The wisdom of Solomon

A quick post for commentary on the new Solomon et al paper in Science express. We’ll try and get around to discussing this over the weekend, but in the meantime I’ve moved some comments over. There is some commentary on this at DotEarth, and some media reports on the story – some good, some not so good. It seems like a topic that is ripe for confusion, and so here are a few quick clarifications that are worth making.

First of all, this is a paper about internal variability of the climate system in the last decade, not on additional factors that drive climate. Second, this is a discussion about stratospheric water vapour (10 to 15 km above the surface), not water vapour in general. Stratospheric water vapour comes from two sources – the uplift of tropospheric water through the very cold tropical tropopause (both as vapour and as condensate), and the oxidation of methane in the upper stratosphere (CH4+2O2 –> CO2 + 2H2O NB: this is just a schematic, the actual chemical pathways are more complicated). There isn’t very much of it (between 3 and 6 ppmv), and so small changes (~0.5 ppmv) are noticeable.

The decreases seen in this study are in the lower stratosphere and are likely dominated by a change in the flux of water through the tropopause. A change in stratospheric water vapour because of the increase in methane over the industrial period would be a forcing of the climate (and is one of the indirect effects of methane we discussed last year), but a change in the tropopause flux is a response to other factors in the climate system. These might include El Nino/La Nina events, increases in Asian aerosols, or solar impacts on near-tropopause ozone – but this is not addressed in the paper and will take a little more work to figure out.

Update: This last paragraph was probably not as clear as it should be. If the lower stratospheric water vapour (LSWV) is relaxing back to some norm after the 1997/1998 El Nino, then what we are seeing would be internal variability in the system which might have some implications for feedbacks to increasing GHGs, and my estimate of that would be that this would be an amplifying feedback (warmer SSTs leading to more LSWV). If we are seeing changes to the tropopause temperatures as an indirect impact from increased Asian aerosol emissions or solar-driven ozone changes, then this might be better thought of as impacting the efficacy of those forcings rather than implying some sensitivity change.

The study includes an estimate of the effect of the observed stratospheric water decadal decrease by calculating the radiation flux with and without the change, and comparing this to the increase in CO2 forcing over the same period. This implicitly assumes that the change can be regarded as a forcing. However, whether that is an appropriate calculation or not needs some careful consideration. Finally, no-one has yet looked at whether climate models (which have plenty of decadal variability too) have phenomena that resemble these observations that might provide some insight into the causes.

487 comments on this post.
  1. Steve:

    A little bit out of topic, a new paper by Susan Solomon:

    Contributions of Stratospheric Water Vapor to Decadal Changes in the Rate of Global Warming
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/science.1182488

    Is this significant?

  2. Paul Briscoe:

    Hello,

    I have been reading your articles with interest for quite some time. I must congratulate you on your “real science” approach to AGW and climate change.

    I am posting now because I understand that Susan Solomon of the NOAA has just published a paper in Science showing that water vapour levels in the stratosphere have fallen by around 10% since 2000. Apparently, when this was fed into climate models, it was found that it could have reduced greenhouse warming by up to 25% in the past decade.

    I stress that I have not personally seen the paper, but I would certainly be interested to know your take on this.

    Kind regards,

    Paul

  3. Tim Jones:

    Is this the missing link?

    Global Warming Slowed by Decline in Atmospheric Water Vapor
    http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/40967
    From: Sid Perkins, Science News
    Published January 29, 2010

    “A sudden and unexplained drop in the amount of water vapor present high in the atmosphere almost a decade ago has substantially slowed the rate of warming at Earth’s surface in recent years, scientists say.

    “In late 2000 and early 2001, concentrations of water vapor in a narrow slice of the lower stratosphere dropped by 0.5 parts per million, or about 10 percent, and have remained relatively stable since then.

    “Because the decline was noted by several types of instruments, including some on satellites and others lofted on balloons, the sharp decrease is presumed to be real, says Karen Rosenlof, a meteorologist at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. 

    “And because water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas, the decline has slowed the increase of global temperatures, Rosenlof, Susan Solomon, also of NOAA in Boulder, and their colleagues report online January 28 and in an upcoming Science.

    “This is such a sudden decrease, we can’t explain what’s behind it,” Rosenlof says. One large source of water vapor in the stratosphere is the oxidation of methane, she notes. But the decline in concentration of that gas detected by the researchers seems to be limited to a layer 2 kilometers thick in the lower stratosphere, while methane is found throughout the stratosphere. And even though scientists have discerned a leveling off in atmospheric methane in recent years, that trend doesn’t seem to be directly linked to the drop in the concentrations of stratospheric water vapor, she says.

    […]”

  4. Chris Sanderson:

    Could this have anything to do with the recent rise in water vapour?…/Chris

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

    Climate Change: The Next Generation
    Yesterday, January 16, 2010, 10:36:15 AM
    Arctic permafrost leaking methane at record levels — methane emissions from the Arctic have risen by 31% in just 5 years

  5. Eli Rabett:

    The Hungarian is coming!! The Hungarian is coming.

  6. Sou:

    Thank you for this post, the paper is, or more accurately the various media portrayals of the paper are receiving a lot of attention. The voice of some skeptics tends to overwhelm common sense and perspective.

    If I understand the last paragraph, you are suggesting changes in stratospheric H20 are quite possibly a feedback effect maybe involving methane (which may in turn involve CO2 and temperature, not just human emissions of methane).

    I look forward to further findings as the research continues.

  7. Doug Bostrom:

    I was delighted to hear of this paper. Recently we’ve seen frustration with inadequate explanations of variability highlighted in the popular press, actually exploited for political purposes. Here’s a significant amount of that mystery explained.

    Scientific progress trundles on, eventually trumping obfuscation. Hooray!

    NPR did an pretty complete item on this yesterday on ATC. Fully contextualized, could not really ask for better.

  8. Craig Allen:

    If this phenomonon is real, then I guess it provides a good opportunity for testing and improving climate models. If they already exhibit it, then well and good. If not, then finding out will presumably lead to improvements to the models.

    Which leads me to wonder, what are the other key phenomona that emerge in climate models? It would be interesting to see a list and to see a tally of which models exhibit which phenomonon and how well they do it. I imagine that investigating this is a key aspect of building and improving models.

  9. Prasad Kasibhatla:

    Re the contribution of the post-2000 decrease in stratospheric water vapor contributing to the ‘flattening’ of the global warming trend – I am struck by the dissimilarity between the observed and modeled temperature curves post-2000 in Figure 3b. It looks like the model’s response it to simply adjust (almost instantaneously) to the drop in water vapor in 2001, and I see no evidence of a ‘flattening’ of the trend. Am I missing something?

  10. Jimbo:

    OT but very important to the theory of AGW. Can you commmenters give me feedback (pun intended) on the following recent headlines generated by Nature magazine that state that CO2 amplification is less than we thought:

    Nature: December 2009
    “Ensemble reconstruction constraints on the global carbon cycle sensitivity to climate”
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7280/full/nature08769.html

    “Temperature and CO2 feedback ‘weaker than thought'”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8483722.stm

    “Amplification of Global Warming by Carbon-Cycle Feedback Significantly Less Than Thought, Study Suggests”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127134721.htm

  11. Tim Jones:

    Anti-science propagandist DOUG L. HOFFMAN http://climaterealists.com/?id=5000 is already twisting the stratospheric water vapor finding to mean that water vapor has been driving temperatures all along.

    “A new report in Science underscores what many scientists have been saying for years, it’s water vapor, not CO2, that has been driving global temperature changes in recent decades.”

    When Susan Soloman wrote in:
    “………. depressed global warming by about 25% compared to that which would have occurred due only to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.”

    Hoffman asserted that the author is a liar.

    “- Anything to maintain the lie that CO2 causes warming.”

    Isn’t it an amazing coincidence that this stuff appears on the web just as big coal tries to sabotage climate change legislation?

    &

    This paper may have some bearing on the matter:
    The annual cycle of stratospheric water vapor in a general circulation model
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1995/94JD03301.shtml

  12. Tim Jones:

    Re: 660 Richard Steckis says:
    27 January 2010

    “CO2 is NOT an oxidative byproduct of methane oxidation.”

    “[Methane] is short lived in the atmosphere (5-15 years)
    and it’s oxidation byproducts are water vapour and CH3.”

    “the CH3 is further oxidised to CH3O2 which reacts with the
    peroxy radical HO2 to produce methyl hydroperoxide and
    oxygen.”
    “The hydroperoxide is then precipitated out of the atmosphere
    in rainfall.”

    I’m not familiar with this chemistry. CO2 _is_ an oxidative
    byproduct of CH4, right?

  13. Tilo Reber:

    Chris: #4
    “Arctic permafrost leaking methane at record levels — methane emissions from the Arctic have risen by 31% in just 5 years”

    If I’m reading things right, Chris, this would tend to increase the amount of H20 in the stratosphere, rather than decrease it – which is what this study found to have happened around 2000.

  14. Tilo Reber:

    The suggestion seems to be that it is a drop in the cold point temperature that allowed less water vapor to make it through to the stratosphere. But there doesn’t seem to be an explanation of why there would be lower cold point temperatures when the SSTs in the tropics are warmer.

    Another discussion is here:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1421&theprefset=BLOGCOMMENTS&theprefvalue=0

  15. Edward Greisch:

    “Science” only shows an abstract. I don’t have a subscription. I see that you say that the answers to my questions “will take a little more work to figure out.”
    I will be watching RealClimate for those answers because there is plenty to be puzzled about on this subject. I expect that the denialists are already making a big deal out of this.

  16. ScaredAmoeba:

    Off topic, new paper about the implications and reliability of the new paper:

    ‘A new estimate of the feedback between temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has been derived from a comprehensive comparison of temperature and CO2 records spanning the past millennium.’
    claims that the amplification of current global warming by carbon-cycle feedback will be significantly less than recent work has suggested.

    David C. Frank, Jan Esper, Christoph C. Raible, Ulf Büntgen, Valerie Trouet, Benjamin Stocker, & Fortunat Joos. Ensemble reconstruction constraints on the global carbon cycle sensitivity to climate. Nature, 2010; 463 (7280): 527 DOI: 10.1038/nature08769

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127134721.htm

  17. Richard Steckis:

    “CH4+4O2 –> CO2 + 2H2O). There isn’t very much of it (between 3 and 6 ppmv), and so small changes (~0.5 ppmv) are noticeable.”

    Your oxidation equation is wrong. It doesn’t even balance. What happened to 4 oxygen atoms? Did they just dissapear? The oxydation equation for methane in the atmosphere is:

    CH4 + OH -> CH3 + H20

    CH3 is oxidised by:

    CH3 + O2 + M -> CH3O2 + M

    CH3O2 + H20 -> CH3OOH + O2

    The methyl hydroperoxide is precipitated out of the atmosphere with rainfall. CO2 is NOT an oxidative byproduct of the atmospheric oxidation of methane.

    Source: Wayne, R.P. (1992). Chemistry of Atmospheres. 447pp.

    [Response: This is your third post making the same point. Thanks for the attention to my oxygens (fixed above), but you are not looking at the right pathways. In the stratosphere you have reactions with OH, O(1D), atomic O, and Cl which are very complicated, and I think you’ll find there is no rainfall in the stratosphere to remove any soluble products. Table 1 in Saueressig et al (2001) gives an overview. Also see Ridal et al (2001; 2002) – gavin]

  18. Gilles:

    I’m puzzled. I thought that there was NO statistically significant change in Global warming, and that basically models were ALREADY able to explain everything by solar variations, volcanic aerosols and anthropic forcings. Did I miss something important in the IPCC reports ?

  19. Gilles:

    Craig : If this phenomonon is real, then I guess it provides a good opportunity for testing and improving climate models. If they already exhibit it, then well and good. If not, then finding out will presumably lead to improvements to the models.

    Which leads me to wonder, what are the other key phenomona that emerge in climate models? It would be interesting to see a list and to see a tally of which models exhibit which phenomonon and how well they do it. I imagine that investigating this is a key aspect of building and improving models.

    Improving models? but I thought that this was all “settled” ! and I thought the slowing of warming rate since 2000 was imaginary and just claimed by some idiot denialists who don’t understand what a linear regression is ?

    seriously : a model is a model. Meaning : no human being has the knowledge to put “everything” in a computation and just “reproduce reality”. And no human being has the power to “list ” what he doesn’t know.
    A model is always an oversimplification of reality. We HOPE catching the essentials of this reality, but we can’t never be sure. Nothing is ever “settled”. And the proof that we have catched the essential of reality is NOT in the fact that we can reproduce known data , because many wrong models can too. Reproducing data is not a very strong test of validity, I am sorry to have to remind it. The very strong test is PREDICTIVE POWER. I still wait for a validation of climate models by non-trivial (meaning not just a vague extrapolation of current trends within 2 or 3 sigmas) predictions.

  20. Richard Steckis:

    You will also notice from the equations for the oxidation of methane that the water vapour produced is later consumed in the conversion of CH3O2 to methyl hydroperoxide. Therefore there is a net zero production of water vapour by the full oxidation of methane to the peroxide product that is precipitated out of the atmosphere. Oxygen is the final byproduct of atmospheric methane oxidation that stays in the atmosphere.

    [Response: Now this is seriously wrong. There is no oxygen in methane, and so the creation of oxygen as a final byproduct is impossible. There is no precipitation in the stratosphere (except for a tiny amount of of PSC formation). – gavin]

  21. Richard Steckis:

    Your equation should read:

    CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2H20

    That equation is the oxidation equation for the COMBUSTION of methane. i.e. You need the application of heat for the equation to progress. It is not the equation for the atmospheric oxidation of methane.

    [Response: thanks. The O’s now add up. But this is representative of the net effect – whether the reaction is actually via OH, or O(1D) or atomic O or Cl – and the point that CH4 produces H2O is clear. – gavin]

  22. Tony O'Brien:

    More puzzles.

    One wonders what is ahead if the hottest decade ever was cooled by a drop in stratospheric water vapour.

  23. pete best:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=is-water-vapor-in-the-stratosphere-slowing-global-warming

    A better article. At least Gavin is quoted.

  24. Pekka Kostamo:

    A couple of comments.

    There is a reference to balloon borne radiosonde data. I consider these data to be quite unreliable in the stratosphere. The sensors have slow time constants (minutes) at tropopause temperatures. An sensor improvement in this respect would show up as lower humidity just above the tropopause (where the humidity abruptly drops to the typical stratospheric 2 %RH value).

    Besides, the sensors are subject to partial or total icing whenever the probe traverses a liquid water cloud during its ascent. Liquid water in clouds does occur naturally down to about -38 degC. Some of the data becomes obviously wrong and is rejected, other readings are just unreliable. Improvements is this respect have also been made over the years, resulting in lower humidity readings in the stratosphere. I believe some new (improved) instrument types were introduced extensively into the network over the past 10 years. Removing old biases is not always a good thing.

    I do not trust radiosonde sensor calibrations, either, at the extremely cold and low humidity conditions. It is not a trivial operational matter.

    Like in almost all routine weather observations, the requirement driving the performance development has not been global climate science needs.

    Satellite measurements could be more reliable.

    As to humidity transport through the tropopause, there are several possible ways. I interviewed a number of meteorologists back in the 1970’s, trying to understand what would be reasonable in observation data provided by some new sensors.

    Insertion of humidity into stratosphere by strong convection events was stated as certain but rare by a tropical forecaster. A more speculative comment from another source was about possible horizontal (tunneling) transport via channels formed by double tropopauses, rather common at 30’s latitudes. Yet another idea was insertion i.e. in Greenland, where the tropopause effectively hits the ground at times in winter season. (How about high mountain ranges?) There are also infrequent (3 – 5 times per year) tropopause folding events associated with strong fronts, bringing stratospheric air down and thus resulting in extremely low humidity layers close to the ground. (Evidence is radioactive dust found in those layers, normally circulating near the tropopause). This is observed in sounding profiles just about everywhere. The folding events might disturb the tropopause locally and cause transport of humidity into the stratosphere.

    My conclusions were that the stratospheric humidity is not constant enough to serve as a reference point in measurements. The extremely low (1 – 10 %RH) readings close to the ground are real. Good enough for my purposes, then.

    In my opinion, there is an issue about the variability of water vapor. In the long term relative humidity probably remains constant even when warming occurs, so water vapour is a positive temperature feedback. Short term change is another matter and a likely factor in the unforced variability.

    Incidentally, a new observation technology has emerged over the past 15 years. Lower atmosphere refractivity (strongly dependent on humidity) has been routinely measured for some time already based on satellite-to-satellite radio signal transit time. It also is another independent method of temperature profiling.
    http://www.cosmic.ucar.edu/index.html

  25. JohnRS:

    So here’s yet another paper telling us something we didnt know before about the climate system. As I understand it we still have very limited understanding of the action of water vapour in the atmosphere (as this new work shows) and basically have a complete inability to model clouds in any credible way. And yet “Climate Scientists” still think their 50-100 year predictions are credible and should be used as the basis for multi-trillion dollar decisions with impacts out to 2100 and beyond, when articles like this one illustrate they dont even know what’s happening on a decadal time frame?

    [Response: Your logic is severely strained. There are many things we don’t know about the climate system. Why that makes you happier about the giant geophysical experiment we are undertaking is unclear. Secondly, there are no clouds in the stratosphere (except a few PSC in the winter polar vortex) . And third, there are many processes that have predictable effects on the climate despite the uncertainties – the seasonal cycle for instance is still predictable even if weather forecasts can’t go beyond a few days, volcanoes have predictable affects on interannual variability even if we can’t predict El Niño etc. – gavin]

  26. Peter Coates:

    This sounds almost encouraging: It seems to a lay person that all the feedbacks so far seem to be positive. This sounds like there might actually be a significant negative feedback loop in the system too. And I was thinking that atmospheric methane was unmitigated bad. Is Gaia more forgiving than we give credit for?
    It is certainly all far more complicated than most people realize, and not the sort of system to muck with lightly.

  27. KLR:

    Do changes in the Earth’s orbital eccentricity have any effect on terrestrial volcanism? Just a stray notion I had, no doubt it’s been entertained plenty of times in the past. Perhaps multiple volcanic outburts in a short period of time would help to bring an end to an interglacial, in concert with the other Milankovitch cycles.

  28. Icarus:

    Does this paper help towards a better understanding of how much of the variability in our global mean temperature measurements is down to genuine changes in the Earth’s energy balance, and how much is just down to inadequacies in our knowledge of how energy is moving around the climate system? It seems to me that it’s very important for us to be able to tell whether, for example, an apparent reduction in the rate of global warming is due to factors such as heat being sequestered in the deep ocean where we can’t measure it so well (which presumably wouldn’t affect the total energy of the climate system) or whether it’s due to things like a reduced greenhouse effect from stratospheric water vapour (which presumably would do).

  29. Richard Steckis:

    The oxidation pathway for methane is slightly different in the stratosphere. That pathway is shown in Fig. 1. of:

    Rockmann et. al. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 3, 2015–2023, 2003
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.org/acp/3/2015/

    PDF can be found at: hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/29/53/61/PDF/acp-3-2015-2003.pdf

    That pathway does produce a net increase in water vapour but does not produce any CO2.

    [Response: The reaction above is overly simplistic (there are a number of pathways to oxidise CH4), but they all end up with water and CO2 (both CO and HCO are both oxidised in turn). – gavin]

  30. Mike Ern:

    Curious, is there a way to calculate what a decrease in stratospheric vapor (from the current level down to zero) would have on temperature if we assume the level is related to the shift in global patterns of sea-surface temperatures which influence evaporation and vapor movement?

  31. Ed Davies:

    What is the contribution from jet exhausts to the stratospheric water vapour content?

    [Response: Negligible. The majority of jet flights don’t get into the stratosphere – most fly in the upper troposphere. However their water vapour contributions do add slightly to their climatic impact. – gavin]

  32. Ray Ladbury:

    Jimbo@10
    The Nature article provides only a very weak constraint on carbon-cycle feedback (very large error bars). The favored value is at the low end of expectations, but 1)it’s one study, 2)I don’t have access to Nature here at home 3)it doesn’t preclude higher values with any sensitivity, and 4)it doesn’t change the overall estimates of climate sensitivity, which are strongly constrained to be around 3 degrees per doubling.

  33. Ed Davies:

    Partially answering my own question with some very approximate back-of-the-envelope numbers: total water vapour content of the bottom 10 km of the stratosphere: 7.5e12 kg and total water emissions from jet exhaust: 75e9 kg/year. So, may be significant depending on the residence time.

  34. Ani:

    Another excellent topic to discuss put out by RS. As a layman tech who very seldom posts here, I mainly do it for one of my grandaughters, a ten year old that is the intelligent one, other than the fact she thinks I walk on water. I just want her to know that if she has a question and she can ask an expert she should do so. I chuckled when I read you will try to get to it over the weekend. Nice to see NASA hasent changed since I worked for them other than you know what a weekend is. Since a Phd at GS15 makes so much I hope your book does well.

  35. MR SH:

    I am interested in the mechanism of this phenomena, especially the relationship to the external variability, such as solar activities, or a part of natural feedback. Anyhow this new finding must improve the climate model dynamics.

    What is strange is, why the skeptics neglect the remaining 75% of the radiative force which is well explained by the AGW theory.

  36. William H. Calvin:

    Most models simply estimate changes in watervapoe fron changes in SST.

    But ww have built 45,000 dams in the last 50 yrs, and those reservoirs add more.DITTO irrigation.

    Then there are changes in path length between evaporation and precip.

    This comes to you from the stratosphere at
    10km, enroute SEA-ATL.

  37. captdallas2:

    As an impoverished fishing guide I can’t afford to view the full text. With that explanation to avoid ridicule for my ignorance, what drives the change in strat h20? Arctic methane release does not seem to be the cause because 1998 through 2007 was pretty warm up north.

    If anyone has a link to the full text that I can access gratis I would love to read it.

  38. Hank Roberts:

    A decade ago some astronomers were talking about seeing traces of small ice/frost comets depositing water in the upper atmosphere. Anything since, anyone know? http://smallcomets.physics.uiowa.edu/pdf/
    (which may be a long dead site, it’s certainly been a long time since update)

  39. Ani:

    Ok just an observation, and I don’t have any idea if physics would support this, my research is whatever I can do with my blackberry. It looks to me, a picture type of guy, that we could be compressing the atmosphere below the trop. To me this would do things like intensify the jetstream and give north America a polar outbreak that’s out of synch with the solar cycle. Now there would be a myriad of things we would have to look at like surface pressure trop height and pressure etc. I guess its a good thing that mother earth is putting a cap on the thunderstorms and also letting us keep our atmosphere. If this sounds silly please forgive as I like most hate to look foolish.

  40. Anand:

    Ray Ladbury says:
    The Nature article provides only a very weak constraint on carbon-cycle feedback (very large error bars).
    The favored value is at the low end of expectations, but
    1)it’s one study,
    2)I don’t have access to Nature here at home
    3)it doesn’t preclude higher values with any sensitivity,

    Your “it’s one study” ‘excuse’ is quite lame and more importantly it backfires. The paper’s just been published it has already entered the “it’s one study” category. Isn’t that a compliment?

    “3) It doesn’t preclude higher values with any sensitivity”.
    Read between the lines, man – the way the authors put a non-sequitur like:

    “Although uncertainties do not at present allow exclusion of y (gamma) calculated from any of ten coupled carbon-climate models…”

    to buy ‘street-cred’ for their contentions is hilarious. No one can exclude any of the present models – isn’t that fact?

    Moreover the authors complete the same sentence to say:

    “Although uncertainties do not at present allow exclusion of y (gamma) calculated from any of ten coupled carbon-climate models, we find that y (gamma) is about twice as likely to fall in the lowermost than in the uppermost quartile of their range.”

    Meaning – the authors make concessions to existing uncertainties in a statement that offers actual number limits to ‘y’. The exact opposite of what you are implying.

    Read the paper – it has more surprises in store. Nature itself put a better spin on the paper, from a warmist perspective, that is.

    http://www.nature.com.ezproxy.welch.jhmi.edu/nature/journal/v463/n7280/full/463438a.html

    Just had to step in to call out this severely homework-constrained post.

    I guess I’ll put in the disclaimers myself: Delete if required. Void where prohibited.

    Thanks
    Anand

  41. Ray Ladbury:

    Anand,
    “Street cred…”? Good lord, have you ever even read a scientific paper before? Did you look to see how large the error bars are on their results?

    In science, you never, ever place high confidence in a single result based on a single study of a single line of evidence. That is why CO2 sensitivity estimates are based on over a hundred studies of about a dozen different lines of evidence. That is the difference between science and anti-science. Understand?

  42. Anand:

    The previous post should have this link:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7280/full/463438a.html

  43. Leonard Ornstein:

    The volume of tropical stratosphere that Solomon et al. reexamine in their current Science paper, is the upper part of the same more or less continuous global volume usually referred to as the tropical upper troposphere, where radiosonde measurements and GCM models SEEM (keep reservations in 24, above, by Pekka Kostamo, in mind) to disagree about the extent of warming (measurements less than model ‘predictions’ by about 0.5ºC).

    [See famous Fig. 9.1, p. 675, Chapter 9 of “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change” Hegerl et al.(2007) In: Climate Change: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. and

    see Fig.1, Douglass et al. (2008) “A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions” Int. J. Climatol. 28: 1693–1701.]

    Although the associated uncertainties in no way challenge the arguments that increasing greenhouse gases produce increasing global temperatures, the resolution of these ‘discrepancies’ about ‘what is forcing what’ could reduce the GCM-predicted trend in global mean surface temperature from about 0.2ºC to about 0.15ºC per decade.

    Gavin: Please comment.

  44. yourmommycalled:

    I not sure where Pekka Kostamo (#24) got that the time constant of radiosondes are on the order of minutes, because it is no where near close to being correct. I buy hundreds of Vaisala RS92-SGP’s a year. The manufacturer’s specification for the temperature time constant is less than 1 second at 100 mb. The relative humidity sensor has 0.5 second (6m/s flow, 1000mb, 20 C) time constant. The longest lag in measurement due to improper or poor conditions at launch is 13 seconds. This information is from the manufacturer, NCAR and NSSL and my own personal experience both on a daily basis and during numerous field campaigns dating back to 1979.

    Strange that all of that new and wonderful instrumentation you talk about are indirect measurements calibrated against the direct measurements made by the radiosondes. Yet another case of somebody pulling monkeys out of the netherworld

  45. Completely Fed Up:

    “18 Gilles says:
    30 January 2010 at 2:39 AM

    I’m puzzled. I thought that there was NO statistically significant change in Global warming”

    No, you’re not puzzled. You’re squishing in your pants and kidding on you’re puzzled to “appear moderate”.

    There’s no STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT difference between the model outputs and the actual measured temperature record for the earth’s surface.

    Now, go off and clean up and then work out what effect this phenomena has on the temperature output of the hindcast models to 2010 and check to see if it would be statistically significantly different.

  46. Completely Fed Up:

    RS: “You need the application of heat for the equation to progress”

    Not really. As long as it is energetically favourable, you will get some combustion naturally.

    And I note this is quite a departure from your earlier comment that CO2 was NOT (categorically and emphatically!) a product of methane combustion.

  47. david adam:

    Can you elaborate on why you give my guardian write up of this paper the thumbs down? I tried hard to get it right, and am happy to correct any mistakes
    cheers
    david adam

    [Response: Hi David, It is probably nothing to do with you, but the headline and lede feed into two very common misconceptions – that climate models don’t deal with water vapour and that water vapour itself is a climate driver. It does matter that this is stratospheric water vapour and that this is an internal component of the system. – gavin]

  48. Theo Kurten:

    Richard, your equation

    CH3O2 + H2O -> CH3OOH + O2

    is wrong. Clue: the hydrogen’s don’t balance, nor do the oxygens. That should be

    CH3O2 + HO2 -> CH3OOH + O2.

    Which is not a net sink of water, nor really a source of oxygen (where do you think the HO2 comes from?) Besides, if there is NOx available CH3O2 will react with NO instead, and give CH3O and NO2 (with the CH3O being rapidly oxidized further). This is all explained quite well in Wayne’s book that you quote. Wet deposition is one possible fate of CH3OOH, but not the only one; it can also be oxidized (like any other organic molecule in the air), or even photolysed. At least in the 3rd edition of Wayne’s book this is quite explicitly mentioned. A quick google search finds e.g. this recent study on the subject:

    Mark A. Blitz, Dwayne E. Heard, and Michael J. Pilling: Wavelength dependent photodissociation of CH3OOH: Quantum yields for CH3O and OH, and measurement of the OH + CH3OOH rate coefficient,
    Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry
    Volume 176, Issues 1-3, 14 December 2005, Pages 107-113.

    As both you and others have already noted, the oxidation pathway in the stratosphere is somewhat different. But the fact that oxidation of CH4 and other hydrocarbons in the atmosphere is (albeit via several steps, and with varying final yields due to deposition of some fraction of some intermediate products) a source of water and CO2 is well-known and quite basic atmospheric chemistry. I’m surprised that anyone that has read Wayne’s book would try to argue about this particular issue.

  49. Fred:

    Something I’m not clear on. I had thought that satellite measurements of top-of-atmosphere radiation fluxes showed positive (heating) imbalance over the last 10 years, but the mystery was where the excess heat was going within the earth system (e.g., Trenberth, Curr. Opinion Environ. Sustain. 1, 19 (2009)).

    And when I read the Solomon paper, I understand that she and her co-authors are saying that decreased water vapor in the lower stratosphere meant there was a larger outgoing LW flux than had been previously believed, so there was no excess heat accumulating in the earth system.

    These two statements seem contradictory, so clearly there’s something I didn’t understand correctly.

    If an expert could clarify where I’m in error, I’d be grateful.

  50. Bob:

    #10 Jimbo, #40 Anand:

    I don’t actually think that the Nature paper is quite off topic. Both it and this post (Solomon et al) discuss two papers that reveal specific measurements/mechanisms for negative feedbacks (as opposed to works like Lindzen, which try to prove that such feedbacks exist without actually zeroing in on them). These are obviously important studies, because the whole equation of climate sensitivity shouldn’t be guessed at by hoping or fearing one way or the other. The answer is to, over time, identify, qualify and quantify all of the mechanisms, and so be able to truly project our future.

    Me personally, I have a 15 year old daughter, and I’m cheering/hoping for negative stratospheric and CO2 feedbacks for her sake that keep things from getting as bad as it looks like it could (to me) in the long run.

    Obviously, “deniers” are being silly when they scream that we don’t know everything, so we can’t predict anything. Obviously we don’t, and we can. And I’d be really, really scared if we didn’t discover some (actually lots of) negative feedbacks along the way. If all we found were positive feedbacks, I’d start to find it hard to get up in the morning.

    With that said…

    The Nature paper only seems to refer (caveat: I didn’t read it, no Nature subscription, so I’m going from the abstract and BBC/Science Daily articles) to an 80% reduction in the positive CO2 feedback, not an 80% reduction in all positive feedbacks (e.g. water vapor, albedo). I also accept the caveats by Schellnhuber and Lenton in the BBC article, stating that the study probably doesn’t consider all mechanisms, like “anthropogenic activation of permafrost carbon or methane clathrates”, and that being based on paleo-data it doesn’t necessarily reflect a system like ours, undergoing as rapid a change as we are seeing now, so it may or may not apply as a template for this situation (very rapid anthro-CO2 increase).

    Similarly, the Solomon paper (again, couldn’t read it) discusses something that’s happened in the last decade, and may be either a transient or long term effect. Until the mechanism (instead of merely the observation) is understood, we can’t say whether it will help us long term, or is just slowing things down for the moment. But I think it’s important in that it goes a little towards answering that favorite Trenberth quote the denialists like to dredge up from the hacked e-mails: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

    The point is… this is how science works. More and more people find real things to work out, and over time we work them out, and eventually we improve the quality and certainty of our predictions.

    For deniers to jump on either of these two papers and start screaming “see! see!” is just annoying.

    I have to say, I label myself (privately) as a “skeptic”, but I can’t use the term, because deniers have absconded it and twisted it to their purposes. But I’m a layman (2/3 degree in chemistry) who takes nothing at face value. I visit sites from both camps. For everything I read, I look for more, and when that seems to explain/debunk it, I look for more, and keep going, until I’m perfectly secure in my own knowledge and opinion. It’s still only a layman’s POV, and so incomplete, but it’s not simply what I’ve been asked to accept, or worse yet, just as much as I need to find to confirm my own desires, and nothing more.

    That said… I’ve never once seen a denial argument pan out. They can be cleverly constructed so they take a lot to untangle, but they never ultimately come to anything.

    Both of these papers are good, solid pieces to the puzzle.

  51. Bob:

    BTW, OT, but I went to see Book of Eli last night. Great movie IMO, but maybe a little too intellectual and spiritual for the common man (hence not taking in big $ at the box office). The post-apocalyptic image of the world gave me the shivers, though. It really looked like I imagine things would be if the worst of the worst of the worst came to pass in climate change (even though in the movie it was caused by a war).

  52. Bob:

    Does anyone know if it would be possible to construct a special cross-journal membership for an area of interest, specifically climate change? I just don’t have the money to subscribe to every journal out there just to feed my interest in the subject (at least, not without opening a private account to hide the expenses from my wife). I already have too many expenses related to my career.

    It frustrates me, though, to live on abstracts and summaries and BBC articles and blog posts.

    Would journal publishers be open to this sort of idea? Does it exist already somewhere that I haven’t found?

    [Response: AGU provides this for their journals (JGR, GRL, Paleoceanography etc.), but I don’t know of any cross-publisher effort. Sounds like a great idea though… – gavin]

  53. Chris ODell:

    @ 10, 40. Re: the recent Frank et al. paper. I just read the abstract (haven’t gotten full access here at home) but it certainly looks interesting. But it appears that this is about the response of the carbon cycle to increased temperature, meaning how much co2 is released from a warming earth. Think about that. Why isn’t it zero? This is about mechanisms (presumably) like melting permafrost and the like, which release CO2 into the air when warming occurs. I would think this is likely very state-dependent, meaning that at the depths of the last ice-age, their gamma number is different than today, or during the last glacial maximum, or the PETM, etc.

    That being said, this effect they are reporting on I think is not to be confused with the “airborne fraction of co2″ question, which is what fraction of the co2 that we emit into the atmosphere actually stays there, and what fraction is taken up by the earth (land and oceans) right away. my gut says the latter is just as important (if not more so) than the former, but I would have to see some hard numbers to back it up.

    Finally, this in no way is central to the “theory of AGW” as one poster seemed to assert. It is more a sideline detail. Don’t get me wrong, perhaps this result buys us a bit more time. But remember most climate models to date have a static carbon cycle anyway; their 7 ppm /deg C number would make all models produce even more warming than they currently do!

  54. Rod B:

    I’m only at #3, so if my answers will soon appear, forget the questions. What is the [best] explanation for the 1-2 year drop in the stratospheric H2O? Since the measurements before ~2000 are looser, is it conceivable that, rather than a drop after 2000, 2000 is just a spike blip from steady decades preceding and after 2000? 2) What is the H2O breakdown in the stratosphere between droplets (clouds) and vapor?

  55. Pat Cassen:

    Hank (#38): Yes, whatever happened to Lou Frank’s “discovery” of millions of small comets continuously entering the Earth’s atmosphere? As far as I know, it remains controversial after all these years, rejected by all but a very few researchers. The latest citation I could find to his work was a paper (2001) rejecting his claim of optical detection:
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2003JGRA.108e.SIA5M

    Some interesting critical discussion at
    http://www.williams.edu/Astronomy/jay/ETU4/chapter17.html

    and see the recent paper by Francis and references therein:
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0509074

    But Frank developed considerable evidence for his hypothesis, described by him in a lecture which can be read at
    http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/preslectures/frank99/index.html

    A very interesting case. Anybody have any more info? (I believe that Frank is now emeritus at U of Iowa, where he was on the faculty for many years.)

  56. Fred:

    Clarification to my comment #43: when I wrote that I read Solomon as saying that “there’s no excess heat accumulating,” I want to be clear that I’m talking only about the unaccounted excess heat in the last decade, not interpreting their result as conflicting with a long-term AGW trend.

  57. David Miller:

    Peter Coates asks in #26:

    This sounds like there might actually be a significant negative feedback loop in the system too. And I was thinking that atmospheric methane was unmitigated bad. Is Gaia more forgiving than we give credit for?

    I’m afraid you’re confusing a couple of things there Peter:( Gavin mentioned some of the causes of stratospheric water vapor, including methane.

    Here’s the thing: we don’t (yet) know of any good causes why lower stratospheric WV declined 10%. Pekka Kosta provides some food for thought as to why there might not even be a decline. What we have so far is “This is very interesting. We need to look more closely at this”.

    As for fortunate Gaiin negative feedbacks with methane – they aren’t. Methane that oxidizes in the stratosphere creates CO2 + H2O. Increasing arctic methane emissions then would seem an impossible cause of decreasing stratospheric H2O unless there’s some very interesting reaction going on between ground level and the stratosphere.

    IF – and it’s a big if so far – the report is completely accurate it seems pretty scary to me. If a .5 ppmv decline in WV in a small slice of the atmosphere is enough to offset increases in CO2 it’s a very particular thing. Presumably, then, an increase of 1 ppmv would have the warming effect of two decades of CO2 emissions. That would make WV in the lower strat an extremely important thing to control.

    I’m not scientist enough to sort that out, but it seems unlikely enough to me that I’ll wait for those who are to study it in more detail. My uneducated WAG is that it will turn out to not be very important. My uneducated WAG is that ocean storage + solar minimum is all that’s required to explain the “lack of temperature increases for the 2000s”.

  58. Doug Bostrom:

    david adam says: 30 January 2010 at 1:18 PM

    For what it’s worth, I thought the article was well written, except for the irrelevant references to the TomskTwaddle email invasion, etc. Referring to the exciting and overstimulated political climate does not really help aid understanding of our physical climate, though it does liberate heat unaccompanied by light.

    Also, I don’t really understand why contrarians would find this article to be something to celebrate. Water vapor is fairly uncontroversially predicted to be an important feedback source, this paper only seems to cement that as well as illustrate how powerful it is. It’s bad news, to me.

  59. Yvan Dutil:

    #55 It is my understanding thant Frank’s mini-comet makes absolutely no sense. We should see collision of them on the moon on a regular basis. This is an easy experiment and amateur astronomers do it on a regular basis in meteor shower. Also this as been ruled out by lunar seismometer.

  60. Yvan Dutil:

    #55 Frank’s comet impact on the moon would be as easy to spot as meteor showere impact, which are recorded by amateur astronomer.

  61. Hank Roberts:

    > David Adam
    Speaking as an ordinary reader here, thank you. Let us know if the headline and lede get clarified?

    I know that’s hard. I nudged our local paper on an error about “sea level rise by 2100″–they fixed the mistakes online, noting only “This story has been corrected since it appeared in print editions.” Copies of the original with mistakes in both headline and text are still widespread.

    > a special cross-journal membership

    Do the newspaper and magazine writers get access to the full text science articles online, somehow?

  62. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    One question I have regards air travel. I think I’ve read it somewhere that air travel is worse for GW, beyond its CO2 emissions, because it also emits water vapor fairly high up in the atmosphere, that more easily gets into the stratosphere.

    Also there was a jet “contrails” issue some years back, and the difference was noticable when all flights in the U.S. were grounded on 9/11. But I can’t exactly remember what the issue was.

  63. wayne davidson:

    Yess, I read this with interest, I am particularly suspicious about the conclusion
    that there has been a world wide cooling caused by the lack of water vapour at the tropical tropopause…. Something doesn’t compute, the tropics and Arctic are joined at the hip, and the Arctic aint a cooling.

    Doesn’t any one have data on tropopause height anomalies at the equator, particularly if they have been rising lately (last 20 years)? I am thinking that it may be higher, http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/17937 ,
    but the devil is in the details…

  64. Jiminmpls:

    THIS bears repeating:

    #22 More puzzles.

    One wonders what is ahead if the hottest decade ever was cooled by a drop in stratospheric water vapour.

    Comment by Tony O’Brien — 30 January 2010 @ 5:38 AM

  65. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #10, Jimbo, it would be interesting to see if denialists pick this up and run with it, bec they’d be admitting that CO2 feedback (I assume what they mean is methane and CO2 from melting permafrost & ocean hydrates) is not as fast as thought.

    That’s sort of like geometrical progression of population. Anything greater than replacement value will eventually lead to a population explosion, only a smaller value will do this over a longer time period.

    So if the article is correct then climate hysteresis (and doom to most of life on earth) or even runaway warming (and total doom to life on earth) will happen just a bit slower than previously thought.

  66. Doug Bostrom:

    Bob says: 30 January 2010 at 1:40 PM

    If you’re an alumnus of a university or college you may find there’s a means to access many journals. Options vary depending on how much money is sloshing around at a particular institution, with many affording alumni full text electronic access to a broad swath of journals. Check the library site of your alma mater for more info.

  67. Tenney Naumer:

    re: comments #4 and #13

    Concerning recent increases in the rate of methane emissions:

    The link to the article in The Guardian is:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/arctic-permafrost-methane

    The link to the abstract of the article published in the January 15, 2010, issue of Science is:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/5963/322

  68. Anand:

    Ray Ladbury
    I see that you are stumbling over my indigestible colloquialisms. I also see that you haven’t gotten over your habit of talking down to those who post here.

    If I were a lukewarmer, I would use full-blooded warmist language to sneak my point of view across wouldn’t I?

    What the authors do is analogous.

    If the authors of this paper want a receptive audience, they have to allow the full range of uncertainties to stand – given the fact that there are many ever-ready with the “its just one paper” stick at hand. And that’s what they do.

    Frank et al estimate γ (gamma) to be 1.7-21.4 ppmv CO2/ degree C warming. This range as such, covers a good number of models. Why would they knock other models down at all?

    What they do accomplish is – they knock down the higher reaches of this range pretty confidently.

    Regards

  69. David B. Benson:

    KLR (27) — Not a chance, directly. However, fairly rapidly removing a large quantity of ice would tend to either enhance or inhibit earthquakes and volcanoes which were about ready to go any thousand years or so. There is a spectacular flaut scarp in northern Sweden which might have been partly induced by the melting of the Fennoscandinavian ice sheet, for example. Anyway the dating is about right for that.

    But in general even supereruptions, the last one being Mt. Toba, have only a short term impact; I at least can’t find evidence for it in ice core temperature proxies even though I know the date to within a thousand years or so.

  70. Ray Ladbury:

    Anand, What you fail to understand is that in REAL climate science, there are no “warmers” or “lukewarmers”. Believe it or not, to climate scientists, it is not about climate change. They are trying to figure out the climate. Period.
    If their result holds up, That is good news. It is a single analysis of a single line of evidence AND they do have huge error bars that overlap with the currently accepted range. What is more, their analysis does not affect any of the previous analyses that constrain CO2 sensitivity. It is a matter of how the feedbacks break down more than the total feedback.

    I would suggest that you ought to get a better understanding of the science if you want to see how this (very interesting) work fits in. And while you are at it, you might want to learn in general how science works. Your whole approach reminds me of Andrew Lang’s criticism: “He uses statistics the way a drunkard uses a lamp post–for support rather than illumination.”

  71. dhogaza:

    If I were a lukewarmer, I would use full-blooded warmist language to sneak my point of view across wouldn’t I?

    What the authors do is analogous.

    And who are you to assign motives to the authors’ statements which in no way reflect what they actually say?

  72. Doug Bostrom:

    Useful discussion of this paper by Jeff Masters, particulary amplification on vapor transport:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html

  73. RyanT:

    I appreciate David Adam’s interest in getting it as clear as possible. What I wondered about is this bit: “She said it was not clear if the water vapour decrease after 2000 reflects a natural shift, or if it was a consequence of a warming world. If the latter is true, then more warming could see greater decreases in water vapour, acting as a negative feedback to apply the brakes on future temperature rise”.

    Seems like a stretch given the observed magnitude of the effect and question of how dry an already dry stratosphere can get. Maybe, more specifically, it could apply the brakes on some of the future temperature rise? Assuming this is actually a feedback to climate forcing and not just a response to internal variability (like what phase certain ocean cycles are in). If so, is there any mechanism that could explain a trend of less water vapor delivery to the lower stratosphere in a warming world?

    [Response: I think it very unlikely that this could be a demonstratable negative feedback to surface warming. We know that upper tropospheric water vapour increases with surface warming (Minschwaner and Dessler etc.), and that water vapour moves up due to two things: the large scale uplift of air and penetrative convection (of both vapour and condensate). A drying of the lower stratosphere would have to be associated with either a decrease in the cold point at the tropopause (affecting the amount of vapour in the uplift), or a reduction in penetrative convection. There is no obvious reason why surface temperature increases would cause either effect. As far as I know (someone might want to correct me), all the stratosphere-resolving GCMs show increasing lower strat water vapour as a long term impact surface warming. – gavin]

  74. Anand:

    I’ll repeat what I’ve already said:

    The overall thrust of the Frank et al paper is that they propose constraints on CO2 sensitivity that shackle it to the lower quartile of the existing models’ proposed ranges.

    They repeatedly state that sensitivities of ~40 p.p.m.v CO2 per C are unlikely.

    They even venture gingerly to state that – “If γ were to have been invariant during the pre-industrial past millennium, these distributions may permit γ to be more tightly constrained to 2.2–12.7 p.p.m.v. per °C”.

    They conclude in the end saying: “The convergence of γ computed herein with other more moderate values quantified for interannual to Milankovitch timescales suggests limited timescale dependence and thus reduced possibilities for unwelcome surprises within the next century.

    They have necessary qualifiers in all the right places, of course. This is a well-written paper.

    If you agree with the above statements, your original argument that “it (the paper) doesn’t preclude higher values with any sensitivity,” doesn’t hold much water, does it?

    Knowing your style of argument, I’ll take your “If their result holds up, That is good news”. I didn’t come to this thread to make anything of this paper. I only wanted to counter your contentions

    dhogaza: You ask – Who am I to assign motives?
    I am not assigning motives. I am just saying that a good climate researcher will use well-tempered language in his/her work, like these authors do. Read my post again – does it look like I am calling any of the authors lukewarmers?

    The paper is non-alarmist in tone and conclusion. Isn’t it a cause for worry for our more alarmist brethren in the AGW business? But it has their ear, certainly. That’s what I’m saying

    The same Nature issue carries a small piece about the lead author – it makes quite clear which way he actually leans. Which is also immaterial to my point.

    The authors state at several places there is limited understanding of the carbon cycle. To me that seems to fly against the face of “the science is settled” argument. The recent Science and Nature papers are both heartening, to that end.

    Regards
    Anand

  75. Jim Bouldin:

    Well it’s not quite clear what your point is Anand (something nefarious apparently), but tell the whole story if you’re going to tell it at all: Their very next sentence, right in the abstract, is:

    “Our results are incompatibly lower (P,0.05) than recent pre-industrial empirical estimates of 40 p.p.m.v. CO2 per 6C (refs 6, 7), and correspondingly suggest 80% less potential amplification of ongoing global warming.

    The authors aren’t in any way trying to hide the difference in their results from other studies. Be honest.

    More on this later however.

  76. colin Aldridge:

    Presumably , I haven’t read the full paper, we don’t know what the water content of the stratosphere was prior to 2000. Was 2000 a peak year? This would suggest it contributed to global warming in the 20th century or is there just a sudden drop in the last 10 years after decades of stability?

  77. bratisla:

    @27 KLR : as a seismologist in touch with volcanoes, I would say that the main force which is causing earthquakes and volcanoes is the residual heat of the Earth (backed up by natural radioactivity) – a change in Earth eccentricity would not have any effect on this internal cause (however, on Jupiter moons, the gravity field variations are strong enough to cause eruptions).
    As for the comment 69, some people truely proved that the ice sheet melting is causing the Scandinavian uplift (no name in the head right now, but I did myself a few calculations about that) ; in the same topic, geological structures of sackung were linked to the glacier removal in the french Alps. The seismicity induced by these phenomena is however rather weak – maybe because Scandinavia was already full of faults ready to move …
    Sorry for the off-topic, for once I can say something intelligent on this site :]

  78. Ike Solem:

    See also this 2006 report, which seems to cover the same topic, but points towards ozone changes in the tropical troposphere:

    WJ Randel et al. (2006) “Decreases in stratospheric water vapor after 2001: Links to changes in the tropical tropopause and the Brewer-Dobson circulation”

    “Time series of stratospheric water vapor measurements by satellites and balloons show persistent low values beginning in 2001. Temperature observations show that the tropical tropopause has been anomalously cold during this period, and the observed water vapor changes (approximately

  79. Prasad Kasibhatla:

    Hello again – any comments on my previous comment (#9). I’d very much appreciate if anyone has any insight on this.

  80. Septic Matthew:

    52, Bob: Does anyone know if it would be possible to construct a special cross-journal membership for an area of interest, specifically climate change?

    I don’t know your budget or location, but you might try joining a library association. I joined the UCSD Library Committee (I forget what exactly it is called, maybe “Friends of Geisel Library”.) You can check out books, read articles for free, and print articles for low page fees. You can also read the “Supporting Online Material”, which for Science and Nature is more substantial than the printed journal article.

  81. L. David Cooke:

    RE: 49

    Hey Fred,

    I am no expert, only a simple layman; however, I believe the issues in your observation has more to do with the three means of heat (LW) flow in the atmosphere, radiation, convection and advection. When we trace IR heat (LW) content via satellite observation we are observing the radiant heat (LW) content in the atmosphere to some spectral (wavelength) limited saturation depth. (Note: The more IR content at a specific wavelength the more opaque the atmosphere will be.)

    When we consider the three basic heat (LW) flow pathways, radiation is the primary measure used to determine the Earths Atmospheric (LW) Radiation Measurement/Budget. Satellites are great for making this measure especially when coupled with ground station measures as the space/ground based combination can help determine the total content using sweeping Lidar systems. (The data provided by these tools are the primary feeds used in most climate modeling.) However, they do not track the flow of heat content (LW) or flow through the atmosphere. Unless you can tell the depth/content of the heat along with the direction of the flow you cannot be certain of the measured movement of heat in the atmosphere. (Hence you do not actually see the flow of LW or heat with these tools.) Generally, the primary means to track long term, high resolution, atmospheric heat flow is to observe the water vapor flow in the Troposphere.

    Also where many of the models employ standard specific heat convection models I believe there may be greater variability then is normally accredited. (As an example the Richard Lindzen’s atmospheric iris theory may help describe the phenomena ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lindzen ). The problem is, if you cannot measure/display this phenomenon you are not going to be able to prove it. (I have a pet theory that Mt. Pinatubo might have injected a high amount of water vapor into the Stratosphere that be partially responsible for some of the imbalance we have seen over the last 20 years.)

    To me it appears that basic LW IR heat content in the Earth’s atmosphere is not zonal. (As opposed to what we seem to see in either Jupiter or Saturn) When the heat content in a lower zone exceeds some value the “excess” escapes (advects) towards the poles. (A clear example of this can be found in the variation seen in the Polar and ITCZ Jet Streams. Possibly also documented in recent papers regarding the decrease in the Walker circulation and increased Jet Stream deviations.)

    The funny thing is that as the total atmosphere warms it seems that the Earth’s atmosphere becomes more zonal, to a point. (Observational examples can be found in tracking the apparent higher instances of stagnant Rossby (barometric pressure) Wave phenomena over the last 40 years. (Which I suspect are related to abnormal monsoons, heat waves and droughts.)) It appears to me that as the heat content reaches a certain point there is a massive release of energy. (Signaled by abnormal tropical storm phenomena.) With the result being the atmosphere achieves a new heat content plateau, as the polar regions warm and general stability seems to return.

    The whole point being that there may be abnormal variations in atmospheric heat (LW) content that can be either man made or due to abnormal natural phenomena. The Earth’s atmosphere provides transport of this heat content that can exceed the zonal heat (LW) build up towards the poles. (As has been measured by both near Arctic Circle ground stations and NASA high altitude Tropospheric Arctic heat content measurements.)

    None of these observations; however, change the basic facts that additional CO2 in the atmosphere increases atmospheric heat content. The recent work by Dr. Solomon does more to underline we have more work to do in the measurement of the content and the flow of the heat in the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  82. David B. Benson:

    Stratospheric water vapor decline credited with slowing global warming
    Posted by: JeffMasters, 6:18 PM GMT on January 29, 2010
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1421
    was certainly helpful to me!

  83. Thomas:

    Regarding the nature paper. To the extent it reduces our estimates of temperature/CO2 feedback, it only reduces very long term climate sensitivity (to current emissions). It is about CO2 in the atmosphere begetting more atmospheric CO2 on long (centennial or longer) timescales (if I got it right). The typically stated sensitivities are for a fixed amount of atmospheric CO2. Such feedbacks might change the CO2 versus time trajectory, but not the temperature versus CO2 curve.

  84. Richard Steckis:

    “Response: The reaction above is overly simplistic (there are a number of pathways to oxidise CH4), but they all end up with water and CO2 (both CO and HCO are both oxidised in turn). – gavin”

    Well. You show us the alternative pathways that you purport to exist and the peer reviewed literature they come from. I don’t take peoples word for things these days. The appeal to authority may work for some but not for me.

    The fact remains that the equation you use in your post is for combustion of methane and is not the pathway for stratospheric oxidation of methane. You cannot use it as a schematic for the oxidation pathway as it represents a totally different reaction and is completely misleading.

    Perhaps some of the atmospheric chemists out there can enlighten both of us.

  85. Richard Steckis:

    Response: Now this is seriously wrong. There is no oxygen in methane, and so the creation of oxygen as a final byproduct is impossible. There is no precipitation in the stratosphere (except for a tiny amount of of PSC formation). – gavin]

    You obviously did not follow the pathway I described in #17 above. I reproduce it for your benefit here:

    CH4 + OH -> CH3 + H20

    CH3 is oxidised by:

    CH3 + O2 + M -> CH3O2 + M

    CH3O2 + H02 -> CH3OOH + O2

    (I incorrectly used H2O instead of HO2 in the equation in #17)

    As you can see, oxygen is a final byproduct of the oxidation pathway of methane in the troposphere along with methyl hydroperoxide.

    [Response: I have no clue what you are trying to demonstrate here. You use O2 in one reaction, and then it is a product in another. There is no net creation of O2. Thus to describe O2 as being a ‘final byproduct’ is like describing any catalyst as the ‘final byproduct’ of a catalysed reaction. Please try and discuss something sensible. – gavin]

  86. Richard Steckis:

    46
    Completely Fed Up says:
    30 January 2010 at 1:11 PM

    “RS: “You need the application of heat for the equation to progress”

    Not really. As long as it is energetically favourable, you will get some combustion naturally.

    And I note this is quite a departure from your earlier comment that CO2 was NOT (categorically and emphatically!) a product of methane combustion.”

    You have it wrong as usual. I stated categorically that CO2 is not a product of the atmospheric (in the tropospere) oxidation of methane.

    Oxidation not combustion.

    [Response: You are wrong whether it is the troposphere or the stratosphere. And the level of wrongness (wrongitude?) is much worse for the stratosphere, which is in fact what we are talking about. – gavin]

  87. Eyal Morag:

    The Stratosphere
    “The stratosphere defines a layer in which temperatures rises with increasing altitude. ” ” This rise in temperature is caused by the absorption of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun by the ozone layer. Such a temperature profile creates very stable atmospheric conditions, and the stratosphere lacks the air turbulence that is so prevalent in the troposphere. Consequently, the stratosphere is almost completely free of clouds or other forms of weather.”
    from Encyclopedia of the Atmospheric Environment
    http://www.ace.mmu.ac.uk/

    The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer entered into force on January 1, 1989, -Wikipedia

    Now the missing part is to look fore the changes in the ozone and temperature profile not only at Antaracica

  88. Richard Steckis:

    48
    Theo Kurten says:
    30 January 2010 at 1:19 PM

    “Richard, your equation

    CH3O2 + H2O -> CH3OOH + O2

    is wrong. Clue: the hydrogen’s don’t balance, nor do the oxygens. That should be

    CH3O2 + HO2 -> CH3OOH + O2.”

    You are correct of course. I only noticed the typo this morning. Thamks.

  89. Lawrence McLean:

    One of the signs of CO2 induced global warming is the cooling of the stratosphere, so it seems to me that a reduction of water vapor in the stratosphere would be expected. It is likely I do not understand the issue, at the moment I do not understand why the reduction of water vapor in the stratosphere in a mystery.

    I thought that the temperature of the troposphere was controlled almost 100% by radiative heat transfer. This implies that heat transfer between the stratosphere and the troposphere is negligible, especially in terms of conduction, as the stratosphere is too thin and does not have much heat capacity.

    Can someone please explain or direct me to an explanation…

    [Response: Stratospheric cooling due to increasing CO2 is mainly an upper stratospheric phenomena, but doesn’t in itself affect the stratospheric water vapour amount directly. This is because there is no condensation to speak of (outside the PSCs in the deep polar vortex). There might be small indirect effects due to changes in circulation or indeed atmospheric chemistry, but these will be small. – gavin]

  90. Eli Rabett:

    wrt methane oxidation, it mostly goes

    CH4 + OH –> CH3 + H2O
    CH3 + O2 –> CH3O2
    (a) CH3O2 + NO –> CH3O + NO2
    There are lots of ways to get from CH3O to H2CO formaldehyde
    H2CO eventually goes to CO and CO oxidizes slowly to CO2

    OR

    (b) CH3O2 + HO2 –>CH3OOH which rains out, but, since there are no clouds in the stratosphere, this is only an issue in the troposphere. In the stratosphere, the CH3OOH will react eventually to form H2CO usw.

    The rate constant for (a) is a bit faster than for (b) but the branching ratio is controlled by the availability of NO and HO2 respectively, which depends, on well, us mostly these days, (depending on where you measure NO is anywhere from 1 to 100 times more available than HO2, but a significant source of HO2 is NOx reactions. . . )

    at most channel (b) removes half the CH3O2, at least a percent or so based on OOM thinking.

  91. Chris Dudley:

    The very dryness of the stratosphere has been used to determine a limit on the incoming flux of comet-like material: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1998/98GL01229.shtml so it may be that variability in water content there has to do with the rather episodic interrelationship between the Earth’s orbit and the trails of comets. But, methane mixed into the stratosphere seems as though is must play an important role in what the base level of water vapor is and perhaps in its variability. And, the lower you go in the stratosphere, incursions of regular water vapor must become more important.

    One can point to a long term effect of global warming on the composition of the stratosphere should the runaway greenhouse that Hansen has mentioned a few times now comes to pass as a result of burning all fossil fuels. It will become very wet along with the rest of the atmosphere.

  92. GlenFergus:

    Re Frank et al:

    Why did they choose to re-calibrate the paleotemps to just the northern hemisphere instrumental record? They don’t explain. The paper is about a global phenomenon (carbon cycle amplification), so shouldn’t any recalibration be to a global temp series? And what did they do about that divergence problem? Again, they don’t say. Any recalibration ensemble members that include the divergence interval are going to be spurious, no?

  93. Tim Jones:

    Michael Andrews gives us the answer Susan Solomon couldn’t write for her paper published by Science on how stratospheric water vapor has decreased by 10% after the year 2000. He even attributes the answer to her!
    This article is a “must read” for those having trouble deciding whether to laugh or cry.

    Remember, George Will gets it here.

    Dropping Water Vapor Levels are Naturally Negating Carbon’s Warming Effects
    http://www.dailytech.com/Dropping+Water+Vapor+Levels+are+Naturally+Negating+Carbons+Warming+Effects+/article17553.htm
    Michael Andrews – January 29, 2010
    (excerpt)
    “Despite the apparent bias of many climate researchers, they do have one thing right; carbon levels have risen notably over the twentieth century from about 300 ppm to 375 ppm.  While still far from the estimated levels of around 3,000 ppm during the time of the dinosaurs (appr. 150 MYA), the rising levels do mark a legitimate trend.  However, there is increasing evidence that the rising carbon, contrary to alarmist reports is actually having remarkably little effect on global temperatures.

    “A new study authored by Susan Solomon, lead author of the study and a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo. could explain why atmospheric carbon is not contributing to warming significantly.  According to the study, as carbon levels have risen, the cold air at high altitudes over the tropics has actually grown colder.  The lower temperatures at this “coldest point” have caused global water vapor levels to drop, even as carbon levels rise.

    “Water vapor helps trap heat, and is a far the strongest of the major greenhouse gases, contributing 36–72 percent of the greenhouse effect.  However more atmospheric carbon has actually decreased water vapor levels.  Thus rather than a “doomsday” cycle of runaway warming, Mother Earth appears surprisingly tolerant of carbon, decreasing atmospheric levels of water vapor — a more effective greenhouse gas — to compensate.”

  94. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Icarus,

    I can’t think of any mechanism by which a slight change in Earth’s orbit shape could affect Earth’s volcanism.

  95. Pertti Kellomäki:

    yourmommycalled (#44) writes: “I not sure where Pekka Kostamo (#24) got that the time constant of radiosondes are on the order of minutes, because it is no where near close to being correct. I buy hundreds of Vaisala RS92-SGP’s a year. ”

    Short googling reveals that at some point in time Pekka Kostamo was Vaisala’s Manager of Development Planning: http://www.vaisala.com/files/Ground-breaking_innovation_in_humidity_measurement.pdf
    I would assume he knows what he is talking about.

  96. Kees van der Leun:

    Dutch quality newspaper NRC today runs an article on Solomon titled “Loss of water from stratosphere explains cooling of the earth”.
    Some quotes: “The last couple of years the (average global) termperature even seems to go down a bit” (missed the NASA data, I guess).
    “It is unfortunate that current climate models poorly describe temperature and water content of the stratosphere”.
    http://bit.ly/NRCsolomon (in Dutch)

  97. Andrew Xnn:

    I’ve seen report that there are minor variations in the concentration of CO2 in the troposphere.

    However, I’m curious as to how much variation there is in thru out the turbosphere.

    Also, how much of an impact does the slowness of the mixing matter?

    The stratosphere is supposed to be cooling because of rising CO2 levels, but won’t it eventually warm as CO2 becomes mixed up to 100km or so?

    Thanks for any clarifications.

  98. Anand:

    @ Jim Boulden

    Well it’s not quite clear what your point is Anand (something nefarious apparently), but tell the whole story if you’re going to tell it at all: Their very next sentence, right in the abstract, is:.[..]

    The nefarious part is this (?), I assume.

    “3) It doesn’t preclude higher values with any sensitivity”.
    Read between the lines, man – the way the authors put a non-sequitur like:

    “Although uncertainties do not at present allow exclusion of y (gamma) calculated from any of ten coupled carbon-climate models…”

    to buy ’street-cred’ for their contentions is hilarious. No one can exclude any of the present models – isn’t that fact?

    I stand behind what I said. The authors say they cannot rule out any models and then go on to say they can state with statistical significance that the higher reaches of the models are unlikely to transpire.

    And you are telling me that it is OK to use the first part of that sentence to imply the authors admit to overall uncertainty? Because that was what, was implied in Ray’s initial post. (#32)

    If you think caveats cancel conclusions, no paper can make any sort of conclusion whatsoever.

    And by the way, the authors do not want to ‘hide’ the differences between their probabilistic estimate for γ and the model estimates- they want to point out and stress the differences, and the fact that their values are ‘incompatibly lower’ than certain earlier ones. When did I imply that they were hiding anything anyway? Their findings run counter to alarmism.

    Regards
    Anand

  99. Jiminmpls:

    #93 Remember, George Will gets it here. [dailytech]

    And Anand, too.

    http://www.anandtech.com

  100. Hank Roberts:

    Andrew:
    — not much; here’s a report of variation between 382-389 parts per million:
    http://news.discovery.com/earth/satellite-sees-lumpy-layer-of-co2.html
    — not much; the lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere is decades to centuries
    start here
    FAQ

  101. Sekerob:

    Kees van der Leun, 31 January 2010 at 9:09 AM

    You missed a [rather important] bit in the header and to let me quote with translation:

    Amerikaanse en Zwitserse onderzoekers denken een verklaring te hebben gevonden voor de recente vertraging in de opwarming van de aarde. Het zou veroorzaakt worden door een daling van het watergehalte van de stratosfeer.
    American and Swiss scientists think to have found an explanation for the recent slow down in warming of earth…

    AMSU shows for the month of January a rather substantial increase in temperature of the different level in the troposhere, above the 20 highs for almost every single day of the month. Not sure Dr. Roy Spencer, who’s got his name printed under that web page tracking these temps is happy with that, in context with his little flick of switching to 25 months moving average… one I cannot correlate to anything at all even in imaginative atmospheric cycles… he should try 38 months [quasi ENSO] and then see how that pans out compared to that peek around 1998 and last several years… the end point is then over that super el nino event.

  102. Clippo:

    Sorry I’ve not had the willpower or time to read every word of every post here so this may have been said before:-

    1. Interesting how AGW deniers support atmospheric computer models when they think it supports their case &

    2. Has CH3OOH any global warming potential? (smile)

  103. Sekerob:

    correction: “20 highs” should read “20 year highs”

  104. Hank Roberts:

    A bit more detail for Andrew’s first question on how much CO2 varies, here:
    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?3562

    Excerpt:
    “Moustafa Chahine, lead study author and AIRS science team leader at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., said the maps, which cover from September 2002 to July 2008, will be used by scientists to refine how climate models represent the processes that transport carbon dioxide within Earth’s atmosphere. ‘These data capture global variations in the distribution of carbon dioxide over time that are not represented in the existing models used to determine where carbon dioxide is created and stored,’ he said.

    Chahine said the previous scientific consensus was that carbon dioxide was evenly mixed in the free troposphere, decreasing as you move farther south of the equator. ‘Our results show carbon dioxide there can vary by nearly one percent and that the free troposphere is like international waters—what’s produced in one place is free to travel elsewhere,’ he said.”

  105. Ray Ladbury:

    Anand, you are confusing two utterly different concepts–
    CO2 sensitivity=degrees warming per doubling of CO2

    and

    gamma=additional CO2 from warming due to an addition of CO2

    These are very different. The Frank article has no effect on the well constrained values for CO2 sensitivity.

  106. chris:

    I have a question about the Frank article. I’ve always assumed that the carbon cycle response to warming was constrained by the glacial interglacial cycles along the lines:

    glacial-interglacial global temperature rise 5-6 oC

    glacial-interglacial [CO2] rise ~ 190 ppm to~ 270 ppm

    Therefore each oC of warming results in repartitioning of 15 – 18 ppm of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    Since the transitions take a very long time (5000ish years), the climate system and its carbon cycle component will have reached equilibrium.

    So my impression is that Frank et al have more or less reconfirmed what we already new, at least in relation to paleodata. Their analysis must be rather confounded by the uncertainty in true global temperature variation during the period studied (1050-1800 AD), the uncertainties in the response times of carbon cycle feedbacks, and the separation of natural and anthropogenic contributions to [CO2] variation, especially in the latter part of their analysis period.

    And of course, the Frank analysis doesn’t preclude the expectation that rapid warming due to massively increasing greenhouse gas concentrations won’t overpower sinks and stimulate release of greenhouse gases from so far stable (or stablish) sources (tundra, methane clathrates, forests)…

  107. Andrew Xnn:

    Hank Roberts;

    Thanks for the feedback; your first link is the article I recall seeing.

    The CO2 variations in the mid-troposhere is between 382 to 389 ppm. The troposphere is only about 8 to 15km high. So, I’m guessing that mid-troposphere must be around half that height.

    However, eventually CO2 will mix evenly to a height of about 100km. Mixing of the atmosphere above the tropopause is likely much slower than below since there isn’t weather as we know it.

    What I haven’t been able to find is much information on what CO2 levels are at the 100km elevation.

    I’m sure they aren’t nearly as high as 390ppm, but I don’t know. I’m also unsure as to how CO2 levels at the 100km elevation will impact water vapor levels in the lower elevations.

    Again thanks for the help.

  108. Completely Fed Up:

    This is OT but can all you moaners who complain about how AGW proponents are all meany poopy heads please check out the comment section to this climate crock.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPA-8A4zf2c

    Read some of it and then come back here and complain with a straight face…

  109. Fred:

    Dave Cooke #81. Thanks for taking the time to write such a helpful response to my question.

  110. yourmommycalled:

    Pertti Kellomäki says: (#95)
    “yourmommycalled (#44) writes: “I not sure where Pekka Kostamo (#24) got that the time constant of radiosondes are on the order of minutes, because it is no where near close to being correct. I buy hundreds of Vaisala RS92-SGP’s a year.

    ….

    Short googling reveals that at some point in time Pekka Kostamo was Vaisala’s Manager of Development Planning:”

    I am aware of who Pekka is and if read the post you would have noted the sonde I spend $220 each on is the Vaisala RS92-SGP (read the post: note the manufacturer and model number). I am quoting from the calibration tables and product specification notes supplied by Vaisala for the RS-92-SGP. Which exactly why I raised the question

  111. Jim Bouldin:

    To those wanting to discuss the recent Frank et al paper here:

    Try to hold off for a couple/few days–I will soon be putting a post up about it, time depending on Gavin’s plans. Mean time, please read the paper, and supplement if possible.

  112. Leo G:

    Watched it CFU. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPA-8A4zf2c

    little nit pick, Rep. Boehner at this point was not talking about the warming issue, but about the EPA ruling, that is why he mentions cancer and breath.

    Otherwise good grapphics, level headed, but light arguments, which in my case is not a bad thing! :)

    now here is an article that I haven’t seen discussed anywhere else, maybe someone here could get their teeth into this –

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/01/a-simple-calculation

  113. Hank Roberts:

    Andrew, if you will post the cites for the sources you _have_ found, it will help people figure out what you may want. Most of us here are just ordinary readers like yourself. Once you get to asking a clear and interesting question based on what you’ve read and summarized, you might get one of the climate scientists interested.

    Google Scholar is a good place to start — look at a few of these and see what you find and let us know, if you feel like working on the question?
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=co2+ppm+%22upper+stratosphere%22

    (I think you’ll find the words upper stratosphere appear properly inside double quotes in that search string, thanks to our guardian angels here)

    That found for example
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/274/5291/1340

    Looking at the papers citing that, from that page, turns up quite a few more references. Then you have to pare the list down by doing searches based on the keywords.

    Offhand I don’t know what technology you’d be looking for that would sample the air at the altitude you want — but you can find it, assuming anyone has measurements from that altitude.

    My impression is that CO2 changes rapidly across the whole atmosphere, within a percent or two — that paper cited above is about a 1 percent variation.

  114. Doug Bostrom:

    Anand says: 30 January 2010 at 6:26 PM

    “The paper is non-alarmist in tone and conclusion. Isn’t it a cause for worry for our more alarmist brethren in the AGW business? But it has their ear, certainly. That’s what I’m saying.

    The same Nature issue carries a small piece about the lead author – it makes quite clear which way he actually leans. Which is also immaterial to my point.

    The authors state at several places there is limited understanding of the carbon cycle. To me that seems to fly against the face of “the science is settled” argument. The recent Science and Nature papers are both heartening, to that end.”

    Reading that, it’s hard to conclude other than the significance of the paper for you is all about politics, the superficial impression it will make. Like the pot calling the kettle black, so to speak.

  115. David B. Benson:

    Prasad Kasibhatla (9) — Kinda foolish to use statistically insignificant decadal “trends”; see Tamino’s Open Mind blog for several threads on this aspect of time series analysis. Even more so for shorter intervals.

    The Solomon et al. paper clearly establishes a variation (decrease) in lower stratospheric water vapor. This ought to produce some sort of cooling effect, but I opine one cannot be very certain of the amount. Despite this small effect, the last decade was the warmest decade of the instrumental record.

  116. Anand:

    I do not know whether my comment will survive here, but nevertheless

    Ray:I am not confusing gamma with anything else. We are talking about the ‘carbon cycle sensitivity to climate’ – to make things explicit.

    Doug:
    The paper has political significance. That is not what I primarily intend to discuss. But the politics was already in play when I arrived – the significance of this paper was being downplayed. Why read my comments in isolation?

    The authors of the paper themselves point out the constraints they are able to place on gamma in the “…policy-relevant multi-decadal to centennial timescales”. (in abstract)

  117. Doug Bostrom:

    Anand says: 31 January 2010 at 3:30 PM

    “I do not know whether my comment will survive here, but nevertheless”

    It never ceases to amaze me, people are constantly accusing this site of suppression of comments, yet even the briefest scrutiny reveals endless quantities of drivel and tosh patiently tolerated by the moderators. They’d be doing doubters a favor by employing a more slashing editing style.

    “But the politics was already in play when I arrived – the significance of this paper was being downplayed. ”

    I think perhaps you are confusing the comment thread here with actual scientific practice?

    For my part I’m looking forward to seeing Solomon’s findings integrated into the general understanding of the climate. Identifying an apparent major influence on surface temperature variability is a “great leap forward”, if you want to use political words to describe the opportunity.

  118. Completely Fed Up:

    Anand: “I do not know whether my comment will survive here, but nevertheless”

    Oh you’re so brave..!

    Brave, brave Sir Robin…

  119. Completely Fed Up:

    “The authors state at several places there is limited understanding of the carbon cycle. To me that seems to fly against the face of “the science is settled” argument.”

    Nope, only the strawman “the science is settled” is broken. Then again, that is meant to be easily broken,

    Tell me, Anand, does this change mean that the CO2 is no longer 390ppm?

    Does it mean that CO2 doesn’t trap IR radiation around 15 um?

    Does it mean that space now conducts heat?

    No?

    Then these are items still settled.

    Seems to fly in the face of “the science is not settled” argument.

  120. Ike Solem:

    Lawrence Maclean – it seems from various papers that the temperature at the tropopause boundary between the stratosphere and the troposphere exerts a lot of control over stratospheric water vapor (SWV), and that ozone plays a role here. Low ozone correlates with low tropical tropopause temperatures, and hence with lower stratospheric water vapor, since that’s the main entry point.

    Stratospheric water vapor was increasing in the 1990s – see Shindell (2000), “Climate and ozone response to increased stratospheric water vapor”, GRL

    “The calculated water vapor increase contributes an additional ≈ 24% (≈ 0.2 W/m²) to the global warming from well‐mixed greenhouse gases over the past two decades. [1980-2000]”

    That more or less goes along with what the current study found, from:

    http://www.physorg.com/news183916084.html

    “An increase in stratospheric water vapor in the 1990s likely had the opposite effect of increasing the rate of warming observed during that time by about 30 percent, the authors found.”

    AS to why it reversed, there are some guesses. For more on the ozone hypothesis, see:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2001/2001GL013000.shtml

    Stuber et al. 2001 “Is the climate sensitivity to ozone perturbations enhanced by stratospheric water vapor feedback?”

    It seems that changes in tropical convection could lead to changes in tropopause ozone levels, leading to cooling and less water entering the stratosphere – and there are also other factors, like the poor historical instrumental record of SWV, and the effects of Pinatubo and the 1997 El Nino,.

  121. CM:

    Some relevant bits on stratospheric water vapor in IPCC AR4 that may be helpful: changes
    in atmospheric constituents/radiative forcings (2.3.7)
    , more on
    changes (3.4.2.4)
    , models (8.6.3.1.1), observational constraints on
    climate sensitivity (Table 9.3)
    .

    So the idea doing the rounds that scientists have hitherto “overlooked” a major factor in warming other than CO2 seems wide of the mark, as usual. The sizeable (but uncertain) radiative forcing from increasing stratospheric water vapour 1980-2000 (0.24 W/m2) found in Solomon et al. is not news either. As mentioned in the paper, Forster and Shine (2002) arrived at a slightly higher figure (0.29 W/m2).

    But after a cursory reading of the above, I’m not clear on how much this factor is taken into account in existing attribution studies / estimates of climate sensitivity constrained by 20th-century observations. (Regarding the latter, I see e.g. that Knutti et al. [2002, 2003] take into account stratospheric water vapor, but only that from CH4 with a weak RF, and they seem to be an exception.)

    So what impact would it have if the 1980-2000 effect calculated by Solomon et al. is correct, and turns out to be a natural variation, not a feedback? Would the anthropogenic signal get any harder to spot, would the lower range of climate sensitivity estimates get more likely, than current estimates?

    And on the other hand, would the fact that the past decade is the warmest in the record, despite a sharp fall in stratospheric water vapor, point in the other direction, or is it too short a time period to count? (Is 1980-2000 long enough?)

    I gather you were thinking of doing a more extensive post on this paper. Looking forward to it.

  122. Ray Ladbury:

    Leo G., Tom’s reserve estimates are about 15% to low for coal, and probably off by a similar factor for petroleum or natural gas. He doesn’t consider oil shale or tar sands at all. What is more, we have new techniques under development to increase recovery from existing fields and new oil fields are being discovered. I also think his estimate of 50% of CO2 going into the oceans in perpetuity is rosy to say the least. My estimate is that we could be above 1000 ppmv by century’s end if we burned everything.

  123. Prasad Kasibhat;a:

    David Benson (115) – yes, I understand that obs. show a decline in lower stratospheric water vapor. But paper also argues that some portion of the ‘flattering’ in the obs. warming trend can be explained by this decline in lower strat water vapor – I realize that decadal ‘trends’ may not be statistically significant but nevertheless the paper focuses on the ‘flattening’. And so my questions was – does Fig 3b provide adequate
    support for this assertion in the paper?

  124. Ray Ladbury:

    Anand, I was not downplaying the paper. I was arguing caution against placing too much credence in a single study and pointing out the FACT that the error bars are large and in fact overlap conventional estimates. I think the paper is good and creative work–that doesn’t mean that it is flawless or that it will even hold up. To know that, we’ll have to wait for confirmation from other studies.

    I also pointed out that the study does not place any additional constraints on CO2 sensitivity–and that (along with emissions) is the central quantity that determines how deep we’re in it.

  125. David B. Benson:

    Prasad Kasibhat;a (123) Figure 3b is behind a paywall for me, so I can only reply in generalities; I’m skeptical that a mere decade can show much of statistical significance. That is, of course, d8ifferent from an understanding that variations of stratospheric water vapor will, in fact, impact climate.

    By looking at Figure 2 from
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1421
    I see what might be a decadal “flattening” of tropical SST anamolies but I know enough to know that pink hoise can easily fool the eye; use sound statistics before declaring a trend.

  126. Ike Solem:

    If we stay just at current fossil fuel consumption levels for 50 years at ~2.0 ppm/yr, that’s obviously going to lead to 480 ppm in 50 years, and 580 ppm in 100 years – and a 3-4 ppm increase rate gives as much as 750 ppm – and that’s a likely rate if coal & tar sand use expands. (The “2X CO2″ value is 550 ppm.)

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

    Can we avoid these increases while continuing to burn fossil fuels? (No) Do we have to take into account the melting permafrost? (Yes):

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7246/full/nature08031.html

    “They find significant losses of soil carbon with permafrost thaw that, over decadal timescales, overwhelms increased plant carbon uptake at rates that could make permafrost a large biospheric carbon source in a warmer world.”

    So, what is the best place to put government resources, considering these facts? Is it here?

    Illinois ‘clean coal’ plants await their fate, By Jeffrey Tomich, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 01/31/2010

    Energy Secretary Stephen Chu is expected to make a final decision in the coming weeks whether to go forward with the project. The Department of Energy last spring agreed to move forward with FutureGen on a contingent basis.

    Before FutureGen gets the green light, the federal government’s private partners — a group of coal companies and an electric utility known as the FutureGen Industrial Alliance — must trim costs, attract more private or foreign government investment and otherwise fill in any remaining funding gaps. Over the weekend, the group enlisted a new member. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced Saturday that Chicago-based power company Exelon Corp. will join the FutureGen alliance…

    So far, the DOE has committed $1.07 billion to the project, mostly from last winter’s stimulus bill. The FutureGen alliance is expected to contribute $400 million to $600 million over several years.

    The funny thing is, these “clean coal” projects will do anything to even slow the transfer of fossil carbon to the atmosphere, relative to power generation – and yet no similar-scale solar or wind projects are being funded to the tune of $1 billion.

    Curious, isn’t it? How does oil and gas drilling offshore, more tar sand imports, and an expanded coal program fit with the stated desire to cap fossil CO2 emissions?

    Shouldn’t all these fossil fuel expansion programs be blocked, rather than subsidized? Or, what is the Obama administration thinking? What kind of scientific advice are they getting on energy?

  127. Hank Roberts:

    LeoG – no contradiction in that article with what the climatologists are saying.

    Whatsisname there is counting only “proven oil, gas and coal reserves. … ‘generally taken to be those quantities that geological and engineering information indicates with reasonable certainty can be recovered in the future from known deposits under existing economic and operating conditions’.”

    Compare just as one example, you can find others:
    Annual Review of Energy and the Environment
    Vol. 22: 217-262 (Volume publication date November 1997)
    (doi:10.1146/annurev.energy.22.1.217)
    AN ASSESSMENT OF WORLD HYDROCARBON RESOURCES
    Institute for Integrated Energy Systems, University of Victoria
    and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

    ” …If the vast unconventional hydrocarbon occurrences are included in the resource estimates and historically observed rates of technology change are applied to their mobilization, the potential accessibility of fossil sources increases dramatically with long-term production costs that are not significantly higher than present market prices….. neither hydrocarbon resource availability nor costs are likely to become forces that automatically would help wean the global energy system from the use of fossil fuel during the next century.”

  128. wayne davidson:

    I flat out don’t see nor read a ” slow down global warming by 25% between 2000 – 2009″ as per Dr Masters page:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1421

    What I see is less strong El-Ninos for 2001-2009:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/

    Which should affect equatorial surface temperatures more than a cooling in the stratosphere (due to lower RH at the tropopause), by a factor of 5. This 25% cooling equation result doesn’t jive, it would be observed as a disparity at the equator mostly, I calculate equatorial ( GISS data for latitudes 24 North-24 South) surface temperature anomaly of +.30 for 1990-2000 while its +0.44 C for 2001-2009. Dr Solomon needs to explain where this cooling has occurred. If she means its near the Stratosphere, she may be right, yet that doesn’t slow Global Warming, but is as #73 Gavin statement infers part of Global Warming.

    causing

  129. Timothy Chase:

    Over at Skeptical Science John Cook came out with a piece on the decline of stratospheric water vapor that includes the following two take home points:

    … In fact, what this paper shows is the effect from stratospheric water vapor contributes a fraction of the temperature change imposed from man-made greenhouse gases. Stratospheric water vapor has a significant effect but it’s hardly the dominant driver of climate being portrayed by some blogs.

    … The radiative forcing changes (Figure 3 above) indicate that the overall effect from stratospheric water vapor is that of warming. The cooling period consists of a stepwise drop around 2000 followed by a resumption of the warming effect. This seems to speak against the possibility of a negative feedback.

    The role of stratospheric water vapor in global warming
    John Cook, Monday, 1 February, 2010
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/role-of-stratospheric-water-vapor-in-global-warming.html

  130. gary thompson:

    in #119 CFU wrote:

    “Tell me, Anand, does this change mean that the CO2 is no longer 390ppm?
    Does it mean that CO2 doesn’t trap IR radiation around 15 um?
    Does it mean that space now conducts heat?
    No?”

    the first two points that have never been argued by any skeptic. i noticed you stopped there though. the next few questions that flow from that thinking are the big ones. do all these facts cause the planet surface temperatures to increase? and if so, when will it stop? will we turn into venus? it just seems that the AGW arguments are falling apart a little more every day. i fear that in a couple of years skeptics will be calling AGW proponents ‘deniers’.

  131. Doug Bostrom:

    gary thompson says: 31 January 2010 at 8:20 PM

    “it just seems that the AGW arguments are falling apart a little more every day.”

    How about a list? Anything specific?

  132. Ron Taylor:

    No Gary, AGW arguments are not falling apart. The science of AGW is advancing through findings like this. That is a good thing. But there is only so much water vapor in the stratosphere, so this effect is bounded, even if it turns out to be a negative feedback, rather than internal variability. Meanwhile CO2 and its heat trapping capacity will continue to grow, as will the positive feedbacks, some of which, like methane release, are barely underway. This is not likely to be the wished-for silver bullet. By the way, we all wish there was such a thing. I feel sad as I think about the world awaiting my soon to be born great-grandson.

  133. Steve Fish:

    RE- Comment by gary thompson — 31 January 2010 @ 8:20 PM

    What the three points you cite suggest is that global climate temperature should rise commensurate with the level anthropogenic addition of CO2 to the atmosphere. Temperature increase will stop when the increase in greenhouse gasses stop increasing and the subsequent equilibrium balance of incoming and outgoing radiation is achieved. Whether or not a Venus atmosphere could ever be achieved with available carbon sources is debatable. I don’t see how this causes current scientific evidence to fall apart. Perhaps you don’t understand how heat escapes our atmosphere. Please provide more information.

    Steve

  134. Doug Bostrom:

    Timothy Chase says: 31 January 2010 at 8:20 PM

    “Over at Skeptical Science John Cook came out with a piece on the decline of stratospheric water vapor that includes the following two take home points…”

    John Cook is a very talented person, that is one terrific site. Cook employs a more formally pedagogical approach with his explanations than does RC, so quite apart from countering skeptical arguments it’s a useful place for getting up to speed on a broad array of climate inputs if you like your lessons in discrete doses.

  135. Tim Jones:

    Skeptical Science’s take on the Solomon 2010 paper and misconceptions running through blog world.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/role-of-stratospheric-water-vapor-in-global-warming.html

  136. Richard Steckis:

    “Response: You are wrong whether it is the troposphere or the stratosphere. And the level of wrongness (wrongitude?) is much worse for the stratosphere, which is in fact what we are talking about. – gavin”

    Where am I wrong in my statement? CO2 is not a byproduct of the tropospheric oxidation of methane. It may result as a breakdown product of the oxidation of the methyl hydroperoxide after it precipitates out of the atmosphere. There is not CO2 produced in the oxidation of methane in the troposphere.

  137. Richard Steckis:

    “Response: I have no clue what you are trying to demonstrate here. You use O2 in one reaction, and then it is a product in another. There is no net creation of O2. Thus to describe O2 as being a ‘final byproduct’ is like describing any catalyst as the ‘final byproduct’ of a catalysed reaction. Please try and discuss something sensible. – gavin]”

    I stand corrected on this one issue.

  138. Anand Rajan KD:

    Doug:
    It never ceases to amaze me, people are constantly accusing this site of suppression of comments, …

    They’d be doing doubters a favor by employing a more slashing editing style.

    Completely Fed Up:
    Oh you’re so brave..!
    Brave, brave Sir Robin…

    Will you guys take your blinders off and cool it a bit!

    I wondered whether my post would survive here, as in this thread. The previous time I posted, there was just a comment from Jim Boulden saying he would create another thread for the Frank et al paper.

    I wonder the same about this comment too.

    And Doug, the ‘drivel and tosh’ that you refer to, I think I got my point across (see Ray L’s response above) and you don’t know what I was talking about. I don’t have a problem following a line of argument, despite how unwieldy RC is.

    Completely Fed up: Why are you talking about CO2 heat trapping, aka the GHG effect? Can you point out where, in this thread, I talk about it at all? I thought I was talking about gamma – the CO2 change with temperature, and feedback effects thereof.

    Ray: The paper states –
    The higher values for γ during the late period result from the strong LIA CO2 dip around 1600, whereas the low values during the early period are associated with less variable CO2 fluctuations.

    Does this imply that, for some reason, if temperatures were to drop or stay steady for long periods in the upcoming future, there exists the possibility that CO2 levels would fall precipitously?

    Regards
    Anand

  139. Richard Ordway:

    Anand said: “The overall thrust of the Frank et al paper is that they propose constraints on CO2 sensitivity that shackle it to the lower quartile of the existing models’ proposed ranges.”

    Let’s not forget the big picture in all this.

    So you don’t care about positive feedbacks? Something (most likely) rapidly jacked up the Earth’s surface temps during the PETM no matter how you slice CO2 sensitivity.

    Remember too, that current climate models have a real hard time getting the high paleo-estimated temps just using paleo-estimated CO2 amounts (if they are accurate). This could certainly suggest unaccounted-for postive feedbacks way beyond CO2 sensitivity alone and are possibly a real cause for concern.

  140. Leo G:

    Ray and Hank, thanx.

    Ron Taylor, congrats! My parents have 3 great grandchildren.

  141. Anand Rajan KD:

    Richard Ordway:
    My statement

    “The overall thrust of the Frank et al paper is that they propose constraints on CO2 sensitivity that shackle it to the lower quartile of the existing models’ proposed ranges”

    should read

    The overall thrust of the Frank et al paper is that they propose constraints on CO2 sensitivity to temperature that shackle it to the lower quartile of the existing models’ proposed ranges.

    When I said CO2 sensitivity, I meant CO2 sensitivity to temperature levels. Thought it was clear enough in the context of the Nature paper.

    “So you don’t care about positive feedbacks?”
    Of course I do. But the paper suggests that γ in times of warming can be quite lower than γ in times of cooling. And therefore the strength of positive feedbacks.

  142. RiHo08:

    I think this paper on water vapor in the lower stratosphere modulating climate change is an appropriate time to re-introduce the concept of unregulated coal fire power plant particulate emissions and their influence upon climate change. Water vapor condenses upon particles forming droplet nuclei an endothermic reaction. Such a phenomenon would produce a “cold point” leading to further water vapor precipitation. As Pacific warm water is transported to the lower stratosphere by cyclones and thunderclouds, so too particulates would be transported, fractioned by the violent uplift, and form water droplet nuclei simultaneously raining out water and cooling at a boundry layer forming a cool point hypothesized by Soloman et al. With the impending launch of the aerosol sensing satellite (hopefully it doesn;t meet the same fate as the CO2 sensing satellite), measurements of particulates, their size and distribution may provide greater insight. Coal fire emissions blunting the effects of rising CO2.

  143. Doug Bostrom:

    Anand Rajan KD says: 31 January 2010 at 9:57 PM

    “And Doug, the ‘drivel and tosh’ that you refer to, I think I got my point across…”

    Please, relax. The D&T I was referring to was not yours, or not much at all; the only hint I got of that sort of malarkey from your posts was where you began veering away from science and into politics. You did not mention “Al Gore” even once, nor did you mention taxation as though it was a dirty word, nor did you suggest that we are naturally suited as hunter-gatherers and must accept that useful technologies such as transistors are an unnatural, evil and temporary feature of our lives, nor did you say that if a single glacier is advancing that anthropogenic climate change is disproved, nor did you blame everything on mysterious, statistically invisible 60 year climate cycles.

    All those vapid things and a myriad more you can find here on RC, which was my evidence suggesting that rumors of suppressed comments are just that. As far as I can tell the only thing that gets summarily sliced here is empty personally directed invective.

  144. Tim Jones:

    Re:137 Richard Steckis says:
    31 January 2010

    “I stand corrected on this one issue.”

    Well… I can understand anyone’s less than perfect understanding of the atmospheric life span of CH4 and what happens to it in the troposphere and stratosphere.

    Gavin wrote: “…there are a number of pathways to oxidise CH4), but they all end up with water and CO2 (both CO and HCO are both oxidised in turn )”

    I’m sure this is correct. But I can’t find it in the literature. I’m sure it’s my fault. But I’d like to have an accessible reference that explained how CH4 oxidizes into CO2 in about 15 years.

    CH4 has a global warming potential of 21. Then the carbon loses the hydrogen atoms and gains 2 oxygen atoms through oxidation. The global warming potential goes to 1.

    How exactly does it do this? Does it have something to do with absorbing infrared radiation? Or UV radiation? What are the various pathways CH4 oxidizes? We’ve seen
    a few alluded to. But there must be a paper that explains this. (I can’t access the citations Gavin supplied.)

  145. Doug Bostrom:

    Richard Steckis says: 31 January 2010 at 9:36 PM

    So what? Upshot:

    “The concentration of methane in the atmosphere is regulated by the balance between sources and sinks. A sink is something that absorbs, destroys, or removes gases from the atmosphere.

    The primary sink for methane is the atmosphere itself which contains free hydroxyl (OH) ions. Once released into the atmosphere, methane undergoes a chemical reaction in the troposphere (lower region of the atmosphere), combining with hydroxyl ions to form water vapor and carbon dioxide.

    http://www.epa.gov/nitrousoxide/pdfs/ffa.pdf

  146. gary thompson:

    #131 Doug Bostrom “How about a list? Anything specific?”

    as far as evidence of the AGW theories falling apart i point to observations over the past 10 years. we haven’t continued to warm, hurricane activity has not increased, droughts and famine are not happening, north american/europe are in the grips of the worst winter in recent memory, etc. i keep hearing that i can’t focus on a small time slice of 10 years to negate the trend over the past 30 years. ok, i agree with that. but just because the data doesn’t support the hypothesis is no reason to throw it out. what possible negative feedbacks are coming into play to negate our CO2 caused warming? as to a nice article to read on this, here is one –

    http://www.co2science.org/education/reports/hansen/hansen.php.

    this was written over 2 years ago so i’m sure you guys have already seen this and debunked it but it looks pretty sound to a lay person. i’ve stated before that the GISS weather station data doesn’t match the trends and graphs that are cited on the website and various reports and others have written detailed analyses of this which i’m sure you’ve read as well.

    #133 STeve Fish “Whether or not a Venus atmosphere could ever be achieved with available carbon sources is debatable. Perhaps you don’t understand how heat escapes our atmosphere. ”

    yes, i don’t understand fully our climate system on earth and i do admit my ignorance there. many of the people on this site have forgotten more about climate science than i’ll ever know. i’m trying to learn more but my day job isn’t in climate science and that plus by two rugrats keep me busy so there is a limit. that is why i come to this site to learn. but when i hear dire predictions about our planet and then observations
    don’t match that i get frustrated when there are few real explanations of this. so are you saying that the narrow IR absorption spectrum of CO2 can turn our planet into a venus-like atmosphere? if you say it is debatable then there are some that think this. if so, then when will we reach those temperature levels given our current CO2 production?

    sorry if my posts sometimes sound rude and mean spirited but i’m just frustrated – i can only imagine that you in the industry are orders of magnitude more frustrated. i enjoy the free exchange of knowledge and data and wish we could rise above the fray – i know i’m all too guilty of not doing that. i really mean no ill will toward anyone and will try and keep the posts related to the science and not the politics.

  147. Vendicar Decarian:

    Over the last two days I have been monitoring the Wall Street Journal. Specifically the comments section for the article “Slowdown in Warming Linked to Water Vapor” – referenced earlier.

    I have noted that at least a half dozen comments from scientifically literate people explaining the science of global warming – explaining radiative equilibria etc. have one by one been deleted by the Editors.

    What remains is almost pure denialism.

  148. Neil:

    SO the correct take away message here is that it is unwise to make claims about planetary or regional climate and weather based on short term (<30 year) changes in the signal? There are a variety of cyclic forcing factors that will sometimes catalyze and sometimes negate the other forcing factors. These cycles are on the order of a decade or more. CO2 is a minor player in these cycles, albeit constantly upward. Therefore teasing out the short term and/or impacts of CO2 is akin to "pulling monkeys out of the netherworld".

  149. Completely Fed Up:

    “Will you guys take your blinders off and cool it a bit!”

    Bewails the man who “bravely” started their epic post with “this probably will get thrown out” complaint.

    OPEN YOUR EYES.

  150. Completely Fed Up:

    gary: “the first two points that have never been argued by any skeptic.”

    Wrong.

    There are still PLENTY who argue those two points are wrong, pointing to Beers Law or G&T’s paper “proving” that the greenhouse effect breaks the laws of thermodynamics.

    You’re pretty unclued-in on your side’s arguments, gary.

    I also note that you stopped before the statement at the end:

    Those two points in your eyes being settled goes against the denialist meme of “the science is not settled”, doesn’t it?

    Well?

  151. Steve Milesworthy:

    Following from Ed Davies at 31 and 33, I calculated that 1ppm of stratosphere water vapour is roughly 2e10 kg of water which is closer to Ed’s calculations of jet emissions.

    Annual Concorde emissions at or near the troposphere were, perhaps, up to 1/3 of this (based on some more back of the envelope calculations). Flights stopped circa 2003. QED.

    Uncertainties are fuel usage while at cruising altitude and whether the altitude (roughly 17000 metres) is high enough.

    I found one or two relevant papers, but mostly they focused on NOx, and/or required subscriptions. Eg.

    Science 6 October 1995:
    Vol. 270. no. 5233, pp. 70 – 74
    DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5233.70
    Emission Measurements of the Concorde Supersonic Aircraft in the Lower Stratosphere
    D. W. Fahey et al

    Here’s a scan of the envelope:

    Mass of atmosphere 5e18kg
    Mass of stratosphere about 5e16kg (roughly 1% of atmosphere – based on tropopause being roughly
    at 18000 metres which is 2 times the scale height of the atmosphere)
    1ppm of H20 equivalent to about 2.5e10kg water (H20 is about half the mass of O2 and N2)

    Concorde flew 6 times per day between Europe (Paris/London) and New York.
    Estimate each flight has 2 hours, supersonic (~1000mph) at 18000 metres.
    Estimate fuel usage of 20kg/mile based on Wikipedia.
    Fuel usage = 40000kg near stratosphere per flight
    Assuming 10% hydrogen content, gives 40000*0.1*(18/2) = 36000kg water per flight.
    Six flights per day = 8e9 kg water per year.

  152. Ray Ladbury:

    Gary Thompson says, ” it just seems that the AGW arguments are falling apart a little more every day.”

    Do tell, Gary, what parts of the consensus model of Earth’s climate have been overturned. I must have missed them. Silly me, looking in the peer-reviewed literature.

  153. Theo Kurten:

    This is probably starting to be somewhat off-topic, but regarding the “oxidation vs combustion” issue it should be noted that the difference between the two is, on a fundamental level, not really that large. Combustion is just one form of oxidation, which happens to require higher reactant concentrations that what is found in the atmosphere. The reaction equation “CH4 + 2 O2 => CO2 + 2 H2O” is not an elementary reaction for either pathway; both atmospheric oxidation and combustion of methane proceed via free radical mechanisms. Both take several steps to get to the final products, and both can (in principle, and depending on the conditions) also lead to other products being formed (e.g. soot in incomplete combustion). Though methane tends to burn quite cleanly, so for combustion the conversion to CO2 and H2O is often close to perfect. While in the troposphere (though not the stratosphere) the oxidation pathways leading to “alternative end products” can sometimes have significant yields. I guess this was what Richard was trying to point out?

    A quick google finds this simplified example for the elementary reactions in methane combustion (combustion chemistry is not my core competence so I have no idea if the precise details are right or not):

    http://employees.csbsju.edu/hjakubowski/classes/ch331/oxphos/combustion_of_methane.htm

    (Note that this schematic presents free oxygen atoms as radicals, which is technically incorrect as they have an even number of electrons; I assume the O* is intended to represent O(1D), and the radical dot notation is used to emphasize reactivity.)

    As you can see some of the steps are actually similar (or identical) to those of atmospheric oxidation, but the different conditions (higher CH4 concentration, higher temperature) permit some other steps that don’t happen in the atmosphere. So in some technical sense, CO2 is not a *direct* product of CH4 combustion, either – several steps are needed to go from CH4 to CO2, just like in the atmosphere. (Though the intermediate products are certainly less stable, and the overall process is of course faster.)

    The issue of requiring an initial input of energy for the reaction to start is also the same for both combustion and atmospheric oxidation. In combustion, the initial energy is provided by e.g. a spark (which forms the initial free O atoms or H radicals in the schematic I linked to above), after which the heat liberated by the reaction itself keeps it going. In the atmosphere, this initial energy is provided by UV light from the sun, which allows the production of OH radicals (again via several intermediate steps, involving O3 photolysis, and the reaction of O(1D) with water). So in both cases the thermodynamically favorable but kinetically extremely limited CH4 + 2 O2 reaction is catalyzed by free radicals.

  154. Steve Milesworthy:

    Oops. Major finger trouble with #151

    Six flights per day = 8e7 kg water per year. Suggestion withdrawn.

  155. Marcus:

    Richard Steckis: You want a citation: Take Seinfeld & Pandis, “Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics”, 1998, one of the atmospheric chemistry bibles. Open to page 248 (chapter on “chemistry of the troposphere”, section on “methane oxidation”). Quote: “The overall reaction sequence leading to CO2 formation, through the HCHO and CO intermediate ‘stable’ products, is shown in Figure 5.2.”

    I recommend you go read it. Short summary: unsurprisingly, Gavin is right, and you are wrong, as anyone who has taken a grad-level atmospheric chemistry class could have told you.

    -Marcus

  156. flxible:

    Gary@146
    “as far as evidence of the AGW theories falling apart (…) we haven’t continued to warm, hurricane activity has not increased, droughts and famine are not happening, north american/europe are in the grips of the worst winter in recent memory, etc”

    WE [the planet] have continued to warm, and WE [western Canada] are in the grips of the warmest winter in distant memory [the BC lower mainland just had the warmest January EVER], and there have been and continue to be areas of the world in drought and famine. The problem the grumps here are having with your take is myopia [theirs and yours both], what’s happening in your area doesn’t define climate any more than what’s happening in my back yard …. but I understand your frustration :)

  157. Bob:

    gary, #146:

    as far as evidence of the AGW theories falling apart i point to observations over the past 10 years. we haven’t continued to warm, hurricane activity has not increased, droughts and famine are not happening, north american/europe are in the grips of the worst winter in recent memory, etc. i keep hearing that i can’t focus on a small time slice of 10 years to negate the trend over the past 30 years.

    1) Warming has slowed, not stopped. Look at the temperatures for this January, as a matter of fact… the GLOBAL temperatures, not the lower-48 of the USA (which is 1.5% of the globe). The best presentation of this that I’ve seen is here at Open Mind.

    I also like this graph, that I re-assembled from a similar one from NASA (GISS)… I think it tells the story nicely.

    Beware of tricksters. Some people like to start their graphs at 1998, a convenient peak, then shrink the vertical scale, so the differences are less obvious, then end around 2008, a convenient trough, then overlap a conveniently chosen average that accentuates the decline around 2008 while hiding the resurgence in temperatures.

    To see that up close and personal, take a look at this January’s temperature (check the boxes for every year and hit the redraw button to see how it stacks up against the last 10 years, which were already the warmest decade on record).

    Or take a look at where we stand right now (here in sea ice extent versus previous years. Or look at the north pole in 1980 versus 2009 when ice is at its annual minimum here.

    2) As far as increased hurricane activity, droughts and famine… the globe has only warmed about 0.5 degrees so far. I wouldn’t expect to noticeably see the effects you describe until warming has reached a more dangerous point. It’s sort of like going to work with a cough and feeling run down but saying you’re just tired. Then by the end of the day you have a raging fever. Does that mean you weren’t sick before? No… you just have to wait for the worst of it, but by then it’s too late. Except for the planet, a few hours is a few decades, and if we wait that long, it’s too late to do anything meaningful.

    But I read a paper last week about the possible impact of drought in the Amazon. They had two severe droughts there last decade (2001, 2005). It seems that rain forests aren’t well adapted to dry conditions (go figure), so a forest fire there would be pretty nasty. Think we should wait until there’s a fire the size of Maine in Brazil to start to get concerned?

    3) As far as “grips of the worst winter in recent memory.” Well, first, that’s a huge, huge exaggeration. It’s winter, but last week was warm in Boston. I rather enjoyed walking the dog. It melted all the snow. I’ve barely had to shovel. Except for one bitter week, I’d call this a pretty mild winter. I remember very many being far, far worse (mostly in the seventies and early eighties).

    And no one said winter was going to completely go away with global warming.

    There was one huge cold snap that happens the way most do in North America, with polar air being pushed south and warm air dropping in up north to replace it (yes, Emily, when we get cold snaps here, Santa gets to wear his summer suit). The net effect is not a global change. It just feels colder here. There will be more cold snaps. It’s winter. The argument on a global basis is silly.

    To see it more graphically, look here.

    In general, I strongly recommend visiting Skeptical Science for good, layman level explanations of a lot of things. Use that as a foundation to learn more and more and more until you understand.

    Don’t trust anything anyone tells you… not “deniers” and not “alarmists”. Treat them all as if they’re wrong until you understand it well enough to know either that you actually understand it yourself, or else you know whom you can trust. But never, ever stop looking the moment you find something that tells you what you want to hear.

  158. Completely Fed Up:

    gary, if you go back to 1995 and take those two points 15 years apart, you get a difference of 0.23C.

    Since the mean expectation is 0.17C per decade, one-and-a-half decades would mean 0.26C raise over that time.

    Really rather close, isn’t it?

    If it’s really been cooling for 12 years, wouldn’t that figure be a lot lower???

    That 0.23C in 15 years really doesn’t seem to gel with your “it’s been cooling for 12 years” meme.

  159. Completely Fed Up:

    “148
    Neil says:
    1 February 2010 at 3:49 AM

    SO the correct take away message here is that it is unwise to make claims about planetary or regional climate and weather based on short term (<30 year) changes in the signal?"

    Yes, Neil.

    The shorter the sample period is, the less certain you can be your statement is the correct one.

    Note also it is not sufficient to take two samples 30 years apart either, since this is still just two figures and no trend can be asserted from two figures: the error in trend estimation is infinite.

    You have to take all 30 samples (or 40, 20, any number you'd like to use). This is yet another way those who continually parrot "it's been cooling for ($YEAR-1998) years": they're taking two numbers and making a trend from it.

    This is not a ($YEAR-1998)-year trend. It's the difference between two temperatures ($YEAR-1998) years apart. This isn't a trend. Never has been, never will be.

  160. Completely Fed Up:

    “146
    gary thompson says:
    1 February 2010 at 12:11 AM

    #131 Doug Bostrom “How about a list? Anything specific?”

    as far as evidence of the AGW theories falling apart i point to observations over the past 10 years.”

    10 years cannot refute climate predictions because 10 years is not climate.

    Especially (as I’ve pointed out earlier) when you’re not using 10 years, you’re using two years 10 years apart to make a statement.

    “i can’t focus on a small time slice of 10 years to negate the trend over the past 30 years. ok, i agree with that. but just because the data doesn’t support the hypothesis is no reason to throw it out.”

    Yes it does.

    Just like when someone says “I like pumpkin” when you’re discussing the safety of the latest hybrid car.

    You can throw that data point out (no matter how true it may be: they may REALLY like pumpkins) because it has nothing to do with the discussion.

    “yes, i don’t understand fully our climate system on earth and i do admit my ignorance there.”

    Doesn’t stop you proclaiming something is true when you haven’t a clue, though, does it, gary?

    “this was written over 2 years ago so i’m sure you guys have already seen this and debunked it”

    Have you read it?

    “but when i hear dire predictions about our planet and then observations
    don’t match ”

    May I refer you to your earlier comment re: your lack of knowledge of climate? If you don’t understand, how do you know the observations don’t match?

    NOTE: they do. The current observations, if anything, show that the IPCC prediction has not been dire *enough*.

    “so are you saying that the narrow IR absorption spectrum of CO2 can turn our planet into a venus-like atmosphere?”

    It did for Venus. Therefore if we have enough greenhouse gasses, it will.

    And this, in any case, is a strawman.

    Please show where this was one of the predictions made.

    You won’t be able to find it, kid. ‘cos you’re making s*t up. Again.

    “will try and keep the posts related to the science and not the politics”

    But all you’ve got is politics and wishful thinking. See again your assertion that you admit you don’t know the science and my comment that it doesn’t stop you from pretending to know the answers.

  161. Edward Greisch:

    25 JohnRS: 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.
    Would the extinction of Homo Sap have enough economic impact for you? A few $Trillion is nothing compared to what we are risking by continuing to make CO2.

  162. Pekka Kostamo:

    # 44: yourmommycalled: That is in part what I referred to. Sensors have changed (improved) radically over the years, and the stratospheric humidity readings are not comparable over long periods of time. A lot of the old biases have been eliminated or reduced over the years, unfortunately not in a very orderly way. The some 1000 observation sites each have their individual operating histories. I waded knee deep in that matter for long enough.

    I can not access the entire Solomon paper, so it is not possible to say anything very specific. I.e. all quality controls and other post-processing of that raw data is unknown to me. Just a general warning on this particular type of data, in that special circumstance.

    Prior to the now extensively used Vaisala RS90 model (and its equivalents whatever they may be) these instruments were not stable and properly calibrated for use in the rather exotic conditions at the tropopause region or the stratosphere. They were designed and used for other purposes. Stratosphere is a special place and very demanding for a low cost consumable instrument package.

    The basic simple reason is that there were no requirements for such performance until very recently. The international recommendation used to be 15 %RH or better accuracy in relative humidity measurement, vaguely driven by weather forecasting minimum needs and deemed adequate to detect “significant change” as the message coding instructions put it. Some users and manufacturers tried to do better, and did at times.

    Climate scientists have to live with what data they can find from the past, originally collected for whatever purpose. Using such disparate data sets is their special skill that is greatly appreciated. They do a commendable job of it. It is fortunate indeed that estimates of our future climates do not rest on such flimsy foundations (as our host Gavin at times informs us).

    As Solomon mentions, there are many other independent data sets, obtained for research purposes even in-situ onboard research aircaft and using different methods of measurement.

    Probably the best reference temperature (and maybe humidity) fields available today (and for the past few tens of years) are ECMWF 6 hour forecasts. They ingest as inputs pretty much all available kinds of measurement data within a solid framework of atmospheric physics. Just my personal view, of course.

  163. gary thompson:

    #156 flxible – “WE [the planet] have continued to warm, and WE [western Canada] are in the grips of the warmest winter in distant memory [the BC lower mainland just had the warmest January EVER], and there have been and continue to be areas of the world in drought and famine. The problem the grumps here are having with your take is myopia [theirs and yours both], what’s happening in your area doesn’t define climate any more than what’s happening in my back yard …. but I understand your frustration :)”

    When I go to the GISS website and punch in the December 2009 temp anomalies (250km smoothing) compared to the 1951-1980 baseline north American and yes, western Canada show dramatically cooler temps. Some parts of western Canada are 4C below the average. January data isn’t on there yet but I’ll check that out when it gets uploaded.

    #158 – CFU – “gary, if you go back to 1995 and take those two points 15 years apart, you get a difference of 0.23C.”

    Again, when I go to GISS and look at the trend from 1995-2009 (250km smoothing) I’d be hard pressed to convince anyone the globe is warming.

    [Response: Why? That map shows a 0.36 deg C trend (annual averages, no ocean data). What did you expect? – gavin]

    If you pay more attention to the yellow colors vs. the blue colors then you can make the case for around 0.23C increase in those 15 years but I’d say that graph shows stable temperatures over that time period. But let’s say the 0.23C is accurate and I’ll take you at your word on that. I remember reading the document that accompanied the HADCRUT3 data and the variation of the BEST temperature devices (most probably thermocouples) was +/-0.2C. So we are getting all worked up over a warming during the past 15 years that is within the variation limits of the measuring devices? I don’t get that excited about that.

    [Response: This is nonsense. The precision of a single measurement is not the same as the precision of a large scale average. Whether you get excited or not is entirely besides the point. – gavin]

  164. gary thompson:

    #160 CFU –
    Gary Thompson wrote – “so are you saying that the narrow IR absorption spectrum of CO2 can turn our planet into a venus-like atmosphere?”
    CFU responded – “It did for Venus. Therefore if we have enough greenhouse gasses, it will.”

    CFU, The atmosphere of Venus is comprised of roughly 95% CO2. Earth has a little less than that at around 0.04%. The positive and negative forcings on venus are a little different than Earth as well so Earth’s fate will not trace the same path as Venus. My question is what is the worst case scenario for earth? If we continue on this CO2 trend what can we expect in 10 years, 50 years and 100 years? Where can I find these predictions by those who, like yourself, are perfect and have all the knowledge and have ceased using science to gain answers since you already have them all? And were these predictions made 10-20 years ago or only recently?

  165. Anand:

    Doug:
    I see that you went off on a tangent triggered by all the ‘malarkey’…and the ‘veering into politics’ and all that, which you found too.

    Which you could have avoided if you had gotten what I said initially. And yes, I will use colorful examples and characterize things in terms familiar to those who engage in climate debate. If you want to trip over my words trying to pigeonhole my comments, well…

    And your complaining about transistor deniers does not hold together really well. The standing accusation against RC is that there is deletion or suppression of posts that are ‘climatically troublesome’, not those that are patently stupid. Stupid posts are helped along because they show the poster up. My posts have been deleted and/or mutilated at RC before, so I am not speaking from hearsay.

    Continuing;
    If it is true, as the Nature paper suggests, that γ is greater (by 4 times) in times of cooling, than in times of warming, then wouldn’t temperature reduction be an efficient way of bringing CO2 levels down rapidly? Meaning – cap and trade, carbon taxation – mechanisms which aim to control temperatures by bringing CO2 down may not have dramatic effects, even if adopted globally, because the reduction in positive feedback would be small?

    I don’t see any answers coming forth for the many questions I asked in my posts (except from one exception).

    Regards, and thanks
    Anand

  166. David B. Benson:

    gary thompson (146) — I recommend starting with the Start Here link at the top of the page, reading one or more of the excellent intorductory textbooks (David Archer’s or Gavin Schmidt”s or Bill Ruddiman’s) and then going on to read “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart, first link in the Science section of the sidebar.

  167. Rod B:

    CFU, et al: From a strictly mathematical (probability & statistics) position a 10-year trend is absolutely allowed. As is a 10-month trend. As is a 10-day trend. [I wouldn’t stir this pot again if it wasn’t brought up.]

  168. Jim Bouldin:

    I don’t see any answers coming forth for the many questions I asked in my posts (except from one exception).

    Regards, and thanks
    Anand

    Be patient Anand. There will be a full post on the article sometime in the next few days, I promise, exact time depending on Gavin’s plans and schedule.

  169. dhogaza:

    If it is true, as the Nature paper suggests, that γ is greater (by 4 times) in times of cooling, than in times of warming, then wouldn’t temperature reduction be an efficient way of bringing CO2 levels down rapidly?

    Assuming that cooling would magically cause the CO2 we’re dumping into the atmosphere to magically reduce, how do you propose to cool the planet?

    Turn off the sun?

  170. Sekerob:

    dhogaza, 1 February 2010 at 2:03 PM, there is already a well developed plan to address the problem hands on:

    The National Airconditioner Initiative:
    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/addressing_climate_crisis_bush

  171. gary thompson:

    #163 – Gavin responded to my request

    Gary Thompson wrote – Again, when I go to GISS and look at the trend from 1995-2009 (250km smoothing) I’d be hard pressed to convince anyone the globe is warming.

    [Response: Why? That map shows a 0.36 deg C trend (annual averages, no ocean data). What did you expect? – gavin]

    thanks for the reply and you are absolutely correct that the global average trend is 0.36C rise. but why is that rise confined to >70 deg latitude and <-70 deg latitude? the region of our earth where most everyone lives (between the 70's) is flat (no temperature increase). the graph of zonal mean vs. latitude looks like a bathtub "U" shape. why is that? of course the skeptics would state that this is due to the cherry picked weather stations which were added lately and the dropped weather stations (in cooler regions). but you've already done a good debunking of that. what is the scientific answer for why the warming during this 15 year period is confined to the polar regions?

  172. tamino:

    #167 (Rod B):

    What’s the probable error in your 10-year trend?

    Most climate trends on short time scales (like 10 years) are meaningless. They get ridicule the old-fashioned way — they earn it. Those who stand by meaningless trends deserve likewise.

  173. Tim Jones:

    There’ll be no end to picking at the IPCC AR4 as every non-peer reviewed citation is dragged out for ridicule by sensation seeking yellow journalists.

    UN climate change panel based claims on student dissertation and magazine article
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7111525/UN-climate-change-panel-based-claims-on-student-dissertation-and-magazine-article.html
    The Sunday Telegraph,
    31 January 2010
    Richard Gray and Rebecca Lefort

    “The United Nations’ expert panel on climate change based claims about ice disappearing from the world’s mountain tops on a student’s dissertation and an article in a mountaineering magazine.
    […]
    “Mr Bowen said: “I am surprised that they have cited an article from a climbing magazine, but there is no reason why anecdotal evidence from climbers should be disregarded as they are spending a great deal of time in places that other people rarely go and so notice the changes.”

    “The dissertation paper, written by professional mountain guide and climate change campaigner Dario-Andri Schworer while he was studying for a geography degree, quotes observations from interviews with around 80 mountain guides in the Bernina region of the Swiss Alps.

    “Experts claim that loss of ice climbs are a poor indicator of a reduction in mountain ice as climbers can knock ice down and damage ice falls with their axes and crampons.”
    […]

  174. Tim Jones:

    ‘Climate emails hacked by spies’
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-emails-hacked-by-spies-1885147.html
    Interception bore hallmarks of foreign intelligence agency, says expert
    By Steve Connor, Science Editor
    Monday, 1 February 2010

    “A highly sophisticated hacking operation that led to the leaking of hundreds of emails from the Climatic Research Unit in East Anglia was probably carried out by a foreign intelligence agency, according to the Government’s former chief scientist. Sir David King, who was Tony Blair’s chief scientific adviser for seven years until 2007, said that the hacking and selective leaking of the unit’s emails, going back 13 years, bore all the hallmarks of a co-ordinated intelligence operation – especially given their release just before the Copenhagen climate conference in December.
    […]
    “In an interview with The Independent, Sir David suggested the email leaks were deliberately designed to destabilise Copenhagen and he dismissed the idea that it was a run-of-the-mill hacking. It was carried out by a team of skilled professionals, either on behalf of a foreign government or at the behest of anti-climate change lobbyists in the United States, he said.”
    […]

  175. Completely Fed Up:

    “167
    Rod B says:
    1 February 2010 at 1:52 PM

    CFU, et al: From a strictly mathematical (probability & statistics) position a 10-year trend is absolutely allowed.”

    From a strictly mathematical position, a 10 year trend is only allowed if the trend passes a statistical significance test and then only within the bounds of your error estimation.

    But the year-by-year variation of global temperature annual averages ensures that this is never the case with temperature records.

    In a strictly mathematical sense, a 10 year trend is fallacious and therefore not meaningful.

    It isn’t that it’s “not allowed”, it’s that it doesn’t exist.

  176. Completely Fed Up:

    gary: “CFU, The atmosphere of Venus is comprised of roughly 95% CO2.”

    And that is how CO2 manages to make Venus a runaway effect.

    May I refer you back to the original statement?

    “so are you saying that the narrow IR absorption spectrum of CO2 can turn our planet into a venus-like atmosphere?”

    And the answer is “yes”.

    The narrow IR absorbtion spectrum CAN turn our planet into a venus-like atmosphere.

    You just need enough of it.

    “My question is what is the worst case scenario for earth?”

    Well your question NOW is that. The worst case scenario for earth is that a nearby supernova starts a jet of material out towards us that fries all life on the planet.

    Be.
    More.
    Specific.

    “If we continue on this CO2 trend what can we expect in 10 years, 50 years and 100 years? ”

    We could expect something like 410ppm, 520ppm and 690ppm CO2 levels.

    The last time this happened, there were no ice caps. And in those days, the sun was quite a bit cooler.

    20m added to the sea levels.

    We also had hypercanes in the shallow warm waters where the speed of the winds produced were supersonic.

    Have a look at where we currently have coal. These places used to be underwater. In many cases, they will be underwater in 100 years if we get to 620ppm.

    “those who, like yourself, are perfect and have all the knowledge and have ceased using science to gain answers since you already have them all?”

    Ah, you’re projecting gazzer.

    You presume you KNOW the answers and act accordingly and merely assume that’s what *everyone* does (therefore it’s OK for you to do it).

    Got anything to back that ridiculous assertion up, Gary?

    Go here and read the predictions:

    http://www.icpp.ch

    and stop throwing a strop because you’re flailing.

    Anand: “My posts have been deleted and/or mutilated at RC before, so I am not speaking from hearsay.”

    You mean edited because of the load of cack you’ve spouted Anand? And I’m not speaking from hearsay.

  177. Completely Fed Up:

    gary: “So we are getting all worked up over a warming during the past 15 years that is within the variation limits of the measuring devices? I don’t get that excited about that.”

    Well given that you’re OK with holding up 1 lego brick, how about we add another.

    And another.

    And another.

    Eventually, you’ll shut up because you can’t breathe with all the lego bricks piled over you.

    Now the thing about natural variation is that it doesn’t sum to any different value. the thing about a rising trend (even when small) is that it continues to add up. At some point, the change will be more than the variation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_that_broke_the_camel's_back

    Just for you.

  178. Frank Giger:

    This is really interesting science, and like all good research begs as many questions as answers, most of which are going to be real wooly-boogers to suss out.

    First, is this indicative of a long term cycle in the upper atmosphere, like the hurricane cycle in the Atlantic Ocean? We might be at the start of the min water vapor portion of it. Unfortunately we don’t have long term measurements to track it against other forcings (solar output, GHG concentrations, etc.).

    As the atmosphere expands, will the effect be more pronounced, or less so – or will the expansion not matter one way or another?

    How does this fit into the Ice Age cycle? On reading this it is the first thing I thought of – the cooling (and lack of cooling) the planet gets from the phenomenon. While it reads like it is a nudging factor rather than a driving one, it could be a nail (or the lack thereof) for the horseshoe under the right conditions.

    Our planet sure is fascinating!

  179. Bob:

    gary, #171:

    I think the answer lies in your endpoint selection. 1995 was a very warm year in North America, Europe and Russia, so by choosing it as your baseline, you’ll make any other year seem like no warming has occurred. To see this, choose 1979-1989 as your base period and 1995 as your target. See how warm NA and Europe were that year? Alternately, you can do what Spencer does, and choose 1979-1999 as your base period (but this is basically pretending that warming didn’t start until 1989).

    Similarly, your choice of 2009 affects things. Any one year may warm more in some places and less in others. So all you are saying is that 1995 and 2009 were very similar in North America and northern Europe, but you are incorrectly extrapolating that into “no warming has occurred” when that’s not a valid thing to do.

    My suggestion is to choose as your base period 1979-1989 (or 1979-1999), and then 2000-2009 (or 2006-2009) as your target period, just to make sure you are eliminating some of the single year geographic anomalies by including a range of years.

    Then, to boot, realize that the 2006-2009 period brackets a strong La Nina that negatively impacted global temperatures, yet despite this the warming is still apparent.

    I would also argue with your statement about “most people living above the 70s”. An awful lot of people live in India, Southeast Asia, along the Nile, in Central America, and other places. See here. And even if they seem to be a long way away, a water-war between China, India and Pakistan (all nuclear powers) or crop failures and starvation in Southeast Asia would not be fun.

  180. Rod B:

    tamino asks, “What’s the probable error in your 10-year trend?”

    Depends on what I’m trending. A student’s school grades? pretty low error. Climate? pretty large error I would suspect. All I said was that a 10-year trend is mathematically allowed contrary to the claim that it is not — “…This isn’t a trend. Never has been, never will be….” [Though I now notice the claimant had earlier, and now later, too, made better and more accurate statements; maybe I’m getting too picky…]

  181. Hank Roberts:

    Rod B says: 1 February 2010 at 1:52 PM

    > From a strictly mathematical (probability & statistics) position
    > a 10-year trend

    Ah, the old “I’m posting my misleading statement one more time, then we should quit talking about it” ploy. Kids, watch this guy, he’s really good at what he does.

    If you want to learn science, though, find a reliable source. Try here:
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    You can do the math for yourself, given any particular data set, to find out how many samples/how long a time you’ll need to have a good chance to determine whether there’s a trend. Clue: you need to know what you’re doing. Robert Grumbine does, and can teach anyone who wants to learn.

    Rod’s here to keep the the controversy going, even when there isn’t one, as on this particular issue.

  182. Completely Fed Up:

    RodB: “All I said was that a 10-year trend is mathematically allowed contrary to the claim that it is not — “”

    Taking a 10 year sample will never be a trend.

    Just like a single roll of the dice is not the average.

  183. Chris Dudley:

    Gary (#164),

    There has been discussion here before about a runaway greenhouse motivated, in part, by Hansen saying that a runaway a a dead certainty if all fossil fuels are burned (including oil shales and tar sands). First, there is enough carbon in limestone to provide all the carbon dioxide needed for a massive atmosphere similar to that on Venus. But, this is not the real issue to begin with because it is water vapor that produces the runaway and a dense hot atmosphere to start. Carbon dioxide is merely the trigger for that.

  184. gary thompson:

    #179 Bob wrote – “I would also argue with your statement about “most people living above the 70s”. An awful lot of people live in India, Southeast Asia, along the Nile, in Central America, and other places. See here. And even if they seem to be a long way away, a water-war between China, India and Pakistan (all nuclear powers) or crop failures and starvation in Southeast Asia would not be fun.”

    Bob, just for clarification i stated that most people live BETWEEN the 70’s (between -70 deg lat and +70 deg lat) which covers the countries you mentioned.

    thanks for the rest of the reply and i’ll look at those graphs later. I do so enjoy that graphing utility on the GISS site. i also like to go to areas that depart from the surrounding area (i.e. a small red region surrounded by yellow or white) and look at the weather stations in that area. and by the way, the dates were suggested by others on this site. there was no bias on my part by choosing 1995-2009.

  185. Bob:

    gary, #171:

    Apologies. I misread part of your post relating to where most people live (“between the 70s”), perhaps because I didn’t realize that you were focusing on the Zonal Mean graph instead of the map (which showed flat temps in NA and Europe).

    The rest of it stands, though; 1995 is an anomalous base year and 2009 is an anomalous end year. Even just extending your range to 94-96 vs. 07-09 makes a huge difference (0.4 C to 0.6 C warming in the populous 30-60 lats in just a 15 year period).

  186. Kevin McKinney:

    Re 176–a bit of a typo in the link, CFU. The WGII SPM is here:

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

  187. Barton Paul Levenson:

    gary thompson: as far as evidence of the AGW theories falling apart i point to observations over the past 10 years. we haven’t continued to warm

    BPL: In what way have we NOT continued to warm, sir? Here are the temperature anomalies for the last ten years, from four different sources:

    1999 0.296 0.32 0.093 0.041
    2000 0.270 0.33 0.062 0.035
    2001 0.409 0.48 0.244 0.198
    2002 0.464 0.56 0.365 0.312
    2003 0.473 0.55 0.355 0.275
    2004 0.447 0.48 0.240 0.196
    2005 0.482 0.63 0.354 0.339
    2006 0.422 0.54 0.268 0.261
    2007 0.405 0.57 0.285 0.282
    2008 0.328 0.43 0.031 0.048

    gt: hurricane activity has not increased, droughts and famine are not happening

    BPL: I think the Australians would disagree. Please note that in 1970, 12% of the Earth’s total land surface was “severely dry” by the Palmer Drought Severity Index. By 2002 that figure was 30%. That’s a hell of an increase. If it keeps up, we will lose pretty much ALL agricultural land some time in the next 40 years.

    gt: north american/europe are in the grips of the worst winter in recent memory, etc.

    BPL: Do you understand the difference between weather and climate?

    gt: i keep hearing that i can’t focus on a small time slice of 10 years to negate the trend over the past 30 years. ok, i agree with that. but just because the data doesn’t support the hypothesis is no reason to throw it out.

    BPL: Nobody is advocating throwing it out. It’s just not enough to conclude anything meaningful. The data counts as much as any other data, but you can’t identify a climate trend from it any more than you can identify a face by a small photo clip of the person’s left eyebrow.

  188. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Steve M,

    The stratosphere is about 20% of the mass of the atmosphere, not 1%. The troposphere is about 80%. All the rest is about 1%. Ignore rounding error.

  189. Doug Bostrom:

    gary thompson says: 1 February 2010 at 12:11 AM

    “as far as evidence of the AGW theories falling apart i point to observations over the past 10 years. we haven’t continued to warm, hurricane activity has not increased, droughts and famine are not happening, north american/europe are in the grips of the worst winter in recent memory, etc. ”

    Even if they were not problematic due to their scantiness or plain factual inaccuracy, none of those things address the actual theory. You need something much more specific and robust, something addressing physics.

    “Anand says: 1 February 2010 at 1:26 PM”

    “The standing accusation against RC is that there is deletion or suppression of posts that are ‘climatically troublesome’, not those that are patently stupid.”

    Their very invisibility means they were deleted? Leaving aside the fundamentally tautological nature of your argument there are plenty of examples to be found here which falsify your hypothesis.

  190. Geoff Wexler:

    It seems that this topic is ripe for confusion

    All too true. This is especially true with this paper which has many apparently non-technical passages. But the way it has been written has not helped. I think that editors should encourage reviewers to be stricter about matters of clarity considering that a paper like this is likely to receive so much publicity.

    Example 1:

    “These findings show that stratospheric water vapor
    represents an important driver of decadal global surface climate change.”

    The word ‘driver’ is ambiguous. What the paper does is explained properly later :

    Because of these limitations in prognostic climate model simulations, here we impose observed stratospheric water vapor changes diagnostically as
    a forcing for the purpose of evaluation and comparison to other climate change agents. However, in the real world the contributions of changes in stratospheric water vapor to global climate change may be a source of unforced decadal variability, or they may be a feedback

    This clarification may be too technical for some readers who may have absorbed and be misled by the first version and fail to understand this more subtle one. Why couldn’t the reviewers have insisted that the authors avoid what looks like a possible contradiction?

    Example 2 . (Raised by others.)

    the trend in global surface temperatures has been
    nearly flat since the late 1990s despite continuing increases in the forcing due to the sum of the well-mixed greenhouse
    gases (CO2, CH4, halocarbons, and N2O), raising questions…

    This sentence is an invitation to being misunderstood. In order to understand it, the reader has to go to the second citation i.e. to :

    Easterling, D. R., and M. F. Wehner (2009), Is the climate warming or cooling?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L08706, doi:10.1029/2009GL037810.

    which is available free on line. Here we can read:

    if we fit a trend line to the same annual global land-ocean temperatures for the 1977-1985 period or the 1981-1989 period we also get no trend, even though these periods are embedded in the 1975-2008 period showing a substantial overall warming.

    There is more of interest in that GRL letter, but that quotation does more than clarify the reference to so called ‘flattening’ , it also raises questions about what the stratospheric water vapour was doing during those other intervals of ‘slowed warming’.

  191. flxible:

    Gary@153
    I said January was the warmest ever [8.2c avg high, 4.4c avg low] – yes, December [avg high 4.2c, avg low -0.2c] was colder than January here, we even had 2 days of snow – IN CANADA, SNOW!! as normal for winter, although we usually get most of the snow in January.
    Your observation that “AGW is falling apart” doesn’t really hold together when citing only N American weather.

  192. t_p_hamilton:

    Anand:”Continuing;
    If it is true, as the Nature paper suggests, that γ is greater (by 4 times) in times of cooling, than in times of warming, then wouldn’t temperature reduction be an efficient way of bringing CO2 levels down rapidly? Meaning – cap and trade, carbon taxation – mechanisms which aim to control temperatures by bringing CO2 down may not have dramatic effects, even if adopted globally, because the reduction in positive feedback would be small?”

    Adding CO2 raises T from direct effect, raises water (and more heating) indirectly, then there is a small amount (gamma) additional CO2 desorbed.

    By symmetry, the result of reduced greenhouse gases would be cooling from CO2 decrease, cooling from the indirect water decrease, plus an additional (gamma’s worth) additional cooling from additional CO2 resorption.

  193. Jim Bouldin:

    Our planet sure is fascinating!

    I’m with ya Frank. Big ol’ fascinatin’ and beautiful blue marble!

  194. Septic Matthew:

    Gavin, is it worth your while to rebut Miskolczi? I can’t tell if this is serious or not. Have you dealt with it elsewhere?

    [Response: Try here. – gavin]

  195. yourmommycalled:

    Pekka Kostamo says: (#164)

    Thanks for the response and clarification. It isn’t exactly clear that things are as bad as you say think. I’ve managed radiosonde/dropsonde campaigns in strange and wonderful places (14,000 ft in peru, rainforests of Brazil, pacific islands, shipborne launches) and taught a lot of people how to properly launch sondes. The data over the last 15 years is of much higher quality than previously. I’m now trying Frank Schmnidlin’s technique of not only collecting data on the way up, which doesn’t give a truly vertical profile, but also collecting data after the balloon bursts and fall rapidly to the surface

  196. Eli Rabett:

    FWIW(#176) you have to first say what you mean by a runaway greenhouse. WRT Venus the idea is that enough CO2 is pushed into the atmosphere that all the water vaporizes. The water then gets mostly photolyzed high up in the atmosphere. The hydrogen escapes and the oxygen combines with whatever else is around. At this point it is hot enough to cook the CO2 out of carbonates on the surface which kicks the CO2 content of the atmosphere up to infinity (for all practical purposes). There is enough SO2 and H20 around to block all the holes in the IR spectrum and away it went.

    The Earth is far enough out from the sun, with a somewhat lower solar insolation that you can’t get rid of liquid water, e.g. no runaway greenhouse like Venus. That is not to say that really bad stuff can’t happen.

  197. gary thompson:

    #176 – CFU replied

    gary thompson wrote – “If we continue on this CO2 trend what can we expect in 10 years, 50 years and 100 years? ”

    cfu wrote – “We could expect something like 410ppm, 520ppm and 690ppm CO2 levels.

    The last time this happened, there were no ice caps. And in those days, the sun was quite a bit cooler.

    20m added to the sea levels.”

    excellent, cfu has provided a prediction here. taking your advice to “be. more. specific.” let me try and solidify this since you were vague. if atmospheric CO2 levels continue their linear increase then we’ll expect sea levels to rise 20 meters in 100 years. [edit of pointless digression]

    [Response: You aren’t that stupid, and so misconstruing CFU’s comment is just deliberate noise generation. The last time CO2 was 400+ for any extended length of time was most likely the Pliocene (some 3 million years ago). Sea levels were indeed some 20m higher than today. However the rate at which ice sheets can melt is somewhat constrained, and so this statement cannot be equated to your caricature. If you want to play games, play them somewhere else. – gavin]

  198. gary thompson:

    #189 Doug Bostrom – “Even if they were not problematic due to their scantiness or plain factual inaccuracy, none of those things address the actual theory. You need something much more specific and robust, something addressing physics. ”

    you are correct, my apologies. i need to stick to the science and observations/data related to it.

  199. gary thompson:

    #179 – Bob wrote – “My suggestion is to choose as your base period 1979-1989 (or 1979-1999), and then 2000-2009 (or 2006-2009) as your target period, just to make sure you are eliminating some of the single year geographic anomalies by including a range of years.”

    thanks again bob for your feedback. i changed the base period to 1979-1999 and the target period of 2000-2009 but i got the same results. the overall global temp trend was 0.22C but again i see this ‘bathtub’ shaped “U” graph for the zonal mean vs. latitude. if you eliminate the poles then the global temps are flat or even cooling slightly. what is the explanation for the poles being so much hotter than the rest of the globe? again, the skeptics have given their explanation which is cherry picking of a few monitoring stations at the north and south poles and that has been addressed here. but i haven’t heard the scientific explanation as to why the poles are so out of step with the rest of the globe.

  200. Anand Rajan KD:

    Mr. Hamilton:
    “By symmetry, the result of reduced greenhouse gases would be cooling from CO2 decrease:…”

    The paper estimate the sensitivity of CO2 to temperature changes to be different (higher) in a cooling period compared to a warming (lower) period.

    There are saying there is no symmetry that you speak of.

    dhogaza:
    “Assuming that cooling would magically cause the CO2 we’re dumping into the atmosphere to magically reduce, how do you propose to cool the planet?”

    There is no magic, although I can sort of see why it may seem that way to you. I have no idea how to cool the planet, but I believe there are a enlightened few who do.

    The authors themselves state they are not sure how to explain the higher γ with declining temperatures.

    They give the following as reasons:
    1) artefacts in the ice core data
    2) biosphere inertia
    3) changes in land use
    4) shifts in ocean/atmosphere states

    Moreover, I don’t particularly want to talk about the wacky geoengineering ideas to affect the weather and climate. But you do agree that there are those who seek US federal funding to do the very magical cooling.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/24174/

    My concern, vis a vis this paper, is more along these lines: In a warming system, even assuming CO2 effects – direct and feedback-mediated to be the predominant driver of temperature, the effect we could have via γ would very small – a fractional drop in an effect that is already small. We would only be left with reductions achievable via the direct effect of reducing CO2-mediated warming (GHG). Which by itself does have a self-limiting character. And is also linked to the dismal politics of luxury emissions vs survival emissions, historical emissions vs present emissions etc.

    All this without even questioning the magnitude and the veracity of the GHG effect itself (which I do not intend to get into).

    Completely Fed Up:
    So you are going to kill Gary by piling lego on him? :)

    Please remember – you can post anything here and it’ll probably get through because of the function you serve here. It doesn’t mean anything by itself.

    Doug:
    There are entire blogs dedicated to preserve comments rejected at RealClimate. Twice, my posts were ‘memory-holed’. A few others had some or the other surgery performed on them. That’s my evidence.

    I can assure you there were no abusive wording in those posts.

  201. Septic Matthew:

    194, Gavin. Thank you. I gather that it was at least worth a rebuttal, but it was never published, and some of the reviewers’ comments eventually appeared on line. I read as far as this, which I have downloaded:

    http://landshape.org/stats/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/m_questions-4.pdf

    Is “Raypierre” named “Ray Pierrehumbert”? I am trying to order his book from Cambridge University Press, and I do not find it listed on their web page.

    Matt

  202. Doug Bostrom:

    Anand Rajan KD says: 1 February 2010 at 11:19 PM A

    “There are entire blogs dedicated to preserve comments rejected at RealClimate. ”

    Yes? I have a rock in my pocket I picked up while serving as a foot soldier during the siege of Troy. I saved it because I knew I might later need to prove I was there.

    Seriously (well, I’m trying, at this point “serious” is really not the word), you’re saying there are folks on the Internet who compose posts to RealClimate and always counter-post them to special dedicated blogs, thinking the posts might be rejected? How very meta.

  203. gary thompson:

    #197 – gavin wrote – “[Response: You aren’t that stupid, and so misconstruing CFU’s comment is just deliberate noise generation. The last time CO2 was 400+ for any extended length of time was most likely the Pliocene (some 3 million years ago). Sea levels were indeed some 20m higher than today. However the rate at which ice sheets can melt is somewhat constrained, and so this statement cannot be equated to your caricature. If you want to play games, play them somewhere else. – gavin]”

    i assure you that my goal here is not to play games. over and over again i have accepted the rejection of my prozaic questions and theories and have not taken anything personal. as long as we are debating the data and the science you can be as harsh and direct as you want to be – i can take it and i don’t take it personal. i appreciate that my posts and questions have not been censored and that is why i continue to come back to this site. as a skeptic i could take the easy path and immerse myself in the websites that support my views but i instead choose to come to the site where the best and brightest of the AGW croud post. my goal here is the quest for truth however troubling it may be. and i think that is the purpose of this site – to debate the science and deviate from the politics.

  204. t_p_hamilton:

    Anand:”Mr. Hamilton:
    “By symmetry, the result of reduced greenhouse gases would be cooling from CO2 decrease:…”

    The paper estimate the sensitivity of CO2 to temperature changes to be different (higher) in a cooling period compared to a warming (lower) period.”

    That would be great news if true. But, these authors’ gamma for both warming and cooling are much lower than other estimates.

    High gamma, bad for warming, good for cooling. Low gamma, not so much but better for warming and worse for cooling.

    “There are saying there is no symmetry that you speak of.”

    Not necessarily true if gamma is mostly temperature dependent but reversible. The authors do not know for sure. They say “The higher values for gamma during the late period result from the strong LIA CO2 dip around 1600″, so a temperature reconstruction with a smaller slope for that transition would not be so large.

    The consensus T sensitivity to doubling CO2 (+275 ppm) is 3 degrees C, and these authors propose only an increase of say 23 ppm (using their most likely single value) for 3 degrees. Basically, the effect of reducing CO2 primarily works through the temperature sensitivity, maybe 10 times larger than feedback from the carbon cycle.

  205. t_p_hamilton:

    Anand says:”My concern, vis a vis this paper, is more along these lines: In a warming system, even assuming CO2 effects – direct and feedback-mediated to be the predominant driver of temperature, the effect we could have via γ would very small – a fractional drop in an effect that is already small. We would only be left with reductions achievable via the direct effect of reducing CO2-mediated warming (GHG).”

    Yes, we have to do it the hard way.

  206. Josh Cryer:

    #187 Barton Paul Levenson, got a cite for that Palmer Index claim for 13% drought in the 70s and 30% now? I have enjoyed looking at your site, btw, quite an interesting character you are. And your arguments against deniers are pretty solid!

    #194 Septic Matthew, having just read much of BPL’s site, I think you should check out his arguments against Miskolczi on his Climatology page, I just discovered it, myself, and I think it’s a pretty convincing argument and is certainly well researched.

  207. ccpo:

    Re:Comment by gary thompson — 2 February 2010 @ 1:02 AM

    i assure you that my goal here is not to play games…

    Ah, but you are contradicting yourself. As a former TEFL teacher, let me illustrate. You said,

    “excellent, cfu has provided a prediction here.”

    Wrong. cfu answered your question. It’s not hard to extrapolate trends, nor is it a prediction.

    “taking your advice to “be. more. specific.””

    Dripping with sarcasm, else no need for quotes. When one simply wants to use the same words, the quotes are unnecessary as the exact speech used is utterly immaterial. When we wish to emphasize, in this case sarcastically, we do as we do in conversation and exaggerate the response we are wishing to insult.

    let me try and solidify this since you were vague. if atmospheric CO2 levels continue their linear increase then we’ll expect sea levels to rise 20 meters in 100 years.”

    Two points here: cfu wasn’t vague, cfu was explaining and in no way intended to imply a rise in sea level of 20 meters in 90 years. Why? So far as we know, it’s pretty much impossible without some seriously out of balance stuff going on.

    Of course, you know this. That is why he slapped you upside the head. Trying to twist the response into something it never intended to imply, and doing so intentionally is unethical.

    “I think that is the purpose of this site – to debate the science and deviate from the politics.”

    Your actions say otherwise.

  208. ccpo:

    Anand Rajan KD says: 1 February 2010 at 11:19 PM A

    “There are entire blogs dedicated to preserve comments rejected at RealClimate. ”

    How convenient. Post something somewhere claiming it was posted here and rejected. Nice trick. Less screen shots, I’m doubting the veracity based on past experience.

  209. Completely Fed Up:

    “Completely Fed Up:
    So you are going to kill Gary by piling lego on him? :)”

    No, just pointing out that it’s possible.

    Even though one lego brick is irrelevant toward that aim.

    See also army ants. One ant: no problem to a spider. An army? Problems to EVERYTHING.

  210. Completely Fed Up:

    “excellent, cfu has provided a prediction here. taking your advice to “be. more. specific.” let me try and solidify this since you were vague. if atmospheric CO2 levels continue their linear increase then we’ll expect sea levels to rise 20 meters in 100 years.”

    Nope, I predicted CO2 levels of 620ppm in 100 years.

    I guess that gary is predicting 20m sea rises in 100 years.

    I didn’t.

  211. Completely Fed Up:

    Eli: “The Earth is far enough out from the sun, with a somewhat lower solar insolation that you can’t get rid of liquid water, e.g. no runaway greenhouse like Venus.”

    The question wasn’t whether there was enough greenhouse gasses, just whether it;s possible for CO2 with its narrow IR absorption band to cause a greenhouse effect.

    I even said it right in the first response which was ignored to strawman the response, and you bought it, unfortunately: “if there’s enough of it”.

  212. Completely Fed Up:

    Note too Venus doesn’t have a runaway effect either: it’s temperature has not reached the fusion point of its contents and progressed toward infinity.

    So it hasn’t run away.

  213. Completely Fed Up:

    Oops, rereading the original, it was 690ppm CO2, not 620.

  214. Doug Lowe:

    gary thompson
    “what is the explanation for the poles being so much hotter than the rest of the globe?”

    The atmosphere and oceans transport heat from the tropics through the mid-latitudes out to the polar regions (down the heat gradient). Increasing the heat retention of the system (by increasing CO2 and CH4 concentrations) will decrease the heat gradient, because the poles will retain proportionally more of the heat energy being transported out from the tropics.

    Conversely, if the increase in temperature we’re now observing was caused by increased solar radiance then we could expect to see an increase in the temperature gradient, as the tropics absorb more energy while the polar regions continue to radiate heat away at the same rate.

  215. Barton Paul Levenson:

    gary t: i haven’t heard the scientific explanation as to why the poles are so out of step with the rest of the globe.

    BPL: Polar amplification is due to two factors.

    1. The land-ice albedo feedback. As more ice melts, darker land is exposed, which absorbs more sunlight.

    2. There is less water vapor in colder air, so CO2 is proportionally more important the closer you get to the poles.

  216. Barton Paul Levenson:

    SM,

    Try here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Miskolczi.html

  217. Jiminmpls:

    BPL: If it keeps up, we will lose pretty much ALL agricultural land some time in the next 40 years.

    That is an extremist and unsubstantiated claim. The “UN Warns of 70 percent desertification by 2025″ headline is a sensationalist misstatement that was repeated in several newspapers. The UN actually warned that 70% of agricultural DRY LANDS are threatened by desertification”. That’s about 25% of the total landmass.

    Desertification a a major threat, but hysterical claims that 8 billion will die as a result of desertification in the next 30 years are just that: hysterical. Were you one of those who believed Clinton had 200,000 soviet troops stationed in the salt mines under Detroit?

    I can’t seem to find the atual UN reports, but here is a little more sober overview of the issue:
    http://www.terradaily.com/reports/World_Desertification_Day_Puts_Spotlight_On_Neglected_Crisis_999.html

  218. Daniel Bailey:

    Re:

    #199 gary thompson says:
    1 February 2010 at 11:04 PM

    “what is the explanation for the poles being so much hotter than the rest of
    the globe?”
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Search RC – the answers probably are already there for you:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/polar-amplification/
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Homework = hard work

    Climate Science = Harder

    A learner just like you,

    Dan

  219. Ray Ladbury:

    Gary Thompson,
    A gentle criticism. You will get a lot further in your understanding if you learn to phrase your questions precisely.

    You ask,“what is the explanation for the poles being so much hotter than the rest of the globe?”

    The poles are not hotter. They are still cold. They are just warming up more rapidly than the tropics and temperate regions due to the factors in the Polar Amplification post Dan cited.

  220. Bob:

    gary, #199:

    We must be looking at two different things. This is what I’m looking at.. To make sure you get the same image, a copy of the Zonal Mean graph I see is here and (with a map of the continents as a helpful background) here.

    This shows:

    Avg. Global Temp Anomaly: 0.36C
    North Pole Anomaly: ~1.6C
    30-60 North Anomaly: ~0.6C
    Equatorial Anomaly: ~0.2C
    30-80 South Anomaly: varies
    South Pole Anomaly: ~0.4C

    Other people have already given sufficient answers about the warming at the poles, although there are lots of fun things to learn concerning how and why warming (and climate) are asymmetric on our planet (try Hadley Cells, ITCZ, Coriolis Effect, La Nina/El Nino, Deep Ocean Currents, and on and on and on).

  221. gary thompson:

    #220 Bob wrote – “We must be looking at two different things”

    the difference was in the use of a trend (what i did) instead of anomalies (what you did). To compare that decade with a base year the use of anomalies would be better. i started out wanting to look at the trend for that decade.

    here is my page for what it’s worth (don’t know how to imbed link in this message window text) –

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2009&month_last=12&sat=4&sst=0&type=trends&mean_gen=0112&year1=2000&year2=2009&base1=1979&base2=1999&radius=250&pol=reg

    and yes, thanks to many who answered my question regarding the higher rate of warming at the poles as compared to the rest of the globe.

  222. Completely Fed Up:

    “217
    Jiminmpls says:
    2 February 2010 at 7:50 AM

    BPL: If it keeps up, we will lose pretty much ALL agricultural land some time in the next 40 years.

    That is an extremist and unsubstantiated claim. ”

    How can ANY prediction be substantiated? The future hasn’t happened yet.

    By the way, you’ve no problems apparently with unsubstatiated claims that AGW mitigation will cause economic hardship.

  223. Phil. Felton:

    Anand Rajan KD says:
    1 February 2010 at 11:19 PM

    There are entire blogs dedicated to preserve comments rejected at RealClimate. Twice, my posts were ‘memory-holed’. A few others had some or the other surgery performed on them. That’s my evidence.

    I can assure you there were no abusive wording in those posts.

    Actually maybe there were, the spam checker is very aggressive and will reject posts that contain objectionable words even when they are hidden inside other words, notably certain drugs. For example I had a post rejected several times because I used the word ‘amb-ient’ .

  224. Geoff Wexler:

    Re: #201 Raymond Pierrehumbert’s book

    Its in the pipe line according to Raypierre and CUP. The latter estimated about 9 months , about 2 weeks ago.

  225. Ken W:

    Anand (200) wrote:
    “There are entire blogs dedicated to preserve comments rejected at RealClimate. Twice, my posts were ‘memory-holed’.”

    Really? And you “know” those are valid accusations how? Because 2 of your posts disappeared? Wow, I’ve had dozens of posts to my own kids disappear on Facebook, but I don’t accuse them of censorship. Welcome to the Internet where sh*t sometimes happens.

    Don’t you consider it rather careless of the realclimate “censors” to allow you to post this claim? Surely, if they were active censors, they would want to hide such incriminating “evidence” of their wrongdoings. Yet here it is, your accusation made it through their filters.

    [Response: To all. This is a moderated forum for which there is guidance for politeness, on-topic-ness and prevention of troll infestation. Think of it as a dinner party we are hosting – you can disagree and discuss, but if you start throwing around food or insulting the hosts, you will be asked to leave. The discussion about comment moderation is getting a little dull. Please move on to something substantive. – gavin]

  226. Septic Matthew:

    Josh Cryer and Barton Paul Levenson, Thanks for the links. I had in fact gotten to BPL’s link by following the links from the link that Gavin gave me.

    Geoff Wexler, Thank you. I got to Raymond T. Pierrehumbert’s university web page by following one of the links from the book’s web page. I was not quite sure that “raypierre” who posts here was the same “Ray Pierrehumbert”, but he is.

  227. Hank Roberts:

    > Eli Rabett says: 1 February 2010 at 8:25 PM
    > FWIW(#176) you have to first say what you mean by a runaway greenhouse….

    followed by giving us a clear specification of what it means for Earth

    > 212 Completely Fed Up says: 2 February 2010 at 4:53 AM
    > Note too Venus doesn’t have a runaway effect either: it’s temperature has
    > not reached the fusion point of its contents and progressed
    > toward infinity.
    > So it hasn’t run away.

    Unique definition, confusing rhetoric. True, Venus did not evaporate and run away from the Solar System, it’s still there. Not helpful.

    Please, when you engage in a battle of wits and rhetoric, don’t depart from science you can cite. Your real audience is readers who come here later.

  228. Completely Fed Up:

    Or the word for someone who has the opposite of a broad spectrum of knowledge beginning with special and ending with ist is likewise a spamword.

    Kind of hard to avoid using when you’re talking about a domain where you need a lot of people who have trained in small areas of endeavour but in great depth.

  229. Completely Fed Up:

    gary: “the difference was in the use of a trend (what i did) instead of anomalies (what you did). ”

    You fail to understand. Or maybe you have some deep insight into the maths, but normal humans find a trend by taking the differences between points in some progressing series over time or whatever independent variable separates all the points.

    And an anomaly is a difference between a measurement and another set point.

    In fact, since the Celsius scale is based off the freezing point of pure water, these measurements are anomalies.

    But maybe you can explain some “deeper truth” that shows that this doesn’t make trends impossible if you’re using anomalies in your datapoints.

  230. Hank Roberts:

    > sea levels to rise 20 meters in 100 years

    Please, folks. Yes, a famous Associated Press typographical error, reprinted in many newspapers, echoing still in blogs of all varieties, started the mistaken claim of “20 feet” — not meters — this century.

    If you must channel grossly wrong claims, at least get them wrong _right_.

    If you confuse feet with meters you’re going to miss Mars.

  231. Vendicar Decarian:

    “Science leads you to killing people.” – Ben Stein – Republican Speech Writer.

  232. Bob:

    gary, #221:

    Okay. For “Trends”, the base period is ignored. You’re basically comparing 2000 to 2009. But again, the choice of endpoints has a big effect, and using “Trends” eliminates the ability to average a few years together. For instance, if you compare 1998 to 2008 or 2009, you’ll see big drops in temperature in many areas… but that’s all choice of end points, which is further exacerbated by the short time frame (10 years).

    If you look at this page from GISTEMP you can more clearly see part of your answer (find 2000 and 2009 in each hemisphere).

    My use of “anomalies” instead of “trends” basically helped to eliminate the end-point problem by letting you use ranges (which basically means a multi-year mean) on both ends.

    As far as looking for a trend in the last decade… that’s hard to do at this point with any honesty, because the decade began with an El Nino and ended with a La Nina and a solar minimum. It’s just not a meaningful comparison because of the noise. You really need to wait at least 3-5 years so that you can at least use a 5 or 10-year average centered around 2009, and compare that with a 5 or 10-year average centered around 2000.

    But really, either way, even one decade is nothing. We’re talking about something that will take a half a century to really start to play out. For people that are going to insist on seeing simple thermometer evidence on a short time scale… they’re just going to be dissatisfied (until it’s too late).

    As I posted earlier… this is the picture that I think really tells the story.

  233. Doug Bostrom:

    Phil. Felton says: 2 February 2010 at 10:49 AM

    “Actually maybe there were, the spam checker is very aggressive…”

    Oh, yes, spec_e_c_i_a_list, etc. But surely somebody bumping into that would notice the intervening page explaining the intervention?

    Also, could “Al Gore” be added to the list of blocked terms for this site?

  234. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #221 gary thompson

    To add on the polar amplification thing… think of it this way. The northern hemisphere has a lot more land. You can heat and cool land easier than water.

    The southern hemisphere is mostly water and a really big chunk of ice at the bottom.

    Water takes longer to heat than land.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/arctic-polar-amplification-effect

  235. Hank Roberts:

    >> gary thompson says: 1 February 2010 at 10:52 PM …
    >> sea levels to rise 20 meters in 100 years. [edit of pointless digression]
    >
    > [Response: You aren’t that stupid, and so misconstruing CFU’s comment
    > is just deliberate noise generation….

    Thank you Gavin.

  236. Hank Roberts:

    > Bob
    > … this is the picture that I think really tells the story.

    Can you put the text of the caption –and source — into that image, as part of the picture? I get it, but it lacks a cite, and needs an explanation people can find and attribute.

  237. Completely Fed Up:

    Doug: “But surely somebody bumping into that would notice the intervening page explaining the intervention?”

    Not if they didn’t want to think it may not be censorship of themselves.

    Remember, Anand WANTS to be the martyr, walking into the lions den and mauled to death like the Christians in roman times.

  238. Completely Fed Up:

    “231
    Vendicar Decarian says:
    2 February 2010 at 1:03 PM

    “Science leads you to killing people.” ”

    Anti-science idiots leads you to want to kill people – CFU.

  239. Completely Fed Up:

    “230
    Hank Roberts says:
    2 February 2010 at 12:36 PM

    > sea levels to rise 20 meters in 100 years

    Please, folks. ”

    Please, Hank. That’s ***gary’s*** prediction.

    Mind you, does it make it OK if it’s 200 years to get to 20m SLR rather than 100 years?

    It’s not like we’ll use the 100 extra years to build 20m seawalls around every inch of coastline…

  240. Bob:

    CFU, #229:

    In Gary’s defense, no, he was fine in his statement… because the context of that discussion was specifically the GISTEMP map generator interface at http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/, and specifically a drop down menu there that lets you choose between “Anomalies” and “Trends” (their terminology, not his).

    His comment was purely and specifically in relation to that, and was a perfectly clear and accurate one in that context.

    I’m actually myself a little confused about the difference between the two (in the interface, not in the real world). On the face of it, I’d expect that “Anomalies” for a “Time Interval” of 2009-2009 and a “Base Period” of 2000-2000 would yield the same map as “Trends” for a “Time Interval” of 2000-2009, but it doesn’t. They’re close, but not the same. I’m not really clear, I think, on what “Trends” is delivering vs. “Anomalies” on that page.

  241. Completely Fed Up:

    Hank :”Unique definition, confusing rhetoric. True, Venus did not evaporate and run away from the Solar System, it’s still there. Not helpful.”

    Not really unique.

    Just not one you’ve considered. Just like I’d not considered the thermal radiation leaving a planet to be a negative feedback.

    And it’s very helpful: it shows how gary’s questioning is pointless because an answer to such a vague question IS answered by that explanation.

    So in what way is it not helpful?

    It may not help in bringing more knowledge to light but gazzer has already once made up what I’ve said before, so he’s not here for knowledge. He’s here for sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  242. Richard Ordway:

    gary t: i haven’t heard the scientific explanation as to why the poles are so out of step with the rest of the globe.

    Polar amplification (5 factors):

    1) When ice melts, it leaves dark surfaces remaining which absorb heat.

    Okay dude, more on this. So light energy short wave) comes in at about 1000 trillion oscillations per second and hits the dark ground, trees, or ocean (except for a few clouds or ice which reflects some of it). So it goes through the greenhouse gases and does not see them (not vibrating at the same frequency) until it hits something dark, like ground or ocean or trees. The dark surface absorbs the heat.

    An extremely oversimplified explanation for this is that dark surfaces have closely held electrons. The light energy hits the outer electron. Because it is so closely held, it hits the next more closely-held electron to the nucleus, etc, etc, etc until it hits the nucleus. Now the nucleus starts vibrating but at a slower rate (it is “denser”). It now, to relax, gives off slower energy (heat, long wave energy, infrared [IR}). This heat is now vibrating slower than light at about 10 trillion oscillations per second.

    It is now shot off and tries to go and hit Buzz Lightyear in outer space. But woops, it now hits dense greenhouse gas molecules first in our atmosphere which are vibrating at the same frequency as the “heat” and so interacts with them. Incoming light has too fast vibrations to interact with the greenhouse gases and just goes right through them.

    The “heat” particle hits the greenhouse gas molecule and because it is at the same frequency, it starts the greenhouse gas molecule vibrating and spinning at the heat frequency (it gets all hot and bothered, capiche?). To calm down and return to its normal state, it takes a cold shower (it hits another molecule) and releases heat in all directions and creates heat by banging another molecule…and so on.

    Now, on the other hand when the fast moving light from the Sun hits something light colored, more reflective, more conductive like ice it is reflected out and usually hits Buzz Lightyear on the butt in outer space and is not turned into heat.

    The light colored surfaces have electrons far away from the nucleus (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I am oversimplifying this). So when the light hits the outer electron on an outer valence level on a light color like ice, the electron can’t hit the next closer layer to the nucleus, so the electron throws the light energy back out into space instead of hitting the nucleus and turning into heat.

    2) When the dry cold air gets warm and wet (global warming) you now have added a strong greenhouse gas: water vapor where it was not there before.

    3) Ice used to be a shield which stopped the warming oceans from warming up the air. With the ice gone, the warming oceans can now warm up the air.

    4) In summer, ice keeps the air colder due to latent heat. Global warming melts the ice and so the air gets warmer.

    5) When the water-filled ice melts, comparatively dry Arctic plants and ground replace it. Arctic plants and ground now less hold water than ice, so the heat
    can’t be slowed up by taking up the energy to evaporate and goes right into heating the surface temps up.

    Dude, this is rocket science. It’s why people like you should not be telling scientists why global warming is not happening and how humans are not causing it…

    In my opinion after having been at a national climate center for 11 years and having personally talked to top publishing climate scientists whose work holds up over time from at least five national agencies for 11 years, we are so close to getting screwed you have no idea. Global warming has lots of latency or delay in it because of the oceans. It is already here, but the effects are delayed due to the oceans slowing it up (thermal inertia).

    In my opinion, your delaying actions because you are scared of a big government takeover or don’t want to lose profits because of changing over from oil, coal or gas are effectively killing our chances for future civilization. We will have no choice but to have a big government takeover, just what you are afraid of.

    Scientists (top division heads, publishing whose work holds up over time) I personally know from NCAR, NOAA, NASA, EPA, NREL are privately freaking.

    We have to be talking now of how to change over to alternate sources of energy such as advanced geothermal where you dig two side by side holes 2 km deep where it is 200 C and build a geothermal power plant on top of the holes to replace coal.

    Of using algae to produce a fuel replacement and/or coal replacement (you could just burn the algae oil 24/7 to produce base load electricity.

    Whatever ways we choose, we have the technology to change over, now. We need the political will. We will have to change over anyway (we’ll run out and other countries will be ahead of us and get the market share). In my opinion, your ideology is slowing down changes and endangers the United States and our children.

  243. Septic Matthew:

    232, Bob

    Good picture. I bookmarked it.

    Others: where is the assertion that the sea level will rise by 20 ft this century? That’s about 6 meters, or 60 mm/year, compared to the 20th century average of 2 mm/year or 20 cm for the century (and 19th century, iirc). Sorry, I have lost my bookmark to the 2mm/year claim. If I am wrong, send me to a better source.

  244. Radge Havers:

    Anand @ 200

    “I can assure you there were no abusive wording in those posts.”

    So?

    A while back before it got edited, I noticed a post at RC that was briefly visible to the public in its entirety. In that instance, what got cut wasn’t abusive so much as it was an airy stream of random piffle.

  245. Didactylos:

    I was going to call BPL on the 8 billion claim a few days ago, then I just stopped caring. Some people really enjoy laying on the doom and gloom.

    However, it is worth considering that there actually is something to be alarmed about.

    One study puts excess deaths due to climate change as rising to nearly 500,000 per year by 2030 (Global Humanitarian Forum). And that study only considers a very limited number of factors.

    Come on, people: if you want to raise alarming spectres or dismiss the whole idea, at least provide real numbers from real sources. To me, reality seems scary enough, without exaggerating it.

  246. Anand:

    Mr Hamilton:

    You say yourself – “But, these authors’ gamma for both warming and cooling are much lower than other estimates.” So, going by the authors’ estimate of gamma – a low one – one cannot expect dramatic decreases of temperature mediated by the feedbacks. Meaning we are on a steady state of warming, isnt it? No alarmsism then.

    Apart from that, your argument is based on saying basically that the authors’ contentions may not be ‘true’ – you say that twice. Not very substantiative. Anyway, I wanted to discuss possibilities if they were true. Figure 3 (distribution of probabilistic gamma values) in the paper looks pretty convincing.

    About your ‘hard way’, I hope it is not the ‘hard on me, but easy on you’ kind. Like taking my money to fund ‘clean energy’ and selling that energy back to me. ;)

    There are about 6 posts talking about RC post deletion. All I want to say is – there are things that cannot be said here. They are non-abusive, on-topic, no-trolling and all very civil in content. But it still cannot be discussed here. I criticize aspects of RC here not de novo, but because I was forced to. For the record, I have defended RC, at least partially elsewhere. A spade is a spade.

    Keeping fingers crossed!

    Thanks and regards
    Anand

  247. Ike Solem:

    Many news organizations are coming up with strange interpretations of this paper, while ignoring many complexities. The best headline might be the one in the original NOAA press release, here at sciencedaily:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100131145840.htm

    “Stratospheric Water Vapor Is a Global Warming Wild Card”

    In the lower troposphere, cloud effects are the main uncertainty in the water vapor feedback effect, confounded by the role that aerosols play. The conclusion seems to be that small variations in the overall water vapor trend can be amplified (either positively or negatively) in the lower stratosphere – and that microscale processes, as with clouds and aerosols, have to be taken into account.

    None of this changes the overall water vapor feedback effect, it just adds a complicating factor. The basic concept, that warming temperatures lead to moister air and hence to more warming, is not being challenged. For the background, and a more general overview of water vapor and climate, see:

    Dessler & Sherwood, A Matter of Humidity, Science Feb 2009 (pdf)

    The basic issue here is the “expectation that the atmosphere’s relative humidity would remain roughly constant – meaning that the specific humidity would increase at the rate of the equilibrium vapor pressure, which rises rapidly with temperature.”

    Translation: as air warms (on an ocean planet) it tends to moisten. Or, the net amount of water vapor in the atmosphere increases with global temperature. If true, this can reduce the uncertainty in predictions:

    “Despite the simplicity of this idea, which entirely neglects detailed microphysics and other small-scale processes, such models accurately reproduce the observed water vapor distribution for the mid and upper troposphere. One recent study estimated the uncertainty in the water vapor feedback associated with microscale process behavior at less than 5%.”

    However, if the lower stratosphere is very sensitive to water vapor concentrations, radiatively speaking, then the microscale process issues could become more important than in the troposphere. Variations in everything from methane emissions to ozone to El Nino to the tropopause temperature could thus introduce greater uncertainty into climate predictions on the short-term scale – hence, a “wild card” factor.

    If so, then the more you know about the distributions and concentrations of gases in the atmosphere – the better satellite coverage you have – then the better your predictions will be… so what does the latest federal satellite budget look like?

    The budget is much more about spending closer to Earth. It promises a speeding up of launching new Earth’s observing satellites, especially to monitor climate change. It includes money to fly a replacement for a carbon dioxide monitoring satellite that fell into the ocean last year instead of going into orbit.

    Good news! The ostrich has removed its head from the hole – it appears to be looking around…

  248. L. David Cooke:

    Re: 215

    Hey Barton,

    How certain are you as to the cause of growing polar heat content and it’s causes? Based on the data I have seen so far, the water vapor heat content record seems to demonstrate the surface temperature forcing examples you have provided seem to be small drivers in total. (This conclusion derived due to both the seasonal angle of incidence and shaded (diffuse) surface measurements.)

    We have seen clear indications that there are higher surface temperatures driven by insolation. These examples were demonstrated by experiments performed by two research teams in the last two years employing “high albedo blankets” over “soft ice” firming up the surfaces. Secondly, we have clear measures at high altitudes of higher upper tropospheric / tropopause temperatures due to advection of lower latitude convective air parcels. (The report was in a NASA paper either in late 2005 or early 2006…)

    Are you suggesting greater insolation due to a decrease in near surface water vapor/clearer skies? If true would this not be true regardless of the zone? As it is clear there have been marked increases of dry air wedges related to universal occurrences of stagnant anti-cyclonic Rossby Waves. I certainly would be interested in the what has driven your conclusions and the level of participation in the abnormal zonal heat content in the polar regions…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  249. Bob:

    Hank, #236:

    It’s actually cobbled together from the NASA GISS pages, from this page (near the bottom) from this image.

    I mucked with it to let it flow smoothly from left to right (I should have rotated it so it would go top to bottom). Their version chops it up into 3 parts to keep the entire image more narrow, but in so doing it ruins the cold-warmer-hot visual effect.

    It’s really a very clever graph, though, because it lets you see full year data for 79 years, by month, with comparable months side by side (e.g. December-December) to eliminate the confusion of season variations, and with annotations for significant events… V’s for volcanic eruptions, E’s for El Nino’s (bigger E’s for bigger El Ninos), L’s for La Ninas, and M’s for solar maximums and m’s for solar minimums.

    The only other thing I think they could have crammed in there would have been black circles where the diameter of each circle denotes the CO2 concentration (proportionally bigger circles = more CO2).

  250. Completely Fed Up:

    David L Cooke: “How certain are you as to the cause of growing polar heat content and it’s causes?”

    Got a better explanation than the one the IPCC scientists have?

    Or are you angling for “you’re not *certain*, so it’s not that” angle and skip the part where you need a replacement theory?

  251. Completely Fed Up:

    “243
    Septic Matthew says:
    2 February 2010 at 3:04 PM

    Others: where is the assertion that the sea level will rise by 20 ft this century”

    Well if you don’t know, why are you asking?

    How about asking where the assertion that green-skinned aliens will invade and steal all the cute blonds?

    If you’re going to make s*t up to ask, go hog wild.

  252. Completely Fed Up:

    Bob: “I’m actually myself a little confused about the difference between the two (in the interface, not in the real world).”

    Because an anomaly is a change from a reference point.

    How do you define the reference point? Base.

    Now, you need a measure to see how it is different. But an instantaneous value isn’t valid. So you need a period. How do you define the period over which you’re going to average to make a value you can use to gauge the change? The interval.

    I.e. your annual anomaly is an interval of one year.

    How much has it increased in 30 years? Take a base period around 30 years ago that lasts one year.

    Apples being compared to apples.

    But that doesn’t give you a 30 year trend.

    For that you need 30 years of data.

    Not times 30 years apart.

  253. Completely Fed Up:

    John P Reisman: “Water takes longer to heat than land.”

    Also there’s a difference in that the north pole is water underneath, so warm water can cycle underneath and warm the further reaches of the north pole.

    But there’s a honkin’ big landmass over the south pole.

    Water doesn’t run uphil, so can’t change the south pole like the north.

    A very similar effect also makes the south pole more affected by atmospheric changes as shown by the ozone hole: the continent kept the air above the south pole colder and that means denser and that means air from further north can’t get in and mix. So CFCs stayed there longer and acted longer than they could in the north pole.

  254. Didactylos:

    L. David Cooke:

    The subject of polar amplification sounded interesting to me, too, although I (like BPL) have always assumed that it is mostly about albedo.

    So, I read around the subject a little, and found that matters are rather more complicated. Albedo plays an important part, but so does a lot of other factors, particularly ocean heat transport. I skimmed Polar amplification of climate change in coupled models (Holland, Bitz 2003) but mostly what I got from such a trivial reading was “it’s complicated”. If you are interested, I imagine that’s a good starting point.

    Keeping it simple, the important parts (to me) are:
    1) we are observing polar amplification
    2) models reproduce polar amplification

    I imagine the “why” will be clarified further as we (unfortunately) get to observe a whole lot more polar amplification over the next decade :-(

  255. gary thompson:

    ”This heat is now vibrating slower than light at about 10 trillion oscillations per second. It is now shot off and tries to go and hit Buzz Lightyear in outer space. But woops, it now hits dense greenhouse gas molecules first in our atmosphere which are vibrating at the same frequency as the “heat” and so interacts with them. Incoming light has too fast vibrations to interact with the greenhouse gases and just goes right through them.”

    I thank you for the most detailed reply. But I have a couple of questions/clarifications. I thought the two [2] main IR wavelengths that cause the molecules in CO2 to vibrate were 4.26um and 15um and those photons would have a frequency of 70 trillion cycles per second and 20 trillion cycles per second respectively. And of course these two [2] frequencies are only a part of the compliment of photons at varying frequencies that are on the black body radiation curve – the rest pass right through CO2 and do reach Buzz Light Year (assuming they don’t bump into another molecule that happens to absorb their particular wavelength well). But I agree that those two frequencies are more than enough to get the molecules moving and heating (just like even longer wavelength photons get water moving in a microwave oven). You gave a great explanation and I got something from it. thanks.

    Richard Ordway also wrote – “Dude, this is rocket science. It’s why people like you should not be telling scientists why global warming is not happening and how humans are not causing it”

    I apologize if I have come across as trying to tell scientists they are wrong – I’ve said in posts before you guys have forgotten more than I’ll ever know. I come here to ask questions and I’m sorry I came to the party late but I’m here as long as the host of this site will allow me to be. And I’ll abide by his rules since it is his party and I am only a guest. I have no trouble playing by those rules – I’m just trying to learn and this seems like the best place to do that.

  256. Hank Roberts:

    > Bob says: 2 February 2010 at 5:24 PM
    > Hank, #236:
    Bob, thanks; if you can type in (paste in a picture of) some source/info onto the actual image — that’ll help people who bookmark it or get forwarded links to it, to figure out what it’s about. Explanation, URL, anything.

  257. gary thompson:

    #240 – Bob, thanks for clarifying my position on that. i’m glad i wasn’t the only one to struggle with that anomaly vs. trend on the GISS site. gavin cleared it up for me by relaying that the base period is meaningless when you choose “trend”.

  258. L. David Cooke:

    RE: 250

    Hey CFU,

    I will await BPL’s response, at least he is willing to discuss the science. Normally, I would not respond to a post of your type; however, in your case, I suspect you could show some promise, if you redirected your enthusiasm. Sad to say your current response leaves much to be desired…

    In the meantime, I suggest you might want to review your approach here. Many of us have a strong interest in the science and do not abide Ad Homs very well. Personally, I will generally consider the source and make allowances. Good Luck in your research… (Oh, BTW, try to get the name correct…)

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  259. Bob:

    CFU, #252:

    But that doesn’t give you a 30 year trend.

    For that you need 30 years of data.

    Not times 30 years apart.

    Ah… so the value represented by the grid square on one of the generated “Trends” maps is in fact representative of the slope of the trend line for the underlying data points (i.e. X years of data) for that square (as opposed to the simple difference between the start and end points).

    That makes sense, and would account for the minor variations in the two maps.

    Thanks. I should have figured that out for myself. I’ll blame it on a long day spent reading too many different manuals (and sneaking off to read climate science during breaks).

  260. L. David Cooke:

    RE: 254

    Hey Didactylos,

    I have no problems with models based on “cause and effect”. Personally I am trying to do research that provides the cause and effect of the models you reference. (Models based on “effect” and parametric adjustment sans well defined “cause” worries me a little.)

    It is not unlike the black box experiments of grade school. You have a series of levers or wheels that when moved cause a different wheel or level to move a certain amount or effect. The point is you are to try to replicate the effect without knowing the mechanism which drove the effect.

    There are many ways to get an effect out for a given input. However, if you are not replicating the mechanics correctly, when there are several interactive black boxes, you might not get the same result as you would if you had known the mechanical operations.

    Hence, your simplicity is welcome; however, I will be more confident in the science as we begin to identify the causes. This is part and parcel of my interest in BPL’s sources. I am curious about the content (“mechanics”) of the “black box” that has driven the conclusion offered.

    This is not an attempt to make a judgment or a statement, I am trying to understand how several “descriptions of cause” can co-exist. I am striving to try to match up causes with the recent data. Dr. Holland’s work being only one of the “descriptions of cause”.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  261. Hank Roberts:

    > 243, Matthew, sea level rise

    The AP Wire Service at one point sent out a typographical error saying 20 feet by end of century, which was widely published in newspapers at the time, and has since been corrected except on rumor sites (of all political and whackadoodle persuasions) where you’ll find the error.

    A science paper mentioned that number — as wrong, not attributing it to any source — while discussing the issue.

    A U. Colorado press release attributed that number to “some scientists” without naming anyone, and there’s no sign they had any basis for the claim.

    The latter 2 bits are from
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/09/how-much-will-sea-level-rise/

    The first is from my own personal experience getting the error corrected where it appeared in a headline and twice in the article at my local paper.

  262. Bob:

    Hank, #256:

    Done (and cleaned up a bit).

    Large
    Medium

  263. Completely Fed Up:

    “I come here to ask questions and I’m sorry I came to the party late but I’m here as long as the host of this site will allow me to be.”

    You came in late and are now standing in the middle of the dance floor asking everyone where the cake is.

    Stopping everyone else and asking “where’s the cake???”.

    Even though the invite said it was a bring-a-bottle and a barbecue.

    Then complaining that nobody is telling you where the cake is, they’re just repeating a worthless “there is no cake”. Worthless because that doesn’t tell you where the cake is.

  264. Completely Fed Up:

    DLC:

    On average, the field is flat.

    Though there are forces that push it up (anthills) and down (water runoff channels).

    Cat prints, slugs, cat poop, scratchings and places where the grass has grown thicker or thinner (which have themselves many complex causes and effects).

    That there are many causes for the detail of the topology of the garden doesn’t change the main statement that my garden is flat because three years ago I spaded the whole lot over and raked it flat.

    Are you going to wait to see whether the cat messes cause a change in the topology of my garden before you accept it’s flat?

  265. Completely Fed Up:

    “All I want to say is – there are things that cannot be said here. They are non-abusive, on-topic, no-trolling and all very civil in content. But it still cannot be discussed here.”

    And we have always been at war with Eurasia!

  266. Geoff Wexler:

    Re #247 Ike Solem.

    expectation that the atmosphere’s relative humidity would remain roughly constant

    Yes but your source like many of the others, appears to discuss the troposphere. I wonder if the experts can say whether there is any reason for this expectation to apply to the stratosphere, for which the physics is so different?

  267. Didactylos:

    L. David Cooke:

    The models are based on fundamental physics. When we scale those physics-based processes up into a climate simulation, we see climate. When we look at the mid-scale aspects (but still far more complicated than the basic physics everything is based on) we see all sorts of processes produced by the model that mirrors the real world. These processes aren’t coded into the model – they are results of the model.

    This void between the basic physics and the final “big picture” product is where all the interesting stuff happens. When the models reproduce these effects well, then it is a really good validation of the model.

    However, the model itself doesn’t always help us understand exactly what is going on. After all, we can see the process going on in the real world, and we don’t really understand it fully there, either.

    There are loads of examples of effects like this – polar amplification, obviously. Also ENSO and various circulations and oscillations. Some, the models produce really well. Others, not so well. Understanding why the model does or doesn’t behave like the real world can not only help us improve the models, but also help us understand how these processes work in the real world.

    To use your example: the physics in the model produces its own “black boxes”. If the model’s black boxes behave in the same way as the real world black boxes, then we are well on the way to understanding what is inside the box. Climate modelling does not work by trying to code something that behaves like each real world black box. It’s much more subtle than that.

    I am not a climate modeller, I’m sure Gavin could explain this better. But then, he already has.

  268. David B. Benson:

    Geoff Wexler (266) — I’m no expert, but based on commentaries about Solomon et al. on this thread and elsewhere, I’ll opine yes, but quite a bit rougher.

  269. Chris Colose:

    Dave Cooke, on Polar amplification:

    The broad picture behind high latitude amplification is pretty well established. Note that in transient simulations, by “polar amplification” we really mean “arctic amplification.” The South as a whole doesn’t change as fast as the Arctic, at least not until equilibrium. As other people have noted, the changing ratio of ice to land/ocean surface and corresponding surface albedo decline is a big factor. In fact, in model simulations that look at the variation in climate sensitivity over a broad range of forcing (out to an ice-free world for instance) the surface albedo feedback can be the main driver in reduced sensitivity as global temperature rises, while water vapor feedback tends to become stronger.

    The way the ice-albedo feedback actually works is not generally well described in secondary sources, which tend to oversimplify the picture to just “less reflected radiation” but a real appreciation for the mechanisms involved comes with understanding the heat fluxes between the atmosphere and ocean on multiple timescales. For instance, Arctic amplification is especially prominent in the cold-season, when there is not much incident solar radiation to speak of. In the summer when there is relatively much more solar radiation, much of the energy goes into melting or evaporation rather than surface temperature amplification. So this shows that the picture is a bit more complicated than just “less reflected sunlight.” As Miller et al. (2007) note:

    //”The amplification of high-latitude climate change results from complex positive feedbacks involving exchanges of energy and water mass between the ocean, sea ice, and atmosphere. The positive feedback related to changes in sea-ice albedo is one of the most frequently mentioned, however there are other positive feedbacks that are also important. Among these are feedbacks related to water vapor and clouds. Chen et al. [2003, 2006] demonstrated the importance of correctly representing in climate models the relationships among Arctic cloud and radiative properties. The present paper examines how some of these relationships and feedbacks may change in simulations of future climate.”//

    Graversen et al. (discussed at RC some time ago) also brought up the issue of poleward heat transport which is relevant as well. In general though, arctic amplification is one of the most robust features of a warmer climate as we progress into the 21st century. By the way, I’m not entirely sure I agree with BPL’s statement, “There is less water vapor in colder air, so CO2 is proportionally more important the closer you get to the poles” as a reason for polar amplification.

  270. Leo G:

    CFU @ 212

    I read an article last year that the high temps on Venus are from the atmospheric pressure. Wrong?

  271. L. David Cooke:

    RE: 267

    Hey Didactylos,

    Thanks for the reference, I had reviewed Dr. Schmidt’s explanations about 2 years ago and again his re-visit a year ago when they were again coming under attack.

    I guess I must be communicating poorly as I am being unspecific; however, I am less interested in specific models then in the real world/empirical physics (versus laboratory/theoretical). (I’m afraid it’s due to the technician versus scientist in me).

    As you suggest many models are Bottom-Up, taking into account the known physical properties of atmospheric chemistry and the energy-matter transportation and distribution. If there is any “tweaking” it usually is along the edges where there is a modicum, of data available.

    However, if we look at Top-Down modeling similar to that which is used for weather systems, we have a very different approach. Here in we are looking at large scale measurements and attempting to derive high resolution small scale “gridded” process based primarily on historic patterns along with statistical certainty/probability associations with large scale phenomena.

    Looking at the former Bottom-Up type we see what is in essence laboratory principles being drug out into the real world; where as in the later Top-Down type, we see the real world being drug into the laboratory. As we all know weather is not climate; however, thirty years of weather variables is a statistically acceptable sample that can be used to describe climate. Hence, many Climate analysis tools still ascribe to the rules of Top-Down, “effects describes cause” models.

    Being a layman and a Top-Down, empirical person I have a tendency to wonder at the quality of the data when trying to “create” data where data does not exist when we are trying to increase the resolution of these types of models. To this end I spend a great deal of my time looking at all of the data entering into the public domain and try to see where the implications of peer reviewed data leads me. (Hence the “black box allusion”, the peer reviewed works provide an insight to the “hidden mechanics”.)

    As I suggested prior, most times there are what appears to be conflicting data or processes. When I look past the abstracts and conclusions I see something very different when I apply gross insight to the detailed data. Hence, my curiosity as to Barton’s data sets. I am interested to see the sources of the conclusions he shared. This in no way invalidates anyone’s work or sets me up as any more then anyone else. In this case it is me learning and not being taught what I should learn. I believe we call that critical thinking…

    To be more specific, to this end I will relate that the most recent data I have seen suggests that the greatest driver of polar amplification may simply be due to an extended presence (stagnant) of anti-cyclonic systems along the Polar Circle. (Just because the latitude is greater does not suggest that these (Rossby) barometric systems are geographically smaller.) Hence, a “Dry Line” of 400 by 200 miles at say 30 Deg. N would have a great deal lower impact on insolation than a similar “Dry Line” at say 65 Deg. N.

    Other then that, I only want to see what the data that drove Barton’s conclusion says that would either validate or invalidate this hypothesis. (The thought is this hypothesis may relate to the formation of PSCs and hence interrelate to Stratospheric water vapor content.)

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  272. yourmommycalled:

    #267 Didactylos says:

    he models are based on fundamental physics. When we scale those physics-based processes up into a climate simulation, we see climate. When we look at the mid-scale aspects (but still far more complicated than the basic physics everything is based on) we see all sorts of processes produced by the model that mirrors the real world. These processes aren’t coded into the model – they are results of the model.

    This void between the basic physics and the final “big picture” product is where all the interesting stuff happens. When the models reproduce these effects well, then it is a really good validation of the model.

    However, the model itself doesn’t always help us understand exactly what is going on. After all, we can see the process going on in the real world, and we don’t really understand it fully there, either.

    Very well said! I would only add, based on my own experience with models running at much smaller scales than climate models, is that with a model I can ask questions about the why the physics is producing the results they are, by adjusting the initial conditions and seeing what happens. I can determine the importance of the Saharan Air Layer on hurricane development by artificially lowering the relative humidity and increasing the dust loading from the observed conditions and then comparing the runs with and without the dry air and dust loading. If there are significant changes, and there are, then the dry air and dust loading play an important role. Which is why if you looked at my experimental source code and compared it to the base source code you would find that it is littered with segments that are commented out. Hm! Didn’t I see something about that in the news just recently

  273. Septic Matthew:

    261, Hank Roberts, Before your correction I misunderstood the typo to be “20 meters” for “20 feet”. Thanks for the correction.

    Here are some sea level data that I bookmarked and then lost, and then found:

    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/GW_4CE_SeaLevel.htm

    It does not look like the expected rise for the 21st century could even be 400mm, though I have read that The Netherlands is preparing for a sea level rise of 55-110cm — maybe thinking of the next centuries.

  274. L. David Cooke:

    RE: 269

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks, I understand albedo is part of the puzzle, for me the question is how the albedo has become an issue. The driver for the condition is unlikely to be related to higher surface temperatures as much as greater surface temperatures are a result of the primary driver.

    Where it is clear that some ocean heat content transportation is playing a part along the coast of Greenland, over all the primary driver appears to be related to insolation from what I have seen based on the NCEP NH Analysis at the 250 mb isotach station over the last four years.

    Going further the current increase in anti-cyclonic conditions that seem to seasonally park in certain sections of the Polar region seems to have a devastating effect on sea ice.

    First I am seeking to understand the how and then I would be advancing on the why. I suspect that much of the warming effect of human emissions may be translating into the apparent change in the weather patterns affecting everything from the NAO to the ENSO to the PDO… My goal is to eventually turn towards the drivers for the change in the barometric waves. I am just not there yet.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  275. Phil. Felton:

    Leo G says:
    2 February 2010 at 11:05 PM
    CFU @ 212

    I read an article last year that the high temps on Venus are from the atmospheric pressure. Wrong?

    Yes!

  276. Josh Cryer:

    266 Hank Roberts, and to RC as a whole, I would love to see updated numbers with regards to sea level rise. When that RC article was posted there was no mention of Antarctic melting, which as far as I understand is losing mass (not to be confused with “sea ice extent”; a common “skeptic” arugment). Mass losses which, again as far as I understand, were not predicted by anyone (except maybe coincidentally Hansen in his “scientific reticence” paper).

  277. Edward Greisch:

    270 Leo G: High temps on Venus are caused by CO2. Venus is the example of what we don’t want Earth to be like. Oxygen and nitrogen at the same pressure would not cause those high temps. Venus is the proof that CO2 is bad. On Venus, almost the whole atmosphere is CO2.

  278. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #253 CFU

    Excellent points. I have added them to my Arctic Amplification page.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/arctic-polar-amplification-effect/arctic-polar-amplification-effect

    Items 4. and 5.

    Let me know if you think the description is adequate and proper?

  279. Philip Machanick:

    OT but with so many comments on other stories I’m not sure where this will be most noticed. The Guardian’s Fred Pearce is now starting to accuse climate scientists of fraud: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/01/dispute-weather-fraud

    His tone in this story is a bit surprising. He calls Energy & Environment “peer reviewed” which is only technically true based on what I’ve read there…

    This stolen email he points to makes for sorry reading. This is a conspiracy? Someone harasses you for 17-year old data and you can’t find it? It’s not as if the Chinese data is inconsistent with other studies.

    Any inside story on this?

  280. Completely Fed Up:

    “I read an article last year that the high temps on Venus are from the atmospheric pressure. Wrong?”

    Cart before horse, there Leo. Causation is wrong. If you have a lot of CO2 then you have a lot of air. Therefore you have a lot of pressure. Therefore you have higher temps because PV=nRT.

    “Wrong” is not the word, but “not right” doesn’t cover it. It’s a bit like the weak anthropic principle saying “this universe is right for human life because if it weren’t we wouldn’t be here to wonder about it” then saying that the presence of humans causes a universe to be able to support human life.

    I also suspect that they didn’t actually say what you said. I.e. could have been “high pressures and high temperatures on the surface of Venus…” which you transmogrified by rephrasing into “high temperatures caused by high pressures at the surface of Venus”.

  281. Philip Machanick:

    Leo G #270: when you compress a gas, all else being unchanged, it gets warmer. However if you have a planet free to radiate to space, as the gas compresses, any extra heat generated will radiate out. So any heat caused by compression will only be retained on a planetary time scale if it can’t escape. The long-term temperature of a planet depends on on-going energy sources and the rate at which energy radiates out. That means [geothermal energy + solar energy – net outward flux], of which the first term is only enough to get you a little over absolute zero on an earth-like planet. It’s a bit more complicated than that because the atmosphere gets in the way, hence the need for sophisticated computer models, but that captures the essence.

    This is essentially the physics of how a refrigerator works. A compressor compresses gas, which heats up, and is allowed to vent out the heat. Then the gas at room temperature is decompressed and cools down.

    Venus has been well studied for a long time. If there was an alternative theory I’m sure we’d have heard of it by now. For example:

    Andrew P. Ingersoll. The Runaway Greenhouse: A History of Water on Venus, J. Atmospheric Sciences, vol. 26, Issue 6, pp.1191-1198

  282. paperbagmarlys:

    …There are entire blogs dedicated to preserve comments rejected at RealClimate…

    I might have missed it above but, hey, link, please.

    Gavin and Co. are way too tolerant of nonsense for my taste but I suspect a blog of deleted comments–real or not–might be amusing.

  283. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Josh, here’s that cite:

    Dai, A., K.E. Trenberth, and T. Qian 2004. “A Global Dataset of Palmer Drought Severity Index for 1870–2002: Relationship with Soil Moisture and Effects of Surface Warming.” J. Hydrometeorol. 1, 1117-1130.

    12% of Earth land surface “severely dry” by Palmer Drought Severity Index 1970. 2002 figure 30%.

    See also:

    Battisti, D. S., and R. L. Naylor. 2009. “Historical Warnings of Future Food Insecurity with Unprecedented Seasonal Heat.” Science 323: 240-244.

    UN warns of 70 percent desertification by 2025
    Published by Jim on Monday, October 5, 2009 at 4:15 PM

    BUENOS AIRES (AFP) — Drought could parch close to 70 percent of the planet’s soil by 2025 unless countries implement policies to slow desertification, a senior United Nations official has warned.
    “If we cannot find a solution to this problem… in 2025, close to 70 percent could be affected,” Luc Gnacadja, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, said Friday.
    Drought currently affects at least 41 percent of the planet and environmental degradation has caused it to spike by 15 to 25 percent since 1990, according to a global climate report.
    “There will not be global security without food security” in dry regions, Gnacadja said at the start of the ninth UN conference on the convention in the Argentine capital.

  284. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Fed,

    The “runaway greenhouse” applied while Venus still had oceans. Evaporation of water vapor and surface heating fed back on each other until the whole ocean evaporated, and then photodissociation removed the hydrogen and left the oxygen. That’s what brought the runaway to an end. Venus still has a greenhouse effect–the fiercest greenhouse effect in the Solar system–but not a runaway greenhouse effect.

  285. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jiminmnpls,

    1. You’re right. I misread the article.

    2. The prediction is still about right for the world. If drought went from 12% to 30% 1970-2002, and increases at the same rate in the future, it will be 75% in 2034. Do the math. A factor of 2.5 every 32 years. Maybe it will turn out to be sigmoid and take longer than that. Maybe our warming will kick in geophysical feedbacks that will make the Earth completely uninhabitable (see Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”). In any case, my prediction is not alarmist or hysterical or anything else. It’s just an extrapolation based on something we’re already observing.

    Do you get it yet? It’s already happening.

  286. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Vendicar,

    That reminds me of another quote:

    “Science makes everything sound painful, Spongebob!”
    –Sandy Paws

  287. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Dave Cooke,

    I haven’t personally drawn up a heat budget for the poles. I’m just going by what it says in the IPCC reports and climatology textbooks.

  288. Completely Fed Up:

    “That’s what brought the runaway to an end.”

    And the loss of energy to space, Hank. A negative feedback that limits the temperature Venus got, thereby limiting the runaway to a finite temperature state below the fusion point of the planet.

  289. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Leo G,

    Yes, completely wrong. Static pressure can’t continue to generate heat; that would make it a perpetual motion machine of the first kind. Even if the Cytherean atmosphere heated up by being compressed, that heat would eventually radiate away. Venus is hot because of the greenhouse effect. If its atmosphere were pure oxygen at the same pressure, it would be frozen over.

  290. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Dave,

    When I have time I will write a model of polar amplification and post the results here. May take me a while to get to it, though. But you’ve got me interested.

  291. Prokaryote:

    276 have a look here China sea levels reach record high http://www.china.org.cn/environment/2010-01/28/content_19320075.htm

  292. Completely Fed Up:

    JPR #278 (maybe), looks fine to me, but this is my reading of a potted history of the Ozone Hole and connections either made by myself or inspired by others, so feel free to change them if someone who’d studied this comes along and proffers a more accurate position.

  293. Completely Fed Up:

    “Venus is the proof that CO2 is bad. On Venus, almost the whole atmosphere is CO2.”

    It’s also proof that the saturated gas argument is wrong.

    If it were, then Venus would be only a little warmer than the earth (or, if the other concomitant meme “H2O is far more effective”, then cooler because there’s less H2O and CO2 is blocking it out).

  294. Chris Dudley:

    #280,

    Your explanation is not correct. Venus is hot because of the optical properties of the atmosphere, admitting optical light more easily than it releases infrared light. An argon atmosphere, which is pretty transparent at all wavelengths, would be cooler. If it had the same mass, it would have the same surface pressure because that is what is needed to hold it up, but the temperature would be the same as the case with no atmosphere. In order to have that high pressure, the scale height of the atmosphere would be lower and the gas would be denser at the surface.

  295. Ray Ladbury:

    Anand says “There are entire blogs dedicated to preserve comments rejected at RealClimate…”

    Paperbagmarlys says: “I might have missed it above but, hey, link, please. Gavin and Co. are way too tolerant of nonsense for my taste but I suspect a blog of deleted comments–real or not–might be amusing.”

    I know. I mean entire blogs dedicated to blog comments that were too stupid to be allowed. I mean, isn’t that about the saddest thing you’ve ever read?

  296. Didactylos:

    L. David Cooke said: “if we look at Top-Down modeling similar to that which is used for weather systems, we have a very different approach.”

    My vague understanding is that weather models (at least modern weather models) use roughly the same physics-based approach as climate models. In fact, they have a great deal in common. The main difference is scale, both spatially and temporally. Weather models are run for just a few model days, at very high resolution.

    Of course, regional models have to worry about edge effects, and for weather forecasting it is critical that the model be initialised with real world conditions. I suppose in that sense there may be some top-down factors added with the goal of getting more accurate short term forecasts.

    But this isn’t really a topic I know much about. Can anyone else comment on the history and present state of weather models, with reference to whether they are top-down or bottom-up? (It doesn’t help that so many weather forecasters keep their models proprietary.)

    Limiting ourselves to the “bottom-up” approach of climate models, scope for improvement mostly lies in improving the approximations of first principles physics, molecular mechanics and micro-scale processes. I don’t need to tell you that modelling every atom is impractical…. it’s not like we are seeking the answer to life, the universe and everything.

  297. Didactylos:

    BPL:

    It is a little simplistic to attribute all drought to climate change. Your general point is right: drought is going to be a major problem in the future. I wouldn’t be so definite about the timescale, though.

  298. Martin Vermeer:

    Philip Machanick #279: have a look at deltoid open thread 39. Old hat.

  299. Hank Roberts:

    Septic Matthew says: 2 February 2010 at 11:33 PM
    > Here are some sea level data….
    > … appinsys.com …

    Not an unbiased source. Always look to the actual science, not opinion blogs.
    If you find a source at an opinion blog, go to the original source and check what was said for yourself

  300. Geoff Wexler:

    Re #279 Philip Machanick and #298 Martin Vermeer;

    also , but without much detail, here :

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/norfolk/8494497.stm

  301. Hank Roberts:

    Matthew, check into sources you rely on; as an example
    http://www.google.com/search?q=appinsys+wilkinson
    Get an idea of their agenda; don’t rely on secondary sites, go to the original science.

  302. Leo G:

    BPL –

    {3 February 2010 at 6:14 AM
    Vendicar,

    That reminds me of another quote:

    “Science makes everything sound painful, Spongebob!”
    –Sandy Paws}

    Now there’s a real scientist!

    Thanx for the quote, it help to start my day off in the right mood.

    And thanx to all who take the time to answer my queries, believe me, they are much appreciated.

    CFU – I’ll see if I archived that statement, to see if I did indeed misinterpret it.

    Off to work now, have a great day all!

  303. L. David Cooke:

    RE: 290

    Hey Barton,

    Here in is a link to the last NCEP chart that the nomads server at ncdc provided. ( http://nomads.ncdc.noaa.gov/ncep-charts/hires/20091231/gdas.200.hgt.iso.nh.anl.00.20091231.gif )

    I have been able to tweak the Systems Admin./Web Master for the last three years and get the Year field updated to the current year in the search window. This past year however, it appears that there is no longer any systems funding available to continue to support the system and it is no longer being maintained.

    For me and my short stint at Elon University it has provided a great insight to the atmospheric processes. I have been able to watch the development of pressure waves at high altitudes and see them develop towards the ground. (The light green wave found in the former 250 mb isotach stn and now the 200 mb isotach stn apparently is a representation of the northern Jet Stream.)

    When I couple the NOAA ENSO and NAO forecasts with the NH analysis the wealth of knowledge you can obtain by the visualization out strips any table or charting of the data set I had ever seen before in the last 40 years. However, times change as do the funding organizations so like most things eventually a wonderful resource must be retired. I would be very interested in seeing the results of your modeling.

    The main point is when I tied the above data set into the Water Vapor data I was observing at the Unidata site on UCAR ( http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/data/suominet/loop/loop2/suomi_ani_zoom.html ) the ideas I have shared earlier quickly came into focus.

    Well I think I had better cut this short, I know there are others that have their own ignorance to flout. I am just glad for the opportunity to share mine with the more tolerant technical team here then we first saw on the climate change Yahoo message boards a decade ago…

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  304. Steve Fish:

    Re Comment by Didactylos — 3 February 2010 @ 8:55 AM:
    “(It doesn’t help that so many weather forecasters keep their models proprietary.)”

    Gasp!

    Steve

  305. Completely Fed Up:

    Leo: “CFU – I’ll see if I archived that statement, to see if I did indeed misinterpret it.”

    Check how Hank read the 70%, which may have been actually the reporter.

    The problems with many take-away points in modern news reporting that relies on soundbytes is that you’re missing what the reporter means.

    I.e. did that 70% mean 70% of the 40% or 70% of whatever part of the 40% is drought ridden (as opposed to desert)? Did that reporter add 40% to 28% and get 68% which is 70% “or good enough for government^W news reports”?

  306. Completely Fed Up:

    “297
    Didactylos says:
    3 February 2010 at 9:02 AM

    BPL:

    It is a little simplistic to attribute all drought to climate change.”

    However, it won’t help, will it. Overall, it will get worse. Unless higher temperatures destroy deserts…

  307. Completely Fed Up:

    “294
    Chris Dudley says:
    3 February 2010 at 7:38 AM

    #280,

    Your explanation is not correct.”

    Chris, it wasn’t an explanation of how venus was hot.

    It was a possible way that someone could get “Venus is hot” and “High pressures at the surface of Venus” to mean “Venus is hot because of high surface pressure”.

    This is a cart-before-horse problem because as you and others have mentioned, such heat is lost and therefore pressure by itself cannot cause high temperatures.

    But high temperatures at the surface can cause high pressures, if the gas is dense.

    T is big. P then big.

    Whereas the report was P is big then T big.

  308. Didactylos:

    “entire blogs dedicated to blog comments that were too stupid to be allowed. I mean, isn’t that about the saddest thing you’ve ever read?”

    I don’t know about all of you, but I only post about half of what I write, consigning the rest to the void of “not worth saying”. RC has enough of a signal to noise problem as it is….. says me, adding to the noise.

    Few posts are so great that they don’t benefit from a second look before clicking “Submit”.

  309. Andrew:

    BPL and others: Re: The Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). I guess it’s beauty is that past PDSI’s can be calculated based on historic rainfall and temperature data. However, I’ve used it for years along with water level measurements in shallow basins and it’s definitely a blunt instrument. A much better indicator of drought or changing rainfall patters in my opinion is low flow stream volume. Not total volume where massive flooding can compensate for long dry periods, but base flow or summer flow or some other measure of low flow. For example: a graph of the days of a year where no flow or only base flow is present on the y-axis and year on the x-axis is enlightening. Of course irrigation and withdrawals need to be considered. I have found that gages on small streams without significant base flow is a good measure of what’s going on with local rainfall patterns. It’s all about finding the right stream and the right gage site.

  310. Blair Dowden:

    Re #283: Barton, I find it very hard to believe 30 years of global warming has caused an 18% increase in the “dry” area of the Earth, using any reasonable measure. This implies a “drought sensitivity” of around 40% per degree of warming. Extrapolating this backwards is absurd; did deserts almost disappear during the Little Ice Age? Extrapolating forward is no better, the reconstructions of the Pliocene that I have seen, when it was about 3 degrees warmer, show an increase in vegetated area, not a decrease.

    I suspect that internal climate variation noise is being measured (is the 1970 date cherry picked?), but I do not have access to the Dai paper. The Battisti paper is about high temperatures affecting crops, not drought, so it is not relevant to this question.

  311. Anand:

    I try to follow the mods’ lead in keeping the discussion focus. But comments about RC post deletion/mutilation have kept appearing meaning they are being let through. Therefore…

    I posted here earlier on this thread. Again, nothing abusive, certiainly not as bad as some material that has already appeared on this thread.

    That post has gone down a memory-hole. It has not appeared here at all.

    Doug:
    You declared unilaterally that there is no supression of posts, implying a certain open culture. Yet Gavin says we’re supposed to be at a dinner party of sorts. There is obviously a disconnect. I have a lot of little rocks in my pocket now. :)

    CFU, Ray and the others: You can understand why I have suddenly lost motivation to post on this forum now. Any user can reply to comments or ignore them and be in a discussion, but post discussion is something I have no control over and personally find very distateful.

    Thanks for your time
    And stop asking for climate money :)
    Anand

  312. Doug Bostrom:

    L. David Cooke says: 3 February 2010 at 11:33 AM

    “Here in is a link to the last NCEP chart that the nomads server at ncdc provided. ( http://nomads.ncdc.noaa.gov/ncep-charts/hires/20091231/gdas.200.hgt.iso.nh.anl.00.20091231.gif )

    I have been able to tweak the Systems Admin./Web Master for the last three years and get the Year field updated to the current year in the search window. This past year however, it appears that there is no longer any systems funding available to continue to support the system and it is no longer being maintained.”

    Well that just helped partially ruin my day. Talk about “for lack of a nail”; here’s data already being gathered, automatically processed for peanuts, but we can’t look at it because the interface is expired?

    Arrrgh. We are just so screwed. FYVM, “Club for Growth”.

  313. Anand:

    Sorry “post discussion is something I have no control over…”

    should read

    “post deletion is something I have no control over…”

  314. Didactylos:

    CFU said: “Overall, it will get worse.”

    Again, not particularly accurate. Precipitation changes mean that while some regions will suffer severe drought, others will get more water. Think a little about why the regions experiencing drought are significant in terms of human suffering.

    You insist on using black and white, when reality is much more nuanced.

  315. Norman Page:

    Few people ever seem to refer to the AR4 WG1 report which forms the scientific basis for all the AGW hysteria.. The key section is 8.6 which deals with the forcings and feedbacks and climate sensitivity.After reviewing water vapour and cloud cover the conclusion is as follows ” Moreover it is not yet clear which tests are critical for constraining future projections. Consequently a set of model metrics that might be used to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and climate sensitivity has yet to be developed.”
    No sceptic would disagree with that perfectly good statement which clearly means that future temperatures cannot be predicted and all the forecasts of CO2 caused disaster are merely speculation with no scientific base. How this conclusion became distorted in the other sections of AR4 and the Policy Summary and was taken up by the Western politicians and chattering classes in the great anti CO2 crusade would form an interesting study of mass manipulation and delusion.

  316. Chris Dudley:

    #307,

    No, you are not getting it. The pressure is fixed by the mass of the atmosphere (and the gravity of the planet). The thing that changes in response to temperature in a non-condensing atmosphere is the scale height, how puffed up the atmosphere is.

    In other words, the pressure at the surface is set by hydrostatic equilibrium and it cannot change so long as the mass of the atmosphere is conserved.

  317. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #292 CFU

    I’m always ready to update in the face of new solid or well reasoned evidence :)

  318. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    Justice is a dish best served with cold beer and good friends:

    http://voices.kansascity.com/node/7482

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/science/earth/04climate.html

  319. Septic Matthew:

    Hank Roberts, if that information was incorrect, and you didn’t say it was, link to better information. Everybody has an agenda, even scientists and peer-reviewers.

  320. Stephen Pruett:

    I assume this may address a relatively small portion of Trenberth’s comments about not knowing why the models don’t agree with the current lack of increase in temperature? During the era of measured temperatures, warming has been occurring since about 1970, but not in the last 10 years, right? So, we have 30 years of warming followed by 10 years with no clear warming pattern. In most fields of research, a data set in which 1/4 of the data do not fit the expected trend or in which the trend occurred at 3 time points but not at the 4th would be regarded as inadequate to make any predictions about future trends. Why is this regarded as sufficient in climate science, or is it?

  321. Doug Bostrom:

    Orbiting Carbon Observatory (atomized in launch failure) to be replaced. Yay!

    News:

    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1002/03smdbudget/

  322. Josh Cryer:

    283 Barton Paul Levenson, thanks very much for the cite, I didn’t doubt your statement, I just like to have concrete sources. :)

  323. Edward Greisch:

    283 Barton Paul Levenson: Great post! Do you have a URL for that 9th UN report? Published Where by Jim on Monday? A URL for that is exactly what we need. I’m forwarding your post to my US senators.

  324. RockyMtn:

    This is OT, but was posted at CA, posting it here in case CA decides to delete:

    “this was posted at CA @ 12:29 am:

    Mr. McIntyre,

    Were you one of the complainants against Mann? If so, could we please see the correspondence that you sent to Penn State? Thanks.

    So one can conclude that you would have no reservations with someone using FIPPA to see all your UofT emails (sent and received and cc’d and deleted) that may make reference to CA, Mann, CRU, CanWest, David Rose, Friends of Science, Tom Harris, IPCC etc.? Just to make sure that you are on the up and up; of course you are probably clean, just as Mann is, but people are asking questions. Same goes for your colleague McKitrick. The results of all such investigations should be made publically available, including transcripts of all interviews with you and Ross, should it come to that.

    Given the important nature of your work here at CA, people have the right to see unequivocal proof that you were telling the truth when you stated that “Everyhting that I’ve [SteveM] done in this, I’ve done in good faith”.

    With those important details out of the way, you and Mann could then return to advancing the science.”

  325. Richard C:

    OT admittedly but I am miffed that Greenpeace decides to call for Pachauri’s resignation at a time when we need solidarity. He may not be the best Chair for IPCC but he’s what we have got for now.

    To point on Venus – CO2 thermal runaway amply demonstrated there. Need we have a better example?

  326. Vendicar Decarian:

    If Sponge Bob was a Republican Speech writer who had close ties with high Republican office, I’d be equally concerned.

    That reminds me of another quote:

    “Science makes everything sound painful, Spongebob!”
    –Sandy Paws

    Original quote

    “Science leads you to killing people.” – Ben Stein – Republican Speech Writer.

  327. Philip Machanick:

    Thanks for the responses to my #279. UEA has a response worth reading (found via Deltoid).

  328. Completely Fed Up:

    “In most fields of research, a data set in which 1/4 of the data do not fit the expected trend or in which the trend occurred at 3 time points but not at the 4th would be regarded as inadequate to make any predictions about future trends. Why is this regarded as sufficient in climate science, or is it?”

    Because the expected trend is still not voided.

    You need longer than 10 years.

    Here’s a “trick” for you to try on the data.

    Remove the 1998 figure.

    Then interpolate the two years either side to refill the gap.

    Now have a look at the trend.

    Your “missing on 1/4 of the data” is absolutely false and, if you’re not trolling, is merely an artefact of your pattern seeking brain.

    Because taking that one year out (as denialists were parroting on about in 1999 when the record breaking year could have been used to “prove” AGW, you can’t use the 1998 figure to determine the change in climate) changes your pattern.

    Rather than being 1/4 the data, it’s one year’s data out of 150.

  329. Completely Fed Up:

    “314
    Didactylos says:
    3 February 2010 at 1:32 PM

    CFU said: “Overall, it will get worse.”

    Again, not particularly accurate. ”

    You didn’t say it was wrong either. Probably because it wasn’t.

    And therefore YOUR “not particularly accurate” isn’t really particularly accurate itself.

  330. Blair Dowden:

    Re 315: Norman Page, you are creating a false dichotomy between 100% certainty about the role of water vapor and clouds, which of course does not exist, and the alternative that we therefore know absolutely nothing. Future temperature and climate cannot be perfectly predicted, but adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere creates a known and significant increase in heat added to the Earth system. Sure, people make unsupported claims of environmental disaster with false certainty, in fact I am challenging such a claim in 310. But it does not follow that we can keep adding CO2 with no effects on climate.

  331. dhogaza:

    In most fields of research, a data set in which 1/4 of the data do not fit the expected trend or in which the trend occurred at 3 time points but not at the 4th would be regarded as inadequate to make any predictions about future trends. Why is this regarded as sufficient in climate science, or is it?

    It’s a strawman. Climate science has never said that CO2-forced warming would lead to monotonically increasing temperatures suddenly absent of the kind of natural variation that has been observed in the past. Climate science has never said that CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere would suddenly cause variations in solar output to suddenly cease. Or ENSO to disappear. Etc.

    All you need to do is to look at a graph of global temps over the last century. You’ll see there’s nothing unusual about the last decade (other than its being the warmest on record).

  332. MR SH:

    Re #320: Such a qualitative statement often leads man false. Suppose the simple function y(t)= at + sin t. You can easily find the 50% increaseing period and 50% decreasing period when 0<a<1 although y(t) has a increasing trend.

  333. MR SH:

    # 320: Such a statement does not make sense. Suppose a simple function y(t)= at +sin t (0<a<1). You can easily find 50% increasing period and 50% decreasing period even if y(t) has an apparent increasing trend.

  334. Ray Ladbury:

    Norman Page says of that uncertainty over forcing due to clouds “…clearly means that future temperatures cannot be predicted and all the forecasts of CO2 caused disaster are merely speculation with no scientific base.”

    Wrong! While it is true that there remain significant uncertainties in forcing due to clouds–and aerosols, too, for that matter–in no way does this seriously hamper model development for two main reasons:
    1)All the best information available to date suggests that forcing due to clouds is slightly positive.
    2)We know that overall CO2 sensitivity is between 2 and 4.5 degrees per doubling based on about a dozen separate lines of evidence.

    It is surprising to me that a PhD geologist would simply abandon hope of progress upon encountering a bit of uncertainty in his initial approach to the problem. It would seem to me that any decent scientist would look at other avenues for progress and bound the uncertainty that way. In effect that is what climate scientists have done. That is why they have been able to predict 3 decades of warming, while the denialists have managed to accomplish at last count…nothing.

  335. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #311 Anand

    What is climate money? Or did you mean money for climate research ;)

    So you don’t think the US military should have studied the upper atmosphere?

    You think understanding climate to understand decadal shifts in natural variation for global agriculture is a bad idea?

    Do you think understanding how plants react to increased Co2 concentration is not something we should explore?

    Do you think, generally speaking, understanding the climate is something that should be dropped from the agenda?

    Do you know anything about farming and what affects plant growth?

    Do you think farmers should not understand climate?

    Or are you simply against research in general of all sorts?

    What are you advocating? Going back to hunter gatherer?

  336. Septic Matthew:

    325, Richard C.: OT admittedly but I am miffed that Greenpeace decides to call for Pachauri’s resignation at a time when we need solidarity.

    I don’t know whether Pachauri is too compromised to be an effective chairman, but what you call “solidarity” is also called “circling the wagons”, and it is not what the UN IPCC needs right now. What IPCC needs right now is a public rededication to excellence (I am not saying they haven’t, only that it is necessary.) Most of the actual mistakes are minor and easily corrected, but they should be openly acknowledged and corrected. What has been evinced by Pachauri is a record of denying and not correcting the mistakes, while concurrently reporters are reporting his conflicts of interest, and former members of IPCC are expressing dissatisfaction with the way IPCC mishandled contradictory information.

  337. Didactylos:

    CFU: my criticism, again, is that you refuse to examine detail. You write your headline, and that’s all she wrote. Or, at least, all you ever write.

    Please stop trying to score cheap points. Slow down, and have a more substantive discussion.

  338. L. David Cooke:

    Hey Barton,

    I just wanted to share a few additional links as relate to the polar “blocking” highs that I believe relate to the polar amplification and here are a few links related to tropical water vapor transport. (I admit I have to say I have not located a good replacement for my old nomads SRRS reference so if any have an updated alternative it would be welcomed.)

    Polar Blocking High
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=36972
    http://www.igidl.ul.pt/Ricardo/Trigo_etal_block_2004.pdf

    Water Vapor Transport
    http://www.ccpo.odu.edu/SEES/ozone/class/Chap_6/6_5.htm
    http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/data/geo/index.php?satellite=east&channel=wv&coverage=fd&file=jpg&imgoranim=img
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/16/nasa-says-airs-satellite-data-shows-positive-water-vapor-feedback/

    General Reference for the un-initiated:
    http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/wmovl/VRL/Texts/SATELLITE_METEOROLOGY/CHAPTER-4.PDF

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  339. RockyMtn:

    A warning to everyone. This is what happens when one asks blunt and awkward questions as CA:

    “Jean S: I’ve checked your math skills, and they don’t impress me much. After checking your IP, I think you have no business of being rude and hostile on this site. Your comments are OT, and from now on I will simply delete all of your comments unless they are strictly on the topic. You’ve been warned.”

  340. Hank Roberts:

    Remember why Pachauri has the job?
    http://www.slate.com/id/2064611/
    http://www.nrdc.org/media/docs/020403.pdf

  341. Rod B:

    Richard Ordway (242) , I know this has been discussed here before, but I guess I just didn’t focus or maybe missed the points. With this apology I have some questions on your answer to polar amplification.

    The albedo difference between ice and water is large — but not that large: 30-40% for most ice and about 5% for water, except EM waves that come in at a low angle, like much of the arctic, can have albedo up to about 10-15%. Does this really make that much difference? Secondly, does Arctic ice melt from the top or the bottom? If from the bottom it sounds like ice is melting because the sea water is warming up because the ice melted. Sounds goofy. Though is it more of a positive feedback thing?

    The same circular logic seems to apply to your point #2 (increased water vapor), though that, too, sounds like it might be a feedback mechanism.

    Your #4: why would the latent heat transfer differ between ice and sea water?

    Something sticks in my memory that ocean currents have a big effect on polar amplification. Isn’t that correct? Or is my memory failing me?

  342. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Norman Page: “…a set of model metrics that might be used to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and climate sensitivity has yet to be developed…” No sceptic would disagree with that perfectly good statement which clearly means that future temperatures cannot be predicted and all the forecasts of CO2 caused disaster are merely speculation with no scientific base.

    It doesn’t mean anything of the sort. They want to narrow the range. They did NOT say the range was wide open, which is what you seem to think. Whether the Charney sensitivity to doubled CO2 is 2 K or 4.5 K, we’re still in big, vast trouble.

  343. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Stephen Pruett: “During the era of measured temperatures, warming has been occurring since about 1970, but not in the last 10 years, right? So, we have 30 years of warming followed by 10 years with no clear warming pattern. In most fields of research, a data set in which 1/4 of the data do not fit the expected trend or in which the trend occurred at 3 time points but not at the 4th would be regarded as inadequate to make any predictions about future trends. Why is this regarded as sufficient in climate science, or is it?”

    BPL: Because climate scientists understand statistics, and you clearly don’t. ALL the points matter EQUALLY. If you get a significant trend (and “significance” is something that can be MEASURED), it doesn’t matter what a cherry-picked subset of the data is using–taking that subset together WITH all the other subsets still produces a significant trend.

    And, BTW, it is still warming.

  344. Richard Ordway:

    “A Penn State academic board of inquiry has cleared Michael Mann of scientific misconduct in the “climategate”.”

    “A Penn State academic board of inquiry has cleared Michael Mann of scientific misconduct.

    The major findings:

    — When Mann said in an e-mail he had used a “trick” in a graph that showed global warming in the 20th century, he wasn’t manipulating data, as critics have loudly claimed.

    The Penn State board found that, “The so-called ‘trick’ was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field.”

    — Mann didn’t destroy e-mail messages; the ones in question were produced to the Penn State board.”

    What are you guys scared of? A big government takeover or losing oil, coal and gas profits? There might not be any government to takeover or oil, coal or gas profits even possible in 100 years if we don’t get this climate problem fixed soon.

    Human-caused-global warming has a long latency (~40 years or so), or lag time, or huge heating in the pipeline, or climate commitment due to the oceans huge heat capcity (thermal inertial). It means there is a whole lot that are going to happen in 40 years in the future (unless you change the laws of physics) that we have utterly no control over because it is already here and takes 40 years to manifest because the oceans hide it delay it) for 40 years.

    How many innocent scientists, just doing their jobs, have you tried to publicly slander…Tom Wigley (1996) and now Michael Mann.

    Countries that suppress their scientists lose their world’s economic competitive advantage. It is a major reason why Portugal, of only a million inhabitants, became a world superpower in the 1500s.

    Under Prince Henry, they started arguably the world’s first scientific research institute at Sagres, Portugal which used science to strip away superstition of the oceans and scientifically catalogued the ocean’s trade winds, routes and for the development of new ship designs and weapons.

    The most brilliant people immigrated to Sagres from all over the known world in a brain drain from other countries. You guys are hurting your country and your kid’s future by attacking science and scientists.

    Read a very readable pulitizer prize winner’s book showing the politics of what Tom Wigley and publishing climate science went through in the 1990s to today called “The Heat is on” by Ross Gelbspan (try Amazon.com).

    http://voices.kansascity.com/node/7482
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/science/earth/04climate.html

  345. Skip Smith:

    What? No headlines about the outcome of the Mann investigation at PSU? Or would that be too obvious?

  346. Skip Smith:

    >>”OT admittedly but I am miffed that Greenpeace decides to call for Pachauri’s resignation at a time when we need solidarity.”<<

    We don't need solidarity. We need competent scientists.

  347. David B. Benson:

    Stephen Pruett (320) — Those matters hae be thoroughly addressed in several recent thread’s over on Tamino’s Open Mind blog, linked on the sidebar.

  348. Doug Bostrom:

    Rod B says: 4 February 2010 at 1:02 PM

    “The albedo difference between ice and water is large — but not that large: 30-40% for most ice and about 5% for water, except EM waves that come in at a low angle, like much of the arctic, can have albedo up to about 10-15%. Does this really make that much difference?”

    Well if you work out the numbers that’s a huge difference, right? Let’s say for argument’s sake a perpendicular sun angle. You’re looking at absorption of roughly 950W/m2 for water versus 700W/m2 for ice, so 250W/m2 difference. Using some of the slightly less dramatic anomaly figures from the Arctic, that leads to a difference of about 350GW increased absorption during August when comparing the beginning and end of the Arctic ice anomaly record, not using 2007. Work that into joules captured in August and it’s a pretty staggering amount of heat. That number can be refined of course and I’m sure it’ll get smaller if the maths are done with actual insolation angles, but the point is how much area we’re talking about; seemingly small differences stack up pretty fast.

    “Something sticks in my memory that ocean currents have a big effect on polar amplification. Isn’t that correct? Or is my memory failing me?”

    Loads of good stuff on that, here:

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/oce/pubs/03pubs_files/Holland-ClimDyn.pdf

  349. Richard Steckis:

    334
    Ray Ladbury says:
    4 February 2010 at 10:59 AM

    “1)All the best information available to date suggests that forcing due to clouds is slightly positive.
    2)We know that overall CO2 sensitivity is between 2 and 4.5 degrees per doubling based on about a dozen separate lines of evidence.”

    1. wrong. please cite these studies you claim to be the best information available. Spencer, who is an authority on cloud forcing is not doubt not one of your “best available” indicates in his research that clouds are a negative feedback.

    2. Wrong again. There are just as many studies that indicate that co2 sensitivity is nowhere near that high. See:

    Schwartz (2007) – 1.1 +- 0.5 K
    Chylek and Lohmann (2008), GRL – 1.3 – 2.3K

    [edit – stop with the tiresome cliches]

    [Response: Plus note that neither of those studies have stood the test of time. Foster et al, (2008); Schwartz (2008); Annan and Hargreaves (2009). – gavin]

  350. Completely Fed Up:

    False dichotomy, Rod B: “Secondly, does Arctic ice melt from the top or the bottom? If from the bottom it sounds like ice is melting because the sea water is warming up because the ice melted.”

    Why only one?

    Warm sea: from the bottom.

    Warm sun: from the top.

    Chemical deposition: from any surface.

    These are examples, not an exhaustive list.

  351. Completely Fed Up:

    Rod B : “The same circular logic seems to apply”

    Pithily, but with accuracy: what do you think a feedback CYCLE means?

  352. David Horton:

    John P Reisman – “Going back to hunter gatherer?” Hunter gatherers had a very detailed set of observations on weather trends, and water availability, and plant growth. They had old men with long memories and longer traditions. They had people with detailed knowledge about animal abundance and movements, and others in relation to plant distribution and flowering and fruiting. They had meetings where they compared data with neighbouring groups. They wrote down information in the form of maps and long detailed stories. They passed on knowledge to the younger generation. The elders who had the data were treasured and revered.

    If you didn’t do all that you starved, died of thirst, didn’t survive.

  353. Jim Bouldin:

    Orbiting Carbon Observatory (atomized in launch failure) to be replaced. Yay! News: http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1002/03smdbudget/

    That’s the news of the week. Fantastic.

  354. Steven Jörsäter:

    Great wisdom indeed! The Solomon paper really came as a great gift. I have been trying to understand how Hansen argues in the paper further down the
    page and his related recent article

    on the same subject. Hansen claims that “global warming is continuing unabated” right up into the present. This is surprising since his own temperature curves shows that the trend is quite flat. I mentioned this in a few comments to his article here on RC. This generated a number of comments, some of them unfortunately rather scornful with a general message that climate trends cannot be meaningfully measured over such a short period as a decade. There is something to that but then I don’t understand how Hansen can conclude with certainty that global warming is still going on. And if you are to look for recent trend changes you have no choice but to look at recent data.

    Now Solomon and coworkes have done exactly that, looked at recent trends which they found surprisingly flat. The reason for this is a drop in the last decade in the humidity in the stratosphere which partly masks the underlying warming, they claim. In addition, they may have found important physics and possible negative feedback mechanisms which are not reflected in current models. It would be interesting to hear Hansen’s comments to as to why he refused to see the current flat trend in his data which may turn out to have substantial scientific importance. And a comment from Gavin whether he still thinks that the understanding of the physics underlying the modelling of climate change is quite as solid as he claimed a week ago. Who are really the denialists here?

    [Response: If you think my understanding of the physics changes on a week by week basis, that would clearly be you. – gavin]

  355. David B. Benson:

    Richard Steckis (349) — Go to Retto Knutti’s publications page to read his (at least) two papers on climate sensitivity, the earlier one being a “comment on Schwartz”. Annan & Hargreaves have (at least) two papers on the subject which are very good.

    I also recommend reading a good summary of
    AGU Day 2: The role of CO2 in the earth#s history (Richard Alley’s talk)
    http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/?p=1121

  356. David B. Benson:

    Steven Jörsäter (354) — But this just past decade is the warmest on record.

    Tamino, on his Open Mind blog (on the sidebar) has several recent threads devoted to explaining how to interpret this century’s global temperature data.

  357. Richard Ordway:

    Skip Smith says:
    “What? No headlines about the outcome of the Mann investigation at PSU? Or would that be too obvious?”

    The last I heard, PSU cleared Mann of three charges and are still investigating a fourth more closely. Why are you trying to slander a scientist who enagages in science.

    Science, is initially dirty and is made of slime and scientists mud slinging as well as any women’s mud wrestling match. However it’s what these mudslingers have that holds up in the open world wide peer review literature over time that matters.

    It’s why you are not stepping in your own poop, drinking out of a common bucket with thousands of strangers and not murdering yourselves in Salem witch trials any more and why your mother or grandmother probably did not die in childbirth.

    It’s ugly, but its the best system we have…and by and large it works over time.

    If you like saussage, the laws that protect you and keep your neighbor from hitting you over the head, and the benefits from science, you don’t want to see how they are all made. It’s ugly.

    I’ve personally known many publishing scientists over 11 years whose work held up under peer review over time…and some that it does not (not from NCAR, NOAA, NASA, EPA, DOE, but they might exist).

    Some whose work held up over time, frankly were as sweet and non political people as you could ever meet. Others, frankly were prima donnas who were as_ hol_s who no one could stand and no one liked..not even their own families. However, their work still holds up over time whether they were jerks or sweet people.

    Pray tell. What final conclusions has PSU reached against Michael Mann… Please show your evidence. I want evidence, evidence, evidence, not personal slander, not heresay. Publish it dude. I did.

    Even if Michael Mann does get hit on the fourth charge (who knows), Mann’s work has held up over time. This is not to exonerate him, but to give a sense of perspective. Plenty of studies have been freely brought against his studies, Mcintyre, Mckitrick etc but did not hold up.

    http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/story/1771720.html

  358. Ike Solem:

    Norman Page says, regarding the IPCC FAR’s section 8.6 on water vapor and cloud cover, that “No sceptic would disagree with that perfectly good statement which clearly means that future temperatures cannot be predicted.”

    Since you want to rely on the IPCC FAR, here is some more in-context material, to help evaluate the question: predictable or not?

    “8.6.3.1.2 Summary of water vapour and lapse fate feedbacks
    Significant progress has been made since the TAR in understanding and evaluating water vapour and lapse rate feedbacks. New tests have been applied to GCMs, and have generally found skill in the representation of large-scale free tropospheric humidity responses to seasonal and interannual variability, volcano-induced cooling and climate trends. New evidence from both observations and models has reinforced the conventional view of a roughly unchanged RH response to warming…

    The abundance of water vapor in the lower stratosphere now appears to complicate this picture a bit, as it appears to amplify the radiative forcing effects of various natural and anthropogenic processes, from El Nino & volcanoes to the industrial leap in methane concentrations. Clouds are a long standing problem, however:

    8.6.3.2.4 Conclusion on cloud feedbacks
    Despite some advances in the understanding of the physical processes that control the cloud response to climate change and in the evaluation of some components of cloud feedbacks in current models, it is not yet possible to assess which of the model estimates of cloud feedback is the most reliable. However, progress has been made in the identification of the cloud types, the dynamical regimes and the regions of the globe responsible for the large spread of cloud feedback estimates among current models.

    That seems more like “predictable with error bars” – and keep in mind, “uncertainty” includes positive anomalies as well as negative ones.

    Consider the basic physics problem, a ball thrown with given velocity and angle – where does it land? The beginning physics student is never instructed to include the force of friction. To make the problem hideously complex, include a strong breeze with occasional random wind gusts, and do the calculations for a golf ball and also for a soccer ball. This introduces a larger range of uncertainty in the prediction. This uncertainty might overwhelm our predictive ability. For example, if we throw a feather into a breeze, who knows where it will end up – but with a golf ball, we have a much better idea. So – is the “climate trajectory” that of a feather or a golf ball?

    Let’s look at predictions of polar amplification, as one example. If the warming paused during the past decade, then why was the loss of Arctic sea ice ahead of the range of model predictions during the past decade? Are the models off? For a nice animation of the Arctic sea ice extent from 1979-2009, see:
    http://nsidc.org/sotc/sea_ice_animation.html

    During the 1990s, the lack of climate-model predicted polar amplification, which is now pretty evident, was a central denialist point – now conveniently forgotten. To be much fair, some of the “alarmist” themes, such as the likelihood of extremely rapid climate destabilization due to oceanic “conveyor belt” shutdowns, now also appear less likely. Instead, Britain is getting flooded on a more regular basis – and the ice caps steadily, but slowly, drip away – as per projections. That looks pretty good compared to econometric modeling, doesn’t it?

    P.S. Regarding the Himalayan glacier issue:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100203161436.htm

    “Black Carbon a Significant Factor in Melting of Himalayan Glaciers, Feb 4 2010″

    Thhu most effective short-term step to reduce the rate of glacial melt could be to limit the sources of black carbon in the region – which include combustion of coal & dung/biomass in both domestic and industrial settings, as well as particulate emissions from diesel and ship bunker fuel. Energy options that don’t involve additional CO2 emissions would thus be solar, nuclear and wind – and although household- or village-scale nuclear is unlikely, that’s not the case for solar and wind.

  359. Richard Steckis:

    “Response: Plus note that neither of those studies have stood the test of time. Foster et al, (2008); Schwartz (2008); Annan and Hargreaves (2009). – gavin]”

    Criticisms from single papers does not make the criticisms correct or negate the original papers. If there was an outpouring of criticism then I might be more convinced.

    [Response: Why would the community bother? People don’t write a dozen papers making the same points. Instead, people read the responses and judge for themselves whether they have merit. And in these cases they do – even Schwartz updated his estimate in the 2008 paper! Are you now declaring that he doesn’t know his own mind? It seems to me that you are just picking on numbers that you like without looking into how they are derived or the obvious problems with them (all of which were amply demonstrated in the comments). That might work great in comment threads, but don’t confuse it with actual science. – gavin]

  360. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #352 David Horton

    True. But they did not have satellites ;)

    Of course I’m not saying the hunter/gatherers were without understanding of various sorts. I do think our modern scientific understanding of cycles are somewhat more wrought in detail and understanding.

    My point to Anand of course being should we stop trying to understand climate and abandon the wisdom, study, understanding and traditions passed on by “old men with long memories and longer traditions” or the more recent scientists that use more modern observational technology?

    More specifically I am trying to point out to Anand, since he said scientists should stop asking for money for research, that it would probably be a bad idea to stop such relevant research.

  361. tharanga:

    Off topic, but in light of the current El Nino and the impressively warm recent satellite readings:

    I’ve always been curious about El Ninos: To what extent do they merely re-distribute heat, and to what extent are there also changes in radiative transfer?

    While it may be difficult to track energy flows around the planet (as Trenberth so colorfully put it), it should be really easy to track energy flows within a model run. And models do have some ENSO-like behavior.

    So has anybody published a paper about their model results, discussing ENSO in the context of my question?

  362. gary thompson:

    since this topic is related to absorption in the atmosphere i figure this is the best place to post this request/question.

    i’ve been reading the articles on RC relating to CO2 saturation and i really enjoyed the part I (Weart) and part II (Raypierre) articles – well done and i learned a lot. all of this helps me understand the explanation that CO2 in the troposphere isn’t all that matters and that you have to look at what gets absorbed in the stratasphere as well and the experiments with tubes in a lab were all good to support this but have we performed the ultimate experiment (in my opinion) that will prove what amount of IR wavelengths get absorbed vs. what escapes? the tubes only contained CO2 and didn’t account for lower pressures at higher altitudes so it would be interesting to see how this theory holds out under real conditions. is it possible to put a satellite with an IR detector in space and then aim finely tuned IR wavelengths (those that cause CO2
    molecules to vibrate the most ~13-17um) at that detector and see what the attenuation is? this could be done at varying times of the year, different latitudes, etc. This type of experiment was talked about in the part II article and i might be oversimplifying the complexity (not to mention the tight funding) of this project but i would have to think this is important. Hubble can ‘see’ in the near IR (with NICMOS) but that only goes up to about 1um if memory serves me correctly so we can’t use what is already up there. has this already been done?

  363. Doug Bostrom:

    Oh, brother, do not let me near a calculator before I’ve had coffee. Earlier I said:

    “Let’s say for argument’s sake a perpendicular sun angle. You’re looking at absorption of roughly 950W/m2 for water versus 700W/m2 for ice, so 250W/m2 difference. Using some of the slightly less dramatic anomaly figures from the Arctic, that leads to a difference of about 350GW increased absorption during August when comparing the beginning and end of the Arctic ice anomaly record, not using 2007. Work that into joules captured in August and it’s a pretty staggering amount of heat. That number can be refined of course and I’m sure it’ll get smaller if the maths are done with actual insolation angles, but the point is how much area we’re talking about; seemingly small differences stack up pretty fast. ”

    Actually, the rough answer is 350TW, not 350GW. Big Oops. Big enough number to exceed my intuitive numeracy…

    This sort of speaks to my current monomaniacal bent on ocean heat. The ocean can swallow truly stupendous amounts of energy without even chewing. But if it burps some heat back out, just a little eructation from the ocean’s perspective, it can set all the little pinwheels in the atmosphere to spinning frantically, even blowing away.

  364. Clark Lampson:

    I see the UAH sat temp anomaly for Jan 2010 just came in at a record. Since these are monthly anomalies, is there a seasonal adjustment to the actual computed monthly temp, i.e. might January be cooler than July for the same anomaly value, because of different monthly corrections? I no the globe is round, but there are differences in land/ocean ratios etc, so I could see a seasonal adjustment. Just interested, I know it does not make much difference which way it is done, seasonally adjusted or not.

  365. Clark Lampson:

    If GISS shows as much of a pop as UAH for Jan 2010, will the 12-month period from Feb1 2009 to Jan 31, 2010 be the hottest 12-month period in the instrumental record?

  366. Doug Bostrom:

    Steven Jörsäter says: 4 February 2010 at 6:17 PM

    “And a comment from Gavin whether he still thinks that the understanding of the physics underlying the modelling of climate change is quite as solid as he claimed a week ago. ”

    A week ago, a year ago, a decade ago researchers engaged in this field were discussing natural variability. They are -still- discussing natural variability, today. The difference today? They have a specific path of inquiry suggested by Solomon, one that may explain part of that variability.

    You have a problem with this? What, exactly?

  367. SoundOff:

    This is causing me some headaches in my attempts to fight off trolls. It’s starting to show up repeatedly.

    SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECORDS: POLICY DRIVEN DECEPTION?

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/surface_temp.pdf

    I think the idea is … If the data is wrong, then the science doesn’t matter.

    Is there an article/study to refute this nonsense?

    [Response: Some links here. – gavin]

  368. Completely Fed Up:

    David Horton: “They had meetings where they compared data with neighbouring groups. They wrote down information in the form of maps and long detailed stories.”

    They had people who said if you sacrificed to the Lion God, you wouldn’t get eaten by lions on your hunt. When you did anyway, that was because the ways of the Lion God are ineffable and maybe you hadn’t meant it anyway, so the sacrifice didn’t count.

    These hunter gatherers had different ideas. Some thought it was a different Cat God.

    And the sharing of their information led to a war of the Cat people vs Lion people.

    Please also pop along to the FDA and ask that all medical trial data be released as soon as the data is collected, so it can be shared.

    If they say yes, wait for the howls of protest from GSK…

  369. Completely Fed Up:

    Skip: “We don’t need solidarity. We need competent scientists.”

    We have them, skippy.

    Pachuri being replaced won’t stop the replacement from being demonised by the brainwashing PR.

    After all, Pachuri was a US denialist lobby proposal for the chair, so the most likely to be acceptable to the denialists.

    But they still turn on him.

    We don’t need solidarity, but we don’t need to take useless action, and sacking Pachuri is not going to change a thing. Imagine if Al Gore or James Hansen were given the role? Al would be demonised as not a scientist in charge of a scientist commission, James as not being a politician because the policy decisions are part of a Politicians’ remit: they have to get reelected so have to listen to the populace.

  370. Barton Paul Levenson:

    SJ: the trend is quite flat.

    BPL: No, it is not. I don’t think you understand what a “trend” is in statistics.

  371. Neil:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7157590/India-forms-new-climate-change-body.html

    AGW just got outsourced. The consensus on Asian AGW is now clearly a brawl. So the glacial debate is on. Ike, suggesting the 30 million Biharis give up dung and diesel is Bal Thackerian in it hubris and potentially perceived elitism.

    [Response: Actually I think this is very useful. The US, the UK, Canada etc. all have national bodies to look in more detail at climate change impacts and issues. India and China clearly have interests in doing similarly and can easily afford to. They get to use more local knowledge and can talk more directly to the local stakeholders and indeed can help inform the international bodies like the IPCC. All the big countries should do likewise. – gavin]

  372. CrisisMaven:

    As for time series and statistical data etc.: I have just added an Statistical Reference Inventory (http://crisismaven.wordpress.com/references/) to my economics blog with economic and statistical data series, history, bibliographies etc. for students & researchers, probably the most comprehensive on the Internet. Currently over 200 meta sources, it will soon grow to over a thousand and include Climate Dataas well. Check it out and if you miss something, feel free to leave a comment.

  373. Ani:

    Thanks for the post at 316. So awaiting further details let me throw this out. Since the decrease in water vapour is in the lower stratosphere may be caused by the flux from the trop. If the trop has less moisture to advect, the lapse rate should increase making it cooler. Divergence can also make it cooler but I would think that that would equal out. Now I would expect El Nino to change this. I wouldn’t expect the long term trend to change just that it will be a roller coaster ride. Thanks

  374. Completely Fed Up:

    “BPL: No, it is not. I don’t think you understand what a “trend” is in statistics.”

    Or, indeed, what “flat” means.

  375. Completely Fed Up:

    gary: “but have we performed the ultimate experiment (in my opinion) that will prove what amount of IR wavelengths get absorbed vs. what escapes?”

    Yes, we’re burning fossil fuels. However, we didn’t intend to run this experiment since we don’t have a spare earth to live on.

    We also know from IR satellite images of earth at different IR wavelengths that the earth appears cooler at CO2 absorption wavelengths and warmer at others.

    So yes, most definitely.

    Can we please stop the experiment now?

  376. Molnar:

    gary thompson (362):

    “has this already been done?”

    Yep.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-do-we-know-CO2-is-causing-warming.html

  377. Steven Jörsäter:

    BPL [370] “SJ: the trend is quite flat.

    BPL: No, it is not. I don’t think you understand what a “trend” is in statistics.”

    Perhaps not. But in that case I have good company. A quote from Solomon’s paper : “However, the trend in global surface temperatures has been
    nearly flat since the late 1990s…”

    Go tell her instead. If you dare!

  378. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #368 Completely Fed Up

    Re. David Horton #352

    I like your answer better. It gives good context. One might imagine the mysteries pondered in data sharing 20,000 years ago and the many beliefs that were considered. While various degrees of civilization were achieved, the challenges of the time can not be underestimated.

    I used to use a descriptor something like: If the rains don’t come, then sacrifice another virgin, if the rains don’t come then sacrifice another virgin… and so on, until you know ‘scientifically’ how many virgins need to be sacrifice to make the rains come.

    There is something to be said for the ‘modern’ scientific method.

  379. Hank Roberts:

    > Septic Matthew says: 3 February 2010 at 4:20 PM
    > Hank Roberts, if that information was incorrect, and you didn’t say it was,
    > link to better information. Everybody has an agenda

    Sorry, Matthew, that’s your entire post and I have no idea what you’re talking about. Probably you linked to some opinion site with an obvious agenda. You should look at the original science, at its publisher’s site, and point to that if you are using it to support something you want to say — don’t use someone else’s opinion as your source, use the source of the claimed statement.

  380. flxible:

    Steven: a bit of difference [in science, statistics & semantics] between “nearly flat” and “quite flat”, particularly with respect to “trends”, short or long term

  381. Eli Rabett:

    The fracas between Richard Steckis and Gavin earlier in this thread has inspired Eli to pontificate about the atmospheric methane oxidation mechanism in some detail, and in an understandable and friendly manner.

    [Response: Thanks. Much better! – gavin]

  382. Completely Fed Up:

    “A quote from Solomon’s paper : “However, the trend in global surface temperatures has been
    nearly flat since the late 1990s…”

    Go tell her instead. If you dare!”

    Yeah, now nearly flat isn’t flat.

    And if she wants to hear “you’re wrong”, she can come on here and read it.

    Or maybe you’re quoting here selectively.

  383. Rod B:

    Doug Bostrom (348), I roughly calculated about 330 watts/m^2 difference, compared to your 250 — which I assume is just the choice within the range of albedos. But if you apply a 23 degree incidence angle the difference drops to about 130 watts. Then an estimate of the difference in IR emissions says 100 watts more leaving the water than the ice based on the different emissivities. That makes the net difference “only” 30 watts. Though I would agree that is too large for a throw-away figure and does add up faster than a gut feel would indicate. [plus my 100 watts is somewhat overstated as I used average global surface temperature instead of the lower average Arctic surface temperature.]

    Thanks for the link.

  384. Norman Page:

    To various commentators on my post 315 re the AR4 8.6 climate sensitivity section I would be perfectly happy to amend my statement to say future temperatures cannot be predicted …..with anything approaching the certainty required to justify massive changes in the global economy to reduce CO2.

  385. Richard Ordway:

    DOD’s Quadrennial Defense Review Report for first time declares that human caused global warming (anthropogencic climate change) is a national defence threat (Feb 2010):

    “With this statement, it is clear that action is needed to prevent climate change in the cause of American safety and security. The longer the we delay, the longer these threats have time to gather,”

    “The global instability caused by droughts, floods, and famine will mean more threats to our security and more soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines put into harm’s way. ”

    The Review has never before included statements about the threat of climate change, highlighting a defense community consensus that “climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, increase the spread of disease, and may help spur mass migration,” all threats to regional and international security

    http://www.defense.gov/QDR/QDR%20as%20of%2026JAN10%200700.pdf

  386. Completely Fed Up:

    Norman, why are you happy to say that there will be massive changes in the global economy ***in a way that would otherwise wish to be avoided***

    ???

    Where is your theory, the physics behind it and the proofs that the theory fits reality?

  387. Completely Fed Up:

    Rod B (383) however, the doubling of CO2 that would cause between a 2 and 4.5C warming is merely 4W per square meter.

    The albedo effect you wish to ascribe is 40x that.

    ln(40)=3.7.

    Therefore a 3.4-16.6C rise in temperatures.

  388. Anand Rajan KD:

    Gavin:
    Regarding your “They get to use more local knowledge and can talk more directly to the local stakeholders…”

    So you are saying when the IPCC pontificates to us using Himalayan glacier ‘data’, it is a global ‘policy-neutral’ scientific document, and when a country like India convenes a climate body, they are generating ‘local knowledge’?

    Please do not read this question as a hostile comment. Parse it through your inner Edward Said filter and think about what you said. Acknowledging that, if India were to formalize this body, it would be a blow to the IPCC’s stature should not be a problem too – that was the point of the original poster.

    If quality knowledge about the state of the Himalayan glaciers is made available to the world, it should, climatalogically speaking, have global implications. Irrespective of the source of this knowledge.

    Isn’t that the accepted doctrine of the day?

    It was very funny to watch Pachauri writhing like the earnest snake that tries to chew its own tail off – “Alarmist temperature rise has taken place because the glaciers have melted. The glaciers have melted because alarming temperature rise has taken place.”

    I also just love how phrases like ‘local stakeholders’ roll so easily off your tongue these days.

    Regards
    Anand

    [Response: Don’t you tired of misunderstanding and misrepresenting things? I certainly would. Come back when you have something intelligent to contribute. -gavin]

  389. David B. Benson:

    tharanga (361) — ENSO just redistributes. For simplicity, just use Stefan’s Law on the redistributed result to rough out the radiative effects.

  390. David Horton:

    On hunter-gatherers. I think my comment has been misunderstood. John P Reisman said “What are you advocating? Going back to hunter gatherer?” in the sense that this would be a return to having no evidence about climate and environment. I was pointing out that, on the contrary (and I am thinking here particularly of Australian Aborigines, but the same would apply to all recent hunter gatherers), hunter gatherers of necessity have a wide and detailed knowledge of environment and climate passed down through the generations, a matter of survival. In a sense, the rise of science, and science bodies like the IPCC, are a belated return to hunter gatherer times, again for survival. The denialists don’t want to take us back to hunter gatherer times, but instead to the middle ages, where religion ruled and natural events were the result of supernatural agents.

  391. t_p_hamilton:

    Norman Page give risk management advice:”To various commentators on my post 315 re the AR4 8.6 climate sensitivity section I would be perfectly happy to amend my statement to say future temperatures cannot be predicted …..with anything approaching the certainty required to justify massive changes in the global economy to reduce CO2.”

    I would be perfectly happy to amend my statement to say that whether my house will burn cannot be predicted …with anything approaching the certainty required to justify spending money on insurance.

  392. t_p_hamilton:

    Steven Jorsater in reply to a criticism about the use of the word trend: “Perhaps not. But in that case I have good company. A quote from Solomon’s paper : “However, the trend in global surface temperatures has been
    nearly flat since the late 1990s…”

    Go tell her instead. If you dare!”

    If Susan Solomon claims the trend is significant, I will tell her. However, she is not stupid, so I doubt I ever will have the opportunity.

    Compare to what Steve J did:”Hansen claims that “global warming is continuing unabated” right up into the present. This is surprising since his own temperature curves shows that the trend is quite flat.”

    The flatness is not statistically significant, is noise, global warming continues unabated. When the January 2010 satellite temp hit a new record, did the sudden T jump come about because of super-fast warming, global warming gone wild? No. It is the usual fluctuations on top of an unabated trend up.

  393. Louise D:

    quoted on BBC News 12:08 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

    India backs embattled climate chief Pachauri.
    PM Manmohan Singh said India had “full confidence” in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its chairman, Dr Pachauri…..”Some aspects of the science that is reflected in the work of IPCC have faced criticism, but this debate does not challenge the core projections of the IPCC about the impact of [greenhouse gases] on temperature, sea-level rise and rainfall,” he said.

    “India has full confidence in the IPCC process and its leadership and will support it in every way that we can.”
    quoted on BBC news

  394. Ike Solem:

    Anand, if you don’t like the IPCC, for whatever reason, try looking at other reports & reviews that are based on peer-reviewed science. Try this:

    United States Global Change Research Program (USGCR) Report, June 2009 – or download it directly at:

    http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts/download-the-report

    Witness these trends: In the northeastern U.S., winter temperatures have increased by 4 degrees F since 1970; in the Pacific Northwest, the depth of the Cascade Mountain snowpack on April 1 has declined by 25 percent over the last half century, while spring runoff from the Cascades now occurs nearly a month earlier than 50 years ago; and in Alaska, winter temperatures have increased a stunning 6.3 degrees F in the last 50 years.

    That’s the work of some 60 or so scientists, writers and technicians, independently reviewed by another dozen government scientists, and signed off on by the heads of NOAA and the White House office of Science & Technology Policy. Just a conspiracy?

  395. Anand Rajan KD:

    Gavin:
    I asked many questions about Frank et al. They were worded politely.

    There is no misrepresenation. Please understand there are many different perspectives possible.

    Regards
    Anand

  396. Barton Paul Levenson:

    SJ: Perhaps not. But in that case I have good company. A quote from Solomon’s paper : “However, the trend in global surface temperatures has been nearly flat since the late 1990s…”

    Go tell her instead. If you dare!

    BPL: Give me her email address and I will. In the meantime, ten years is too small to find a climate trend. If you want to LEARN WHY, here’s an explanation:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/30Years.html

    If, on the other hand, you DON’T want to learn why, because you’re convinced you already know, then it’s kind of pointless for me to say anything to you. But I will continue to correct your mistakes for the sake of anyone who might be taken in by them.

  397. Ike Solem:

    Neil says, “Ike, suggesting the 30 million Biharis give up dung and diesel is Bal Thackerian in it hubris and potentially perceived elitism.”

    Hardly – you ever try cooking over a dung fire? Or breathe the fumes from old diesel engines with no filters at all? How about doing that on a daily basis for twenty years? Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

    Solar cookers and electric vehicles are hugely preferable. For a good video displaying the benefits of solar-powered cooking over village wood, dung and coal fires, see:

    The Kyoto Box – Solar cooker comes of age – 14 Nov 09

    Likewise, if these small villages can get lo-ans for solar power for pumping water and for LED lighting for homes, it would vastly improve their quality of lives.

    How is that “hubris and elitism?” Fuel costs are prohibitive for villagers, and deforestation for fuel is a huge problem. For a long time, the large international aid agencies – like the World Bank – have been refusing to finance such efforts in favor of the typical large-scale resource extraction projects, which have failed again and again to fix the problems.

    These developing countries have a unique and historical opportunity to leapfrog past the entire fossil fuel era, and go straight from primarily agricultural economies to technological economies while avoiding most of the problems of the fossil-fueled industrial era.

    To do this, they’ll have to rely on technology that is small, light and durable – not on the grossly wasteful clunkers of the 20th century fossil fuel economies, who built an economic empire based on excessive consumption – but they’ll need the assistance of already industrialized nations with robust renewable energy programs.

    They sure won’t need “clean coal” technology, however – but dung-to-methane systems might be a good idea for cleaner small-scale energy production.

    Unlike with coal gasification, the carbon produced from a “dung gasification” system was recently in the atmosphere, was fixed by a plant, then eaten by a cow – hence, converting dung methane back to atmospheric CO2 produces zero CO2 growth, unlike with coal-based gasoline and methane.

  398. Barton Paul Levenson:

    NP: To various commentators on my post 315 re the AR4 8.6 climate sensitivity section I would be perfectly happy to amend my statement to say future temperatures cannot be predicted …..with anything approaching the certainty required to justify massive changes in the global economy to reduce CO2.

    BPL: As amended, your statement is still wrong.

  399. steven dobbs:

    could particulate emissions from emerging economies be further reducing sunlight reaching the surface? this would cut off the supply of water vapour by reducing humidity and perhaps accelerating precipitation through cloud seeding, drying the atmosphere.

  400. Stefan N:

    Don’t know if you already heard this, and if this is the right place to link to it. Feel free to remove my post if you find it inappropriate.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/04/climate-change-email-hacking-leaks

  401. Hank Roberts:

    > the IPCC pontificates to us using Himalayan glacier ‘data’
    The IPCC is in part the authors of the Asia chapter. Look where they’re from!
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch10.html

  402. Ike Solem:

    RC has posted some good background material for understanding the SWV paper:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/11/busy-week-for-water-vapor/

    For example, concerning the role of water vapor in the upper troposphere:

    They conclude, “Reproduction of the observed radiance record requires a global moistening of the upper troposphere in response to atmospheric warming that is roughly equivalent in magnitude to that predicted under the assumption of constant relative humidity.”

    This is probably the most direct evidence to date that there is nothing terribly wrong about the way general circulation models handle water vapor feedback. This is quite remarkable, given the potential role of small scale cloud processes in moistening the atmosphere…

    So, does the lower stratosphere also maintain RH, as Geoff Wexler discusses? Or do things like methane import and oxidation have large effects as well?

    For a good discussion of the current SWV paper, seen this Australian ABC interview with Dr. Steven Sherwood, UNSW

    http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2010/s2810120.htm

    Key point:

    STEVEN SHERWOOD: Well I think why it’s interesting is you had people looking at the temperature record over the last few decades and saying, well the warming has stopped, which is not true. If you just look at it, you know, that claim is based on a bogus way of looking at the data. [someone tell this to the U.S. press]

    But it is true that the warming has been slower in the last decade. But what this paper is showing is that yes there are reasons why the warming rate isn’t the same every decade and this is something that helps to explain that variation.

  403. Doug Bostrom:

    Rod B says: 5 February 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Yeah, the number’s way smaller once it’s refined but even so, monstrous, ~40TW by your workup. 10TW here, 10TW there, pretty soon you’re talking about real energy, heh.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have 40TW of engineered solar capture to play with.

    Maybe I’ll go down that path a little further. I have no feel for the actual amount of extra heat added to the system during the course of a year and how that stacks against the water mass. All the same I do wonder what effect so much heat added to the Arctic ocean will have on the rest of the circulation system. The present behavior does after all seem dependent on water sinking up north. Hmmm.

  404. Jerry Steffens:

    354 — Steven Jörsäter

    The question is, how can Hansen say that “global warming is continuing unabated” despite the “quite flat” temperatures of the last decade. The answer is that natural fluctuations exist. Without the underlying rising trend caused by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, the ups and downs associated with natural fluctuations would cancel each other out; thus, the big gains of the 80s and 90s would soon be wiped out by losses. In other words, we should now be seeing a distinct and statistically significant cooling trend. The reason we are not is that the underlying warming trend is still operating. The work of Solomon, et al., in no way invalidates this conclusion; it merely provides a possible explanation for the latest of these “natural fluctuations.”

  405. Hank Roberts:

    > “However, the trend in global surface temperatures has been
    > nearly flat since the late 1990s

    Online, Google finds that only at World Climate Report, at
    /index.php/2010/02/01/what’s-happened-to-global-warming/
    (that’s an apostrophe in “what’s” if the software mangles it)

    Would someone with access to the full text of the paper at the publisher check that quote and its context?

    I’d guess a distinction being fuzzed over there is the difference between “annual global trend” (with one data point per annum) and “global surface temperatures” — which might be referring to measures taken more than once per year or at more sites; if so, a shorter period is needed to determine whether a trend can be detected statistically.

  406. Septic Matthew:

    Hank Roberts, here’s a peer-reviewed article on sea surface rise:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/294/5543/840

    It’s a little more technical, and notes that sea surface rise is very near what would be predicted from thermal expansion alone. It also notes that the data support different rates over different intervals and for different locations, which was better illustrated by the non-peer-reviewed site that you disparaged earlier. Depending on which interval one likes best, the current rate of sea level rise is something like 2.5-3.1 mm/yr.

  407. Stephen Pruett:

    Completely fed up,
    Thanks for pointing out the quote in Dr. Solomon’s paper, “However, the trend in global surface temperatures has been nearly flat since the late 1990s…” So, if understand the surface temperature during the thermometer era correctly, there has been a rapid increase beginning about 1970, but little change since the late 1990s. Thus, we have a trend established by data from a little less than 30 years followed by data which do not follow the trend for more than 10 years. In every field of research of which I am aware, a data set in which the last 1/4 of the data are not consistent with the rest would not be regarded as a sufficient basis for any firm conclusions or predictions. Why is climate science so different, or is it? Are there measures other than surface temperature that unequivocally demonstrate continued warming during the last 10 years? If so, does anyone have a reasonable explanation as to why this warming isn’t reflected in surface temperature as it has been in the previous 30 yr?

  408. Neil:

    Gavin, I think an I(ndia)PCC is a great idea and I think scientific consensus is boring. However The location(s) where the work is being placed (Dehra Dun) suggest it will be highly politicized and the key stakeholders will be political appointees.
    Imagine, if you will, the Oklahoma Panel on Climate Change with funding controlled by Senator Infhofe. It would certainly have local stakeholder input, but I think you might be skeptical of its autonomy.

  409. Richard Ordway:

    Not to beat this into the ground, however here is the official Penn State report exonerating Michael Mann of three counts (since RC tries to list original sources).

    http://www.research.psu.edu/orp/Findings_Mann_Inquiry.pdf

  410. gary thompson:

    #376 – Molnar responded to my request

    “has this already been done?”

    Yep.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-do-we-know-CO2-is-causing-warming.html

    Comment by Molnar — 5 February 2010 @ 9:59 AM

    thanks Molnar for that link. this is good stuff and gave me plenty to study tonight.

    the link cited in this article requires a membership but i found a pdf copy of the article here:

    ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/24874.pdf

    i must say i’m at a loss how skepticalscience arrived at the graph they posted on this page – it doesn’t appear in the actual paper. and in fact (in fig. 1 of the paper) the delta brightness temperature increases for the 700 waves/centimeter point (where CO2 absorbs IR) which means emission of this IR frequency increased in 1997 as compared to 1970. i agree that CH4 has less in 1997 than 1970 but the majority of the spectrum
    analyzed showed an INCREASE in emission in 1997 as compared to 1970.

    in that figure 1 of the paper, they show lines of average measurements and then upper and lower error lines. it is true that the lower error line dips to 0 and slightly below for the 700/cm so maybe skepticalscience just reported the lower error graph but that isn’t true either since they show no increase in any of the frequencies scanned but the actual paper shows an increase in all frequencies except those that are absorbed by CH4. and i will agree that this wavenumber (for CO2 absorption) was lower than the rest but they were still above zero which shows an increase in emission in 1997 vs 1970.

    in figures 3 and 4 of the paper the authors make adjustments to the raw data (which was compared in figure 1) to account for atmospheric temperature and water vapor differences between 1970 and 1997. this might be the graph used by skepticalscience but these graphs are simulations based on models and not the actual measured data. if these have more validity than the real data then i need help understanding that. there is probably a very good explanation of that but i couldn’t grasp that from the paper. my ignorance here i’m sure because i thought the paper was well written and i commend the authors.

    the authors even state in the conclusion that we shouldn’t infer too much from these simulated graphs. here is their quote:

    “Although these strongly affect the OLR the
    atmospheric temperature and humidity response cannot
    be unequivocally determined owing to the snapshot
    nature of the observations.”

    So at first reading of the skepticalscience article i thought i had found a “smoking gun” that would turn a skeptic into a AGW proponent but after reading the real paper i’m surprised that more skeptics haven’t latched on to this paper.

    This experiment still doesn’t exactly address my original attenuation question though. in this paper, we don’t know how much of that IR radiation was attenuated in the atmosphere (we don’t know what the intensity of the source at the ground was in 1970 and 1997). it could be that since 1997 was hotter than 1970 that the intensity of that IR radiation was more so there was a bias in magnitude which caused most of these measurements to be higher than earlier measurements. For my understanding, i’d like to see that experiment performed over time to see how much
    IR radiation is attenuated by the GHG in the atmosphere.

  411. Richard Steckis:

    381
    Eli Rabett says:
    5 February 2010 at 11:39 AM

    “The fracas between Richard Steckis and Gavin earlier in this thread has inspired Eli to pontificate about the atmospheric methane oxidation mechanism in some detail, and in an understandable and friendly manner.

    [Response: Thanks. Much better! – gavin]”

    Good analysis. Your posting displays much of how the debate should work, i.e. without critism of the individual but a clear and concise explanation of the whole process.

  412. pete best:

    Can someone answer my question please if they can?

    If we take 2% as the average global increase in fossil fuels then by 2050 we would have released another 1.8 trillion tonnes of Co2 into the atmosphere. If sinks take up 50% of that then 800 billion tonnes remain in the atmosphere. Can anyone tell me how many ppm of CO2 that would mean above the 385 ppmv we are presently at please?

  413. Dale Power:

    I think that the denial crowd is winning the “argument” here. Why? Because the science has to show, well, data, good procedure, good models and professionalism while denial only has to make accusations and cast doubt.

    I have seen the argument turn from “There is nothing happening” to “All the scientific data is fake!” over the last six months or so.

    We can’t continue on in this vein and survive as a species int he long term. It is time for the scientists to stand up and start defending themselves.

    Slander is illegal, libel is illegal and making repeated claims of “Fakery” certainly qualifies!

    I know that most have not wanted to seem gauche on the science side of things, but if something does not start a movement towards calling these denialists to account, we aren’t going to be able to do anything at all to even slow this problem.

  414. Paul L:

    To: gary thompson, #410. The graph on skeptical science *is* attached to the linked paper, Harries et al. It’s the bottom of three graphs in Figure 1. The graphs are available even if you don’t have access to a Nature subscription.

  415. dhogaza:

    Good analysis. Your posting displays much of how the debate should work, i.e. without critism of the individual but a clear and concise explanation of the whole process.

    There would’ve been no debate if you’d done your homework before posting, Steckis. And I don’t recollect your postings containing the words “I don’t know”. Rather, you claimed that Gavin was wrong, despite having no real knowledge of the various reactions involving methane in the atmosphere.

    Seems to be one of your trademark traits …

  416. flxible:

    pete best@412
    this bears on your question

  417. Jim D:

    It works out to about 100 ppmv by my reckoning

  418. John E. Pearson:

    413 Dale wrote: “if something does not start a movement towards calling these denialists to account, we aren’t going to be able to do anything at all to even slow this problem.”

    I’m not sure it matters how much the nutters blather. In the US the DOE is certainly convinced of the problem and has been for some time. On the bright side the US installed 10GW (peak) of wind power (WP) in 2009 with 4 of those GWs installed in the 4th quarter. It isn’t clear to me what the future growth rate will be because it goes up and down with tax credits but DOE plans that wind will account for 20% of US electricity by 2030 and it looks like we’re on track for that. I’m guessing that by the next presidential election we might have 80GW of installed WP. That is enough to make people understand that it isn’t moonshine. We’ll probably start building nukes again too. If we do, it seems possible to me that by 2050 we might not be burning any coal at all.

  419. Ray Ladbury:

    Stephen Pruett,
    See:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/you-bet/

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

    There is nothing unusual in the last 10 years. Solomon is looking at fluctuations on a trend, not at the trend itself. The research is interesting if somewhat tentative, but it has no bearing on whether we are warming the planet. We are.

  420. Ray Ladbury:

    Anand Rajan: The US government has the United States Global Change Research Program. Why shouldn’t the world’s largest democracy have a similar body to advise on local implications? Note that the I in IPCC stands for “Intergovernmental”. It is not intended to serve any particular national government.

    Won’t it be interesting when all this orgy of adolescent tantrums subsides and people find they still confront the same mountain of evidence they did before?

  421. John E. Pearson:

    412: Pete, shooting from the hip I’d say that you can approximate CO2 in ppm by noting that it’s weight in the atmosphere is 3 trillion tons at 385 ppm. Since CO2 is a trace constituent of the atmosphere ppm should be linear in the weight:
    weight/3trillion tons * 385 . The weight you suggested is 3.8 trillion tons so we get 3.8/3 * 385 ~ 500 ppm .

  422. Ray Ladbury:

    Norman Page@384 says “To various commentators on my post 315 re the AR4 8.6 climate sensitivity section I would be perfectly happy to amend my statement to say future temperatures cannot be predicted …..with anything approaching the certainty required to justify massive changes in the global economy to reduce CO2.”

    Ah, but even if this were true (it isn’t), the changes are coming in any case due to Peak Oil, Peak Coal… The question is whether we make the jump to a modern, efficient, clean and sustainable energy economy or whether we keep polluting, digging ourselves deeper into a climate hole and have to make the change anyway in 50 years when the coal runs out. All climate change does is tip the balance even more in favor of sustainability. I know that’s a dirty word to petroleum geologists, Norman, but it is unavoidable if human civilization is to persist into the next century. Deal with it.

  423. Richard Ordway:

    “I think that the denial crowd is winning the “argument” here. Why? Because the science has to show, well, data, good procedure, good models and professionalism while denial only has to make accusations and cast doubt.”

    Unfortuantely, I think a good example is when Gavin et al. took on Richard Lindzen et al. in New York City in a debate on climate change.

    Gavin et al. were limited by established, published proven peer review science and Lindzen et. al were only limited by their imagination to the extent they could produce undocumented facts and falsehoods on the fly.

    Some posters here at Realclimate had had actual previous professional experience publicly debating with climate change contrarians and their disregard for provable facts and ingeniousness for thinking up falsehoods on the fly to counter scientific proved peer reviewed evidence that had stood the test of time.

    Before the New York debate, Gavin bravely, scientifically and openly, ignoring his ego, asked for input from his posters before the debate. Many of us with previous professional experience debating with the contrarians turned white and bravely offered hopeful hints but also advice that contrarians would not follow science and would simply lie knowing that the audience was too naive to tell the difference (even though the true results could literally kill their grandchildren and their country if done wrong).

    I personally had heard a blatent contrarian, who I know, blatently lie to college students during a college class and trash the long-established peer reviewed evidence and put up his own non-peer reviewed graphs (as the “truth”) on an overhead showing that glaciers were advancing around the world! That is child abuse and brain washing. Many of these people are mentally sick in my opinion.

    I literally got nauseous and had to leave the room.

    I have personally, many times over 11 years, seen some climate change contrarians at a place I used to be, get children in front of public, established peer reviewed climate change exhibits and have the kids repeat the phrase “humans are not causing global warming” several times out loud at the prompting of the contrarians.

    All this is a witch craft, laced cool-aid drinking, medieval throwback to the Spanish inquisition in my opinion, blatent child abuse, and attempts at nationcide…forget being non scientific…and many Americans endorse this anti-science irrational behavior. God help us.

    I found the best way to beat these anti-science people (and indeed most contrarians are in my opinion) was to start at the atomic and wave level of molecular chemisty and physics and work my way up to current documented climate change changes.

    They certainly could not counter that and most were totally ignorant of even the basic physics and chemistry of carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases the Earth’s energy budget and how they work.

    Their only comeback was to say that “it is not important” (and this is basic science) to the “debate” and then they launched into their memorized talking points that have long been proven wrong by mainstream peer review.

    However, if I kept them at my game (indeed science’s game) of working up from the basic physics and chemisty and advancing up level by level, they were helpless because it is irrefutable.

    These ignorant people, in my opinion do not realize that they are dealing with fire that can eventually destroy almost everything around their kids and grandkids.

    http://intelligencesquaredus.org/TranscriptContainer/GlobalWarming-edited%20version%20031407.pdf

  424. Ray Ladbury:

    Gary Thompson, Well done. Keep learning. It’s what true skeptics do.

    The sorts of satellite IR measurements you are asking for are made all the time with existing instruments. Even weather satellites use IR sensors. The thing is that every measurement is a snapshot–like a single global temperature measurement. What is needed is a long-term data series to establish a long-term energy imbalance and shifts due to heating. That could be done, but it would likely take a network of climate satellites circling the globe. At a minimum, you could do it with 2 satellites at Geostationary orbit 180 degrees apart, or even better–one satellite at L1 and another at L2. However, this would not be ideal as it would give limited resolution. A large fleet of Low Earth Orbit satellites would be preferable, although this too would pose challenges.

    I’d love to be part of such a project!

  425. Ray Ladbury:

    Steven Jörsäter says, “And a comment from Gavin whether he still thinks that the understanding of the physics underlying the modelling of climate change is quite as solid as he claimed a week ago. Who are really the denialists here?”

    The fact that you can even ask this shows that you have not bothered to understand either Solomon et al. or the physics. Dude, Solomon’s result is rooted in the physics. It is predicated on the consensus model! It always astounds me when denialists are so certain in their opposition to the science when it is clear that they have zero understanding of the science they are opposing! Mssr.’s Dunning and Kruger, this is Steven Jörsäter. I think you could learn a lot from each other.

  426. Neil:

    Dear Ike,
    I have cooked over dung and I start a diesel generator with crappy fuel mixes on a very regular basis. I am writing this from an office running off a 5 kva photovoltaic array in India. So I am problably familiar with both technologies.

    I think perhaps you should back up your claims on local forest management prior to your claims. You might read this peer reviewed piece. PNAS is a shoddy rag, but the paper isn’t too bad.

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0810049106

    That you send a youtube video with Brit accent in the background suggesting that local people are too stupid to have adopted a $20.00 solar box cookers either shows ignorance or elitism. I apologize for assuming it was elitism.

    Cheap and expensive solar box cookers have been being pushed in India for at least 20 years. Even TERI has been pushing solar cookers for years. The best ones are used on the houses of the wealthy for cooking dog food.

    I highly recommend you make a rice and chicken dinner with local chicken for just one month with your beloved solar box cooker. You will, of course, be dead from salmonella.

    You may understand climate but your knowledge of weather could use a little upgrade.

    http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/cold-wave-claims-22-lives-in-bihar_100138044.html

    Bihar has a couple of very cloudy wet seasons called “monsoons”. these are pretty bad times to leave a a pot of food in the yard cooking in the sun (actually leave a pot of food in an unfenced yard in an area full of stray dogs is a pretty bad idea any time of year). Even in winter when it is drier, solar cooking is not such a good bet. Check out the available cooking days in Bihar at this station:

    http://weatherstations.in/Bihar-Sharif/INXX0025

    Pick any other one you like. What does the woman do when it is a little cloudier than expected an the food for the day is ruined. I am afraid dominoes does not deliver out here.

    The masons working on our farm are out in the dark cooking there dinner over fuelwood as I type. I imagine you think they should change their lifestyle or work only half time so they can eat half cooked food from a solar cooker.

    Since neither breakfast nor dinner can be cooked with solar due to the lack of the sun at those times, you must be thinking women should stay home from work to at least cook lunch with a Solar Box Cooker.

    [edit]

  427. Rod B:

    Richard Ordway (385), I think you are being a little misleading (though you may not have meant to) in the comments on the Q Defense Report. The Defense Dept is not expressing a concurring protagonist view on the science of global warming. They are accepting its possibilities and recognizing the need to have strategic or contingency plans in its eventuality. To be caught flat-footed with no thought given to any planning would be an egregious dereliction of their duty. Somewhat like they have some plans (with various levels of detail to be sure) for the invasion of every state and country in the world. Given its massive worst case possibilities the planning and thought given to climate change is certainly magnitudes greater than its invasion plans for Luxembourg. But they’re still simply doing their job, and not joining the AGW advocacy per se.

  428. David B. Benson:

    steven dobbs (399) — ABC is already affecting climate, but global precipitation remains nearly constant.

  429. David B. Benson:

    Stephen Pruett (407) — Tamino’s Open Mind blog, linked on the sidebar, has several recent threads demonstrating how to correctly assess the global temparature record of the past 35 years or so.

    pete best (412) — That is approximately the same as the amount added since the beginning of the industrial revolution when CO2 concentrations were around 275 ppm. Being linearly simple about it, we have so then added 110+ ppm, so add another 110+ ppm to the current figure.

    However, it is actually rather more complex than that; maybe start with David Archer’s “The Long Thaw”?

  430. Hank Roberts:

    > Gary Thompson

    You are confused. You say you can’t find the chart found at Skepticalscience.

    Then you say you found the paper elsewhere and it’s not in the paper.

    The paper you point to is not the same paper described in Skepticalscience — it has a title that is somewhat similar, the authors overlap with the one Skepticalscience describes, and it’s from almost the same year.

    You found the wrong paper, and told readers here incorrectly that it was the same one.

    Here’s how to find the chart you couldn’t find:

    Follow the Skepticalscience link for the paper;
    read the Abstract available to the public there;
    on that page, click on the link for the figures, also available to the public:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/fig_tab/410355a0_ft.html

  431. Richard Ordway:

    Re 427 Rod B wrote:

    “I think you are being a little misleading (though you may not have meant to) in the comments on the Q Defense Report… But they’re still simply doing their job, and not joining the AGW advocacy per se.”

    Good point Rod. That’s why I gave the direct link to the actual Feb 2010 Department of Defense paper including the human caused climate change threat so that people can read it for themselves. -G-

    I do encourage people to please read the official paper. It is part of your lives now.

    http://www.defense.gov/QDR/QDR%20as%20of%2026JAN10%200700.pdf

  432. Steven Jörsäter:

    The Emperor is Naked but few here seem to see it

    I must say that it has been a truly fascinating time just over a fortnight* here at Real Climate. Although I have followed this prestigious blog from time to time I did only recently decide to intervene in the debates. (*for Americans fortnight=14 days).

    The discussion on Hansen’s article woke me up. Hansen didn’t see the recent flatness of the global temperature record. Instead, Hansen and coworkers spent some effort disproving statements about a stalled global warming appearing in the debate. In a sister publication (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100121/) he makes the by now famous statement: “But when we average temperature over five or ten years to minimize that variability, we find that global warming is continuing unabated.”

    This puzzled me. Anyone looking at the data sees immediately that the trend looks flatter in the last decade. This is more clear if you don’t insist on plotting the entire trend since 1880, as Hansen did, leaving only microscopic space for the last decade.

    I pointed this out in a comment to Hansen’s article here at RC and I also wondered why he didn’t compare the data to the satellite record – a data set where the flatness is even more pronounced.

    The response baffled me. I was told that ten years is far too short to say anything about the climate, that I didn’t understand anything about statistics and the current article was about Hansen’s own data set (implying that it didn’t need be compared to anything else). Wow! What about discussing what we are actually seeing instead and try to understand the key point why Hansen did not mention the flat trend even if he didn’t think it was significant? I was wondering whether this was part of the consensus thinking in climate science – anything that may contradict your dogmas you try to avoid seeing? Very unscientific in that case.

    Then the Solomon paper came. Susan Solomon and coworkers did not only see the recent flatness – they made interesting and important science out of it! Great, by luck I had a Big Shot on my side that couldn’t easily be dismissed. I could not have thought about a better demonstration on how you may risk missing important scientific discoveries by not having an open mind on the task at hand.

    When pointing this out I get new scornful comments instead of the obvious one – good point! None of them seems to carry any scientific value [Come on – if the significance of a new trend is questionable then certainly the difference between e.g. “quite flat” and “nearly flat” is nonsense.]
    What is going on really? And what is consensus? This is science, not politics or activism, isn’t it? If a hard scientific fact appears tomorrow stating that AGW was an illusion, we will all accept it, wouldn’t we? To me, consensus is the very contradiction to science. Consensus is something politicians and activists practise. In true science everything is questioned perpetually – there is not anything settled beyond doubt except possibly the scientific method. If someone presents a case against Newton’s laws he must be given a serious chance to do that. He may be met by more scepticism and be required to qualify his case more than he likes to assure he is not a crackpot but that is quite natural since Newton’s laws have been around for three hundred years. In the new science of climate change new important facts may come any day such as Solomon’s paper and any scientifically based criticism should be taken seriously.

    I would very much welcome comments about why you think the ceiling seems so low in this forum instead of the expected and enviable academic freedom?

    Finally, I must thank Gavin – this blog is nevertheless great since it allows us to discuss these questions.

  433. Richard Ordway:

    Rod B. wrote (re 427) “I think you are being a little misleading (though you may not have meant to) in the comments on the Q Defense Report. The Defense Dept is not expressing a concurring protagonist view on the science of global warming.”

    Rod, that is a good point and thanks for bringing it up…I agree…I think they are not advocating anything and are reporting on their activities concerning climate change and why they think it is a threat to US national security. That is why I linked the article directly to a link, so readers can read it for themselves.

    The following are quotes from their document for more reference. They are in effect taking action on their own and spending tax payers’ money to “manage” the effects of climate change. In their words.

    “Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration.” p. 84

    (Please note the Department of Defense uses the words climate change “will” not “might” or “could” in some cases). They, however, on the other hand do indeed sometimes in reference to climate change use the words “may” and “could” in relation to other aspects of climate change. P. 84

    “Assessments conducted by the intelligence community indicate that climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments.” P. 84

    “Although the United States has significant capacity to adapt to climate change, it will pose challenges for civil society and DoD alike, particularly in light of the nation’s extensive coastal infrastructure.” p. 85

    “In 2008, the National Intelligence Council judged that more than 30 U.S. military installations were already facing elevated levels of risk from rising sea levels.” p. 85

    “Climate change … will play significant roles in the future security environment.” P. xv

    “The Department is developing policies and plans to manage the effects of climate change on its operating environment, missions, and facilities.” P. XV

    “The QDR focused on four specific issues where reform is imperative:
    … climate change.” P. 7

    “Climate change will affect DoD in two broad ways. First, climate change will shape the operating environment, roles, and missions that we undertake. “ p. 84

    “The U.S. Global Change Research Program, composed of 13 federal agencies, reported in 2009 that climate-related changes are already being observed in every region of the world, including the United States and its coastal waters.” p. 84

    “Among these physical changes are increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the oceans and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows.” P. 84

    “The opening of the Arctic waters in the decades ahead which will permit seasonal commerce and transit presents a unique opportunity to work collaboratively in multilateral forums to promote a balanced approach to improving human and environmental security
    in the region.” p. 86 (Again note the DOD uses the word “will” here instead of “could.”)

    “The Department is increasing its use of renewable energy supplies and reducing energy demand to …reduce greenhouse gas emissions…” p. 87

    http://www.defense.gov/QDR/QDR%20as%20of%2026JAN10%200700.pdf

  434. Ray Ladbury:

    Neil says to Ike: “I highly recommend you make a rice and chicken dinner with local chicken for just one month with your beloved solar box cooker. You will, of course, be dead from salmonella.”

    Neil, I think you are being a bit disingenuous to imply that Ike was advocating everyday use of a solar cooker–even when it rains. I also think that you are underestimating their potential utility. I used one in Africa, and on a sunny day, it worked just fine–no risk whatever of salmonella or any other disease.

    We already know that alternative technologies can be deployed in a stupid manner. To reject them on that basis is also stupid. The goal it to deploy the technology intelligently.

  435. Hank Roberts:

    Gavin, I hope you’ll encourage Neil to post more. First hand reports are rare.

    As to whatever disappered with the edit, I can guess. It’s hard to nail the complacent without irritating the passionately involved– everyone reads the same text and it’s not aimed at everyone who may read it. Which, of course, is one reason that editing is helpful.

  436. Richard Steckis:

    415
    “dhogaza says:
    6 February 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Good analysis. Your posting displays much of how the debate should work, i.e. without critism of the individual but a clear and concise explanation of the whole process.

    There would’ve been no debate if you’d done your homework before posting, Steckis. And I don’t recollect your postings containing the words “I don’t know”. Rather, you claimed that Gavin was wrong, despite having no real knowledge of the various reactions involving methane in the atmosphere.””

    I do far more homework and research than you do sport. You just criticise people. I try to learn. I stand by my statements re Gavins representation of methane oxidation. However, I am willing to be corrected by science rather than vitriol.

  437. Ike Solem:

    Come on Neil – the World Bank and similar aid institutions have a record of pouring billions into oil pipelines in Africa (Chad-Cameroon) which create ecological and social disasters for the local populations – many of whom rely on firewood for cooking and who also have to carry water by hand to their homes, often very dirty water. There’s been a decades-long campaign to get them to change this practice – elitism or populism has nothing to do with it.

    Due to all this effort, there has been something of a change:
    http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/world-bank-invest-north-african-solar/

    Those are still mega-scale projects, not village development – but isn’t it interesting that North Africa might end up with more solar capacity than North America, if such trends continue? Each 100 MW solar project will produce as much energy as a million-ton-per year coal stack – with zero emissions, and thousands of jobs as well as long-term economic benefits.

    So, what’s the real problem here, the reason for the endless fossil fuel-sponsored denialist media campaign? Could it be that they’re simply freaked out over lost profits?

    Sept. 14 2009 (Bloomberg) — “Coal-heavy power plants will see profit drop by 20 percent if cap-and-trade carbon-reduction legislation is implemented, Standard & Poor’s analysts said.”

    Here is a table you should consider:

    Number of Power Plants in the U.S., by Energy Source. (EIA)

    coal – 599
    petroleum – 1,205
    natural gas – 1,653
    nuclear – 66

    Average Power Plant Operating Expenses for Major U.S. Investor-Owned Electric Utilities

    Look at the comparison for fuel costs (mills per kwH)

    diesel generator – 64.23
    fossil steam turbine – 28.43
    nuclear – 5.29
    hydroelectric – 0
    solar – 0
    wind – 0

    That’s the heart of the issue with the utilities – if they only rely on nuclear and hydroelectric and solar and wind as their primary energy sources, then their fuel costs shrink quite a bit, don’t they? This should, at first glance, please the utility – if not the fuel suppliers.

    However, many utility investors are also co-investors in coal mines and railroads and gas suppliers. If a bank has $6 billion invested in coal mines and oil corporations, and $600 million invested in the utility that sells the resulting electricity to the customer – well, if the utility goes to renewables than the coal and gas companies don’t make their sales. In other words, you have extensive cartelization in the U.S. energy industry that works to lock out renewable competition.

    Now, a carbon tax coupled to a renewable portfolio standard would have the effect of encouraging investors to drop coal and move into renewables – which is what we want, since the goal is to replace all 600 coal-fired power plants with gigawatt-scale wind and solar farms, coupled to advanced energy storage and distribution systems – and yes, this is technologically plausible.

  438. Completely Fed Up:

    Gilles^WNiell: “Since neither breakfast nor dinner can be cooked with solar due to the lack of the sun at those times, ”

    Uh, no, I don’t cook by the sun.

    I don’t think anyone does. Even jerked beef is not dried in the sun any more.

    How wild are you going to be to make up things to “prove” that fossil fuels are the be-all-end-all one-and-only product?

    PS do you cook on crude oil? Petroleum?

  439. Completely Fed Up:

    Pruett: “So, if understand the surface temperature during the thermometer era correctly,”

    You don’t. Or maybe you do and are deliberately misprepresenting it

    ” there has been a rapid increase beginning about 1970, but little change since the late 1990s. Thus, we have a trend established by data from a little less than 30 years”

    Nope, no trend comes only from the 30 years.

    And neither does the Solomon quote (now rephrased yet again by a ditto) contain an assertion on the temperature TREND.

    Merely the differences between two years.

    But I see you still haven’t done the skeptical thing and checked to see what would happen without 1998.

    Jim Carey in “Liar, liar” has something to describe why you haven’t: “It’s damaging to my case!”.

  440. David B. Benson:

    Steven Jörsäter (432) — Here is a link which shows NOAA’s latest global tempeerature graphic.
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/02/groundhogs-day-movie-global-warming-where-its-always-the-hottest-decade-on-record/
    Do note the trend, hmmm?

  441. Neil:

    Ike&Fed,
    The potlatch consumption of energy –damn the costs full speed ahead–is madhouse economics, has dismal development record, and is a cancer to the world geo-political situation. My objection,Ike, was that the road from here to there in terms of fixing particulates does not have any easy solar box cooker solutions. Unfortunately there are many suggestion in the “All we have to do is______________”. Even if solar box cookers could make jerkey and cook chicken, the cost of distribution in north India would be 200 billion+ over the next decade. And again that would only be useful for a late lunch 50% of the time. Somewhere the is an “improved chulla” (local stove) evangelist suggesting that they have the fix.

    Ike the fuel cost of our photovoltaic array is zero, but the land cost beneath it is on the order of 10,000 USD. The array was about 15,000. That exceeds the value of the entire housing stock of the nearest village.

    I live in Tamil Nadu which has wind, solar, and nuclear. I have to finish this post however to go have a shower before 8 am to “whenever they turn it back on” power cut ensues. (We save the solar to keep the office running.) So I ma pretty sure that your analysis needs a little more work.
    If you cannot do it for your house without a massive subsidy, then neither can anyone else–especially 500 million people living on less than $2 per day.

  442. Hank Roberts:

    Belatedly, a reply to S. Matthew who posted a link about sea level rise due to thermal expansion of the oceans.

    Er, so? No surprise — that’s Cabanes et al., Science 26 October 2001:
    Vol. 294. no. 5543, pp. 840 – 842; DOI: 10.1126/science.1063556. It’s been cited at least 115 times. See the citing papers for more recent information:
    http://cel.isiknowledge.com/InboundService.do?product=CEL&action=search&SrcApp=Highwire&UT=000171851800043&SID=1CM5kagJBIpBEoKK9ca&Init=Yes&SrcAuth=Highwire&mode=CitingArticles&customersID=Highwire&viewType=summary

  443. Richard Ordway:

    432 re Steven Jörsäter says:

    “The Emperor is Naked but few here seem to see it.” “Hansen didn’t see the recent flatness of the global temperature record.” “Then the Solomon paper came. Susan Solomon and coworkers did not only see the recent flatness…” “This puzzled me”…

    Whats the big woop?, this does not break the long term global average temp trend and you know it.(It is not 30 years and some years can actually be colder and not break the average 30 year temp record…you do know the math term “averages” right?). The year 2009, was still breaking high global average temp records in spite of the Sun being at a near record low and the recent global average temp trend being “flat”.

    This does not mean the long-term 30 year trend is gone (even a high school algebra grad would know this). We are still breaking all time high global average temp trends for 2009 and some years might even be colder and not break the definition of averages, averages, averages, averages, averages, averages.

    Hi Steve, some points I think..and I don’t think they are being contradictory. You are not a publishing climate scientist whose work holds up over time. This is literally rocket science and you are telling the general public that the publishing rocket climate scientists whose work holds up over time that their rocket science work is wrong… to me this seems the height of arrogance and mental instability.

    Do you know what 240 Watts/Meter2 means and why that is important? Do you know why 600-700 wave cycles per cm is important to CO2, the atmospheric window and methane? Do you know what O16/O18 ratios are or CO12/CO13 or BE12 ratios are or why they are important? You need to know this before you say the “emperor has no clothes.”

    Asking questions is great…but making broad statements not as a publishing climate scientist whose work holds up over time is how civilizations fall…because then our decisions are made by baseless opinions. This is scary. I don’t want my kid’s and grand kids’ futures or our country’s future run by insanity like this. The Salem witch trials came by reasoning like this.

    1) As you see, real science is allowed to question itself no matter how embarrassing it may seem to the uneducated (and indeed it is welcome). The contrarians don’t do this. For them, everything is “not happening and is not human caused” and everything against it is ignored. This is not science.

    2) You need to examine what the big picture is. The definition of human-caused climate change has always been 30 or more years of trends with natural variability built in so that even some years might be colder. If trends less than this pop up, they are examined anyway. It still does not change the orignal defintion of 30 years of trends. Scientists would be wanton to not examine everything, even small year changes to investigate them…this is literally what you pay them for out of your tax money. However, it still does not change the orignal defintion of 30 year trends.

    3) Temperature world wide average trends may now be “flat” compared to past years…but no publishing climate scientist whose work holds up over time disputes (including Solomon) that we are still breaking high record global averaged temperatures even for this year (that is part of a 30 year trend (even though the Sun is at a near all time record low) or that the long term global average trends are still continuing. You know this. I don’t see any contradictions here.

    True, this may all seem confusing to an uneducated neophyte, however this is rocket science and is why uneducated people should stay out of whether global warming is happening or not or whether humans are causing it or not. You would not tell an open-heart surgeon how to operate on your child…although asking questions is great.

    No rules are being broken here. They are talking about it from the perspectives of small temp trends which don’t break the original scientific defintion which still holds today and the large picture which has not changed over 30 years. Small trends within 30 years have natural variation in it…always have and always will (and are in the original definition)…that is why you want 30 years of trends. Some years in the 30 year average might actually be colder due to natural variabiltiy…but it does not break the long term warming trend which is being driven by larger forces than weather such as the Earth’s radiation inbalance. Investigating short term natural variability is necessary and welcome, but does not change the big picture.

    WMO global 2009 temperature analysis:
    http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_869_en.html
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090916_globalstats.html
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao_index.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_atlantic_oscillation
    WMO global 2009 temperature analysis:
    http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_869_en.html

    Visbeck, 2001 http://www.pnas.org/content/98/23/12876.full

  444. Completely Fed Up:

    RS: “I do far more homework and research than you do sport. You just criticise people. ”

    Uhm, you do a shedload of criticising and no apparent homework or valid research.

    “However, I am willing to be corrected by science rather than vitriol.”

    You’ve never done that without plentiful heaps of continued correction, and then you come back again with it later, so no real evidence that you’re willing to be corrected by science either.

  445. gary thompson:

    The main thesis of AGW is that an increase of GHG such as CO2 will lead to a reduction of Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR). And if the solar absorption remains the same, then there will be a net heating of the plant. I have been reviewing several papers that have compared the OLR of 1997 and 2006 as compared to 1970 and the links are listed below.

    ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/24874.pdf

    http://www.eumetsat.int/Home/Main/Publications/Conference_and_Workshop_Proceedings/groups/cps/documents/document/pdf_conf_p50_s9_01_harries_v.pdf

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

    The graphs showing the raw data comparison of OLR emissions from the atmosphere (as measured in brightness temperature (K)) show that there was no reduction in the OLR at wavelengths that CO2 absorb (15um or 700 waves/cm). Later in all these papers they produced simulated graphs that appear to have ‘corrected’ for surface temperature and water vapor and claim that when you look at the contribution by trace gases only then there is a reduction.

    Help me understand why the simulated graphs have more value than the actual measured data. The atmosphere is more complex than can be modeled and the actual measurements of OLR that leave the atmosphere should have more value than the models – in my opinion. If the models predict more absorption than we are seeing then shouldn’t we find out what is wrong with the models?

    [Response: The models in this case aren’t ‘corrected’ because they were wrong but because the actual change was complex – made up of changes in wv, temp as well as ghgs. The ‘correction’ is to subtract the wv&temp effects to get just the ghg change. – gavin]

  446. jerjohn:

    True, this may all seem confusing to an uneducated neophyte, however this is rocket science and is why uneducated people should stay out of whether global warming is happening or not or whether humans are causing it or not. You would not tell an open-heart surgeon how to operate on your child…although asking questions is great.

  447. MR SH:

    #432: You are looking at the decade after 2000 and compare their average with the previous decadal mean. You observe that “the slope of the trend is decreasing” because you look only two decades. If you look into longer temperature record, you can easily find the “flat decades” and “rising decades” in the past, and also the long term rising trend. It is too myopic to compare only the recent two decades.

  448. Rod B:

    Ike (437), a correction?? Your stats from EIA are either in error or misleading. Petroleum, per the same EIA, is responsible for about 1% of electric generation ( http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epa_sum.html ) compared to 48%-coal, 21%-nat. gas, 20%-nuclear.

  449. Leo G:

    CFU – found that quote about Venus finaly. Sorry, it is only a snippett, as this was from when I first started educating myself, and didn’t keep the references (which I now know to do!).

    Anyway, here is what I had;

    {Take Venus, for example. Venus has a layer of thick cloud about 50-80 km above the surface, and a surface pressure of 92 (Earth) atmospheres. Can you tell me now, why do you think its surface is so hot? The cloud tops are at a roughly Earth-like temperature. (And an Earth-like pressure. A point that has some interesting possibilities for colonisation. Balloons, anyone?) It’s 50 km down to the surface at about 8 C/km. And there’s plenty of convection to keep things mixed up. It’s simple physics. No need for a ‘runaway’ anything.}

    Any veracity in this?

  450. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #445 gary thompson

    I was thinking of an analogy that might help on understanding a ‘correction’ in this context. Say you are standing in a crowded room and trying to listen to one person. Everyone is talking… So you focus on the voice you want to hear.

    You are correcting to extract the relevant signal from the noise.


    The Climate Lobby
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

  451. Septic Matthew:

    442, Hank Roberts. Thank you for the cite. I downloaded it.

  452. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Leo G,

    The figures are about right, the idea that a runaway greenhouse effect wasn’t needed to get there is bogus.

  453. Hank Roberts:

    Ike, Rod comments on your 437 in his 448 (there must be a heck of a lot of _small_ petroleum generators).

    But also, that page he links to has this interesting paragraph on changes:

    “While electricity generation from the primary fuel sources decreased in 2008 (coal by 1.5 percent, natural gas by 1.5 percent, and nuclear by 0.03 percent), generation from all renewable sources increased, with the exception of wood and wood derived fuels. Most notably, wind generation increased 60.7 percent, from 34.5 million MWh in 2007 to 55.4 million MWh in 2008. For the first time, wind generation constituted a larger share of total electric generation than either petroleum or wood and wood-derived fuels.”

  454. Hank Roberts:

    Ike, re Rod’s comment on your 437 in his 448– seems reasonable that there must be a lot of _small_ petroleum generators, as they do so little.

    That page Rod B links to (thanks!) has this interesting paragraph on changes:

    “While electricity generation from the primary fuel sources decreased in
    2008 (coal by 1.5 percent, natural gas by 1.5 percent, and nuclear by 0.03
    percent), generation from all renewable sources increased, with the
    exception of wood and wood derived fuels. Most notably, wind generation
    increased 60.7 percent, from 34.5 million MWh in 2007 to 55.4 million MWh
    in 2008. For the first time, wind generation constituted a larger share of
    total electric generation than either petroleum or wood and wood-derived
    fuels.”

  455. Chris Dudley:

    Leo (#449),

    You are quoting this site: http://www.countingcats.com/?p=4745 It’s explanations are quite incorrect.

  456. Didactylos:

    “…increased 60.7 percent…”

    This says more about how low it was to start with. Wind doesn’t even rate a separate segment in their pie charts, being lumped in with “other renewables”.

  457. John E. Pearson:

    453: In 2009, US windpower capacity increased 10GW from 25 to 35 GW.

  458. Completely Fed Up:

    “455
    Didactylos says:
    10 February 2010 at 2:37 PM

    “…increased 60.7 percent…”

    This says more about how low it was to start with.”

    Actually, that says NOTHING about how low it was to start with.

    a 45% increase in something could be a tiny absolute change in a tiny thing or a huge absolute change in a big thing.

    The percentage is the same, despite one being tiny and the other being big.

    So the percentage change says NOT ONE THING about the value it started with.

  459. Completely Fed Up:

    LeoG, 449, that’s surprisingly like a previous poster “passing on” his query about venus and how come it’s not just that it’s the high pressure at the surface that’s creating the heat.

    Leo, have you tried to find out if it really works like that?

    No?

    Then how do you know that the 8C/km is the “cause” of the warming? Where do you think the 8C/km comes from?

    After all, it was obvious to Calvin that the wind was caused by trees sneezing. No need for anything else…

  460. Completely Fed Up:

    “If you cannot do it for your house without a massive subsidy, then neither can anyone else–especially 500 million people living on less than $2 per day.”

    Neil, apparently Corn farmers in the midwest cannot farm food without subsidies. Guess that a farmer on less than $2 a day can’t farm either.

  461. Completely Fed Up:

    Niel: “.Ike the fuel cost of our photovoltaic array is zero, but the land cost beneath it is on the order of 10,000 USD”

    And a 7.5MW turbine uses up 10mx10m. This would mean that he 3302km2 of your land is worth $3.302×10^11.

    That would be 33 times your GDP.

    How do you afford your homes?

  462. Doug Bostrom:

    John E. Pearson says: 10 February 2010 at 2:46 PM

    “In 2009, US windpower capacity increased 10GW from 25 to 35 GW.”

    Without meaning to touch off yet another firestorm of monomania, just a quick observation that this is the rough equivalent of 5 typical fission or combustion plants and features the excellent virtue of existence, wished into actual being in the space of a year. Nice to see what can happen when we’re not seduced into endless arguing about which monoculture we must adopt.

  463. Steven Jörsäter:

    It is hard to make oneself sufficiently clear in short comments like this. What I meant by my comment [432] – The Emperor is Naked – is that being by being too sure that you are on the right track you may turn blind to obvious and important facts. The Hansen paper seen in perspective from the Solomon et al paper demonstrated that as I outlined there. The comments I received only strengthens that view.

    We don’t need to discuss the long term temperature trend from the 1880’s and onwards. AGW has quite a strong case that we can all agree on. But a strong case doesn’t mean it is proven, far from it. And the only way to try to disprove it in a scientific way is to explore all other sensible options and show that they don’t get you anywhere.

    I have received several comments about trends stating that 30 years is required to see anything significant. I have already written that I can understand the argument although I think it is exaggerated. But suppose for a moment that we would all agree on that 30 years is the minimum time to get anything significant out of the measurements. The obvious conclusion would be to freeze climate science as for the prediction of the future climate for the next 30 years (or, even better, 60 years, to get two significant points). Theoretical work should stop and Hansen (and his heirs!) could keep on publishing a temperature mean value once every thirty years. Only after such a period would it be meaningful to resume climate science since there is little scientific point in making models or theoretical work that cannot by definition be falsified by observations. Is this what we want?

    Fortunately, a lot of scientists in the field believe that interesting results could come from shorter intervals. Solomon et al obviously did as did their reviewers. Hansen also thinks so, he says 5 to 10 years but in reality he seems to think even shorter intervals may be interesting since he spends a considerable effort in finding the second warmest year within the last decade.

    But the central issue is why are so many so annoyed by critical comments instead of getting inspired? The commenter [443] does his best to describe me as ignorant and uneducated. Not very good arguments but a well known method. And no one has tried to answer my challenging question – Why is the ceiling so low? Instead, the comments have clearly demonstrated that is indeed low. But why?

    I happen to believe that the field of climate science as it appears presently is best studied from the outside. In that way one doesn’t risk grants being cancelled because of possible “erroneous” conclusions and one doesn’t feel compelled to obey the pressure from the IPCC which owns its very existence to finding the “right” results*, of which we have lately seen some interesting examples, as also commented on this blog. While saying this I must add that I am positive that most climate scientists follow their true scientific instinct. But do the gedanken experiment that AGW was somehow played down in a series of 5 to 10 influential papers. What would happen to the funding of the IPCC? Or to the funding of climate science in general?

    *Is the IPCC a unique case where a research related organization is named after the very phenomenon it is set to investigate whether it exists? CERN should e.g. be promptly renamed HPI (Higgs Particle Instititute) by the same logic.

  464. Leo G:

    Chris @ 454 –

    Thanx, yes that is the site!

    So I take it that this is not how the heating happens from CO2 then
    {Now supposedly, according to rather more complicated calculations, doubling CO2 levels in Earth’s atmosphere will raise the average altitude of emission about 150 m, which will therefore raise the pressure difference and hence the surface temperature about 1.1 C. If we raise CO2 by only 40%, surface temperature will go up about half that. So we had half a degree last century (an amount too small to reliably measure). We’ll have half a degree next century. And that’s all the standard Greenhouse Effect can give you.}?

    Thanx for your time.

    PS – nice looking site you have there.

    PPS – Well if nothing else comes from this GW scenario, I at least appreciate that through this event, I have been able to “meet” real scientists from different fields and feel a real honour!

    Thanx again all.

  465. Barton Paul Levenson:

    SJ: I happen to believe that the field of climate science as it appears presently is best studied from the outside. In that way one doesn’t risk grants being cancelled because of possible “erroneous” conclusions and one doesn’t feel compelled to obey the pressure from the IPCC which owns its very existence to finding the “right” results*, of which we have lately seen some interesting examples, as also commented on this blog.

    BPL: A very common belief among conspiracy-theory lunatics in the denier camp. Of course, you’re not one of those.

  466. Chris Dudley:

    Leo (#464),

    One confusion is over the role of pressure. This site seems to think that the surface pressure goes up. This is not the case. The pressure at the surface is fixed by the mass of the atmosphere. One can say that one is suspending the temperature profile of the atmosphere from a higher altitude but one can not say that the temperature is owing to pressure. The pressure profile is set by hydrostatic equilibrium and is thus fixed on a mass scale. The density and temperature profiles interrelate to give the lapse rate on an altitude scale. But, you cannot perturb the surface pressure without adding or removing mass. Additional carbon in carbon dioxide and water vapor are currently small effects and are not changing the pressure much at all. In a runaway, as happened on Venus, these things do change the pressure, but again that site gets confused.

  467. flxible:

    Steven Jörsäter:
    “AGW has quite a strong case that we can all agree on. But a strong case doesn’t mean it is proven, far from it. And the only way to try to disprove it in a scientific way is to explore all other sensible options and show that they don’t get you anywhere.”

    And here I thought we were trying to understand what the science has long shown to be happening [AGW] …. humanity has been exploring the “other options” for decades and found they’re not real sensible, or do you have some other “sensible” explanation of the very complex system we call climate? You sound like you’re preaching to the BAU choir, and your fixation with names and funding betrays that bias, you don’t like the “A” part of AGW, or maybe the “W” part. So call it CC instead, which is what the IPCC does

    To my unscientific eye, the relation of the Solomon paper to Hansens is we have more information about the details of the climate systems, NOT that Solomon contradicts anything or is “another sensible explanation” in isolation.

  468. Leo G:

    Thanx Chris.

    I was kinda thinking that the amount of crud we had put into our atmosphere, comparitavily, was rather small. So it is nice to get a confirmation.

    Slowly following the evidence, wherever it takes me.

  469. Richard Ordway:

    re 463 Steven Jörsäter “What I meant by my comment [432] – The Emperor is Naked – is that being by being too sure that you are on the right track you may turn blind to obvious and important facts.”

    Obvious and important Facts…Facts…Facts…hmmmmmmm. That’s often stretching it.

    Many contrarians, whose work does not hold up under scrutiny, continually add and add again- mostly 20-year old ideas which have mountains of studies showing they are wrong, and very rarely, new thoughts to the peer-reviewed climate literature. Lots of their work literally does not even obey the laws of physics.

    But they still regularly publish. It’s part of science. Even though most of them seem to know as much about climate chemistry and physics as your pet cocker spaniel, their work is welcome because it does indeed keep science on their toes. They usefully find little things or parts of studies that might have mistakes, that do not change the results of the study itself.

    Over and over in 11 years, I have heard the top publishing climate scientists whose work holds up over time at the place I was for 11 years, privately say to me that they are glad for opposing view points and they welcome it because it keeps them/science on their toes.

    You can be certain, that if any study has holes in it…or even if it does not have holes in it, the contrarians have and are publishing works against it (however, their work might hold up 5% of the time, if even that these days..and it is only on the small things that don’t change the big picture).

    Please, please, please, please take the time to read this site…almost one out of every four posts here is reliably done in relation to contrarians works. I will doubt your sincerity if you do not check.

    The contrarian studies are taken as seriously as mainstream science can… Ridiculous ideas such as “the moon is made of green cheese” or “the Earth is flat” can only be rehashed so many times…but still it is published, and republished and rerepublished.

    Examples of contrarian studies (none of which stand up over time to the best of my knowledge on big things…) :

    Soon and Baliunas, 2003.
    Soon et al, 2003.
    Schwartz, 2007, Journal of Geophysical Research.
    Scafetta and West, 2005.
    Scafetta, N., and R. C. Willson, 2009.
    Scafetta and West, 2006.
    Scafetta and West, 2007.
    McKitrick, McIntyre 2005.
    Lindzen, 2001.
    Miskolczi, 2007, Idojárás.
    Tsonis , 2009, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS.
    Craig & Lohle 2008.
    Douglass et al.2007.
    Klotzbach et al, 2009, J. Geophys. Res.
    McClean et al, 2009, J. Geophys. Re.s
    Gerlich and Tscheushner, 2009.
    Essex, McKitrick, Andresen, 2007.
    Chilingar, Khilyuk, Sorokhtin, 2008.
    Nordell, 2008.
    IPCC AR4, 2007 (synthesis and includes some contrarian ideas)
    Lindzen and Choi 2009

  470. gary thompson:

    #445 – Gavin wrote –

    [Response: The models in this case aren’t ‘corrected’ because they were wrong but because the actual change was complex – made up of changes in wv, temp as well as ghgs. The ‘correction’ is to subtract the wv&temp effects to get just the ghg change. – gavin]

    Gavin, I’m still having a couple of issues reconciling the actual measurements with the model corrected values.

    First – By using the models, we see that the OLR associated with CO2 absorption decreased over time. I get the analogy and with the models you are trying to eliminate the contributions to Water Vapor and Surface Temperatures (and just look at trace ghg’s). But, If the graphed data from the models is true, why was there not a decrease in the actual measurements at those same wavelengths (or wave numbers/cm as the papers used)? Where did this ‘extra’ OLR emission come from in the actual measurements? If the models show a decrease in OLR from CO2 absorption, why was there no reduction shown in the real data? Was something ‘adding’ OLR at those wavelengths (around 15um or 700 waves/cm) that CO2 couldn’t absorb? Sorry, I’m an engineer and it’s hard to explain my position without charts and graphs…….i’m trying to do my best with a verbose explanation above.

    Second – If, in the model predicted graphs, they are compensating for warmer surface temperatures, I would expect the amount of CO2 emission to drop naturally even if the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere stays the same. By Wien’s Displacement Law, if you say the Earth radiated at ~288K then the wavelength of peak amplitude would be at 10.07um. If the conditions changed and the surface warmed to ~298K then the wavelength of the peak amplitude would be 9.73um. The point is the wavelength of peak amplitude reduces for higher temperatures. And since the Black Body radiation curve is ‘bell’ shaped, when you move the peak amplitude to a lower wavelength then you are moving further away from that 15um wavelength and the intensity of OLR at that wavelength will go down. That doesn’t necessarily mean more CO2 is up there absorbing the ORL.

    Thanks again for your help on filling in my gaps regarding this material.

  471. David B. Benson:

    gary thompson (469) — Eli recently put together a post on related matters:
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/02/another-try.html

  472. Kevin McKinney:

    Gary T., at #470–

    I’m going to jump in at the risk of looking foolish. I don’t fully understand much of the conversation between you & Gavin so far, so quite possibly I’m missing something here.

    However, it appears to me that the paper does indeed show a decrease in observed brightness temperature over the 36-year interval (1970-2006.) It’s not visible by simple comparison of the first two graphs, presumably because of scale, but the the third figure shows such a difference. Since the black line is plotting ITIS-TES values, the track below zero shows a decrease in OLR over most of the CO2 band.

    Or so it seems to me.

    Link here:

    http://www.eumetsat.int/Home/Main/Publications/Conference_and_Workshop_Proceedings/groups/cps/documents/document/pdf_conf_p50_s9_01_harries_v.pdf

  473. Ray Ladbury:

    Steven Jorstater says: “And the only way to try to disprove it in a scientific way is to explore all other sensible options and show that they don’t get you anywhere.”

    How many times would you like to explore them–or in other words how many times must a zombie be killed before it is really dead? Richard Ordway has cited several corpes of contrarian articles. He could have gone back and cited several of their previous incarnations in the literature of the ’30s, ’40’s 50’s and ’60s.

    In addition, all credible options are continually being looked at by mainstream climate scientists. The quickest way to fame and glory is to overturn an established theory.

    SJ: “The obvious conclusion would be to freeze climate science as for the prediction of the future climate for the next 30 years (or, even better, 60 years, to get two significant points). Theoretical work should stop and Hansen (and his heirs!) could keep on publishing a temperature mean value once every thirty years.”

    Oh good Lord! Have you ever even taken a science class? Science changes by its nature. It advances. Over time, you wind up with some steady robust elements that define the consensus theory. Guess what: the greenhouse effect is one of these in climate science.

    SJ: “Fortunately, a lot of scientists in the field believe that interesting results could come from shorter intervals.”

    No, Steven, all scientists believe that interesting results are to be found at shorter intervals. The short-term variability of climate is one of the current frontiers of the field. Lots and lots of work being done. But guess what? That variability does not invalidate the long-term trend, but rather is on top of it. The long term trend is interesting precisely because it stands out from the short-term variability.”

    SJ: “But the central issue is why are so many so annoyed by critical comments instead of getting inspired?”

    Oh, I don’t know, could it be that we have heard the same critical comments and refuted them about twice a week from people who haven’t bothered to try and understand the science? That couldn’t have anything to do with it, could it?

    SJ: “The commenter [443] does his best to describe me as ignorant and uneducated.”

    Steve, when it comes to climate science, you are ignorant. That is not an insult, but a diagnosis. Richard went out of his way to give you resources where you could begin your education. Clearly, you chose to take offense rather than take the opportunity.

    SJ: “I happen to believe that the field of climate science as it appears presently is best studied from the outside. In that way one doesn’t risk grants being cancelled because of possible “erroneous” conclusions and one doesn’t feel compelled to obey the pressure from the IPCC which owns its very existence to finding the “right” results*, of which we have lately seen some interesting examples, as also commented on this blog.”

    OK, Steve, here is where you veer off the rails into tinfoil-hat nutjob territory. Cite one scientist who has lost his funding because he found results contrary to the consensus model of climate? Just one? Do you have any idea how paltry most research grants are? Do you have any idea how miniscule funding for the IPCC is? Do you realize that most scientists volunteer their time to the IPCC and that it is considered an onerous imposition on time that could be spent doing research? Five or Ten influential papers–hell, dude, there are a couple of thousand papers that support the consensus!

    And then you go and show you are every bit as ignorant of particle physics as climate science. Do you really think the LHC will be a failure if it doesn’t find the Higgs? Do you really think that it will find nothing of interest independent of whether it finds the Higgs.

    Steven, I’m going to try and say this in as nice a way as I can. Right now, it is clear that you understand very little about how science is done or what motivates scientists. Most of what you think you understand is wrong. Mark Twain said, “It’s not what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” And what you think you know for sure is leading you toward becoming a crank. Maybe it is time to think where you think you learned that scientists might alter their conclusions to hold onto research funding or that results contrary to prevailing theory are punished. It ain’t so. Quite the opposite. Science is founded on innovation and on correcting past errors.

    Do you have any scientists that you could shadow for a couple of weeks to learn how science is actually done? Have you read Spencer Weart’s excellent work on the history of climate science:

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

    It is very readable, and Spencer, in addition to being an excellent historian, was trained as a physicist. Please do us all a favor and read it.

  474. Chris Dudley:

    Leo (#468),

    The amount of carbon we’ve put in the atmosphere is significant compared to what was there before but it is not very significant compared to the mass of the atmosphere.

  475. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #463 Steven Jörsäter

    I don’t think anyone is saying interesting results ‘can’t’ come from shorter time periods.

    Certain signals can be attributed to certain evens on short time scales ENSO and El Nino or La Nina or some other oceanic cycles have reasonable attribution to affect.

    Attribution needs to be tied to affect of course to understand things better.

    As to your comments in 432, specifically temps are flat for 10 years???

    It is important to consider natural variation. Look at the overall trend and you see lines going up and down in the annual record of global temps. This is natural variation.

    It’s like when Monckton tried to claim sea lever was no longer rising… and he used a graph that clearly showed the trend of sea level rising.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/fake-images/Monckton_Sea_Level_Rise.png/view

    Shorter term analysis does not apply to the longer term trend without some sort of attribution. Most of this variation is likely natural variation.

    If we find that AGW is an illusion scientifically, I will absolutely accept it. In the mean time, there is no evidence that overrides the current understanding of the forcing levels imposed in the system by added GHG’s… unless of course you have found the evidence???

    In your #463 post you use the meme, hey we really don’t know… which usually translates to we should not do anything until we know…

    You ‘may’ be misinterpreting what some people are saying or assigning values that are not there (i.e. your comments on Hansen)

    Your lovely red herring argument about people should get inspired by ‘your’ criticism is kind of egocentric, wouldn’t you say?

    Unless of course you have some peer reviewed criticism that has survived review, to show us that you did?

    Otherwise your criticisms do not have much substance. You of course being a sound and reasoning person would agree with that, correct?

    Please, get me caught up. Where is your “Why is the ceiling so low” question. I just searched the thread for that exact phrase and it only shows up in #463?

    As to your “outside” comment, there is nothing that would make a young scientists more famous than disproving the human cause for this global warming event. DO you really think that it has not been thoroughly examined, considered and attempted.

    Look at Svensmarks work.

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

    and Lindzen… they are trying really hard, and failing.

    Use reason and common sense and the veil may fall and ye shall wake up to what ‘consensus’ in ‘science’ means.

    Note to all who wish to help promote ‘Fee & Dividend': I have changed the signature in all my emails to include the below text. Please consider doing the same. For those that post in here that are aware of the issue, please consider ending all your posts with the text and link. We get a lot of readers in here and the more that post, the more will see it.


    The Climate Lobby
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

  476. gary thompson:

    #471 – David B. Benson provided a link to me.

    Thanks David. i found that link (by itself) didn’t have enough detail but that site did provided a link to a paper by Kiehl and Trenberth and that appears to have plenty to sink my teeth into.

    http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring04/atmo451b/pdf/RadiationBudget.pdf

    i’ll dive into that and see if this answers some of my questions. thanks again for the link and getting me started in the right direction!

  477. gary thompson:

    #472 – Kevin McKinney wrote –
    “However, it appears to me that the paper does indeed show a decrease in observed brightness temperature over the 36-year interval (1970-2006.)”

    on the link you provided, i agree 100% with you. the y-axis scale on the red/blue graph is 140K and the difference graph is 15K so it is easier to see the difference does drop to -1K when comparing the 2006 to 1970 OLR emission (in the CO2 range). thanks for clarifying that!

    the article where I can’t say this (at least on the raw data) is the link below (figure 1 on page 3):

    http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/24874.pdf

    here the OLR emission (in the CO2 range) increased in 1997 vs. 1970 and the y-axis scale here is 15K.

    thanks again for jumping in the conversation and showing me the error in my assertion on that paper you referenced.

  478. Eli Rabett:

    Georg Hoffmann at Prima Klima has written a very complete and accessible analysis of the Solomon paper and Eli has translated it into English with permission. Nothing like a bit of advertising in the morning.

  479. Geoff Wexler:

    #463 Steven Jörsäter says:10 February 2010 at 5:40 PM

    Only after such a period would it be meaningful to resume climate science since there is little scientific point in making models or theoretical work that cannot by definition be falsified by observations.

    Even if we disregard the other faults in your argument, (see e.g. Ray L at #473) and even if we accept all of “Popper’s Logic of Scientific Discovery” ,which is not always done, the approach in that remark is a misreading of the falsifiability criterion. Falsifiability refers to the logical possibility of falsification and has nothing to do with the problems of performing tests. The same conclusion applies to Popper’s Conjectures and Refutations although here the criterion would be a demand for the scientist to look for tests. Popper was certainly not hostile to theoretical work, as the above quotation suggests.

  480. segraves:

    So Jones now tells the BBC: from 1995 to present there has been no significant global warming; since 2002 there has been global cooling (but not statistically significant he says) and this statement from Jones is interesting; “Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today (based on an equivalent coverage over the NH and SH) then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented.” It will be interesting to see how this all gets “rationalized”.

  481. Geoff Wexler:

    Re” #480
    Why have you included the word “now” as if Jones has departed from anything he said before? Jones’ replies to questions B and C could hardly have been more concise , so why have you shortened them still further?

    This shortening makes it harder for the public to follow the meaning. Jones reports a warming of 0.12C per decade in answer B and a cooling of 0.12 C decade in answer C. The more perceptive members of the public will relate this to Jones main remark about lack of statistical significance. It won’t be so easy with your abbreviated quote.

    Everyone uses tautologies. As for Phil Jones remark about the MWP , are you suggesting that he was against using such tautologies in the past?

    Ref. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8511670.stm

  482. John E. Pearson:

    481: Geoff Wexler said: “Re” #480 “why have you shortened them still further?”

    I’m no psychoanalyst but I’ll hazard a guess. seagraves is fundamentally dishonest. all about trying to score debating points while butchering the truth.

  483. Ray Ladbury:

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

    You don’t expect a statistically significant result for periods less than 30 years. When we are talking climate, we are talking more than 30 years; Solomon’s research is an attempt to explain short-term variability, not climate. Jones has merely acknowledged this fact.

  484. dhogaza:

    So Jones now tells the BBC: from 1995 to present there has been no significant global warming

    Why didn’t you include the fact that Jones 1) said there’s been a 0.12C rise in that timeframe and 2) he said it was JUST BARELY shy of being statistically significant. As in ALMOST. As in CLOSE. We know that we need more than 15 years typically to see anything statistically significant in regard to climate, so this is no surprise.

    And … “if the MWP was shown…”. Well, yes, and if the sun doesn’t rise here in about an of hour, a bunch of modern and ancient astronomy goes down the toilet.

    So?

  485. Completely Fed Up:

    “473
    Ray Ladbury says:
    11 February 2010 at 5:28 PM

    How many times would you like to explore them–or in other words how many times must a zombie be killed before it is really dead?”

    (to the tune: blowing in the wind)

    How many zombies must a man gun down

  486. Ray Ladbury:

    CFU, well if zombies come from among denialists, no wonder they are starved for “Brains! Brains!”

  487. Completely Fed Up:

    Why are they always wanting ours, though?