another one?

    But the only way to test that CO2 measurements (from real life, not models, even scale) and their emergent result in the computer model is to let the CO2 build up.

    Then find another earth and change the CO2 concentrations.

    Then find another earth…

    But we look at what is happening now, and we see the models verified with THE REAL EARTH. Not scale model earths, but this real one.

    We have checked that the models fit well enough to reality as we’ve seen in the past and letting that simulated earth evolve with higher CO2 causes many problems.

    And we would rather avoid that on the world we have right now: letting it happen just to prove the model right is not done.

    Just like if your scale model showed that a banking turn with a 15 mph crosswind would rip the wing off, you don’t go and build it anyway, just to see if that scale model was right.

  311. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Tom S: Another example is satellite data that does not match the existing upward trend.

    BPL: Huh??? It does match the trend! Want the numbers?

  312. Forlornehope:

    @230, doubling turbine efficiency comes up against the fundamental physical limit of the Carnot cycle. This is something that comes in the first year of a mechanical engineering degree. I am assuming, by the way, that you mean the efficiency of the whole power generation cycle.
    @239, you are correct and there are some problems with Prof MacKay’s book, and I have corresponded with him on one particular point. However, it is a far better source than any currently available and, from an engineering viewpoint, the problems are relatively minor. For those who haven’t bothered to read it the conclusions can be summarised quite briefly. We can deal with climate change without a massive change to our way of life but we do have to re-engineer our energy infrastructure. That means moving to a mainly electric economy. We have to take all the opportunities to be as efficient as possible in our use of energy. Power will have to come from all available forms of renewable and nuclear and in the case of the UK some power will still have to be imported. Key technologies will include the use of heat pumps for domestic heating, electric vehicles, wind, solar, tidal, wave and nuclear power.
    @281, you are absolutely right about the fact that engineering models have to be verified. It is, however, worth noting that engineers at Boeing, Airbus, GE, Pratt and Rolls-Royce,as just a few examples, are pretty upset if the results are even 1% away from their models. If you have ever seen the overlay of a computer model and the actual film from an auto crash test, you will see how amazingly accurate the predication of even such a complex event can be. If climate modellers are anywhere near as good, then actual verification is not a big issue.

  313. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Garrett Jones: re # 235, this is an easy to find source, http://www.nasa.gov/worldbook/sun_worldbook.html, you will note the core and surface make up of the sun are rather different. I am sure God will also help you with your anger problem.

    BPL: The metals fraction is still 2%, and the sun has no fusion processes which produce iron. You don’t get iron except in the cores of very large supergiants just before they go supernova. Having studied stellar astronomy for about forty years, I’m pretty familiar with how stars work. You, apparently, are not. If you think “the sun is made of iron” is in any way a legitimate statement, you are displaying blatant ignorance of the subject. I suggest you review a basic text on it, such as Phillips’s “The Physics of Stars” (1994).

  314. Ray Ladbury:

    Russell@269, the “averaging argument is bogus, because CO2 is such a long-lived gas, persisting centuries to millennia.

    And yes, there are fluctuations of C-13/C-12–we can measure them in the ice cores. They don’t begin to approach the steady decline we’ve seen in the modern era. More half-truths from the denialist community. You can usually tell when the authors of the presentation choose to remain anonymous so as not to reveal their employers.

  315. Stefan N:

    I merely wanted to give at least two big thumbs up for all the work you are doing. You’re fighting an uphill battle against ignorance, incompetence, disinformation and fast food science. Yet you seem to have oceans of patience. Keep up the good work and let’s hope policies and public opinion change before it’s too late. And let’s hope your estimations are proven wrong over time, however unlikely that seems to be at present.

    Being a marketer I sense there are acute needs for improving AGW communication. It may be a political issue, but nonetheless it indirectly affects your everyday situation and the future of our planet. Therefore it needs to be addressed accordingly.

  316. Nick Gotts:

    “Lots of reasons why it is not possible to put cheap wind farms on shore in the UK. One of the most important is the cost of land.” Matthew L@233

    Tell me Matthew, have you ever been to the Netherlands? Or Denmark? In the latter, you’re scarcely ever out of sight of a wind turbine in the countryside. Yet both have far less land, far less land remote from cities, far less land that cannot be used for arable crops. The key differences are cultural and political. In both there is and long has been a far higher level of environmental concern. In Denmark specifically (don’t know offhand about Netherlands) most wind farms are community-owned: local people profit directly from them.

  317. Nick Gotts:

    One uses the simulators/simulations to orient himself but then everything must be measured in real life (at least scaled models). – mircea

    I’m interested to know how a scale model of a plane lets you test for several decades of use, bird strike, failure of one or more engines, take-off and landing in poor weather, etc, etc.

  318. Completely Fed Up:

    ““Completely Fed Up”:

    Your link doesn’t say anything about global wind costs.”

    It does say that the costs in part of the world is much less than nuclear.

    Which means your statement that “Both globally and in the UK, nuclear is cheaper than wind.” is wrong. (post #201).

    “3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.” Which seems to say very explicitly that this is not a calculation of actual costs.”

    7.5c is a real figure from older and less efficient tech.

    And that is less than nuclear.

    “Even then, it appears to apply only to the US, and possibly only to California.”

    And why would the US or possibly only california be so much cheaper to have wind power?

    “I can’t imagine how you think a page entitled “Overview of Wind Energy in California” applies to the UK, far less the whole planet.”

    I can’t figure out how you manage to say that the world shows wind more expensive than nuclear when it is definitely not true by a factor of 3 to 5 times to even be equal in cost.

    And in the US, nuclear is subsidised to a level of about $7.2Bn a year. Is the UK subsidising nuclear much more than that?

  319. Completely Fed Up:

    A load of Bosch: “But you, dear members of the group always told us about the highest scientific standards there. ”

    Highest doesn’t equal perfect.

  320. Dan Hodson:

    Graham Cogley reports that the error can indeed be traced to a misreading of one of the inital references: the WG II claim that total glacier area “will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 km^2 by the year 2035″ it turns out that “2035″ is a misreading of “2350″ in Kotlyakov (1996, p66).

  321. Completely Fed Up:

    “Wind availability seems to be sort-of inversely proportional to the need for it.”

    ‘course, nuclear power supply has the same problem…

  322. Nick Gotts:

    “Windmills can and have come apart in windstorms. The turbine part is wing-like, enabling that 60 ton machine to fly 1/3 mile. Do you want it landing on your head?” – Edward Greisch

    This reminds me of a book I used to have: The ’80s: A Look Back – published in 1979 [sic]. Alongside an Arab conquest of Europe (because NATO lacked a counter-weapon to the scimitar), and the “International Year of the Simultaneous Orgasm” (when the Earth actually moved), it included a disaster with IIRC, 3,000 deaths, when a giant wind turbine collapsed. Was that your source, Edward?

  323. Completely Fed Up:

    Dan (#320) THAT is what I remembered!

    Pity I can’t find it on the blogs I read.

    Ta.

  324. Completely Fed Up:

    “Windmills can and have come apart in windstorms.”

    They turn themselves off and freewheel with the rotors perpendicular to the wind.

    Or did you think the engineers didn’t think of this???

  325. Didactylos:

    “Completely Fed Up”:

    I’m very sorry that you can’t get your head around these ideas. You are guilty of wishful thinking.

    If wind were the panacea you seem to think, then we would be there already. Sadly, we have many miles yet to travel.

    You just keep repeating the same thing, very loudly, in the vain hope that it will become fact by repetition. Doesn’t happen when deniers do it, doesn’t happen now.

    Comparing costs of energy across different markets is *difficult*. You seem happy to take the first number you find. Again, that’s just wishful thinking. Find a meta-analysis that includes all energy types, and all countries – then, and only then, will you have a foundation to make claims and begin speculation about future trends.

    And your claim, lost somewhere among your flood of posts, that “nuclear needs land, too!” made me laugh. Go on – just for your own education, calculate the power density for different forms of energy (in W/m²). Yes, we know wind doesn’t require dedicated land – but it requires land all the same. Landowners tend to demand something in return.

    [Response: This discussion is very poor. Simple assertions without cites and repetitions of the same are pointless. If commenters want to continue this thread, find some actual sources of data. No more argument by personal belief please.- gavin]

  326. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod and Garrett,
    Afraid BPL is 100% right on the composition of the sun. Sol is about a 3rd generation star, the condensation of ejecta from previous supernovae. All the elements from Li to Iron were produced in those previous stars (via the CNO cycle, not the H-H cycle). All the elements heavier than iron were made during the supernova collapses. This is well known science and uncontroversial.

    Saying that “the Sun is iron” is absolute, bat-shit crazy.

  327. Didactylos:

    Nick Gotts:

    Nobody is claiming it can’t be done. The point is, it can’t always be done cheaply.

    Wind in Denmark is cheaper than the UK, but more expensive than the US.

    Wind in The Netherlands is significantly more expensive than some other countries – double the US, for example*.

    Don’t be confused by “Completely Fed Up’s” made up magnitudes. The costs of energy do vary, but they don’t vary by all that much. When I say that one form of energy is cheaper than another, I am not claiming a huge difference. In some cases, it is really marginal. And always, always, always site-specific.

    Simple economics (not to mention common sense) should indicate that energy production has to be competitive, so has to be at least comparable, in terms of cost.

    * Why? I have no clue. If it interests you, why not try to find out?

  328. Completely Fed Up:

    “Go on – just for your own education, calculate the power density for different forms of energy (in W/m²).”

    Easy.

    http://www.awea.org/faq/basicwr.html

    150 – 200 w/m2 at 15kts.

  329. Tom S:

    Climate Modeling:

    SKEPTIC
    I have been an engineer for over 25 years and have dealt with signal processing, neural networks, and various algorithm development projects in software. With a system as complex as the climate, it is very unlikely this will be accurate on the first many model revisions.

    FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM
    The fundamental problem that is faced is one of validation, nobody knows whether it is accurate or not for 25+ years. When it becomes inaccurate, science is typically good at determining why it is inaccurate and making the model better. Science is great at explaining why things happened, but not so great at predicting the future.

    EXAMPLES
    Examples of this type of algorithm development are hurricane tracking (been living in FL for 25 years). The current spaghetti tracking models used in hurricane tracking are now pretty accurate at two to three days out and rarely leave the tracking “cone”. It used to be 12 hours or less 20 years ago.

    A second example is weather forecasting. (I am not comparing weather to climate!) Weather forecast now is good 3 to 5 days or so, and it used to be one day, and not very accurate at that. It took 50 years.

    The algorithms are constantly improved and will continue to get better. But it takes time to understand the causes and scale of the effects.

    CURRENT PERFORMANCE
    It is just not credible to me that these models are reliably accurate without ever been validated. The Hansen Rev 1980′s model was significantly too high, and the IPCC AR4 models are tracking too high currently, but more time is needed for any kind of judgment (the fundamental problem). Notably the error margins are very large.

    INSTABILITY
    The positive forcings placed in these models which allow them to accelerate temperature increases are inherently unstable. They are prone to run aways, high or low, when shown at much larger 5000+ year time scales.

    BOTTOM LINE
    I’ll believe it when I see it. I’d like to hear directly from the guys who wrote the algorithms and coded the models on how they believe they overcame the validation problem (and no, training and validating on past data is not sufficient).

    [Response: Well that would be me, and I've explained it dozens of times (FAQ). But even if you don't think that what we do is worthwhile, I fail to see that uncertainty in projections is your friend. Without model-derived constraints, the risk of really bad things happening is larger, not smaller. - gavin]

  330. Completely Fed Up:

    This (admittedly record holding) turbine:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enercon_E-126

    a 7MW rotor that, from the picture, seems to be taking up 10mx10m square.

    That would be 70kW/sq m.

  331. Sou:

    @KenW #260. Thanks for the link to the lectures.

    Just in case a non-scientist thinks they might be too difficult, IMO they are more mid high school level (at least here in Australia). They are for non-science undergrads who I suspect did no science subjects in high school. (Also a revision for people like me who haven’t looked at a physics text for a few decades.)

    I’ll be giving the reference to others who express an interest in an introduction to the basic science.

  332. Completely Fed Up:

    ERRORS

    “With a system as complex as the climate, it is very unlikely this will be accurate on the first many model revisions.”

    This isn’t the first revision of models.

    See http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/the-carbon-dioxide-theory-of-gilbert-plass/

    FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM
    “The fundamental problem that is faced is one of validation, nobody knows whether it is accurate or not for 25+ years”

    Except they do:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

    NON-EXAMPLES
    “Examples of this type of algorithm development are hurricane tracking (been living in FL for 25 years).”

    Which isn’t a climate feature.

    I guess since this modelling of hurricanes is so bad you didn’t manage to get any of your modelling work done “with signal processing, neural networks, and various algorithm development projects in software.”

    CURRENT PERFORMANCE
    “It is just not credible to me that these models are reliably accurate without ever been validated.”

    Currently, Tom hasn’t looked.

    INSTABILITY
    “The positive forcings placed in these models which allow them to accelerate temperature increases are inherently unstable.”

    Tom still insists that a positive feedback always goes to infinity and that there’s no such thing as a converging series.

    Seriously unstable.

    BOTTOM LINE
    “I’ll believe it when I see it”

    And to ensure he avoids all peril, will have his eyes closed.

  333. Completely Fed Up:

    Tom also makes this strange constraint: “(and no, training and validating on past data is not sufficient).”

    So when micea puts his model plane in a wind tunnel to see if it breaks, he can’t use that information to make the models better?

    He can’t even use the successes to see if his models are right? If so, why bother wasting time on that?

    It’s expensive, Tom, so why do the aeronautical industry (and car industry and pretty much EVERY engineering industry today) use computer modelling to help their processes when they can’t use validation to see if the models they use are right and can’t weed out model results that fail a test in real life to improve the modelling?

  334. Ray Ladbury:

    Tom S. says, “Science is great at explaining why things happened, but not so great at predicting the future.”

    OK, Tom, stop right there, because you are 100%, flat-out wrong. The whole point of science is to develop models with predictive power. Otherwise, why not just say GODDIDIT–’splains everything.

    Another howler: “It is just not credible to me that these models are reliably accurate without ever been validated.”

    Tom, really, you can look this stuff up, as Hank would say!

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    Then: “The positive forcings placed in these models which allow them to accelerate temperature increases are inherently unstable.”

    Bullshit. I would think you’d want to document this. In any case, do we need 5000 years?

    Tom again, ” I’d like to hear directly from the guys who wrote the algorithms and coded the models on how they believe they overcame the validation problem (and no, training and validating on past data is not sufficient).”

    Tom, given the level of ignorance and arrogance you display in this post, why should anyone talk to you.

    Google “Dunning-Kruger effect” for an education.

  335. Tom S:

    #329
    Gavin, thanks for the link, I haven’t seen this before. I probably am avoiding it because I like living in my own denial bubble…ha ha. I read it and I’ll read the comments on the FAQ post later and see what else I can.

    A butterfly flaps it wings in Hong Kong and the weather changes in New York. Quite the dopey oversimplification but somewhat relevant.

    I can’t get past validation. Just like you can’t judge climate change by short term weather patterns, you can’t judge climate models in small time scales. Right now every model is no better than a straight line (linear interpolation) over the past 50 to 100 years. It would be encouraging if the current models followed the flattening of the past 10 years.

    And the actual measurements of the physical processes you want to model on long time scales (500 years?) is just not available. So you have to go synthetic (physics). Now here you have super complicated models with lots of knobs and levers (weightings etc.). And you tweak these until they match past data somewhat reliably and then turn them loose.

    With the limited data you have, you do the best you can do. I’m just not confident the data we have is sufficient for accurate modeling at this time. It’s probably the weakest link in AGW story.

    Different models with matching results is not too useful to me. The funniest thing I ever read in a climate post (and these threads could use a little humor) was “I measured the temperature at 8am and again at 4pm and by my calculations we will all be dead in two weeks”. If models only had 8am to 4pm data available, they would all match, but be quite wrong. We may be missing critical components.

    [Response: But there is longer term validation data available. The Last Glacial Maximum, the mid-Holocene, the PETM, the 8.2 ky event, the responses to volcanoes (not just Pinatubo), the response to solar, orbital forcing, the Pliocene etc. etc. Now none of these are perfect, but the models provide quantitatively reasonable simulations of all of them - and they are all 'out-of-sample' tests. Models may indeed not be complete (and fixing this is what we spend most of our time on), but nothing we've seen indicates that there is some huge missing factor that is going to change everything. - gavin]

  336. dhogaza:

    “With a system as complex as the climate, it is very unlikely this will be accurate on the first many model revisions.”

    This isn’t the first revision of models.

    He did say first *many*, not first alone.

    Did you post as “Mark” in the past?

  337. Nick Gotts:

    Didactylos,
    I was simply countering the claim that land prices made onshore wind too expensive in the UK, Denmark and Netherlands being obvious counterexamples. Interestingly, the UK government has just committed to a large-scale expansion of offshore wind – and a little longer ago, to one of nuclear.

  338. John E. Pearson:

    329 wrote: “With a system as complex as the climate, it is very unlikely this will be accurate on the first many model revisions.”

    You’re saying that Fourier’s efforts at climate modeling weren’t very accurate? I’m sure you’re right although it hardly seems relevant now.

  339. Completely Fed Up:

    Although the nuclear plans aren’t offshore…

    ;-)

  340. Nick Gotts:

    We may be missing critical components. – Tom S.

    …and you’ll still be able to say that however accurate the models become. It is, literally, impossible to satisfy your demands for validation, which as has been said, would demand multiple Earths to experiment on. This is, of course, precisely why you formulate them as you do.

  341. Tom:

    @247 @252 @267 — I am not a denialist (or Tom S), but just because some people deny via models qua models does not mean any discussion of the models fits into this category. Controlled experiments do make an enormous difference in verification. The spectacular crashes of rockets and planes in their early history are great examples of how it was not “adequate to the task of engineering”. Yes they give guidance, but it is in a decidedly distinct epistemological category.

    One can turn these things around. Defending conclusions via excessive confidence in the models (as opposed to uncertainty is not your friend arguments) rapidly leads to geoengineering plans. Such plans are risky precisely because we don’t want to be playing Wright Brothers or von Braum style “try and crash” with the planet. Those risks are real in part *because* the models (and in some ways the system being modeled) are in a different style of validation realm.

    I’m only advocating a bit more caution in one’s analogies. A tack that all modeling qua modeling is the same is about as naive as any tack a denialist takes that attacks models qua models.

  342. Timothy:

    INSTABILITY
    The positive forcings placed in these models which allow them to accelerate temperature increases are inherently unstable. They are prone to run aways, high or low, when shown at much larger 5000+ year time scales.

    I think there were a very small number of models from the climateprediction.net experiment that were unstable, although that was over a much shorter timescale of ~20 years.

    I think only a small number of the flagship models have been run for anything near ~5000 years, due to computational cost, and I think they have all been stable when this has been done.

    My understanding was, but I am willing to be corrected, that the models don’t quite manage the full decrease in temperature for Last Glacial Maximum or start of ice-age simulations. This could indicate that the models were *too stable*; that the amplifying feedbacks were not strong enough.

  343. Tom Dayton:

    Tom S., regarding instability, see the new Skeptical Science post The Chaos of Confusing the Concepts.

  344. Matthew L.:

    CFU
    Wow… you do like to flog a point hard!

    One more point;

    # 330

    The base may only take up, say 10m x 10m but the rotor has a diameter of 126m. The general rule is that in order to be efficient, and to avoid eddy currents from surrounding windmills, they have to be placed
    “…between three to seven rotor diameters from any other turbine in order not to effect the operation of another too much”
    http://www.drysdalewindfarm.com/faq2.html#anchor10

    So let us very charitably say “between 3 and 7″ means 3. These turbines need to be spaced roughly 3 x 126m = 378m apart. At its most compact, a grid 25 turbines (5 x 5) spaced appropriately would take up (4 x 378m) squared = 2,286,144 sq m and produce 25 x 7 Mw = 175 Mw.

    175 Mw / 2,286,144 sq m = 0.077 Kw (77 watts) per sq m energy density. Or to put it another way each Gw of energy will need around 13 million square metres or 1,300 hectares or 3,200 acres.

    Our largest coal fired power station is Drax in Yorkshire which generates 4,000 Mw. To replace that with 7 Mw wind turbines would take an area of around 52 million square metres, or 12,800 acres.

    On a general point, a very good source of information is the British Wind Energy Assoc. web site, particularly their FAQ. They have mapped the UK’s wind resources:
    http://www.bwea.com/images/misc/noabl_c.gif

  345. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    I read the presentation by Kargel, et al. in the “Update” above. So it won’t be as bad as soon for Northern India and the Himalaya watershed as I had thought (my thinking was within 100 years it could be very bad, but it will be just a bit worse, I guess, and only potentially much worse well beyond 100 years from now — which still is a strong call for us to mitigate AGW).

    One Q I had re #10 on pg. 42 was about the increased precip due to warming sea surface balancing or exceeding the glacier retreat. Would that precip be coming down as rain in winter (in which case it would contribute to greater flooding and not help with irrigation in summer), or would it be coming down as snow, which stays put in winter, and melts in summer, helping with their irrigation-dependent agriculture.

    What really shocked me back to a harsh reality, however, was #10 also mentioned the possible heat pump effect could shift precip away from the Southern India northward.

    It should be noted that a lot of people also live in Southern India, and they are already experiencing increasing droughts in summer and extreme floods in fall. Farmers are committing suicide due to crop failure.

    My nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews (in Tamil, grandchildren, and since we don’t have children, they ARE my grandchildren) will be suffering because of these problems.

    These are the storms of MY grandchildren, and it makes me mad and sad. So please please please reduce your GHGs as much as possible. Please do what you can, at least what saves you money and is no skin off your nose. Please please please.

  346. Completely Fed Up:

    “The base may only take up, say 10m x 10m but the rotor has a diameter of 126m.”

    Please tell me how many crops crow 100ft high.

  347. Completely Fed Up:

    “but just because some people deny via models qua models does not mean any discussion of the models fits into this category”

    But it doesn’t make it OK to make stuff up about how models can’t do anything based on you not liking the result. If you ARE going to try that, at least be an expert in the field.

    “Defending conclusions via excessive confidence in the models”

    Please show where the scientists who use models do this.

    Go ahead.

    I’ll wait.

  348. Completely Fed Up:

    “So let us very charitably say “between 3 and 7″ means 3. These turbines need to be spaced roughly 3 x 126m = 378m apart.”

    Let us charitably say that you’ve forgotten that this land isn’t being used for generating wind power, so you can, say, grow crops or feed cattle on it.

    Or, indeed, generate solar power.

  349. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    286 Rod B,

    I tend to believe them about that contract price but is there a tax credit for the up front costs lurking under the story? But wait!!Let me check what actually happens in California.

    For Hank, Reference for the following is Bullis utility bills for Dec. Apr.

    At $.125 to $.132 in California there is something missing from the story. For a $.12 per kWhr billed to “baseline” customers the PGE generation cost, they say, is about. $.05 and that breakdown has to include an allocation for everyone’s profit along the line. About 5% of the $.12 is for “Public Purpose Programs.” So that helps cover some of the shortfall; maybe all since there is not much actual production from wind or solar. Of course, if we had been home all month we could have had the privelege of paying $.26 per kWhr like most people with full families still at home have to pay. I then went on to check what PGE says is generation cost.

    But there is always a special surprise in California. When electricity comes to me for $12 it costs PGE $.05 to generate it and when it comes to me at $.26 it costs PGE about $.08 Apparently they send a different kind of electrons that cost more to generate to rich folk. Now we have discovered that some electrons are more equal than others and we can attach labels to them. In California we continue to lead the world in scientific discovery.

    So back to the point, whether generation costs charged to customers is $.05 or $.08 per kWhr, that is a lot less than the rate paid to wind and solar producers, even at the lowest of these rates. At $.25 per kWhr the ‘small producers’ are getting hugely overpaid. That has to count as free money from the public, even in California. It is a good thing there is not much of it.

  350. Hank Roberts:

    Did I mention this already?
    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2010/01/ams2010_data_gaps_and_errors_m.html

    –Olive Heffernan

    “New analyses provide preliminary evidence that temperature data from the UK Met office may under-estimate recent warming. That’s the conclusion of a talk given here today by Chris Folland of the Met Office Hadley Centre. Folland says that there is a very good chance that there has been more warming over land and over the ocean in the past decade than suggested by conventional data sets, but he says that the issues with land and ocean data are entirely unrelated.

    For land, the problem of underestimating warming stems from data gaps in the average monthly temperature data set of the Met Office Hadley Centre, known as HadCruT3. Temperatures over the past decade were recently re-analyzed using a european climate model by Adrian Simmons of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, UK and colleagues, and are soon to be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research ….”

  351. Ray Ladbury:

    Tom, I might agree if the models were the only weapon in the climate science arsenal, but this is simply not true. There are paleoclimatic studies, phenological studies, satellite measurements, ocean measurement and even atomic and molecular studies. The reason you don’t see as much of the latter is because the properties of the molecules and gasses have been understood since the ’50s.

    In essence, the denialists are asking us to forget about a century of studies that support the model development and do it all over again with them watching. [edit] Go look it up in 50 year old Phys. Rev. volumes!

  352. Rod B:

    Doug Bostrom (287), I guess if you can instruct mircea on models I can help you with model assessment. The point was that riding on airplanes required a lot more than simple high confidence in the models, as opposed to what has been asserted here numerous times. You’re saying however, currently, models do a pretty good job by themselves. 1) they are still not the lone validator by a long shot. 2) They’re good today because of mucho updates and revisions that came from physical verifications and reiterations. Saying we ought to accept climate models on faith just because we board airplanes with no thought — (well even that isn’t fully true) — is pure hand waving.

  353. Completely Fed Up:

    “Apparently they send a different kind of electrons that cost more to generate to rich folk.”

    More reasonably explained by electricity is a life requirement.

    Therefore pricing even 5% of your population out of the market is untenable.

    Quite a common idea in the civilised world: public healthcare.

    The US has an extremely vocal minority who believe (whenever convenient: they won’t remove Medicare, armed forces or emergency cervices from government (mis)management) that anything the government does is done badly.

  354. Tom:

    @347 – I never even suggested it was ok to make stuff up (much the opposite) or said scientists did this. Throwing out straw men and waiting for me to defend them is also an unbecoming argumentative style. I understand the primary function of this site is arguing the science, but that doesn’t mean comments cannot reply to the argumentative style of other comments. If it did, much of your commentary would be wildly off point. Indeed, the kind of knee jerk embattlement and refusal to see subltety encoded in your response to someone who is actually on your side in a greater scheme of things seems again as irrational as denialism. I really don’t see why advocating maintaining an argumentative high ground meets such hostility from some of the very people for whom this is supposed to be the raison d’etre! I don’t think just because people choose the “right side” they get carte blanche. The wrong teammates can discredit one’s own side unfairly.

  355. Completely Fed Up:

    “So back to the point, whether generation costs charged to customers is $.05 or $.08 per kWhr, that is a lot less than the rate paid to wind and solar producers, even at the lowest of these rates.”

    That’s much much less than it costs the nuclear industry spends to create their energy. How are they managing to make money if you pay 1/4 the cost of the electricity, Jim?

  356. Mal Adapted:

    Bushy:

    I firmly believe that at our current level of understanding we have no basis for making the claim that AGW is real or even that it poses a threat of any kind.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t resist using Hank’s masterful riposte from a previous thread:

    “unless you have parasites, this is overplurification.”

    Bushy, at your level of understanding, you obviously have no basis for claiming that the sun will rise tomorrow. The RealClimate scientists who post here regularly have much greater understanding than you do.

  357. Matthew L.:

    # CFU
    “Let us charitably say that you’ve forgotten that this land isn’t being used for generating wind power”

    Exactly! I was calculating the “energy generation density”, not the land’s ability to produce sheep or cabbages. The space between the turbines cannot be used for generating wind power because it is too close to another turbine. Therefore the wind power “energy generation density” of the land (with these particular turbines) is 77 watts per square metre – at best.

    Of course the total productive capacity of the land could be calculated if you like, but this is a site discussing the role of carbon dioxide from industry (such as power production) in causing climate change. It is not concerned with agricultural productivity.

    As somebody else here stated, no farmer is going to let an energy company plonk one of these monsters on his land for nothing. He will either ask them to buy the land or extract a hefty rent payment off them.

    It is not me that you need to convince of the economics of on shore wind power, it is Gordon Brown and the British Labour Party who are proposing to use my tax money to heavily subsidise the construction of massive offshore wind farms. Personally I would be quite happy to see more windmills on land but unfortunately most of those making the actual decisions clearly aren’t.

    As for the solar power idea, have you experienced a summer in the UK?
    Clearly not! ;-)

  358. mircea:

    Doug Bostrom says 22 January 2010 @ 12:35 AM

    There is no certification or validation based on simulations or models. The A/C has to be certified once ready (the first flight is the start of certification). The models/simulations are used only for design/orientation but the validation/confirmation comes only from real measurements.
    When the A/C is ready for flight actually only the flight model was not validated by measurements (all the other system models – engines, flight controls, avionics – are measured on the real aircraft part. And even the flight model has actually been validated on other A/C (B777 or B737).

  359. mircea:

    Nick Gotts says at 22 January 2010 @ 6:18 AM

    “I’m interested to know how a scale model of a plane lets you test for several decades of use, bird strike, failure of one or more engines, take-off and landing in poor weather, etc, etc.”
    For example they take the real engine and they shoot birds in it (they are dead) and examine the damage. The model is used in air tunnels to measure the forces (but this is only for initial design stage and it’s not for validation).
    All the malfunctions are checked and validated on the real a/c in real situations when possible.

  360. Mal Adapted:

    Tom S.:

    Science is great at explaining why things happened, but not so great at predicting the future.

    As I’ve observed elsewhere, Science can not only explain why things happened, but can often predict with a high degree of certainty what will happen in the future. The problem is that Science can’t tell us why we should care.

    I’m convinced that large numbers of people think AGW will affect only other people, not anyone they care about. “Me and my wife, son John and his wife, us four and no more.” As for future generations, well, “What have future generations ever done for me?”

    I have little hope that better communication will turn that around.

  361. Didactylos:

    Completely Fed Up:

    That’s an ideal power density. It bears no relationship to what can be actually extracted by wind farms built today. Can you imagine what a 100% efficient wind farm would be like? o_O

    David MacKay calculates 2 W/m², which is confirmed by actual power output from existing wind farms.

    As Gavin says: find some actual sources of data! (Then understand them.) I have already provided you with my sources, I see no need to repeat them again and again.

  362. Rod B:

    Ray (326), are you then confirming that 28% of the outer shell or envelope is He?? I said it is not; you seem to say it is because it is not made of Fe. I can’t follow the chemical logic of that.

  363. Tom S:

    OK, I looked at some of the modeling articles around. Obviously things are very complex, and the deeper you go, the more complex it gets. The more you know, the more things you know that you don’t know.

    I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t trying to reduce my uncertainty.

    It looks like there has been some progress in modeling. I guess the thing that bothers me the most is the temperature reversals and their causes. The pause during the 1950 time frame is thought to be aerosols.

    1. Do the climate models predict eventual future temperature reversals such as MWP or little ice age? Do they agree?

    2. The models look to diverge a fair amount in the 100 year period. What is the leading factor in this difference? Parametrization settings?

    3. Why do the models not diverge much in the past if they are diverging more in the future? If it physics based, this doesn’t seem to make sense.

    3. Are there not compensating factors on the Earth that kick in and balance changes such as CO2 changes? Cloud cover, snow area, whatever? What is the expected reversing mechanism for the current temp increase?

    4. What is the leading parameter / prediction of the climate models I can check to see how well they are performing without waiting for 30 years? Is it just temperature, or is there some other major parameter, gulf stream, etc. that is a leading indicator?

    5. If there is global warming, why is it so cold in Florida this winter? (just kidding).

  364. Doug Bostrom:

    TCO says: 21 January 2010 at 11:46 PM

    “The initial response by IPCC and Pauchari was to double down and to stick with the statement.”

    You say. Another interpretation: the IPCC did not consider this single paragraph in an ancillary portion of the report to be a significant problem and thus ignored it. Belatedly, they realized that intellectual desperadoes out of real bullets would seize upon it, exaggerate it as a “central claim” and then spoon feed it to gullible journalists.

    Tom S says: 22 January 2010 at 8:52 AM

    “The fundamental problem that is faced is one of validation, nobody knows whether it is accurate or not for 25+ years.”

    Tom, before you take this too far, you really owe it to yourself to read the developmental history of climate models. If you do, you’ll find out that while they still have “issues”, there have been some very interesting cases of validation emerging even from desperate attempts to get the models to match erroneous paleoclimate assumptions. In other words, modelers attempted to force models to replicate mistakenly created paleoclimate signals, eventually discovered the models were vindicated when it turned out the models were sufficiently robust as to be unable to “lie”, the paleoclimate interpretation being found wrong.

    Read here:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/GCM.htm

  365. Didactylos:

    “The base may only take up, say 10m x 10m but the rotor has a diameter of 126m.”

    “Completely Fed Up” said: “Please tell me how many crops crow 100ft high.”

    You have entirely missed Matthew L.’s point. Spectacularly, in fact!

    Although, the thought of enormous wind turbines packed so closely together that they can’t rotate to face the wind, and risk the blades colliding with every sway they make – now, that might get somewhere close to the 100% efficient wind farm I mentioned! Or it might not generate any power at all…. something that behaves like a solid wall doesn’t, typically.

    Read. Learn: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/cB/page_263.shtml

    I know I have already provided you with this source, but perhaps you didn’t make it all the way to the technical chapters.

    Notice that our answer does not depend on the diameter of the windmill … because bigger windmills have to be spaced further apart. Bigger windmills might be a good idea in order to catch bigger windspeeds that exist higher up (the taller a windmill is, the bigger the wind speed it encounters), or because of economies of scale, but those are the only reasons for preferring big windmills.

  366. Septic Matthew:

    This is way too much writing about something that could have been simply handled from the start. When there is a claim of error in the IPCC science, IPCC should:

    1. investigate the claim by reviewing published literature on the topic;
    2. when there is an actual error, as in this case, acknowledge the error and thank the person who found it;
    3. publish the corrigendum in case of a mistake, and publish the rebuttal when the claim of a mistake is itself a mistake.

    Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody knows that everybody makes mistakes. What’s fuel for the denialists is the IPPC’s attempt to disparage its critics. If IPCC is going to claim that all of its scientific information is from peer-reviewed literature, then it needs to be sure that the claim is true.

  367. oliver conway:

    In a hypothetical scenario, none of my denier acquaintances are prepared to spend any time in a sealed garage in which a cars engine has been running for 30 minutes at 2000 rpm. In that amount of time a 2.5 liter engine will consume the entire volume of breathable air in the garage. With a billion internal combustion engines now operating on the planet, according to my admittedly non scientific calculations, the entire volume of breathable air in our atmosphere is ‘processed’ 4 times every year.
    Are we as a species insane, or what?

  368. R.S.Brown:

    Although this “backgrounder” mentions the Rania “discussion paper”, none of the citations supporting the
    “backgrounder”. It doesn’t answer any of the many points in the Rania work.

  369. Svet:

    Gavin’s response to #335
    Gavin, you say “But there is longer term validation data available”. Fair enough, but there is a big difference between being consistent with the past and successfully predicting the future. As Tom S said “It would be encouraging if the current models followed the flattening of the past 10 years.” I think in the past you have explained the current flattening as being natural variation that cannot be modeled. As a laymen, I find this explanation troubling because it raises the obvious question “Could much of the warming since say 1980 also be due to natural variation that cannot be modeled?”

    [Response: Where did I ever say natural variation cannot be modelled? It is modelled all the time, and is the principle reason why individual model simulations have such a range of values for the short term trends. It is however hard to predict, which is not the same thing at all. There is no evidence that the long term trends can be accounted for by natural variation - and plenty of evidence that they are driven (mainly by greenhouse gases). - gavin]

  370. Jimbo:

    I have notice something.
    Since my posting at comment no. 6 — 19 January 2010 @ 5:45 PM nobody has rebutted the quotes made in the links. Why is this so? Is it because the “soot nonsense” comes from NASA?

    Is it because the BBC reports:
    “Others who have observed nearby mountain ranges even found that glaciers there were advancing.”

    Instead some people have chosen to attack me. Why? I suggest that you attack the statements from the organisations who have made those contrary statements. Please do so. Don’t attack the messenger attack the message.

    I was hoping for a response from Gavin but alas he works for NAS?

  371. PB:

    >>>>>
    Let us charitably say that you’ve forgotten that this land isn’t being used for generating wind power, so you can, say, grow crops or feed cattle on it.

    Or, indeed, generate solar power.
    >>>>>>

    How about some of each? :-)

    BTW,
    In your running discussion, you guys have missed (or it’s buried in your references, apologies if I missed it) the differences in “Feed-In Laws” for different locations. In a number of European countries, the power utilities are commanded to prioritize dispatch to wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, etc. before fossil fuel powered sources. This way, the power provider can get immediate return on his/her turbine, solar array, hydro dam, or nuclear station before the coal/oil/gas fired plant goes online.

  372. Doug Bostrom:

    Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. says: 22 January 2010 at 11:35 AM

    et al, many posts…

    Something to consider in these comparisons are external costs, intractable for quantifying right now due to many unknowns but undoubtedly real (kind of like gravitation, pre-Newton etc.?)

    My point being, comparing the cost of power produced by generation plants emitting C02 with other sources based on the present, visible dollar input per kilowatt generated ignores that we’re actually borrowing money to produce the electricity from C02 emitting systems to yield the present seeming cost.

    I don’t think it’s really in dispute that we’re going to face some degree of cost in the future while engineering our way around the C02 we’re releasing now. That’s not reflected in the rate structure of most utilities; the present day rates are subsidized with future dollars.

    Just a caveat. I have no idea how to assign numbers to what I’m speaking of, although I’m confident there are unaccounted costs.

  373. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Did: If wind were the panacea you seem to think, then we would be there already.

    BPL: Here is the % of new electrical generating capacity in the US represented by wind the last several years:

    2004 4%
    2005 12%
    2006 19%
    2007 35%
    2008 42%

    If I were you, I’d invest.

  374. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Thanks for getting my back, Ray! :)

  375. Svet:

    Gavin’s response to #353
    You are right – I should have said something like “an aspect of natural variation that hadn’t yet been modelled”. However, my real point is that it is much, much more convincing to be able to predict the future than to simply be consistent with the past. If your model could consistently predict the future then it would be truly convincing. It would constitute (at least in my layman’s mind) proof of AGW. If it doesn’t consistently predict the future then it only demonstrates the plausability of AGW but would not constitute proof.

  376. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Tom S: It is just not credible to me that these models are reliably accurate without ever been validated.

    BPL: http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

  377. Doug Bostrom:

    Rod B says: 22 January 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Rod, not so much instructing as reporting what I have on first hand account from a good friend who is a senior engineer at Boeing’s sim lab, presently engaged w/the 787.

    “Saying we ought to accept climate models on faith just because we board airplanes with no thought — (well even that isn’t fully true) — is pure hand waving.”

    Fortunately that’s not my point. Anyway, for something more germane to the topic at hand, see http://www.aip.org/history/climate/GCM.htm

    mircea says: 22 January 2010 at 12:32 PM

    You don’t seem to be disagreeing with me. Specifically, what is it about the models– airplane or climate, your choice– that you find lacking? Anyway, your initial analogy was poorly chosen and ultimately irrelevant. See the AIP link above to learn more.

  378. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Matthew L: As for the solar power idea, have you experienced a summer in the UK?
    Clearly not! ;-)

    BPL: My father was stationed in London during WWII. He says when he was there, summer was on a Wednesday.

  379. Completely Fed Up:

    “it is much, much more convincing to be able to predict the future than to simply be consistent with the past. If your model could consistently predict the future then it would be truly convincing”

    Be convinced, then:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

  380. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Rod B: Ray (326), are you then confirming that 28% of the outer shell or envelope is He?? I said it is not; you seem to say it is because it is not made of Fe. I can’t follow the chemical logic of that.

    BPL: You may be confused by books which list it as 93% hydrogen and 7% helium. My (and Ray’s) figures are by mass; the other are by volume–remember that a helium nucleus is four times as massive as a hydrogen nucleus.

  381. Completely Fed Up:

    “You have entirely missed Matthew L.’s point. Spectacularly, in fact!”

    Well lets see if you can elucidate, shall we?

    “Although, the thought of enormous wind turbines packed so closely together that they can’t rotate to face the wind,…”

    Ah, seems that you can’t.

    No, the proposition that the cost of wind is huge because land is scarce and needs to be used for growing food for example rather requires that all the land occupied by a wind farm can only be used for one purpose: the wind farm.

    Unfortunately, this is not true.

    You seem to have missed MY point and spectacularly and consistently.

    You can use that land for farming and 0.1% generate wind.

    At 70kW/m2 a 0.1% occupancy would leave you with 70W/m2 and cost you £2 in land costs compared to your £2000.

    And reducing your farming capacity by 0.1%.

    Negligible.

    Your arguments are so easily falsifiable why do you bother to make them?

  382. Completely Fed Up:

    “It bears no relationship to what can be actually extracted by wind farms built today. Can you imagine what a 100% efficient wind farm would be like?”

    Yes: it would produce about 3x the rated power output in the sales brochures.

    It would produce that power using ~0.2% of the land the wind farm “occupies” in your sense.

    More land is wasted at the edges of the land to allow the harvester to turn around…

  383. Completely Fed Up:

    “For example they take the real engine and they shoot birds in it (they are dead) and examine the damage. ”

    Remembering to defrost the chicken.

    But when you make your scale model, the viscosity is not the same and the depth of the “skin” where the air reduces speed is relatively thicker.

    This is why small models of water inundations with water look like small models: the water still produces the same size droplets and to scale, those droplets are HUGE.

    Yet you assume these are adequate why?

  384. Svet:

    Gavin’s response to #369
    You said “There is no evidence that the long term trends can be accounted for by natural variation – and plenty of evidence that they are driven (mainly by greenhouse gases)”. I know that this is a naive question but is it possible to list in brief dot point form what the proofs of AGW that you refer to are? I don’t think that I have every seen such a list. Not at RealClimate and not even in the IPCC FAR.

    [Response: Read Chapter 9. It goes over it in excruciating detail. - gavin]

  385. Completely Fed Up:

    Matt: “Exactly! I was calculating the “energy generation density”, not the land’s ability to produce sheep or cabbages”

    But the land can do both.

    Where you could before produce, say (for arguments sake) £30,000 of cabbages you can plant four turbines of 7MW output, lose 4x10x10m area and reduce your cabbage selling capabilities (which were sufficient to allow you to buy and use the land) by £30.

    Cabbage reduction to £29,970.

    All you have to do is sell 4x365x24x7000 kWh units of electricity for £30 and you’ve broke even.

    Do you think they can sell wind power electricity for 1.2×10-5p per kWh?

    I think they can.

  386. Completely Fed Up:

    “BPL: My father was stationed in London during WWII. He says when he was there, summer was on a Wednesday.”

    Which Wednesday???

  387. Hank Roberts:

    Tom S., you’re asking questions that are in the FAQs and Spencer Weart’s book.
    People will give you answers, but you can do better than getting answers typed from memory in blog posts by people you don’t know–by reading some of what’s behind the Start Here button at the top.
    Otherwise you get partial answers that will raise more questions that are _also_ in the FAQs.
    This abstract may help: http://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_100737.htm
    That gives search terms you can use to find the documentation in the FAQs for the basic points.

  388. Hank Roberts:

    > Comment by Jimbo — 19 January 2010 @ 5:45 PM
    Speaking just as another reader here, not an expert — I suspect nobody replied to what you posted because there’s nothing there needing a reply. You did very selective quoting, people expect that to happen. But you did provide the links to the original sources — thank you! That’s good behavior, and given the links people can read the originals.

    Once I looked at the originals, I can see you picked out the bits you quoted from articles that made good sense, and explained things clearly. You can too, I think. Point is, if you came here thinking people believe it’s only CO2, for example, that’s a misapprehension. Nothing in those articles is surprising or contradicts anyone’s certainty. It’s interesting science.

    Key term may be “rate of change” — as your last link says, they had one brief hot summer and extreme melting in 1947, and that’s weather; they comment that now we are having _decades_ of warming, which is a more serious problem; that’s climate change.

  389. Doug Bostrom:

    Jimbo says: 22 January 2010 at 3:26 PM

    “Since my posting at comment no. 6 — 19 January 2010 @ 5:45 PM nobody has rebutted the quotes made in the links. Why is this so?”

    I think it’s because you have not taken the time to explain in any degree of detail how these quotes are relevant and to what degree they are significant.

    Sometimes folks are just too exhausted or bored to respond to “what about this”, especially if “this” is old news.

    Maybe you should redo the post, add a paragraph to each demonstrating how and why each item is important enough to warrant a response?

  390. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jimbo: I was hoping for a response from Gavin but alas he works for NAS?

    BPL: Yes, he’s a member of the conspiracy. We were going through the security check at the airport a year or so ago and I noticed when he opened his wallet that Gavin, like me, had a World Jewish Conspiracy ID card. We even reported to the same Commissar!

    [Response: Shhhhh.... ! - gavin]

  391. David B. Benson:

    Russell (269) — (1) Tung & co-workers determine about 0.17 K variation over the average sunspot cycle, but this might well be too high. In any case, ocean oscillations, principally ENSO, tend to bury that minor solar forcing.

    (2) Averaging effects in measurements always have to be taken into consideration. With regard to CO2 cocentrations one would, however, have to posit a major source of excess CO2; there hasn’t been such in the last 650,000 years except for the recent burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

    (3) All excess CO2 is indeed due to human activities, which began to influence climate long before 1850 CE. Please read climatologist W.F. Ruddiman’s popular “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum” as well as hig guest thread here on RealClimate.

  392. Svet:

    “Read Chapter 9. It goes over it in excruciating detail”. OK but the “excruciating detail” is the problem. Telling a layman to read Chapter 9 is kind of a cop out. Isn’t RealClimate supposed to make the science more accessible? I have been following the topic of AGW off and on for several years now but I don’t think that I have ever seen a brief listing of the main “proofs”. It should be simple. Very frustrating.

  393. Ray Ladbury:

    BPL: “Thanks for getting my back, Ray! :)”

    Given the degree to which you’ve surpassed us in documenting evidence, your back was all I could cover! ;-)

  394. Ray Ladbury:

    Svet, Jim Hansen’s model predicted that each of the succeeding decades in the foreseeable future would be warmer than the last. Would I have to win every hand of Blackj-ack for the eyes in the sky to be convinced I fit their counting-c-ards model?

  395. flxible:

    I don’t think it’s really in dispute that we’re going to face some degree of cost in the future while engineering our way around the C02 we’re releasing now. That’s not reflected in the rate structure of most utilities; the present day rates are subsidized with future dollars.
    Exactly what the fight is all about, nobody really wants to foot the bill for the petrosaurs massive historical profit taking. Hence all the hand waving about the “trillions” it’ll cost to fix things

    And all this hoorah over the cost of wind power vs anything else is ignoring the fact that the cost of energy in the future, no matter it’s form, will NEVER be less than what you’re paying at present – the economy we’re saddled with doesn’t work that way, the most important growth in society is the growth of profits.

  396. Ray Ladbury:

    Jimbo@370
    Maybe it’s because the fact that other forcings might play a role in glacial melt is uncontroversial and has been noted here many times before and because a BBC report of hearsay evidence is not particularly noteworthy and because a study looking at a single decade in a single locale is not particularly notable on a global scale.

    No, none of these things is remarkable. What is ludicrous is your attempt to spin these facts to suggest that the climate somehow is not changing due to human activity. See in science, we don’t dispute facts. We dispute nutjobs who distort facts.

    What is also notable is that glaciers seem to be melting in Glacier, Montana and New Zealand (antipodes) and the Himmalayas and the Andes (roughly antipodes). Also Greenland, Alaska, and just about wherever else you find glaciers except inland at the South pole. Did you notice that it was called GLOBAL warming?

  397. Tom S:

    OFF ON A TANGENT AND BABBLING
    I certainly confess to be an admitted skeptic ready for a 12 step program (Hi Tom!). I have found some answers to the questions I asked and I know they have certainly been brought up before in other threads. So I appreciate the pointers. My preconceived ideological positions may not change, but I do want to know and understand the AGW facts from both sides.

    There are many levels of winning a debate, preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing, beyond the shadow of a doubt.

    AGW certainly requires additional research funding and an ongoing development of prediction models. It is deserving and you have proved that point (global warming is occurring, is a threat, and needs to be better understood). I am not in (total) denial.

    The issue of governance though is there are many deserving causes to balance. Do I spend my tax money on this, or Haiti, or AIDS research, or Cancer research, or third world curable diseases, or buy a new stereo?

    These are all obviously deserving and competing causes. The biggest obstacle is others causes have immediate and undoubted ill effects. AGW is a maybe, or a probably, and demands huge sums of money to avert. Save us now, or save us later. It seems prudent to put AGW on a wait and see while funding more immediate problems at higher level.

    Just babbling, not trying to open a huge debate here.

  398. flxible:

    Jimbo, 370&6
    Likely nobody responded because the questions and quotes weren’t too compelling – I don’t work for NASA, nor am I a scientist, but do live below a glacier, so I’ll take a run at it, someone may correct me: [bolding mine]

    I always thought that as they melt they release water for people, plants and animals downstream
    Very true, at certain times of the year, and usually that’s at the end of the warm season, when other precip is less. I don’t think a glacier that’s actually increasing mass would be supplying as much melt water as folks below were accustomed to, nor conversely would they be too happy if melting continued into the rainy season, or if the retreating glaciers resulted in the newly exposed till being swept downstream by the monsoons. Glaciers are useful to buffer the water supply over time.

    “In fact, the new research, by NASA’s William Lau and collaborators, reinforces with detailed numerical analysis what earlier studies suggest: that soot and dust contribute as much (or more) to atmospheric warming in the Himalayas as greenhouse gases.”
    Exactly – glacial melt may be exacerbated by albedo conditions, which doesn’t mean GHGs aren’t as [or more] important generally, just that soot is an important contributing factor in this particluar situation [glacial melt]. The contribution of soot/dust isn’t a new finding, it’s been confirmed yet again.

    “Based on the differences it’s not difficult to conclude that greenhouse gases are not the sole agents of change in this region. There’s a localized phenomenon at play.”
    There’s localized phenomena at play everywhere, nobody has claimed that GHG’s are the sole agents any more then those conclusions claim soot is the sole agent, or GHGs have no effect. OTOH, elimination of CO2 emissions would go a long way to elimination of soot emissions. The fact remains, ice is melting all over, faster than ever.

    “But some scientists claim that glaciers in the Himalayas are not retreating as fast as was believed. Others who have observed nearby mountain ranges even found that glaciers there were advancing.”
    Aside from the fact that you cherry picked something from the pop press, the single [I guess that'd be "some"] study doesn’t say what you’re implying:

    “Dozens of smaller, high altitude tributary glaciers have advanced including seven of Biafo Glacier and four of Panmah,” he says.

    “It means climate change is happening here too, but with different consequences.”
    Scientists have also described a phenomenon called glacial “surge”. This is thought to be caused by melt water underneath the glacier lubricating its ground contact and causing it to move forward. This is different from a real advance of a glacier, which is caused by an increase in the volume of ice.

    “Rapid, surge-type advances have occurred in at least 17 glaciers since 1985, at least eight since 2000 [in the Karakoram],” says Dr Hewitt.

    Meaning some, maybe all, of the apparent glacial “advance” you’re pointing to may be simply movement, not increase. It also suggests that the glaciating weather is only happening at higher altitudes

    Climate change science does seem to require intense thought for good comprehension. Hope that helps!

  399. Ray Ladbury:

    Tom S.@363, OK, that is much better. Genuine questions, rather than irresponsible assertions unsupported by any investigation.

    1. First, there is no real evidence that the MWP was a global phenomenon. The best refutation I’ve seen of a global MWP was the Idso’s laughable attempt to show that it was global–the dates vary over a period of 600 years!!! WRT the LIA The models respond to changes in forcings–changes in insolation, volcanism.

    2. It is not the “settings” that are the problem, but rather the fact that the histories of each run diverge as the run progresses. There is an unavoidable stochastic aspect to the “noise” in the runs. A pair of models with identical forcings would tend to parallel each other. It also wouldn’t be very interesting.

    3. Why do the models not diverge much in the past if they are diverging more in the future? If it physics based, this doesn’t seem to make sense.

    Again, we know the past forcings, so there is less divergence. This is a much better way to gauge model-to-model variation.

    3a. Are there not compensating factors on the Earth that kick in and balance changes such as CO2 changes? Cloud cover, snow area, whatever? What is the expected reversing mechanism for the current temp increase?

    Temperature rise IS the main compensating mechansim for the greenhouse effect. CO2 takes a big bite out of the outgoing IR radiation, so the temperature has to rise and shift and increase the outgoing IR curve to compensate. There are of course other negative feedbacks, but no evidence of any large compensating mechansim that offsets the warming effect of CO2 without substantial rise in temperature (~3 degrees per doubling)

    4. What is the leading parameter / prediction of the climate models I can check to see how well they are performing without waiting for 30 years? Is it just temperature, or is there some other major parameter, gulf stream, etc. that is a leading indicator?

    The main “smoking gun” that we are looking at a greenhouse mechanism is the fact that the stratosphere has cooled even as the troposphere has warmed. I don’t know of another mechanism that does this. There are plenty more, but again, this is climat–you are effectively asking can I verify a long-term effect based on short-term data. Answer: Nope!

  400. Jerry Steffens:

    Jimbo 370 and 6

    Your argument seems to be built on a couple of false dichotomies:

    (1) Either greenhouse gases are the only cause of glacial melt or they are negligible.
    (2) Either all glaciers are losing mass or none of them are.

    Try re-reading the material at the links you supplied without these biases.

  401. Hank Roberts:

    Svet, saying you’ve never seen a simple clear answer about this:

    did you start here yet?

    Was that too intimidating? There are six or seven choices listed as for beginners.

    Would it help for one of us to pick one and suggest you start reading that, then ask questions as you see appropriate topics?

    What do you need, to get started?
    Or, what’s the longest thing you’ve read and understood so far?
    What’s too much to read?

  402. dhogaza:

    Doug Bostrom

    Rod, not so much instructing as reporting what I have on first hand account from a good friend who is a senior engineer at Boeing’s sim lab, presently engaged w/the 787.

    And my original comment that started this little brou-ha-ha was based on a videotaped interview with the chief test pilot for the 787 program.

  403. Frank Giger:

    “We were going through the security check at the airport a year or so ago and I noticed when he opened his wallet that Gavin, like me, had a World Jewish Conspiracy ID card. We even reported to the same Commissar!”

    I love those guys! They have a code sharing agreement with us Right Wing Conspiracy members (think airlines).

    :)

    Um, can we stop the bickering about wind power viability? Cost per KwH is always going to be variable, and sometimes wildly so (wow, sort of like weather versus climate). Regulatory bodies can have a huge impact on costs as much as site suitability.

    A good example is a patch of land my family owns in Montana. It’s wonderful property for anyone looking to raise prarie dogs for a living; beyond that it isn’t very valuable. However, it enjoys steady wind coming off the rockies, is near a power distribution node and high power tension wires, and can be reached easily by heavy equipment. Let the number crunching begin, and if it looks profitable in the mid-term, the land might sprout wind generators.

    Sixty miles in another direction, however, and a lot of that formula falls apart and costs go up, heedless of wind.

  404. Doug Bostrom:

    Tom S says: 22 January 2010 at 6:27 PM

    “The issue of governance though is there are many deserving causes to balance. Do I spend my tax money on this, or Haiti, or AIDS research, or Cancer research, or third world curable diseases, or buy a new stereo?”

    Might think of it in terms of an investment. Where and what is the risk, where and what is the reward.

    “AGW is a maybe, or a probably, and demands huge sums of money to avert. ”

    Can we have our cake and eat it, too? Maybe.

    – Sooner or later and by most accounts not that much later we’re going to need substitutes for petroleum liquids and condensates.

    –Natural gas is not much better, it shares the problem of the former in that demand keeps growing and shows no sign of diminishing, ultimately overwhelming even the most optimistic resource assessments.

    –We know that complete exploitation of coal resources not only is yet another stopgap in the long run but appears very likely to balloon the atmospheric carbon load, unless we’re prepared to accept that carbon sequestration is viable, which seems to become more questionable as a scalable solution the harder we look at it.

    –A little remarked feature of our proclivity for burning hydrocarbons is their utility as a feedstock for polymers and other materials; it behooves us to save as much as of our hydrocarbon endowment as possible for this purpose because otherwise we need to find the energy to jam together atoms into the correct molecules for petrochemical applications other than caveman technology, thus making our petroleum burning substitution problem even more difficult.

    So leaving entirely aside the effects of C02 in the atmosphere, the faster we invest money in ceasing to burn hydrocarbons, the better off we’re going to be. It’s an investment we actually -have- to make.

    Meanwhile, by making that necessary investment as soon as possible, thus preserving and extending the range of options we can bequeath to the future, we can minimize the amount of C02 we dump in the atmosphere.

    So we have to invest the money, we’re in the happy position of seeing that input pay off in multiple ways and it’s not really a sacrifice of anything, certainly not if one takes a reasonably long term perspective.

  405. Doug Bostrom:

    dhogaza says: 22 January 2010 at 7:39 PM

    “And my original comment that started this little brou-ha-ha was based on a videotaped interview with the chief test pilot for the 787 program.”

    Ah, so you’re the troublemaker. Much ado about nothing!

    Wow, only 15 minutes until brew-ha-ho here in Seattle!

  406. Ray Ladbury:

    Tom S. says, “AGW is a maybe, or a probably, and demands huge sums of money to avert.”

    Well, actually AGW is a “pretty-goddamn-near-certain”, and have you actually looked at the sums of money involved? Best estimates are roughly 1-4% of the global economy over a period of a couple of decades. Moreover, much of that is going to energy infrastructure–something that will need to be overhauled anyway. Moreover, the R&D needed to mitigate the problem will likely generate entirely new industries. It is not as if the money is being burned–hell that would increase CO2 emissions!

  407. Daniel J. Andrews:

    “Windmills can and have come apart in windstorms.”

    They turn themselves off and freewheel with the rotors perpendicular to the wind.

    Or did you think the engineers didn’t think of this???

    Doesn’t mean they won’t come apart in windstorms…sometimes with spectacular results.
    ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/355405/

    and the same windmill but from further away.

    atrapavideo.com/es/video_18/ver/134040/A-Vestas-wind-system-fail-and-crashes

    Not a reason to ban wind turbines though–just assume a few will collapse despite best efforts and plan accordingly (also providing the sites pass the environmental assessment–I used radar to map bird migratory patterns for a few companies in BC for my part of the EA process).

  408. Edward Greisch:

    Dear Completely Fed Up: EVACUATE DENVER!!!!
    If you live in Chernobyl the total radiation dose you get each year is 390 millirem. That’s natural plus residual from the accident and fire. In Denver, Colorado, the natural dose is over 1000 millirem/year. Denver gets more than 2.56 times as much radiation as Chernobyl! But Denver has a low cancer rate.

    Calculate your annual radiation dose:
    http://www.ans.org/pi/resources/dosechart/

    Average American gets 361 millirems/year. Smokers add 280 millirems/year from lead210. Radon accounts for 200 mrem/year.
    http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/rp/factsheets/factsheets-htm/fs10bkvsman.htm

    http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/around-us/doses-daily-lives.html

    Although radiation may cause cancers at high doses and high dose rates, currently there are no data to unequivocally establish the occurrence of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates — below about 10,000 mrem (100 mSv). Those people living in areas having high levels of background radiation — above 1,000 mrem (10 mSv) per year– such as Denver, Colorado have shown no adverse biological effects.
    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/bio-effects-radiation.html

    Calculations based on data from NCRP reports show that the average level of natural background radiation (NBR) in Rocky Mountain states is 3.2 times that in Gulf Coast states. However, data from the American Cancer Society show that age-adjusted overall cancer death in Gulf Coast states is actually 1.26 times higher than in Rocky Mountain states. The difference from proportionality is a factor of 4.0. This is a clear negative correlation of NBR with overall cancer death. It is also shown that, comparing 3 Rocky Mountain states and 3 Gulf Coast states, there is a strong negative correlation of estimated lung cancer mortality with natural radon levels (factors of 5.7 to 7.5).
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9753369

    Now can we please talk about glaciers?

  409. Edward Greisch:

    322 Nick Gotts: NO. My source was:
    http://www.alternet.org/environment/54682/?page=5
    Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD*
    March 1, 2005
    A nacelle (generator and gearbox) weighing up to 60 tons atop a
    265 ft. metal tower, equipped with 135 ft. blades, is a significant
    hazard to people, livestock, buildings, and traffic within a radius
    equal to the height of the structure (400 ft) and beyond. In
    Germany in 2003, in high storm winds, the brakes on a wind
    turbine failed and the blades spun out of control. A blade struck
    the tower and the entire nacelle flew off the tower. The blades and
    other parts landed as far as 1650 ft (0.31 mile) from the base of
    the tower (Note that all turbines discussed in this article are
    “upwind,” three-bladed, industrial-sized turbines. “Downwind”
    turbines have not been built since the 1980′s.) Given the date, this
    turbine was probably smaller than the ones proposed for current
    construction, and thus could not throw pieces as far. This distance
    is nearly identical to calculations of ice throw from turbines with
    100 ft blades rotating 20 times per minute (1680 ft)”

    And the above is only the so-called tip of the iceberg. If interested,
    just google “dangers of wind turbines” – there’s plenty of sites to
    choose from to learn about the dangers.

  410. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    372 Doug Bostrom,

    I agree with everything you say except I would distinguish between “borrowing” and “have borrowed” when it comes to existing facilities. We can not really get our money invested in coal fired facilities back. And we already own the coal, we meaning the US BLM etc. I try to think in terms of impact on our industrial economy going forward, and weigh that against magnitude and probability of global warming problems. Nope, not an easy judgment to make in this world of mixed information.

    As I am thinking today, the right course of action is to get the USA back into the industrial world and cut oil dependency and overseas military adventures related thereto, all the while working to cut energy usage. We might even help the situation with sustainables if we can avoid getting hooked on hype that sucks away resources needed for more substantive things. That path might succeed.

  411. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    363 Tom S

    I keep trying to track down the source of the MWP. (I guess this stands for Mediaeval Warming Period.)

    So far I have not found anything substantive that could be supportive of such an event even having existed. Please fill me in on this.

  412. Edward Greisch:

    345 Lynn Vincentnathan: Thank you very much. I assume it is OK to quote you. That is what we needed to know: AGW IS affecting people NOW. Notice the other posters who don’t think so. Can you provide any more information or references, please?

    Gavin and RC: Thanks for your years of work on computer models. They are greatly appreciated by me and other people. Other people would include other departments of the US government, including but not limited to the DOD, DOE, DOT and Congress. In general, anybody whose job is long term planning, loves your models.

  413. Jiminmpls:

    Some simple math. You don’t have to be a climate scientist to figure this out.

    Total US Fed Subsidies for Nuclear 2002-2007 $6.2 billion
    Increase in Net Electricity Generation from Nuclear 2002-2007 804.6-780.1=24.5 billion kWhr

    Cost to US taxpayers per add’l kWhr Nuclear = $0.253/kWhr

    Total US Fed Subsidies for non-Hydro Renewables 2002-2007 $1.4+2.8 billion = $4.2 billion
    Increase in Net Electricity Generation from non-Hydro Renewables 2002-2007 105.2-79.1=26.1 billion kWhr

    Cost to US taxpayers per add’l kWhr Renewables = $0.161/kWhr

    Note: US Nuclear power generation declined in both 2008 and 2009. Renewable electricity production increased by 17.5% in 2008 alone and by another 9.2% in the first 9 months of 2009. Also note, this is not capacity, but actual electricity generated.

    I’d have to do some more digging to find specific figures, but among non-hydro renewables, wind is by far the least expensive and is contributing by far the greatest increase in electricity production.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/pdf/pages/sec9_5.pdf
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table1_1.html
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08102.pdf

  414. Svet:

    #401
    Hank, thanks for your reply. You have given me a lot to look at. I had a quick look at http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/FAQ/wg1_faqIndex.html but, as usual, the most obvious question “What proof is there that GW is AGW?” is not there. Have you ever seen the main proofs of AGW set out in brief point form? Do you know what they are?

  415. Edward Greisch:

    397 Tom S: None of those other problems contains a risk of extinction [of humans] or a risk of as many deaths, or a risk of civilization collapse. For example, if all Haitians died tomorrow, civilization would continue without interruption. But we know of about 2 dozen previous civilizations that collapsed due to climate changes much smaller than the one we have already made. The collapse happens when the climate change moves the rain, causing agriculture to collapse. See “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. You don’t want to be around during a collapse of civilization.
    Do you see a thread here: AGW and agriculture?

  416. Didactylos:

    Barton Paul Levenson:

    Just because I am arguing a technical point, please don’t think that I don’t favour as much wind as is possible, with as much government subsidy as is needed to make it economical. Wind is good, okay?

    But I see you are (even now) providing US figures, which would indicate that you haven’t been paying attention to our discussion. Smart move – it’s not a very interesting discussion at all. For the record, my whole point is that onshore wind has more constraints in the UK, which both makes it more expensive, and limits the saturation level. All to rebut the simply false claim that “wind is cheaper than nuclear in the UK”.

    Completely Fed Up:
    *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

    You won’t concede a point, will you? What a waste of time! Dual use is already considered. You sound like a denier saying “what about water vapour?” Been there, done that, and the final numbers take all these nitpicks into account.

    If you want to be taken seriously, please provide some indication that you can recognise when you are wrong.

  417. Martin Vermeer:

    #375 Svet:
    > … would not constitute proof

    It’s a poor military commander that waits for ‘proof’ of an attack before taking any defensive steps. A warning needs only be credible, not accurate or even certain.

  418. Rattus Norvegicus:

    Oh god, Captain Mac is at it again. Building a mountain out of something less than an anthill.

    And he wonders why his name is as Beelzebub.

    [Response: I find it interesting that he doesn't see any point in mentioning that almost all the coverage and the emails and telephone calls that GISS received were from people under the impression that the global numbers were affected (I wonder where they got that idea?). Disingenuous doesn't even start to cover it. - gavin]

  419. Didactylos:

    Maybe it is foolish of me to waste my time correcting things that nobody cares about, and that nobody will accept even after I have made the corrections. But I’m going to do it anyway.

    “Completely Fed Up” has chosen to ignore all third party measurements of wind farm power density, and substitute his own home-grown calculations. After being corrected a couple of times, he arrived at 70 W/m², which is a long, long way from real-world figures that are in the region of 2-3 W/m².

    Just for fun, then, I will replicate his calculations – but I will try to do it correctly this time. (Isn’t that how science works, after all?)

    The Enercon E-126, rated at 7 MW, with a rotor diameter of 126 m.

    If we assume that this is a large wind farm, not just a small cluster, then we must take the average packing density, rather than taking a special case. This means that we should position them 5 times the diameter apart, or 630 m. This results in a land area of 396900 m² per windmill.

    Our wind farm capacity, then, is 7 MW / 396900 m² = 17.64 W/m².

    But this is capacity, not the actual average power production. It is no use relying on the maximum power the wind farm can generate in optimal conditions!

    The load factor for a good site in the UK is 30%. It may be much lower, but we will use the optimistic figure.

    This gives an average power density of 5.3 W/m²

    This is a perfectly acceptable number – it is comparable to similar results and actual power densities. But why is it so high? Two reasons: first, we used the manufacturer’s maximum rated capacity, rather than a realistic site-specific output. The other reason is that the Enercon E-126 is very tall, so it can take advantage of higher wind speeds further off the ground. The Enercon E-126′s size means that it won’t be suitable for all sites, but clearly, it gives an advantage when it can be used.

  420. Patrik:

    How much ice, globally, has been melting anually since 1960?
    How much ice, globally, has been melting anually since the maximum of the last glacial?

    And: which melting rate is the highest, 1960-now, or 18000 BP-now?

    [Response: Glacier ice melted to ~7000 years ago, but started growing again after ~4000 years ago. It has been melting rapidly since the 19th Century. - gavin]

  421. Kris:

    #406, Ray Ladbury: Best estimates are roughly 1-4% of the global economy over a period of a couple of decades

    Well, if you told me that I have to be taxed at 4% to eliminate (well, limit) AGW, I’d say it’s a great deal, as my effective taxation rate is about 70% anyway, so I can handle that. I even think that most of the public opinion in my country (which is now firmly not even in the denialist camp, but in the “AGW is a scam” camp) would accept that, just for the added bonus of eliminating the pollution generated by the present energy infrastructure. You don’t have to convince me that burning coal is bad, because I can see the effects everyday if I look out the window.

    But here’s what the public was told instead. We have 94% of power generation from coal. It was said here, that should the Copenhagen deal come into effect, we would have to (1) buy the carbon credits, (2) donate to the fund for compensating the Third World for AGW damage and (3) pay for the infrastructure upgrade. So, if you look at this, the idea was that we pay the costs THRICE. The official forecasts stated, that under the Copenhagen agreement the energy price would go up by about 100% (yes, that’s one hundred). If you further accounted for the impact of the doubled energy costs on the whole economy, the result was nothing else than a huge recession. So, when the Copenhagen conference failed there was a feeling of relief. And before that, when the CRU e-mails leaked, local media had a field day with it (the standard policy on the subject was quoting Fox News verbatim).

    I am fairly convinced that if the proposed AGW mitigation policy was reasonable, there would be a real social support for it. For example, if it was proposed that instead of paying money for carbon credits we use these money for (say) subsidizing the construction of windmills, it would make a lot of people happy. This would generate the jobs related to building windmills, servicing windmills, operating windmills and even taxing windmills. A rational policy would allow individuals to build their own windmills and sell energy to grid. Now, find me someone who would be opposed to an extra source of income. (Note: windmills are used as an example. Could also be solar, hydro, or whatever renewables make sense).

    But instead of this, it was proposed that we are taxed for fighting an undefined threat, which many believe to be imaginary.

    That I think is the real problem, not some conspiracy theorists who can’t do basic maths.

  422. Ray Ladbury:

    Kris,
    The first thing people have to do is accept the established science. Then we can start talking about how to mitigate the threat–carbon credits, carbon taxes, energy R&D, etc.–they are all a means to an end, and that end is the construction of a sustainable economy.

    The thing is that most of this expense, and frankly the increased energy costs would have to occur anyway as we ar running our of petroleum. The threat of climate change merely pushes us away from dirty coal and toward renewables and perhaps nuclear–and how is this bad.

    The thing is that energy costs have been so low that it has distorted the economy. It is actually cheaper to have furniture built in China and shipped halfway around the globe than it is to pay somebody down the street to build it! How can this be 1)reasonable and 2)good for the local economy.

    So don’t get wrapped around the axle of taxes and credits. First learn the science, and then pitch in and help us come up with solutions that are consistent with your values. I won’t pretend that there will be no sacrifices, but ultimately we’ll have a new sustainable economy with new technology to bequeath to our heirs.

  423. Ray Ladbury:

    Patrik, it’s estimated using GRACE data that we’ve lost 2 trillion tons of ice in 5 years. That’s a 2 with 12 zeros after it–and yes, tons!

  424. Geoff Wexler:

    #384
    Read Chapter 9. It goes over it in excruciating detail. – gavin]

    Shouldn’t that refer to the AR4 of 2007, which is on line, rather than the IPCC FAR mentioned in the comment, which is not on line, and is dated 1990?

  425. Radge Havers:

    Svet @ 414

    I feel your pain. There are many lists available. Here are two.

    When talking to scientists, note that the word ‘proof’ may be richer in rigor, associations, nuance and complexity than for most of us.

    Human Fingerprints from the Union of Concerned Scientists:
    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/global-warming-human.html

    Also:

    Two sections pulled from Mandia’s “Summary of Key Points” at
    www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/summary_key_points.html

    The Smoking Gun for Humans:
    1 Isotopic analysis of carbon shows that the source of increasing carbon in the atmosphere is primarily from human emissions.
    2 There are no other known plausible arguments to explain modern carbon levels without humans being the main cause of the increase.
    3 About half of the emitted carbon by humans is taken up in the oceans and in plants.
    4 When climate models consider only natural causes of climate change, the actual recorded climate cannot be predicted.
    5 When human forcing is added to natural forcing observed climate across the globe is accurately modeled.
    6 The climate observed today could NOT have happened if humans did not exist – it is impossible for natural forces to have caused today’s climate.
    7 Tropospheric warming with stratospheric cooling is essentially another “smoking gun” for anthropogenic global warming.
    8 Solar forcing, cloud cover, ENSO, PDO, NAO, etc. cannot explain a cooler stratosphere. Increasing greenhouse gases explain this coupling very well and climate models predict a warmer troposphere and a cooler stratosphere with increased greenhouse gases.

    Natural Causes of Climate Change:
    1 Carbon is cycled into and out of the atmosphere by plate tectonics over millions of years so it cannot be responsible for modern day rapid global warming.
    2 Milankovitch Cycles (orbital forcing) cause climate to change over tens to hundreds of thousand years so it cannot be responsible for modern day rapid global warming.
    3 The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) cannot explain the long term warming trend observed in the modern climate record.
    4 Current estimates suggest that only 0.1 oC of the 0.8 oC of warming since the late 1800s is due to solar irradiance.
    5 Since direct satellite measurements (1980 – present) solar contribution to the observed rapid warming is negligible.
    6 There is no evidence that variations in the strength of the sun are the cause of the modern day rapid global warming.
    7 Because volcanic eruptions and El Niño events cause climate change on a scale of one to three years, these natural forcing mechanisms cannot be responsible for modern day rapid global warming.

  426. Don Shor:

    411 Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. says:
    23 January 2010 at 1:23 AM
    363 Tom S
    I keep trying to track down the source of the MWP. (I guess this stands for Mediaeval Warming Period.)
    So far I have not found anything substantive that could be supportive of such an event even having existed. Please fill me in on this.

    You don’t believe there was a medieval warm period?

  427. Completely Fed Up:

    “If we assume that this is a large wind farm, not just a small cluster, then we must take the average packing density, rather than taking a special case. This means that we should position them 5 times the diameter apart, or 630 m.”

    And YET AGAIN you COMPLETELY FAIL.

    What are you doing under those turbines 630m apart?

    Growing food on there, or just letting it go to waste so you can “prove” wind farms can’t manage it so your pet nucular project can get the go-ahead?

    The latter apparently is your ONLY method of argument.

    You use 100m2 to produce 7MW.

    That’s 70kW/m2.

    Because you’re using the remaining (630×630-100) m2 for whatever you use land for if it wasn’t a wind farm (which is financially viable, else the land cannot be used for ANYTHING).

    By the way, why do you think you have to put nearly 1/2 a mile between wind turbines? I’ve never, i mean NEVER, seen turbines that far apart.

    But take that into account and you’re using 0.025% of the land for wind power.

    Do you really think a wind farm is that sparsely used?

    Is the ONLY way you can win on nuclear to insist that you don’t use 3999 out of 4000 of your land for power generation?

    If you do (and it seems you do), then you have nothing to base your assumption on and have nothing to argue your point over: you lost, you just don’t want to admit it.

  428. Completely Fed Up:

    “Dual use is already considered.”

    Apparently not.

    Because you insist there isn’t space for a wind farm (with 630m between them!!!) because that land needs to be used for farming etc.

    But you CAN use it for farming.

    This would be the dual use you say you’re already considering.

    Funny how you consider it then throw it away, just so you can win a shot for the unsafe, unsanitary and uneconomical nuclear power.

  429. Completely Fed Up:

    jimm: “Total US Fed Subsidies for Nuclear 2002-2007 $6.2 billion
    Increase in Net Electricity Generation from Nuclear 2002-2007 804.6-780.1=24.5 billion kWhr”

    Forgetting the billions spent in development, of course…

    Please answer me this:

    If nuclear is so profitable compared to wind, how come the nuclear industry won’t build and VCs won’t invest unless the government underwrites all risk and guarantees an ROI.

    ?

  430. Patrik:

    Gavin>> “Glacier ice melted to ~7000 years ago, but started growing again after ~4000 years ago. It has been melting rapidly since the 19th Century.”

    I’m not sure that’s answering my questions.

    Isn’t it true that the melting rate from the last glacial maximum up until now is about 2700 km3 ice/year, but from 1960 it’s merely about 200 km3 ice/year?
    With a melting of 200 km3/year, the global ice mass of app. 30 000 000 km3 would take about 145 000 years to melt.
    Isn’t this true?

    [Response: hard to tell. It certainly isn't relevant. - gavin]

  431. Completely Fed Up:

    “After being corrected a couple of times, he arrived at 70 W/m², which is a long, long way from real-world figures that are in the region of 2-3 W/m².”

    You mean, diddy, that taking into account only a 0.1% of CURRENTLY FARMED land into wind power use, that land can, in addition to producing 99.9% of the food it used to, produce an averaged (over the 1000x bigger area you’re farming on) 70W/m2.

    This is because you get 7MW from one turbine that probably uses around 100m2 of land, all the reast of the space is used for non-wind-farm use and therefore doesn’t count as being a wind-farm: IT’S A FARM!!!!

    And that power density is 70kW/m2.

    Hence, turning a 1000 ha farm into a 1 ha windfarm and a 999 ha farm will produce 700kW of electricity.

    From 1 hectare.

  432. Patrik:

    Did some more math… 2 trillion tons of ice lost in 5 years, according to GRACE, equals 0,007246 percent of earths total ice mass if the estimation of ~30 million km3 in total is correct.
    Not so impressive a loss.

  433. Bill:

    re#423.
    These numbers , even with so many zeros,dont really mean a lot to many people. Presumably with Ice, you dont want too much, nor do you want too little ( both extremes for obvious reasons). Which decadal ice extents or volumes would be considered as optimal for the world ?

  434. robert:

    Any calculations or modeling on the effects on atmospheric circulation or weather patterns from removing large amounts of energy from the atmosphere by large scale use of windmills??

  435. Hank Roberts:

    Svet, you’re asking for something simpler than this?
    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/FAQ/wg1_faqIndex.html

    First question: did you read that FAQ set and not understand something in it? If so asking specific questions — making reference to specific sections and the detail you didn’t understand — will get you further.

    If it was just too much to read, we’ll have to look for something simpler.

    Can you give an example of a simple explanation of something you do understand, say internal combustion, or digestion or, well, anything that works as a clear explanation for you in any area? It will help if you care to tell us how far have you gone in school, and when did you leave school? Give us some idea of the kind of explanation you need to have.

  436. Hank Roberts:

    Svet, try this topic, and this blog generally, it may help. Do read the right sidebar explaining his approach and intent.
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2010/01/theory-of-climate-examples.html

  437. Neil:

    Dear Ray L: It is only a 100 million hectare meters or so. What’s the big deal?

  438. Septic Matthew:

    404, Doug Bostrom: unless we’re prepared to accept that carbon sequestration is viable, which seems to become more questionable as a scalable solution the harder we look at it.

    Carbon Capture and Sequestration: the journal Science recently published a group of reviews estimating that the cost of CCS is about 20% of generated electricity, using current technology (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol325/issue5948/index.dtl.) If that is true, then CCS is the cheapest and most easily scalable solution. The US, China, EU, and Japan (and maybe others) have large scale CCS facilities under construction. The actual costs, and the prospects for reduced costs with widespread deployment, should be known in a few years.

    The cheapest action to take soon, which the UN, the EU and some of the carbon-offset companies finance, is aforestation and reforestation.

  439. Septic Matthew:

    406 and 422, Ray Ladbury

    1% to 4% of GDP is $140B – $560B per year in the US. It’s extremely important to get wrapped around the issues of taxes, caps, and subsidies. In the US right now, you could probably pass a bill that subsidized a mixture of CCS, alternative energy sources, reforestation, as long as you spent the money in every Congressional district — but not at a cost of $140B – $560B per year, and the tax/cap/borrowing issue has to be faced head-on.

    The Apollo Alliance takes the Apollo Program as a model. Nationwide, we should avoid copying California.

  440. Shirley:

    I’m not sure how or where the wind discussion started, but I can tell you a friend showed me pictures he took when he went out on a rural ride to check out some wind turbines not far from where he lives here in upstate, rural NY state. He took a pic of his motorcycle next to a mangled rotor arm, which had clearly broken off the turbine and crashed to the ground. They can and do break, despite good engineering strategies. Like anything with moving parts, failures can and will occur.

    The ones built a few years back in Buffalo NY used to hardly ever spin. I knew someone who drove by them regularly for at least a year and she exclaimed in delight that they were running when I was with her driving past them. It’s my understanding that they frequently need repair.

    Unfortunately, in addition to problems for birds (and no, they don’t “fly into them” but they fly into the open space and then are chopped by the descending blade) the pressure gradient poses serious problems for bats http://www.ucalgary.ca/news/aug2008/batdeaths

    I’m all for alternative energies, very much want to move away from coal, but it’s my opinion that wind turbines belong offshore.

    As for uncertainties with models: there are always uncertainties in life. This is why, in addition to models, some of us study the rock and fossil record to figure out what the climate has done in the past, especially at markers of mass extinctions. I’ve been involved with a study of the Hangenburg extinction even which occurred at the end of the Devonian, roughly 360 million years ago. We can use tiny fossils called conodonts, which due to their apatite composition, remain very well preserved, to understand atmospheric and ocean oxygen and carbon isotopes. Conodonts and clam shells and lots of other things are used for more recent times to figure out ratios, the validity of which has been studied in modern lab conditions (an example: Wurster, C. and Patterson, W.P.; 2001. Seasonal variation in stable oxygen and carbon isotope values recovered from modern lacustrine freshwater mollusks: paleoclimatological implications for sub-weekly temperature records, Journal of Paleolimnology, pp. 205-218). This data combines with other observations, such as seeing through the rock record that a given region went from a deep water environment to a sea level regression, and other indicators such as changes in flora or fauna. Foraminifera are especially useful in such studies. What becomes pretty obvious over most of the big and small extinctions is that when extinctions occur, they’re usually accompanied by a global sea level regression (glaciation) preceded by low CO2. Extinctions. Try authors like Brezinski, Kaiser, Joachimski. They’re restricted to the Paleozoic, but there is lots and lots of stuff out there on the Pleistocene and more.

    My point is that there is a LOT more to this than just models. Extinctions, even.

    I’d love to get into the glacier discussion again, but it’s an unseasonable 43 F and sunny outside here in western NY state, so I’m going to go enjoy it for a bit ;)

  441. mircea:

    Doug Bostrom says (377):22 January 2010 @ 4:34 PM377

    Aircraft models (and I strongly believe climate models too) are JUST TOOLS that help design/understand a physical reality. The proof that the physical reality is as per our understanding must ALWAYS come from measurements (direct or indirect) of that respective physical reality and not from virtual realities (i.e. simulations or models). As such a prediction (extrapolation) from a model/simulation is just a hypothesis/projection and one can say if it is TRUE or FALSE only after measurements of the real object. This is why in training simulators we do not implement anything that hasn’t been measured on the real aircraft (on previous comments I used ‘A/C’ as short for ‘real aircraft’), we just do not know if it’s true or false without measurements.

  442. mircea:

    Completely Fed Up says (383): 22 January 2010 @ 4:52 PM

    “But when you make your scale model, the viscosity is not the same and the depth of the “skin” where the air reduces speed is relatively thicker.[...] Yet you assume these are adequate why?”

    They are adequate for initial designing phase but never relied as proof. For designing they are fairly good tools because similar models have been used for previous aircrafts (e.g. for B777, B737) and as such the model results have been compared with a real object. But, once again, the models are TOOLS and NOT PROOFS.

    As an anecdote: On a B777-300 full flight simulator for Boeing, the Boeing test pilot complained that the nose wheel moves while a/c in air and rudder pedals are pressed and he said that on the real aircraft this doesn’t happen. We asked Boeing engineering team (the designers) that answered that the simulation is wrong and that we should modify it so the nose wheel doesn’t move in air. We (Boeing and us) all had the design documentation, we had top subject matter expert people, we had top pilots and maintenance people and we just couldn’t answer to this very simple and basic question: Does the nose wheel move when one presses the rudder pedals while the aircraft is in air? (note that on ground the nose wheel moves and the question is equivalent with “do the front wheels of a car move when the driving wheel is rotated if the car is lifted in air?”) How we solved it in the end? We went on the real aircraft and watched the nose wheel movements and such we determined that the nose wheel is moving in air too.

    What does this prove? Even with the most detailed simulation/model one cannot determine if a statement about the real object is TRUE or FALSE. Only observation of the real object will give a TRUE or FALSE answer.

  443. Sean:

    The IPCC 4th report states that “Anthropogenic forcing is likely to have contributed to changes in wind patterns, affecting extratropical
    storm tracks and temperature patterns in both hemispheres.”
    Because temperature patterns are expected to change as climate change takes hold, is the interpolation process being used to determine temperature anomalies across distances constantly being validated?
    My interpretation of the statement from the report is that the interpolation procedures being used now may not hold up in the future.
    Thanks

  444. Hank Roberts:

    > I keep trying to track down the source of the MWP. (I guess this stands
    > for Mediaeval Warming Period.)
    > So far I have not found anything substantive that could be supportive
    > of such an event even having existed. Please fill me in on this.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aipcc.ch+FAR+Medieval+Warming+Period
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+medieval+warming+period

  445. Doug Bostrom:

    Septic Matthew says: 23 January 2010 at 1:13 PM

    CCS: Pilot operations are one thing, scaling is another.

    Bear in mind, I’m not one to dismiss -any- technology, I’m a firm believer that many cards are going to need laying out on the table in order to surmount our energy challenge. I can definitely envision a scenario where CCS-mitigated plants play a role running far into the future, but I can also see that the distribution of coal versus economically viable sequestration sites is not perfect and leaves some large issues hanging in the air, leading to “clean coal energy” supply not meeting demand. This has already been noted by people with expertise in the subject. I think it’s folly to count on coal shouldering the burden left hanging by missing petroleum.

    robert says: 23 January 2010 at 12:46 PM

    “Any calculations or modeling on the effects on atmospheric circulation or weather patterns from removing large amounts of energy from the atmosphere…”

    It’s not being removed, just moved.

    mircea says: 23 January 2010 at 1:54 PM

    You -really- need to read this: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/GCM.htm

  446. Mike Palin:

    #422, Ray Ladbury:
    From my perspective (earth scientist raised and educated in USA, now living and working in “100% Pure New Zealand”), I would have to disagree with the notion that “The first thing people have to do is accept the established science.” It would be great if they did, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon for a variety of reasons, some of which are touched on in this week’s Nature opinion piece by Dan Kahan. Kris (#421) has a good point that the most important step in mitigation – reducing fossil fuel consumption as much as possible as soon as possible – can be achieved by less threatening routes.

    The general public needs to learn that electricity generated by (non-hydro) renewable means is not that much more expensive (on an economy-wide basis) than current fossil fuel generation and promises to be less expensive in the long run. Once they realise that the costs of switching to a low-carbon economy are affordable, they’ll likely accept and use the predictions of climate science as an additional rationale for “doing the right thing”. The advantage of such an approach is that society avoids a “culture war” in which defeat of science would be truly catastrophic.

  447. David B. Benson:

    Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. (411) — Please read Brian Sunmer’s “The Long Summer” and then his more recent book on MWP. Both are eye-openers.

  448. ferocious:

    Re:91
    The IPCC is supposed to collate and summarize the science that supports the thesis that human produced carbon dioxide is causing the world wide temperature to increase.

    The Summary for Policy Makers is just what it says, a list of policy driven summaries of the science that suggest political policies to be implemented.

    [Response: I would recommend reading something before broadcasting your incorrect opinions on it. - gavin]

  449. Bill:

    re #432, 433 & 437; what’s the considered view on the ice ?

  450. Edward Greisch:

    http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev26-34/text/coalmain.html
    Coal has other problems:
    “Based on the predicted combustion of 2516 million tons of coal in the United States and 12,580 million tons worldwide during the year 2040, cumulative releases for the 100 years of coal combustion following 1937 are predicted to be:

    U.S. release (from combustion of 111,716 million tons [of coal]):

    Uranium: 145,230 tons (containing 1031 tons of uranium-235)

    Thorium: 357,491 tons

    Worldwide release (from combustion of 637,409 million tons [of coal]):

    Uranium: 828,632 tons (containing 5883 tons of uranium-235)

    Thorium: 2,039,709 tons

    Radioactivity from Coal Combustion

    The main sources of radiation released from coal combustion include not only uranium and thorium but also daughter products produced by the decay of these isotopes, such as radium, radon, polonium, bismuth, and lead. Although not a decay product, naturally occurring radioactive potassium 40 is also a significant contributor. According to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), the average radioactivity per short ton of coal is 17,100 millicuries /4,000,000 tons, or 0.00427 millicuries/ton. This figure can be used to calculate the average expected radioactivity release from coal combustion. For 1982 the total release of radioactivity from 154 typical coal plants in the United States was, therefore, 2,630,230 millicuries. Thus, by combining U.S. coal combustion from 1937 (440 million tons) through 1987 (661 million tons) with an estimated total in the year 2040 (2516 million tons), the total expected U.S. radioactivity release to the environment by 2040 can be determined. That total comes from the expected combustion of 111,716 million tons of coal with the release of 477,027,320 millicuries in the United States. Global releases of radioactivity from the predicted combustion of 637,409 million tons of coal would be 2,721,736,430 millicuries. For comparison, according to NCRP Reports No. 92 and No. 95, population exposure from operation of 1000-MWe nuclear and coal-fired power plants amounts to 490 person-rem/year for coal plants and 4.8 person-rem/year for nuclear plants. Thus, the population effective dose equivalent from coal plants is 100 times that from nuclear plants. “

  451. Doug Bostrom:

    Bill says: 23 January 2010 at 4:11 PM

    You mean, as an indicator of climate change or with regard to our world inventory of ice?

    If you’re worried about the ice supply, never fear, there will be plenty remaining in various bits of the world, “plenty” meaning many cubic kilometers, enough to fill a truly astronomical number of coolers or produce nearly boundless martinis.

    As an indicator of climate change, the signal seems fairly unambiguous. The posts you refer to don’t seem to indicate adequate understanding of what’s significant to the discussion here.

  452. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    426 Don Shor,

    No I do not as of now believe any such thing as a Mediaeval Warming Period occurred.

    Start by telling me when you think the Mediaeval period was using real numbers for dates. Approximate is fine. I will check my history books.

  453. Hank Roberts:

    > Neil says: 23 January 2010 at 1:07 PM
    > Dear Ray L: It is only a 100 million hectare meters or so.
    That’s a whole lot of red herring, no matter how you calculate the area.

  454. Don Shor:

    444 Hank Roberts says:
    23 January 2010 at 3:00 PM
    > I keep trying to track down the source of the MWP. (I guess this stands
    > for Mediaeval Warming Period.)
    > So far I have not found anything substantive that could be supportive
    > of such an event even having existed. Please fill me in on this.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aipcc.ch+FAR+Medieval+Warming+Period
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+medieval+warming+period

    Just for more information, I’d suggest you look at this:
    http://pages.science-skeptical.de/MWP/MedievalWarmPeriod.html
    Be aware that it is from a skeptic site. But it is a useful graphic. I haven’t looked at all the linked studies, and have no way of knowing how reliable they are. Just consider it a starting point.

  455. dhogaza:

    mircea:

    Aircraft models (and I strongly believe climate models too) are JUST TOOLS that help design/understand a physical reality.

    Tell us something we don’t know. What strawman are you attacking here?

    This begun with a simple statement on my part that the models used to design the 787, and to build the simulator used to train the test pilots for the first flight, are so good that there were no surprises when the plane was first flown.

    It’s an observation regarding the *utility*, not the *perfection*, of the model(s) and simulator.

    No one is claiming that these models are *perfect*, or that simulators used in operational training aren’t verified against real flight data, or that airplanes aren’t tested to destruction, etc.

    Only that they’ve gotten really good, are extremely useful, and those who claim that models of complex physical systems are “primitive”, “not useful”, “can’t be trusted” etc are blowing it out of their rearmost orifice.

    Climate models are verified, too, just in case you’re going to be one of those people who says they aren’t.

  456. Hank Roberts:

    > Summary for Policy Makers

    That may not be an his/her own misunderstanding ‘ferocious’ is posting there.
    It’s the PR line found from, for example, American Enterprise Institute.
    See
    aei.org/outlook/27185

    ‘ferocious’ — if you’re getting your opinions second or third hand, instead of from reading the original, do consider whose hands are involved:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Enterprise_Institute

    ‘ferocious’ — Gavin’s advice is wise. Read it and think for yourself:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf

  457. Jerry Steffens:

    #432 (23 January 11:55 AM)

    Comparing the loss to the total is meaningless. Here’s an analogy — if sea level were to rise, swallowing up your beachfront property, would it be of any comfort to you that the additional water mass was negligible compared to the total mass of water in the oceans?

  458. Septic Matthew:

    445, Doug Bostrom: CCS: Pilot operations are one thing, scaling is another.

    Agreed, but the US,EU, and China are building some large scale facilities. Real estimates of costs and efficacies will be available soon.

  459. Frank Giger:

    Some of the correlations between Global Warming and disease, particularly malaria, seem rather suspect.

    1.3.7.2 of the fourth assessment links the spreading and increase of malaria in Africa since the 1970′s to CO2 emissions, when quite a bit of that can be associated with the halt of DDT use. It was widespread use of DDT that did much to halt and shrink malaria – when the cure was deemed worse than the disease for the ecosystems, the natural outcome was re-proliferation.

    Does Global Warming spread (or at least change) the range of malaria? Probably; however, no mention of the artificial alteration of the baseline is made in the report, leading an uniformed person to believe the original range was natural.

    Center to the over-all report? Nope. But it is a talking point and stick for Third World governments to whack away with in order shake down the west for hard currency, none of which will be used for anything relating to climate change mitigation.

    The latest news is that the claims of extreme weather events being driven by Global Warming in the IPCC assessment were based on non-peer reviewed papers that the authors themselves distanced themselves from. It was my impression that the Global Warming community vetted the IPCC reports and had distanced themselves from such foolishness.

  460. ferocious:

    Re 267 Ray Ladbury
    “Climate models have been validated in some very impressive ways and reproduce most of the features seen in Earth’s climate. ”

    Ray, climate models have been in existence for about 50 years. Moderately complete models have been in existence for about 15 years. There has simply not been enough time to validate them against the real climate. The starting conditions to use historical data were not measured well enough to make any starting point in history realistic(the climate is non-linear and chaotic).

    All the current models are empirical- they include parameters that need to be chosen in order to generate results that make them behave like a real climate. Empirical models can only be validated for the period which data exists. There is no way to guarantee that an empirical model will continue to track real life data outside its calibration period.

    Currently, it is impossible to generate a climate model from first principles such as has been done for things like relativity, quantum mechanics, and electro-magnetism. Many of these models have been validated by discovery of predicted, but not observed, particles or other measures years after they were formulated. This kind of validation simply can’t be done for climate models. We’d have to wait a hundred years.

    The UN reports use some 40 models, make multiple runs with them all, and then try to consolidate the results. The thinking behind this is totally off the mark. There is no way to know which of the models is “real” and which are bunkum, so combining them does nothing to improve the results.

    Unfortunately our moderator, Gavin, took this one step further in another thread an pointed out that 5 of the models did predict the current levelling out of temperature as if this meant something. Sorry Gavin, but this is really specious reasoning. I am sure other models did a better job reproducing other minor blips in the data too. Neither observation means a thing because you must predict beforehand which model is going to give the correct result overall, which none of them did.

    [Response: But you completely misunderstand the nature of what is being predicted. It is not the short term trends - the demonstration was not to demonstrate that models are wonderful, but rather that this is not an interesting test. - gavin]

    The biosphere(land surface, oceans, and atmosphere) seems to have been in a reasonable balance, keeping the earth’s overall temperature in the zone for life for the last 3-400 million years. Over the last 500,000 years it has seen a fairly repetitive cycle of ice ages and intermediate warm periods. If any of the models can be shown to reproduce this kind of behavior using their current parameters, but starting with conditions believed to have been extant say 450,000 years ago, then you might consider them to have been validated and useful for investigating what might happen when perturbations are introduced. They could then also be used for evaluating whether or not the basic principles have been correctly defined.

  461. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    426 Don Shor, 444 Hank Roberts, 447 David Benson

    Wow, what a story! Do you realize that the GWP is considered to be absolute proof that AGW is a hoax?

    Lamb was studying temperature histories and used the term “Global Warming Period” to describe a slight and maybe meaningful rise in temperature between 700 and 1300 AD. Some say .7 to 1.3 deg C. I look at the IPCC data and say, “Yes, there is a slight trend of statistical significance. Why on earth does anyone care? 1.3 deg C certainly would not have made much difference to living conditions. Maybe ice receded a little. And of course it has nothing to do with the industrial revolution, so maybe there is some natural climate variability. You think this deserves a label, GLOBAL WARMING PERIOD?”

    Somehow this got into a book called “The Long Hot Summer” and has turned into “Vikings farmed Greenland” and “Vikings sailed much further North than usual” and “Scotland became a wine making rival of France.” All this was turned into proof that global warming due to burning of fossil fuel in the industrial revolution is a hoax since this monumental heat wave happened without benefit of man’s hand.
    I suggest you guys get a grip.

    The IPCC ar4 report, Fig. 6.11 bases temperature data for 1000AD from Greenland that were from !!!ICE CORES!!! So maybe a handful of Vikings planted a few potatoes along the coast. If they tried to farm inland they would have had to have developed ice tunneling technology. That was not discussed on the Nova story on Greenland a few years ago, or maybe I dozed off.

    Ok, so the Vikings were indeed hardy folk, and they sailed where nobody else except Eskimos traveled. How does this guy Lamb determine that they went further North due to the warming? Actually they were moving more in a southerly direction into Normandy in about 800 AD. This was at the start of this so-called Warming Period. So the warming effect seems to have been lost. At the middle of this time, 1000 AD they were getting ready to invade England, so maybe they were looking for wine up in Scotland. That has not been a big thing in history. They were interested in wool from Scotland, and that commerce has persisted until now.

    The Vikings were not especially interested in keeping journals. One book I have states that they were not even very “careful of their lineage.” So their exact latitude might have been not at the top of their concerns.

    Of course it will not prove or disprove a 1 deg variation in temperature, but anyone can look at the Bayeaux Tapestry which chronicled the Norman invasion in 1066AD. This contemporary record shows an endless series of illustrations of the battle of Hastings and shows a lot of detail of how people dressed then. There is no hint of jungle attire.

    The term “Mediaeval Warming Period” is an unfortunate choice of words. Starting from a scientist describing a vague trend it has been turned into an even just short of the apocalypse. It did not help the public understand the situation and it is unfortunate that the IPCC ar4 was not more clear about that.

    Thus, I say the MWP did not happen.

  462. David B. Benson:

    Doug Bostrom (445) — First, distribution of coal is not necessarily where it is burnt; Germany imports coal from South Africa, for example. Continuing to use ocean vessel transport, it is only necessarily to move the separated CO2 to the nearest seaport for ocean transportation to sequestration sites such as
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4292181.html
    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/21629/?a=f
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/45/17295
    Hust as little of the cost of natgas is in the piping of it, so there are only small costs associated with moving the CO2 around. The issue is producing an (almost) pure stream of it in the first place.

  463. GFW:

    There wasn’t an open thread, so I’m posting off topic … some denier over at Climate Progress posted a link http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/180_years_accurate_Co2_Chemical_Methods.pdf to a paper purporting to show wild swings in atmospheric C02 from direct measurements since around 1800. It appears to be by a German biologist who did a review of old measurements. What’s the deal with this claim? Is it simply that some of these old measurements were flawed and contaminated in ways that we don’t even know (’cause we weren’t a fly on the wall in an 1850′s laboratory). The author notes the discrepancy vs ice cores but doesn’t seem to offer any explanation.

    [Response: It's old nonsense, that has been rebunked a dozen times. - gavin]

  464. Hank Roberts:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18420-climate-chief-admits-error-over-himalayan-glaciers.html
    which says
    —-excerpt follows—-
    “This week Hasnain has claimed, for the first time, that he was misquoted by New Scientist in 1999.

    New Scientist stands by its story and was not the only news outlet to publish Hasnain’s claim.
    —–end excerpt—-

    pointing to direct quotations here:
    —excerpt follows—-

    Posted under:
    Feature Articles

    Glaciers beating retreat

    On august 4, 1985, a moraine-dammed glacial lake, Dig Tsho, burst in the Khumbu Himal area of Nepal. Within four to six hours, the lake had emptied into Lagmoche valley, one of the tributary valleys of the river Bhote Kosi, which flows along many Sherpa settlements.

    On august 4, 1985, a moraine-dammed glacial lake, Dig Tsho, burst in the Khumbu Himal area of Nepal. Within four to six hours, the lake had emptied into Lagmoche valley, one of the tributary valleys of the river Bhote Kosi, which flows along many Sherpa settlements. For more than 90 km, the flood waters ‒ 10 to 15 metres high ‒ surged through the valley in the form of a huge “black” mass of debris.

    Trees and boulders were dragged and tossed around, causing landslides of varying sizes. Entire trails of the nearly complete Namche Small Hydel Project, 14 bridges and numerous houses that dotted the river disappeared in a few hours.

    Swiss scientists Daniel Vuichard and Marcus Zimmermann studied the catastrophe in detail. They concluded that the incident was one of several possible disasters which resulted from the thinning and receding of glaciers.They even warned about the frequency of such outbursts in the Himalaya in the future.

    ” Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high,” says the International Commission for Snow and Ice ( icsi ) in its recent study on Asian glaciers. “But if the Earth keeps getting warmer at the current rate, it might happen much sooner,” says Syed Iqbal Hasnain of the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Hasnain is also the chairperson of the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology ( wghg ), constituted in 1995 by the icsi.

    “The glacier will be decaying at rapid, catastrophic rates. Its total area will shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 square km by the year 2035,” says former icsi president V M Kotlyakov in the report Variations of snow and ice in the past and present on a global and regional scale (see table: Receding rivers of ice ).
    —-end excerpt—-

    NOTE that’s an OLD article, this is of historical interest; it’s not a current statement.

    http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/node/319

  465. Ray Ladbury:

    Septic@439 ” In the US right now, you could probably pass a bill that subsidized a mixture of CCS, alternative energy sources, reforestation, as long as you spent the money in every Congressional district — but not at a cost of $140B – $560B per year, and the tax/cap/borrowing issue has to be faced head-on.”

    Dude, we just spend 3 trillion to bail out billionaires. We spent over a trillion fighting a war we entered by accident. Don’t try to tell me that this is too expensive!

  466. EL:

    406 Well, actually AGW is a “pretty-goddamn-near-certain”

    I completely disagree with you on many different levels. While global warming has a good probability, it is no where near certain. The the report on the Himalayan glaciers is a nice example of how the viewpoint can change.

    Against my best judgment, I’ll also discuss some additional issues related to global warming; however, these issues are a poor excuse for anyone who wishes to claim that they invalidate or undermine global warming.

    The largest problem of modeling the atmosphere is complexity. The complexity of the atmosphere is sufficient enough to cause all kinds of problems, and some of these problems are very strange in their own right. To illustrate one of these problems, lets examine one idea from Leibniz. Take a ballpoint pen and sling ink onto graph paper. The ink forms points on a graph that we can use to create a model for the points. From these points, we can create a model that will pass through every single point on the graph. Does our model mean anything? Leibniz would say that it does not, and I agree with him. If we can model nonsense, how then can we separate good models from nonsense models?

    There are some issues with the software side of models. Have all the libraries been mathematically checked? Has the complier been mathematically checked? Has the software been mathematically checked? Did any other program corrupt the memory? How about hardware issues corrupting data?

    We also get into a IP discussion because software patents, copyright on data, etc can all effect the quality of reports.

    In conclusion, I would say there is two words one should always avoid in discussions of science and mathematics. The two words are obvious and certainty.

  467. Ray Ladbury:

    Patrik says, “Did some more math… 2 trillion tons of ice lost in 5 years, according to GRACE, equals 0,007246 percent of earths total ice mass if the estimation of ~30 million km3 in total is correct.
    Not so impressive a loss.”

    Well, except when you consider that that would raise sea level over 80 meters! Even 1% of that value means saying goodbye to about 1/3 of Florida, and a substantial area along the gulf coast.

  468. David Horton:

    “Which decadal ice extents or volumes would be considered as optimal for the world?” – note the variant on “what is the optimal temperature for the world?” beloved of deniers. The “optimal amount” is that which was present during the slow development of human civilisations and economies, and during the slow establishment of the current ecology and biodiversity which supports all life on the planet. You reckon this can be changed rapidly without any effect on us and all the organisms we share the planet with?

  469. Doug Bostrom:

    Septic Matthew says: 23 January 2010 at 5:27 PM

    “Real estimates of costs and efficiencies will be available soon.”

    Estimates seem to abound. We’ll see. First CCS needs to surmount the same issue as other technology, namely that it has to compete in a market where 19th century technology dominates the pricing scale and we pretend that dumping effluent all over ourselves and our neighbors is perfectly acceptable and even better free. Something about the “free market” and how efficient it is.

    I live next to a creek. I could hang a board with a hole in it over the back of my property and get away with “no” sewage bill, if I had the same attitude. Why would I ever choose to hook up to a municipal sewer service?

  470. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #412 (ref #345) Hi Edward, the droughts and floods in Southern India are probably like Katrina — WE know AGW is intensifying them, but the scientists will tell us one drought does not climate change make — and they keep telling us that for each and every drought and flood, though eventually when life is on the brink I expect at least one scientist to say, “Yes, the increased & stronger droughts and floods in Southern India are indeed caused by AGW; too bad it’s too late to save the planet.”

    Here are parts of my “Food Rights & Climate Change” paper w/ references:

    Perhaps the greatest global warming threat to agricultural production is drought and heat stress (Battisti & Naylor 2009). Warmer air holds more moisture, leading to soil and plant desiccation (Cline 2007:26). Furthermore, this can lead to increased deluges, sometimes even during droughts (Parry, et al. 2007: 75), as happened in the 2009 floods in India, which was suffering its worst drought in a century; crop and property losses in one state were calculated at $3 billion, and food prices are expected to soar (NDTV 2009).

    ___________
    References:

    Battisti, D. S., and R. L. Naylor. 2009. “Historical Warnings of Future Food Insecurity with Unprecedented Seasonal Heat.” Science 323: 240-244.

    Cline, W. R. 2007. Global Warming and Agriculture. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

    NDTV. 2009. “India: Prices set to soar as crucial crops are lost in floods.” Oct. 7. http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/prices_set_to_soar_as_crucial_crops_are_lost_in_floods.php

    Parry, M. L., O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, and Co-authors. 2007. “Technical Summary.” In Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contributions of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van der Linden, and C. E. Hanson (eds.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 23-78.

    RE the farmer suicides, I mainly read about them in THE HINDU (which is a great newspaper, better than any U.S. newspaper). Also there are stories about droughts, floods, & climate change, etc. You could do a search on it — http://www.hinduonnet.com

    The Times of India, and Frontline (India) are also good sources for more indepth articles.

  471. Hank Roberts:

    > My interpretation of the statement from the report is that the
    > interpolation procedures being used now may not hold up in the future.
    > Thanks — Comment by Sean

    I don’t see anything like that in what you quoted. You know how interpolation is done? You see it in a weather report on a daily basis. When a weather front moves — those contour lines indicating temperature, pressure, rain or snow that you see changing on a weather report — don’t come from thousands of weather stations; they come from relatively few measurements plus the knowledge that those changes move at a very large scale. Once you understand that, it’s reasonable to interpolate. The individual stations are checked for consistency and unlikely numbers.

  472. mircea:

    Doug Bostrom says (445): 23 January 2010 @ 3:40 PM

    I’ve read it and it is exactly what I said:The simulations – similar with scientific hypothesis – are just projections (hypotheses, extrapolations) as long as they are not empirically verified. Only the experiment/measurements will transform a simulation (a scientific hypothesis) in a predictive tool (a scientific theory). One can say that a simulation predicts only things that already happened :-). A simulation is a very useful tool to see how something might react in the future, but one must be aware always that the results of a simulation are only simulated results and nothing else.

    The conclusion of the article:
    “For all the millions of hours the modelers had devoted to their computations, in the end they could not say exactly how serious future global warming would be. They could only say that it was very likely to be bad, and it just might be an appalling catastrophe”

  473. Tim Jones:

    Fairly accurate synopsis of the IPCC’s Glaciergate.

    “A distraction of Himalayan proportions”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/a-distraction-of-himalayan-proportions-1876420.html
    “A claim that the mountain glaciers of the Himalayas will vanish by 2035 has been debunked. Climate-change sceptics are jubilant. They shouldn’t be, says Steve Connor. Their disappearance is still only a matter of time”
    Saturday, 23 January 201
    (excerpt)
    “Professor Kargel said: “When sceptics talk of ‘glaciergate’, it hurts. That word suggests an elaborate conspiracy when there isn’t. This is a self-correcting system, that’s what happened, that’s what science is.”

  474. Andrew:

    @mircea: “What does this prove? Even with the most detailed simulation/model one cannot determine if a statement about the real object is TRUE or FALSE.”

    Um, no, there are lots of simulations which do support accurate inference about real objects. We can, for example, quite accurately predict infrared emission and absorption spectra of most of the chemical species that occur in climate. The computer I am using to type this on had it’s CPU simulated in considerable detail in many ways before that circuit existed in silicon – and a great deal of interesting statements about the very complex behavior of this object were decided true or false, accurately, on the basis of those simulations.

    Whether a particular simulation of a complex system supports a particular inference about that system is an important question, and one which does not have simple general answers. Especially the obviously wrong answer you have “proved”.

  475. SEG:

    With Dr. Murari Lal’s admission this morning to the London Daily mail that the Himalaya melting statement was not an error but entered in the 2007 IPCC report with full knowldge that it did not rest on peer reviewed science. It was, according to Lal, co-ordinating lead author of the section, included to put political pressure on world leaders though he knew the data hadn’t been verified.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html

  476. Doug Bostrom:

    David B. Benson says: 23 January 2010 at 6:28 PM

    I don’t like to get sucked into techno-specific discussions here, they’re endless and tend to become repetitive, but since I foolishly brought it up may I just suggest that w/CCS when we run into

    “…it is only necessarily to move the separated CO2 to the nearest seaport for ocean transportation to sequestration sites…”

    we must unpack those few words into a world of complication? Especially that word “only.”

    Coal: “Ugh! Fire Good!” Neolithic pyromania with a patina of 19th century steam technology sprayed on, differentiated from oil and gas mostly by a truly hideous suite of extraction processes which make petroleum drilling and production look like brain surgery.

    Can’t we do better? Yes, as long as we’re careful to separate the needs of mineral company shareholders from our own. Any CCS tech needs to be looked at through a prism that splits and makes visible possibility versus desirability.

  477. dhogaza:

    Does Global Warming spread (or at least change) the range of malaria? Probably; however, no mention of the artificial alteration of the baseline is made in the report, leading an uniformed person to believe the original range was natural.

    And, like, dude, the original range is like BEFORE DDT.

  478. dhogaza:

    There are some issues with the software side of models. Have all the libraries been mathematically checked? Has the complier been mathematically checked? Has the software been mathematically checked? Did any other program corrupt the memory? How about hardware issues corrupting data?

    I can’t read your post, sorry. None of the software has been mathematically checked (presumably you mean “proved”), and your hardware has presumably corrupted what I hope began life as a rational post into something more resembling rambling lunatic nonsense.

    Computers and software don’t work. That’s why your post was garbled, that’s why airplanes don’t fly, that’s why climate models are all HOOEY!

  479. Doug Bostrom:

    mircea says: 23 January 2010 at 10:21 PM

    I’m surprised you’re not squeamish about your line of work, given your apparent lack of confidence in science. You seem to be worried that models previously verified may suddenly and mysteriously break even while being unable to propose how that might happen.

    But coming back to the actual subject at hand, climate modeling has a decent record of verification. Weart’s history make that clear.

    I’m not sure what your point was with this quote, but I can make one myself.

    “For all the millions of hours the modelers had devoted to their computations, in the end they could not say exactly how serious future global warming would be. They could only say that it was very likely to be bad, and it just might be an appalling catastrophe”

    What to worry about? A unanticipated complete collapse of models in their grossest and most successful features, a failure not in detail or edge effects but in bulk, or the high probability of future events the gross features of models indicate? For me there is no difficulty in making a choice.

  480. dhogaza:

    The conclusion of the article:
    “For all the millions of hours the modelers had devoted to their computations, in the end they could not say exactly how serious future global warming would be. They could only say that it was very likely to be bad, and it just might be an appalling catastrophe”

    Well, yes, of course, the modelers can’t predict what society will do in regard to controlling emissions.

    Just like those who write flight simulators can’t predict what society will do to try to destroy airplanes in the air.

    The future actions of humans, born and more especially unborn, are unknown.

    Yet, airplanes fly, and climate warms. We may see nuclear winter due to a fusion fest holocaust, causing airplanes to drop from the sky, and CO2 emissions to be cut to say 1% of current levels due to the destruction that results.

    Yet, this doesn’t mean that modelers who say “airplanes fly!” or climate will warm if we increase CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are wrong.

    So what is your point?

  481. Jeff L.:

    Patrik says (430) “With a melting of 200 km3/year, the global ice mass of app. 30 000 000 km3 would take about 145 000 years to melt.
    Isn’t this true?”

    No. Ice dynamics are highly non-linear, so a linear extrapolation is not justified. Plastic flow in ice has an exponential temperature dependence, and basal slip and calving rates won’t remain constant as temperature increases. If glaciologists have underestimated the rate of melting on a scale of decades, predictions past the century scale would have little meaning.

  482. mircea:

    Andrew says (474): 23 January 2010 @ 11:20 PM

    “there are lots of simulations which do support accurate inference about real objects” Yes, the moment the simulation is validated through measurements then it can be used inside a certain envelope/domain to predict results without the need for extra measurements. This is what we are doing with flight simulators. For the flight envelope that the sim is certified the pilots can be trained to such a degree that their first flight on the real aircraft can be done with passengers on board.
    On the other hand one cannot enunciate a scientific hypothesis, create a simulation and then assert that the scientific hypothesis is true because the results of the simulation agree with the hypothesis. Please see my comment 472!

    “Whether a particular simulation of a complex system supports a particular inference about that system is an important question, and one which does not have simple general answers. Especially the obviously wrong answer you have “proved”.
    - I agree. My conclusion was sloppy written but I still think that the anecdote correctly illustrates what problems we had with a simple and clear problem (do the wheels move or not) and how we were unable to give an answer without recourse to experiment.

  483. Don Shor:

    461 Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. says:
    23 January 2010 at 6:11 PM
    426 Don Shor, 444 Hank Roberts, 447 David Benson
    Wow, what a story! Do you realize that the GWP is considered to be absolute proof that AGW is a hoax?

    Not by me. I have no special knowledge about the MWP. I know it is a controversial subject, and is the focus of much of the ‘hockey stick’ debate. I thought you might find the link I provided interesting, as it seems to show that researchers have found evidence of a warm period, or various warm periods, at various places around the world. I gave you all the caveats. I would find it interesting if someone would look at that list and either substantiate or debunk the data presented there.

    Thus, I say the MWP did not happen.
    That’s a pretty absolute conclusion to come to based on what you present. A lot of researchers in various fields will be interested to know that their work has been pointless.
    I do know enough about viticulture to know that wine grapes of various types can be grown far outside of what is considered the normal or ideal range. People are amazingly motivated to make wine.

    I suggest you guys get a grip.
    Likewise.

  484. Septic Matthew:

    469, Doug Bostrom: We’ll see.

    On that we agree.

    Ray Ladbury: Dude, we just spend 3 trillion to bail out billionaires. We spent over a trillion fighting a war we entered by accident. Don’t try to tell me that this is too expensive!

    OK. But two mistakes do not by themselves justify a third.

  485. dkkraft:

    Sorry for the spelling. I meant:

    If Dr. Lal is quoted correctly he is admitting the use of Propaganda…..

  486. mircea:

    dhogaza says (455): 23 January 2010 @ 4:57 PM

    “Tell us something we don’t know. What strawman are you attacking here?”
    I thought that you claim that a simulation can be so good that it doesn’t need validation from experiment any more. I just wanted o give an insight from my domain.
    Simulations so good that there are no surprises??!! We have 1500 snags on a repeat right now (i.e. we’ve done this aircraft before and the code is – supposed to be – the same).

  487. J:

    Not infallible? Hmm, seems that a bit understated..

    Breaking story in The Telegraph:

    “The year after the IPCC report was published, however, Dr Hasnain was recruited by Dr Pachauri to head a new glaciology unit at TERI. In a matter of months, TERI was given a share in a $500,000 dollar study of melting Himalayan glaciers funded by a US charity, the Carnegie Corporation. It is clear from Carnegie’s database that a key part in winning this contract was played by Dr Hasnain’s claim that most glaciers in the region “will vanish within 40 years as a result of global warming”.

    In May 2009 TERI was also given a share in a three million euro project funded by the EU. Citing the WWF’s 2005 report, the EU set up its “High Noon” project to study the impact of melting Himalayan glaciers. It was particularly keen to foster alarm over the Himalayas as a means to win Indian support for action on climate change at last year’s Copenhagen conference.

    Last November, however, Dr Raina, the country’s most senior glaciologist, published a report for the Indian government showing that the rate of retreat of Himalayan glaciers had not increased in the past 50 years and that the IPCC’s predictions were recklessly alarmist. This provoked the furious reaction from Dr Pachauri that tarred Dr Raina’s report as “arrogant” and “voodoo science”.

    Only weeks later came the devastating revelation that the IPCC’s own prediction had no scientific foundation.

  488. Didactylos:

    “Completely Fed Up” said:

    Because you insist there isn’t space for a wind farm (with 630m between them!!!) because that land needs to be used for farming etc.

    But you CAN use it for farming.

    This would be the dual use you say you’re already considering.

    J’accuse!

    You are simply making things up.

    a) I am not claiming that there is not room for wind farms.

    b) I am not claiming that wind farms can’t coexist with farmland.

    Since you are clearly providing both sides of this discussion from inside your own head, I’m afraid I am no longer going to waste time on you.

    Bye bye!

  489. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    450 Edward Greisch,

    Did someone say that nuclear power plants in controlled operation posed a health threat to anyone?

    Chernobyl caused a problem. A coal fired power plant fails and all the radioactive material just lies in the bin, well ensconced in its own lump of coal.

    Chernobyl is not a good reason not to carefully do nuclear, though it is a real PR reason why it might not happen.

    Nuclear waste is still a troubling thing. Maybe we should just sequester it along with the CO2. That should also be a cheap answer!!???

  490. Frank Giger:

    Oh, it gets worse on the PR front.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/23/AR2010012302399.html

    “There will always be a body of people who will deny it till they are blue in the face,” [IPCC Chairman] Pachauri said. “These people are only concerned about continuing with their wasteful and terribly profligate lifestyles.”

    Um, yeah, I actually do want to keep my standard of living.

    “Wasteful and terribly profligate” compared to whom, exactly? Rural China? The Sudan? Zimbabwe? North Korea? I’ll stipulate that compared to most of the people living on the planet I enjoy what can be seemed as “wasteful and proliferate.” Hell, I mix my own waste with drinking water and literally flush it down a drain. At what point is my standard of living reduced to be acceptable to the UN – when I no longer have a flush toilet? When my electricity is rationed on the notion that I simply don’t “need” it, as otherwise I would be living a wasteful and proliferate lifestyle?

    These sorts of statements make me vary wary of the motivations of the IPCC, and therefore very skeptical of any predictions or pronouncements.

  491. Jimbo:

    Comment 396 response to Jimbo

    Maybe it’s because the fact that other forcings might play a role in glacial melt is uncontroversial and has been noted here many times before and because a BBC report of hearsay evidence is not particularly noteworthy and because a study looking at a single decade in a single locale is not particularly notable on a global scale.

    However, “hearsay evidence” or rather non-peer reviewed evidence of glacier melt was allowed into the IPCC report. Furthermore, if the same research I quoted had put the ‘melting’ purely down to CO2 it would have been trumpeted around the globe on the MSM and dare I say here at RC.

    I am impressed by people’s responses here, ie the inability / resistance to see alternative explanations for weather / climate anomalies.

    Explain this:
    Swiss glaciers melted faster in the 1940’s than today despite higher levels of CO2.
    http://www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/091214_gletscherschwund_su/index_EN

    Now, here are a few issues to help rattle you guys:

    UK Parliament to investigate Climategate and CRU data issues
    http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology/s_t_cru_inquiry.cfm
    ——
    Arctic temperatures above 80°N are the lowest in six years despite ever increasing CO2 levels. What if it said “highest is six years”, what would you post on RC? Think about it!
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/plots/meanTarchive/meanT_2010.png

  492. ccpo:

    “#397 Tom S:…But we know of about 2 dozen previous civilizations that collapsed due to climate changes much smaller than the one we have already made.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 23 January 2010 @ 2:26 AM”

    This is an example of what you might call, “The Weakest Link Syndrome.” Most people seem to focus on large issues as the things to be scared about, i.e., climate change, Peak Oil, etc. But all it takes in a highly complex system is for one critical resource to not be available.

    E.g., not many seem to know that the future economy is likely largely in China’s hands because 95% of Rare Earth ores are in China. For the rest of the world, this could mean anything from China taking THE central place in international relations to essentially being vassals of China. (This is not my point, so don’t get hung up on it.)

    The point is, while we are all looking at climate and oil, it could be something like rare earth metals that does us in. Being a complex system, if those metals are either in short supply or too expensive, everything else we do suffers.

    There is term for this one critical element in a given system that is escaping me just now, but understand this: civilizations don’t fail because everything fails at once, they fail because a critical resource or system fails, then everything follows in a cascading failure. Whether these failures are fast or slow is the real question for us, I fear.

  493. Jimbo:

    Comment 396 response to Jimbo

    “Maybe it’s because the fact that other forcings might play a role in glacial melt is uncontroversial and has been noted here many times before and because a BBC report of hearsay evidence is not particularly noteworthy and because a study looking at a single decade in a single locale is not particularly notable on a global scale.”
    —–
    However, “hearsay evidence” or rather non-peer reviewed evidence of glacier melt was allowed into the IPCC report. Furthermore, if the same research I quoted had put the ‘melting’ purely down to CO2 it would have been trumpeted around the globe on the MSM and dare I say here at RC.

    The whole point of my post was to contradict to a certain extent the IPCC contention of complete Himalayan glacier melting in 2035 or 2350. For that matter NASA’s 2030 complete melting later removed from the site.

    I am impressed by people’s responses here, i.e. the inability / resistance to see alternative explanations for weather / climate anomalies because many seem embedded to the false belief in the powerful effects of CO2 at today’s levels.

    Explain this:
    Swiss glaciers melted faster in the 1940’s than today despite higher levels of CO2.
    http://www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/091214_gletscherschwund_su/index_EN

    Now, here are a few issues to help rattle you guys:

    UK Parliament to investigate Climategate and CRU data issues
    http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology/s_t_cru_inquiry.cfm
    ——
    Arctic temperatures above 80°N are the lowest in six years despite ever increasing CO2 levels. What if it said “highest is six years”, what would you post on RC? Think about it!
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/plots/meanTarchive/meanT_2010.png

  494. Edward Greisch:

    470 Lynn Vincentnathan: Thank you. I forwarded your previous statement to my senators an hour ago. I hope it helps.

  495. Jimbo:

    Comment 396 response to Jimbo@370
    “Did you notice that it was called GLOBAL warming?”

    No I did not notice that thanks for pointing it out to me. What I did notice was that your “GLOBAL warming” was CHANGED to CLIMATE CHANGE. I wonder why?

  496. ccpo:

    “Isn’t it true that the melting rate from the last glacial maximum up until now is about 2700 km3 ice/year, but from 1960 it’s merely about 200 km3 ice/year?
    With a melting of 200 km3/year, the global ice mass of app. 30 000 000 km3 would take about 145 000 years to melt.
    Isn’t this true?”

    I don’t know if your numbers are true or not, but I do know that since the baseline period, total ARCTIC ice mass is down 80%+. I say plus because in ’07 they were saying 80% down and since then it has increased. As you *should* know, recent studies from this past year show that even ice registering via satellite as healthy, thick sea ice was actually more like swiss cheese.

    Yes, I could go with your GLOBAL ice meme, but it’s just another way to mislead. After all, since we glaciers are in retreat overall, that Arctic Sea ice is in decline and there is melting in the Antarctic interior – all far more recent than 1960 – and the only thing growing is Antarctric sea ice (on average), it’s not very honest to claim ice hasn’t really changed much since 1960.

    Additionally, 1960 was near the end of a long cool phase due to aerosols (also man-made), so that ice was at a higher overall extent at that time wouldn’t be very surprising, would it? Nice Cherry Pick, though. When we add in that Antarctic sea ice is on an uptrend because of another man-made issue – ozone – you don’t really have much to say, do you?

    Deal with this reality: The Arctic is not protected by thousands of feet of elevation and circumpolar winds. The total amount of ice there is in massive decline. Forget extent, though I know it is sexy and visually arresting, the real key is mass, and that is nearly gone.

    Or does 80+% not register with you?

    Even in the Antarctic, where ice is protected by elevation and circumpolar winds, there is ice mass loss.

    Why are you not ashamed of misleading others?

  497. ccpo:

    “The Summary for Policy Makers is just what it says, a list of policy driven summaries of the science that suggest political policies to be implemented.

    [Response: I would recommend reading something before broadcasting your incorrect opinions on it. - gavin]

    Comment by ferocious — 23 January 2010 @ 4:11 PM”

    Let’s give him/her their due, Gavin: The Summary for Policy Makers is just what it says, a list of politically minimized summaries of the science that suggests political policies to be avoided.

  498. Edward Greisch:

    407 Daniel J. Andrews: Thank you. Wind turbine failures as in your videos are the reason for not putting wind turbines within 1/2 mile of any structure, and for staying away from wind turbines during wind storms. Public safety officials have good reason to prohibit wind turbines in a lot of places.

  499. Martin Vermeer:

    Did some more math… 2 trillion tons of ice lost in 5 years,
    according to GRACE, equals 0,007246 percent of earths total ice
    mass if the estimation of ~30 million km3 in total is correct.

    Seems about right… 1 mm/yr sea level equivalent, of a total of 70m. Add a second mm/yr from smaller ice sheets and glaciers, and a third from sea water expansion, and you’re close to the observed 3.4 mm/yr.

    Not so impressive a loss._

    You ain’t seen nothing yet :-(

  500. Edward Greisch:

    421 Kris: There are some other reasons why you might want reconsider coal:

  501. Edward Greisch:

    Trying that comment again:
    421 Kris: There are some other reasons why you might want reconsider coal:
    Coal contains: URANIUM, ARSENIC, LEAD, MERCURY, Antimony, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine, Silver, Beryllium, Iron, Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium, Magnesium, Thorium, Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium, Chlorine, Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum and Zinc. There is so much of these elements in coal that cinders and coal smoke are actually valuable ores. We should be able to get all the uranium and thorium we need to fuel nuclear power plants for centuries by using cinders and smoke as ore. Remember that, to get a given amount of energy, you need on the order of 100 MILLION TIMES as much coal as uranium. That means the coal mine has to be 100 million times larger than the uranium mine, not counting the recycling of nuclear fuel. Unburned Coal also contains BENZENE, THE CANCER CAUSER. We can keep our mountains and forests and our health by switching from coal to nuclear power. We could get all of our uranium and thorium from coal ashes and cinders. The carbon content of coal ranges from 96% down to 25%, the remainder being rock of various kinds.

    Chinese industrial grade coal is sometimes stolen by peasants for cooking. The result is that the whole family dies of arsenic poisoning in days, not years because Chinese industrial grade coal contains large amounts of arsenic.

    I have zero financial interest in nuclear power, and I never have had a financial interest in nuclear power. My sole motivation in writing this is to avoid extinction due to global warming.
    
    Yes, that ARSENIC is getting into the air you breathe, the water you drink and the soil your food grows in. So are all of those other heavy metal poisons. Kris, your health would be a lot better without coal. Benzene is also found in petroleum. If you have cancer, check for benzene in your past.

  502. ccpo:

    “I completely disagree with you on many different levels. While global warming has a good probability, it is no where near certain. The the report on the Himalayan glaciers is a nice example of how the viewpoint can change.”

    How to say this… open your flippin’ eyes!

    *80+% ice loss in the Arctic

    *Ice mass decreasing in the Antarctic

    But you think an error having to do with a far smaller portion of global ice is radically important. No “viewpoint” has changed. Globally, glaciers are losing mass. Period.

    You have to be looking pretty hard for an excuse for such as that to suffice as a refutation of any significance.

  503. Jimbo:

    Now from soot to moisture depletion.

    “Most glaciologists now agree that it is the moisture depletion, not temperature increase that is the primary cause for glacier retreat.

    ….

    In summary, the glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating, but NOT any faster than other glaciers in the Arctic and elsewhere. The two large and most important glaciers of the Himalayas show very little retreat at this point in time. The primary reason for retreat of some of the other glaciers seems to be lack of adequate winter snow accumulation. This depletion of winter snow could be due many factors like inter-annual variability of winter precipitation or possible southward displacement of the sub-tropical jet stream which straddles the Himalayan Mountains over a long 1500 km path.”

    Madhav L Khandekar
    A former research scientist from Environment Canada
    and is an expert reviewer for the IPCC 2007 Climate Change Documents.
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/global-warming-and-glacier-melt-down-debate-a-tempest-in-a-teapot/

    ————

    Will you people stop fingering CO2? She’s not-guilty, she’s not toxic!!

  504. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    It just occurred to me all this “gate” talk stems from “Watergate.” Sort of ironic that Nixon was behind that, and also, according to my text on Environmental Crime & Justice, that Nixon was our best environmental president — establishing the EPA and making good appointments. (Carter may have been the best, except for the economic downturn at the time.) And the 2nd best (or tied with Nixon) was Teddy Roosevelt. 2 Republicans. That was then, this is now.

    Anyway, Watergate implies a cover-up after the incident. But what I see in all these so-called “climate-gates” is either an uncovering of honest science and no mistakes (from the CRU hacks); or an uncovering of some honest mistake that was made without any intent to deceive or cover-up, and that mistake being found out by climate scientists themselves in the course of science correcting science — which is precisely how science has always worked.

    The real “gaters” it seems to me are the climate denialists. They are, as in the original Watergate, purposely trying to deceive and cover-up the whole of global warming (I mean global warming itself, not just the science of it). That’s the real scandal. They should be rebuked and the book should be thrown at them for all the lies they tell — lies purposely told to harm the world and people. Aren’t there some laws against such behavior. It’s like they’re getting by with murder, much worse than any Nixon scandal.

    We need some campaign to stop DENIAL-GATE, maybe have some green tea parties.

  505. Bill:

    re#468 David.
    The original question has absolutely nothing to do with ‘believers’ or deniers’. The scientific message is not getting across to the public in a clear unambiguous manner , partly for this silly stereotyping . When we use the word ‘change’, many people immediately ask ‘from what or from where’? Its a natural response.
    We need to be able to provide interpretation of the science, clearly and without over-hyping the facts. So, the questions about temp and ice ‘norms’ or baselines are reasonable clarifications, for people that are not trained as scientists.

  506. Gilles:

    David Miller : As I argued on the previous thread, Johnno is perfectly right. The argument of coal is not valid, because conventional reserves of coal are not able to produce any of the catastrophic scenario that media describe so easily. And peak oil is a clear sign that assuming that we are able to extract unconventional ressources at the same pace (and even quicker pace) than conventional ones is simply absurd. So coal is heading for peaking in a few decades, and will never reach the highest production level described in fossil intensive scenarios.

    concerning the himalayan glaciers “mistake”, I think it is really disturbing and it is very dissatisfying that people just say “oh, you know , nobody is perfect” ! c’me on guys ! the information comes from a phone call to Pr Haisnan, who is involved in the TERI directed by the very president and Nobel prize awarded R.K Pachauri. Pr Haisnan takes part to internationally funded projects aimed at assessing the risks of melting glaciers, and all these people just didn’t pay attention to the fact that a misleading information was published in the most read and important review on the subject ! are you kidding ?

    that’s like if a important NASA report would tell that it is “very likely” that an asteroid would hit the indian subcontinent, that millions of $ would be devoted to study how to avoid this catastrophe, and that people suddenly discover that the information is plainly wrong, but stemmed from an interview in a basic popular scientific journal of a … responsible of the NASA, working in the same headquarters as its director.

    And that all these people never paid attention to the fact that this wrong information, justifying the funding of millions dollars projects, had been wrongly reported in the most important assessing review in the world.

    And you would just tell us : of course, there can be mistakes, nobody’s perfect ?????

  507. Adam Gallon:

    It is not the fallibility of the IPCC that’s the issue.
    It’s the way this issue and others has been handled by them.
    The IPCC’s statement of principles, says its role is ‘to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socio-economic information – IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy’.
    We now find that the co-lead author Dr Lal included this information because “We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action”
    Despite knowing full well that it didn’t come from any peer-reviewed source. It was included in the report and none of the reviewers picked this up, or if they did, failed to object to its inclusion.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html#ixzz0dUoPiTkG
    And what happens when this failing is raised? Dr Pachauri describes the Indian Government’s report as “Voodoo Science lacking peer review” Kettle calling the pot black?
    http://www.newkerala.com/news/fullnews-27299.html
    Now, where do we find the original author of these 2035 claims working no? Oh look, he’s working for Pachauri at TERI!
    Elsewhere we find that the IPCC has been putting words into Professor Pielke’s mouth http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-does-pielke-think-about-this.html
    There also is increasing concern about the conflicts of interest with Dr Pachauri’s business interests and his IPCC role.

  508. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Another thing that occurred to me, is that up until a few months ago, there was this idea from the IPCC & its (faulty) sources that glaciers were in exceedingly rapid retreat, and that would drastically affect all in the Himalaya watershed, reducing their irrigation and drinking water — I think 40% of India’s and 40% of China’s population were mentioned as threatened, and I think it’s nearly all of Pakistan & other nations in the Himalayas — but hardly anyone seemed to give a damn.

    And they still don’t seem to give a damn (except for the small % of environmentalists and humanitarians around the world) that the glacier retreat is real (if not as fast as earlier suggested), that climate change is real, and will eventually cause severe problems to these poor nations.

    All they can focus on (obsess about) is “climategate” and “glaciergate,” not the people who are & will be greatly harmed and killed off like flies.

    Maybe those rapture-focused end-worlders are right….the end (for most if not all humanity) is near, at least much sooner than the billion years from now when the sun goes supernova, only they’re probably not going to be raptured up, but rather ruptured down to a much hotter place than a globally warmed world, because they contributed to making that end much sooner & worst of all, denied it. And no one seems to give a damn about the souls of these strange “bring on the end, and we deny anthropogenic global warming” denier/end-worlders, least of all themselves.

    Isn’t that how we began according to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic story of creation — Adam was a denialist and blame-shifter in the apple affair.

    So that’s how we’ll go out, unless we can get through somehow to these world-destroying denialists.

  509. Kris:

    #461, Jim Bullis: 1.3 deg C certainly would not have made much difference to living conditions.

    Not by itself, but it causes changes in agriculture and economy, leading to hunger, plague, migrations and wars. By accident, I was interested in the same issue and did a small, unscientific analysis myself, overlaying the historical events on the GISP2 ice core data. For your enjoyment:

    http://i46.tinypic.com/2uq120n.jpg
    http://i46.tinypic.com/14j3urk.png

  510. Barton Paul Levenson:

    JB — The Medieval Warm Period was tentatively identified by the great climatologist, Hubert Horace Lamb, in 1965. But by the late ’90s, early ’00s, it was clear that it had been a regional phenomenon, not global. Most of the early evidence had come from Europe. Here are some key references.

    Bradley, R.S., Hughes, M.K., and H.F. Diaz 2003. “Climate Change in Medieval Time.” Science 302, 404-405.

    Dean, J.S. 1994. “The Medieval Warm Period on the Southern Colorado Plateau.” Climatic Change 26, 225-241.

    Goosse H., Arzel O., Luterbacher J., Mann M.E., Renssen H., Riedwyl N., Timmermann A., Xoplaki E., Wanner H. 2006. “The Origin of the European ‘Medieval Warm Period’.” Clim. Past, 2, 99–113.

    Lamb, H.H. 1965. “The Early Medieval Warm Epoch and Its Sequel.” Paleogeog., Paleoclimatol., Paleoecol. 1, 13-17.

    Mann, Michael E. et al. 2009. “Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly.” Science 326, 1256-1260.

    Osborn, Timothy J. and Keith R. Briffa 2006. “The Spatial Extent of 20th-Century Warmth in the Context of the Past 1200 Years.” Science 311, 841-844.

  511. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Frank Giger: 1.3.7.2 of the fourth assessment links the spreading and increase of malaria in Africa since the 1970’s to CO2 emissions, when quite a bit of that can be associated with the halt of DDT use.

    BPL: Crap! This is a recent meme of the extreme anti-environmentalist right, usually expressed as “Rachel Carson killed more people than Hitler.” The fact is, DDT was never banned in the Third World, and in countries where it was banned, like the United States, it was banned only for indiscriminate use–NOT to prevent agricultural damage to crops. In countries like Sri Lanka where they did attack malaria with massive DDT application, resistant strains of mosquito arose quickly and made the problem worse than ever. Malathion-impregnated bednets have made all the recent progress against malaria in Africa. DDT has nothing to do with it, and Rachael Carson saved lives, she didn’t take them.

  512. Barton Paul Levenson:

    EL: While global warming has a good probability, it is no where near certain.

    BPL: I think you have to be scientifically literate to understand the evidence. It is already happening, has been happening for 160 years. We’re doing it. It’s the biggest problem humanity faces right now.

  513. Completely Fed Up:

    Heck, you interpolate your core body temperature by the spot measurement within your mouth/anus or armpit.

    ONE measurement to find your entire BODY temperature.

    Or do those who claim that interpolation doesn’t give you answers think doctors lie about you running a temperature?

  514. Completely Fed Up:

    ” EL says:

    406 Well, actually AGW is a “pretty-goddamn-near-certain”

    I completely disagree with you on many different levels. While global warming has a good probability, it is no where near certain. The the report on the Himalayan glaciers is a nice example of how the viewpoint can change. ”

    Global warming IS certain.

    It’s as certain as the prediction that putting a pot on a wood fire will heat the water.

    Care to take bets against that?

    And what’s happening in the Himalayas is not climate.

    It retreats because of climate and it is retreating.

    But when it disappears is not climate. The fact of it disappearing IS.

  515. Bill:

    re#473.
    I saw that NASA have now removed this 2035 date, or rather 2030 date, from their ‘climate’ page on the website. Thats wise, I think.

  516. Completely Fed Up:

    “Wow, what a story! Do you realize that the GWP is considered to be absolute proof that AGW is a hoax?”

    I note that you’ve ascribed to the middle ages warm period a qualifier you haven’t proven: Global.

    It was highly unlikely to be global.

    Because the date at which such a warming was seen varies by centuries (of the same order as the length of the MWP) depending on where you’re measuring.

    GWP has been renamed to become “proof” that AGW is a hoax since before the renaming, “MWP” had been rebunked so many times it no longer could manage to be portrayed as such.

  517. Completely Fed Up:

    “But, once again, the models are TOOLS and NOT PROOFS.”

    They are PROOFS of the scientific models of aerodynamics, mica.

    Just like climate modesl are TOOLS not proofs, but PROOFS of the scientific models of climatology.

  518. Completely Fed Up:

    “They can and do break, despite good engineering strategies. Like anything with moving parts, failures can and will occur. ”

    Just like they can and do with nuclear power stations.

    “The ones built a few years back in Buffalo NY used to hardly ever spin.”

    And busses always come in threes…

    “It’s my understanding that they frequently need repair”

    Your understanding is out of date.

    And, unlike a large coal/nuke turbine, needing repaid (they need repairs too) only takes out one of many independently working turbines.

    “but it’s my opinion that wind turbines belong offshore.”

    Fine, I don’t have a problem with that.

    I think they work amazingly well on farms too.

    But still didactylos has stated he doesn’t know WHY nuclear power is cheaper than wind in the UK (and globe, but only most of it, bits he doesn’t know the price of wind power for), but has repeatedly tried to argue that it’s because of

    1) regulation.

    It is to laugh. Wind power more highly regulated and proscribed than nuclear???

    2) Land cost

    But he’s already shown that “land use” is only 0.025% of the acreage assigned to wind farms, therefore it’s still practically pristine and useful for other things that already pay for land cost

  519. Ray Ladbury:

    Mircea says of models: “The simulations – similar with scientific hypothesis – are just projections (hypotheses, extrapolations) as long as they are not empirically verified.”

    You don’t get out much, do you, Mircea:

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    That’s pretty impressive validation. I’d say that’s at least 90% confidence, wouldn’t you?

  520. Ray Ladbury:

    EL @466

    DAMMIT, DAMMIT, DAMMIT! I knew I should have invested in straw before EL posted and used up the global supply in the construction of straw men! DAMMIT!

    First, the 90% confidence interval for CO2 sensitivity is 2.1-4.5 degrees per doubling. Since anything more than 2.0 degrees per doubling is likely to lead to significant consequences, I’d call that pretty-goddamn-near-certain–or do you regularly bet on 20:1 longshots?

    Second, do you have any idea how tiring it is to keep hearing “Oh, it’s all too complicated,” even as climate science continues to elucidate Earth’s past and present climate and its predictions continue to be confirmed? Dude, Arrhenius predicted we’d warm the climate with pen and paper!

    And your comparison with inkspots on a paper is frankly insulting. We are not dealing with a random pattern, but rather with data and a system with pretty well understood dynamics on timescales of a few decades. Your comparison merely highlights your own ignorance.

    While you are off complaining about the code others are actually validating it independently:

    clearclimatecode.org

    Here’s a clue: This is physical reality. You aren’t going to make it go away with a quality audit.

  521. John E. Pearson:

    501: Ed. You’re not only in the company of James Hansen, and James Lovelock. I was surprised to learn that Stewart Brand (author of the Whole Earth books) is also pro-nuke now. http://web.me.com/stewartbrand/SB_homepage/Home.html

  522. captdallas2:

    Gavin, it looks like a paper on the history of Glacial advance and retreat in the Holocene might be in order.

    As for the Medieval Warm Period there is sufficient evidence it existed. The question is was it regional or global? Probably regional, but at high latitudes there is more impact on global temperatures. Why? Because temperatures can rise more in the high latitudes than in the tropics where temperatures are somewhat stabilized by convection. During the instrumental era there is at least one odd temperature anomaly where a region experienced a 2 to 3 degree rapid increased that persisted for over a decade. Just check the temp records for Finland.

    Synchronization of Decadal/multidecal oscillations can explain climate shifts like in Finland that can persist for several decades, at least in my mind. Century scale shifts like the MWP and changes in glacial retreat around 7000 years ago and then glacial advance around 4000 years ago and more retreat a couple hundred years ago are a lot harder for me to understand. Since the economy sucks I have extra time on my hands so it is off to do more research on that interesting puzzle.

  523. Charles:

    Gavin reponding to #51: “The IPCC does not argue for measures. The reports are policy neutral. – gavin”

    Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: “[The assertion that Himalayan glaciers would completely melt by 2035] related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”

  524. Completely Fed Up:

    Adam sez: “It’s the way this issue and others has been handled by them.
    The IPCC’s statement of principles, says its role is ‘to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socio-economic information – IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy’.”

    But when they do, they’re accused of suppressing “all the evidence” that shows there is no AGW.

    Heads you win, tails, they lose, eh, Adamski?

    If they don’t include poorly verified work (from McIntyre et al), they’re suppressing “the truth” and are promoting a lie. If they do include poorly verified work (from this typo from 2350 to 2035), then they’re incompetent and promoting a lie.

    Tell me, is there ANYTHING that the IPCC could do that wouldn’t be “proof” that they’re promoting a lie?

  525. Completely Fed Up:

    Gilles: “I think it is really disturbing and it is very dissatisfying that people just say “oh, you know , nobody is perfect” ! c’me on guys !”

    And how many facts were included in the report?

    Out of those, what are the percentages?

    0.001% failure rate?

    You wish you were that accurate, Gilles.

  526. Charles:

    The IPCC does not argue for measures. The reports are policy neutral. – gavin

    Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: “It [(the ssertion that glaciers in the Himalayas would melt by 2035)] related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”

  527. Completely Fed Up:

    “The Summary for Policy Makers is just what it says, a list of policy driven summaries of the science that suggest political policies to be implemented.”

    Well that’s false: the policy isn’t in the summary for policy makers.

    If it delineated policy, it would come FROM the policy makers. You know, the people who MAKE the policy.

    It’s going TO the policy makers, though, so it’s simple enough that someone who needs to know “the bottom line” and why it’s there, but doesn’t need to know (nor has the education and time to find out) what the science says about the detail.

  528. Completely Fed Up:

    Freddie Geiger: “Um, yeah, I actually do want to keep my standard of living.”

    Why does that require that we burn fossil fuels, Freddie?

    Why does “standard of living” mean “I have a 4L 4×4 and go to the Seychelles twice a year”?

    And, if someone needs your help, why must your profligacy mean others have to die?

  529. Completely Fed Up:

    Diddy:
    “You are simply making things up.

    a) I am not claiming that there is not room for wind farms.

    b) I am not claiming that wind farms can’t coexist with farmland.”

    Lets check these assertions:

    b) “That’s an ideal power density. It bears no relationship to what can be actually extracted by wind farms built today. Can you imagine what a 100% efficient wind farm would be like? o_O”

    (#361).

    Why does that make a difference when you only get that figure?

    “Go on – just for your own education, calculate the power density for different forms of energy (in W/m²).”

    (#325).

    But that doesn’t make sense if 99.975% of the land is used for farmland: it’s 2.5W/m^2 FREE.

    a) “Second, land is at a premium in the UK. There simply isn’t much free space to use, and the available space is limited by all sorts of things.”

    (#215).

    as to my assertion that you don’t know why:

    “Wind in The Netherlands is significantly more expensive than some other countries – double the US, for example*.
    * Why? I have no clue. If it interests you, why not try to find out?”

    (#327).

  530. Completely Fed Up:

    ” Septic Matthew says:
    23 January 2010 at 1:41 PM

    406 and 422, Ray Ladbury

    1% to 4% of GDP is $140B – $560B per year in the US. ”

    It is also recovered in 7 months.

    So instead of being as rich as you want in 8 years, it will take you 8 years and 7 months.

    Bad times looming indeed!

    (and you call the AGW proponents “alarmist”!!! It is to laugh!).

  531. Completely Fed Up:

    “503
    Jimbo says:
    24 January 2010 at 5:24 AM

    Now from soot to moisture depletion.”

    So when you talk about soot, does it explain the warming temperatures, the amount of melting?

    Come one, Jimbo.

    You proffer yourself as an expert.

  532. Completely Fed Up:

    Gilles: “And that all these people never paid attention to the fact that this wrong information, justifying the funding of millions dollars projects, had been wrongly reported in the most important assessing review in the world.”

    Please tell us which projects costing millions were undertaken solely or mainly from the idea that the Himalayas were going to be gone in 2035?

    Got any?

    Even one?

    How about any that cost thousands, then?

    No?

  533. Radge Havers:

    Gilles @ 506

    “concerning the himalayan glaciers “mistake”, I think it is really disturbing and it is very dissatisfying that people just say “oh, you know , nobody is perfect” ! c’me on guys ! the information comes from a phone call to Pr Haisnan, who is involved in the TERI directed by the very president and Nobel prize awarded R.K Pachauri. Pr Haisnan takes part to internationally funded projects aimed at assessing the risks of melting glaciers, and all these people just didn’t pay attention to the fact that a misleading information was published in the most read and important review on the subject ! are you kidding ?”

    No, you come on. For someone in a self-righteous uproar over proofreading, your post makes for strange reading.

    If you knew anything about proofing long documents, you’d know that mistakes occasionally get by even professional proofreaders and even after multiple passes using techniques like reading backwards, reading out loud in pairs, and running drafts past designers (notoriously inept readers) and multiple (often harried) authors.

    Are you desperate or what?

    (There are some ordinary-looking sentences that get passed around the inner-tubes form time to time that are practically impossible to read correctly–almost optical illusions. If I run across one, I’ll post a pointer.)

    Lynn @ 508

    Adams Applegate!

    We are indeed a sad species of energetic lunatics it seems.

  534. Bill:

    re #510. From the latest GISS data, it looks as if warming is regional, a bit like the MWP ?

  535. Global Patriot:

    It’s refreshing to hear about that fact that all studies and all organizations are subject to error, and that such errors don’t negate the totality of the evidence at hand.

    The point is to constantly review findings, and when errors are discovered, correct them and learn from the process. Over time the truth regarding long term trends will surface, despite any isolated incidences of misstatement.

  536. Ray Ladbury:

    Adam Gallon,
    First, the section in question was merely a working group report. The result was never highlighted. Second, if you don’t like the IPCC, fine. Look at the peer-reviewed research. There is plenty there to concern all but the most blinkered ideologue.

  537. Neil:

    Prof Kargel the ET Phone home carbon guy? It would be immoral to harvest carbon from Mars because it is protovivigenic.

    http://www.aapg.org/explorer/2009/06jun/kargel0609.cfm

    I miss the X-files, thanks for helping fill that void.

  538. Hank Roberts:

    http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/enviornment/glacier-goof-up-scientist-blames-ipcc-author_100306965.html

    The Indian scientists are quoted here, blaming and denying.

    The ‘related news’ section does a pretty good job.
    Kind of a finger-pointing circle; this has to be a caution to any scientist who has been misquoted or mis-paraphrased in any magazine article to somehow raise a red flag — and to the science journalists that they have to somehow get their editors to post errata.

  539. Neil:

    Thanks Ray L. I appreciate that RA Fisher’s arrogant and pointless 95% C.I. is now being laid to rest with the now far more tolerable 90% C.I.. Next on list of inconvenient statisticians–Bonferroni. Multiple comparison should increase the alpha value not decrease it. For two comparisons, 80% C.I.s should do. And so on and so forth. Thanks for the clearclimatecode link in any case.

  540. Completely Fed Up:

    “We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”

    WHICH IS NOT POLICY!!!

  541. Ray Ladbury:

    Kris@509, The ordinates on your plots don’t make much sense–are you sure you are looking at temperature in degrees Celsius?

  542. Doug S:

    The most damaging element of the debate on CO2 in the atmosphere is the suppression of skeptical viewpoints. Once an organization or individual engages in a one sided study of a topic and actively works to silence skeptics, then science in no longer taking place. What is taking place is political advocacy and that has no place inside any American institutions of science or education.

  543. Hank Roberts:

    > 521 http://web.me.com/stewartbrand/SB_homepage/Home.html
    Good pointer. “Page updated January, 02010″
    “Long Now” in practice; no Y10K date problem there!

  544. Jonatan:

    Apologies as this is off-topic, but I figured people here might be able to point me in the right direction. I’m looking for information on Carbon releases through the earths crust other than volcanoes. Basically I’m trying to find a reference for how large quantities of greenhouse gasses simply “seep” out of the crust through processes like diffusion and tiny cracks. On the one hand it seems that this should be a very small amount compared to volcanoes, on the other hand the earth has a large surface area, most of which is not covered by volcanoes.

    Many thanks if somebody could point me in the right direction.

  545. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    #495 & “What I did notice was that your “GLOBAL warming” was CHANGED to CLIMATE CHANGE. I wonder why?”

    I also wondered, then figured it was a Bush/Oil-led conspiracy to deny global warming. Even “global warming” doesn’t adequately describe the situation. It’s more like “GLOBAL CATASTROPHIC HEATING” or “THE END to life on planet earth as we know it.”

  546. imapopulistnow:

    #542 – Doug S, you are right on target. I am encouraged that the days where “the ends justifies the means” are finally over. Be it vote-buying for health care, bail-outs for Wall Street elites or scare-tactics for global warming, the people have said “enough is enough”.

    Hopefully we can now get on with the business of credible and objective science and we can find out what really is happening to our climate and what really are the consequences.

    I view this as a good time. objectivity and rational thought are on the rise and advocacy and political manipulation are on the wane. The pendulum swings once again.

  547. flxible:

    by Doug S:
    “What is taking place is political advocacy and that has no place inside any American institutions of science or education.”

    maybe you haven’t noticed, but I believe the American Supreme Court just disagreed with you – and note that the decision could have been the opposite with a change in one persons vote – singularities DO influence the collectivity

  548. Hank Roberts:

    Jonatan, try the footnotes and citing papers starting here; this will get you into the general area and suggest some search terms to use to learn more.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v411/n6835/full/411293a0.html
    I know nothing about this particular paper–it’s just an example of what you can find by searching with the terms you asked about.

  549. Completely Fed Up:

    “Basically I’m trying to find a reference for how large quantities of greenhouse gasses simply “seep” out of the crust through processes like diffusion and tiny cracks.”

    They don’t.

    There are small quantities that seep out, but they are small.

  550. Completely Fed Up:

    “The most damaging element of the debate on CO2 in the atmosphere is the suppression of skeptical viewpoints.”

    Nope, the skeptical viewpoints are fine.

    Denialist ones aren’t being suppressed: they’re not shutting up, even when the skeptical point of view of their raving is being repeated again and again.

    Stop playing the false victim.

  551. Ray Ladbury:

    Jonathan,
    First, the carbon that is going into the atmosphere is overwhelmingly of fossil origin–as we know from the decreasing C-13/C-12 ratio. Second, almost all the CO2 in the crust is going to be contained in carbonate rocks, and is stable unless it is heated significantly. Most CO2 release is associated with volcanism.

  552. Completely Fed Up:

    “534
    Bill says:
    24 January 2010 at 10:19 AM

    re #510. From the latest GISS data, it looks as if warming is regional, a bit like the MWP ?”

    Showing that Bill has never seen the picture of MWP temperatures.

    Bill, that was one year.

    That is weather.

    Climate + Variability.

    Add up the last 30 years and divide by 30.

    And you’ll find it isn’t all that regional after all…

  553. gary thompson:

    i’ve been looking at the GISS maps section and changing the variable. i first off use a smoothing radius of 250km which makes more sense to me and i’ve changed the based period to 1970-1980. if you do that, the 2009 map shows considerale cooling on the US, Europe and most of Russia with the only areas showing increased temps in the artic and Africa. changing the base period makes a big difference (obviously) and changing the smoothing radius to a make the weather station have less of an effect makes for a more meaningful representation.

    why has the base period quoted by most of the literature always been 1951-1980? that was a relatively cool time for the globe and might seem to skew the data for today.

    [Response: Trends don't depend on the baseline. Plot those instead. -gavin]

  554. dhogaza:

    The most damaging element of the debate on CO2 in the atmosphere is the suppression of skeptical viewpoints. Once an organization or individual engages in a one sided study of a topic and actively works to silence skeptics, then science in no longer taking place.

    Oh, Lord, someone else who thinks that those who claim the earth is only 6,000 should be able to sit at the dinner table along with scientists …

    Science is no longer taking place if every point of view isn’t treated as being equally valid. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  555. mircea:

    Completely Fed Up says: 24 January 2010 @ 8:13 AM

    “They [Simulations] are PROOFS of the scientific models of aerodynamics, mica.Just like climate modesl are TOOLS not proofs, but PROOFS of the scientific models of climatology.”

    No, Sir. The proofs come from measurements through experiment and observations plus logic. What you call proofs are results.

    Ray Ladbury says:24 January 2010 @ 8:31 AM
    “That’s pretty impressive validation. I’d say that’s at least 90% confidence, wouldn’t you?”

    I don’t know but I do not see any reasons not to believe the guys working on those simulations. But they know well why they talk about confidence (probability) and not tolerances when they present their results.
    Please see my comment 472 and the link provided by Doug Bostrom (href = http://www.aip.org/history/climate/GCM.htm)

    As Andrew said (474) validation it’s a complicated issue. Please see my comment 482 for more.

    It looks Pachauri will resign soon. I’d say that’s at least 90% confidence, wouldn’t you? :-)

  556. CM:

    Frank Giger (#459) said: “1.3.7.2 of the fourth assessment links the spreading and increase of malaria in Africa since the 1970’s to CO2 emissions”

    That’s such nonsense we have to assume you either haven’t read it, or you don’t know how to read. Or you just like wasting our time.

    The reference to the 1970s says malaria incidence has increased at some sites in East Africa and goes on: “It has yet to be proved whether this is due solely to warming of the environment.” Let alone to CO2-driven global warming. The section goes on to say things like “… Thus, while climate is a major limiting factor… many non-climatic factors … may alter or override the effects of climate … There is a shortage of concurrent and detailed long-term historical observations of climate and malaria … and the evidence on the role of climate change is unresolved.”

  557. robert:

    robert says: 23 January 2010 at 12:46 PM

    “Any calculations or modeling of the effects on atmospheric circulation or weather patterns from removing large amounts of energy from the atmosphere…”

    It’s not being removed, just moved.

    It is indeed being removed, converted to other forms, and returned in the form of heat.
    The question still remains whether calculations and or modeling have addressed the removal/movement of large amounts of energy from atmospheric circlation by large numbers of windmills?

  558. ChrissyStarr:

    Re: Comment by Completely Fed Up (24 January 2010 @ 10:16 AM) You said “Please tell us which projects costing millions were undertaken solely or mainly from the idea that the Himalayas were going to be gone in 2035? Got any? Even one? How about any that cost thousands, then? No?”

    Well, here’s a good one- Rajendra Pachauri’s Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). One grant, from the EU, totalled £2.5m and was designed to “to assess the impact of Himalayan glaciers retreat”. Another grant received this month from the Carnegie Foundation for £310,000 was specifically given to aid research into “the potential security and humanitarian impact on the region” as the glaciers began to disappear. This grant’s abstract stated “One authoritative study reported that most of the glaciers in the region “will vanish within forty years as a result of global warming, resulting in widespread water shortages.”

    That is a good one, you must admit! And, Dr Syed Hasnain, the scientist that supposedly made the bogus claim is the head of the glaciology unit at TERI…LOL!!!!! Please read the article http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6999975.ece

    Pachauri is toast.

  559. David Horton:

    “how large quantities of greenhouse gasses simply “seep” out of the crust through processes like diffusion and tiny cracks.” Is this a new one to make up for the “optimum temperature” and “I did notice was that your “GLOBAL warming” was CHANGED to CLIMATE CHANGE. I wonder why?” and “CO2 is not toxic” and “MWP disproves global warming” old timers peppered through this thread? I must say the quality of deniers seemed to have fallen on RC. Are they simply wearing out?

  560. Doug Bostrom:

    Doug S says: 24 January 2010 at 11:02 AM

    True, and how excellent that nobody has demonstrated a case for the actual existence of such a horrific scenario.

    Jonatan says: 24 January 2010 at 11:26 AM

    We’re not headed in this direction by any chance, are we?

    http://www.phys.uu.nl/~nvdelden/Segalstad.pdf

  561. Edward Greisch:

    489 Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.: There is no nuclear “waste”. It is perfectly good fuel that is being wasted. For political reasons. The US recycled fuel in the old days. France still does. 4th Generation reactors use it up. Chernobyl and 136 other Soviet-built reactors didn’t or still don’t have containment buildings.
    Don’t recite any more propaganda that the coal industry taught you. Talk about glaciers.

  562. David B. Benson:

    Doug Bostrom (476) — If I had my druthers, nobody would burn coal. Terrible stuff. I don’t have my drutherss so I have looked into CCS somewhat. It may prove to be a cost-effective way to burn up the rest of the minable coal without CO2 emissions. If effective, the same can then apply to burning natgas. More, it wcould be used with biomass burners to provide carbon-negative energy sources, a good thing; IPCC AR4 WG3 report opines so as well.

  563. David B. Benson:

    Jonatan (544) — It happens in the form of methane, possibly of biological origin. You might start by reading about the formation of methyl cathrates.

  564. Edward Greisch:

    492 ccpo: Food is the critical element. It is easier to find substitutes and other sources for rare earth metals than it is to find substitutes for food. With the Space Elevator, we will mine asteroids. We can also re-engineer how we transport ourselves or travel less, as in telecommuting. Just try not eating at all. Food is required regardless of the technology you happen to use. Lack of food is the one thing that causes an immediate and certain collapse of civilization. If there is no food, people no longer go to work. They wander off in search of food.
    China is likely to have a food shortage due to shifting winds and melted glaciers that will put China at the mercy of the US and Canada.

  565. EL:

    Ray Ladbury

    “Second, do you have any idea how tiring it is to keep hearing “Oh, it’s all too complicated,” even as climate science continues to elucidate Earth’s past and present climate and its predictions continue to be confirmed? Dude, Arrhenius predicted we’d warm the climate with pen and paper! “

    Do you know how tiring it is to see politics and science mixed? From an outsider, the climate science community appears to be on the brink of self destructing. People are claiming a certainty in a religious sense instead of a scientific one.

    In addition, the Himalayan glacier problem was no small issue as some seem to suggest; instead, it was very major.

    Lal “last night admitted [the scary figure] was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

    Should I even go into the grants that have been awarded for this nonsense?

    There absolutely zero defense for this.

  566. ghost:

    RE: 542 ” The most damaging element of the debate on CO2 in the atmosphere is the suppression of skeptical viewpoints.”

    You and the rest of the misguided/under-informed have that concept all wrong. Hansen, Gavin, Raypierre, Eric, Barton, Tamino, and the thousands of scientists practicing in the field are professional scientists. That makes them the MOST skeptical people on the planet! They don’t become convinced by casual anecdotes or half-baked radio talk show propaganda. Those whom you lament as ‘muzzled skeptics’ in fact are not doing the hands-on work, but merely are PR conduits for the extractive industries and carbon producing countries. They, and perhaps you, remind me of the TV commercial depicting Bob Uecker yelling from the baseball stands “He missed a tag!” Unhappy with, or seeing their incomes threatened by, the work of the true researchers, the only thing they can do is to cry “they cheated!” from the stands. This is big-kid stuff; drop the Animal House attitude and engage the evidence put together by the biggest skeptics ever–the real working scientists.

  567. Gilles:

    Radge Havers :”If you knew anything about proofing long documents, you’d know that mistakes occasionally get by even professional proofreaders and even after multiple passes using techniques like reading backwards, reading out loud in pairs, and running drafts past designers (notoriously inept readers) and multiple (often harried) authors.”

    How, really, do you think that it is THIS KIND of mistake ?

    what do you think of that :

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/09/india-pachauri-climate-glaciers

    “Two years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN agency which evaluates the risk from global warming, warned the glaciers were receding faster than in any other part of the world and could “disappear altogether by 2035 if not sooner”.

    Today Ramesh denied any such risk existed: “There is no conclusive scientific evidence to link global warming with what is happening in the Himalayan glaciers.” The minister added although some glaciers are receding they were doing so at a rate that was not “historically alarming”.

    However, Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC, told the Guardian: “We have a very clear idea of what is happening. I don’t know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement.”

    Ramesh said he was prepared to take on “the doomsday scenarios of Al Gore and the IPCC”.

    “My concern is that this comes from western scientists … it is high time India makes an investment in understanding what is happening in the Himalayan ecosystem,” he added.

    The government report, entitled Himalayan glaciers (pdf), looks at 150 years’ worth of data gathered from the Geological Survey of India from 25 glaciers. It claims to be the first comprehensive study on the region.

    Vijay Kumar Raina, the geologist who authored the report, admitted that some “Himalayan glaciers are retreating. But it is nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing to suggest as some have said that they will disappear.”

    Pachauri dismissed the report saying it was not “peer reviewed” and had few “scientific citations”.

    “With the greatest of respect this guy retired years ago and I find it totally baffling that he comes out and throws out everything that has been established years ago.”

    Do you think that Pachauri’s statements are “mistakes occasionally get by even professional proofreaders and even after multiple passes using techniques like reading backwards, reading out loud in pairs, and running drafts past designers (notoriously inept readers) and multiple (often harried) authors ” ????

    he seemed to be quite confident in what he said only two months ago. So do you have a (convincing) explanation for that ?

  568. Mal Adapted:

    The most damaging element of the debate on CO2 in the atmosphere is the suppression of skeptical viewpoints. Once an organization or individual engages in a one sided study of a topic and actively works to silence skeptics, then science in no longer taking place. What is taking place is political advocacy and that has no place inside any American institutions of science or education.

    What makes you think that’s happening?, Doug S.? Where is it taking place? “Skeptical” arguments are still published in refereed venues, and authoritatively refuted in the same venues. The stolen CRU emails convey irritation with so-called “skeptics” grinding non-scientific axes, and complaints that peer-review hasn’t been sufficiently rigorous in a few cases. There’s no evidence that any scientifically credible viewpoint has been suppressed. If you know of any skeptical scientific arguments that aren’t just recycled denier talking points, let’s hear them. If you can support them with evidence, they’ll be taken seriously. Any claims,skeptical or otherwise, that can’t be supported by evidence have no place in any “institution of science or education,” in America or elsewhere.

    “The most damaging element of the debate on CO2 in the atmosphere” are the insistent claims that the expert community suppresses any scientific “viewpoints”. That’s nothing more than political advocacy.

  569. Dave P:

    Another IPCC mistake has happened. A comment http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6999815.ece

  570. Gilles:

    completely fed up : Please tell us which projects costing millions were undertaken solely or mainly from the idea that the Himalayas were going to be gone in 2035?

    did I say “solely or mainly” ?
    I said it was an argument to found these projects, so I cannot imagine it is a mere typo in a report.

    “And how many facts were included in the report?

    Out of those, what are the percentages?

    0.001% failure rate?

    You wish you were that accurate, Gilles

    Unfortunately, as I said, I think it is “very likely” that ALL scenarios in SRES are wrong at least for oil production – even in a BAU picture. Strange for a report aiming at encompassing the whole possibilities of future .

    I don’t know how much is true in WGI. If it is 99,999 % true, being mainly a review of research works, it would mean that climatology has the absolute record of accuracy and reliability. Which would surprise me indeed (given the fact that fundamental quantities like climate sensitivity is not known with an accuracy better than 50 % for instance).

    But maybe that’s like religions : they all pretend to be true, although they are all mutually incompatible. So sometimes it is argued that they must be true “on average” ? meaning that the fact that every culture has a religion is enough to prove the existence of God .. hemmmm …

  571. pough:

    Jimbo @ 495 wrote:

    What I did notice was that your “GLOBAL warming” was CHANGED to CLIMATE CHANGE. I wonder why?

    Not only that, but I predict that quite soon now they’ll change the name of the “International Panel on Global Warming” to the “International Panel on Climate Change”! They’re just waiting for a time when other news will drown out the story. That’s my prediction. Remember you heard it here first!

  572. Stephen Pruett:

    Wow! Lots of comments on this. I agree that this one mistake is not a big deal. Also, I think some of the climategate emails that are being interpreted as damning could equally well be discussions about what the writers regarded to be bad science.

    However, there are enough messages showing that the East Anglia group and colleagues all over the world did some very inappropriate things and viewed their role, in addition to scientists, as propagandists.

    Most alarming to me is the refusal to make data available to others on request. I have read here that GISS and NCDC data are available online, but Ian Harrris’s struggles with one East Anglia data set (which is a part of the NCDC data, right?) indicates that the data might be in terrible condition and not reliable. The question I have is whether the community can make available the raw data, any programs used to modify the data (even, if they are “trivial” because mistakes in a processing program could affect the whole data set), records on deletion of stations (with reasons specified), and records on the reason for and formulas used to adjust data (for example, if a station was moved from a low altitude to a higher altitude location)?

    I expect this question will yield some unfriendly replies. However, the climate research community needs to know that these revelations are not just fodder for the rabid skeptics, they have moved many of us who were believers into the camp of uncertainty. I think there are many people in this category. The only way I can imagine convincing them is to provide the items mentioned above or even let the IPCC plus scientifically respected agnostics or non-believers (with regard to AGW) independently and in a blinded manner review and re-analyze the data. I think Dr. D’Aleo’s rhetoric sounds a bit extreme, but it also seems strange that the number of stations has decreased so much and that grids are commonly filled using data from relatively distant sites. If you (the climate research community) are as confident as you seem of the data and interpretation, I would think you would be the first to embrace such an endeavor.

    I would suggest the energy and anger of the climate research community could be better spent confirming the validity and interpretation of the data and making the “audited” and annotated data freely available, than by attacking skeptics. Otherwise, the numbers in the “uncertain” camp will continue to grow and we will be unlikely to see any serious climate change legislation.

  573. Leighton:

    I wanted to offer a comment on the original article. It is not as though anyone thought the IPCC was infallible. So the headline ought to be classed as snarky or maybe the type of argument known as “straw man.” While no one thought the IPCC was infallible, its propagandists (you know who you are) sure wanted everyone to think that the IPCC’s findings and conclusions are as reliable as science can get. What I’ve learned about the glacier boo-boo demonstrates far more than the mere fallibility to which all flesh may be heir. It demonstrates a genuinely outrageous sloppiness, which does and will often serve as the hallmark of the partisan, whose test is not “is it true?” but rather “does it serve?”

  574. ccpo:

    “The most damaging element of the debate on CO2 in the atmosphere is the suppression of skeptical viewpoints. Once an organization or individual engages in a one sided study of a topic and actively works to silence skeptics, then science in no longer taking place. What is taking place is political advocacy and that has no place inside any American institutions of science or education.

    Comment by Doug S — 24 January 2010 @ 11:02 AM”

    This little screed is utterly dishonest. If there were any legitimate debate, you’d be correct, but you are claiming a false premise. If, for example, we were asked to continue debating whether the Earth is flat, all know that is a waste of time and none would criticize labeling Flat Earthers as anything other than propagandists or, frankly, a bit cracked.

    Sadly, this situation is no different. The debate on what to do about Global Warming would be a good example of what you say IF there was suppression going on (there isn’t), but the debate about Green House theory, the effects of CO2 and whether we are warming or not? There is no debate, so your screed is just that, a screed. You are denying facts, data and observations. You are the Flat Earther in this scenario, and what is wrong is to knowingly claim facts are nothing but fairy dust and assist in pushing civilization to the brink of destruction.

  575. Kris:

    #549, Ray: The graph shows temperature in central Greenland. The data is taken from the URL below, table 1. No processing was applied, except for recalculating the dates.

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

    #501, Edward: Coal contains: [half of the periodic table]

    Not sure what you are getting at. I am very well aware what the coal contains, as my office is about 2 km straight line from the coal powered plant, and less than 10km away from a coal powered steel mill. I have enough sulfur in the air, that on a bad day if I leave samples with metallic silver on a table overnight, in the morning they are neatly covered with silver sulfide. So, I am all for eliminating it. I am however stronly opposed to the Copenhangen idea that instead of using money for replacing the coal infrastructures with nuclear or renewables, one should pay for the privilege of producing CO2. It would simply inflate the operating costs to the point that no money is left for the investment in carbon-neutral energy production. A much simpler idea would be to simply legislate that from, say, 2020 all new power generating blocks have to be carbon neutral. The older installations would be gradually phased out, and the cost would be nicely spread over 50 years of so.

    “you need on the order of 100 MILLION TIMES as much coal as uranium. That means the coal mine has to be 100 million times larger than the uranium mine”

    Um, no. The coal gives you about 20MJ/kg, while natural uranium gives you 443000MJ/kg (http://petroleum.berkeley.edu/patzek/ce24/Spring2003/heatvalues.htm), this is 22 thousand times, not 100 million times. (Enriched uranium has 8 times better energy yield, but you need 5 kg of natural uranium to produce 1 kg of enriched fuel). Next, a very good uranium ore contains at most 1000 ppm of uranium, so you have to mine 1 ton of rock to get 1 kg of fuel. That means that the uranium mine can be about 20 times smaller than the coal mine. Which seems about right.

  576. ccpo:

    As I argued on the previous thread, Johnno is perfectly right. The argument of coal is not valid, because conventional reserves of coal are not able to produce any of the catastrophic scenario that media describe so easily.

    Comment by Gilles — 24 January 2010 @ 5:44 AM

    False. There are a number of errors in this reasoning.

    1. Coal is not the only source of GHGs.

    2. This is a complex system in which feedbacks reinforce initial conditions.

    3. The amoung of GHG’s we have in the air and seas is already leading to feedbacks that may *already* have us past the point of no return. We are seeing effects from the increases in GHG’s that just a few years ago were not expected for decades or centuries. This tells us our understanding of the system is inadequate, but to the dangerous side, not the safe side. Sensitivity – when considered as all effects counted together – is higher than we thought. Very recently published research supports this.

    4. You assume YOUR assumptions about coal are correct.

    5. You are ignoring tipping points. 5. You are, intentionally, it would seem, relying on assumptions about safe levels of CO2 that are very, very out-of-date. The 350 number has already been passed and observations show that we are having effects now not expected until we hit 450/550/650. The only way your argument works is if 550 or more is safe.

    I tell you now, it isn’t.

  577. Rattus Norvegicus:

    <denialist>Hasnain? Isn’t that a Muslim name?</denialist>.

    More on point, after reading John Nelson-Gammon’s piece and Deltoid’s piece that it was a combination of journalistic “telephone”, which seems to lead back to Fred Pierce at New Scientist magazine, and a rather inexplicably lazy attitude on the part of the section author.

    As Deltoid points out, there was a comment on the SOD saying that the statement needed to be referenced and providing several suitable references in journals such a Journal of Climate and Nature. The author’s reply was a rather inexplicable “was unable to get a hold of suggested references”. Crikey! one of the papers was published in Nature for god’s sake! Now maybe the author of this section, apparently Murari Lal, should have been a wee bit more diligent in chasing down suggested sources instead of relying on Indian Government web sites, it might have saved some embarrassment both to him and the IPCC.

    BTW, Syed Hasnain appears to have not been an author of this section, even though Watt’s and McIntyre are trying to spin some sort of conspiracy out of this…

  578. ccpo:

    Edward Greisch — 24 January 2010 @ 4:15 PM

    It’s a complex system, so anything is possible. Personally, I see a fairly global food crunch coming. There are problems with weather/climate, population, erosion, GMO seeds, water, and, not least, fertilizers.

    We have a *systemic* problem based in complexity and over-population. It is not going to be pretty no matter how you look at it. Space elevator? I don’t think there’s going to be time for that.

  579. Thomas Lee Elifritz:

    The most damaging element of the debate on CO2 in the atmosphere is the suppression of skeptical viewpoints

    I hear this same argument from religious creationists especially young Earth creationists all the time. Nobody here is suppressing, censoring or otherwise preventing you from expressing your dissenting opinion. On the contrary, we welcome any crackpot theories you may have, and would be thrilled to hear them right now.

    Give it your best. It will be entertaining if anything.

  580. Rattus Norvegicus:

    gar thompson @553. I don’t know the exact reason for the choice of 1951-1980, but I suspect that it was the most recent 30 year baseline period when the first GISS analysis was done in the early 1980′s. The obvious reason for continuing to use it is that printed maps from past periods are directly comparable. The advent and widespread use of the web since the mid to late 1990′s (yes, youngsters, it is that new) has made that less important, but it is reasonable given the amount of legacy data out there.

  581. Ray Ladbury:

    Off topic, but:

    The Space Elevator is an absolute fantasy–physically impossible.

  582. Ray Ladbury:

    Mircea says, “It looks Pachauri will resign soon. I’d say that’s at least 90% confidence, wouldn’t you?”

    That is a matter of utmost indifference. Science depends on facts, not individuals. If you understood science you would see why character assassination is not a long-term winning strategy.

    As to the rest of your post… huh? Want to try again in complete sentences?

  583. johnny:

    There appears to be a difference between being fallable, and deliberately including an unsubstantiated claim to inflience policymakers?

  584. ccpo:

    “I did notice was that your “GLOBAL warming” was CHANGED to CLIMATE CHANGE. I wonder why?”

    I love this one. First, the term’s been around since the 80′s, I think I read on RC recently, but moreso because it was popularized by the BuCheney administration to reduce the impact of the discussion. That is, they wanted to make ACC seem less threatening.

    Ironic the Flat Earth crowd now use BuCheney distortions to support their own claims against ACC.

  585. ferocious:

    In response to 460:
    RealClimate -gavin 1-23-2010

    “But you completely misunderstand the nature of what is being predicted. It is not the short term trends – the demonstration was not to demonstrate that models are wonderful, but rather that this is not an interesting test. – gavin’

    From your presentations, and the IPCC reports, it is very difficult to see what is being predicted. Any parameterized model, just on basic principles, cannot be presumed to be accurate outside of the range used to set the parameters.

    Just an example from you own analysis: “As you can see, now that we have come out of the recent La Niña-induced slump”. If the low temps recorded in 1999-2000 are due to La Nina, what is the cause of the low temps in 2007-2009. That average is actually a bit lower than the ensemble prediction compared to the El Nina cooling.

    I keep going back to Dr. Hanson’s original model back in the 1960′s, which he updated in 2006. The closest prediction is still scenario C, which presupposed stringent reductions in CO2 emissions. That makes the most robust prediction over the last 50 years that global warming predictions are getting smaller and smaller. Since CO2 production has not been reduced to any significant degree the models have been consistently coming down in their predictions of temperature increase.

    [Response: This is simply confused. Hansen's (note spelling) model prediction was published in 1988, and the forcings that were closest to observed was scenario B (which is some 10% higher than actual forcings turned out to be, and there is nothing in how that projection has turned out that was made that indicates that climate sensitivity is less than we generally think. See the last post on this for more discussion. - gavin]

    So, predict some long term trends. Pick one of you models, use the current parameters, set the initial conditions to your best estimate of conditions 450,000 ybp, and run it. If the results parallel the paleo record for temperatures, ice extent,CO2, estimated average global temperatures(in 1000 yr increments), and follows the changes in climate within a few thousand years for each glaciation it will prove that you have a reasonable model.

    Keep in mind, stone age technology could predict astronomical movements to a couple parts per thousand. Newtonian physics refined this to parts per million. Einstein improved it to parts per billion. That is the strength of a model based on good understanding of the basic physics.

  586. Steve Smith:

    It doesn’t matter that AGW is real. The IPCC is now proven to be politically motivated first and a scientific body second. Exaggerated alarmism has buried all the good work that the honest scientists had compiled. A reputation is something you can never recover once lost. Kinda like Rachel Carson, the alar people, the new ice agers, the ozone holers and the acid rainers. Too bad AGW is true. A few nuts may have just doomed the human race. The boy cried wolf was eventually honest.

  587. Lyle:

    RE # 150. In Texas the opposition is to transmission lines not wind farms. Most of the land in the wind farms is private ranch land. You offer a rancher 5k a year to put a turbine on land that would at best support 1/2 a cow a year and he says where do I sign for such free money. In Snyder Texas the recent wind farm was pushed thru by local ranchers who saw how further south the ranchers were getting free money and said I want some. California is different because so much of the land is federal so city dwellers have some say in the matter. For a while today Texas was at 18% wind power on the Texas Grid. Many city dwellers should be given the choice freeze in the dark or allow renewable developments, sort of like the feel in Texas during the carter energy crisis, that the Northeast should be left to freeze in the dark for their nimby ideas. In West Texas there is no scenery to spoil its flat to rolling ranch land.

  588. Mike Flynn:

    Hi all.

    For once, I think I am not OT.

    A mistake based on a misreading? Who cares?

    Here’s a couple.

    The Guardian newspaper (which once printed itself as the Grauniad), many years ago many years ago had Queen Victoria “p-iss over Westminster Bridge” – to the delight of the cheering multitudes, I believe.

    Similarly, the Cork Examiner survived the Royal wrath after printing the caption “Queen Victoria p-issing over Patricks Bridge” under a picture of the Royal carriage on the Bridge.

    Hopefully unintentional, possibly even true!

    Live well and prosper.

  589. paul:

    The whole world of the IPCC is crashing down. Far from being an isolated mistake of ‘proofreading’, it appears now that AR4 is riddled with errors and citations from non PEER REviewed studies. It appears that WWF documents were cited no less than 15 TIMES.

    It also appears a section on African drought repeated in AR4 is based on fallacy, not fact. The genie is out of the bottle, and the fact RC is still attempting to portray this latest scandal as minor is testament to the cluelessness of the editors. You should be at the forefront of throwing out the IPCC people responsible for such crap, yet you try to defend them. That says everything.

  590. ferocious:

    re #456 I’ll form my own opinions Hank. The IPCC was formed as an organization with a political purpose:

    The following is a quote from UNEP on its purpose and the purpose of the IPCC(a product of this treaty).

    “The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. The objective of the treaty is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.[1]

    (1)The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent gerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

    UN General Assembly Resolution 44/224.
    International co-operation in the monitoring, assessment and anticipation of
    environmental threats and in assistance in cases of environmental emergenc
    The General Assembly,

    Convinced that one of the main global problems facing the world today is
    the deterioration of the environment,”

    In summary, the UNEP had determined, in 1992, that greenhouse gases constituted a danger to the climate system, and the purpose of the convention(and hence the IPCC) was to stabilize levels of greenhouse gases “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference”. This is pretty clearly a document with a political purpose, and is the basis for all the IPCC’s follow on work.

    At the time, the UN had data that showed ~.3 deg. C increase in global temperature over 20 years as a basis for this view. So, taking a short term weather event is appropriate as a basis for long term policy development and the basis for assigning human CO2 emissions as the major cause of global warming. Keep in mind, the same data also shows a larger increase from 1910 to 1940, which is clearly before any significant increase in human CO2 emissions. This is pretty thin evidence to base a world-wide CO2 reduction policy. The evidence since, based on the continuing global temperature evidence is not much clearer. The chart in IPCC AR4, p. 253, shows basically the same thing, ending at a later date(2005): two thirty year periods with comparable increases in temperature. This graph also uses an extremely misleading technique, comparing trends over widely different periods, to claim that global warming is accelerating. There is no scientific basis to compare a 150 yr, 100 yr, 50 yr, and 25 yr. trend. A more rational reading of this graph shows a small increase over 40 years, a dramatic 10 yr drop starting in 1900, a moderate 30 year rise, another dramatic 10 yr drop starting in 1940, some steady temps over 30 years, followed by moderate another increase over 25 years.

    If 30 years is the dividing line between “climate” and “weather” we are stuck with 1(one!) marginally long enough piece of climate data showing global warming that has been ascribed to human causes. I’d suggest we go back to the original meaning of climate, the traditional Köppen-Geiger climate classification scheme.(Google Koppen climate).

    Yes glaciers melt, sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s cold, some places the tree line is going up, others it’s going down, the anchovies quit coming to California in 1910, we don’t really understand the climate, we can’t accurately predict when it will change. The climate models need to come up with a sound scientific basis to explain the various climates that right now occur across the globe. If they can predict those starting from 450,000 years ago we might have a handle on climate change.

    [Response: very interesting, except that IPCC was formed prior to UNFCCC, and its first report was in 1990. - gavin]

  591. Radge Havers:

    Gilles @ 567

    Meh. As concerns the IPCC document, the 2035 date is a minor embarrassment. The rest is just a side show. So far, nobody that I have heard has actually demonstrated that the overall summarization of the science is flawed and that the concept of AGW needs to be dumped.

    If you find something to that effect, I want to hear it because I’m tired of thinking about it. That said, so much counterfeit emotion and conspiratorial innuendo is a pretty low standard for evaluating science and is not sufficient to make me drop it. In fact, it only annoys me and makes me grumpy.

  592. Doug Bostrom:

    ferocious says: 24 January 2010 at 8:47 PM

    It does not sound as though you’ve read much about the actual models you’re speculating over. Here’s a place to do so:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/GCM.htm

  593. Doug Bostrom:

    imapopulistnow says: 24 January 2010 at 12:30 PM

    Are you complaining about politicization, or celebrating it? It’s impossible to tell from your post, which is all about politics.

  594. Richard Ordway:

    “Madhav L Khandekar
    A former research scientist from Environment Canada
    and is an expert reviewer for the IPCC 2007 Climate Change Documents.
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/global-warming-and-glacier-melt-down-debate-a-tempest-in-a-teapot/

    I don’t care who you are. You know the drill. Where is your peer revewed evidence? Peer review and published papers is how science has been done since the 1600s and you know it. Otherwise people with personal agendas can push their political opinions without evidence to try to enact political changes…such as the example of “There is no solid evidence that smoking tobacco hurts you.”

    Dr. Richard Lindzen, PHd has all sorts of credentials and his evidence has not held up for a decade in the open world-wide juried, peer reviewed journals. You should be ashamed of yourself. You know this is not how science is done and has not been done since the 1600s.

    Your actions are an embarrassment.

    So publish your evidence that holds up over time. That is how science is done and you know it very well. The IPCC is scientific and honestly includes contrarians whose work-doesn’t-hold-up-over-time so all points of view are represented.

  595. Septic Matthew:

    530, Completely Fed Up: It is also recovered in 7 months.

    That’s good to know. I’ll remember it.

  596. Wtmusic:

    Jiminmpls:

    Let’s throw in the $7B taxpayers paid to wind producers between 2002-2007
    in the form of the $.015/kWh PTC (Production Tax Credit – also a subsidy) and redo the math:

    $11.2B / 26.1B kWh = $.42/kWh (wind) vs $.25/kWh (nuclear)

    Nuclear is a bargain.

    http://www.awea.org/faq/wwt_costs.html

  597. Gilles:

    As I argued on the previous thread, Johnno is perfectly right. The argument of coal is not valid, because conventional reserves of coal are not able to produce any of the catastrophic scenario that media describe so easily.

    Comment by Gilles — 24 January 2010 @ 5:44 AM

    False. There are a number of errors in this reasoning.

    1. Coal is not the only source of GHGs.

    The main difference between the routes opened to us lies in the coal. All the other can be only marginally changed, and don’t influence significantly the GHG final effect.


    2. This is a complex system in which feedbacks reinforce initial conditions.

    You may know-or not- that strongly coupled non linear system do often exhibit spontaneous limit cycles that are generally very poorly understood. You may know – or not – for instance that the 11 -year solar cycle is still a mystery in the models of sun. May be it proves it’s anthropic ?


    3. The amoung of GHG’s we have in the air and seas is already leading to feedbacks that may *already* have us past the point of no return. We are seeing effects from the increases in GHG’s that just a few years ago were not expected for decades or centuries. This tells us our understanding of the system is inadequate,

    you said it. Well, any reasonable scientist would deduce that the models are inaccurate, but in this case , it casts doubts on all their predictions. If you do astrology, and it happens that something worse than what you have predicted happens, would you deduce that ALL your predictions are underestimated and that evrything will go worse ?

    but to the dangerous side, not the safe side.

    this has no scientific justification. You speak like an animist, believing that nature knows what is dangerous and safe for mankind. The only thing you can say is that our models are inaccurate. Period.


    Sensitivity – when considered as all effects counted together – is higher than we thought. Very recently published research supports this.

    Figures ?


    4. You assume YOUR assumptions about coal are correct.

    MY assumptions are the OFFICIAL proved reserves, even in IPCC reports. All the extra coal is POSSIBLE – and the example of oil shows that possible is mainly unreachable economically.

    The only way your argument works is if 550 or more is safe.

    which level do you think we can REASONABLY reach, given all political and economical constraints ?
    I tell you now, it isn’t.

  598. Martin Vermeer:

    Steve Smith #586: Ah, you want to have your cake and eat it. Don’t want to believe what the scientists are telling you, but just on the off-chance that they may be right (as you damn well know they are), you want to blame them for your own stupidity too.

    Learn to take some responsibility dude. Nature frowns on stupid.

  599. Edward Greisch:

    575 Kris: I don’t care how the politicians do it as long as all coal fired power plants get replaced by non fossil fuel sources of electricity by the end of 2015. [Natural gas is a fossil fuel too.] A simple edict banning coal for electricity and banning conversion to other fossil fuels would be fine with me. I didn’t invent cap-and-trade.
    The bad news is that we can’t wait 50 years for the conversion to happen. Mother Nature is arbitrary, fickle and violent. She isn’t going to be nice to us just because we are such cute creatures. See: “Climate Code Red” by David Spratt and Philip Sutton. Per “Climate Code Red”, we need ZERO “Kyoto gas” emissions RIGHT NOW and we also need geo-engineering because we have already gone way beyond the safe CO2 level of 300 to 325 ppm. We are already at 455 ppm equivalent and we have tripped some very big tipping points. We aren’t dead yet, but the planet needs critical intensive care if we humans are to have a chance of survival. If the conversion is not completed in time, be terrified. I am terrified already. That is why I comment here.
    Other books: “With Speed and Violence”. “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas. “Under a Green Sky” by Peter D. Ward. “The Vanishing Face of Gaia” by James Lovelock.

    Energy from uranium: 385 Million electron volts per fissioning atom.
    Energy from coal: Something like 1 electron volt per electron shared, or less. 1 carbon atom has 4 electrons to share with 2 oxygen atoms, 2 each. That’s 4 electron volts of energy.
    The ratio is about 100 million to 1.
    We are ignoring overburden removal and a lot of other costs for coal. For uranium mining, consider in situ leaching. The U238 is not to be wasted because it should be bred into reactor fuel and used as reactor fuel.

    Sulfur in the coal is the least of your worries. You are being poisoned slowly. Would you call it murder, since you are the victim?

  600. Edward Greisch:

    581 Ray Ladbury: See http://www.liftport.com/
    I once owned stock in this defunct company. It is possible with carbon nanotubes or diamond nanowire. It is just that we are having trouble producing defect free carbon nanotubes in the required length or diamond nanowire at all.

  601. Completely Fed Up:

    “586
    Steve Smith says:
    24 January 2010 at 9:34 PM

    It doesn’t matter that AGW is real. The IPCC is now proven to be politically motivated first and a scientific body second.”

    And this proof is in a book called “The Necronomicon”?

    Or is this proof merely in your conspiracy theorist head?

    And if it were, why would that make AGW not matter if it’s real?

  602. Completely Fed Up:

    “I did notice was that your “GLOBAL warming” was CHANGED to CLIMATE CHANGE. I wonder why?”

    What does the CC in “IPCC” stand for?

    And it was a Republican Senator (Frank Luntz) who wanted climate change pushed because it was less scary than global warming.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Luntz#Global_warming

    Projection, again: you change the push then blame your opponents of making the change.

    Pathetic.

  603. Completely Fed Up:

    Leighton: “While no one thought the IPCC was infallible, its propagandists (you know who you are) sure wanted everyone to think that the IPCC’s findings and conclusions are as reliable as science can get.”

    Being as reliable as science can get doesn’t mean infallible.

    What is going on up there, boy?

  604. Completely Fed Up:

    Gilles:

    “completely fed up : Please tell us which projects costing millions were undertaken solely or mainly from the idea that the Himalayas were going to be gone in 2035?

    did I say “solely or mainly” ?”

    Then the error in here has not cost millions in projects that are, now that it’s not 2035, unwanted expense, are they, since there’s nothing else wrong you’ve found.

    So why were you whingeing about it?

    “Unfortunately, as I said, I think it is “very likely” that ALL scenarios in SRES are wrong at least for”

    Why do you think this? Purely so that you can complain about millions being spent?

    “If it is 99,999 % true, being mainly a review of research works, it would mean that climatology has the absolute record of accuracy and reliability. Which would surprise me indeed”

    So if it IS that accurate, you’re surprised and would consider that wrong.

    If they AREN’T that accurate, you’re complaining that millions are being wasted on incorrect science.

    Heads you win/tails they lose, huh?

    “(given the fact that fundamental quantities like climate sensitivity is not known with an accuracy better than 50 % for instance).”

    Uhm, when you say “I am 5′ 10″ tall, within 6 inches” that is inaccurate and 100% correct.

    And it means you can’t make doors 5′ tall and there’s no point making trousers for me 4′ long.

    That range of sensitivity is correct and none of it occurs over a range of sensitivity that results in us wasting money if we tackle CO2 production.

    You complain about wasting millions but don’t have a reason to claim them wasted.

    Fail.

    You complain that the sensitvity range is large, but neither extreme has a scenario where AGW mitigation is not warranted and you ignore it.

    Fail.

  605. Completely Fed Up:

    ” Lal “last night admitted [the scary figure] was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

    Should I even go into the grants that have been awarded for this nonsense?

    There absolutely zero defense for this.”

    What crime is there a defense for?

    That quote has been used to claim that the IPCC is a policy making forum, but there’s a great defense against that charge: that statement is NOT MAKING POLICY.

    And you fail to point out which grants were awarded to combat the Himalaya 2035 prediction, just like the new Tilo, Gilles.

    Got one?

    ANYTHING?

    No?

    Then there’s no charge to answer for and no need for a defence.

    After all, what defence do you have for lascivious thoughts about young children, EL?

    That has no defence, except: you don’t have those thoughts.

  606. Completely Fed Up:

    “Well, here’s a good one- Rajendra Pachauri’s Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). One grant, from the EU, totalled £2.5m and was designed to “to assess the impact of Himalayan glaciers retreat”. ”

    Well, that would find out that the 2035 was wrong and find out what the figure should be.

    This is called “science”.

    And it wasn’t only for Himalayas, but for many mountain glacier studies.

    Another grant received this month from the Carnegie Foundation for £310,000 was specifically given to aid research into “the potential security and humanitarian impact on the region” as the glaciers began to disappear.”

    And they are disappearing.

    The 2035/2350 error doesn’t stop the glaciers melting.

    THEY ARE MELTING.

    Your arguments are toast.

    “And, Dr Syed Hasnain, the scientist that supposedly made the bogus claim is the head of the glaciology unit at TERI…LOL!!!!!”

    Well, where do you expect a climate scientist to work? There’s not a multi-trillion-dollar industry with hundreds of players to work with.

    You really have to drag at the bottom of the barrel, don’t you, to feed your hate.

  607. Completely Fed Up:

    Robert: “The question still remains whether calculations and or modeling have addressed the removal/movement of large amounts of energy from atmospheric circlation by large numbers of windmills?”

    Large quantities?

    1) The wind doesn’t go to 0mph at the other side of the windmill.

    2) The windmills occupy the bottom 0.3% of the atmosphere

    The amount of energy needed to be extracted makes <0.001% of the energy available is extracted if you interrupt the wind with maximum windmill densities across the world. The amount extracted for meeting 100% of the world's requirement is miniscule compared to THAT.

    This "problem" has been bleated about before.

    It was bllx then it's bllx squared now.

  608. Completely Fed Up:

    “No, Sir. The proofs come from measurements through experiment and observations plus logic.”

    Which we have:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

    Measurement through experiment and observation.

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    Logic and experimental measurement.

    It seems more like YOU are the one missing logic.

    Or even reading skills.

  609. Completely Fed Up:

    “But they know well why they talk about confidence (probability) and not tolerances when they present their results.”

    So when you tell the designers your design has a tolerance of 20um, how do you arrive at that?

    You use confidence limits.

    At least if you’re an ENGINEER you do.

    When the twin towers burned down, didn’t they say that it would withstand just that scenario? The design spec certainly asked it to withstand a laden jumbo jet hitting it.

    I guess the tolerances they used only had a limited confidence in reaching the design goal, huh?

  610. Tim Jones:

    Re: 560 Completely Fed Up says: 24 January 2010

    “Once peak oil is reached (a few years ago …), ”
    “The problem with that definition, is that if the price of oil goes high enough, you could start exploiting coal reserves and tar shale extraction.
    “Now you’ve increased production and fossil-fundies proclaim “See!!!! The scientists got it wrong AGAIN!!!”.
    “Your version is far too fungible, my definition is the economic one, yours and Tims the engineering one.”

    If you looked at the charts you’d see the peaks for unconventional oil is included. Gas is included. Our definition is the geological one – named for M. King Hubbert, The original US curve was called Hubbert’s Peak.

    http://www.oilposter.org/posterlarge.html
    or
    http://planetforlife.com/oilcrisis/oilpeak.html

    Do you really propose to snag a new definition out of an economics magazine and confuse everyone with it? There is only one peak in this, not a mountain range, the peak is only known after a few years, when depletion is well recognized.

    It should be recognized there are a lot of wells and other kinds of holes out there. New finds and improved extraction slow down the inevitable drop off. Peak oil is geology. It’s real. The real debate is about what to do about it.

    The current cost of oil and the ERoEI for new recovery will determine acceptable risk for new ventures. If the EROEI
    of tar sands included the cost of addressing climate change, gasoline would be prohibitively expensive. But we allow corporations to externalize the cost of environmental protection. Taxpayers pay the cost of cleaning up the mess while investors rake in the cash. Taxpayers fall for this because they’re confused and misled by the anti-science AGW denialist crowd in the game to maximize the value of their investments. Most of the anti-science screeds are funded by right wing think tanks.

    The later we put off the peak in peak oil, the more we flatten the peak with alternative energy, the shallower the down slope depletion horrors will be.

    So this is what’s so horribly wrong with right wing elements politicizing climate change and acidification of the ocean.

    The way to address peak oil is with alterative energy specific to transportation. Electric cars powered by wind and solar, etc. The republican right wing’s obstructing subsidies for alternative energy thus accelerates the peak in peak oil making it worse and us unprepared.

    What’s really sick is underestimating Chinese investment in alternative energy. Right wing obstruction to US investment in alternative energy is borderline treasonable. It amounts to giving aid and comfort to the enemy while making the US economy vulnerable to a more complete Chinese takeover of the means of production. We need to take peak oil seriously.
    Per se, it’s not going to save us from perhaps even more serious consequences of global warming. It could be used to leverage action on alternative energy though, if it were understood in terms of geological facts.

  611. Completely Fed Up:

    Here’s something for all those wailing and gnashing their teeth over this:

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/01/11/mojib-latif-slams-daily-mail/#more-1409

    When are you going to rail at the Daily Mail et al and get them to stop making stuff up.

    If their lies are listened to, then millions of pounds will be wasted, spent on burning CO2 we have to remove from the atmosphere.

  612. Oslo:

    Here in Norway 90% of glaciers are growing despite the reported temperature increase. More snowfall in winter is the explanation.

    Similarly – less snowfall in winter is a major contributor to shrinking glaciers elsewhere.

    But in the reports it all seems to come down to one factor – temperature increase caused by human induced CO2.

    There is a clear bias here, detracting from the credibility of the IPCC.

  613. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jimbo: Will you people stop fingering CO2? She’s not-guilty, she’s not toxic!!

    BPL: Look again:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

  614. Geoff Wexler:

    What lessons should we have learned

    With regards to the report from working group 2 (Impacts) in particular.

    Don’t rely on any single review no matter how good or prestigous. Environmentalists and politicians should employ some bright people to read the ipcc reports (how many people do?) in their entirety and go back to the sources (references) for topics which are of special concern. If that turns out to be insufficient it is usually possible to obtain more information by writing to the authors.

    Any sensible policy maker or environmentalist group would have done this in any case.

    What has the pro-CO2 emitting lobby learned
    As far as I can see their conclusion is that the mistake should be used as model for all behaviour i.e. the public and politicians should be persuaded to rely on blogs , articles and books which don’t bother with peer reviewed papers at all for the crucial details. (Ian Plimer for example only pretends to rely on them, as was demonstrated by his encounters with George Monbiot).

    Finally I wonder why I was never under the impression that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear so quickly? Was it because I was lazy or was it that I never read about it in Realclimate, Open Mind,Grumbine etc. ?

  615. Ray Ladbury:

    Steve Smith @586. Yawn! Dude, it’s a frickin typo from an organization that publishes thousands of pages. But fine. Don’t like the IPCC, go to the peer reviewed literature, and it will tell you pretty much the same thing–we’re warming the planet and this will have severe consequences unless we do something different.

  616. Ray Ladbury:

    ferocious, Why not go to the literature and see what is being predicted? And don’t bother saying you did–you didn’t even get the year right on Hansen’s original model! Also, we are dealing with dynamical models, not “parameterized” models fit to data. Do learn the difference, please, as it will save a lot of confusion.

    What climate science predicts is that each successive decade ought to be warmer than the one before it unless known forcings change significantly. And lo and behold, that’s been true for 30 years.
    Here are some other predictions that have been verified:

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    Got anything that comes close to that? Didn’t think so.

  617. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Doug S: The most damaging element of the debate on CO2 in the atmosphere is the suppression of skeptical viewpoints

    BPL: Suppression HOW? Denier pseudoscience is chattered about 24/7 on the internet. Lindzen gets published regularly in respectable journals, as does Svensmark. You’ve got your own fake journals, like Energy & Environment. You guys OWN right-wing talk radio, plus the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Fox News is Denier TV Central. Deniers get their books published on Amazon and in all the major bookstores. If this is being suppressed, please, please, SUPPRESS ME!!!

  618. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jonatan,

    Volcanoes plus metamorphism is about 330 million tons per year, of which volcanoes account for 200 million (T.M. Gerlach of USGS, pc).

  619. Bill DeMott:

    “Kinda like Rachel Carson, the alar people, the new ice agers, the ozone holers and the acid rainers. Too bad AGW is true. A few nuts may have just doomed the human race. The boy cried wolf was eventually honest.”

    Comment by Steve Smith — 24 January 2010 @ 9:34 PM

    Ok Steve:

    So, reducing CFCs has reduced the rate of increase of the ozone hole, as predicted. Acid rain is still a problem, but has been reduced (in North America and Europe) largely by removing sulfur from the smoke stacks of coal burning power plants and shutting down smelters. In my opinion, these are examples of how science, regulation and pollution control have helped solve environmental problems. The ozone hole problem is an excellent example of the role of international cooperation. Your insinuation that these two issues were environmental hoaxes is completely wrong. Unfortunately for their people, the Chinese are just starting to deal with pollution, such as acid rain, from coal and other sources.

  620. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Stephen Pruett: Most alarming to me is the refusal to make data available to others on request.

    BPL: It’s not alarming to anyone with a clue. 95% of the CRU data has always been in the public domain. The other 5% is held by national met services around the world which charge for it, and which required CRU NOT to release it further–which is why the FOI judge ruled that CRU had done nothing illegal. You want that 5%? Go pay for it. But 95% of the data is all you need, and for that matter, 100% of the NASA GISS, RSS TLT, and UAH MSU data is public domain. What’s wrong with that data? How much data do you need?

  621. William Smart:

    Even more damaging than the two stories in the Times (detailing how grant applications passed this month contained statements falsified last month) is the attempt to pretend this isn’t serious.

  622. Bob:

    For those following the MWP / Medieval Warm Period / GWP / Global Warm Period argument: Mann (2009)

  623. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Now they are attacking the IPCC on other grounds — GW linked to extreme weather (floods & cyclone intensity) — see The Australian, “United Nations caught out again on climate claims”
    http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=149573

    THE UN climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to a rise in natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.

    The latest controversy goes back to the IPCC’s benchmark 2007 report on climate change, which warned that the world had “suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s”. It suggested part of the increase was because of global warming…

    However, the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, by the time the climate body issued its report. When the paper was published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: “We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophic losses.”…

    The paper at the centre of the latest questions was written in 2006 by Robert Muir-Wood, head of research at Risk Management Solutions, a London consultancy, who became a contributing author on the IPCC report on climate change impacts.

    He wanted to find out if the eight year-on-year increase in losses caused by weather-related disasters since the 1960s was larger than could be explained by the impact of social changes such as growth in population. Such an increase, coinciding with rising temperatures, would suggest global warming was to blame.

    In the research, Mr Muir-Wood looked at a range of hazards, including tropical cyclones, floods and hurricanes. He found from 1950 to 2005 there was no increase in the impact of disasters once growth was accounted for. For 1970 to 2005 he found a 2 per cent annual increase that “corresponded with a period of rising global temperatures”, but said almost all of it was because of strong hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005. Despite such caveats, the IPCC report cited only the 1970-2005 results.

    Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, who commissioned Mr Muir-Wood’s paper, has told the IPCC that citing one section in preference to the rest was wrong.

    “The idea that catastrophes are rising in cost because of climate change is completely misleading,” Mr Muir-Wood said.

    To me this is sort of a red herring. Of course, the value to the property destroyed really has only a little to do with the intensity of the flood or cyclone. What if the flood or cyclone was really terrible, but only hit uninhabited or very poor areas, or during our economic downturn when the property value was half the cost as during economic boom times?

    How can this even be a proxy for severe weather events? It only talks about actual harms….which are important as effects, but not as determinations as to whether GW is linked to storms.

    Then there is the issue of policy-makers and their role. Which is NOT to look back and assess harm done during Katrina (and as scientists point out, you cannot tie single weather events to GW, which is a big statistical thing made up of all weather). Their role is to look forward and prevent harm from happening. One part of the responsibility is to see that GW is mitigated, so LIKELY increasing intense weather events on into the future don’t cause harms to property and lives.

    However, since the general public doesn’t know the difference between weather and climate, or other factors, it is quite devious for the media to print stories like that.

    And of course it is quite misleading so suggest that no link to storm intensity right now (and I do believe there are plenty of peer-reviewed articles to support there is some link even now), mean GW is not happening, there will be no links in the future, and esp THERE ARE NO OTHER PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH GW.

    What about droughts, sea rise, disease spread, heat deaths, crop failure, etc etc. Even if it were found GW would not be intensifying storm, that gives me zero solice, due to all the other much worse problems we know will come with GW.

  624. dhogaza:

    Johnny:

    There appears to be a difference between being fallable, and deliberately including an unsubstantiated claim to inflience policymakers?

    yes, they were so intent on deliberately including an unsubstantiated claim to influence policy makers that …

    THEY DIDN’T PUT IT IN THE SUMMARY FOR POLICY MAKERS!

    Gee, Johnny …

  625. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    As an addendum to what I just wrote re storm-GW link — what looks like it might be an intentionally created — controvery by the sponsor of that article, this is such a ridiculous attack for the simple reason that mitigating GW-linked storm intensity by GHG reduction, etc. is exactly the same mitigation for GW in general, as well as GW-linked heat deaths, GW-linked droughts, GW-linked glacier retreat, GW-linked disease-spread, GW-linked hydrogen sulfide outgassing that will knock off much of weakened life, as it did during the end-Permian great warming hysteresis, when 95% of life died.

    I do feel the pain of billionaires when their beach-front properties get destroyed by hurricanes, but we’re talking about the viability of life on planet earth.

    So if policy-makers are calling for GHG reduction to mitigate GW, bec they have in mind that GW cause earthquakes (apparently it might cause small ones as glaciers retreat in Greenland), or they are worried about hurricane intensity (supposing it is later found not linked to GW), then it doesn’t really matter, does it, since there are so many other good reasons to mitigate.

    Someone specializing in logic should step in here to point out what fallacy I’m taling about.

  626. Edward Greisch:

    490 Frank Giger: I see no reason to reduce your standard of living as long as you get your energy from sources that don’t produce CO2 like fossil fuels do. The problem comes from Congress not having the courage to stand up to the fossil fuel industry with its $1Trillion/year cash flow. Instead of doing what has to be done, shutting down the coal industry immediately, they do what I call “displacement activity.” By displacement activity, I mean making laws that do irrelevant things like require that toilets use so little water they can’t work and require that appliances hassle you and turn themselves off when you don’t want them to. That sort of law is just silly, but it allows them to pretend that they are doing something. The thing that controls the climate that is under our control is CO2. Wasted energy is easily dissipated into space if the CO2 level in the atmosphere is low enough.
    So you see, your lifestyle is not in danger from reasonable environmentalists.

  627. mircea:

    Doug Bostrom says (479): 24 January 2010 @ 12:17 AM
    “I’m surprised you’re not squeamish about your line of work, given your apparent lack of confidence in science. You seem to be worried that models previously verified may suddenly and mysteriously break even while being unable to propose how that might happen.”

    What? I think you misunderstood, let me explain:

    There are two distinct domains for a simulations: One is the envelope of validity and, obviously, the second is the outside of this envelope. The word validity on this site can be wrongly taken so I will use domain of interpolation and domain of extrapolation (in day to day language we use the term “certified”).

    In the domain of interpolation (where one measured the two ends of the interval where the calculus is done), and this is the case of a flight simulator, the result of the simulation has 100% confidence and as such there is no need for a measurement on the real object. When we present the result we just need to present the tolerances and we never talk about confidence (because it’s 100%).
    An assertion based on such a result can have a FALSE or TRUE value.

    In the domain of extrapolation (and this is the case of design simulations, climate simulations, research) we stop having 100% confidence in the results, these results represent hypothesis now. (e.g. Let’s take a simulation of a spring. In the domain where we measured the real spring the results calculated have a 100% confidence. Outside that domain we can calculate the force vs elongation but maybe the real spring breaks, or the elasticity changes, or there is hard stop, therefore we cannot be 100% confident any more. An assertion based on such a result doesn’t have a FALSE or TRUE value. It always has a MAYBE value. Only measurement/observation of the real object will transform the MAYBE in FALSE or TRUE.

    I am not disputing the AGW theory or the usefulness of the climate models. All I am saying – and the opposition received was a surprise – is that MAYBE can be transformed in TRUE/FALSE only by recourse to real object. The simulation, no matter how detailed it is, will never be able to do it.

  628. mircea:

    Ray Ladbury says (582): 24 January 2010 @ 7:36 PM

    Are we not on the IPCC error thread?

    But you are right, my assertion is indifferent scientifically. It is indifferent because one can assign no TRUE/FALSE values to it. It is just a MAYBE. If I would have provided a date (eventually some tolerances) then the assertion would have gained in value. In the future one would have been able to assign a TRUE/FALSE value to it. Similarly, the main problem with the present Himalayan glaciers scandal was that there was a date assigned (2035). No date, no scandal. The drawback is that without a date the prediction loses value.

    Consistency and rigorous logic are essential for science, unfortunately they often slip through the cracks.A philosophy of science course should be a requirement in all Universities.

  629. john McCormick:

    RE # 503

    Jimbo, you said: ‘Now from soot to moisture depletion.”

    and included the following:

    “Most glaciologists now agree that it is the moisture depletion, not temperature increase that is the primary cause for glacier retreat.”

    That quote is from a piece Dr. Pilke, Sr. invited from Madhav L Khandekar, a former research scientist from Environment Canada and colleague of Canada’s ace climate change skeptic, Tim Ball.

    On his return from a trip to his Indian homeland, Dr. Khandekar had this conclusion to his article, “INDIA’S ECONOMIC PROGRESS IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: BENEFITS OF GLOBAL WARMING”, Energy & Environment * Vol. 17, No. 5, 2006

    “In summary, India today has done well by adapting to the warmer climate and associated climate change. Indians do not mind hot weather, in fact they thrive on it! The India Meteorological Department has increased its mandate and personnel substantially in recent years and has developed improved capabilities for foreshadowing of the summer Monsoon rainfall and associated variability. Extreme weather events like Bay of Bengal cyclones striking coastal regions of southern India are monitored at present with improved technology and this has resulted in reduced human and property losses in recent years.

    There is no deleterious impact of Global Warming on India, its people and its economy at present.”

    Citing the apparently self-taught wisdom of Dr. Khandekar’s views on melting Himalayan glaciers betrays your weak appreciation for actual conditions of the Glaciers. He appears to be satisfied that there is no need to be concerned.

    However, actual visible evidence of a massive glacier beneath Mt. Everest shows proof that moisture depletion (i.e. melting) is evident and that has nothing in common with your thoughts on ‘moisture depletion’.

    Yale 360 provides a video by David Breashears that illustrates the swift retreat of the Rongbuk glacier near Everest by comparing photographs from the 1920s with pictures he took last November. As Breashears demonstrates, the Rongbuk has melted so severely
    that many sections of it are now 400 feet lower than eight decades ago and large swaths of it have disappeared.

    Get that! a vertical 400 foot reduction in the mass of that glacier in less than a century.

    See the photos at:

    http://e360.yale.edu/content/digest.msp?id=1706

    How does your opinion about moisture depletion explain the loss of 400 vertical feet of mass of the Rongbuk glacier?

    If Dr. Khandekar really wants to understand Nepal and other down stream nations’risks of losing river water from that melting glacier, he might spend more than his vacation time to look seriously at the work of people providing evidence of what is really happening and not what he and Tim Ball would rather we ignore.

    John McCormick

    John McCormick

  630. Completely Fed Up:

    What a load of unmitigated pish from the BBC here:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8468233.stm

  631. Hieronymus:

    The statement by rosie hughes says it all:
    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all this fixation on get-it-right, got-it-wrong is obscuring the real issue: the truth is what we define it to be, and the truth is that mankind is a scourge on the planet.”

    This statement represents thinking of many AGW ideologues, unfortunately. It contains two characteristic points. The first one, “the truth is what we define it to be” sounds like a quote from Lenin or Goebbels. It needs no comment.

    The second point is very characteristic too: people are the problem, so let us get rid of people, and everything will be OK.

    When I hear statements like this, I simply turn my back. Even if the science behind AGW is 100% correct and convincing, as long as this type of ideology is associated with AGW message (and, quite often, it is), it scares people away.

  632. Radge Havers:

    Mike Flynn @ 588

    “Hopefully unintentional, possibly even true!”

    I was once asked to look over something whose author was brilliant but driven, overworked and obviously fatigued. Whole passages were written in free association. Entertaining and easily spotted, but you’re always left wondering about what you might have missed.

    Nowadays you’re walking on egg shells. It’s all gossip girl and OMG! why aren’t the scientists like all hysterical you know? Me, I wish to at least have a segment of society reserved for grownups and to let science be at peace there.

    “Wanting the mental range; or low desire
    Not to feel lowest makes them level all;
    Yea, they would pare the mountain to the plain,
    To leave an equal baseness; and in this
    Are harlots like the crowd, that if they find
    Some stain or blemish in a name of note,
    Not grieving that their greatest are so small,
    Inflate themselves with some insane delight,
    And judge all nature from her feet of clay,
    Without the will to lift their eyes, and see
    Her godlike head crowned with spiritual fire,
    And touching other worlds.”
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  633. Jacob Mack:

    http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15328534&source=most_commented

  634. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    509 Kris,
    I enjoyed your historical overlays of the temperature of the Medieval time frame. However, I saw no connection between temperature variations and events. Some of your descriptors seem a little inaccurate. Colonization of Greenland amounted to a few huts scattered along the coast, which were abandoned after a few years if that. There was certainly no mass migration. A large migration completely missing is the Angles and Saxons moving westward and into England in about 500 AD. They slaughtered most folks up to the Welsh and Scottish borders. What go into them? It had not warmed up at all then. You also note “hunger” at many points, but any reference that you might pick up for the period 700 to 1300 will likely mention this since it was persistently the case for most people from year to year if not continuously.

    510 Barton Paul Levinson

    The data points used for the Lamb chart seemed to be quite widespread so I have no hard sense about global or regional. My sense is that the meaning with reference to global warming was all in all, !!!nothing!!!. That is not to discount that there could be scientific interest in the mild temperature variation over the time period. However, I think it was a casual mistake that the IPCC report named it as an event, and the wild mis-use made of it bears out my opinion. Of course, the hardest thing to model is the reactionary response.

    516 Comp. f.u.

    I had no intention of writing “GWP”. My keyboard did that on its own, when I meant “MWP”. I have no interest in whether a non-event was global or regional.

  635. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    589 Bob

    Thanks for the reference to Mann (2009). No doubt the listed authors are interested in what it really says.

    Reactionaries find it easy to misuse such scientific discourse.

    My reading leads me to sum the report up, “Climate stuff happens.” I think that is what the authors really said in the summary.

    Wasn’t it nice when papers like this went by totally unnoticed?

  636. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Another problem with the property damage from hurricanes not linked to GW — A Cat 5 or Cat 6 can do no further harm to a home that can be totally demolished by a Cat 3 hurricane. There are so many complexities to this issue, incl people are perhaps building stronger, more hurricane-proof buildings now.

    Also the converse of what I suggested — a tiny increment in hurricane intensity could mean the difference between a few shingles and the whole roof being blown off, and a whole building demolished.

    So perhaps there isn’t much hurricane damage due to GW right now (afterall there hasn’t been a whole lot of GW to date), but in the future such damage could rise exponentially (until it reaches total destruction of the property the hurricane strikes, at which it flatlines, even with further increases in intensity), even with the slow plodding warming of the air and ocean, and that ever-slowly increasing intensity of hurricanes specifically due to GW.

    In other words, increase in GW-caused hurricane intensity is not in a linear relationship to hurricane damage of property.

    And that is what policy-makers have to consider — the future. Not how much hurricane damage has been done in the past, or whether or not any part of it was due to GW. They have to use their brains and imagine what might happen if hurricane intensity were to increase due to GW (and at the same time hope and pray that is not the case, or that the hurricanes veer out to sea).

    Afterall we build mountains of nuclear armaments at huge costs, due to some fear of being attacked, then have to dismantle them at huge cost. And we spend big bucks on home insurance on the off-chance there will be damage. I can tell you my home insurance here in the Rio Grande Valley is skyrocketing due to hurricane threats, and I understand there are places in Florida where you can’t even buy hurricane coverage (maybe my insurance company should read that caveat in that paper that says GW not increasing hurricane losses :) ).

    Here with GW, we are called on to reduce our GHGs, which can be done at great savings to us and help to the economy, on a risk that is much more assured if we don’t mitigate, though slower in coming than a nuclear attack or earthquake, but with dangerous tipping points.

    Anything or anyone who derails action to mitigate is just plain bad and evil. Period.

  637. Jacob Mack:

    I am not suggesting as many do in my above link that we should hault climate research. Yet most, “green” technologies are emitting more, not less than conventional means of producing energy, and now we see a few considerable flaws in the IPCC report which filters down to many science journals, media outlets and blogs which millions of people read. CH4 emissions and C02 emissions encourage the growth of cyanobacteria, algae and plant life which of course absorbs large amounts of these GHG’s ths slowing emission into the atmosphere over time. That is just an environmental and biological fact of our planet. Think of the early evolution of the planet. Of course unregulated GHG emission is not a good idea and overtime creates problems, but even in this case we have and are witnessing potent negative feedbacks and GHG absorbers. If this were not so we would have far more warming now tha we do and the obvious 30 year warming trend would be far greater on an concave up increase which is not always the case depending upon what year we begin and end with. I find 30 years not long enough to be indicative of a serious and permanent warming trend by itself. I so see some paleoclimate data showing far longer time periods, but it is far more difficult to infer what may or may not be in terms of human existence.

    Lower GHG gradually, plant wind mills where you can, make solar panels cheaper so people in the middle class can purchase them, work on the smart grid, bring back steam boilers, like the ones built by Con Edison, etc…

    I want to thank sites like RC and the engineers elsewhere I have met for some good data and realistic technology implementation. I have to add though, that some very well educated people in and around climate science have been a bit hasty if not misleading. I like that RC addresses the various errors and unknowns, but some people on both ‘sides’ need to stop sensationalizing the climate issues; of course this will never happen; we are a far too politcally polarized world.

  638. Ken:

    Alas, if only the glacier melting claim was their only ‘mistake.’

    IPCC AR4 riddled with non peer reviewed WWF papers

    Some of their other ‘mistakes’:

    * Allianz and World Wildlife Fund, 2006: Climate change and the financial sector: an agenda for action, 59 pp. [Accessed 03.05.07: http://www.wwf.org.uk/ filelibrary/pdf/allianz_rep_0605.pdf]
    * Austin, G., A. Williams, G. Morris, R. Spalding-Feche, and R. Worthington, 2003: Employment potential of renewable energy in South Africa. Earthlife Africa, Johannesburg and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Denmark, November, 104 pp.
    * Baker, T., 2005: Vulnerability Assessment of the North-East Atlantic Shelf Marine Ecoregion to Climate Change, Workshop Project Report, WWF, Godalming, Surrey, 79 pp.
    * Coleman, T., O. Hoegh-Guldberg, D. Karoly, I. Lowe, T. McMichael, C.D. Mitchell, G.I. Pearman, P. Scaife and J. Reynolds, 2004: Climate Change: Solutions for Australia. Australian Climate Group, 35 pp. http://www.wwf.org.au/ publications/acg_solutions.pdf
    * Dlugolecki, A. and S. Lafeld, 2005: Climate change – agenda for action: the financial sector’s perspective. Allianz Group and WWF, Munich [may be the same document as "Allianz" above, except that one is dated 2006 and the other 2005]
    * Fritsche, U.R., K. Hünecke, A. Hermann, F. Schulze, and K. Wiegmann, 2006: Sustainability standards for bioenergy. Öko-Institut e.V., Darmstadt, WWF Germany, Frankfurt am Main, November
    * Giannakopoulos, C., M. Bindi, M. Moriondo, P. LeSager and T. Tin, 2005: Climate Change Impacts in the Mediterranean Resulting from a 2oC Global Temperature Rise. WWF report, Gland Switzerland. Accessed 01.10.2006 at http://assets.panda.org/downloads/medreportfinal8july05.pdf.

  639. Kees van der Leun:

    And now for measurements (not predictions): the WGMS annual data are in: The latest preliminary figures for 2007-08 show the average reduction in thickness across all the 96 glaciers was nearly half a metre, and since 1980 they have collectively lost an average of 13m thickness. http://bit.ly/GlacMelt

  640. Jacob Mack:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE52M0E120090323

  641. Jacob Mack:

    Some financial and business data: http://web.mit.edu/abrownin/OldFiles/MacData/afs.course/2/2.813/OldFiles/www/readings/McKinsey2007.pdf

  642. Jacob Mack:

    Biofuels not so certain either: http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v24/n7/box/nbt0706-777_BX4.html

  643. Ray Ladbury:

    Heironymous says: “Even if the science behind AGW is 100% correct and convincing, as long as this type of ideology is associated with AGW message (and, quite often, it is), it scares people away.”

    Oh, and of course we know there are no wackaloons associated with the anti-science side, right?

    Good lord, Man. Look at what you just wrote. You just said that you don’t care about whether the science is correct as long as some loon who is on the same side as the scientists is saying things that are irresponsible. Ya wanna maybe reconsider that?

  644. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    561 Edward Greisch,

    I had no idea the coal industry taught me the word “nuclear waste.”

    I thought it was a simple, description of the stuff we have been shuffling around for fifty years.

    You put too much meaning in simple word choices. I would be delighted if nuclear “secondary product” could be used to fire up another form of nuclear power generator system. If you had not noticed, there are some economic issues with that. That has a lot to do with regulatory practices which are irrational mostly due to the irrational reaction of the public to the whole idea.

    I hear from time to time about the enthusiasm for nuclear on the part of a particular electric power company. Some years ago they followed the fad and carefully planned and heavily invested in such systems with reasonable expectation of recovering costs with nice profits. In the end they had huge losses due to mostly unforseeable events. The local PUC refused to allow them to recover losses from customers, so the stock holders took a huge beating. Hmm, guess what that power company does now. Yup, they swallow whole trains full of coal in a gulp, many times a day. Those that remember still turn scarlet with rage. You might get the idea – - they are not too interested in nuclear. Nope, the coal companies were not the cause of their present attitude, but Powder River Basin coal was an important solution for their problem after they gave up on nuclear.

  645. Ray Ladbury:

    William Smart says “Even more damaging than the two stories in the Times (detailing how grant applications passed this month contained statements falsified last month) is the attempt to pretend this isn’t serious.”

    William, do let me know when you find something more serious than a typo, will you?

    Meantime, the adults would like to get back to considering evidence. I’d invite you along, but evidence doesn’t seem to interest denialists.

  646. Andy:

    Ken: you’re saying that nothing but peer-reviewed papers should be used in the IPCC reports? That’s a load of bull.

    There is a ton of good information found in government studies (GDP reports, population estimates, demographics, climate records, etc. etc. etc.) that aren’t peer-reviewed. Likewise, groups like WWF and other non-governmental organizations frequently write up very useful reports that gather together disparate data sets and provide excellent bibliographies of peer-reviewed literature. That the IPCC put the provision of a complete picture of global climate change ahead of including only “perfect” information should be clear. Of course, there is discussion in the IPCC report about all of their sources and conclusions are drawn. If a conclusion is incorrect due to use of a statistic from a flawed study, peer-reviewed or not, it should be pointed out as soon as it is discovered. This is what happened here.

    But really now. Be reasonable. Do you think if someone had asked Lonnie Thompson whether or not he thought all Tibetan glaciers would be gone by 2035 that he would have said yes? If so, then you’re totally deluded. This one error was socked away from the sciencists in another section of the report.

    Frankly, this nit picking is petty.

  647. Completely Fed Up:

    “Alas, if only the glacier melting claim was their only ‘mistake.’

    IPCC AR4 riddled with non peer reviewed WWF papers”

    Well excuse me if I pertain some skepticism that that link to Watts has anything useful in it.

    Care to explain what the errors were what they mean and why they are wrong?

    PS you may want to check over the errors in Monckton’s July 2008 “paper” and G&T’s “paper” and Ian Plimer’s book and…

  648. dhogaza:

    Ken:

    IPCC AR4 riddled with non peer reviewed WWF papers

    Of course, the IPCC isn’t required to only use peer-reviewed work. In fact, the escape hatch explicitly mentions industry sources (gee, I wonder why that’s in there?)

    Even if the peer-reviewed requirement was absolute, Watts has found 7 examples out of something like 10,000 references and this proves AR4 is a big ‘ole fraud, eh?

  649. Completely Fed Up:

    “I had no intention of writing “GWP”. My keyboard did that on its own, when I meant “MWP”. ”

    Fair enough.

  650. Completely Fed Up:

    “The first one, “the truth is what we define it to be” sounds like a quote from Lenin or Goebbels. It needs no comment.”

    That sounds more like Rush Limbaugh.

    Or the Daily Mail making s*t up about what Mojab Latif said.

    Or, indeed, what you’re saying.

  651. dhogaza:

    Here …

    “Peer reviewed and internationally available scientific technical and socio-economic literature, manuscripts made available for IPCC review and selected non peer-reviewed literature produced by other relevant institutions including industry”.

    Doesn’t say “only industry, never NGOs”. Use of WWF resources isn’t, a priori, disallowed.

    It’s not like WWF doesn’t get the state of the science right most of the time …

  652. Completely Fed Up:

    “I simply turn my back. Even if the science behind AGW is 100% correct and convincing,”

    Awwww.

    So the denialists doing this has turned your back from them too?

    So what’s left?

    Burning fossil fuels is what Denialists want to happen, not burning fossil fuels is what Scientists want to happen.

    You’re not left with a place to turn.

    Unless of course you are blowing smoke up the ol’ chimney and kidding on you’ve EVER had a chance of cutting back the power of the corporation.

    But in any case, this is a perfect example of how you are NOT thinking.

    So just because you don’t like someone, you’re going to kill millions.

    Very grown up…

  653. Completely Fed Up:

    “It is indifferent because one can assign no TRUE/FALSE values to it.”

    You can.

    Just like you do with your models of aeroplane parts.

    You assign them true/false. Or do you take the failed models and build them anyway?

  654. Completely Fed Up:

    ” William Smart says:
    25 January 2010 at 8:50 AM

    Even more damaging than the two stories in the Times”

    What? The one where they completely made up what Mojab Latif said?

    Those stories?

  655. Jimbo:

    “The IPCC is not infallible (shock!)”

    Here are some more errors and half truths from the IPCC:
    (Note: don’t attack the messenger – defend the IPCC with your own arguments and evidence). Thanks

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7000063.ece
    http://nofrakkingconsensus.blogspot.com/2010/01/more-dodgy-citations-in-nobel-winning.html

    Indur M. Goklany
    The IPCC: More Sins of Omission – Telling the Truth but Not the Whole Truth
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/25/the-ipcc-more-sins-of-omission-%e2%80%93-telling-the-truth-but-not-the-whole-truth/

  656. Completely Fed Up:

    Looks like Roy Spencer is trying to hide the rise…

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/01/13/andrew-bolt-knowledge-weight-and-flagship-media/

  657. flxible:

    Jacob Mack – 640
    note the Reuters article hardly touchrd on the emissions generated by the hundrds [thousands?] of diesel trucks that flood into major cities like NY after dark every single day of the year to maintain the fresh food supply required by concentrated megopolis populations …. supplied by those “polluting” country folk of course
    :sigh:

  658. Completely Fed Up:

    Geoff: “Finally I wonder why I was never under the impression that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear so quickly?”

    It’s because whether the glaciers in the Himalayas disappear in 2035 or 3250 doesn’t make much difference on the science that shows global warming is the inevitable result of humankind’s burning of fossil fuels.

    It’s like me hearing about post-menopausal women may have a bad reaction to a new drug.

    Not being a woman, nor menopausal, this doesn’t make a jot of difference to me.

    To a post menopausal woman, this would be worrying and they would want it investigated.

    If it’s true, then there’s a problem that can be addressed. If it’s not, then there’s a problem that doesn’t exist.

    But she wouldn’t call all medical research false if it turned out to be wrong.

  659. Completely Fed Up:

    Oslo: “But in the reports it all seems to come down to one factor – temperature increase caused by human induced CO2.

    There is a clear bias here, detracting from the credibility of the IPCC.”

    Uh, if the factor IS temprature increase (and you can check up that in your A level physical geography book at the library), then why is it detracting from the credibility of the IPCC?

    If it isn’t, but the science says it could be, and you can’t PROVE it isn’t, then why would this detract from the IPCC?

    In fact, what is it that you think is detracting from the IPCC?

    A bias to the science???

  660. Matthew L.:

    # 630 CFU
    I think it is a brilliant piece! I don’t think the ‘religious cult’ bit applies to scientists such as Gavin and Jim (or at least I hope not!), but there are plenty of anti-capitalist, anti-materialist, anti-growth, anarchist and quasi-religious ‘hangers on’ that do the AGW cause’s public image no good at all. Most of them don’t have even the slightest clue about the science but just use Climate Change as just one of a number of causes against which to protest.

    One of the more sane comments in the piece comes from Solitaire Townshend (great name!)

    “We need to start selling people a vision of low-carbon heaven,” Ms Townsend argues. “If we did everything necessary to prevent climate change, what would the world look like? When you start talking about that, most people decide it would be a nicer place to live. So we need to concentrate on getting people excited about creating that low-carbon heaven” [as opposed to a high carbon hell].

    The theologian and environmentalist Martin Palmer on Environmental campaigners:

    “Environmentalists have stolen fear, guilt and sin from religion, but they have left behind celebration, hope and redemption,” he says.

    “They read science in the way that fundamentalists read religious texts: they cherry-pick the bits that support their argument and use them to scare people,” he adds. “Then they offer no solutions other than letting greens take over the running of the world.”

    So we need scientists to stop scaring the bejesus out of us and start dreaming up solutions.

    Or maybe that is where the science stops and the engineering starts?

  661. Completely Fed Up:

    “Do you really propose to snag a new definition out of an economics magazine and confuse everyone with it?”

    Nope, I’m hoping to stop people going “there’s plenty of oil left! Peak oil indeed!”.

    Because Peak oil is when it costs more than the market is currently paying to increase output.

    Production of shale oil could increase Oil production.

    This doesn’t mean Peak Oil failed, because it only happens as long as demand oustrips supply enough to ensure price is high.

    And we’ve seen hugely increasing oil prices for 20 years now.

    Peak Oil is here.

    Because Peak Oil isn’t “we can’t get it out quicker”. You can.

    Strip the entire surface off and get in there with a ladle.

    Sodding expensive.

    But if the oil could be sold for $100,000 a barrel, it would be done.

  662. James Albinson:

    Re: 634 Jim Bullis
    1) Vikings in Greenland – see e.g., Jared Diamond, “Collapse”; the settlements there lasted for circa 450 years, and were substantial – a small cathedral was built and a Bishop sent for from Europe.
    2) Anglo Saxons into eastern England circa 420AD onward: see Stephen Oppenheimer, “Origins of the British”; the growing body of evidence from archeology/genetics is a peaceful wave of settlement among kinship groups from both sides of the Channel, with violence rather the exception. The western UK was settled largely from the Iberian Ice Age refuge; contact between the two broad areas of settlement could be, and historically was, a bit messy. But large scale genocide did not take place; hysterical rants from monastic scholars notwithstanding.

  663. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    Re Doug Bostrom, Hank Roberts, Barton Paul Levinson, Luke,

    Not the first and probably not the last time, Jim Bullis has to eat words.

    The NOAA chart at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/ shows a change in ocean heat content from 1985 to 2005 of 10×10^22 Joules, not 1×10^23 Joules as I have been saying. Thus, the heat that would have otherwise gone into the atmosphere would have represented .75 deg C in the atmosphere, not 7.5 deg C as I had previously calculated here.

    The shape of that same curve is still interesting. And an offset of .75 deg C in temperature expectations could be notable. And an also notable feature of that curve is the way it snubs after 2005.

    As I read the relevant paper, this NOAA is only measured ocean data, and does not include ice mass. Could the snubbing of the heat content curve be the effect of heat building up to put water temperature of water under the ice at the sea ice melting point, thereby causing heat of fusion of sea ice to be a subtracting effect on ocean heat content? That might explain the snubbing effect.

  664. Hank Roberts:

    > Reuters
    “The report analyzed only the emissions emitted directly by a city rather than those generated by the production of the goods consumed by its residents.”

    > Ken, WWF material
    You need to evaluate each of those reports, not dismiss them all. Know why?

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/01/ipcc_use_of_non-peer_reviewed.php

    “… about the use of non-P-R material? This seems to have been one of those things that everyone knows that turns out to be false. The IPCC *is* allowed to use non-P-R literature. perhaps it shouldn’t be; I don’t much care, as long as the literature is of good quality…..”

  665. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    I think I should have mentioned Completely fed up and Ray Ladbury on my last word eating comment. Hope I have not left out any other related commenters.

  666. Bob:

    634 Jim : ‘I have no interest in whether a non-event was global or regional.’
    635 Jim : ‘My reading leads me to sum the report up, “Climate stuff happens.”’

    My main reason for supplying the link is obviated by your comment in 634; my own intention was to show that, despite what some rather seat of the pants arguments try to show, MWP was quite likely regional, not global, and that’s the only real point to any discussion of the MPW (although research into the event certainly could yield fruit in understanding the earth’s climate, if it weren’t so difficult to get accurate and reliable data from 1000 years ago).

    As to your interpretation of the summary of the report, no, I disagree (mostly). Climate stuff does happen, but on regional, not global scales. Certainly local climates can and have changed dramatically, for tens or hundreds or thousands of years. And yes, it does also happen on global scales every few tens of thousands of years, but not randomly and without a detectable and predictable cause… which is what makes current events (i.e. GHG effects) important.

    That is to say, the usual contrarian argument is along the lines of “the MWP was just as warm and without human influence/cause, so why should I worry now?” The Mann study suggests that it wasn’t “just as warm” on a global scale, so the MPW argument becomes irrelevant.

    Of course, the Mann paper is fairly new and seems to have used some rather elaborate techniques to use a sparse data set to reach its conclusions, so until it is reviewed and better accepted in the literature (and perhaps begins to be cited in later studies), I wouldn’t term it “the last word” in the “MWP regional vs. global” debate.

  667. Jimbo:

    Comment by Stephen Pruett

    “I expect this question will yield some unfriendly replies. However, the climate research community needs to know that these revelations are not just fodder for the rabid skeptics, they have moved many of us who were believers into the camp of uncertainty.

    ….

    I would suggest the energy and anger of the climate research community could be better spent confirming the validity and interpretation of the data and making the “audited” and annotated data freely available, than by attacking skeptics. Otherwise, the numbers in the “uncertain” camp will continue to grow and we will be unlikely to see any serious climate change legislation.”

    ______________

    You are absolutely correct IMHO. Some of the nasty responses to contrary information on RC actually raises flags from agnostics who eventually become sceptics. I was a believer until I began seeing peer reviewed, contrary ‘evidence’, the repeated use of the word “uncertainties” from climate change scientists who believe in AGW and the weather that was happening around us.

    ______________

    Jimbo: Will you people stop fingering CO2? She’s not-guilty, she’s not toxic!!

    BPL: Look again:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

    ______________________

    You should know that correlation is not causation old bean. You want to see non-correlation, just go way back into time, look for correlations then get back to me.

    ______________________

    [edit - no random, incorrect OT link spam please]

  668. Tim Jones:

    To prevent being misquoted it would be helpful to be clear about who wrote what…

    Re: 597 Gilles says:
    25 January 2010 at 2:24 AM

    “As I argued on the previous thread, Johnno is perfectly right. The argument of coal is not valid, because conventional reserves of coal are not able to produce any of the catastrophic scenario that media describe so easily.”

    Does this mean the following article is misleading?

    Humans Halfway to Causing Dangerous Climate Change
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/04/humans-halfway-to-causing-dangerous-climate-change/
    By Alexis Madrigal April 29, 2009
    (excerpt)
    “When human injection of carbon into the atmosphere reaches 1 trillion tons, dangerous climate change with average global warming of more than 2 Celsius degrees will likely occur, a new analysis finds.”

    “And humans are hurrying toward that 1 trillion mark. So far, We’ve added about 520 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere. With the addition of an estimated 9 billion tons of carbon a year — a number that’s been growing since 1850 — dangerous warming is likely to occur within half a century.”

    “That’s the message from a new paper in the journal Nature, which — along with half a dozen other papers in the issue — provides a simpler way of looking at the climate change problem. What matters is the total amount of carbon that we release into the atmosphere, and focusing on that number as a budget can shape the way policymakers look at the problem, argues Myles Allen, lead author of one of the papers and a climatologist at the University of Oxford.”

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7242/abs/nature08019.html

    “The important thing about the cumulative budget is that a ton of carbon is a ton of carbon. If we release it now, it’s a ton we can’t release in 40 years’ time. Every ton we put out is using up a ton of that atmospheric capacity,” Allen told Wired.com. “Reducing emissions steadily over 50 years is much cheaper and easier and less traumatic than allowing them to rise for 15 years and then reducing them violently for 35 years.”
    [...]
    “The numbers presented in their research are probabilistic. They look at different levels of carbon and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and try to assign the likelihood that a certain emissions level would equate to a temperature change across the Earth. The two papers use different periods of analysis and base cases, but they are broadly consistent in their findings that it’s the total amount of carbon added to the atmosphere that will determine the peak warming of the globe.”

    “Where Allen’s team found that adding 480 billion tons of carbon from here on out would push the risk of 2 degrees of warming to over 50 percent, Meinshausen’s team found even more alarming results. The German team estimates that 310 billion tons is all that would be needed. Without policy changes, that means humans would hit dangerous warming levels in 20 years (Meinshausen) to 40 years (Allen).”

    “The bottom line? Dangerous change, even loosely defined, is going to be hard to avoid,” write Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Science and David Archer, a geoscientist at the University of Chicago, in an accompanying commentary in Nature.”

    “Unless emissions begin to decline very soon, severe disruption to the climate system will entail expensive adaptation measures and may eventually require cleaning up the mess by actively removing CO2 from the atmosphere.”

    “Forcing emissions to decline will require changing the way the world uses fossil fuels. In Allen’s view, humans can pull a trillion tons of carbon-rich fossil fuels out of the ground and burn them with risks that have been deemed acceptable by most people. But it’s the second trillion tons of fossil fuels, largely in the form of coal and oil shale, that will determine how recklessly humans play with the climate system.”

  669. Jimbo:

    Comment 639: Kees van der Leun
    “The latest preliminary figures for 2007-08 show the average reduction in thickness across all the 96 glaciers was nearly half a metre, and since 1980 they have collectively lost an average of 13m thickness.”

    So please tell me what do you think caused the loss of thickness? Also tell me whether this period (l980-2008) is the first time ever glaciers have lost thickness? If not the first time then what could have caused thickness loss in the past?

  670. Gilles:

    Completely fed up : “You complain about wasting millions but don’t have a reason to claim them wasted.”

    hemm.. I guess you misunderstood me utterly. I’m not crying about some millions, which are a drop of water in a ocean of probably useless expenses. I’m just saying that the fact that this argument has been used to ask for millions (which is not negligible at all for a research program) shows that it was by no way a mistake, but a deliberate, reiterated, falsification of reality – these people have just used an argument they had cast themselves, without any convincing, scientific study. Is that scientific honesty ? and it’s not anybody. It’s the very president of IPCC. How can you pretend that the whole process of writing and publishing the IPCC reports is reliable after that ? it is NOT a small misprint or a wrong figure that nobody noticed, it is a hoax that has been deliberately forged and used to get money, and the disclaimers have been publicly insulted and threatened in an “arrogant” way.

  671. Mike of Oz:

    @638.

    Soooo, Watts comes up with another “list” (devoid of context and any explanation as to what, if any, conclusions the IPCC drew from them, naturally) and has a serious problem with the mere mention of a half dozen or so non peer-reviewed papers on climate in among 3000-odd pages of IPCC report. And of course we all know he also has a problem with many peer-reviewed papers and the peer-review process too (as is trendy among sceptics right now), when it comes to climate.

    Watts therefore, I suppose, feels that both peer-reviewed, and non-peer reviewed papers on climate are unreliable and should be excluded from IPCC considerations – except of course the stuff he agrees with. Well, this will certainly cut down its volume appreciably.

    My friends wonder why I occasionally joke about climate sceptics like Watts and his fans existing in an alternate dimension of space-time.

  672. Tim Jones:

    Re: 610 borderline treason, China and Alternative Energy.

    Did China block Copenhagen progress to pave way for its own dominance in cleantech?
    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-01-22-did-china-block-copenhagen-to-pave-way-for-domiance-in-cleantech
    22 JAN 2010
    BY GEOFFREY LEAN

    “You hear it all the time, one of the most frequently voiced excuses for Western countries failing to radically cut carbon dioxide emissions: Taking any such action would hand a massive competitive advantage to fast-industrializing China.

    “Yet evidence is piling up that the very opposite is the case. The main challenge from the world’s new industrial superpower is not that it will continue to use the dirty, old technologies of the past, but that it will come to dominate the new, clean, green ones of the future.

    “As developed nations fail to put an adequate price on carbon, and thus to stimulate clean-technology development themselves, they risk handing market supremacy to the rival they most fear. it could even be hypothesized that China’s blocking of agreement on rich-country emission targets in Copenhagen was intended to hold back the development of cleantech by its Western rivals.”
    [...]
    “New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote from China earlier this month that he was increasingly convinced that the most important development of recent years would prove to be “not the Great Recession, but China’s Green Leap Forward.” He, too, warned that unless the United States rapidly caught up, “we are going to gradually cede this industry to Beijing and the good jobs and energy security that would go with it.”
    [...]
    “Solar electricity is not far behind. In 2005, China produced a relatively tiny 100 megawatts of solar cells. Two years later, it was leading the world with 1,088 MW. This year, it is predicted to exceed 5,000 MW, a third of the world’s total—and it’s expected to go on expanding to reach 10,000 MW in just five years time. Solar thermal power is also on the rise: 2,000 MW of solar thermal power stations are expected to come online over the next decade, with a dramatic increase in the years after that.”

    “At the same time, installed wind-power capacity has been doubling annually: China is expected to meet its original 30,000 MW target for 2020 in two years time, and last year it vastly increased the target to an ambitious 100,000 MW.”
    [...]
    “But seizing that opportunity would require the U.S., as well as other Western countries, to take serious action to raise the price of carbon and spark a wave of new technological innovation, rather than ceding the field to China while falsely professing to be protecting their economies from it.”

  673. Doug Bostrom:

    Oslo says: 25 January 2010 at 5:54 AM

    Here in Norway 90% of glaciers are growing despite the reported temperature increase. More snowfall in winter is the explanation.

    Similarly – less snowfall in winter is a major contributor to shrinking glaciers elsewhere.

    But in the reports it all seems to come down to one factor – temperature increase caused by human induced CO2.

    There is a clear bias here, detracting from the credibility of the IPCC.

    I’m not sure why you find temperature so controversial. The ocean-atmosphere system is a system a state of reflux. A change in temperature changes the detailed behavior of a reflux system. Not so difficult to understand.

    mircea says: 25 January 2010 at 10:42 AM

    What? I think you misunderstood, let me explain:

    You do so perfectly reasonably, and thank you, I think I understand. Sorry for anaphylaxis.

  674. Doug Bostrom:

    Hieronymus says: 25 January 2010 at 12:52 PM

    “When I hear statements like this, I simply turn my back. Even if the science behind AGW is 100% correct and convincing, as long as this type of ideology is associated with AGW message (and, quite often, it is), it scares people away.”

    Immoderate speech is counterproductive, sure enough. I have the same problem with “humanity is doomed” proclamations. We’re like roaches, adaptability-wise. Short of the point the Sun stages to helium we’re not going to be eradicated.

    However, let’s remember that our metaphorical resemblance to roaches should ideally be highly confined. Unlike roaches, we putatively have some ability with self determination, meaning among other things we should not breed like roaches lest we end up living more like roaches. We have been breeding like roaches and it’s becoming a problem that points in the direction of a degraded, more roach-like existence. Perhaps that’s what the author you quoted intended to convey?

  675. HotRod:

    Rosie Hughes #27. Very funny.

    Jim Roland #50 – spot on, and a good example. That stuff reminds me of Monbiot’s article arguing for battery powered combine harvesters, in its lack of realism. I do get a sense that so much is geared towards predicting Armageddon, and so much is illogical, that the AGW case is seriously weakened as a result.

  676. HotRod:

    And, contrary to I’m Fed Up, I saw some sense in the BBC article

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8468233.stm

  677. Philip Machanick:

    Geoff Wexler #614:

    Don’t rely on any single review no matter how good or prestigous. Environmentalists and politicians should employ some bright people to read the ipcc reports (how many people do?) in their entirety and go back to the sources (references) for topics which are of special concern.

    This is sensible if you want to make far-reaching decisions based on any research. But why do you not think this has happened? The UK government produced the Stern report, and the Australian government commissioned the Garnaut report. Admittedly both were written by economists, but this is not the only review that the governments would have commissioned. They were also part of the IPCC process that included representation from governments on both science and policy issues.

    Contrast this now with the way denial pseudo-science happens. The odd bogus paper that sneaks through the review process (Lindzen and Choi, McLean, De Freitas and Carter in 2009) doesn’t stand up to critical reading. A superannuated scientist clearly out of his depth writes a book riddled with errors. Blogs are published mostly containing complete drivel. Arguments are happily reversed when the facts no longer fit. All this stuff is taken as hard evidence for the contrary case, no matter how many errors are exposed. Meanwhile, one error in an IPCC report means the entire mainstream is wrong.

    The same happened with tobacco, asbestos, the ozone hole and HIV-AIDS denial. The biggest puzzle is why professional journalists (with rare exceptions like Monbiot) fall for this every time. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me five times, I’m a journalist.

  678. Philip Machanick:

    Ken #638: and how many of these exactly are used as the sole source for an authoritative scientific fact? The glacier one was a very specific claim that needed to be backed up by science. Reporting on the reaction of insurance companies to the perceived threat is not science; citing a few newspaper article would be sufficient.

    The glacier one was a genuine error. Finding every item cited that is not peer-reviewed in the IPCC reports without checking whether they are uncorroborated sources for the scientific argument is not the same thing. Reporting for example on policy initiatives could cite government documents. Should the IPCC never do that?

    Once again the denial industry is winning by causing doubt, even if that doubt is not genuine.

    If the science was genuinely flawed, why would they need to do this?

  679. Andrew Xnn:

    Hello;

    There is a website; http://www.physicsforums.com/
    that has recently banned discussions of global warming and climate change.
    Part of the reason given for this, was that there were no experts on the
    staff that could moderate the discussions.

    A requirement of being considered an expert was that somebody who has
    published articles in peer reviewed science journals and also performed peer reviews.

    This website has only a moderate amount of traffic (compared to Real Climate).
    So, if any Climate Science Expert would like to moderate, then please contact
    either myself or “Astronuc” on the website.

    Thanks!

  680. Jimbo:

    “The IPCC is not infallible (shock!)”

    It seems that the problems at the IPCC are institutional. Maybe a bit of honesty at last. Now Gavin I wish to give you a bit of advice, stop defending the IPCC as you will end up with egg on your face.
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5juxKJL25kgOs14FSzraFC5mrwmNw

    This is what happens when you have a conflicted of interest head of the IPCC. Money always gets in the way

  681. Doug Bostrom:

    Jimbo says: 25 January 2010 at 3:17 PM

    Jimbo, none of those sites have credibility on this issue, meaning you’re asking us to waste our time trying to extract some thread of truth out of much blather.

    Would you mind summarizing from those sites the points you believe discredit the IPCC?

  682. David Horton:

    “Money always gets in the way” – spot the irony.

    Mr Jimbo is certainly earning his fees on this thread isn’t he – work, work, work; link, link, link.

  683. David R.:

    Doug Bostrom says:
    25 January 2010 at 6:58 PM

    Jimbo says: 25 January 2010 at 3:17 PM

    Jimbo, none of those sites have credibility on this issue, meaning you’re asking us to waste our time trying to extract some thread of truth out of much blather.

    Would you mind summarizing from those sites the points you believe discredit the IPCC?

    Here you go, Doug:

    Among other things, the IPCC report makes the assertion that ‘over 40% of the Amazonian rainforests… will probably be replaced by…tropical savannahs.’

    This is in turn based on an advocacy group report authored by a policy analyst and a freelance journalist, and without any apparent scientific basis.

    It looks like many of the most sensational and alarming findings of the IPCC have a similar level of scientific sourcing.

    Increasingly, it is the IPCC and not the skeptics who are showing a ‘lack of credibility on this issue,’ as you put it.

  684. Ron Taylor:

    ferocious, it is certainly clear that you will form your own opinions, as you told Hank. As someone once said, “You have a right to your own opinions, but not your own facts.” It is the latter that is your problem. Opinions? Form away.

  685. gary thompson:

    gavin’s suggestion on the GISS graphs – “[Response: Trends don't depend on the baseline. Plot those instead. -gavin]”

    i’ll get back to why i want to compare to a baseline period in a later post but for now i followed your advice. i compared the period 2001 to 2009 and plotted the trend [edit - enough with the cherry picked short term trends that mean nothing. All that can be said has been said a hundred times]

  686. Ray Ladbury:

    HotRod says “I do get a sense that so much is geared towards predicting Armageddon, and so much is illogical, that the AGW case is seriously weakened as a result.”

    But, then, since you don’t understand the science, it’s kind of hard for you to tell, isn’t it. Why not discuss the evidence rather than the personalities or the typos?

  687. Ray Ladbury:

    Jimbo says: “You should know that correlation is not causation old bean.”

    Ah, but the correlation is not presented to establish causation, but rather to verify a prediction–made back in 1896 by Arrhenius. See, Arrhenius realized that the only way the system could come back into equilibrium once you increased greenhouse gasses was for its temperature to rise. Do you realize that, Jimbo? Or are you one of those special people who claim CO2 is not a greenhouse gas.

  688. Jim Prall:

    Critics are attacking the IPCC as if it did something more than summarize and report on science done elsewhere. The IPCC is highly visible, but it is simply a forum for doing “Assessment Reports” of the state of the science. It is big, cumbersome, and probably overly cautious, all in all, but it is what we’ve got for getting a single, globally accepted statement of what’s been discovered up to now.

    Anyone imagining that getting rid of the IPCC will reveal an underlying state of the science that is *less* alarming than the IPCC reports has a big shock coming. I’ve read enough of the original literature to know this is the case. Don’t fool yourself that the scattering of articles cherry-picked by your favorite think-tank are indicative of a rosier picture waiting to be revealed.

    If anything, the IPCC process lets through only claims backed by an overwhelming case. Keep in mind that every country gets an effective veto over inclusion of any item in the reports – including Saudi Arabia. For eyewitness accounts of how the Saudi delegation acts within the Working Group reporting process, read Stephen Schneider’s new book _Science as a Contact Sport_.

    A rational policy approach when confronted with a range of scientific estimates of the seriousness of a problem is NOT to pick the lowest estimate and champion that against all the others, attacking the other scientists as ‘frauds’ and ‘alarmists.’ If you find a range of estimates, is not the rational response to accept that “any of these experts could be right.” You don’t *know* that Lindzen and Choi have the climate sensitivity nailed at their outlier very low estimate. You need to admit that everyone else could be right, and that there are an awful lot of everyone elses still putting forward much higher numbers.

    It’s just bad risk management to bet the house on rolling snake-eyes (finding out that Lindzen and Choi were right and everyone else in the field got the sensitivity way too high.)

  689. Ray Ladbury:

    Jimbo, Ken and all the other denialists:

    I am more than happy to confine ourselves to peer-reviewed research. So, let’s start. I’ll pick the 100 or so papers that I think present the best case for anthropogenic climate change and why it is a concern, and you pick the 100 or so papers by denialists…oops, er “skeptics”… and we’ll compare… oh, gee, I guess you can’t find 100 papers by denialists, can you? In fact, you’d probably have trouble finding 10 that you’d actually want to cite, wouldn’t you?

    Well, I guess that’s why you guys want to concentrate on emails and typos. It’s all ya got, huh?

  690. Geoff Wexler:

    Re #677 and #614
    Philip Machanick :

    This may be off topic but I like your essay on “why-doesnt-it-get-hotter-every-year.html” and have referred to it elsewhere.

    As for your link to a ‘book riddled with errors’, the quotations therein exemplify the technique of the author of the erroneous book, which is to embed nonsense and falsehoods in a background of well known science. That way he can demonstrate his credentials as an academic and can impress naive readers by the inclusion of huge numbers of irrelevant references and footnotes.

    Incidentally I agree with most of #677, except for the second sentence which I think was covered by the second paragraph in my #614.

  691. Geoff Wexler:

    Correction

    Line 2 up of my last comment should have been “…except for the first sentence which… “

  692. flxible:

    Comment by Jimbo
    “So please tell me what do you think caused the loss of thickness? Also tell me whether this period (l980-2008) is the first time ever glaciers have lost thickness? If not the first time then what could have caused thickness loss in the past?”

    Warming is causing, and did cause it of course, the current problem has to do with the speed and planet wide nature of current ice loss, not the simple fact of …… And it’ll be quite interesting to see just who has the egg-on-face problem in future

  693. Dan:

    re: 680′s comment. A layman telling a peer-reviewed climate scientist to stop defending the IPCC?! Wow, that’s rich. And arrogant to say the least. Notice not a single word said about the peer-reviewed science. Because he can’t. The data are strong, the peer-review is strong, and the conclusions are strong. The scientific debate was held and it’s long over.

  694. Mike Flynn:

    Hi,

    If you read the AR4 WG1 report carefully, you will note that the panel states

    a) that different models produce different results,
    b) some models produce different results given identical inputs in different runs,
    c) no single model has been found to be “best”.

    I’m referring to modeling global temperature only in this instance.

    Further, the report compares the predictions of all the models / results that were submitted to WG1. I can only guess as to the reasons why some authors refused to submit their model outputs for the WG1, in some instances.

    The projected variations varied from about 1 deg C rise by 2100, to about 7 deg C rise by 2100.

    So, disregarding the absolute value of the discrepancy, I can state with some certainty that models vary in their output. It is assumed that the events of the past cannot be changed, and actually happened. I mention this only because some people have been known to blame poor model outputs on poor input data. D’oh!!

    Now if two models produce different outputs (for whatever reasons), the following would seem to apply :

    - Given that the models are attempting to predict the same thing, at least one model has produced an incorrect answer.

    - If we do not not know which model has produced an incorrect answer, either or both may be incorrect, or one may be correct.

    - The problem arises in trying to determine the truth, given that we cannot verify the output until it has been measured – in the future.

    The conclusion of WG1 is that based on the available models, the future is uncertain. The report does not appear to state whether models which showed a general cooling tendency were considered to be valid, or even considered for inclusion.

    I have actually been a little conservative -

    - excerpt -

    ” . . .errors in the past continental warming simulated by UKMO-HadCM3 are used to scale future changes, yielding wide uncertainty ranges, notably for North America and Europe where the 5 to 95% ranges for warming during the 21st century are 2°C to 12°C and 2°C to 11°C respectively.”

    - excerpt -

    Of course, all comments about uncertainties, modeling difficulties, definitional problems, observational error and lack of computing resources to check the possibility that climate may act in a chaotic fashion, may all be errors.

    The working group, quite reasonably, acknowledges the difficulty of predicting the future. If I have misunderstood the contents of AR4 WG1, I apologise, of course.

    Please don’t bother accusing me of cherry picking re the above excerpt. Just included to show WG1 realises that modeling is not yet an exact science.

    Live well and prosper.

  695. EL:

    Fed up…

    No fred, I did not make anything up. Since the stories were all over the internet, I thought people would already know about them.

    Here is one of the thousands of news articles floating around on the comments by Dr Lal…
    http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2010/01/25/ipccs-himalayan-glacier-mistake-no-accident.html

    Here is one of the ones floating around about grants…
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6999975.ece

    Here is one I found just a min ago…
    “Also in the last week, it was revealed that U.S. researchers working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are excluding temperature data from cold regions for a database used by the U.N. in its global warming scare campaign.”
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ibd/20100125/bs_ibd_ibd/20100125issues01

    I’m very annoyed by these reports. I don’t see how the IPCC reports can maintain credibility at this point in time.

  696. RyanT:

    Speaking of the Daily Mail making things up, I don’t know if this has been posted yet, but that may apply to the Dr. Lal Himalayan glacier business too:
    http://bit.ly/84nbop

  697. Tilo Reber:

    So first we find that the IPCC is taking charts from Wiki. Then we find out that it has been raising money based on the alarm of melting Himalayan glaciers by 2035, when the right number is 2350. Now we find out that there are many IPCC references to WWF papers and also that the claims made about the Amazon rain forest by the IPCC are just another “honest mistake”. One has to wonder why all of the IPCC “mistakes” always seem to serve their agenda so perfectly.

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/01/and-now-for-amazongate.html

  698. Jacob Mack:

    flxible good points read:http://eau.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/20/2/539

  699. Jacob Mack:

    Doug Bostrom I have enjoyed reading your posts in this thread.

  700. Septic Matthew:

    636, Lynn Vincentnathan: Anything or anyone who derails action to mitigate is just plain bad and evil. Period.

    Sure. If you say so.

  701. Tilo Reber:

    Doug:

    “We have been breeding like roaches and it’s becoming a problem that points in the direction of a degraded, more roach-like existence.”

    Doug, nursing all the fears that you have, you must have a hard time sleeping at night.

    http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/idb/worldpopchggraph.php

    We are at 6.7 billion now. Projections are that we will top out at around 9 billion and then the world population will decline. As you can see, the rate of population increase has already peaked.

  702. Doug Bostrom:

    Here’s (yet) more background to the Himalayan Miniseries:

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/25/un-scientist-refutes-daily-mail-claim-himalayan-glacier-2035-ipcc-mistake-not-politically-motivated/#more-17890

    Takeaway: Much ado about nothing, factually speaking.

    Not that folks with midget egos such as “Jimbo” will let that be a deterrent to stirring up fake controversy. Jimbo, I’m curious, why can’t you come out in the light of day? How is it that you’re so ready to fling accusations against people with real names and reputations, but you yourself can’t stand behind your words? Some kind of confidence issue?

    I don’t find you credible. I’ll always find somebody who is ready to put their name on their work more credible than a “Jimbo”.

  703. Edward Greisch:

    644 Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.: So just where did the public get its irrational ideas about nuclear power? I really want to know.

  704. mrtin:

    flxible – 657
    Er – I don’t understand your point.
    ‘Country folk’ don’t consume anything that isn’t grown in their backyard?

    They may be unpleasant because of the concentration, but hundreds (or thousands) of diesel trucks/trains for *millions* of people doesn’t sound like a bad deal efficiency-wise. How many more trucks are required to meet the needs of the millions of people spread out across the country-side?

    I have friends and family who live out in the country and oh boy do they have to drive around a lot — pretty much everywhere they go! Here in the city (3-4 million people), I walk/bike/subway to most places.

    And just think of the energy cost *per person* required to heat an apartment block vs. a single-family dwelling, exposed on all sides and separated far from its neighbours.

    Not to say that we should all relocate to a few mega-cities. However, it’s obvious that there are huge efficiency gains to be had from higher population density, and that ‘clean country living’ is not always (clean).

    and don’t even get me started on the suburbs…

  705. Gilles:

    Tim Jones : “To prevent being misquoted it would be helpful to be clear about who wrote what…

    Re: 597 Gilles says:
    25 January 2010 at 2:24 AM

    “As I argued on the previous thread, Johnno is perfectly right. The argument of coal is not valid, because conventional reserves of coal are not able to produce any of the catastrophic scenario that media describe so easily.”

    Does this mean the following article is misleading?

    Humans Halfway to Causing Dangerous Climate Change
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/04/humans-halfway-to-causing-dangerous-climate-change/
    By Alexis Madrigal April 29, 2009
    (excerpt)
    “When human injection of carbon into the atmosphere reaches 1 trillion tons, dangerous climate change with average global warming of more than 2 Celsius degrees will likely occur, a new analysis finds”

    There is nothing wrong in estimating that one trillion t C would produce probably around 2°C warming. More precisely , I don’t know if it is true or wrong, but it may be right.

    What is wrong is to think that 2°C is some step function separating a “safe” situation from a “dangerous one”, and to think that the world would pass suddenly from heaven to hell by passing exactly 2°C. What is wrong is to think that the “effort” we should do to reduce STRONGLY (because reducing just a little is mainly immaterial) these 1 000 GtC are harmless compared to the amount of warming they avoid.

    For a given energy intensity, reducing the consumption of fuel is simply equivalent to reduce the GDP. – 5 % fossil = – 5% GDP. Of course , we try to improve energy intensity , so we try to reduce – 5 % fossil to produce the same GDP. But there is an obvious flaw here – I mean, that SHOULD be obvious – : if we improve by 5% the energy intensity, we had better improve the GDP by + 5% with the same fossil consumption than blocking the GDP with less fossil ! NOT doing that means simply preventing poor people from being a little bit richer. Without any moral justfication. And in fact, of course, that’s exactly what happens, because in the true reality, no one has the power to prevent poor countries to develop using fossil that developed countries, that have basically insured their basic needs, could spare.

    So the wrong thing here is that the optimum would be when the MARGINAL profit brought by 1 Gt more C would be less than the MARGINAL cost of GW caused by this use. And I defy you to give me a quantitative proof that this would be the case with less than 1000 Gt C and 2°C warming.

  706. David Alan:

    ” There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact. ~Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883. ”

    Is it the policy here to represent a wholesale of fact on a trifling of conjecture?

    It seems that even if I stay on topic and provide evidence for the facts supplied in my comments, that the whole and not part of my comment is completely disregarded.

    How many countless others have their comments disregarded in such a manner or their IP address banned ?

    Is this how you treat science?

  707. Jimbo:

    681 Doug Bostrom – reply to Jimbo

    “Jimbo, none of those sites have credibility on this issue, meaning you’re asking us to waste our time trying to extract some thread of truth out of much blather.”

    Oh, you mean like the WWF? As I have said before Doug attack the message not the messenger. Attacking the messenger seems to be a favourite tactic here at RC.

    Anyway it seems the US public now places Global Warming at the bottom of their concerns for 2010.
    http://people-press.org/report/584/policy-priorities-2010

    “…the percentage that now says addressing global warming should be a top priority has fallen 10 points from 2007, when 38%…”

  708. Edward Greisch:

    From:Dave Boundy, Repower America

    We wrote to you last week about a dangerous attempt to gut the Clean Air Act and let our biggest polluters off the hook. Thanks to intense pressure from supporters like you, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski couldn’t get enough votes last week to pass her outrageous, lobbyist-penned proposal and was unable to bring it to the Senate floor as threatened.

    But the fossil fuel lobby won’t give up that easily. Senator Murkowski is now looking for support for a new version of her “Dirty Air Act” — a resolution which would allow dangerous fossil fuel emissions to continue unchecked, polluting the air our children breathe. We need to put an end to these political games for once and for all.

    If enough of us flood our Senators with phone calls now, we can send a message that messing with the Clean Air Act at the behest of fossil fuel lobbyists is simply unacceptable.

    Please call your Senators and ask them to reject Senator Murkowski’s disapproval resolution — and any further attempts to gut the Clean Air Act.

    We wrote to you last week about a dangerous attempt to gut the Clean Air Act and let our biggest polluters off the hook. Thanks to intense pressure from supporters like you, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski couldn’t get enough votes last week to pass her outrageous, lobbyist-penned proposal and was unable to bring it to the Senate floor as threatened.

    But the fossil fuel lobby won’t give up that easily. Senator Murkowski is now looking for support for a new version of her “Dirty Air Act” — a resolution which would allow dangerous fossil fuel emissions to continue unchecked, polluting the air our children breathe. We need to put an end to these political games for once and for all.

    If enough of us flood our Senators with phone calls now, we can send a message that messing with the Clean Air Act at the behest of fossil fuel lobbyists is simply unacceptable.

    Please call your Senators and ask them to reject Senator Murkowski’s disapproval resolution — and any further attempts to gut the Clean Air Act.
    —————————

    The Clean Air Act is all we have right now since the climate bill just became more improbable. Join and support RepowerAmerica.org

  709. Edward Greisch:

    Lynn Vincentnathan: Support this:
    25 January 2010
    NEW NUCLEAR: First criticality for RAPP 6
    The new sixth nuclear reactor at India’s Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (RAPP) has achieved first criticality, just two months after the fifth unit at the site reached the same milestone.
    http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-First_criticality_for_RAPP_6_reactor-2501104.html?jmid=3680&j=243569701&utm_source=JangoMail&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=WNN+Daily%3A+First+criticality+for+RAPP+6+%28243569701%29&utm_content=edwardgreisch%40qconline%2Ecom

    India must also convert from burning coal to getting energy that doesn’t make so much CO2, just like everybody else. The reactor above is rather small.

  710. Completely Fed Up:

    Jimbo, it seems like you should be institutionalised.

    “Money always gets in the way”

    Don’t forget the religious angle: not only god but the Church of Ayn Rand.

    They always get in the way of rational thought.

    Which is your reason? Money, religion, or ideology, Jim?

    Hot Rod:
    “I saw some sense in the BBC article”

    Well I’m all ears, Rod.

    All I saw were ad hominems in the genuine sense.

    AT BEST conflating prosetylysing with religion. Completely forgetting that if you have something to say, saying it is likewise prosetylizing.

    And so many of the denial nuts use creationist arguments, arguments based on ANTI-faith (the sort of faith that the religious assume atheists have: they BELEIEVE religiously there is no god) and just plain old “I believe you’re wrong, but don’t know why” I’m left wondering whether this troll on the BBC realises how partisan she is.

    Maybe she doesn’t care: if she’s against AGW, she’ll get a slobbering adoring crowd listening.

    After all, that’s why Monckton, Plimer, Bellamy et al chase the denial of AGW: they’re now ***important***.

  711. Completely Fed Up:

    Mike of Oz, this isn’t the only thing Watts is afraid of:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/On-the-reliability-of-the-US-Surface-Temperature-Record.html

    Watts hasn’t printed any report because the report shows that his putative bad UHI-dominated sites have a cooling bias. Not a warming one.

  712. Completely Fed Up:

    Jimbo: “You should know that correlation is not causation old bean. You want to see non-correlation, just go way back into time, look for correlations then get back to me.”

    We have correlation:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    Get back to us when you’ve read up on this before talking again, old boy.

  713. Completely Fed Up:

    Sorry, that should have been “we have causation”.

  714. Completely Fed Up:

    Jim, 655, no need to say sorry to named people.

    Unless (as has happened a couple of times before from other posters) you’ve accused another of a bad act and made a mistake in attributing such.

  715. Completely Fed Up:

    Matt L “but there are plenty of anti-capitalist, anti-materialist, anti-growth, anarchist and quasi-religious ‘hangers on’ that do the AGW cause’s public image no good at all”

    There are a massively greater number of them on the denialist side.

    Not a mention from this she-troll.

    And they don’t seem to be damaging the denialist side either.

    I read some comments on Greenman’s youtube site and someone had posted “fag” (nothing else) about forty times.

    Because Sinclair was showing how denialists get it wrong.

    Doesn’t seem to damage their message.

    Maybe because their message is inherently extremely selfish and works on those taught not to think, but to repeat what they’ve been told to believe. And for those, anything that harms their cause never happened.

    EVER.

  716. Completely Fed Up:

    So nothing about Roy Spencer’s hiding data from those who complained of “hide the decline” then?

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/01/13/andrew-bolt-knowledge-weight-and-flagship-media/

    Go on, read it.

  717. CM:

    Ken #638 brought news from WUWT that the IPCC AR4 is “riddled with non peer reviewed WWF papers” and hence “mistakes”.

    It is not the case that the IPCC is obliged to use only peer-reviewed literature (and there are good reasons, well stated by Andy #646, why it should not be). The IPCC has guidelines for handling non-peer-reviewed sources in Annex 2 to this document:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles-appendix-a.pdf

    In the Himalayan glaciers case, the problem was not that a non-peer-reviewed source was cited — and I think that needs to be stressed in communicating this issue — but that the claims made were seriously wrong and got through because someone flaunted the IPCC’s own guidelines requiring the careful checking of such sources.

    Anyway, I looked up Ken’s references, curious to see what science might be put in question by these alleged mistakes.

    All these references turn out to be in the Working Group 2 (Impacts) or Working Group 3 (Mitigation) reports. None is in the Working Group 1, so none of this affects the scientific case that global warming is happening and is man-made.

    Most of them deal with economic questions that affect the science of climate change not in the slightest. The references to Dlugolecki and Lafeld 2005 aka Allianz/WWF have nothing to do with climate science, these passages report how insurers are reacting to climate change (WG 2, section 7.4.2.2.4 and box 17.2) or suggest there will be increasing litigation over climate change (13.4.3). Others are cited only for minor factoids, like Austin et al. 2003, cited in WG 3 (4.5.3) on the potential for job creation in South Africa from renewable energy development; or Coleman et al. 2004, putting a price tag on buildings and physical assets in Australia (WG 2, section 11.4.7).

    Giannakopoulos et al. 2005 is cited for some actual predicted impacts in the Mediterranean given 2 degrees warming, but they seem to cancel out a lot: less wheat in the south but more in the north, less energy needed for heating but more for cooling (WG2, sections 12.4.7.1 and 12.4.8.1). Hardly alarmist stuff.

    Fritsche at al. 2006 on sustainability in bioenergy is in the reference list of WG 3 ch. 11 (the sexily titled “Mitigation from a cross-sectoral perspective”) but isn’t even cited anywhere that I can see.

    Baker 2005 is used in the regional impacts chapter on Europe for the statement: “An assessment of the vulnerability of the north-east Atlantic marine ecoregion concluded that climate change is very likely to produce significant impacts on selected marine fish and shellfish” (WG 2, 12.4.7.2).

    In my humble layman’s opinion, this is the only one of the WWF-sourced claims — vague and unlikely to be wrong though it is — that might have merited references to peer-reviewed journals. But failing that, it should have been backed by a paper that represents not the WWF’s views, but the the assessment of a group of relevant experts using the published science… Oh wait. That’s what Baker (2005) is:
    http://www.wwf.org.uk/filelibrary/pdf/climatechangeandseas01.pdf

    If you’re curious how this not-quite-formally-peer-reviewed finding was communicated to policymakers: It wasn’t. It’s not in the SPM. And the Executive Summary of the chapter cheerfully notes only: “Recruitment and production of marine fisheries in the North Atlantic are likely to increase.”

    I could chase down the rest of the WWF references in AR4 (I’m sure there are a few more) but I think I’ve wasted quite enough time on this latest denialist damp squib as it is.

  718. Barton Paul Levenson:

    JB: the heat that would have otherwise gone into the atmosphere would have represented .75 deg C in the atmosphere

    BPL: Only if it happened all at once.

  719. Keith:

    Might not be infallible, but could it be right sometimes. At lot of people have spent at lot of time and energy on the IPCC and subsequent AR’s, and the taxpayers of the world have funded this effort one way or another. Seriously, was it money well spent ?

  720. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jimbo: You should know that correlation is not causation old bean.

    BPL: I knew that before you were born. AGW theory doesn’t depend on searching for climate correlations, it depends on radiation physics. The theory predicted the correlation BEFORE the correlation was found. That’s pretty strong confirming evidence. Prediction, observation, match.

    Jimbo: You want to see non-correlation, just go way back into time, look for correlations then get back to me.

    BPL: The correlation is high now because OTHER things that ALSO influence climate are roughly static right now. At other times they weren’t. Apples and oranges.

  721. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Gilles: a deliberate, reiterated, falsification of reality

    BPL: There are treatments for paranoia, but the personality disorders are still the most intractable syndromes in the DSM.

  722. pete best:

    Re #672. All of those GW (000 MW) of power is still a degree of magnitude too low to offset our present usage let along annual growth of 10% in China and 2-3% globally.

    Its the same old story that we can organically grow and replace exisiting fossil fuel (coal mainly) technologies with alternative energy sources such as wind and solar etc but then adding transport to the mix too requires investments so large and huge in scale and scope that no one has drawn up a plan as yet and not one can cost it all out.

    No single country can dominate the new technologies required to change the energy landscape of the world, its just silly to think so. The world uses 14 TW (Power) of electricity annually and in terms of KWh its off the charts into PetaWatta (10 power 15). All of these GigaWatts sound good but its jsut the start of a project that needs to run every year for 100 of them.

    I doubt WW2 even compares

  723. Jiminmpls:

    Let’s throw in the $7B taxpayers paid to wind producers between 2002-2007
    in the form of the $.015/kWh

    The Prodution Tax Credit was already included. The total of the PTC and all other tax abatements for all non-hydro renewables was $2.8 billion between 2002-2007. Read the report and cite facts. Don’t just make things up.

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08102.pdf

    And btw, if any nuclear power plants are ever built, they will get the exact same PTC.

  724. François R:

    The comments made in the link posted by Jimbo in message 680 sound honest and positive : as Hervé Le Treut says, there is clearly a lack of coordination between the 3 working groups. Saying that is not bashing IPCC, it’s just asking for a more powerful and efficient one. Clearly “hard” scientists and “social” scientists can’t work in completely separate teams, this is the best route to catastrophic failure. The infamous paragraph was so bad that even an enormous arithmetic error managed to stay unnoticed… this would clearly have been impossible if only a couple of glaciologists had read it.

  725. Completely Fed Up:

    From another at the BBC comes this strange phrasing: “Global economic growth – in its current form – cannot continue if nations are serious about curbing climate change, says Andrew Simms.”

    Well, yeah.

    Global economic growth is currently predicated on cheap fossil fuel power and not caring about waste.

    But this doesn’t mean we can’t have global economic growth and curbing climate change at the same time: we just can’t use fossil fuels as the driver.

  726. Completely Fed Up:

    EL “I’m very annoyed by these reports. I don’t see how the IPCC reports can maintain credibility at this point in time.”

    What are the “problems” that you see that destroys credibility, EL?

    I note that timesonline is one link. You can’t really read too much into that since they’ve made stuff up before (Mojab Latif: http://deepclimate.org/2010/01/11/mojib-latif-slams-daily-mail/#more-1409 )

    Did you react skeptically to timesonline’s claims, or did you just believe?

  727. Completely Fed Up:

    Flynne: “If you read the AR4 WG1 report carefully, you will note that the panel states

    a) that different models produce different results,
    b) some models produce different results given identical inputs in different runs,
    c) no single model has been found to be “best”.”

    If you read the model results you will note that

    1) though different, not one says that AGW is fine and not a problem
    2) though they have different results, some of them are because they use different sets of physics, and yet they still say AGW is real and a problem
    3) not one model has shown that AGW is not a problem

  728. Completely Fed Up:

    Gilles: “What is wrong is to think that 2°C is some step function separating a “safe” situation from a “dangerous one””

    OK, so don’t.

    Make as little change as possible.

    Which means hard changes now this instant to stop human effects toward a warming world.

    I’m all behind you there, Gilles.

  729. Completely Fed Up:

    “there is clearly a lack of coordination between the 3 working groups”

    And the result of this is what?

    In what way is it damaging?

    In what way is it invalidating the work of the WG?

    Or is this just another example of the Beckian gambit: “I’m not saying anything, I’m just asking”.

  730. Completely Fed Up:

    “723
    Jiminmpls says:
    26 January 2010 at 7:23 AM

    Let’s throw in the $7B taxpayers paid to wind producers between 2002-2007″

    cf $72 billion given to fossil fuels etc…

  731. Completely Fed Up:

    “Re #672. All of those GW (000 MW) of power is still a degree of magnitude too low to offset our present usage let along annual growth of 10% in China and 2-3% globally.”

    The UK has offshore potential for wind alone that is 3x what the UK uses.

    The solar power panes that would power the entire globe constitute about 230km square.

    A small dot on the landscape.

    And who says that we MUST have more power? How about working smarter, not harder? How about not wasting power?

  732. CM:

    myself, #717: “someone *flaunted* the IPCC’s own guidelines” should be: *flouted*.

  733. Ray Ladbury:

    CM, excellent work. Looks like another typically thorough clusterf*** by “Micro” Watts.

  734. Ray Ladbury:

    David Alan says “Is this how you treat science?”

    Don’t know, David. Try posting some.

  735. Ray Ladbury:

    EL says, “No fred, I did not make anything up. Since the stories were all over the internet, I thought people would already know about them. ”

    Oh, and we know there’s never anything false or exaggerated on the Intertubes.

    [Head desk]

  736. ken:

    Completely Fed Up “What are the “problems” that you see that destroys credibility”

    Well, I suggest you open up a copy of AR4 and do a search for WWF and see what happens. How many times does a report which claims to be based on only peer reviewed articles have to cite non peer reviewed articles before you see the problems for yourself.

    Whether the hypothesis of AGW caused by CO2 is right or wrong, there should NOT, in any way shape or form, be any non peer reviewed articles cited in this report. Not once, not ever. During the initial writing of it, why were these articles, KNOWN to be from non peer reviewed sources, even considered, let alone cited? Give me one reason, and don’t say it was an honest mistake.

    Oops, sorry officer, I didn’t notice that the light was red. Oh, that’s ok, honest mistake. [/sarcasm]

    [Response: You are confused about what the rules of the IPCC were. Non-peer reviewed material was allowed (see comments above). - gavin]

  737. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    #655, Jimbo, & the “no link betw hurricanes/floods & GW” media-created controversy….

    I’ve already addressed this denialist scam in #623, #625, & #636.

    However, here’s another interesting, twisted-logic point your 1st article makes — the author claims:

    …our study included 2004 and 2005 which was when there were some major hurricanes. If you took those years away then the significance of climate change vanished.

    If one were studying the impact of GW on hurricane human property damage losses, why would one want to cherry pick out bad hurricanes in the most recent years of their dataset? Especially since there are not a whole lot of cyclones, making the number small, making association at the .05 very difficult, just from the small number of cases, not the actually differences and underlying mechanisms. So it seems like they’re saying: “If you cherry pick out the strongest data-evidence for GW being linked to hurricane intensity (from this meager dataset, as it is), then the data show no link with property losses.” Duh!

    The important thing to look at is the physics. There are 2 types of energy — heat & kinetic. Hurricanes only happen when the ocean is very warm, turning that heat energy into kinetic energy. That’s why California doesn’t get hurricanes — the Humbolt current coming from the north is too cold — except when they come up the Sea of Cortez, which can get very hot. Global warming has warmed the oceans (I think) a half a degree C. There is just more ocean heat around to fuel hurricanes and cyclones (like dry brush waiting for a wildfire).

    Now the tricky part is that SST is only one factor; there are other factors for making a hurricane. I suppose if those other factors were actually decreasing due to GW, then there might be less hurricanes and less intense hurricanes on the whole. But then that scenario would also be an effect of GW. So it wouldn’t disprove GW, which causes a lot more harm than mere cyclonic activity.

    Right now there is other peer-reviewed studies that indicate GW is increasing the intensity of cyclonic activity. We don’t need “property loss” as a proxy for hurricane intensity. However, even if property loss is not now increasing due to GW-caused increasing hurricane intensity, then we could expect property losses to increase in the future, once GW really starts kicking in.

    Now we could wait and see until the world gets pretty much destroyed and harmed before turning off lights not in use, etc etc (mitigating GW), or we could act prudently now. Just remember the MAIN POINT: “A stitch in time saves nine.” Of course, I don’t expect men to understand that.

  738. pete best:

    Re #731, yes but the UK is not teh world is it and the ability to deploy it on the time lines required is a big ask. As for all the solar energy then yes but its all in volatile places that some countries dont like tapping into.

    Lots of answers but cultural norms are in favour of dealing with it.

  739. Completely Fed Up:

    “Re #731, yes but the UK is not teh world is it and the ability to deploy it on the time lines required is a big ask.”

    Compared to the bank bail-out, it’s nothing.

    If you want the costs of doing nothing vs the changes proposed, read the Stern report.

  740. Completely Fed Up:

    “736
    ken says:
    26 January 2010 at 11:50 AM
    Well, I suggest you open up a copy of AR4 and do a search for WWF”

    No, ken, I asked:

    “What are the “problems” that you see that destroys credibility”

    Not how would I go about not finding problems by doing the work myself.

  741. Doug Bostrom:

    Jimbo says: 26 January 2010 at 2:50 AM

    “Anyway it seems the US public now places Global Warming at the bottom of their concerns for 2010.”

    So at the end of the day, for you this all about politics, not science. No surprise there, really.

    I’m still curious, why do you feel free to disparage people who are unafraid to sign their names to their work, while yourself staying in hiding? I still don’t get why you’ve chosen unaccountability. Can you explain that? Is there something shaming for you about what you’re saying?

  742. CM:

    David R. #683, who claims the IPCC claims something about 40% of the Amazonian turning into savannah –

    Huh? Where? Says who? Is it okay to just make these things up now?

  743. Hank Roberts:

    Ken, your question in #736 had already been answered by CM in #717:

    26 January 2010 at 6:18 AM

    “… I looked up Ken’s references, curious to see what science might be put in question ….”

  744. Marvin:

    @Lynn Vincentnathan #737

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/22/global-warming-more-hurricanes-still-not-happening/

    The logical fallacy I think you were referring to earlier appeared to be a deductive fallacy. Anyway, the problem with dictating to others how increasing SST makes more ‘bizarre’ weather such as hurricanes and it can be measured requires at a bare minimum the temperature is increasing. For instance because Latif says things very confusing what I think he means is the temperature will decrease because of a possible little ice age but the climate is warming in general (increasing the temperature of what would have been even colder).

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/11/climate-change-global-warming-mojib-latif

    I would like further information on what the projections for the actual temperature for the next 10 years are because if it’s decreasing “which is not climate” (yes we understand) then you’d at least have to adjust the hurricane projections in the meanwhile. Also there are always benefits to a situation but the picture painted is goal oriented (and secondarily tries to be objective). No cost analysis for those who want to look into the obtainable useful elements and energy beneath melted ice caps? What if it does get colder and we stave off what would have been even colder weather? I say it in mockery about the ice caps melting we know that it would be devastating but I hope you get the point.

  745. Tim Jones:

    Re: 705 Giles says:

    “The argument of coal is not valid, because conventional reserves of coal are not able to produce any of the catastrophic scenario that media describe so easily.”

    Falsify the hypothesis then. Just saying so doesn’t make it true. If you can’t falsify the argument that burning current reserves of coal will result in a “catastrophic scenario” with facts and figures then we’ll assume you understand the statement to be the truth.

    You write: “For a given energy intensity, reducing the consumption of fuel is simply equivalent to reduce the GDP. – 5 % fossil = – 5% GDP. Of course , we try to improve energy intensity , so we try to reduce – 5 % fossil to produce the same GDP. But there is an obvious flaw here – I mean, that SHOULD be obvious – : if we improve by 5% the energy intensity, we had better improve the GDP by + 5% with the same fossil consumption than blocking the GDP with less fossil !”

    This is pure hooey. There are other ways to provide energy than by burning fossil fuel. You know this. You’re just flimflamming us with your claims that without coal the GDP would decrease by an equivalent amount of reduction.

    What about solar energy converted to electricity. Wind energy converted to electricity. Geothermal energy converted to electricity. Tidal energy converted to electricity. Hydroelectric energy. Nuclear (oh horrors!) energy converted to electricity. Hot air from anti-science denialists converted into energy…probably keeps the thermostat turned down two degrees. On some modern cars one can even hit the brakes and generate energy.

    Next you play the “moral card:” “NOT doing that means simply preventing poor people from being a little bit richer.”

    Do you read off an old swift boaters script for this crap? China has invested hugely in alternative energy:
    China’s leaders are investing $12.6 million every hour to green their economy.
    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/04/global_competition.html

    You write: “So the wrong thing here is that the optimum would be when the MARGINAL profit brought by 1 Gt more C would be less than the MARGINAL cost of GW caused by this use.
    “And I defy you to give me a quantitative proof that this would be the case with less than 1000 Gt C and 2°C warming.”

    I defy you to try to spell out your angst in plain English.

    We are already seeing the effects of less than 1.4°F (0.78 °C) global warming with melting Arctic ice sheets, melting glaciers all over the world, rising sea level, earlier Spring, later Fall, bark beetle infestations, droughts, stronger storms, deeper floods, heat waves, endangering of penguin species and polar bears, etc, etc.

    We are already seeing the above with .78ºC global warming. You pass off another 1.22ºC warming as MARGINAL?

    Global warming is just getting started with the current concentration of CO2 (388 ppmv) in the atmosphere. Much warming is still in the pipeline as the oceans come back into equilibrium – if we STOPPED all anthropogenic emissions right now.

    This is not to mention climate feedbacks where AGW is the trigger for huge amounts of natural CO2 and CH4 climate forcing to be released as northern tundra warms up.

    Please come back as a grown up instead as the voice for big coal. You guys trying to reserve taxpayer subsidies for
    coal technology as you thwart subsidies for alternative energy is treasonable as far as I’m concerned. Hey, why would you be trying to get the oxymoron “clean coal” going if coal is a marginal problem?

  746. pete best:

    Re #739, The Stern report is not making much headwat now is it. Thats the real issue. Globally fossil fuels usage is still growing by 2-3% per annum globally and another decades delay is another nail in the coffin.

    For some reason the masses and the media believe that its up to them to make a personal choice. Its ok to carry on consuming for its as Tony Blai states. We cant expect people to make cultural sacrifices, all we need is the technology. What a delusion!

  747. ken:

    To quote a blog on the topic I speak of regarding the Amazon:

    Thus, from an assertion (IPCC) that “up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation”, we see this relying on a statement (Rowell & Moore) that “up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall.” But that seems to rely solely on the assertion that: “Logging companies in Amazonia kill or damage 10-40% of the living biomass of forests through the harvest process.”

    Turning this round and starting at the Nature end, we have “Logging companies in Amazonia kill or damage 10-40% of the living biomass of forests through the harvest process,” turn into, “up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall,” which then becomes “up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation”.

    And that is what Jean-Pascal van Ypersele calls, “assessing the quality information about climate change issues in all its dimensions.”

    Tell me that there wasn’t some intentional sensationalization of the actual study there for the purposes of fear mongering. Regardless of whether the IPCC allows non-peer reviewed material or not, it should be cited properly, and only facts expressed. It should not be the place of the IPCC to try and convince anyone, but rather to present the facts so that others can make up their own minds on how to proceed based on those facts. When you take an article that discusses how logging stresses a portion of the Brazilian Amazon, and turn it into 40% of the entire Amazon being in jeopardy, you aren’t acting responsibly.

  748. David R.:

    “[Response: You are confused about what the rules of the IPCC were. Non-peer reviewed material was allowed (see comments above). - gavin]”

    Regardless if it was ‘allowed’ within the ‘rules of the IPCC’ to make some of the most alarming predictions about the near impact of global warming in their report based on non scientific or speculative ‘material’ the question is, was it good judgment, good science, and does it help or hurt the credibility of the report and of the organization itself to do so?

    Was there a disclaimer at the beginning of the report that certain sections of this report represent rigorous, peer reviewed scientific studies of climate trends and that other sections were loosely sourced and likely of dubious scientific value, and were added to ramp up the panic about effects of climate change? If not, then the report could be considered to be misleading.

    The IPCC is not infallible? You are conceding that.

    Well how much farther are you going to go down that road? Are you willing to say that the IPCC has issued a report that has parts that include many predictions about near term ecological impacts of climate change that are not based on rigorous scientific investigation? Are you willing to say that these sections may have been included for the purpose of inspiring political and public policy action?

  749. Les Johnson:

    Lynn: your

    Global warming has warmed the oceans (I think) a half a degree C. There is just more ocean heat around to fuel hurricanes and cyclones (like dry brush waiting for a wildfire).

    Depends on your time frame, when speaking of warming waters. Using ARGO data, there has been no warming of the ocean’s since 2003.

    Using Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), from FSU and Ryan Maue, we are currently near 30 year lows in global cyclones.

  750. Richard Ordway:

    # 630 CFU
    “” but there are plenty that do the AGW cause’s public image no good at all. “” Very good point, I think.

    I haven’t looked into it enough. However Jim Hansen claims in his new book (“Storms of my Grandchildren”) that leftist groups/people like the Union of Concerned Scientists/President Clinton and other leftist groups are so ingrained and set to automatically reject any anti-nuke policies, that they have effectively stopped any thought of fourth generation breeder nuke plants that could be an essential part of helping us get off of our coal (coke) habit. Apparently, they have little waste (comparatively), and use mostly current nuke waste to power themselves.

    I know that mainstream peer reviewed published articles *defintiely don’t eliminate* the nuke power option…eg. (Socolow, Pacala, Science, 2004, 623 citations).

    I personally believe that we need to seriously investigate potential ways to get off of coal, fast…it takes a long time to change over to new energy and climate change has huge amounts of inertia in the order of at least 20-30 years.
    (IPCC)

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/305/5686/968 (Socolow, Pacala)

  751. John McManus:

    Proof of cooling in the Arctic on CBC this week. An Innuit hunter was stranded when a piece of an ice shelf broke off and he drited away into open water in the high Arctic.

    How could this happen if the world was not cooling. This is absolute proof that AGW is a fraud and we are entering a new ice age.

  752. Gilles:

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 janvier 2010 :”Gilles: “What is wrong is to think that 2°C is some step function separating a “safe” situation from a “dangerous one””

    OK, so don’t.

    Make as little change as possible.

    Which means hard changes now this instant to stop human effects toward a warming world.

    I’m all behind you there, Gilles.”

    I have absolutely no objection if you want to burn as little fossil fuel as possible, Fed up.

    I think that the minimal value is zero , right ?

    so if you want an idea of what it looks like, I suggest you to look for example at the correlation between CO2 production per capita and ANY indicator you want : it can be GDP, life expectancy, infant mortality rate, literacy, and so on.

    A very good tool for this is there : http://graphs.gapminder.org/world/

    it’s worth spending some minutes playing with facts – I mean REAL facts.

    No country has really zero fossil, but you can extrapolate known curve to zero to imagine what it should look like.

    so what’s your preferred country where you dream to live ?

  753. potentilla:

    As you point out, a good reference for the potential impact of melting glaciers on the water resources of south Asia that is factually correct, was presented at the AGU meeting in December

    http://web.hwr.arizona.edu/~gleonard/2009Dec-FallAGU-Soot-PressConference-Backgrounder-Kargel.pdf

    On page 42 the authors state:

    9. As we have calculated, melting glaciers (specifically, negative mass balance components of the melt) contribute an estimated 1.2% (perhaps factor of 2 uncertain) of total runoff of three of the most important drainages, the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra combined. The seasonal flow regulation influences and the negative mass balance is more important in local drainages close to the glacier sources, where glaciers can dominate the hydrology in arid regions, but on the scale of the subcontinent, glaciers are secondary players in looming hydrologic problems, which stem more from population growth and inefficiency of water resource distribution and application.

    You make the observation that:

    This backgrounder presented by Karkel et al AGU this December is the best summary of the current state of the Himalayas and the various sources of misinformation that are floating around.

    Yet a few paragraphs up you say:

    It is therefore obvious that this error should be corrected (via some kind of corrigendum to the WG2 report perhaps), but it is important to realise that this doesn’t mean that Himalayan glaciers are doing just fine. They aren’t, and there may be serious consequences for water resources as the retreat continues.

    So while you point readers to good information, you choose to ignore the findings. Disappearance of the glaciers will not have “serious consequences” for water resources. Despite your claims to the contrary RealClimate are continuing to peddle misinformation.

    [Response: Not so. The Ganges does not define the totality of 'water resources' in the Himalayan region. Read more widely on this topic. - gavin]

  754. Les Johnson:

    750
    John McManus says:
    26 January 2010 at 6:31 PM

    Proof of cooling in the Arctic on CBC this week. An Innuit (sic) hunter was stranded when a piece of an ice shelf broke off and he drited (sic) away into open water in the high Arctic.

    How could this happen if the world was not cooling. This is absolute proof that AGW is a fraud and we are entering a new ice age.

    From the CBC:

    When Idlout became stranded on the ice floe, the temperature was around –31 C and felt like –40 C with the wind chill.

    A spokesperson for the Canadian Forces Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., said early rescue efforts were hampered by a snowstorm and poor visibility…

  755. stevenc:

    “Up to 40%of theAmazonian forests could react drastically to
    even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the
    tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South
    America could change very rapidly to another steady state, not
    necessarily producing gradual changes between the current and
    the future situation (Rowell and Moore, 2000). It is more
    probable that forests will be replaced by ecosystems that have
    more resistance to multiple stresses caused by temperature
    increase, droughts and fires, such as tropical savannas«e5″

    This is what it says. ar4 wg2 chapter13 page 596. I haven’t read through it all and may not but that is where the statement in question is located.

  756. Ray Ladbury:

    Gilles, There is enough coal to easily account for a doubling of Atmospheric CO2 over pre-industrial concentrations. Declared petroleum reserves by themselves can take us to 440 ppmv. So only coal and oil take us to ~720 ppmv. Oil shale has the potential to take us to over 840 and tar sands take us to well over a thousand ppmv–and that is just known recoverable reserves as of 2007.

    Of course, none of this considers additional outgassing from swamps, thawing permafrost, etc. What is more, all of this could easily be consumed this century. I don’t think Peak fossil fuels will save our sorry asses.

  757. mircea:

    Completely Feed Up says (608): 25 January 2010@4:37 AM
    “Which we have:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/
    Measurement through experiment and observation.”

    Here it is what is written in the link you provided:

    “Thus while they do span a large range of possible situations, the average of these simulations is not ‘truth’. “
    “However, that these models showed it [the match], is just coincidence and one shouldn’t assume that these models are better than the others. Had the real world ‘pause’ happened at another time, different models would have had the closest match.”

    Did you see how large the 95% range is? You can match anything in that interval. Does this mean that those simulation are useless? No. It means that the prediction problem is more complicated than what you would like to believe.

    Please see my comment no. 627 for more explanations.

  758. Skip Smith:

    Review comment re: the “disappearing glaciers”:

    >>”I am not sure that this is true for the very large Karakoram glaciers in the western Himalaya. Hewitt (2005) suggests from measurements that these are expanding – and this would certainly be explained by climatic change in preciptiation and temperature trends seen in the Karakoram region (Fowler and Archer, J Climate in press; Archer and Fowler, 2004) You need to quote Barnett et al.’s 2005 Nature paper here – this seems very similar to what they said.”

    Response:

    >>”Was unable to get hold of the suggested references will consider in the final version”

    Unbelievably sloppy or evidence of bias?

  759. David R.:

    742
    CM says:
    26 January 2010 at 1:50 PM

    David R. #683, who claims the IPCC claims something about 40% of the Amazonian turning into savannah –

    Huh? Where? Says who? Is it okay to just make these things up now?”

    Sorry, I should have linked it:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter13.pdf

    in section 13.4.1. It’s right there. And the paragraph cites a WWF article by Rowell and Moore.

    It’s a little funny that you are accusing me of ‘making things up’ when that is much closer to what people like Rowell and Moore are doing. Then this speculation goes into the IPCC ‘Summary of expected key future impacts
    and vulnerabilities’ which goes straight onto the desks of world policy makers.

  760. Kevin McKinney:

    Ken, you lost me.

    How does the statement that “up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall” SEEM (your word) to rely on the statement that “Logging companies in Amazonia kill or damage 10-40% of the living biomass of forests through the harvest process.”

    Logging does not equal reductions in rainfall, obviously, nor does 10-40% equal 40%. The statements seem to me largely unconnected.

    More definitively, if you take the trouble to actually go to Rowell and Moore–as I did just this minute–you find a footnote for the statement you cite. It’s #46, and it gives this bibliographic reference:

    46 D. C. Nepstad, A. Veríssimo, A. Alencar, C.Nobre, E. Lima, P. Lefebvre, P. Schlesinger,C.Potter, P. Mountinho, E. Mendoza, M. Cochrane, V. Brooks, Large-scale Impoverishment of Amazonian Forests by Logging and Fire, Nature, 1999, Vol 398, 8 April, pp505

    How about that–peer-reviewed science at the bottom of the pyramid. So I think your conjecture is busted.

    Rowell and Moore is available as a PDF here:

    http://www.wwf.de/fileadmin/fm-wwf/pdf-alt/waelder/brnde/Forest_Fires_Report.pdf

  761. dhogaza:

    The IPCC is not infallible? You are conceding that.

    No human endeavor is infallible. Are you willing to concede that for, say, Climate Audit and WUW’sA?

    Some are more fallible that others. CA and WUW’sA are far, far more fallible than AR4. CO2 snow in antarctica, proved by the claim that every physical chemistry textbook in existence are wrong? Tosh.

  762. Yoron:

    Tiresome reading those of you complaining about diverse nuances and what you deem to be errors. three thousand pages was it? and one really stupid error :) But, how many rights?

    I agree with those pointing out that the denial’ists’ too, in the name of fair play, should be ready to openly correct their own papers. Actually you only need some common sense those days to see that the climate is changing, and a look at the temperatures over the last fifty to hundred years will show you the same. Arguing that we aren’t responsible? :)

    Nah, and Santa thrives at the north pole right? with the polar bears too? That nobody can say how Earth will act, and react is no big surprise. Humans have never before done anything of this complexety before, not as we try to do now. Understand all those first, second, third etc.. hand reactions Earth may act and react too.

    There are no simple truths too it, ever heard of chaos math? And I fully expect the weather to become worse too under the next ? years, with weird twists to it. So you denialist’s will get your chance to proclaim your ‘truths’ more times than just this winter. But it won’t reverse the trend we can see in the statistics. And I’m afraid that the only deeds attributed to you in history will be those where you succeeded in hindering us from taking the steps we should have taken. Also, I doubt your sons and daughters will thank you.

  763. Sou:

    #748 David R appears to want to wait until all the worst scenarios discussed in the IPCC and Copenhagen papers become reality, so that the effects and aftermath can be fully observed and analysed with scientific rigour.

    For me, I want to be told there’s a cloud of toxic gas heading my way, even if it might not reach my location. During summer I rely heavily on the reports of where the fire is at and what is its likely path and intensity. I don’t really want to wait till I’m incinerated along with the rest of the town.

    In this case, we know CO2 is increasing (ie the fire has started), we know the temperature is rising (ie the bushfire is growing), we know some climates are already changing (the fire is having an effect). It seems wise to heed the scenarios outlining possibilities under different actions that could be taken by the world.

    David R seems to prefer to wait till the fire storm has passed.

    It sounds as if there are some people who take no notice of hurricane or cyclone warnings, food poisoning warnings, storm or flood warnings, flu outbreaks, warnings of housing bubbles and credit crises. Or is it simply that some people cannot visualise more than one year ahead?

    Fortunately many governments are already revising their planning laws, constructing new water plants, subsidising clean energy initiatives. Hopefully there will be a globally coordinated effort, but I’m not holding my breath for full international cooperation.

    I envisage the next thing will be changes to world trade, with bilateral and multilateral agreements between countries that have reduced their CO2 emissions, and trade embargoes on those that don’t.

  764. Ernst K:

    I’m not sure when you added the “update”, but thank you Gavin for that link.

    However, I’m still not happy with the “serious consequences for water resources” part because it needs more context. You shouldn’t be surprised that people read that and immediately think of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra. Yes, they’re not the totality of water resources in the region, but if we’re talking about water resources that are influenced by glaciers then they are by far the most important.

    When I think about the sub-continent and climate change, I worry about two things: crop stunting/killing heat waves and changes to the Monsoons (and precipitation patterns in general). Neither of these has all that much to do with the fate of the glaciers, although the glaciers are an indicator of change in the large-scale hydrology of the Himalayan region. And not a particularly nice one since glaciers decline when temperatures increase and precipitation declines, neither of which bodes well for water resources in general.

  765. Gilles:

    Time Jones:Re: 705 Giles says:

    “The argument of coal is not valid, because conventional reserves of coal are not able to produce any of the catastrophic scenario that media describe so easily.”

    Falsify the hypothesis then. Just saying so doesn’t make it true. If you can’t falsify the argument that burning current reserves of coal will result in a “catastrophic scenario” with facts and figures then we’ll assume you understand the statement to be the truth.

    The fact is : I have read no warning for any imminent catastrophe based on the lowest B1 scenario in newspaper and media. That’s a fact (it doesn’t prove that there aren’t, but i’ve never seen one). Have you ?

    You write: “For a given energy intensity, reducing the consumption of fuel is simply equivalent to reduce the GDP. – 5 % fossil = – 5% GDP. Of course , we try to improve energy intensity , so we try to reduce – 5 % fossil to produce the same GDP. But there is an obvious flaw here – I mean, that SHOULD be obvious – : if we improve by 5% the energy intensity, we had better improve the GDP by + 5% with the same fossil consumption than blocking the GDP with less fossil !”

    This is pure hooey. There are other ways to provide energy than by burning fossil fuel. You know this. You’re just flimflamming us with your claims that without coal the GDP would decrease by an equivalent amount of reduction.

    OF course there are other way of producing energy ! but for a GIVEN energy repartition, you can simply increase GDP by increasing energy use. Increasing GDP means very simple things : having one car, or even two. Living in a large house instead of a small flat. Taking vacations and travel around the world. All these requires energy. Don’t tell me that nobody is interested in that sort of things,be serious please. This is supposed to be a site devoted to rational discussions.

    The driving force for growth is very very simple. It’s just based on the fact that nobody sees any objection in living with + 2% money than last year, like the neighbour on the other side of the street, if it has this opportunity (for example being offered a slightly higher wage). Don’t tell me that the vast majority of people wouldn’t accept that.

    So how to avoid increasing the use of fuel ? it would require that fuels are replaced with MORE EFFICIENT ways of producing energy on a very high scale. But wait. If there were a more efficient way of producing energy than fuels, that are a finite resource, why do you use them AT ALL ? this is nonsense. There must be some place where we CANNOT replace them- and of course, there are plenty of them. And even environementalists admit that, since they admit that it is not fair asking developing countries to reduce their fuel use. If fuels could be replaced easily , this would be totally immaterial. So facts prove that the fuels are unavoidable to get developed. Now back to the initial argument : if there is a minimal amount of fuel that is unavoidable, then for this given carbon intensity, NOT consuming fuels, leaving them willingly under the ground, means in reality depriving future people from the wealth they could have produced with them, and that cannot be produced without them.


    What about solar energy converted to electricity. Wind energy converted to electricity. Geothermal energy converted to electricity. Tidal energy converted to electricity. Hydroelectric energy. Nuclear (oh horrors!) energy converted to electricity. Hot air from anti-science denialists converted into energy…probably keeps the thermostat turned down two degrees. On some modern cars one can even hit the brakes and generate energy.

    Oh sorry ! I was totally unaware of that ! so my above reasoning must be totally wrong… wait … hemm .. I live in France. We have the chance to be the most nuclearized country in the world. 80 % of our electricity is nuclear. But
    * nuclear is very difficult to combine with solar and wind energy, because it is not well suited for handling intermittency. To slow to steer. As a matter of fact , neighbour countries having the most developed wind energy (Denmark, Germany, Spain), have also much more coal power plants than we do. Puzzling. So France has indeed the lowest carbon intensity in Europe. BUT. But it is still 6 t CO2 per capita per year. So tell me please what is the magic recipe to reduce this a lot, since we have already a lot of nuclear and that it prevents basically the massive development of intermittent electricity (thanks to the Alps, we ALREADY have equipped all good hydroelectric sites – we are not completely stupid).


    Do you read off an old swift boaters script for this crap? China has invested hugely in alternative energy:
    China’s leaders are investing $12.6 million every hour to green their economy.
    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/04/global_competition.html

    I hate absolute figures. Absolute figures mean nothing. I reason in term in physical quantities , energy intensity, GDP per capita, etc…


    I defy you to try to spell out your angst in plain English.

    We are already seeing the effects of less than 1.4°F (0.78 °C) global warming with melting Arctic ice sheets, melting glaciers all over the world, rising sea level, earlier Spring, later Fall, bark beetle infestations, droughts, stronger storms, deeper floods, heat waves, endangering of penguin species and polar bears, etc, etc.

    Oh, but there is MUCH WORSE than all that, and there are dangers of civilization that are SCIENTFICALLY proved to cause probably almost 100 millions of casualties in the next century. Have you ever heard of AGW consequences causing 100 millions deaths? no? normal, it is not linked to AGW, but it is much more simple : car accidents. They wouldn’t exist without fuels. So juste take a few minutes to think of this simple question : why isn’t there any international conference to ban cars ? why don’t any environmentalist movement demanding the total suppression of these death devices ? do you know any consequence of AGW that would cause 100 millions deaths in the coming century ?


    We are already seeing the above with .78ºC global warming. You pass off another 1.22ºC warming as MARGINAL?

    tell me :
    compare your life to that of your parents and grand parents. What is the most significant thing to explain the differences : use of fossil fuels, or 0.7 °C increase of temperature ?

    compare your lif with various people from asia, Africa, south america : what is the most significant thing to explain the differences ? use of fossil fuels, or differences in the average temperature ?

    I don’t know where you live, but as you certainly know, 0.7°C is a global average and local variations are different. Without searching on internet, can you please tell me what has been the LOCAL variation of temperature at the place you’re living in, and the physical consequences on the all-day life ? (you will admit that you’re personnally sensitive ONLY to the local temperature and not to the average temperature of the globe, won’t you?)

    Global warming is just getting started with the current concentration of CO2 (388 ppmv) in the atmosphere. Much warming is still in the pipeline as the oceans come back into equilibrium – if we STOPPED all anthropogenic emissions right now.

    I think that if we stopped all anthropogenic emissions right now, the world would plunge immediately in a disaster in which the temperature of the oceans would be the smallest concern of billions of people….


    This is not to mention climate feedbacks where AGW is the trigger for huge amounts of natural CO2 and CH4 climate forcing to be released as northern tundra warms up.

    Please come back as a grown up instead as the voice for big coal. You guys trying to reserve taxpayer subsidies for
    coal technology as you thwart subsidies for alternative energy is treasonable as far as I’m concerned. Hey, why would you be trying to get the oxymoron “clean coal” going if coal is a marginal problem?

    I am not a coal guy. I am not a guy of anything, BTW. I’m just looking at objective facts. The fact is that the civilization has grown with the use of fossils, that it will probably disappear with their exhaustion, and that the average temperature on the earth is probably a small problem compared to this one. May I remind you that even without fossil, mankind has settled in countries extending from Sahara to Arctic, adapting itself to very different climates ? of course it would also adapt to the decline of fossil, but the consequences of this will be order of magnitudes larger than the consequences of a few tenth of degrees in average temperatures.

  766. Gilles:

    Ray :” Gilles, There is enough coal to easily account for a doubling of Atmospheric CO2 over pre-industrial concentrations. Declared petroleum reserves by themselves can take us to 440 ppmv. So only coal and oil take us to ~720 ppmv. Oil shale has the potential to take us to over 840 and tar sands take us to well over a thousand ppmv–and that is just known recoverable reserves as of 2007.”

    Ray, which numbers do you use for the reserves ?
    Oil shale “has the potential”, but will never be extracted at the pace it could do it before 2100. Actually it will probably never be extracted at any significant pace. Don’t believe these economists that don’t know anything in physics.

  767. Completely Fed Up:

    Sou: “For me, I want to be told there’s a cloud of toxic gas heading my way, even if it might not reach my location. ”

    Indeed, how about hurricane warnings and evacuations? They are notoriously difficult to predict yet people agree to leave or batten down long before they are *projected* by the same computer models that some consider not even science to occur.

    How about fire warnings?

    They may not even happen.

    So would some sit tight and say “it’s all a scam to get me to move out so they can steal my stuff!”?

    Funnily enough, when it’s someone else’s life they’re “skeptical” and deny the problem exists but when it’s THEIR life, it’s all “if it saves ONE LIFE, it’s worth it!”.

  768. Completely Fed Up:

    micea: “Did you see how large the 95% range is? ”

    So what? It’s 95% likely or more to be in that range. That it is large doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

    micea, did you see that even the least dangerous edge of the range is not safe?

    If a bridge is rated at 100tons carry weight, it ACTUALLY tested as 95+% chance of bearing 200tons.

    a two-fold increase TO THE MINIMUM. (note: I suppose you’re not going to say that engineering of bridges is unscientific and must be scrapped…?)

    The maximum load is not worried about because it’s the chance of the worst possible scenario they care about.

    But even the BEST scenario is dangerous and requires action.

    That there’s a 3x more dangerous possibility doesn’t make it not science.

  769. Completely Fed Up:

    “so if you want an idea of what it looks like, I suggest you to look for example at the correlation between CO2 production per capita and ANY indicator you want”

    Well, before 1800, GDP was positive and the fossil fuel production zero.

    So it was infinity GDP.

    Your attempt to conflate burning fossil fuels to GDP then GDP with quality of life is inane.

  770. Completely Fed Up:

    ” John McManus says:
    26 January 2010 at 6:31 PM

    Proof of cooling in the Arctic on CBC this week”

    … winter …

    ?

  771. Completely Fed Up:

    ““” but there are plenty that do the AGW cause’s public image no good at all. “” Very good point, I think.”

    Not really, because it’s a point that applies far more readily and in greater numbers to the AGW denialist camp.

    Including their insistence on using Gallileo (religious), heretic (religious), flat earth (religious), “it’s only a theory” (creationist) etc tactics yet AGW get pasted with “you’re using religious terms”.

    Given this troll is using it the wrong way and never the other way, if it’s a “Very good point, I think.” then it’s an exceptionally good point if you point it toward the denialists.

    Yet it doesn’t harm their cause.

    Why?

  772. Completely Fed Up:

    David R. says:

    “Regardless if it was ‘allowed’ within the ‘rules of the IPCC’ ”

    See DR. You don’t care what the truth is, or what the facts are. You just want to MAKE it wrong.

  773. Gilles:

    Sou : “It sounds as if there are some people who take no notice of hurricane or cyclone warnings, food poisoning warnings, storm or flood warnings, flu outbreaks, warnings of housing bubbles and credit crises. Or is it simply that some people cannot visualise more than one year ahead?

    Fortunately many governments are already revising their planning laws, constructing new water plants, subsidising clean energy initiatives. Hopefully there will be a globally coordinated effort, but I’m not holding my breath for full international cooperation.

    I envisage the next thing will be changes to world trade, with bilateral and multilateral agreements between countries that have reduced their CO2 emissions, and trade embargoes on those that don’t.”

    do you think that reducing CO2 will suppress ” hurricane or cyclone warnings, food poisoning warnings, storm or flood warnings, flu outbreaks, warnings of housing bubbles and credit crises” ?

    actually you can check it simply, by looking at times when CO2 production was much lower, or even null, or places where it is much lower or almost vanishing, and see if the life was (or is) much better then.

  774. Completely Fed Up:

    ken: “Tell me that there wasn’t some intentional sensationalization of the actual study there for the purposes of fear mongering”

    There wasn’t some intentional sensationalisation of the study there for the purposes of fear mongering.

    PS please now go to all those who proclaim that AGW mitigation would put us back in the stone ages or ruin the western economy that they may be fearmongering.

  775. SteveF:

    Well, on the water resources front, apparently up to 70% of summer flow in the Ganges and up to 60% in other major Himalayan rivers comes from meltwater. About a quarter of the Chinese population get their dry season water principally from melt. So the change in seasonality of water supply due to melting glaciers would be a serious matter.

    The figures come from the following review:

    Barnett, T.P. et al. (2005) Potential impacts of a warming climate on water availability in snow-dominated regions. Nature, 438, 303-309.

    and the references in the review are:

    Singh, P. and Bengtsson, L. (2004) Hydrological sensitivity of a large Himalayan basin to climate change. Hydrological Processes, 18, 2363?2385.

    Singh, P. et al. (1997) Estimation of snow and glacier-melt contribution to the Chenab River, Western Himalaya. Mountain Research and Development, 17, 49?56

    Singh, P. and Jain, S. K. (2002) Snow and glacier melt in the Satluj River at Bhakdra Dam in the western Himalayan region. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 47, 93?106.

    Gao, Q. and Shi, S. (1992) Water resources in the arid zone of northwest China. Journal of Desert Research, 12, 1-12.

  776. Andrew Hobbs:

    #753 Potentilla “So while you point readers to good information, you choose to ignore the findings. Disappearance of the glaciers will not have “serious consequences” for water resources.”

    I think the document quoted emphasises the wrong statistic and I rather disagree with your overall assessment. The mass loss may only be 1 to 2% at present but glacial melt accounts for considerably more of overall flow and (as referred to in that document, but without any figures) a major part of the flow in certain parts of the year.

    I could go on but I will simply quote from an article from Nature. A bit old now but nothing has changed much in the meantime to alter their conclusions.

    ” … there is little doubt that melting glaciers provide
    a key source of water for the region in the summer months: as much
    as 70% of the summer flow in the Ganges and 50–60% of the flow in
    other major rivers (40,41,42). In China, 23% of the population lives in the
    western regions, where glacial melt provides the principal dry season
    water source (43).”

    “The few analytical studies that exist for the region suggest both a
    regression of the maximum spring stream-flow period in the annual
    cycle by about 30 days (ref. 47) and an increase in glacier melt runoff
    by 33–38% (ref. 48). These numbers seem consistent with what is
    being observed ………. ”

    ” ….. in the HKH region (Hindu Kush /Himalayan), there may
    (for the next several decades) appear to be normal, even increased,
    amounts of available melt water to satisfy dry season needs. The
    shortage, when it comes, will likely arrive much more abruptly in
    time; with water systems going from plenty to want in perhaps a few
    decades or less.”

    Potential impacts of a warming climate on water availability in snow-dominated regions
    T. P. Barnett1, J. C. Adam & D. P. Lettenmaier
    NATURE|Vol 438|17 November 2005

  777. Nick Gotts:

    “if you want an idea of what it looks like, I suggest you to look for example at the correlation between CO2 production per capita and ANY indicator you want : it can be GDP, life expectancy, infant mortality rate, literacy, and so on.”

    If you want to know just how desperate the denialists are, I suggest you look at this piece of blithering nonsense. What that overall correlation is finding is of course the causal link between wealth and life expectancy etc. If you compare the USA with western Europe or Japan, you will find that the former has much higher CO2 production per capita, and does worse on the three measures of human welfare you mention, and many others.

  778. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Lynn Vincentnathan: Anything or anyone who derails action to mitigate is just plain bad and evil. Period.

    Septic Matthew: Sure. If you say so.

    BPL: Since derailing action on AGW will cause billions of deaths, it’s hard not to describe the people who do it as evil. What else would you call them? Misinformed? Doing what they think is right? How about “defending their profits/lifestyle no matter how many people die as a result?”

  779. Barton Paul Levenson:

    EG: So just where did the public get its irrational ideas about nuclear power? I really want to know.

    BPL: SL-1. Enrico Fermi. Brown’s Ferry. Three-Mile Island. Chernobyl. Places like that.

  780. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jimbo: “…the percentage that now says addressing global warming should be a top priority has fallen 10 points from 2007, when 38%…”

    BPL: And 44% of them believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Hate to tell you this, Jimbo old bean, but scientific reality is not decided by majority vote.

  781. J Bowers:

    #Comment by Dave P — 24 January 2010 @ 5:15 PM
    “Another IPCC mistake has happened. A comment http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6999815.ece
    ——————————————————–

    The IPCC has issued an unambiguous rebuke to that article (IPCC STATEMENT ON TRENDS IN DISASTER LOSSES; Jan 25th):
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/presentations/statement_25_01_2010.pdf

    On the subject of “grey literature”, such as the WWF articles, being wrongly used for AR4, go down to Annex2 of this PDF:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles-appendix-a.pdf

  782. Barton Paul Levenson:

    pete best: another decades delay is another nail in the coffin.

    BPL: Actually, another decade’s delay is putting all the nails in the coffin, dropping it in the grave, shoveling in all the dirt, and tamping it down with a steamroller.

  783. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Les Johnson: Using ARGO data, there has been no warming of the ocean’s since 2003.

    BPL: Look again.

    Domingues, C.M., J.A. Church, N.J. White, P.J. Gleckler, S.E. Wijffels, P.M. Barker, and J.R. Dunn 2008. “Improved Estimates of Upper-Ocean Warming and Multi-Decadal Sea-Level Rise.” Nature 453, 1090-1093.

    Levitus et al. 2009. “Global ocean heat content 1955–2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems” Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L07608.

  784. Theo Hopkins:

    Caveat!

    Caveat!

    I am surprised that no one is posting that Pachauri should resign (or be sacked) from his post as chair of the IPCC.

    The “Caveat!” I started with is because I accept the mainstream climate science – I am not a sceptic.

    Pachauri called the 2035 stuff “voodoo science”. But he seems to have done this without examining the science he dismissed. That shows, or appears to show, a closed mind. Thus a reversed form of “conservation bias”. This is unacceptable from a man in his position. It is a sacking offence.

    There have been (at least) two such calls from sympathetic science writers in the UK press. And I am surprised that George Monbiot, the UK Guardian newspaper columnist, frequently mentioned here at RC, did not use his Tuesday (yesterday) Guardian slot to call for a resignation. Indeed, Mombiot called for resignation of Prof Jones of the CRU within 24 hours of the publication of the hacked emails.

    Such a call should come from within the climate community, and it should be from the top of the climate community (Hansen?).

    I recall the “voodoo” remark at the time it was first reported (IIRC from the BBC) just before Copenhagen. [edit - OT]

    [Response: The comment was probably over the top - but the report in question is not very good. The section on the impacts of global warming makes very little sense. Pachauri was correct in suggesting that it should have been peer-reviewed (as of course should have been the sources of the 2035 number). - gavin]

  785. Ray Ladbury:

    Skippy asks “Unbelievably sloppy or evidence of bias?”

    Evidence of understaffing, maybe? Evidence that they need better copy editors? Evidence you don’t understand the process?

  786. Ray Ladbury:

    Mircea says of the models: “Did you see how large the 95% range is? You can match anything in that interval. ”

    Well, except they don’t match a cooling or stable climate, do they?

  787. AxelD:

    Only slightly off-topic: the (UK) Times reports today on a rare outbreak of intellectual honesty in the climate debate. In a full-page interview, the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser declares that the impact of AGW has been exaggerated and, in one telling paragraph, adds “When you get into large-scale climate modelling there are quite substantial uncertainties. On the rate of change and the local effects, there are uncertainties both in terms of empirical evidence and the climate models themselves.” Phil Jones is referred to in rather less than flattering terms.

    Is the UK government now trying to reposition itself with respect to the debate? In the UK at least there has recently been a substantial shift in the way the topic is reported, presumably in response to changes in public opinion.

    [Response: The actual quotes from Beddington do not support either the spin in the article or your comment. Your implication that climate modellers do not discuss uncertainties is completely contradicted by the fact that they actually do. - gavin]

  788. Theo Hopkins:

    Another article from the UK press that John Beddington, the Chief Scintist, has called for climate scientists to be more open about the uncertaities of climate modeling. This one from the Daily Telegraph.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7081039/John-Beddington-chief-scientist-says-climate-change-sceptics-should-not-be-dismissed.html

    [Response: And where are all these climate modellers who are not open about the uncertainties of climate modelling? Here perhaps? - gavin]

  789. Theo Hopkins:

    From the Times newspaper in the UK:

    ["Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia, said: “Climate scientists get kudos from working on an issue in the public eye but with that kudos comes responsibility. Being open with data is part of that responsibility.”

    He criticised Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, for his dismissive response last November to research suggesting that the UN body had overstated the threat to the glaciers. Mr Pachauri described it as “voodoo science”.

    Professor Hulme said: “Pachauri’s choice of words has not been good. The question of whether he is the right person to lead the IPCC is for the 193 countries who make up its governing body. It’s a political decision.”]

    Yes. And Mike Hulme is not a sceptic, and nor am I.

  790. Joe Cushley:

    At 683 David R says – Among other things, the IPCC report makes the assertion that ‘over 40% of the Amazonian rainforests… will probably be replaced by…tropical savannahs.’

    What the IPCC report actually says. “UP TO 40% of the Amazonian rainforests…’ then he engages in a clever bit of snipping which takes out the qualifying language to try and make it into an assertion. So, David R, not exactly making things up, but exaggerating and twisting nuanced meaning in quite an “alarmist” fashion to make a political point.

  791. Bruce Rogers:

    Could a response to “Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception?” by D’Aleo and Watts be written? Their paper can be found at http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/surface_temp.pdf

    I know it takes time to write a thoughtful response to a paper over 100 pages long, but maybe a near term response dealing with a few of the more understadable allegations of improper method. What sticks in my mind is the reduction of the number of surface temperature sites, with a claimed bias toward deleting locations at higher altitudes and latitudes (i.e. those reporting lower temperatures) yet leaving historical reports from these locations in the average. Surely the researchers involved realized that deleting a colder station from today’s average temperature yet leaving its input in older average temperatures would show an artificial increase in average temperature?

    [Response: This is, was, and forever will be, nonsense. The temperature analyses are not averages of all the stations absolute temperature. Instead, they calculate how much warmer or colder a place is compared to the long term record at that location. This anomaly turns out to be well correlated across long distances - which serves as a check on nearby stations and as a way to credibly fill in data poor regions. There has been no deliberate reduction in temperature stations, rather the change over time is simply a function of how the data set was created in the first place (from 31 different datasets, only 3 of which update in real time). Read Peterson and Vose (1997) or NCDC's good description of their procedures or Zeke Hausfather's very good explanation of the real issues on the Yale Forum. - gavin]

  792. Richard Steckis:

    761
    dhogaza says:
    26 January 2010 at 11:49 PM

    “CO2 snow in antarctica, proved by the claim that every physical chemistry textbook in existence are wrong? Tosh.”

    Watts admitted his error. Move on.

  793. Richard Steckis:

    777
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    27 January 2010 at 5:42 AM

    “pete best: another decades delay is another nail in the coffin.

    BPL: Actually, another decade’s delay is putting all the nails in the coffin, dropping it in the grave, shoveling in all the dirt, and tamping it down with a steamroller.”

    I bet you said that 10 years ago. Why don’t you and others at this site wake up to yourselves and realise that it will take at least 10 years to get to the point where you are going to even start turning things around. But by then the whole AGW house of cards will have collapsed.

  794. Richard Steckis:

    778
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    27 January 2010 at 5:25 AM

    “Lynn Vincentnathan: Anything or anyone who derails action to mitigate is just plain bad and evil. Period.

    Septic Matthew: Sure. If you say so.

    BPL: Since derailing action on AGW will cause billions of deaths, it’s hard not to describe the people who do it as evil. What else would you call them? Misinformed? Doing what they think is right? How about “defending their profits/lifestyle no matter how many people die as a result?””

    What arrant nonsense. Billions will not be dying. Catastrophising an issue does not make it a reality.

  795. Bob:

    759: David R.

    Your previous post (683) had said:

    “Among other things, the IPCC report makes the assertion that ‘over 40% of the Amazonian rainforests… will probably be replaced by…tropical savannahs.’”

    The report and paragraph that you linked to actually said:

    “Up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to another steady state, not necessarily producing gradual changes between the current and the future situation (Rowell and Moore, 2000). It is more probable that forests will be replaced by ecosystems that have more resistance to multiple stresses caused by temperature increase, droughts and fires, such as tropical savannas.”

    To me there’s a very big difference between the phrases “over 40%” (yours) and “up to 40%” (theirs). There’s also a difference between “will probably” and “could.” It’s the difference between saying “I will probably live over 100 years” and “I could live up to 100 years”.

    Lastly, this paragraph is clearly talking about a possible response to a change in precipitation, not directly to global warming (i.e. “if” climate change alters precipitation, “then” the ecosystem “may” respond by …). I see nothing alarmist about this. It’s just information.

    I’m not saying that you’re wrong or right (yet). I just like the facts to be presented in an up front manner, not massaged to make a particular debate position sound more dramatic.

    For my part, however… while the source of that particular statement is not necessarily the most reliable (i.e. not peer reviewed literature, and not authored by scientists), I see nothing wrong with the premise or the conclusion, and it is bracketed by a number of other citations. It makes no claim whatsoever as to the probability of the outcome. It’s just a hypothetical, and clearly a worst case (“up to”) scenario. I’m also not sure that you can take any part of their logic out and say “this is false” (e.g. “rain forests will *not* react drastically to a slight change in precipitation”).

    And while the worst case in this event may or may not come to pass, you have to figure that in the body of everything described in the IPCC report, some things won’t happen at all, and a few will be realized to or beyond their maximum. There’s nothing wrong with stating those boundaries without assigning arbitrary probabilities (which is what was done).

    Lastly, it has to be presumed that when someone reads this report they’re going to read it as a rational, intelligent human being, and not in a state of hysterical panic. Policy makers should not be assumed to be fools who need guidance through every step of their day.

  796. CM:

    David R. #759, Ken #747, Kevin McKinney #760], re: Amazonian forests in IPCC ch. 13,

    First, apologies to David R. for implying that he was making stuff up – that was uncalled for! But, David, a citation would have been helpful, while making an inaccurate paraphrase look like a literal citation from IPCC was very unhelpful: it wasted my time on futile text searches. David, you said:

    Among other things, the IPCC report makes the assertion that ‘over 40% of the Amazonian rainforests… will probably be replaced by… tropical savannahs.’

    Not quite. The actual IPCC passage (WG2, 13.4.1), correctly cited by Ken, reads:

    Up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to another steady state, not necessarily producing gradual changes between the current and the future situation (Rowell and Moore, 2000)

    Note that IPCC does not rely on WWF for ‘savannisation’ of tropical forests, as David implied; in the preceding paragraph there were at least three other studies cited in support of such a scenario. The relevant passage of the Rowell and Moore (2000) WWF/IUCN report is:

    Up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall. In the 1998 dry season, some 270,000 sq. km of forest became vulnerable to fire, due to completely depleted plant-available water stored in the upper five metres of soil. A further 360,000 sq. km of forest had only 250 mm of plant-available soil water left.

    As Kevin noted, Rowell and Moore’s reference is in turn a Nature letter by Nepstad et al. (1999). Kevin, apparently the bloggers have read this paper, and contend it’s misrepresented in the WWF passage, because the only 40% figure explicitly mentioned there has to do with logging, not with precipitation.

    But Ken and David, the Nepstad paper does give the 270,000 + 360,000 km2 figures for 1998 cited by Rowell and Moore: this was forest at risk from fire due to the severe 1997-98 drought. It is quite possible that Rowell and Moore’s “up to 40%” figure was derived from that.

    Now, it may still be problematic; I’m not sure how they get all the way to 40% from those figures, and what a small reduction in rainfall means here. I’d agree that the IPCC authors should have looked up the Nature paper (which is cited elsewhere in WG2 rather than relying on the WWF/IUCN summary.

    But even if the specific ’40%’ statement turns out to be poorly supported, the gist of the passage in AR4 seems to be holding up. By 2006, fresh findings were queuing up to make an alarming case that “The outlook for Amazonia is dry”, as Nature put it. The talk since has been of several interacting factors, including forest-fire-enabling droughts exacerbated by climate change, that may be moving the Amazon toward a “tipping point” – see Nepstad et al. 2008 (free access) for an overview.

  797. dhogaza:

    Steckis:

    Watts admitted his error. Move on.

    Which only shows that Watts has more integrity than Steckis, which is not a place I’d want to be, Richard.

    However, the fact that Watts actually entertained a serious the possibility that standard physical chemistry textbooks are wrong about something as simple as partial pressure … well, enough said.

    [Response: Much more relevant is that Watts still, after years of being told otherwise, thinks that the global temperature analyses are made by averaging absolute temperatures. - gavin]

  798. Frederic:

    i can`t believe in this: himalayan glaciers could be gone in 2035.

    Sorry, but my grandmum knows that this big glaciers up to 8000m of hights can never melt in this short time.

    how is it possible, that such stuff finds the way to the ipcc 2007 report?

    Regards,

    Freddi

  799. Jeffrey Davis:

    Richard Steckis: What arrant nonsense. Billions will not be dying. Catastrophising an issue does not make it a reality.

    WWI was a trade war that blew up from an insignificant regional conflict. It was a completely illogical war, a trade war among prosperous, capitalist countries. It was as if McDonalds had declared war on GE. 4 years of war and many millions slaughtered over market share.

    AGW may be the least of our worries since We’re also going to be throttled back economically by Peak Oil. We are on the downside of petroleum production and any increase in demand must bring an increase in price. Look at how restive things are in this country during the first year of the new economy. After 10 years of this? 20? The spite of Radical Islamists won’t be assuaged by declining oil revenue. What’s our future? Look at Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo. This is what happens to our cities when enough money evaporates.

    Now. throw in 2C of increase in temps and all the agricultural disruption that entails.

    Your dismissal of the dangers we face has the authority of a greeting card.

  800. Martin Vermeer:

    #791 Bruce Rogers,

    yes I saw that too. It’s an incredible pack of you-know-what. Unfortunately, the public just laps it up. Seems the denialist noise machine is really gearing up now, probably due to the US situation, with climate legislation being seriously on the table. And lots of moneyed interests at stake.

    The problem with refuting such a paper is the same as with Ian Plimer’s book: it’s a Gish-Gallop-in-writing. Addressing the individual falsehoods one by one would keep you occupied for a fair bit of time.

    Suffice to say, almost the only truthful statements in the “paper” are the page numbers.

  801. visitor:

    Statement from Canadian climatologist Andrew Weaver from the University of Victoria:

  802. Theo Hopkins:

    At my comment No 788.

    I wrote:

    “Another article from the UK press that John Beddington, the Chief Scintist, has called for climate scientists to be more open about the uncertainties of climate modeling. This one from the Daily Telegraph.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7081039/John-Beddington-chief-scientist-says-climate-change-sceptics-should-not-be-dismissed.html

    Gavin replied:

    “[Response: And where are all these climate modellers who are not open about the uncertainties of climate modelling? Here perhaps? – gavin”.

    Point taken, Gavin, and I actually expected your reply here as above.

    In that case it is reporting by the media that tends to emphasise only the highest point (or the lowest point) of a spread. If this is so, then it needs that climate scientists make sure that the media present things more accurately,and in a less scaring manner. I do not know if you or your colleagues do this, but the media needs to be brought to book when they only reports extremes.

    When the media write “xxxx could be yyy” and yyy is an extreme, it is my belief that Joe Public reads this as “xxx is yyy”.

    Also campaigning environmental groups – which includes WWF – should be more cautious about using the extreme high/low of any prediction.

    Fifteen or so years back I got involved in campaigning for the better protection of boreal and northern temperate forests. (US folk will know what I mean when I say “spotted owl stuff”,though the same sort of problems were appearing in Canada, Poland,Finland,Russia and Scandinavia).

    This found me standing beside WWF at press conferences. The trouble for me was that the blue-chip environmental groups,Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF would only present the most extreme scenarios. I never felt comfortable about this, and this was one of the reasons I ceased campaigning on the issue. I was told that my nuanced comments would not usefully come across in my 15 second TV sound-bite.

    I learned then that WWF could be very inaccurate,and I certainly would never have given an WWF document “peer review” status. WWF documents are campaigning documents.

    Elsewhere I posted that Pachauri should stand down.I stick by that one.

  803. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    #794, Hi Richard,

    RE “Billions will not be dying.”

    This is only true if we mitigate GW and reduce our GHG emissions way down, and avoid tipping points caused by leaving the arctic with greatly reduced albedo, and releasing gigatons of carbon from melting permafrost and ocean hydrates. These latter could spiral us into climate hysteresis and huge mass extinction die-outs as in past extreme warmings, or perhaps even runaway warming as on Venus, in which all life on earth will perish. These are things that can happen and have happened. They are possibilities, and we seem to be hard at work emitting GHGs to make them probabilities and even likely.

    If we do not mitigate so as to avoid these scenarios, the billions of people won’t be dying all at once (as in an astroid hit), but probably over many hundreds, perhaps thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years.

    Perhaps the biggest die-off would happen toward the beginning of this period, within several hundred years, since the earth is so highly populated now.

    Later, when the human population is greatly attenuated, the die off in actual numbers might not be as great, but it will probably be more poignant.

    I don’t know what make us think that somehow this age will be different (not harmful at all to life) from past ages when these things happened.

  804. Ernst K:

    776 Andrew Hobbs, 27 January 2010 at 4:43 AM

    Those high percentages are for snow and glacial melt combined. Here’s a quote from the abstract of reference 41 in your above quote from barnett et al:

    “The average snow and glacier runoff contribution to the annual flow of the Chenab River at Akhnoor is estimated to be about 49 percent”

    The vast majority of that is almost certainly from snow, not glacial melt.

  805. Theo Hopkins:

    At my post No. 784:

    I wrote (among other things)

    “”I am surprised that no one is posting that Pachauri should resign (or be sacked) from his post as chair of the IPCC.

    Such a call should come from within the climate community, and it should be from the top of the climate community (Hansen?).”"

    Shortly after posting my No.784, is read that Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change Studies, of the University of East Anglia (close colleague of the CRU folks) has called for Pachauri to resign. That’s “close enough to the top of the climate community” for my liking.

  806. Ray Ladbury:

    Steckis looks forward a decade “But by then the whole AGW house of cards will have collapsed.”

    Really, Richard, would you care to tell us what particular “cards” are vulnerable?

    Is quantum mechanics of stat mech wrong?

    Is our understanding of the radiative behavior of CO2 wrong?

    Which of the dozen or so independent lines of evidence that all favor a CO2 sensitivity of 3 degrees per doubling–and preclude a sensitivity below 2 degrees–is about to be overturned?

    Do you know of some magical negative feedback that the rest of us have missed?

    Do tell, Richard. Enquiring minds want to laugh…er, I mean know. Yeah, know!

  807. ken:

    270,000 + 360,000 is 11.4% of the entire Amazonian rain forest, not 40%. Now maybe there was some extrapolation as to what area MIGHT be affected, but regardless, the areas in the Nepstad paper are areas that were at risk due to the 1997-98 drought, caused not by climate change but by El Nino and furthermore, this was forest that was at risk because of the effect of logging. i.e. had the logging not occurred, then the risk diminishes. Additionally, the WWF paper refers to 40% of the Brazilian rain forest and AR4 says the Amazonian rain forest. There is a big difference.

    The point is, when the AR4 authors were writing it, making a statement that nearly half the Amazonian rain forest is extremely sensitive to drought, it should raise alarm bells. I don’t care who you are, or what side of the debate you are on, that is a bold statement to make. So, similar to the glacier comment, you would think that it would be a trigger for someone to really fact check, and make sure that the sources of the information were solid, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.

    I am an environmental engineer-in-training, and one thing I learned both back in my school days, and now in my working days, is that any time you come to any result, or you are making any conclusions, is that you should do a quick reality check. Just take a step back and say, ok, does this number make sense. Otherwise you could easily be off by a magnitude of error or more, and not even realize it, just trusting that you did the work correctly. I find it hard to believe that a person writing something as important as the AR4 could put the words on paper that essentially 40% of Amazonian rain forest is in dire trouble if warming continues, and not perform one of these checks. So then the question is, did they not do the check, and just trust that they didn’t make a mistake which would be fairly negligent considering the ramifications of the statement, or did they ignore the fact that it was grossly overstating the concern with full knowledge of the exaggeration?

    To me, neither is a good option, but there should be some accountability

  808. caerbannog:


    [Response: Much more relevant is that Watts still, after years of being told otherwise, thinks that the global temperature analyses are made by averaging absolute temperatures. - gavin]

    And here’s another shining example of Watts’ incompetence: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/02/28/a-look-at-4-globaltemperature-anomalies/

    Just one note of caution: Secure all hot beverages before clicking on the above link. I will not accept responsibility for gummed-up keyboards, scalded nasal passages, etc.

  809. Completely Fed Up:

    “798
    Frederic says:
    27 January 2010 at 9:47 AM

    i can`t believe in this: himalayan glaciers could be gone in 2035.

    Sorry, but my grandmum knows that this big glaciers up to 8000m of hights can never melt in this short time.”

    Does your grammy know that the ice on the himalayas isn’t 8km thick?

  810. Completely Fed Up:

    “792
    Richard Steckis says:
    27 January 2010 at 9:11 AM

    Watts admitted his error. Move on.”

    How about this one:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/On-the-reliability-of-the-US-Surface-Temperature-Record.html

    ?

  811. Completely Fed Up:

    Giles: “do you think that reducing CO2 will suppress ” hurricane or cyclone warnings, food poisoning warnings, storm or flood warnings, flu outbreaks” ?”

    Do you think that climate change won’t change any of those?

    And when the stock market for corn falls down, the rest of the stock market won’t like it.

    Nor will it like it when Manhattan floods.

  812. Kevan Hashemi:

    #791, Gavin says “nonsense”: It’s true that the WUWT paper undermines its own case by plotting graphs of the average temperature instead of anomalies. I have said as much at their site. Nevertheless, an 85% loss in the number of stations does introduce a systematic error in the anomaly surface trend, of order 0.2°C in the late 20th Century, as I have alreadydemonstrated.

    In theory, the anomaly method removes the effect of station migration. But in the face of such dramatic migrations, the onus is on GISS and CRU to show that the method removes the effect to by two orders of magnitude. Why have we never seen a graph from GISS or CRU that shows how the stations have migrated? I made one myself and its very pretty. You guys are awesome at plotting maps. Why wouldn’t you plot such a map yourselves?

    Nor have I ever seen a graph of the number of stations plotted by GISS or CRU. I have asked twice here for you and others like to you address this matter head-on by plotting such graphs. By delaying until someone else points out these sources of error, your actions are no different from some hypothetical researcher who has not been looking hard at all.

    Instead of saying “nonsense”, why not present a detailed analysis of the number of stations question, and the migration question, with some simulated data and some pretty plots, and be done with it? That’s what I’d do. Indeed, I’d be delighted to do it. But when I do it I come up with the conclusion that the surface trend can’t be trusted to better than ±0.1°C/decade.

  813. Joe Cushley:

    Ken @ 807 I am an environmental engineer-in-training…

    Bully for you Ken, then perhaps you should pay attention to detail. The IPCC/WWF paper says ‘up to 40%’, in your hands this becomes ‘nearly half’. Careful.

  814. potentilla:

    ErnstK notes in Comment 764:

    “However, I’m still not happy with the “serious consequences for water resources” part because it needs more context. You shouldn’t be surprised that people read that and immediately think of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra. Yes, they’re not the totality of water resources in the region, but if we’re talking about water resources that are influenced by glaciers then they are by far the most important”

    Well the reason people think of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra when considering “serious consequences for water resources” is because of the emphasis on this in IPCC AR4 Chapter 10. Here are a couple of quotes from that document:

    “Climate change-related melting of glaciers could seriously affect half a billion people in the Himalaya-
    Hindu-Kush region and a quarter of a billion people in China who depend on glacial melt for their water supplies (Stern, 2007).

    About 15,000 Himalayan glaciers form a unique reservoir which supports perennial rivers such as the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra which, in turn, are the lifeline of millions of people in South Asian countries (Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, India and Bangladesh). The Gangetic basin alone is home to 500 million people, about 10% of the total human population in the region.”

    Setting aside the curious use of Stern(2007) as a reference in an IPCC report there is no question that these statements are highly misleading. For example glaciated areas in the Ganges Basin comprise only 1.6% of the total river basin area. Even if the glaciers totally disappear there would still be runoff from these areas though, of course, the storage effect of the glaciers would be eliminated. However the storage effect would only be significant in areas immediately downstream of a glacier. Water resource use in headwater catchments would therefore be affected, but not large river basins such as the Ganges.

    As pointed out by ErnstK in Comment 804, meltwater from snow and ice is critical for Himalayan river flows but snowmelt is by far the largest component. It is this sloppy mixing of terminology and understanding that leads to “peer-reviewed” science being misinterpreted to support climate change advocacy.

  815. Sekerob:

    Think where glaziers reach 6-7 km and higher and a 6C temp drop per 1km altitude they ever would completely drop off the face of the planet. Sort of a very silly overstretched comment similar to the Arctic ice disappearance, which was meant to be the mid summer situation. Of course if the Brookers and Wattsuses get ahold of this, they will milk it to the last drop, so if scientists of any make put such words towards those of the printing press, it will spread like oil… the type of genus Steckis unable to figure that out, denialist pur sans… if he would display understanding of acidity, my granny would understand higgs bosons.

  816. Ken:

    Joe @ 813.

    Really, that’s the best that you can come up with to rebut my post? That 40% can’t also be stated as nearly half? What would you describe it as then if you were using words instead of numbers? more than one third? or would you go straight to two fifths?

    Here’s an exercise for you. Draw a line that is one meter long, and then put a mark on it that is forty centimeters from one end, and stand back and look at it. How would you describe that? Nearly half fits the bill pretty closely doesn’t it? ;-)

    Hey, if it is fair for the IPCC to use gross exaggeration, then it should be fine for me to use minor exaggeration.

  817. CM:

    ken #807,
    I too simply looked up the area of Amazonian rainforest in Wikipedia and did the same back-of-envelope calculation. But take into account that Wikipedia says 60% of the quoted area is in Brazil, so you should get 19%, not 11%. I’m still unsure how WWF/IUCN got “up to 40%”, but it’s an awful lot of fire-prone rainforest in any case — put your pocket calculator away, look at all the brown stuff on the map in Repstad et al. 1999, and think about it.

  818. Gilles:

    Fed up :Do you think that climate change won’t change any of those?
    actually I doubt that anybody will see a statistically significant (above 3 sigmas of natural variability) change during his life. Is it a reasonable definition of “won’t change” ? (since of course everything has changed since the beginning of the earth).

    And when the stock market for corn falls down, the rest of the stock market won’t like it.

    when do you think that the stock market of corn is likely to fall down?

    I personally fear that the whole stock market and many states economies could collapse (again) within 5 years due to peak oil and their inability to reimburse their debt. What about your term ?

    Nor will it like it when Manhattan floods.

    same question : when?

  819. Bob:

    Two weeks ago David Rose seemed to simply make up quotes by Mojib Latif. Now it’s the same with Murari Lai.

    Is this really happening? And the larger players in the news media, including Science News, are picking up the original fabrications and reporting it as fact.

    Note that it’s the same reporter at Science News for both articles… she just didn’t bother to check her sources until three days after she published the original story, which she pretty much just copied from the Daily Mail.

    Isn’t there some sort of law that prevents the press from flat out lying and making things up? It’s bad enough when bloggers do it…

    I used to think that some modern major news outlets had abandoned all journalistic integrity. Now I’m starting to think they all have. I’m starting to think that journalism is totally dead. It’s a time when it’s okay to just print whatever you want to believe as fact, knowing that most people will read it and accept it on faith (see this hoax on the media for another perspective).

  820. Completely Fed Up:

    “actually I doubt that anybody will see a statistically significant (above 3 sigmas of natural variability) change during his life.”

    So again you’re only thinking of yourself.

    “same question : when?”

    When the West Antarctic melts.

    If GW continues and *we* don’t do something to stop it, it will melt.

    If you don’t care that it melts as long as you’re dead before then, then say so.

  821. Completely Fed Up:

    “Nor have I ever seen a graph of the number of stations plotted by GISS or CRU.”

    Likewise, I have never seen Anthony Watts correct himself over anything.

  822. Hank Roberts:

    > I doubt that anybody will see a statistically
    > significant (above 3 sigmas of natural variability)
    > change during his life

    Already happening. Search “phenology”

  823. Ron Taylor:

    Theo Hopkins said:

    “In that case it is reporting by the media that tends to emphasise only the highest point (or the lowest point) of a spread. If this is so, then it needs that climate scientists make sure that the media present things more accurately, and in a less scaring manner. I do not know if you or your colleagues do this, but the media needs to be brought to book when they only reports extremes.”

    Theo, that is one of the reasons RealClimate was created, to correct misleading reports in the media.

  824. t_p_hamilton:

    Kevan Hashemi claims:”#791, Gavin says “nonsense”: It’s true that the WUWT paper undermines its own case by plotting graphs of the average temperature instead of anomalies. I have said as much at their site. Nevertheless, an 85% loss in the number of stations does introduce a systematic error in the anomaly surface trend, of order 0.2°C in the late 20th Century, as I have already demonstrated.”

    You’re doing the error analysis incorrectly. Your units are not even correct. Trend is degrees /per time unit.

    “In theory, the anomaly method removes the effect of station migration. But in the face of such dramatic migrations, the onus is on GISS and CRU to show that the method removes the effect to by two orders of magnitude.”

    This sentence makes no sense. Have you read the papers on how data adjustments and homogenization are done? Scientists have done what is needed, the onus is on you to read them before claiming things have not been done right.

  825. Didactylos:

    Kevan Hashemi said: “Nevertheless, an 85% loss in the number of stations”

    85%? Where did you get that number from? You go on to complain that this number isn’t published anywhere, but you have no trouble making up a number?

    “Nor have I ever seen a graph of the number of stations plotted by GISS or CRU.”

    It’s right there in the GHCN documentation. All you have to do is look. No link, you can do the actual looking up part yourself. Can’t you?

    Really, I don’t know why you bother. You know the UHI effect isn’t relevant. You know station counts aren’t relevant. You just want to think of ways to reduce the existing trend. What a waste of effort!

    Gavin already explained the reason for the drop-off in station numbers. But just in case anyone missed it the first time around, this is what the GHCN overview says: “The reasons why the number of stations in GHCN drop off in recent years are because some of GHCN’s source datasets are retroactive data compilations (e.g., World Weather Records) and other data sources were created or exchanged years ago. Only three data sources are available in near-real time.”

    Kevan, I looked at your site. I was not impressed. You not only already have a graph of station numbers (unsourced, although you imply it is from CRU), you have shown that you are unable to read it correctly. For the record, CLIMAT includes over 2000 stations.

    I think your biggest mistake is thinking that the number of weather stations available is immutable. It is not. The graph changes with time, as older data is added.

    Your insinuations that nobody has noticed the historical distribution of stations is amusing (and reprehensible) because again, this is extensively discussed by climate scientists – in the very sources you have clearly read, yet pretend not to have seen.

  826. Ken:

    CM @ 816 The question, however, is not even whether the 40% figure is perfectly accurate, and the question is certainly not whether logging has a detrimental effect on the rain forest.

    It is a no brainer that the type of deforestation that has taken place greatly affects the remaining rain forest. The question of ethics, and accountability is the bigger issue here. It has gone from 270,000km2 of Brazilian rain forest that was at risk due to extreme drought caused by logging and a strong El Nino, to 40% of Brazilian rain forest that is at risk under sever drought, to 40% of Amazonian rain forest that is at risk because of climate change. That’s quite the change in story with no justification. What could the possible reasons be for this type of exaggeration of the facts?

    I’ll put my calculator away if you open up a book about professional ethics.

  827. Joe Cushley:

    Bob @ 818 said – “I used to think that some modern major news outlets had abandoned all journalistic integrity. Now I’m starting to think they all have.”

    Yup, Nick Davies documents this in his excellent book Flat Earth News. It depends what you mean by ‘journalistic integrity’, but a lot of this cut-and-paste approach is because print news is dying and journalists just haven’t got time to investigate stories properly. I was a journalist for 12 years and a section editor for 2, and the increasing pressure from owners/managers to cover more with fewer resources was ramped up massively in that time. But this tendency is also because, well, a lot of journalists lack integrity…

  828. t_p_hamilton:

    “Instead of saying “nonsense”, why not present a detailed analysis of the number of stations question, and the migration question, with some simulated data and some pretty plots, and be done with it? That’s what I’d do. Indeed, I’d be delighted to do it. But when I do it I come up with the conclusion that the surface trend can’t be trusted to better than ±0.1°C/decade.”

    Go to http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/are-the-cru-data-suspect-an-objective-assessment to get a rough idea (i.e. whether your intuition is likely to be correct). Explicit instructions are given.

    (all numbers 1850 – present)
    With only 30 land stations the trends are 0.61 +/- 0.11 degrees C per century (all numbers 1850 – present), 0.55 +/- 0.08 for an independent set of 30 stations, IPCC states 0.54 +/- 0.016 from WG4 Table 3.2 (all stations, see how the error went down as you would expect.

    The trends are about 5 times the magnitude of the standard error for even as few as 30 stations, which means warming is definitely happening.

  829. SecularAnimist:

    Lynn Vincentnathan wrote: “If we do not mitigate so as to avoid these scenarios, the billions of people won’t be dying all at once (as in an astroid hit), but probably over many hundreds, perhaps thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years.”

    I can pretty much guarantee you that at least six and a half billion human beings will die by the end of the 21st century. Why? Because that’s the approximate current human population of the Earth, and very few of us are likely to live to the end of the century (90 years from now).

    The real question is when will death rates exceed birth rates to the point that the human population begins dropping? Global warming will surely increase death rates, and decrease birth rates.

    I think it is more likely than not that unmitigated global warming will cause a world-wide failure of agriculture within decades, and billions of people will starve to death very quickly — within a few years — after that. And it may well be already too late to prevent that, even if we stopped burning all fossil fuels today.

    I’ll be surprised if the human population of the Earth in fifty years is more than half what it is today, and it could easily be a whole lot less than that, especially if human societies react to the catastrophic effects of global warming with our traditional, time-honored behaviors (e.g. war and genocide). Imagine nuclear-armed China, nuclear-armed India, and nuclear-armed Pakistan fighting over dwindling glacier-fed water supplies while the monsoons fail and the agricultural regions of all three nations turn to desert. Not a pretty picture.

  830. SecularAnimist:

    I wrote: “… I’ll be surprised if the human population of the Earth in fifty years is more than half what it is today …”

    Just to clarify, I am not speaking literally when I say that I will be surprised, because in 50 years I will be dead myself and won’t be around to be surprised.

  831. Theo Hopkins:

    Theo Hopkins said: (at No 823)

    “In that case it is reporting by the media that tends to emphasise only the highest point (or the lowest point) of a spread. If this is so, then it needs that climate scientists make sure that the media present things more accurately, and in a less scaring manner. I do not know if you or your colleagues do this, but the media needs to be brought to book when they only reports extremes.”

    Theo, that is one of the reasons RealClimate was created, to correct misleading reports in the media.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 27 January 2010 @ 2:28 PM

    Yes, Rod.

    But how do you get those bl**dy journalists actually to read Real Climate?

    Ideally – though it might overload your work day – scientists need to (politely) call erring reporters and give them to facts.

  832. Septic Matthew:

    778, Barton Paul Levenson: BPL: Since derailing action on AGW will cause billions of deaths, it’s hard not to describe the people who do it as evil. What else would you call them? Misinformed? Doing what they think is right? How about “defending their profits/lifestyle no matter how many people die as a result?”

    Some of each, plus others, perhaps including “Chinese”. It’s like saying that all the people who promote AGW are “statists”, “Marxists”, “rent-seeking” (like Gore and Pachauri), “histrionic”, or “insufferably arrogant”.

  833. Completely Fed Up:

    “826
    Ken says:
    27 January 2010 at 2:45 PM

    CM @ 816 The question, however, is not even whether the 40% figure is perfectly accurate”

    Indeed, it’s why you were inaccurate five ways from sunday about it.

    Why were you so inaccurate, Ken? It’s not like you didn’t read it. Or is it?

  834. Joe Cushley:

    Ken @ 816 – I’ll leave the analysis of other points in your posts to the experts. As a layman, but a fairly sharp-eyed ex-journalist and editor, I find it amusing – no, not amusing, erm, inconsistent is perhaps a better word – that you belabour other people’s inaccuracies and then come up with a considerable one of your own (a roughly 25% exaggeration isn’t minor in my book). And you’re still doing it. “Up to 40%”, not “40%”, please. And you do this in “full knowledge of the exaggeration” to quote one of your earlier posts? Tut, tut.

  835. Didactylos:

    Ken:

    This is insane. Yes, I know that the rabid denialosphere will seize on anything, but trying to play citation-jump? Beyond pathetic.

    “In the 1998 dry season, some 270,000 sq. km of forest became vulnerable to fire, due to completely depleted plant-available water stored in the upper five metres of soil. A further 360,000 sq. km of forest had only 250 mm of plant-available soil water left.”

    This statement, in Rowell and Moore (2000), cites the Nature letter. It’s all about forest fires, after all. All very interesting, and all having very little to do with climate or the IPCC.

    But the statement before it, “Up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall” is cited by the IPCC. Is it reliable? Well, duh! It says “up to”. I can’t really think of any way of saying more clearly “this is a very crude estimate, handle with caution” – can you?

    I’m not the first to explain all this. You need to look beyond your walled garden. Delingpole is just trying to cover his embarrassment at making a mistake (plagiarising yet another denier! By his own admission!). It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

  836. Tom:

    @794 , BPL writes:
    Since derailing action on AGW will cause billions of deaths, it’s hard not to…

    It’s really hard not to use a word like “alarmist” or “alarmism” to describe statements of such tenor (and such surity), actually. { I’m no skeptic, but I’m also no fan of wild-eyed statements to “name your putative” effect, either. }

    Do you have a citation to back up all these billions of deaths attributable to lifestyles of others?

  837. Ian:

    With regard to journalism, the Australian reported that the UK chief scientist was very critical of and concerned about recent actions of the IPCC and considered some of their predictions to be exaggerated. Is this true or is it just journalism? And if true where does it leave the IPCC?

  838. Steve Brown:

    Sorry, this is OT but too good to miss: HRH Prince Charles visited CRU yesterday as a show of support. Prof. Phil Jones welcoming ol’ jug ears to the dept. as well!

    Local Anglia TV news report here: http://www.itv.com/anglia/royal-climate-research48555/

  839. Jeff Nelson:

    Watching how the “skeptic” community is responding to this reminds me that my mom used to tell me “be careful what you wish for”. Do they really think that if AR5 is restricted to only peer reviewed papers the “skeptical” position will be strengthened?

  840. Completely Fed Up:

    “It’s really hard not to use a word like “alarmist” or “alarmism” to describe statements of such tenor ”

    Then what do you say to those who proclaim that any action would ruin the economy?

    How about those who say that action would make the poor people starve?

    And when your doctor tells you you have a heart condition and you need to do something or you could die, is he alarmist too?

  841. Tim Jones:

    Re: 765 Gilles says:
    27 January 2010 at 3:32 AM
    Time Jones:Re: 705 Giles says:

    “The argument of coal is not valid, because conventional reserves of coal are not able to produce any of the catastrophic scenario that media describe so easily.”

    I wrote:
    “Falsify the hypothesis then. Just saying so doesn’t make it true. If you can’t falsify the argument that burning current reserves of coal will result in a “catastrophic scenario” with facts and figures then we’ll assume you understand the statement to be the truth.”

    You replied:
    “The fact is : I have read no warning for any imminent catastrophe based on the lowest B1 scenario in newspaper and media. That’s a fact (it doesn’t prove that there aren’t, but i’ve never seen one). Have you ?

    We weren’t discussing “imminent catastrophe.” Do you only prepare for imminent disasters?

    First, if you give an answer to a different question than the one asked you have set up a straw man.
    This is a logical fallacy. http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/fallacies.html

    That said,

    “Burning current reserves of coal will result in a catastrophic scenario” is not at all rebutted with “I have read no warning for any imminent catastrophe based on the lowest B1 scenario.”

    Gilles, B1 is a HUGE qualifier! http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc%5Fsr/?src=/climate/ipcc/emission/094.htm
    (excerpt)
    “These proactive local and regional environmental measures and policies also lead to relatively low GHG emissions, even in the absence of explicit interventions to mitigate climate change.”

    You have re-framed the discussion to narrow the impact in two ways – “lowest B1 Scenario” and “imminent catastrophe.”

    Your answer doesn’t falsify the hypothesis by any stretch of the imagination.

    In the first place “current reserves of coal” means virtually all that’s left in the ground that we know of. In the second place how would anyone burn current reserves fast enough to create an “imminent catastrophe?” Of course you haven’t read that. It would be ridiculous on the face of it.

    CO2 global warming is incremental. Coal is burned every year to achieve an incremental increase in atmospheric CO2
    which will eventually become a doubling of CO2 because each year’s CO2 lingers in the atmosphere for 50 to 200 years. More CO2 year by year causes an increase in global surface temperatures to where dangerous climate change will occur.

    Not all years will demonstrate an effect due to natural variability. Some years will be worse. Sometimes it will be hard to tease out the signal. Sometimes the signal is in our face and the denialist’s are howling that extreme weather doesn’t prove anything! It will take years of looking back before the signal to noise ratio becomes definitive.

    But the catastrophic scenario ensues when storm events are continually extraordinary, i.e. level 6 hurricanes and typhoons, level 6 tornadoes, consistently record floods and droughts, when sea level rise is indisputably causing shorelines to recede at great cost for infrastructure repair, and so on.

    There will be no single date when all this becomes convincing and compelling. (By that time it would be too late.)

    One thing is certain, there is enough coal in the ground to raise the level of CO2 to where GLT are sufficient to
    cause catastrophic scenarios. Mostly they will be local. Sometimes widespread as in floods and droughts.

    To get back to “… I have read no warning …. Have you ?”

    Yes. Of course. Read about subtropical droughts as the tropics move northward. In the American Southwest this
    is becoming a real problem.

    A small rise in temperature can have huge results. Let me remind you that a mere 18º C, caused by CO2 warming, is what separates us from being frozen solid on a snowball in space. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html

    And by the way, temperatures in Texas are much on people’s minds some times of the year. When we have temperatures of well over 100º every day for well over a month, when it hasn’t rained at all during that period, some people begin to wonder what’s up. This kind of “exceptional drought” has people working the land very concerned about whether they’ll make it or not. Most are hoodwinked by Republican institutional denial, given to believe it’s all just natural variability.
    The current El Niño reinforces their illusion. Unfortunately the rains will go away and the drought will scorch the land as rarely, or as never before this coming summer. (I hope I’m wrong!)

    Your appeal to material gratification and greed as the excuse to forge blindly ahead with the consequential emissions reminds me of the story about the ant and the grasshopper.

  842. Richard Ordway:

    “”I am surprised that no one is posting that Pachauri should resign (or be sacked) from his post as chair of the IPCC.”"

    Please look at why Robert Watson left as the head of the IPCC according to the freedom of information act documents.

  843. Theo Hopkins (In the UK):

    @ 838 Steve Brown

    Your link to the video of HRH Prince Charles visiting the CRU is very cheering at a time when mainstream climate science is being threatened.

    Don’t miss it.

  844. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Gilles: Have you ever heard of AGW consequences causing 100 millions deaths? no?

    BPL: Not yet, but it should cause about eight billion sometime around 2040-2060.

  845. CM:

    Ken,

    And here I was thinking we almost agreed — after all, I already gave my opinion that in this case they should have gone to the original paper — and then you come with a description of the message creep that gets it wrong at every stage. The attribution of the 1997-98 drought to logging is yours, not the Nepstad paper’s (there was drought in non-logged areas too). And the attribution of risk to climate change in the sentence in question is, again, yours, not the IPCC’s. To use your own words, what could the possible reasons be for this type of distortion of the sources?

    I’m not someone connected with the IPCC or even working in any related field, so impugning my professional ethics is a bit off. But as someone who sometimes edits academic texts for a living, I can say that I would love to have the presence of mind to notice, and the time to check out and correct, each and every even slightly questionable claim or source. Actual working conditions often impose an element of triage, though, where one spends 90% of the time straightening out some major problem.

    Let’s try to see the forest for the trees here (difficult with those rainforest canopies, I know). The sentence we’ve been obsessing over is broadly consistent with other, independent findings; it is worded so it can’t be flat wrong; and above all, it plays at most a modest supporting role in an argument about impacts of global warming. They could have dropped it without changing a word in the executive summary of the chapter:

    Replacement of tropical forest by savannas is expected in eastern Amazonia and the tropical forests of central and southern Mexico, along with replacement of semi-arid vegetation by arid vegetation in parts of north-east Brazil and most of central and northern Mexico due to synergistic effects of both land-use and climate changes (medium confidence)

    …or in the WG2 summary for policy-makers:

    By mid-century, increases in temperature and associated decreases in soil water are projected to lead to gradual replacement of tropical forest by savanna in eastern Amazonia. Semi-arid vegetation will tend to be replaced by arid-land vegetation. There is a risk of significant biodiversity loss through species extinction in many areas of tropical Latin America.

  846. Barton Paul Levenson:

    BPL Actually, another decade’s delay is putting all the nails in the coffin, dropping it in the grave, shoveling in all the dirt, and tamping it down with a steamroller.”

    RS: I bet you said that 10 years ago.

    BPL: Nope. In 2000 I was just starting to write atmosphere models and was interested in the subject mostly to write about other planets.

    RS: Why don’t you and others at this site wake up to yourselves and realise that it will take at least 10 years to get to the point where you are going to even start turning things around.

    BPL: My personal opinion is that it will not be turned around. You and your denier pals are going to win on the politics, and human civilization will collapse some time in the next 40 years.

    RS: But by then the whole AGW house of cards will have collapsed.

    BPL: Yeah, and they’ll have repealed relativity and quantum mechanics, too, and admitted that aliens built the pyramids.

  847. Barton Paul Levenson:

    RS: What arrant nonsense. Billions will not be dying. Catastrophising an issue does not make it a reality.

    BPL: And how do you know billions will not be dying? What, precisely, is the source of your certainty?

  848. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Tom: Do you have a citation to back up all these billions of deaths attributable to lifestyles of others?

    BPL: What part of “70% of the Earth’s entire land surface will be in drought by 2025″ did you not understand?

  849. Jimbo:

    # 682

    “Money always gets in the way” – spot the irony.

    “Mr Jimbo is certainly earning his fees on this thread isn’t he – work, work, work; link, link, link.”

    REPLY – There you go again! Why do you think all sceptics are paid? If you believe I am being paid then where the heck is my oil cheque? :o)

    ———–

    # 687
    Jimbo says: “You should know that correlation is not causation old bean.”

    “…are you one of those special people who claim CO2 is not a greenhouse gas.[?]”

    REPLY – Yes I do realise CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Do you realise that water vapour, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, sulfur hexafluoride, perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons are also greenhouse gases? If only I could send you to take a sauna on Mars with its CO2 rich atmosphere. :o(

    ———

    # 689
    “…I guess you can’t find 100 papers by denialists, can you? In fact, you’d probably have trouble finding 10 that you’d actually want to cite, wouldn’t you?”

    REPLY – You’re right, I can’t find 100 or even 10 – however, I’ll give you over 150 see link below

    [edit - don't use crap links in lieu of discussion]

    ——-
    #710

    Jimbo, it seems like you should be institutionalised.

    ““Money always gets in the way”

    Don’t forget the religious angle: not only god but the Church of Ayn Rand.”

    REPLY – But the BBC (25 January 2010) thinks global warming campaigners are increasingly using religious symbols and slogans.

    “If the case for tackling climate change is backed by science, why do so many green campaigners rely on the language of religion?”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8468233.stm

    +++++++
    For me it’s not about money, politics or religion. I have no axe to grind – I just don’t like being taken for a ride by politicians riding on the backs of naive greens. (I’m concerned for the environment by the way but I’m also concerned about TRUTH).

  850. Bob:

    On the potential for forest fires in the Amazon: Amazon drought and its implications for forest
    flammability and tree growth: a basin-wide analysis — Nepstad et al (2004)
    .

    There’s no 40% number, but there is a frequent 31% reference that comes up through a specific metric (25% PAWmax = plant-available soil water, maximum). Looking at the tables, during the 2001 ENSO the percentage of the Amazon forests in the 0-50% PAWmax category is 51%, and that is from one specific drought. From reading this I think a 40% number may actually be conservative, but I only gave it one quick read through. Of course this is only talking about susceptibility to fire, not “a drastic reaction”. I have to go through it again, in more detail, tonight.

    From the abstract:

    Field measurements and experimental forest fires indicate that soil moisture depletion below 25% PAWmax corresponds to a reduction in leaf area index of approximately 25%, increasing forest flammability. Hence, approximately one-third of Amazon forests became susceptible to fire during the 2001 ENSO period.

    From the body of the report:

    Rooting depth influences PAW by affecting PAWmax and the amount of moisture that is potentially stored in the soil to sustain ET during periods of low rainfall. A halving of rooting depth from 10 to 5 m results in a doubling of the Amazon forest area in which PAW drops below 25% of PAWmax, during most years (Figs 9 and 10). Using a rooting depth of 5 m, RisQue estimates that virtually the entire Amazon had dropped below 50% of PAWby the end of 2001 (Fig. 9).

    and:

    By the end of 2001, we estimate that nearly one-third of the forests of this region had depleted all but 25% of plant-available soil moisture to a depth of 10 m (Fig. 9, Table 1).

  851. dhogaza:

    Richard Ordway, I’ll make it easy for them …

    In April 2002 the United States pressed for and won his replacement by Rajendra Pachauri as IPCC chair. According to New Scientist, “The oil industry seems to be behind the move.” The industry campaign to oust Watson had begun days after George W. Bush’s inauguration in January 2001, with a memo to the White House from Randy Randol of oil giant ExxonMobil asking “Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the US?”

  852. Ray Ladbury:

    Ian says of the latest nontroversy: “Is this true or is it just journalism? ”

    I wouldln’t call it journalism unless you want to use REALLY loose standards for that once proud profession.

  853. richard c:

    Agree the Himalayas episode is just one item out of a 1,000 page report. To err IS human. But I do find it disturbing that this same error was in part the basis for soliciting funding of $4M from EU taxpayers. And that the bulk of these funds went to none other than Pachauri’s TERI organization. Perhaps this is simple coincidence – but it looks not good on the record.

  854. Ray Ladbury:

    Ken, I think that perhaps some of the confusion arises from the fact that the IPCC is being asked to fulfill two roles here. First, they are to summarize the current state of the art of climate science–and I think most would agree that they do that well. However, they are also charged with developing at least the beginnings of risk models so that mitigation can be targeted properly. The thing is that to do risk modeling you have to first bound all the risks. The bound doesn’t have to be a tight bound–it merely has to exceed the actual risk and be finite. It can be tightened as more information is obtained. I think that the Amazon reference clearly falls into that category.

    The one silver lining I can see in all this is that with people now concentrated on the risks, most seem to have moved beyond trying to challenged well established climate science.

  855. Hank Roberts:

    > eight billion
    Citing that to Lovelock?

  856. Syl:

    Barton Paul Levenson,

    A fact that we KNOW now is that there is about 300 million clinical cases of malaria every year and 1 million deaths. This can easily be prevented with a simple vaccine but yet we do nothing. We can spend trillions to save theoretical future deaths or millions to save people today.

  857. Edward Greisch:

    779 Barton Paul Levenson: “BPL: SL-1. Enrico Fermi. Brown’s Ferry. Three-Mile Island. Chernobyl. Places like that.”

    Three Mile Island resulted in ZERO injuries. Chernobyl killed 52, mostly fire fighters. That is NOT where people got their irrational ideas. What are SL-1 and Brown’s Ferry? Oh, right: Other non-events. Nothing happened there, but great propaganda was generated. Enrico Fermi was a scientist who was involved in the Manhattan that’s project. Bombs are NOT reactors. Reactors are NOT bombs. What does Enrico Fermi have to do with it? Did he say something irrational once?
    Chernobyl was a primitive reactor without a containment building. There are 134 just like it still operating, but they have NOTHING to do with American reactors.

    American reactors are:
    1. Inside containment buildings which are pressure vessels
    2. Are much more stable that Soviet built reactors. This applies even to the oldest American power reactors.
    There has NEVER been a death or any injury attributable to American nuclear power. So you haven’t answered the question: Where, besides Propaganda, did Americans get their irrational fear?

  858. Edward Greisch:

    794Richard Steckis: BPL is right in saying that AGW will probably cause billions of deaths. In fact, the human race could go EXTINCT. Nobody is “catastrophising” the issue. We have read some archaeology and some paleontology.
    The #1 kill mechanism is famine. See “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.
    7 degrees C is one more than the for-sure extinction point for Homo Sapiens as reported in a bunch of reports and books.
    The book “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas says: “If the global warming is 6 degrees centigrade, we humans go extinct.” See:
    http://www.marklynas.org/2007/4/23/six-steps-to-hell-summary-of-six-degrees-as-published-in-the-guardian
    Lynas lists several kill mechanisms, the most important being famine and methane fuel-air explosions. Other mechanisms include fire storms.

    The following sources say H2S bubbling out of hot oceans is the final blow at 6 degrees C warming:
    “Under a Green Sky” by Peter D. Ward, Ph.D., 2007.

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00037A5D-A938-150E-A93883414B7F0000&sc=I100322

    http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/2003/prPennStateKump.htm
    http://www.astrobio.net is a NASA web zine. See:

    http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=672

    http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1535

    http://www.astrobio.net/news/article2509.html

    http://astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=2429&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

    “Climate Code Red” by David Spratt and Philip Sutton says the following:
    Long term warming, counting feedbacks, is a least twice the short term warming. 560 ppm CO2 gets us 6 degrees C or 10.8 degrees F. We will hit 560 ppm before mid century.

    Per “Climate Code Red”, we need ZERO “Kyoto gas” emissions RIGHT NOW and we also need geo-engineering because we have already gone way beyond the safe CO2 level of 300 to 325 ppm. We are already at 455 ppm equivalent and we have tripped some very big tipping points. We aren’t dead yet, but the planet needs critical intensive care if we humans are to have a chance of survival.

    “The Vanishing Face of Gaia” by James Lovelock has identified a 9 degree lurch in the temperature that happens at 450 ppm equivalent.
    Looks like we are not going to make it. We HUMANS could be EXTINCT by 2050 because politicians are not considering sufficiently strong action.

    Thank you, RealClimate, for this last-ditch effort to save us from extinction. All readers should forward RealClimate’s email to their politicians immediately and call their politicians in the morning.

  859. David R.:

    Joe Cushley says:
    27 January 2010 at 7:07 AM

    At 683 David R says – Among other things, the IPCC report makes the assertion that ‘over 40% of the Amazonian rainforests… will probably be replaced by…tropical savannahs.’

    What the IPCC report actually says. “UP TO 40% of the Amazonian rainforests…’ then he engages in a clever bit of snipping which takes out the qualifying language to try and make it into an assertion. So, David R, not exactly making things up, but exaggerating and twisting nuanced meaning in quite an “alarmist” fashion to make a political point.

    My apologies. Looking back, I see that my attempt to condense that paragraph changed its nuance, especially ‘over’ instead of ‘up to’. I was in a rush and slightly distracted at the time. I should have just cut and pasted the passage. Here it is:

    Up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to
    even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the
    tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South
    America could change very rapidly to another steady state, not
    necessarily producing gradual changes between the current and
    the future situation (Rowell and Moore, 2000). It is more
    probable that forests will be replaced by ecosystems that have
    more resistance to multiple stresses caused by temperature
    increase, droughts and fires, such as tropical savannas

    Again, my apologies for mistranslating the exact meaning of this paragraph.

    However, I do stand by my point: that the source and the authors cited for this still alarming assertion are of questionable reliability.

  860. Martin Vermeer:

    #837 Ian: rather read this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/27/climate-change-uk-top-scientist-urges-caution

    BTW I get the feeling he is talking as a politician, not as as scientist… nothing he says is controversial within th scientific community. ‘Some scientists’ indeed. Nice way to accuse everybody and nobody :-(

  861. Edward Greisch:

    Amazon controversy: I read somewhere that: The forest makes its own rain. The more you cut down, the less it rains.
    And somewhere else that: If the Amazon region gets enough drier, the remainder will all burn at once in a firestorm. How much drier?
    I don’t have the citations, so I suggest the Amazon thing as a future topic for RC to do a big post on. Don’t get hung up on 40% because that may be mooted by a fire storm. If the fire storm happens, we are all in trouble because it would release a lot of CO2.

  862. Philip Machanick:

    This is not the first time Kevan Hashemi has shown up on these pages making strong claims. When dealing with people who are clearly more expert than you and you think they have made a mistake, try exercising a little humility against the possibility that the mistake is yours. No one here wants you to feel a fool.

  863. Gilles:

    “actually I doubt that anybody will see a statistically significant (above 3 sigmas of natural variability) change during his life.”

    So again you’re only thinking of yourself.

    anybody means anybody and not myself , right ?
    do you know that people are born, live and dies, so in 100 years people will just live in the world they know.If nobody sees a statistical difference within their life , whythe hell would they care about the average throughout a century ?

    As I said, europeans have settled in America although there were much more hurricanes there than in Europe. And you know , retired people from the North of France move often to the south where the temperature is much higher (several degrees) , and there may be more droughts and even fires- and I suspect some american go to Florida or california too. And they change their “climate” within a few months !! Do you think these people are so crazy ?

    “same question : when?”

    When the West Antarctic melts.

    so when do you think it will melt and how much carbon does it require, please?

    If you don’t care that it melts as long as you’re dead before then, then say so.

    well, let’s say I care first the most imminent problems happening just right now, which is for me first the LACK of fossil energy, beginning with peak oil. And I doubt that the problems you fear will ever happen. So I don’t think my behavior is that odd, compared to the average one : handling immediate and certain issues , instead of distant and uncertain ones.

    BPL: Not yet, but it should cause about eight billion sometime around 2040-2060.

    any scientific, peer-reviewed reference for that, BPL ?

  864. Lawrence McLean:

    It seems that we are in the midst of a storm of denial, I suspect that it has been some time in planning. Again I suspect that there was warning of this storm in a suspicious comment on this site back in July:
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=606#comment-131786
    Silvia is wrong of course, reality is against her. Sadly we are all losers for it, as it seems that nothing will be done until it becomes undeniable.

    Thank goodness this site exists.

  865. Ron Broberg:

    @Kevan Hashemi: Nor have I ever seen a graph of the number of stations plotted by GISS or CRU.

    You mean this one?
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data/stations.gif
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data/

  866. Pierre Allemand:

    Seems to me that one of the 2 arguments posted by Gavin against my comment #25 on october 27 2009 to the post “350″ is no longer valid… Himalayan glaciers will not change the flow of the Gange river in a near future for 2 reasons : first, water from glaciers represents only 2 to 3 % of the total Gange river flow. Second, melting is not what was forecasted…( So, if you asked Chinese or Indian people : “how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere”, answer seems definitely far to be “none”). Remember Copenhague…

  867. Ron Broberg:

    By the way – here is a quick analysis of losing ‘high altitude, high latitude’ stations.
    It is quick – hopefully I haven’t munged it up too much.

    The baseline is composed of 3188 GHCN RAW stations,
    gridded and averaged per the CRU perl code released last month.

    The first set shows the effect of removing all the stations 1000m and higher
    http://rhinohide.cx/co2/crutem/img/ghcn_raw_all-1000-ghcn_raw_all-compare.png
    http://rhinohide.cx/co2/crutem/img/ghcn_raw_all-1000-ghcn_raw_all-diff.png

    The second set shows the effect of removing all the station above 60N and below 60S
    http://rhinohide.cx/co2/crutem/img/ghcn_raw_all-60lat-ghcn_raw_all-compare.png
    http://rhinohide.cx/co2/crutem/img/ghcn_raw_all-60lat-ghcn_raw_all-diff.png

  868. Keith:

    I have a question regarding the lag time between peak temps and peak Co2. Is this true? I’ve heard that the peak co2 lags around 800 years behind peak temps in the last so many thousands of years in ice core data. This is an honest question- what’s that all about and how is it explained? thanks

    [Response: Here. - gavin]

  869. Completely Fed Up:

    Giles, have you heard of AGW consequences being impossible as the cause of millions of deaths?

    What do you think the consequences will be? Everyone gets beachfront property and live in a bahama-like resort chalet?

    And have you heard of any AGW mitigation causing loss of economic output?

  870. Completely Fed Up:

    Richard Ordway:

    You mean the Robert watson who said in 2000:

    “The overwhelming majority of scientific experts, whilst recognizing that scientific uncertainties exist, nonetheless believe that human-induced climate change is inevitable.”
    “These are the fundamental conclusions, taken from already approved/accepted IPCC assessments, of a careful and objective analysis of all relevant scientific, technical and economic information by thousands of experts from the appropriate fields of science from academia, governments, industry and environmental organizations from around the world.”

    ?

    Of whom it is reported:

    “They say Washington disliked Dr Watson’s willingness to tell governments what he believes to be the unvarnished truth – that human activities are now contributing dangerously to climate change.”

    and about his ejection from the IPCC:

    “Green groups believe Mr Bush is unduly influenced by the energy lobby in America, and point to a memo forwarded to the White House by ExxonMobil last year.

    The document raised the question of whether Dr Watson could be replaced as the US representative on the IPCC. Environmentalists claimed the outcome of Friday’s vote was proof of ExxonMobil’s power behind the scenes in Washington.”

    Just in case someone thinks that any claim of Pachuri’s resignation isn’t any form of proof of the IPCC being incorrect or the WG reports being wrong.

  871. Completely Fed Up:

    Too many negatives in that closing sentence, wasn’t there…

  872. Nick Gotts:

    “Ideally – though it might overload your work day – scientists need to (politely) call erring reporters and give them to facts.” – Theo Hopkins

    If you really think that’s going to stop journalists either sensationalising, or promoting faux controversies, I have to wonder whether your date of birth was 26 January 2010.

  873. Jiminmpls:

    #844 BPL: Not yet, but it should cause about eight billion sometime around 2040-2060.

    Hmmmm….somehow I don’t think you meant to write that. Care to restate?

  874. captdallas2:

    “Gilles: Have you ever heard of AGW consequences causing 100 millions deaths? no?

    BPL: Not yet, but it should cause about eight billion sometime around 2040-2060.”

    Not that I want to be perceived as crass or anything, but would not a dramatic population reduction have a buffering effect on AGW? A cite and review of the cite appears to be in order. If of course you have a peer or blog reviewed cite :)

  875. Gilles:

    I wrote:
    “Falsify the hypothesis then. Just saying so doesn’t make it true. If you can’t falsify the argument that burning current reserves of coal will result in a “catastrophic scenario” with facts and figures then we’ll assume you understand the statement to be the truth.”

    sorry Tim, I think you’re taking the argument quite upside down. The question is not if I can falsify it, it is if it can be falsifiedin any manner and how. If I can’t falsify it, just because it can’t be falsified anyway, then the statement itself is not scientific. That’s basic epistemology.

    So how do you expect i COULD falsify it ?

    Now concerning the current climatic problem, please let me know the last 30 years period when there was no climatic problem, I can’t remember any. I think mankind has always coped with climate , hasn’t it ? and don’t make me laugh with the “speed of change”, the world has totally changed in 100 years , and even in 50 years – but not because of climate change – and people moving more than 100 km to the south experience a much more rapid change than any natural or anthropic warming can do – not to speak about the great migrations overseas during the XIXth century.

  876. Patrik:

    Talking of disasters – when did humanity avoid a disaster, based on scientific warnings?
    Has it ever happened?
    How do we deal with avoiding the disasters that do happen?
    Shouldn’t we be moving people (at least the poor ones) from quake-areas, flood-areas and the likes in any case?

    Mitigating emissions won’t prevent millions to die from earthquakes, floods, storms etc.
    Yes, more might die if we don’t mitigate CO2, but while we’re quarreling about how to do that – people keep dying for nothing.

    Preventing settlements in “risky” areas will mitigate both “natural” disasters and “anthropogenic” disasters – won’t it?

    Because we can be 99,9999…% sure that disaster will strike again and again, regardless of the atmospheric CO2.

  877. Sou:

    I know this was yesterday’s news and probably completely forgotten by most, but I read the Telegraph article quoting Beddington. If you look at each of the actual quotes from Beddington, independently of the article, Beddington was saying something quite different from what the journalist was spinning.

    Beddington, according to the actual quotes, said it is unchallengable that CO2 is causing warming, that scientists find it difficult to explain to the public what they mean by ‘uncertainty’, and that proper skeptics should have access to information even at the risk of people causing mischief with it etc.

    The spin of the article was that the science is vague and probably won’t happen and that scientists are hiding data. A classic case of the mischief Beddington was talking about, with the journo relying on the gullibility and lack of critical thinking probably typical of readers of the Telegraph.

  878. J Bowers:

    819 Bob says: 27 January 2010 at 1:19 PM
    “…I used to think that some modern major news outlets had abandoned all journalistic integrity. Now I’m starting to think they all have. I’m starting to think that journalism is totally dead. It’s a time when it’s okay to just print whatever you want to believe as fact, knowing that most people will read it…”
    ————————————————————-

    Take heart, Bob. At least The Guardian’s getting some balanced views into the news. Good old Guardian.

    ‘Climate sceptics distract us from the scientific realities of global warming’ by John Cook:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jan/27/climate-sceptics-global-warming

  879. Tim Jones:

    Arctic ‘Melt Season’ Is Growing Longer, New Research Demonstrates
    http://www.physorg.com/news183836066.html
    January 27, 2010 by Kathryn Hansen

    New NASA-led research shows that the melt season for Arctic sea ice has lengthened by an average of 20 days over the span of 28 years, or 6.4 days per decade. The finding stems from scientists’ work to compile the first comprehensive record of melt onset and freeze-up dates — the “melt season” — for the entire Arctic.

    The melt season begins each April when the sunless winter gives way to sunrise and spring, and water and air temperatures rise. By September, the sea ice shrinks to a minimum and begins refreezing, bringing the annual melt season to an end.

    The longer melt season, described by Thorsten Markus of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in the Journal of Geophysical Research — http://www.physorg.com/tags/journal+of+geophysical+research/ Oceans, has implications for the future of Arctic sea ice. Open water that appears earlier in the season absorbs more heat from the sun throughout summer, further warming the water and promoting more melting.

    “This feedback process has always been present, yet with more extensive open water this feedback becomes even stronger and further boosts ice loss,” Markus said. “Melt is starting earlier, but the trend towards a later freeze-up is even stronger because of this feedback effect.”

    http://cdn.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/hires/1-arcticmeltse.jpg
    Researchers analyzed satellite data for 10 different Arctic regions and found trends in melt and freeze onset days as well as trends in melt season length. Credit: NASA/Thorsten Markus

    To examine melt season length, Markus and colleagues used data from satellite passive microwave sensors, which can “see” indications of melt. The result is an accurate account of the melt seasons from 1979 to 2007.

    “Given that the Arctic ocean is nearly twice the size of the continental United States, it would be impossible to track change like this without long-term satellite records,” said Thomas Wagner, NASA’s cryosphere program scientist at NASA Headquarters, Washington.

    Analyzing melt-season trends for 10 different Arctic regions, the research team discovered that melt season lengthened the most — more than 10 days per decade — in Hudson Bay, the East Greenland Sea, the Laptev and East Siberian Seas, and the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Some of that change is due to melt onset occurring about three days earlier per decade in some areas. Earlier melt means more heat can be absorbed by the open water, promoting more melting and later freeze-up dates — more than eight days per decade later in some areas. Only the Sea of Okhotsk turned up a shorter melt season. The reasons for the regional differences are currently being investigated.

    “The onset of melting and melt season length are important variables for understanding the Arctic climate system,” Markus added. “Given the recent large losses of the Arctic summer ice cover, it has become critical to investigate the causes of the decline and the consequences of its continued decline.”

    The lengthened melt season could impact more than just the Arctic ice and ocean. According to Markus, “marine ecosystems are very sensitive to changes in melt onset and freeze-up dates.”

    “Changes in the Arctic sea ice cover may have profound effects on North America’s climate,” said Wagner. “Studies like this one show us how ice responds to variations in the ocean and atmosphere and improve the predictive models that will help us plan for climate change.”

  880. gary thompson:

    #844

    “BPL: Not yet, but it should cause about eight billion sometime around 2040-2060.”

    hey BPL – hyperbole much? i can’t believe you guys are still carrying this AGW torch. now let me try my turn at outrageous predictions – in 2 years this website will cease to exist or have a traffic volume somewhere close to a taco bell drivethru at 3:00 am.

  881. Richard Ordway:

    Re 836 Tom says:

    “Do you have a citation to back up all these billions of deaths attributable to lifestyles of others?”

    It would be irresponsible for any peer-reviewed scientific document to state this in my experience and in my personal opinion.

    I am stepping in on this conversation and did not start it vis a vis the peer review literature. I am not making this a case of applying it to the peer reviewed literature in any way, shape or form and hopefully never did…that would be irresponsible, I believe.

    However, the closest I could imply from a peer reviewed perspective of the possiblility of billions of possible human deaths resulting from our burning oil, coal and gas (human-caused “global warming”) would be 188 citations citing the work of a retired former peer-reviewed publishing scientist’s work: “The Revenge of the Gaia” by James Lovelock (Lovelock, 2006).

    Lovelock does indeed, in his published work bring up the terms “mass cull” and the possibility of billions of human deaths resulting from our current actions of burning oil, coal and gas causing anthropogenic climate change of which we humans might not be able to adapt fast enough.

    The terms “billions of deaths” and “mass cull” are not necessarily at all endorsed by the 188 citations. However, elements of Lovelock, 2006 are taken seriously enough in documented world wide, juried peer reviewed literature to be cited, which is still telling.

    I am not making a case that the terms “billions of deaths” and “mass cull” due to anthropogengic climate change are in the peer reviewed literature- only that a published source writing of this possiblility is cited 188 times. Many of the citations only discuss the implicatations of this point of view: eg. (IJ Fairchild, MJ Kennedy, 2007) and very few citations are from major journals.

    Lovelock, 2006 is cited 188 times such as:

    RV Short, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society,
    2009 (They state Lovelock is a “world expert”)and “which the inexorable increase in human numbers is exhausting conventional energy supplies, accelerating environmental pollution and Global Warming…”

    M Hoffert, Science, 2009 “Can Civilization (at Least the U.K.)
    Run Sustainably?” (mainly related to a book review)

    J Hansen et al.,”Dangerous human-made interference with climate: A GISS modelE study”, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 2006; (81 citations)

    The study was coauthored (ahem) by someone we all know of well, concludes:

    “These stark conclusions about the threat posed by global climate change and implications for fossil fuel use are not yet appreciated by essential governing bodies, as evidenced by on-going plans to build coal-fired power plants without CO2 capture and sequestration.

    In our view, there is an acute need for science to inform society about the costs of failure to address global warming, because of a fundamental difference between the threat posed by climate change and most prior global threats.

    In the nuclear standoff between the Soviet Union and United States, a crisis could be precipitated only by action of one of the parties. In contrast, the present threat to the planet and civilization, with the United States and China now the principal players, requires only inaction in the face of clear scientific evidence of the danger of increased greenhouse gas emissions.

    Thus scientists are faced with difficult choices between communication of scientific information to the public and focus on basic research, as there are inherent compromises in any specific balance.”
    http://74.125.155.132/scholar?q=cache:IixGBGhxTUIJ:scholar.google.com/&hl=en&as_sdt=2000

    List of the Hansen et al, 2006 co-authors

    List of the Hansen et al, 2006 co-authors

    J. Hansen, M. Sato, R. Ruedy, P. Kharecha, A. Lacis1,, R. Miller,L. Nazarenko, K. Lo, G. A. Schmidt, G. Russell, I. Aleinov, S. Bauer,E. Baum, B. Cairns, V. Canuto1, M. Chandler, Y. Cheng, A. Cohen,A. Del Genio, G. Faluvegi, E. Fleming, A. Friend, T. Hall1, C. Jackman,J. Jonas, M. Kelley, N. Y. Kiang, D. Koch, G. Labow, J. Lerner,S. Menon, T. Novakov, V. Oinas, Ja. Perlwitz, Ju. Perlwitz, D. Rind,A. Romanou1, R. Schmunk, D. Shindel, P. Stone, S. Sun, D. Streets,N. Tausnev D. Thresher, N. Unger, M. Yao, and S. Zhang

    IJ Fairchild, MJ Kennedy, Journal of the Geological Society, 2007 (29 citations)

    P O’Sullivan – The Holocene, 2008 (6 citations)

  882. Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.:

    Back to the statement: The IPCC is not infallible. Ok, so perhaps we should back off a little from the statement: The science is settled.

    That does not mean the problem does not exist. Those that care about it need to settle in for a longer campaign. Significant change in the way people do things will be slow, especially since acceptable alternatives seem to be missing.

  883. Jorge:

    I am looking for a theoretical model for the Greenhouse effect based on physical facts like spectroscopic absorption (IR-area from about 5 to 100 µm wavelength), like quantum mechanical models for absorption and (!) reemission, like turbulance in the troposphere, like what is the role of the stratosphere etc. etc.

    If there is anybody knowing about that I would appreciate a knowledgeable answer.

    Further information: the radioastronomers are using a theoretical model according to J.R.Pardo, but that seems to work only in the 1 – 2 THz area (equivalent to 150 to 300 µm)

  884. DEREK:

    infallible is a understatement..

  885. Ken W:

    Completely Fed Up (840) wrote:
    “Then what do you say to those who proclaim that any action would ruin the economy?”

    This is the thing that annoys me to no end, when it comes to the “skeptics”. They can ignore (or filter out, by finding tid-bits of disagreement) mountains of quality scientific evidence that AGW is a significant threat. Yet when it comes to the claim our economy will be destroyed if we do anything, they don’t seem to need any evidence to support that. And when actual economics evidence to the contrary comes out (e.g. Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, which warned of far worse economic damages if we don’t start acting) they simply ignore it.

  886. Tim Jones:

    Re: 830 SecularAnimist says:
    27 January 2010
    I wrote: “… I’ll be surprised if the human population of the Earth in fifty years is more than half what it is today …”

    Considering the interactions of peak oil, climate change and agriculture you might find it interesting to see numbers regarding how dependent the food supply is on nitrogen fertilizer derived from fossil fuels.

    “Global Farm Animal Production and Global Warming: Impacting and Mitigating Climate Change”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2367646/

  887. Tim Jones:

    Some sort of External Links Disclaimer could be an answer to the IPCC’s problem with quotes and citations from grey literature.

    See: Methane : Sources and Emissions:
    Subject: Where does methane come from?
    http://www.epa.gov/methane/sources.html

    The commentary added a reference to IPCC, 2007 with a clickable graphic [exit disclaimer],

    http://www.epa.gov/epahome/exitepa.htm

    Seems the US EPA wants to make sure the IPCC citation is qualified:

    “…EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided by this link or any other linked site. Providing links to a non-EPA Web site does not constitute an endorsement by EPA or any of its employees of the sponsors of the site or the information or products presented on the site.”

  888. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    #744, and GW-Hurricane link. It’s more complicated than simply average ocean temp increasing by a half degree (or more in the future), it has more to do with what Hansen calls “sloshings” — the changing distributions (and anomalies) of weather and SSTs.

    I’m thinking if there is not enough warmth in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico for hurricanes in a particular season (maybe do to some Arctic oscillation thing, or la nina), then maybe there will be enough warm SST elsewhere for hurricanes (cyclones), like in the western Pacific or Bay of Bengal. But the hurricanes even there will only form if all the conditions for hurricanes are present, not just the warmer SST.

    Warm SST is a necessary, but not a sufficient cause of hurricanes.

    And an all around warmer ocean, I’d think, would just increase the potential for stronger (and perhaps more) hurricanes. Just sounds logical to me. Even with “sloshings” the (increasing) heat has got to show up somewhere.

    As for a little ice age coming soon, I suppose that would be a near impossibility. In fact we are in a relative cool period right now with solar irradiance being at a minimum. So I’m thinking we’ll probably be seeing more warming than in the past decade when that ole sun starts shining brighter again. (Actual scientists welcome to jump in here.)

    According to Hansen’s STORMS OF MY GRANDCHILDREN, it seems there is little possibility now even for the regularly scheduled ice age, the one that may have come in 1000s of years (according to the pattern in the past), if it weren’t for AGW. And I believe it’s because of the GHGs we’ve already emitted — what’s already in the pipes — with what we continue to emit merely being superfluous nails on the coffin of that ice age.

  889. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE Dr. Pachauri, I think he should get another Nobel Peace Prize for having to put up with denialists. And the Purple Heart, and the Medal of Honor, and the Medal of Valor, etc. etc.

    The denialists may think they’ve won the war over global warming by finding all the i’s not dotted and t’s not crossed, but it’s a Pyrrhic victory.

  890. Kevin McKinney:

    Tim good comment.

    One slight edit: it should be not 18 C, but 32 C, according to the NCDC FAQ you cited.

    (14+ C to 18- C = 32 degrees.)

    By the way, you’d think–or at least, I would–that Luna would provide a pretty good analog to a no-greenhouse Earth. But most online sources I’ve found give mean lunar temp as 220 K, compared to Earth’s 287. That’s a difference of 67 degrees, about twice the value given above in NCDC. Is that mostly due (as I suspect) to the planetary temperatures not being specified in the same way?

    Ie., the lunar temp was specified as (IIRC) “mean effective equatorial” temperature; elsewhere–and a not-so-reliable elsewhere, as far as I could judge–it was stated that the “effective” temperature is always less than “actual” temperature. “Less” wasn’t quantified. . .

    Any clarifications or comments from the qualified?

  891. Septic Matthew:

    More on the current apparent temperature plateau:

    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100128/full/news.2010.42.html

    The original is in Science, which probably requires that you pay a fee to read the whole thing.

  892. Septic Matthew:

    844, Barton Paul Levenson: BPL: Not yet, but it should cause about eight billion sometime around 2040-2060.

    We read it here first. Or is that from the peer-reviewed literature?

  893. FurryCatHerder:

    Tim Jones @ 841:

    But the catastrophic scenario ensues when storm events are continually extraordinary, i.e. level 6 hurricanes and typhoons, …

    Oh, please. Cat5 hurricanes are their own worst enemy. Hurricanes are very fascinating, and the utter destruction they cause often a thing of perverse beauty. But the notion that Global Warming is going to cause some giant outbreak of Cat6 storms (!) ignores all of the things that make hurricanes actually work.

    BPL @ 844:

    BPL: Not yet, but it should cause about eight billion sometime around 2040-2060.

    That’s assuming we survive or avert the wars that are going to happen as a result of demand for crude oil outstripping supply.

    But hey — global thermonuclear war could cause the Ice Age that denialists (who are also often in denial of Peak Oil) are so fond of talking about!

  894. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Here’s what I’ve been trying to say — for the public it doesn’t really matter whether the glaciers are melting sooner or later. See http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=149919 :

    …the IPCC will remain a political football, as supporters and opponents of climate action battle in Washington. For the public, however, none of the scientific infighting really matters. A survey released last week by Frank Luntz, a veteran Republican pollster, found that despite all the noise, substantial majorities of Americans on both sides of the political divide believe that climate change is real, and that something needs to be done about it. They don’t want to know the details — the exact speed of the Himalayan glaciers’ melt is not going to motivate the public one way or another now.

    Frank Luntz, no less…

  895. vic:

    Jonathan Leake at the Sunday Times has discovered that the Information Commissioner believes that offences were committed under the Freedom of Information Act at CRU. As readers here know, the ICO is not able to take any action because there is apparently a six month time-bar on summary offences such as these.

  896. Mike:

    I have to admit to getting very weary of this entire debate. Besides, 9 out of 10 times when I read a “sceptic” comment, around 100 million neurons undergo apoptosis in protest at the silliness of the argument they’ve just made (which originally began with a “Mars has an atmosphere of 95% CO2 but it’s really cold, therefore CO2 cannot cause global warming” argument). I don’t have much time left.

    A recent gem of wisdom I read yesterday? That glacial meltwater cannot possibly change sea levels anyway, as evidenced by the experiment of putting a ice cube in a glass of water and observing the relative constant water level as it melts. This was only just eclipsed today, by the following statement from a family member – and I quote: “I just heard on the radio (conservative talkback program) that a chief scientist has come out and said the global warming thing-a-me-jig in the whats-is-name was not accurate, and that’s why I know it’s all wrong.” Of course! It’s obvious when you understand the thing-a-me-jigs and whats-is-names.

    And if I hear just one more sceptic say that a negative slope in a post-1998 temperature anomaly plot shows that global temperatures are dropping (even though the anomaly is still positive), I will completely decompensate.

  897. Sere:

    Might as well be the first to force you to comment on this. Enjoy. How dreadful!
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/29/water-vapour-climate-change

    [Response: Well the headline is clearly dreadful, but the underlying paper is fine. - gavin]

  898. Craig Allen:

    Giles #752: That Gapfinder data visualisation tool is fantastic! It’s interesting to note the wide range of CO2 emissions intensities per capita that countries can have while still scoring high in the quality of life parameters (with the obvious exceptions of the many developing countries that score low on both axes). This is apparent for example if you plot life expectancy against emissions.

    Many countries with half to a third the emissions per capita of the US or Australia do just as well for themselves. As technologies rapidly improve over the next few decades, and concern grows over the ever more apparent trajectory of global warming, many countries will no doubt drop emissions radically further while still maintaining standards of life. Those that don’t may be in dire trouble as fuel costs sky-rocket and they are out competed by more efficient nations

  899. Curmudgeon Cynic:

    The issue that is becoming increasingly concerning is that, of course, whilst the IPCC is not infallible – no organisation is – the contiuous stream of revelations are just so worrying and embarassing. We need to accept that, for whatever reasons, there are a number of headlines that came out of AR4 that, frankly, are misleading. The Himalayan glacier story, the Amazon story, The Hockey Stick, the increased natural disaster events, etc, have been overblown and sensationalised sufficiently to allow the sceptics all of the room they need to make serious allegations of crying “wolf”.

    Over on WUWT, TAV, etc they are having a field day as the stories unfold.

    This is coupled with Dr Pachauri’s poor handling of the politics recently where he showed enormous niavety in the way he responded to the allegations with respect to the glacier 2035 subject. What was he thinking when he accused his critics of “voodoo Science” when he absolutely must have known that there were serious issues that were being detailed?

    Heaven knows what is going to be uncovered next. There are obviously lots of people now checking all the references with respect to information sources. Already, it would appear that the WWF is a regular source of referenced material and that it is clear that the many of the authors of these reports have little or no credibility on the subjects that they have reported upon. Moreover, the IPCC have clearly not had the data peer reviewed (I hope, based on subsequent information) in many of the cases involving WWF.

    Add in the CRU emails, the allegations with respect to financial conflicts of interest and the increasing scepticism in the press – and it is evident that the situation is getting out of control.

    We need a new approach and new leadership at the IPCC. It is the only way that the panel can re-establish credibility.

    It is my view that Dr Pachauri needs to resign and a new “terms of reference” is established for the IPCC. The IPCC is wide open to the charges that it has become a political campaigning organisation – rather than an independent scientific panel.

  900. Mordock:

    Obama on the “Consensus”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q20cnn8vOfg

  901. Completely Fed Up:

    FCH: “Oh, please. Cat5 hurricanes are their own worst enemy. … But the notion that Global Warming is going to cause some giant outbreak of Cat6 storms (!)”

    However,two things:

    1) a 1m increase in sea level height makes a Cat5 more devastating further inland

    2) Hypercanes happen when the sea temperature is higher than we’ve had for a billion years. So global temperatures and ocean temperatures in particular DO have a large effect on hurricanes. Exactly what effect is one of those “not settled”, but you talk as if it IS settled and is “no change”.

  902. Completely Fed Up:

    “853
    richard c says:
    27 January 2010 at 7:50 PM

    Agree the Himalayas episode is just one item out of a 1,000 page report. To err IS human. But I do find it disturbing that this same error was in part the basis for soliciting funding of $4M from EU taxpayers.”

    And if that had been missing, what would the $4M have been instad?

    $4M.

    The amount due to that information being approximately $0.

  903. Completely Fed Up:

    Curmudgeon Cynic says: “the contiuous stream of revelations are just so worrying and embarassing. ”

    How continuous is it?

    It seems more like “continuosly running repeating loop” to me.

  904. Completely Fed Up:

    “A fact that we KNOW now is that there is about 300 million clinical cases of malaria every year and 1 million deaths.”

    We also KNOW that the Thames valley has the malaria parasite and mosquito carriers but that the temperature of the Thames Valle in the UK is currently too cold on average to allow the parasite to be expressed as malaria cases.

    It only takes another degree to change that…

  905. Completely Fed Up:

    “876
    Patrik says:
    28 January 2010 at 8:28 AM

    Talking of disasters – when did humanity avoid a disaster, based on scientific warnings?
    Has it ever happened?”

    Ozone Hole.
    Acid Rain.
    Y2K.
    Smoking.

    A few other near-misses like thalidomide, BSE and AIDS

    And some predictions that were ignored but came true

    Fish stock collapse
    Housing bubble

    All of them had proclaimers saying it was all a hoax, that it was an unconscionable attack on the Free Rights of the First World, that it was a plot a scam and completely fabricated.

  906. Kevin McKinney:

    Barton may have already responded to this, but it’s got to be high on the “dumb and/or cynical” list.

    If we already are “doing nothing” about malaria, and world-wide action on mitigation is–well, let’s be charitable and say “minimal”–then clearly CO2 mitigation will have ZERO effect on fighting malaria. “Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.”

    Next argument, please?

  907. Completely Fed Up:

    Gilles: “The question is not if I can falsify it, it is if it can be falsified in any manner and how. If I can’t falsify it, just because it can’t be falsified anyway, then the statement itself is not scientific. That’s basic epistemology.

    So how do you expect i COULD falsify it ? ”

    What “it”?

    “It” from what I can piece together is your assertion that there’s no problem in burning the remaining CO2 as known coal reserves.

    For someone talking about basic epistemology, you’ve managed a quite epic fail.

    And still all you’re concerned about is your own life, your own wants, and hang everyone else.

    Yet refuse to admit it and get all teary-eyed over the accusation.

    But every argument you make only has “in my lifetime” attached to it.

    That sort of view will make suicide bombers innocent of murder: they won’t kill anyone in their lifetime, will they.

  908. Ray Ladbury:

    Curmudgeon Cynic,

    Look, concern troll, you’ve got a typo (the glaciers), an upper bound that is at least of the right order of magnitude (Amazon forests), the hockey stick, which is robust regardless of what proxies you use, and increased natural disasters, which is a trend that will have to be verified over the course of decades.

    Out of about 3000 pages, that isn’t a bad track record. Compare that to just about any technical report, and I think the IPCC comes off looking very, very good.

    Or if you don’t like the IPCC, then look at the fricking peer-reviewed literature, and you will find plenty of cause for concern.

    Now can we quit talking about typos and get back to science. Oh, wait, that leaves out the denialists entirely doesn’t it? Oh well!

  909. Completely Fed Up:

    “American reactors are:
    1. Inside containment buildings which are pressure vessels
    2. Are much more stable that Soviet built reactors. ”

    Edward, Russian reactor designers said exactly the same thing about their design.

    But, like the US reactors, the design was new (pebble bed reactors still haven’t had commercial release, yet are persued as a panacea for any nuclear future) and maintenance is set by lowest bidder process.

    There’s a lot less to be sanguine about.

    And that paranoia, properly applied, will ensure that such accidents DO NOT HAPPEN.

    Unearned complacency will make it nearly certain.

  910. Pekka Kostamo:

    #851: How many EPA chiefs did they rotate before they got what they wanted?

  911. Kevin McKinney:

    FWIW, Lynn, that’s my perspective, too, pretty much–most people seem pretty tuned out of the debate at the moment.

    Of course, the denialosphere thinks complete and total victory is at hand, but then realism has never been their strong suit. . .

  912. Ray Ladbury:

    DEREK@884 can’t even type his name without the all-caps key. Personally, I think that’s a sign of listening to too much AM radio!

  913. Curmudgeon Cynic:

    Ref: 908 Ray Ladbury

    Er, what was that all about Ray? What did I say to deserve that response?

    Whilst I understand your frustration with the situation, taking on a “bunker” mentality and firing off at random isn’t going to help.

    Do you disagree with my summation of what is going on in the press? Is what’s happening a figment of my imagination?

    Presentation is, sadly, everything in the press these days and we have managed to create a situation where the IPCC was quoted as “the” global, impartial, scientific authority on matters Climate Change – to a position where Pachauri is being pilloried in the press and “2500 scientists can be wrong” (or weren’t asked).

    Is it not therefore obvious that methods employed to date have failed – and that the IPCC needs to address its dented reputation?

    Don’t shoot the messenger!

  914. Nick Gotts:

    “A fact that we KNOW now is that there is about 300 million clinical cases of malaria every year and 1 million deaths. This can easily be prevented with a simple vaccine” – Syl@856

    There is currently no malaria vaccine. The fact that you don’t know this elementary fact suggests that you don’t actually care in the least about those who die from malaria – you’re just using them to make a denialist point. There are effective ways to reduce the toll from malaria – mosquito nets and selective use of insecticides mostly – but the claim that we cannot supply these if we take action to mitigate climate change is absurd and dishonest.

  915. Septic Matthew:

    896, Tim Jones: Considering the interactions of peak oil, climate change and agriculture you might find it interesting to see numbers regarding how dependent the food supply is on nitrogen fertilizer derived from fossil fuels.

    It might be worthwhile some day to run a thread devoted to the progress in developing alternative energy supplies. The US has 9,000MW of wind generating capacity installed and 104 operating nuclear reactors; China has 12,000MW of wind generating capacity installed and an active program of constructing new nuclear reactors of diverse designs, including fast breeders. Both nations have steadily increasing amounts of deployed solar power generation and steadily increasing PV manufacturing capability. Both nations have active biofuels research and development activity. And that’s just two nations, and I have omitted natural gas. CO2 might not stop increasing before 2050, but current development makes it unlikely that the world will lose production of fertilizer due to a lack of energy supplies.

  916. richard c:

    It really is discouraging to see so much effort go down the drain. The skeptics have managed to outshout the peer-reviewed literature. Four billion years of terrestrial evolution for this??

  917. Completely Fed Up:

    “Do you disagree with my summation of what is going on in the press? Is what’s happening a figment of my imagination?”

    It’s a figment of PR whackery.

    Ray’s problem is that it isn’t truth, it’s lies.

    That it is being *said* is the truth, but what they *say* is a lie.

    cf Humphrey Appleby’s statement “Yes it’s true, it is a rumour”.

  918. Sekerob:

    Gott 914, [OT]visit malaria.control.net for easy, moneyless from the couch contribution of spare cpu cycle from home PCs e.g. Spread the word.[OT]

  919. Marcus:

    Kevin McKinney: I didn’t see an answer to your question about the Moon’s temperature, so here’s my take:

    Average temperature is a tricky concept. Anomalies are much easier. In the case of average day-side and night-side temperatures on the moon, there is a huge difference, and because of the T^4 energy dependence, a straight temperature average gives a misleading answer. Really, you want to take the 4th root of ((day-T)^4+(night-T)^4) which will give you a number closer to day-T than to night-T. (well, really, you want to take the integral over the entire surface, etc.)

    -Marcus

  920. Ray Ladbury:

    Curmudgeon Cynic,
    First, I haven’t seen exactly a media firestorm over these errors. Second, none of the errors you have cited undermines the overall work the IPCC did. The science is solid. The enumeration of the consequences is still a work in progress. One could just as easily cite areas where the IPCC underestimates risk.

    So, no I do not agree that the IPCC hasn’t worked. You’ve cited 4 or 5 mistakes–some of which cannot even rightly be called mistakes–out of 3000 pages. That is hardly a failure.

    The reason the IPCC is under fire is precisely because it is working. It is doing a good job at summarizing the science and outlining the overwhelming evidence that shows that we are warming the planet. Replace Pachauri, and in a couple of years his successor will also be under fire. Replace the IPCC, and whatever replaces it will be assailed from all sides.

    Why? Because they are charged with telling us the evidence and the evidence is telling many people things they don’t want to hear.

    So, Sir, I would commend to you that your admonition to hold fire on the messenger would be excellent advice for YOU to follow.

  921. Dave P:

    Re 914
    It is a myth that warming will lead to more malaria. Long before global warming malaria used to be common in England. Oliver Cromwell died of it. It only disappeared due to better sanitation.

    [Response: Doesn't anyone argue logically any more? That factor X impacts complex process A does not imply that factor Y does not. There are interesting conversations to be had about climate impacts on vector borne diseases, but this is not it. - gavin]

  922. Didactylos:

    Nick Gotts said (in response to Syl):

    There is currently no malaria vaccine. The fact that you don’t know this elementary fact suggests that you don’t actually care in the least about those who die from malaria – you’re just using them to make a denialist point. There are effective ways to reduce the toll from malaria – mosquito nets and selective use of insecticides mostly – but the claim that we cannot supply these if we take action to mitigate climate change is absurd and dishonest.

    Indeed. While climate change will alter the geographic distribution of malaria, increasing prevalence in some areas and reducing it in others, there is no doubt that the other impacts of climate change (malnutrition, water availability, and displaced populations) will dramatically worsen the outcome of malaria cases.

    Bill Gates made an important point: “Climate change is very important, it is an issue money should go to. It just shouldn’t come out of health aid budgets.” Politicians have this tendency to double their foreign aid money by false accounting – it may play well for the gullible media, but it means that only a fraction of the promised money reaches the people who need it.

    We need to act on both fronts at once.

  923. Didactylos:

    Completely Fed Up: You call AIDS a “near miss”? The mind boggles.

    No, please don’t reply. I’m not interested in what you have to say, and I know that you won’t learn from anything I have to say.

  924. Gilles:

    Fed up : I am not speaking of my own life. You don’t know me, and I much likely emit much less CO2 than you, if you’re an american. I’m just speaking of the average behaviour of mankind – probably including yourself. Nobody to my knowledge see any harm in living just 1% or 2% better than the other year. Just accepting (if not claiming for ) a little raise in his wages. Just buying a house as large as he can offer. Just taking vacations when it happens to have some money left after one year of hard work.That’s enough for continuous growth. And I cannoy imagine people accept willingly to let these precious fossil fuels under the ground if they need it.

    There has just been a funny story in France. Just after the failed Copenhage summit, the leader of Green Party, Cecile Duflot (a woman), took some vacation. Where ? in the Maldives Islands. Yes. Maybe for ethnological reason , to study them before their drowning in 20 cm water? Well, of course, journalists kidded her a little bit, and she answered “that’s my private life, it was a gift of my husband”. Of course , she can do what she wants – it’s may be just a little surprising that a Green leader’s husband thinks it’s a good idea to offer her a 10000 km trip, but that’s it. I don’t blame her. I’m just realistic : if even a green party leader thinks that, who the hell will behave differently? and you know, in France, best advocates (and movie maker) to alert against GW, N. Hulot and Y Artus-Bertrand, have first become famous for flying all around the earth,the first one for a TV programme and the second one to take (very beautiful indeed) airplane pictures. Very aesthetic and recreating indeed, but very carbon consuming. But you know that, you have Al Gore, too….

    BPL : I think you just won the prize of the most cited post in this thread …

    Craig : That Gapfinder data visualisation tool is fantastic! It’s interesting to note the wide range of CO2 emissions intensities per capita that countries can have while still scoring high in the quality of life parameters (with the obvious exceptions of the many developing countries that score low on both axes). This is apparent for example if you plot life expectancy against emissions.

    Oh man ! you seem to DISCOVER it is perfectly possible to live with 2 ou 3 times, or even 10 times less fossil fuels than an american ! gosh ! of course IT IS ! do you know that mankind has survived billions of years without ANY ? and do you know that they lived in all kind of climates, ranging from the Bushmen desert to the icy poles?
    There is ABSOLUTELY no problem in living with much less fuels. The ONLY problem is to keep our standard of living with much less fuels. That’s the very tricky thing. So the only question is IF it happens to be impossible to keep our standard of living with much less fuels, meaning that you should reduce it strongly to gain some hypothetic degrees whose consequences are only PUTATIVE, what do you think the vast majority of people will do ? i have almost no doubt about it – and evrything that happens now reinforces my opinion..

  925. Gilles:

    Fed up : “it” to be falsified is what you said :
    ” If you can’t falsify the argument that burning current reserves of coal will result in a “catastrophic scenario” with facts and figures then we’ll assume you understand the statement to be the truth.””

    It = the argument that burning current reserves of coal will result in a “catastrophic scenario”.

    How can you falsify it ? and first, what do you call exactly a “catastrophic scenario” ?

    for instance : is the future death of many dozens of millions of victims through car accidents a “catastrophic scenario”, or not ? depends pretty much on the definition , hmmm? beacause it is a much certain scenario that most of the possible consequences of AGW – actually it is ALMOST CERTAIN that they will happen- but curiously nobody seems to really care about it. They just ask for ELECTRIC cars …

  926. pete best:

    Re #897, Oh dear I knew it would be picked up on by the media. Its in the guardian and the Telegraph here in the UK.

  927. Ken:

    For all those who are criticizing me on intricacies of my posts, I think you should take a step back, just as I will admit, I should.

    I will use the “up to 40%” from now on as a few of you have mentioned. Regardless, the number “up to 40%” is not based on anything scientific. It comes from the WWF paper which was not peer reviewed and has been shown by others than just me to not compute when you consider the areas being spoken about. Additionally, the “up to 40%” figure is in reference to the Brazilian rain forest and yet the IPCC used it in reference to the Amazonian rain forest, so there is error in the statement from that respect as well.

    Additionally, if we are getting technical. The Nepstad paper does use the numbers 270,000km2 and 360,000km2 which equate to 4.9 and 6.5 percent of the Amazonian rain forest respectfully, and 8.1 and 10.9 percent of the Brazilian rain forest respectfully. In either case, they do not add up to 40%, so yes, less than 40%, but not “up to 40%” as for that to be true, there would have to be some indication in either the WWF paper or the Nepstad paper that 40% was a possibility, which is not the case. “Up to 40%” is not the same as “Less than 40%”. And further, the 360,000km2 figure is forest which “had only 250mm of plant-available soil water left”. The Nepstad paper says that the 270,000km2 was vulnerable to fire. It does not say that the 360,000km2 was also vulnerable, just that it had only 250mm of plant-available soil water left. So, the percentage of Brazilian rain forest that was vulnerable to fire as a result of drought conditions is 8.1%, yet this, through the WWF paper and then the IPCC AR4 was brought up to “Up to 40%” of the Brazilian rain forest, and then “Up to 40%” of the Amazonian ran forest. That’s quite a jump to say the least.

    I would also like to state that yes, if I am going to be critical of others for not being accurate, then I too should be careful to be accurate, but keep in mind, I am a commenter on a blog, the IPCC is a government funded organization creating a report that is to be used the world over to lead policy decisions. One might think there is an obligation, considering the ramifications, for the IPCC to be not only more diligent in researching their citations, but also, to be more objective in presenting facts to allow policy makers to come to their own conclusions rather than making statements such as “Up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation” which could easily lead one to believe that a large portion of the Amazonian rain forest is hanging in the balance. Regardless of what the science says, and where people’s opinions lay, it should not be the IPCC’s position to state opinion or sensationalize any findings. It should merely be to present the facts clearly, in an unbiased manner, otherwise, they are tending towards being an advocacy group.

    “is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall” and “could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation” could be argued to be similar, but while the first is open to some interpretation, in that, it isn’t defined what is a “small reduction” and sensitivity could just mean that changes will occur, and not necessarily that the forest is in immediate peril, but “react drastically” has definite negative connotations, and “even a slight reduction” implies there is very little room for error. In any event, neither is a quote from the Nepstad paper.

  928. Tim Jones:

    Obama announces government greenhouse gas emissions targets
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/01/obama-announces-government-gre.html?hpid=topnews
    By Juliet Eilperin and Anne E. Kornblut

    President Obama set greenhouse gas emissions targets for the federal government, announcing Friday that it would aim to reduce its emissions by 28 percent in 2020.

    “As the largest energy consumer in the United States, we have a responsibility to American citizens to reduce our energy use and become more efficient,” Obama said in a statement. “Our goal is to lower costs, reduce pollution, and shift Federal energy expenses away from oil and towards local, clean energy.”

  929. Doug Bostrom:

    Sere says: 29 January 2010 at 5:59 AM

    “Might as well be the first to force you to comment on this. Enjoy. How dreadful!”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/29/water-vapour-climate-change

    Dreadful? No, it’s wonderful. Remember all the gnashing of teeth about the TomskTwaddle email lamenting our inability to account for natural variability? Well, this paper has just identified about 25% of the problem.

    It’s called scientific progress.

    Curmudgeon Cynic says: 29 January 2010 at 6:39 AM

    “Over on WUWT, TAV, etc they are having a field day as the stories unfold.”

    It’s all about PR, not science.

    WUWT is an illustration of how quickly fortunes may change. Right now Watts is busily producing a selectively edited version of his correspondence with Menne et al in order to explain the giant smoking hole in the ground where his reputation used to be. Email Hacking 2.0, you might say.

    Speaking of which and since the topic of this thread is fallibility, why should not RC enjoy doing a dedicated post on the Menne paper? Here is a case history of an entire legion of volunteers being led astray over the very simplest of misunderstandings, an error that could have been dispatched with a home thermometer and a light bulb. Perhaps its a teachable moment about listening to real scientists as opposed to TV personalities?

  930. Completely Fed Up:

    For those who wonder about the models, take a look here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izCoiTcsOd8

    The point I want to draw notice to is the realism of the emergent output. Take a look: they do seem to be able to make a very earthlike system.

    And if you REALLY don’t believe the IPCC then you can run your own version of the model without CO2…

  931. Tom:

    @848 — BPL tells us 70% drought susceptibility implies collapse of civilization as we know it, or something to that effect (killing 8 billion people). I’m not exactly sure where you get that figure, but a little googling suggests you are talking about the prior 41% from 1990 moving to 56..66% today (15..25% increase? wasn’t clear if tha was an increase of the fraction or on the fraction).

    I don’t know. Call me an “crazy optimist”, but a move over the next 20..40 years smaller than the move we’ve seen in the past 20 years (which has notably supported a population boom…).

    In any case, “what part of .. did I not understand” is a total red herring. The question is for a real reference that suggests this shift will wipe out most of humanity as you suggest. The Lovelock references at least address the question.

    I think you and completely fed up might need to switch to decaf or something. I’m really not a denialist, but wild-eyed apocolyptic catastrophism does not have the kind of support the main thrust of accepted research does. Ray makes a solid point about risk management being more a work in progress putting stakes in the ground at conservative post points. You might want to be cautious (just for your own peace of mind, apparently) of translating all the “up to”s and “might”s and “could”s into “will”s. Conservative bounds are often excessive by their very nature.

    And Completely Fed Up, I am not saying people are not also economically alarmist, but why do you think it is appropriate to battle alarmist rhetoric with alarmist rhetoric? I view the spirit of this web site to be about which is rational analysis, not ideas that seem conceived internally in your heads as ALL CAPS or quadruple exclamation points or something. Sheesh. I guess you’re just commenter ravers, though. Good luck with that.

  932. Tom:

    Oh, and by way of a little more light, if you look at the nice global map on page 49 of the AR4 synthesis report you will see that some of the most populous areas in Asia expect (probably from Himalayas melting faster) an increase in their freshwater availability. I’m not trying to cherry pick some non-threat, but that map suggests winners and losers at least with regard to runoff.

    And also, vis a vis alarmism, I’ve had to defend that particular page (and re-iterated statement in light of the mistake being caught) to colleagues about overall tone of alarmism in IPCC summaries because the Himalayas are listed in that comma separated list of glacier areas with the Andes and, as we’ve been discussing, the Himalayas are more a long-term than near-term issue.

  933. Tim Jones:

    Re: 893 FurryCatHerder says: 28 January 2010
    Tim Jones @ 841:
    “But the catastrophic scenario ensues when storm events are continually extraordinary, i.e. level 6 hurricanes and typhoons,” …

    “Oh, please. Cat5 hurricanes are their own worst enemy.”

    So what? Even if it’s true they happen. And when they occur in populated areas the destruction is horrific. Perverse beauty? It’s obvious you’ve never been in one or seen the aftermath of a severe hurricane. But, i guess if you enjoy wading through a fresh landfill….

    Note: “Historical examples that reached the Category 5 status and made landfall as such include the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, the 1959 Mexico Hurricane, Camille in 1969, and Gilbert in 1988, Andrew in 1992, Dean, and Felix (Both 2007).”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffir%E2%80%93Simpson_Hurricane_Scale
    Note also that Hurricane Katrina was a category 3 hurricane when it made landfall near NO. “Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the costliest hurricane, as well as one of the five deadliest, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall.”

    All global warming has to do is heat up SSTs enough to cause a few extreme hurricanes in high population areas for the impact to be agonizing. My point was to picture the impact of all sorts of increasingly frequent to increasing damaging extreme weather events as the consequence of heating up the planet.

    If you add heat to the atmosphere it’s inevitable that more energy will be released. It’s amazing to me that you downplay the implications of what this means.

  934. Richard Ordway:

    Ooops.

    “Last night President Barack Obama gave the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress…. his mere mention of climate change science drew laughter and guffaws from the gathered dignitaries and legislators.”

    http://www.examiner.com/x-25061-Climate-Change-Examiner~y2010m1d28-President-Obamas-reference-to-climate-change-in-State-of-the-Union-draws-laughter

  935. Steve Fish:

    Re Comment by Curmudgeon Cynic — 29 January 2010 @ 9:55 AM:

    I think the main point being made about the recent IPCC revelations by Ray Ladbury, and others, is that it doesn’t really matter how excellent the conduct of the scientific community is because the pseudoskeptics can create controversy from thin air. What they do is an advertising tactic. Look at U.S. election advertising, Al Gore’s house, and what happened to Mojib Latif’s statement.

    Steve

  936. Tim Jones:

    Wondering how libelous the spin on this is going to get?

    Bin Laden blasts US for climate change
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100129/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bin_laden_tape
    By LEE KEATH and SALAH NASRAWI,
    Associated Press Writers
    29 Jan 2010

    CAIRO – Osama bin Laden sought to draw a wider public into his fight against the United States in a new message Friday, dropping his usual talk of religion and holy war and focusing instead on an unexpected topic: global warming.

    The al-Qaida leader blamed the United States and other industrialized nations for climate change and said the only way to prevent disaster was to break the American economy, calling on the world to boycott U.S. goods and stop using the dollar.

    “The effects of global warming have touched every continent. Drought and deserts are spreading, while from the other floods and hurricanes unseen before the previous decades have now become frequent,” bin Laden said in the audiotape, aired on the Arab TV network Al-Jazeera.

    […]

  937. john:

    Yes there is a Malaria vaccine – it is in clinical trials in Africa, right now, as I write this. Now, one could say there is not an APPROVED malaria vaccine – but that is like defining what the definition of “is” is.

  938. Tim Jones:

    New report: world must change model of economic growth to avert environmental disaster
    http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0125-hance_nef.html
    Jeremy Hance
    mongabay.com
    January 25, 2010

    “For decades industrialized nations have measured their success by the size of their annual GDP (Gross Domestic Product), i.e. economic growth. The current economic model calls for unending growth—as well as ever-rising consumerism—just to remain stable. However, a new report by the New Economics Foundation (nef) states that if countries continue down a path of unending growth, the world will be unable to tackle climate change and other environmental issues.

    “We tend to think of growth as natural for economies, forgetting that in nature things grow only until maturity and then develop in other ways. […]” says Andrew Simms, co-author of the report and nef policy director. “Endless growth is pushing the planet’s biosphere beyond its safe limits. The price is seen in compromised world food security, climatic upheaval, economic instability and threats to social welfare. We urgently need to change our economy to live within its environmental budget.”

    “The report, Growth Isn’t Possible: Why rich nations need a new economic direction
    http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/growth-isnt-possible
    evaluated if society could limit the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and still retain economic growth.

    Free download:
    http://www.neweconomics.org/sites/neweconomics.org/files/Growth_Isnt_Possible.pdf

    [...]“

  939. Peter Houlihan:

    #787 And what else did Beddington say (from the interview in the Times):

    “It’s unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. But where you can get challenges is on the speed of change”

    …snip…

    Professor Beddington said that uncertainty about some aspects of climate science should not be used as an excuse for inaction: “Some people ask why we should act when scientists say they are only 90 per cent certain about the problem. But would you get on a plane that had a 10 per cent chance of landing?”

    But expect the same old spin from certain quarters.

  940. Ray Ladbury:

    Tom@932, The first step in any risk management exercise is to bound the risk. Since CO2 sensitivity could be as high as 4.5 degrees per doubling and be within the 90% CL, that is difficult, because that means that a BAU scenario would likely put us over the 6 degrees C of warming by centuriy’s end–and that is without any sort of large-scale release from any natural source of CO2, which we know from the paleoclimate is quite possible.

    There is a huge degree of difference in the damage to the global economy from warming of even 4 degrees and warming of 6 degrees. In the face of such uncertainty, the only responsible strategy is risk avoidance–at least until the risk can be bounded. This is not alarmist. This is standard practice. It astounds me that it should be controversial for the only habitable planet we know of.

  941. Ray Ladbury:

    Tim Jones@940, The Club of Rome was saying similar things 35 years ago. However, I think that both they and NEF are not taking into account that increases in technology equate to growth while sometimes even decreasing resource consumption. The thing we must continually remember is that life is not a zero-sum game. If you are playing it that way, you are playing it wrong!

  942. Hank Roberts:

    John, citing sources is popular in science because it removes the silly arguments about the definition of words in favor of actual references:

    http://www.modernghana.com/lifestyle/1286/16/gates-says-malaria-vaccine-may-be-ready-in-three-y.html

    > Mr Gates says, a breakthrough is near.
    >
    > “We have a vaccine that’s in the last trial phase – called phase three.
    > A partially effective vaccine could even be available within three years,
    > but a [...] fully effective vaccine will take five to 10 years,” he told
    > the BBC World Service’s World Today programme.

  943. Karl Quick:

    The “shock” is not that there were errors, but that the likelihood of such errors had been so massively suppressed by the media and the politicians. There is so much yet to learn. And so much possible damage to society if the people loose trust in research, scientists and rational dialog. We all must be MUCH more careful to be above suspicion (re motives) and cautious in our warnings about the consequences of AGW… With the recent flattening of the curve in temperature rise, we now have the time to develop better models and gather more data. I believe it is clear that we can, with the technology available, easily adapt to the current projected climate change over the course of the next 3-4 decades. Certainly we should push for more nuclear power and greater use of electricity in transportation. But AGW appears not the world ending crisis the media has hyped. Feeding that hype has the real danger of returning us to the middle ages, not through climate change, but through disintegration of confidence in science and government.

  944. Terry Sarigumba:

    I enjoy reading your site: you demonstrate credible knowledge, good writing and cogent logic. However, I’ve read some skeptics saying that you do not post opposing stands. Is this true? I had replied to te skeptics that you really should not give space to opposing views which should be posted in opposing sites.

    Thank you

    Terry

  945. Tim Jones:

    Re: 943 Ray Ladbury says:
    29 January 2010
    Tim Jones@940, The Club of Rome was saying similar things 35 years ago. However, I think that both they and NEF are not taking into account that increases in technology equate to growth while sometimes even decreasing resource consumption.

    I’m with ya, pal, But I try not to get too visibly black about it all. Sustainable growth is an oxymoron.

    “The thing we must continually remember is that life is not a zero-sum game. If you are playing it that way, you are playing it wrong!”

    I’m hip. I do not live life as a zero sum game. I guess I’m mostly interested in keeping as much biodiversity out there as possible. I’m certain that without right thinking people doing a lot of work the future of the planet is grim. I hope we’re not just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  946. David Horton:

    #945 “With the recent flattening of the curve in temperature rise” what flattening would that be Karl?

  947. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE stratospheric water vapor….

    Is this also related to air travel? Does air travel put more WV into the stratosphere, making it worse than it would be than with simply its CO2 emissions?

    If so, what also causes stratospheric WV to increase and decrease? Could the reduction be due to the solar irradiance being at a minimum? And if so, would it increase with the solar irradiance increasing?

  948. Ray Ladbury:

    Karl Quick says, “The “shock” is not that there were errors, but that the likelihood of such errors had been so massively suppressed by the media and the politicians.”

    Oh, horsecrap! They found a handful of frigging errors in a 3000 page document. Can you even write a frigging check without making a frigging error? How many times have you written 2009 since Jan 1?

    Why don’t you learn the science? Then you might understand why those who have are concerned.

  949. Ray Ladbury:

    Terry Sarigumba–How can you read the comments here and conclude that opposing points of view are censored? In fact, given some of the stuff that does get through, I’d be afraid to read what didn’t pass through the stupidity filter!

  950. Doug Bostrom:

    Terry Sarigumba says: 29 January 2010 at 8:29 PM

    As far as I can tell, practically everything including “Not even wrong”* is permitted. Scan back through fossil threads, you’ll see what I mean.

    Moderators do seem to frown on flings such as “your mother wears army boots.” So code your epithets.

    *copyright Ray Ladbury?

  951. Joel Black:

    Hello,
    Could you please verify whether the comments from:
    rosie hughes says:
    19 January 2010 at 8:04 PM

    ending with the rant about wishing she were not born are meant to be sarcasm?

  952. Kevin McKinney:

    Marcus, I’ll take that as a “yes” (to the first approximation.)

    The context was, to what extent does Luna exemplify the temperature regime of a hypothetical greenhouse-effect-free Earth? I saw a denialist post use the word “conjectured” to describe the temperature differential resulting from the greenhouse effect.

    Obviously, that’s already wrong as “calculated” is not the same as “conjectured,” but it’s pretty clear this guy has no number sense, so it probably seems so to him. But I thought, “Hmm, I think I know an empirical test–the Moon obviously has the same radiation input as Earth and we know Lunar temperature” and wanted to follow up on that thought.

    But as your response confirms, apples-to-apples comparisons turn out not to be so easy to come by.

  953. Sou:

    @Terry #944. The main articles tend to be about the known science – mostly published papers or comments re same. There have been articles on the recent Lindzen paper for example (which could be counted as ‘an opposing view’).

    In regard to comments about the articles, as Ray Ladbury said, there does appear to be an inordinate number of comments from skeptics. Sometimes these lead the discussion a bit off the track of the main article.

    There is also an open thread in which people are invited to comment on anything in the media (real and unreal), and a wiki which comments on slants in the press, which slants may or may not be based on science.

    The site is very large and the menu at the top will lead you through it.

  954. Jimbo:

    # 689
    “…I guess you can’t find 100 papers by denialists, can you? In fact, you’d probably have trouble finding 10 that you’d actually want to cite, wouldn’t you?”

    REPLY – You’re right, I can’t find 100 or even 10 – however, I’ll give you over 150 see link below

    [edit - don't use crap links in lieu of discussion]
    ___________

    Moderator – I knew you would delete the link. Why did you not just leave it there and let other commenters attack it? So much for open discussion.

    Well I will give you just 1 in this case:

    Amplification of Global Warming by Carbon-Cycle Feedback Significantly Less Than Thought, Study Suggests”

    From “Nature” magazine:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127134721.htm
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7280/full/nature08769.html

    [Response: Why do you think this is 'denialist'? The potential range of the carbon cycle feedback was 20-200 ppmv by 2100 - or 5 to 50 ppmv/degC. That was pretty uncertain, and this paper comes in at the lower end around 8 ppmv/degC. That's probably good news, but it's still positive and so implies a greater warming than the standard models that didn't have interactive carbon. - gavin]

  955. dhogaza:

    “Yes there is a Malaria vaccine – it is in clinical trials in Africa, right now, as I write this. Now, one could say there is not an APPROVED malaria vaccine – but that is like defining what the definition of “is” is.”

    If you don’t think clinical trials are necessary before approving widespread adoption of a drug or vaccine …

    We’ll just label you as the guy who insists that thalidomide should’ve been widely introduced in the USA, rather than just the UK.

  956. Jimbo:

    Comment 8

    “I await the explanation of why the other glaciers of the world, unaware that they don’t need to melt because glacier retreat in the Himalayas is due to local factors, nevertheless also melt.”

    Not all glaciers around the world are retreating.

    ” Although most of the Earth’s small glaciers have been retreating, many glaciers are advancing. Some are advancing due to local climatic conditions and others are advancing due to factors not directly tied to climate such as the tidewater glacier cycle.”
    http://glacier-bay.gsfc.nasa.gov/hall.science.txt.html

    [edit]

  957. Georgi Marinov:

    @941: “The Club of Rome was saying similar things 35 years ago. However, I think that both they and NEF are not taking into account that increases in technology equate to growth while sometimes even decreasing resource consumption.”

    False. There is something called the Jevons paradox, which has been confirmed time and time again in history – increases in efficiency do not lead to decreased use of resources, they actually increase it. Google it for more info.

    And when we are talking about growth from an ecological perspective, there are two things that are growing – the population and the per capita resource consumption; we should be talking about decreasing both, not about economic growth and money.

  958. Richard Ordway:

    Terry wrote: “I’ve read some skeptics saying that you do not post opposing stands. Is this true?”

    Terry…That is dead wrong and everyone knows it who is honest. If you notice from the links below, not only does RealClimate present opposing (scientific evidence that holds up over time) but also regularily discusses opposing contrarian views which sometimes do not even obey the laws of physics (which unfortunately is done all too often).

    RealClimate publicly shows how the saussage of science is made- (“if you like saussage or living with science’s discoveries, you are not going to like seeing how it is made.”

    The making of science is ugly and brutal, but is the reason you are not stepping in your or your neighbors’ poop when you leave your house or the reason your mother probably did not die in childbirth, or you of diseases by now…if you had even managed to live to the age of 40.

    RealClimate even posts embarrassing scientific evidence which opposes what RealClimate writers have written in the past and others which point out the weaknesses in the particulars of science itself.

    See how many examples like this you see from the contrarians.

    It takes a special dedication to the truth, and to science, for RealClimate to serially risk publicly embarrassing itself over many years and point out weaknesses in the details of science itself.

    These posts here are done by real publishing scientists whose work holds up over time, unlike that of the contrarians and bloggers…big difference.

    Some examples (and links)follow from the main posts, not comments sections, that speak for themselves from only the last two months:

    Post: Plass and the Surface Budget Fallacy

    “I noticed something about the way Plass estimated surface temperature increase, that Gavin and all previous commentators on Plass — including Kaplan himself — seem to have overlooked.”

    This is a threat to anyone’s ego…but Gavin prints it as a major topic anyway. That is science, not pseudo-science where people run away from opposing points of view.

    I don’t know if you see it, but that is bravery and moral courage far beyond what most human beings possess.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/plass-and-the-surface-budget-fallacy/

    “In my opinion, there is a case to be made on the peer-review process being flawed, at least for certain papers.”

    “but LC09 is a clear example that it (peer review) doesn’t work all of the time.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/lc-grl-comments-on-peer-review-and-peer-reviewed-comments/

    “First published response to Lindzen and Choi”- (uhhhh, this is a blatent post all by itself giving time to the opposing point of view-RO)

    “The first published response to Lindzen and Choi (2009) (LC09) has just appeared “in press” (subscription) at GRL. LC09 purported to determine climate sensitivity by examining the response of radiative fluxes at the Top-of-the-Atmosphere (TOA) to ocean temperature changes in the tropics. Their conclusion was that sensitivity was very small, in obvious contradiction to the models.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/page/2/

    Here is the second independent RealClimate post devoted to the very same contrarian paper! (Uhhhh, this is definitely giving voice to the contrarian point of view, No?)

    “A recent paper by Lindzen and Choi in GRL (2009) (LC09) purported to demonstrate that climate had a strong negative feedback and that climate models are quite wrong in their relationships between changes in surface temperature and corresponding changes in outgoing radiation escaping to space.”
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/lindzen-and-choi-unraveled/

    “So Plass was correct about all of the big issues, but lucky that, in his quantitative estimates, the errors went both ways and end up pretty much canceling out.”

    “However, Kaplan was wrong about everything that has ended up mattering – CO2 does play a big role in ice age cycles (with a magnitude of change close to what Plass anticipated) and its growth today is climatically significant.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/the-carbon-dioxide-theory-of-gilbert-plass/#more-2590

    “Some comments on the John Coleman/KUSI/Joe D’Aleo/E. M. Smith accusations about the temperature records. Their claim is apparently that coastal station absolute temperatures are being used to estimate the current absolute temperatures in mountain regions and that the anomalies there are warm because the coast is warmer than the mountain.” Another contrarian argument being given space.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/page/2/

    “One of the more unnerving impressions from the behind-the-scenes glance at climate research may be that subjectivity exists in climate science My response is “Well, duh.” (Admitting weakness)

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/kim-cobbs-view/

    “Flaws in temperature analysis. Figure 2 illustrates an error that developed in the GISS analysis when we introduced, in our 2001 paper, an improvement in the United States temperature record. The change consisted of using the newest USHCN (United States Historical Climatology Network) analysis for those U.S. stations that are part of the USHCN network. This
    improvement, developed by NOAA researchers, adjusted station records that included station moves or other discontinuities. Unfortunately, I made an error by failing to recognize that the station records we obtained electronically from NOAA each month, for these same stations, did
    not contain the adjustments. Thus there was a discontinuity in 2000 in the records of those stations, as the prior years contained the adjustment while later years did not.” Stating errors when he did not have to (it did not have to be part of the subject of which he raised the error voluntarily).

    “Jim Hansen’s opinion” http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/jim-hansens-opinion/

    “The 1991 Science paper by Friis-Christensen & Lassen, work by Henrik Svensmark (Physical Review Letters), and calculations done by Scafetta & West (in the journals Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Geophysical Research, and Physics Today) have inspired the idea that the recent warming is due to changes in the sun, rather than greenhouse gases.” Another paper by the contrarians is made into an independent post.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/please-show-us-your-code/

    “A case in point is Andrew Revkin’s recent query to political scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. Revkin asked, “If the shape of the 20th-century temperature curve were to shift much,” would that “erode confidence that most warming since 1950 is driven by human activities”? Pielke replied that “the surface temps matter because they are a key basis for estimates of climate sensitivity,” and that there will ultimately be a “larger error bars around observed temperature trends which will carry through into the projections.” Yet, another contrarian argument given in a major post.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/who-you-gonna-call/#more-2193

    “Unusually, I’m in complete agreement with a recent headline on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page:

    “The Climate Science Isn’t Settled”
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

    “Peer Review: A Necessary But Not Sufficient Condition
    by Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt

    On this site we emphasize conclusions that are supported by “peer-reviewed” climate research. That is, research that has been published by one or more scientists in a scholarly scientific journal after review by one or more experts in the scientists’ same field (‘peers’) for accuracy and validity. What is so important about “Peer Review”? As Chris Mooney has lucidly put it:

    [Peer Review] is an undisputed cornerstone of modern science. Central to the competitive clash of ideas that moves knowledge forward, peer review enjoys so much renown in the scientific community that studies lacking its imprimatur meet with automatic skepticism. Academic reputations hinge on an ability to get work through peer review and into leading journals; university presses employ peer review to decide which books they’re willing to publish; and federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health use peer review to weigh the merits of applications for federal research grants.

    Put simply, peer review is supposed to weed out poor science. However, it is not foolproof — a deeply flawed paper can end up being published under a number of different potential circumstances:” December 2009 link to an older RealClimate post.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/peer-review-a-necessary-but-not-sufficient-condition/

    Terry, All these posts are only from December 2009 until today (Jan 29, 2010) (about two months and I simply went down the posts in line order). Literally, every mon