Unforced variations 3

Another open thread. OT comments from the Amazon drying thread have been moved over. As usual, substantive comments only please and no abuse.

844 comments on this post.
  1. Andreas Bjurström:

    78 Eric,
    Stefan is saying that IPCC is conservative (not alarmist). This is clear in Pielkes post. I fail do see that Pielke distort anything. Stefan is indeed saying that IPCC is flawed: “Why do I find this IPCC problem far worse than the Himalaya error? What went wrong in this case needs to be carefully looked at …” Pielke argues that being conservative or alarmist is equally problematic, since he want accuracy (that the IPCC report represent truth out there).

    Deliberate conservatism is most likely a political strategy by the IPCC. I recognice it from Bert Bolin, the first head of the IPCC. He established the strategy of conservatism as the most effective way to advocate climate policy in the long term (we might loose 10 years for politics, but climate is here to stay he argued). That many sceptics claim that the IPCC is alarmist may amplify this conservatism, and sceptics was one reason to why Bolin advocates this from the beginning, he was afraid that errors migh be effectively used against his and the IPCC climate avocacy. This discussion is a good example that IPCC is not and cannot be objective. IPCC is part of a complex unfolding of climate science and politics and society and sceptics and business ….

    Pielke is NOT stealth issue advocate, I would say. He is an open advocate To be stealth, by definition, one needs to hide ones politics. but I do think that Pielke should be even more open about his advocacy, especially since he is advocating rather intensively. I dont find this to be a big problem, Pielke is just one individual and science should promote open debate with diverse viewpoints. Much more problematic is that IPCC work in stealth fashion as they claim to have no prescriptive role for policy, yet having a highly influencial position in both science and politics.

    [Response: Your points about Pielke just being one individual, and diverse viewpoints are needed, etc. etc. are all fine. I agree. But that's not the point. The point is that IPCC is under fire for being 'alarmist'. Stefan's point in his post was that -- to the the extent IPCC mades serious errors -- they were on the side of being too conservative, precisely the opposite conclusion from what Pielke, among others, have been saying. If Pielke were presenting honest assessment of Stefan's post he would have titled his own post accordingly. To suggest that the title he did choose --
    Sea Level in IPCC: "Far Worse" than the Himalaya Glacier Error -- is anything other than misleading is simply ludicrous. I'll grant you that Roger may really believe he is an 'honest broker", but if that is really his intention, he's doing a remarkably poor job of it.--eric]

  2. Kevin McKinney:

    Gilles (@155), pointing out that your “challenge” to me was a “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy may be momentous to you, but I suspect “Nature” would be less impressed.

    You’re supposedly trying to convince me that fossil fuels are necessary to development.

    I’m telling you that the fact that developed nations have all used fossil fuels during the course of that process doesn’t even come close to meeting the criterion of “necessary and sufficient.” You’ve haven’t shown either, yet. After all, can you name any undeveloped nation that isn’t burning fossil fuels in large quantities today? (Maybe there are a couple–say, Fiji?) And yet some of them are very poor indeed.

    The amounts of energy available from renewables is theoretically much more than enough to meet today’s global demand; much the same could be said for nuclear power over a considerable (though not indefinite) period. Yet you are resigned to a future of slow decline because–poor humanity!–we are running out of those “indispensible” fossil fuels. It would be purely pitiable, if it weren’t that there are difficult and urgent practical challenges to be met.

    We don’t need more councils of despair (WRT fossil fuels) or ungrounded complacency (WRT climate change.)

  3. Kevin McKinney:

    Andreas, why would it be “problematic” for any advisor to be good at, well, advising?

    Yet that’s the logical conclusion of your last paragraph in #158: a reliable advisor will always tend to become influential over time, as (presumably) their advice is validated as being generally accurate. It will then tend to influence policy.

    Yet their role will remain non-”prescriptive.” They will still be saying not “Here’s what you should do,” but rather “Here’s what your situation is.”

    That’s what the role of the IPCC was defined to be. They don’t prescribe policy. But that doesn’t mean that the intention was that their input should be ignored, either. And none of this implies that they operate in “stealth fashion.”

    You seem to infer the existence of bad faith, without any actual basis for it.

  4. Completely Fed Up:

    “165
    Kevin McKinney says:
    18 March 2010 at 7:33 AM

    Andreas, why would it be “problematic” for any advisor to be good at, well, advising?”

    I think the problem would be “it’s devastating to my case!”. A good advisor would advise well and the best advice is reduction of energy use, reduction of fossil fuels on top of that and lots of other adaption strategies that adapt our actions to the results of them.

    This would be a problem for Andreas…

  5. Gilles:

    “”tell me one country that developped without fossil fuels.”
    Roman Empire.
    British Empire.
    Spanish Empire.
    Dutch Renaissance.
    Aztec, Minoan, Ur, ”

    Sorry CFU, if you call that industrialized countries, then there is no problem with cutting off any fossil fuels indeed. Just prepare yourself to live in an industrialized country with 60 % peasants and an annual GDP per capita between 500 and 1000 $.

    Interestingly enough however, all these civilizations eventually disappeared, although their main source of energy (agriculture) was much less fragile than ours (fossil energy), because it was a priori unlimited. Think about that.

    Kevin:”I’m telling you that the fact that developed nations have all used fossil fuels during the course of that process doesn’t even come close to meeting the criterion of “necessary and sufficient.” You’ve haven’t shown either, yet. After all, can you name any undeveloped nation that isn’t burning fossil fuels in large quantities today? (Maybe there are a couple–say, Fiji?) And yet some of them are very poor indeed.”

    Kevin, have you ever looked at a correlation curve between any indicator of development you wish, and CO2 production? have you EVER looked ?

    “The amounts of energy available from renewables is theoretically much more than enough to meet today’s global demand; much the same could be said for nuclear power over a considerable (though not indefinite) period.”

    what is wrong is computing an “amount” without questioning the form (liquid fuel is not like electricity), the availability , and the costs. “Amount” doesn’t mean anything. The amount of methane in Titan is huge, but it is totally useless.

    “Yet you are resigned to a future of slow decline because–poor humanity!–we are running out of those “indispensible” fossil fuels. It would be purely pitiable, if it weren’t that there are difficult and urgent practical challenges to be met.”

    so you think that Roman empire, Roman Empire, British Empire, Spanish Empire, Dutch Renaissance, Aztec, Minoan, Ur, … are pitiable? should argument with CFU.

    I don’t have any judgement about what is good and evil. I just think that the objective features of industrial civilization : energy consumption, amount of produced artifacts, and hence economical indicators like GDP, will most likely decline. I let everybody have his own judgement about if it is good or bad. That’s not my business. I just think that this will happen soon enough for these problems being much more pregnant than those due to GW.

    Besides that, I have no doubt that mankind will do all its possible to do the best, developing as much as it can renewable energies : why not do it ??? I can’t say clearly what the asymptotic state will be, I’m not a prophet, and nobody can do either in my opinion. I just presume this level will be significantly lower than the current one, meaning that we should prepare to a long period of “de-growth”. I would be happy to be wrong, of course.

  6. Andreas Bjurström:

    165 Kevin McKinney,
    The problem for me is not (1) whether IPCC is good or bad at doing what they do, but (2) whether they are honest or dishonest about what they are doing. That is two very different things.

    (1) Yes, I would say that IPCC is rather good at a) assessing science b) act strategically in the interface in science and polics in ways that enable IPCC to have scientific authority at the same time as they are co-producer of climate policy. I think that IPCC can improve both a and b by altering some procedures and assessment structures, as well as altering the so called linear model of science and policymaking, since the latter is a false representation of reality and not effective.

    (2) No, I would not say that IPCC is honest about their actual role. They do the same as you, assert that their defined role (highly idealistic) is also their actual role (which is naive to believe). This is part of the political strategy of the IPCC (in the interface of science and policy) and part of the scientific culture of objectivity that is rooted in the hard natural sciences (that falsely believe that science for policy can be objective when dealing with post-normal issues such as climate change).

    That an advisor becomes influencial doesn´t mean that the advice are accurate. That might be the case, perhaps often, but far from always. Your model of science in policymaking is far too rationalistic. For example, an advisor that tend to say to politicians what politicians wants to hear is often highly influential. To speak truth to power sometimes results in no influence at all for the advisor. Do you agree? (these examples are hypothetical, not intended at all as descriptions of the IPCC behaviour).

    As my example illustrate, the IPCC had a strategy to influence policy from the start. The aim of Bert Bolin in the 1980´s was to establish climate change on the political agenda at the international level. That is to advocate policy, yet the IPCC claim to have no interest in there being or not being climate policies. They are mere objective, disinterested, only interested in truth. That is NOT honest. It is advocacy in stealth fashion. IPCC is a promoter of climate policy would be an honest thing to say. I have no problem with that. My problem is with dishonesty and the asserting of naive views on science for policy.

    [Response: This is simply a smear and one that is beneath you. What would be the point in having any kind of assessment if it was not designed to influence anything - what would it be for? But there is a huge difference between providing relevant information that informs policy, and determining policy. What is dishonest here is your complete refusal to acknowledge that this is a real difference. Advocating for a problem to be taken seriously is not to 'advocate policies' - If I think that homelessness should be taken seriously by local governments doesn't imply that I have a specific (or even any) policy in mind to fix it. The science in the IPCC reports is as objective as it can be and, yes, the authors and reviewers involved are interested in truth. And however many times you say it, the IPCC is not a 'promoter' of climate policy except in the absolutely trivial sense that they conclude (as have many others - dating back to the 1960s) that the problem is worth policymakers attention. Your desire to reduce complex questions into some simple calculus that means that you can claim that all scientists are naive and dishonest, might suit some agenda you have, but this is just nonsense. In fact it is the same nonsense that claims that any public statement by a scientist must be political (in some very broad sense) and that when a scientist just explains some particular piece of the puzzle they must either be naive in thinking that this is policy neutral or some dishonest advocate. Explaining radiative transfer is not advocating for cap-and-trade. Defining feedbacks does not support a renewables mandate. Describing cloud microphysics does not force a ban on incandescent light bulbs. Note the difference - one thing is science, and the other thing is a policy. Please try to keep it straight. - gavin]

  7. Gilles:

    “BPL: Why wouldn’t they? You keep saying they can’t, that this is a myth, etc., etc., etc., but you offer no clear argument as to why not. Do you know how much solar energy is absorbed by the climate system every second? About 1.2 x 10^17 watts.”

    First, this argument is totally irrelevant. Imagine a small group of humans living in the middle of nowhere from agriculture (which is obviously a way of converting solar energy for human applications, including cattle). They would also have theoretically 1.2 10^17 watts available. Actually this amount would be proportional to the cross section of the Earth, and for a theoretically flat and infinite Earth, it would be also infinite. But this wouldn’t change the slightest thing in their way of life. So your parameter is simply irrelevant. What is relevant is productivity per capita. The “total amount” available is only relevant when the population grows and reaches the boundary of the resources, which decreases this productivity (we are close to this point for fossil energy and probably hydroelectricity and even agriculture). But before this point, the limit is totally immaterial. It could be 10^18 or 10^19 or 10^300 , this wouldn’t make solar panel cheaper, nor produce electricity during the night – which is the actual problem of course.

    161 Nick “Why don’t you propose a specific bet, with specific amounts of money and odds, and a specific procedure for ensuring that the loser pays up? Come on, put your money where your mouth is.”

    Actually the bet is not particularly interesting because it should be held, it’s just interesting to precise what’s your real belief. A proposal is enough for that. I notice that when I asked for this proposal, my speeches transformed from “wrong” or “idiotic” to “vague”. So I offer you a precise prediction : I would bet that the production of CO2 per capita is to peak before 2020, which isn’t predicted by any IPCC scenario to my knowledge. Would you agree to bet on that ?

    CFU 162 :”Let me ask: are you convinced that plate glass is a requirement for economic development? After all, you tell me of one country that hasn’t progressed into a higher economic realm after the introduction of it?Therefore we MUST continue to use it, yes?”

    Plate glass is ONE of the commodities that was VERY expensive before the availability of cheap fossil fuel energy, and became much cheaper with them. I agree, it would be one of the requirement that would disappear with the disappearance of fossil fuels – not impossible to produce of course, but much too expensive for most people. And they are many others like that.

  8. Completely Fed Up:

    “If you don’t agree with the simple fact that you need energy to develop, this discussion is pointless.”

    I’ve never said they didn’t.

    However, energy != fossil fuels.

    If you refuse, like Gilles does, to agree with this simple fact, this discussion, as with Gilles, is pointless.

  9. Andreas Bjurström:

    166 Completely Fed Up,
    On the contrary, reduction of energy use, fossil fuels and on top of that lots of other societal changes that mititage and adapt to climate change (as well as mitigate and adapt many other problems, hopefully also with clever synergism), would be a very good thing according to my politics.

    Not all critique of the IPCC and climate science is rooted in right-wing politics. I´m afraid that your assertion is rooted in fairyland (the binary world of the good and the bad guys, and the princess).

  10. Nick Gotts:

    So I offer you a precise prediction : I would bet that the production of CO2 per capita is to peak before 2020, which isn’t predicted by any IPCC scenario to my knowledge. – Gilles

    Of course not, because whether it does so depends on whether sufficient action is taken to bring this about. Since this happening in no way contradicts anything I know or believe to be the case, and since I don’t like betting against things I very much want to happen, I would not be keen to bet against it. The IPCC scenarios, as you should know, are premised on no specific action being taken to reduce emissions.

    We might be able to agree on such a bet conditional on none of a list of actions to reduce emissions being taken, but it would necessarily be quite complex and I would need time to research it, since there are probably numerous possibilities that would have that much effect. Since you are convinced that no such action having a significant effect will be taken, I would be willing to bet that either at least one of a (probably long) list of actions will be taken by some agreed mintermediate date, or per capita CO2 emissions will not peak by 2020 – provided the odds are reasonable, and you can come up with a convincing way of ensuring that the loser pays up.

  11. Hank Roberts:

    Aside: CFU, you’re being used by the trolls. Please try to ignore them.
    Gavin’s told Andreas off bluntly. That should end the nonsense if it’s not encouraged. We can hope anyhow, and not contribute to it by responding.

  12. Andreas Bjurström:

    Gavin,
    I expect you to react that way since we have very different views on the interface of science, policy, politics. From my point of view, I am telling a truth and I feel rather sad that truth can smear you are your collegues. I think this is due to the fact that no political role is allowed for scientists, according to your point of view. To be political is to taint the scientists objectivity. I don’t agree with that. Morals are part of science and morals don’t taint truth. From your point of view, I am being dishonest and disloyal.

    We also have a conceptual disagreement. You have a much more restricted definition of advocacy. I argue that to advocate for a problem to be taken seriously (Agenda setting) is the first step in the so called policy cycle. To advocate something pressupose values. When these values are not explicit, one is working in stealth fashion, especially when a researcher claim that the conclusion (climate change should be taken seriously) is claimed to result from objective science. Perhaps it´s better to change vocabulary? To act political, is that better? Or to be a normative agent? I don´t care that much what language we use. Scientists that invest their authority in mitigating homelessness, let us call them recreational politicians from the scientific community.

    We also disagree on the role of science in policymaking. I agree that there is a difference between inform and determine. However, science is very powerful in agenda setting in all environmental policy. Agenda setting is crucial since that influence the direction of more concrete policy formulations. For example, when (natural) science frame climate change as a global problem, the “south” oppose since neither they cause nor the concequence are global and to acknowledge this favors their politics. The strong economic bias in the social sciences included in the IPCC is very likely to result in marked based mitigation policies. To say that science just inform is to give science too little political power. To say that science determine policy is to give far too much political power. Science is far from that powerful in politics. That is why I say that science co-produce policy. Science is there all along, from agenda setting, in policy formulation, evaluation and so on. Next to each politician in the COP meeting is a scientists giving advice, most of these elite scientists are also working with the IPCC. Science is used in the political negotiatians as political tools. For example, US delegates claimed that all countries must contribute substantially to mitigation since that is what the scientific models tells us.

    I don’t contest that science in the IPCC reports is as objective as it can be. I claim that the IPCC is trying to be more objective that they should and that they are far from as objective as they claim to be.

    I don’t contest that the authors and reviewers involved are interested in truth. I contest that they only are interested in the truth. Some are mere interested in truth, but these guys are not the most effective at influencing policy. Sadly, the choice for a scientists that wants to influence politics, is to work in stealth fashion. To be open with value preferences results often in reduced authority for a scientist,
    that is the reason why so many scientists are stealth, especially natural scientists since the humanities and social sciences are much more forgiving to normative agendas in science.
    From my point of view, you are the one reducing complexity, whereas I are trying to address the full picture. Climate science (in the broadest definition) is very complex. When you ad the interface of science and politics to this, the complexity increase and also the options for action that we have to.
    I don’t say this to start a fight, but rather to try to explain why we think different. Since very many natural scientists hold the same position as you, and quite many social scientists interested in science for policy hold similar positions to mine, it is worth to try to reconcile the viewpoints, and I don’t think that either of them is 100 % true.

  13. Gilles:

    “Ergo, they didn’t use fossil fuels despite having a growing and vibrant economy.”

    CFU, have you any idea of the average growth rate of these “growing and vibrant economies” , per capita ?

    Hint : + 2%/yr means doubling in 35 years, and multiplication by eight in 100 years. Do the maths.

    What you call “growth” was only political annexation through wars, and limited progresses in agriculture in the best cases. If you are satisfied by that, and very concerned by CO2, I suggest you to buy some house in the country without electricity and car, and grow your vegetable and some chickens, which should be enough to survive, in a Far West style. Your life will look very much like that of the vast majority of people living in those vibrant and growing empires you admire so much.

  14. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #157 CFU re. Gilles

    I’m glad you brought that up. Lest we forget the Persians, Asians… oh what the heck the entirety of human civilization began without coal plants or gasoline. To limit our view to only modern civilization is an odd way to look at it, since the pre-industrial society did not endanger the climate system.


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  15. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #172 Gilles

    So I offer you a precise prediction : I would bet that the production of CO2 per capita is to peak before 2020, which isn’t predicted by any IPCC scenario to my knowledge. Would you agree to bet on that ?

    It’s a silly bet. You can’t even build a good straw-man out of it. And besides what’s the point of the bet to solidify beliefs on things that are not easily calculated? Or are you privy to the water pumping numbers in Saud?

    Gilles, you are very good with red herrings, but they truly are quite boring. You don’t seem to understand economics. Heck, for all I know, that could be your job ;)

    PS Relevance needs context. Context perspective exclusive of all major relevant factors is irrelevant. Avoiding context only creates ambiguity… You can’t find solutions when you are not looking at relevant system factors. I do understand that it is possible for some to think they have ‘all relevant factors’ but that is not a scientific way of looking at things, is it.

    It’s easy to be arrogant, it takes more effort to be contextually relevant.

    Still looking forward to your response re: #296 Gilles



    From the ‘Why We Bother’ thread?
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/why-we-bother/comment-page-7/#comment-166519


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  16. Nick Gotts:

    Andreas Bjurström,

    Sadly, the choice for a scientists that wants to influence politics, is to work in stealth fashion.

    The very existence of this blog shows what complete crap this is.

    To be open with value preferences results often in reduced authority for a scientist,
    that is the reason why so many scientists are stealth,

    There you go again, accusing most scientists of lying – and you wonder why this is resented.

    especially natural scientists since the humanities and social sciences are much more forgiving to normative agendas in science.

    Say, maybe that’s why the natural sciences have been so much more successful!

    Andreas, there is nothing wrong with scientists having and being open about their values; what they must avoid doing, to the best of their ability, is to prevent those values influencing their findings. That is objectivity at an individual level. Because individuals (and teams) are not all that good at this, science has developed institutional systems (standards for how work is done and described, penalties for allowing your values to determine your results, peer-reviewed journals, conferences, citation, systematic review, learned societies) to overcome these limitations. You, explicitly, consider that the attempt to be as objective as possible should be abandoned. That would be utterly disastrous.

  17. Andreas Bjurström:

    178 Hank Roberts,
    You demonstrate the main sceptical attitude: Deny inconvenient truths (without strong arguments or empirical basis).

    Sceptics comes in many flavors. What is inconvenient and why differs.

    The physical climate sceptic is the most well known. He is usually politically motivated, and may deny any physical aspects of reality when appropriate.

    What we deal with here is much less well known. The social climate sceptic. He believes in most, if not all, physical aspects of climate change, especially after strong arguments and empirical basis has been demonstrated. However, he may deny any social aspect of climate change when appropriate. Why is that so?

  18. flxible:

    Gilles

    “CFU, have you any idea of the average growth rate of these “growing and vibrant economies”, per capita ?”

    Gilles – Do you understand the concept of sustainability? You argue that easily accessible oil and coal are necessary for “modern” society, yet also assert that those commodities will relatively soon disappear, therefor the climatic effects of their use are not a concern. Why keep going around in these circles?

  19. Nick Gotts:

    However, he may deny any social aspect of climate change when appropriate.

    What utter garbage. Of course climate change has social aspects: it is social activities such as fossil fuel use and agriculture that are causing it, and either it, or the measures required to limit it, or both, will have vast social consequences. The only people who deny the latter are the likes of Gilles, not those like Hank Roberts. What you mean, of course, is that Hank refuses to accept your caricature of natural science, as well he should, and considers further argument with you a waste of time – while I think it’s important to expose your nonsense for what it is.

  20. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas Bjurström
    For someone who claims to be studying the scientific process, you sure have a lot to learn about how it is actually done! The IPCC is conservative in its approach because that’s how science is done–especially when summarizing the consensus. And your characterization of the IPCC as dishonest about its role is beyond the pale! In terms of the science, they have been scrupulously honest. In terms of outlining the consequences, I think they have made a good faith effort at bounding the risks as they understood them. And in terms of mitigation options, they are feeling their way in the dark as we all are.

    Have you considered that climate scientists have tried to elevate the level of concern about climate change because they have discovered a credible threat? Would you consider a water-born disease expert to be dishonest because he tried to draw attention to pathgens he had discovered infecting a city’s water.

    Andreas, most climate scientst would be more than happy to study their subject in relative obscurity. I don’t know of too many scientists who want to be on Oprah! and I know of even fewer who crave the Jerry Springer like atmosphere of the climate debates as they currently stand. Have you ever even talked to scientists one on one?

  21. Andreas Bjurström:

    190 Nick Gotts,
    There is a difference between explicit lying and not saying the full truth (and sometimes not even knowing that one doesn´t know the full truth). Besides that, I expect that scientists, on average, will be humble enough to not be resented by (any) truth and open enough to consider possible truth without emotional bias being trump. One might linger in cognitive dissonanse for some time, but that is part of the scientific process. As I read you, you tend to argue that any claim that may treaten the emotional well-being or self-image of a scientist must be expelled without second thought and irrespective of this claim being likely true or false.

    “maybe that’s why the natural sciences have been so much more successful!”

    To believe that normativity is the main hindrance for progress in the social sciences is VERY naïve.

    “Andreas, there is nothing wrong with scientists having and being open about their values; what they must avoid doing, to the best of their ability, is to prevent those values influencing their findings. “

    I agree on that.

    “You, explicitly, consider that the attempt to be as objective as possible should be abandoned. That would be utterly disastrous.”

    Yes, I do, but not in the way you think I do. I believe that science MUST deal with facts and values. We don’t even have a choice since values are part of science. Scientists will not be more objective just because they try hard to hide their subjectivity, for themselves and others. Deception doesn´t amplify objectivity. The question we need to address is: HOW do we deal with facts and values? Aim: In ways that prevent values to influence findings. Methods for this: Not much progress, yet, since there is still far too much value denialism in science. And the areas that doesn´t deny values in science (e.g. gender research) tend to deal with values in ways that is problematic. Other areas such as philosophy tend to deal with values in a formalistic way that is not very useful for the scientific practise(s).

  22. Hank Roberts:

    > 192 Andreas Bjurström says: 18 March 2010 at 11:22 AM
    > 178 Hank Roberts, You demonstrate the main sceptical attitude:

    I’m sorry, but you’ve replied to a wrong number.
    Please hang up and try again.

  23. Gilles:

    Nick : “If we manage to prevent that likely outcome, and build a civilisation based on sustainable resource use, then the undoubted boost that the availability of fossil fuels gave to scientific and technological development will mean most of us (including me) would judge it a good thing.

    CFU : Gilles – Do you understand the concept of sustainability?

    There is some bizarre misunderstanding between us. I have no problem to accept the idea that agricultural civilization are robust and sustainable. Probably much more robust that ours, despite our hubris and self confidence. Simply, I think it impossible to sustain everything that made our life so different from that of our grand-grand-parents without fossil fuels.

    Now if you don’t mind to go back to their life, I don’t think there is any problem AT ALL. I advise you to do a very, very simple thing. Just calculate the amount of money you need to live in a solid, but small flat. One room is enough, actually many people live being several in a single room. That’s not deathly. Then what do you need for not starving for death? well, I would say 100 $/month is already not bad. Find a small job to pay that – no need to have a high salary of course. Then give up all the rest. No car of course, no computer, no TV, no fridge (you can walk to the next store every one or two days can’t you?), no vacation abroad (walking through a park and listening birds is really nice, do you know ! )

    I think your life will be still much more comfortable than the average peasant in any glorious empire you mentioned : at least you’re protected from starvation, epidemies, wars, and children mortality. Actually I think they wouldn’t have dreamt of such a comfort. If it is enough for you – fine. The planet is saved, hurrah ! enough with speeches, we need real action, don’t we ?

  24. Andreas Bjurström:

    187 Reasonable Observer,
    I very much agree with that.

    Gavin
    I agree that the definition of concepts are crucial here. However, I don´t think that scientists should not use technical terms or not speak openly on some things because parts of the public may abuse this or miss subtle things. I think that you politicize science when you think like that, or?

    [Response: So by pointing out that science and policy are separate things, I am politicizing science? Listen to yourself - this is through the looking glass stuff. - gavin]

    At the same time, I agree that a strategy for communication with the public is needed.

    To be consistent, I think you need to agree with me, since realclimate want to be open and educate the public on all physical aspects of climate.
    So why not also try to educate the public with a more realistic view of what science can achieve and how science actually behave within scientific and the policy context. [edit]

    [Response: Where have we ever done anything else? Point me to any statement in a posting on this site where we have claimed that science has all the answers, or that the science compels a specific policy, or that scientists are flawless automata. By continually raising strawman arguments about scientific caricatures, try actually engaging with one - without assuming a priori that they are dishonest or hopelessly naive. - gavin]

  25. Andreas Bjurström:

    200 Ray Ladbury,
    Well, that is not what Bert Bolin, the first chief of the IPCC, told me when I talked to him a few years ago. That is neither what Bert Bolin writes in his book about the IPCC. Stephen Schneider, also a early advocate for climate policy, also tells a somewhat different story than you do (about himself and about the IPCC). Schneider doesn´t like conservative science and he wasn´t very found of the IPCC, from what I read. And yes, Schneider kind of like to be on Oprah ;-P
    Actually, many of the climate scientists that influence policy have a bit of Oprah in them. Where I live, we have a scientists that are extremely influential on swedish climate policy, and he also seems to enjoy being in the media, also talking on personal issues, e.g. stories where he tells he was a good football player when he was young. There is probably mechanisms of selection for the type of scientits that linger in the policy context and who stay inside the laboratory.

    I don´t contest that science is conservative (that is why revolutionary progress is so hard. Often the elderly scientists have to die before consensus change with the new generation scientists, as Thomas Kuhn argue in his classic book). However, Bolin was clear that HE deliberately used a conservative approach in the IPCC to establish climate change as a policy issue. Thus, to be conservative in the IPCC context is SCIENTIFIC and POLITICAL at the same time. Ouch, that is a lot of conservatism, I think I need a beer or two ;-)

  26. Richard Ordway:

    re. 170 Andreas Bjurström says:

    “”"”165 Kevin McKinney,
    The problem for me is not (1) whether IPCC is good or bad at doing what they do, but (2) whether they are honest or dishonest about what they are doing. That is two very different things.”"”"”

    Yawn, your comments are very irresponsible and ignorant.

    The IPCC only reported on the mainstream scientific consensus history that had long since been established before the IPCC ever started writing. Your ignorance is appalling.

    1979- US National Academy of Sciences (the final word for a US national science body) stated a consensus that we are warming in 1979.-

    “A plethora of studies from diverse sources indicates a consensus that climate changes will result from mans’ combustion of fossil fuels and changes in land use.” 1979-National Academy of Sciences Archives, “An evaluation of the Evidence for CO2-induced Climate change, Assembly of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Climate Research Board, Study Group on Carbon Dioxide, 1979, Film label: CO2 and Climate Change: Ad Hoc: General.

    There was a consensus that GW (human-caused global warming) would occur, however the question at that time was when GW would show itself. Best estimates were 2040-2050, etc.

    GW has unfolded much faster than scientists thought. Scientists have been conservative in reality.

    GW Surprised scientists because in only a few years after 1979 US National Academy of Sciences GW concensus report, the signs of GW had become detectable.

    1995, This signal was summarized by the IPCC, Consensus of people actually working and studying on climate, “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human impact on global climate.” Houghton et al., eds., Climate Change 1995, 5. Its not hysterical, not catastrophic, ..human fingerprint had become scientifically detectible. This was a scientific consensus.

    1995 Scientists had found evidence of global warming and they had predicted it. Why had they predicted it…because basic physics showed carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, if you increase CO2, you expect climate to change. And that’s what happened.

    IPCC conclusion based on both observed empirical evidence of effect, and well-established theoretical framework linking the observed cause and effect. We expect this to happen…and its happening.

    Oreskes 2004 study showed that scientists had a consensus that warming would happen since late 1970s.
    Scientists had a consensus it had become detectible since early-mid 1990s Oreskes 2004 Science.

  27. Andreas Bjurström:

    Gavin,
    To suggest that one should not say that science and policy are interrelated, which they are to some extent, because the public may misunderstand what that imply, and because that in turn may decrease the scientific authority and influence on policy for the scientific community that you belong to, because of these considerations, I think that you tend to politicize science? (I might be wrong, but that is how I read you).

    [Response: Again with the strawman. Science and policy can be considered separately, but they are also related since the science impacts issues that policymakers and the public care about. The fact of the latter, does not imply the impossibility of the former. And completely in contrast to your claim, this can depoliticize science. Radiative transfer can be (and mostly is) discussed by scientists and interested lay public without having to always refer to the Kyoto protocol. It exists and is interesting independent of political context. - gavin]

    Response 2: That is a fair request. I will try to come back some time in the future, and also try not to repeat my rather theoretical models.

  28. flxible:

    Gilles@206
    “Simply, I think it impossible to sustain everything that made our life so different from that of our grand-grand-parents without fossil fuels.”
    I agree with the premise, the conclusion is where you’re confused. To me it indicates we should keep that thought in close conjunction with your acknowledgement that the supply of said fossil fuels is limited, and plan now for sustaining that future.

    “Just calculate the amount of money you need to live in a solid, but small flat.”
    Or, indeed, maybe even a small but mobile retirement home, built to last, possibly using leading edge science like this or like this, with solar power, and home made bio-fuel for any required “migration”. All the “amenities” don’t have to be abandoned, they’re all currently available solar powered, and in our wasteful consumer society are frequently to be found inexpensively, sometimes nearly free. :)

    “(…) enough with speeches, we need real action, don’t we?”
    Yes, and some of us started acting years past, so are likely to be in a much better position than those who haven’t yet accepted the need for action. Which group do you belong to?

  29. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #206 Gilles

    What’s that smell? Hmmmm, more red herring. Someone should open a restaurant.

    Gilles, what precisely are you arguing for? Just saying our modern civilization can’t survive without fossil fuels? That is first a misconception of potential of the ingenuity of mankind, and second a political bandwagon phrase arguing that we must burn fossil fuels or we all, whatever…

    It’s really a simple qualitative argument. If we continue to burn fossil fuels because they are the cheapest we will pay for it by degrading total economic capacity of the earth system. Maybe you need to actually learn economics first, then jump back into the discussion.

    BTW, what do you mean by real action? Please do feel free to be concise and on point.


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  30. Kevin McKinney:

    Well, Hank, I’ve exhausted everything I have to say to Gilles (or Jean.)

    No value judgements, thinks we’re going to do our best to transition to renewables anyway, utterly immovable on the inutility of trying to do so, as he is on the probability of climate change causing problems.

    Seems to render everything pretty much pointless to discuss, as far as I can tell.

    Although I’ll admit, I’d sure welcome it if CO2 emissions were to decline beginning in 2020. I’d gladly say “I told you so”–though 2010 would be better still. . .

  31. Gilles:

    flxible 215 : “I agree with the premise, the conclusion is where you’re confused. To me it indicates we should keep that thought in close conjunction with your acknowledgement that the supply of said fossil fuels is limited, and plan now for sustaining that future.”

    Actually there is no doubt of me that the future is perfectly sustainable without fossil fuels – mankind has lived hundreds of thousands of years without them. What you’re saying is that we should try to keep our standard of living without them. Maybe, or maybe not. Why actually ? You’re true only if you postulate that the western standard of living is an absolute necessity – which contradicts the position that the other civilizations are equivalent. In some sense, that is a subjective judgement, so I let you at your own opinion. The only thing I’m saying is that it’s probably impossible to keep it without fossil fuels.

    “Gilles, what precisely are you arguing for? Just saying our modern civilization can’t survive without fossil fuels? That is first a misconception of potential of the ingenuity of mankind,”
    Well, I could say the same for the argument that our modern civilization can’t survive to some degrees more in average temperature. Isn’t it a misconception of potential of the ingenuity of mankind, too? I can’t find a simple explanation why it should work in one case and not in the other.

    JP Reisman 217 “If we continue to burn fossil fuels because they are the cheapest we will pay for it by degrading total economic capacity of the earth system. Maybe you need to actually learn economics first, then jump back into the discussion.”

    Oh gosh. “degrading total economy capacity of the earth system” ! I wonder what is the “economy capacity of the earth system”? is it defined in the economics textbooks? so do you mean that, when mankind wasn’t burning fossil fuels, the “economy capacity of the earth system” was much larger ? because it seems to me that the economic capacity of mankind was much LOWER- and is still much lower at places where they don’t burn much fossil fuels (they can’t “continue”, since they have hardly begun at all). And also that economy seems to grow where they are burning MORE fossil fuels (in China for instance) .

    But I agree, I’m not an economist. I must learn these strange concepts first, that “economy capacity of the earth system” is much better defined and much more significant that the mere “economy”.

  32. Philip Machanick:

    Gilles #167

    Kevin, have you ever looked at a correlation curve between any indicator of development you wish, and CO2 production? have you EVER looked ?

    Here’s an even better one: the correlation between the roll-out of fixed-line telephones and development. But with today’s technology, you wouldn’t do it that way. It’s vastly more expensive to festoon a country with copper wires than to use cell technology (or satellite in remote areas).

    Just because something was done in a particular way in the past doesn’t make it the only way, or even the optimal way in today’s world. China and possibly India have the option to get part of the way to industrialising on fossil fuels. Add in Africa as well and we start to see very rapid depletion of known reserves. Also factor in that much of the less developed world does not have nationwide power grids and road networks, and a very different development trajectory just could be possible.

    If there is not other way, industrial society is soon going to be on a downward curve, so there is a massive incentive for humanity collectively to work on this problem; purveyors of fossil fuels don’t want us to do so expeditiously because they make more profit this way.

    Gilles, did you read David McKay’s book as I proposed a couple of pages back? If not, look at that comment and read the book (it’s a free PDF online if you’re too cheap to buy it).

  33. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas, Don’t you think it should bother you that your picture of science is utterly unrecognizable to anyone who actually does science? You seem to be unable to understand that science is inherently a collective activity. Yes, individual scientists may be advocates or pigheaded or simply wrong. That is why consensus is crucial in science.

    One absolutely crucial piece of information you seem to be missing in your understanding is the system of reinforcements in science (positive and negative). Science rewards individual scientists for (anong other things)
    1)being productive
    2)being honest
    3)subverting personal agendas and prejudices for the good of the field
    4)being creative and challenging long-held views

    It punishes individual scientists for
    1)not producing
    2)playing fast and loose with the truth
    3)having an agenda
    4)conformism
    5)etc.

    So it is not that individual scientists don’t have values or agendas or preferences. Rather it is that progress in the field requires them to put those aside to a greater or lesser extent. Really, Andreas, until you understand what motivates scientists, you are destined to spout bullshit.

  34. Hank Roberts:

    Andreas, from the past year’s best science writing online,
    http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=886

    this excerpt:
    ___________________________

    Science doesn’t work despite scientists being asses. Science works, to at least some extent, because scientists are asses. Bickering and backstabbing are essential elements of the process. Haven’t any of these guys ever heard of “peer review”?

    There’s this myth in wide circulation: rational, emotionless Vulcans in white coats, plumbing the secrets of the universe, their Scientific Methods unsullied by bias or emotionalism. Most people know it’s a myth, of course; they subscribe to a more nuanced view in which scientists are as petty and vain and human as anyone (and as egotistical as any therapist or financier), people who use scientific methodology to tamp down their human imperfections and manage some approximation of objectivity.

    But that’s a myth too. The fact is, we are all humans; and humans come with dogma as standard equipment. We can no more shake off our biases than Liz Cheney could pay a compliment to Barack Obama. The best we can do— the best science can do— is make sure that at least, we get to choose among competing biases.

    That’s how science works. It’s not a hippie love-in; it’s rugby. Every time you put out a paper, the guy you pissed off at last year’s Houston conference is gonna be laying in wait. Every time you think you’ve made a breakthrough, that asshole supervisor who told you you needed more data will be standing ready to shoot it down. You want to know how the Human Genome Project finished so far ahead of schedule? Because it was the Human Genome projects, two competing teams locked in bitter rivalry, one led by J. Craig Venter, one by Francis Collins — and from what I hear, those guys did not like each other at all.

    This is how it works: you put your model out there in the coliseum, and a bunch of guys in white coats kick the shit out of it. If it’s still alive when the dust clears, your brainchild receives conditional acceptance. It does not get rejected. This time.

    Yes, there are mafias. There are those spared the kicking because they have connections. There are established cliques who decide what appears in Science, who gets to give a spoken presentation and who gets kicked down to the poster sessions with the kiddies. I know a couple of people who will probably never get credit for the work they’ve done, for the insights they’ve produced. But the insights themselves prevail. Even if the establishment shoots the messenger, so long as the message is valid it will work its way into the heart of the enemy’s camp. First it will be ridiculed. Then it will be accepted as true, but irrelevant. Finally, it will be embraced as canon, and what’s more everyone will know that it was always so embraced, and it was Our Glorious Leader who had the idea. The credit may not go to those who deserve it; but the field will have moved forward.

    Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it. And it does that at least partly fueled by our pettiness and our rivalries. Science is alchemy: it turns shit into gold. Keep that in mind the next time some blogger decries the ill manners of a bunch of climate scientists under continual siege by forces with vastly deeper pockets and much louder megaphones.

    ———————

  35. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #223 Gilles

    You talk a lot about economy but it is clear you do not understand what economy or economic capacity means.

    Point of fact: before the industrial age the global economy and economic capacity of the earth was much larger and in fact healthier in the context of capacity and sustainability. Unwise usage and practice has eroded the economy.

    As I mentioned, you do not understand what economic capacity means in the relevant context, which is why your posts are largely inconsiderate of the reality.

    To learn, start here:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/economy

    2a, 3a and 3b are the relevant definitions.

    When considering the economy of the earth system one must consider the relationships of the inter-dynamic systems and materials resources in relation to those inter-dynamic systems.

    You make the common mistake of thinking economy is merely monetary in nature. Economy includes the relationships and capacity between systems. A good example of the difference between a healthy economy and an unhealthy one would be the overuse of a system to favor one system over another without consideration of the overarching affect through time in relation to system needs over time, such as the Hoover dam, which according to the department of agriculture will be shutting down around 2023 due to the down trend of the water levels in the feed lake, possibly or most likely due to global warming trends and usage combined, and of course the Ogallala aquifer which is estimated to be dry by around 2020.

    Think of what happens to the monetary economies connected to these manmade and natural economies when these systems shut down due to inconsideration of those economic realities.

    Think about the oceans as an economy and the fact that around 90% of the big fish have been fished out and that the ocean is acidifying due to CO2 absorption.

    These are economies that were healthier before the fossil fuel boom. Now put in context of human needs, potentials, time and capacity. Do you see a bright economic future with continued burning of fossil fuels? If so, you still don’t understand what a healthy economy is.


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  36. Patrick 027:

    So as to not annoy the hosts or Hank Roberts any farther, this is my last comment here on this O.T. (unless I find a mistake in this in hindsight).

    Re 155 – Gilles

    As measured in a ‘complete’ way, yes, I expect the most meaningful measure of wealth** to increase as a result of forcing a price signal into the market to reflect the externalities of polluting activity (and also for other policies that work around market inefficiencies, such as efficiency in building codes, etc.).

    (** GDP or GNP – I don’t know exactly what the distinction is, but either is a measure of economic productivity per unit time. However, what about the wealth loss rate? Value gets ‘used up’. Wealth accumulates if wealth production exceeds wealth decay. If more of the GDP comes from durable goods production, then there will be some accumulation of wealth. On the other hand, the total value of something reflects the potential to provide benifit over time, so owning a $100,000 house doesn’t mean you get $100,000 of benifit from it every year, but that you could expect to get $100,000 benifit over it’s life span – actually, $100,000 plus whatever money must be invested to keep up the house. And of course, this refers to what the house is worth TO THE OWNER, which should be more than what it was bought with, the difference being the profit to the buyer. Adjusting for inflation, of course. Of course, part of the value of owning a house is (recent years being the exception) that the value of the house may increase in time, but that is part of the value of the house to the owner/buyer, etc. … So anyway, maybe GDP is a better measure of economic benifit per unit time than total wealth (except wherein their is wealth destruction in addition to wealth consumption, although having enough in case of destruction is part of the value of having a bit more than what you’d need if everything were perfect…). But let’s fold ecosystem services and aesthetics and etc. and all the things we don’t have to pay for in money but could be affected by economic activity into the mix to really get a handle on what’s at stake.)

    In the long term, conventional economic measures may do the same. But in the short term, GDP could decrease in response to climate policy such as emissions taxes or cap-and-trade/dividend, etc. This makes sense, given that the full externality is realized over a long time period, and that from a standpoint that is blind to the externality, a market economy should tend to perform less well in response to such policies, at least in the shortest term (though there may be caveats). I am refering to the global total, by the way; I’m not saying it couldn’t increase in some places and decrease in others depending on variations in national policies.

    (PS it needn’t be taken as given that individual countries must go it alone on this issue. In the absence of actual global policies, or even with them, I would support trade tariffs and maybe subsidies proportional to differing national policies. This wouldn’t just be for different total efforts, they would also be for different structures. For example, if one nation taxed fuel at the mine/well, and another taxed sales of fuel to power plants or distributors, then trade of fuel between the nations would goof up the mechanisms withou some corrective tariff/subsidy. Note that a nation which is more reliant on emissions-intensive activities would suffer more, but trade partners who benifit from those activities would share in that burden as costs are passed along (in general, it is only necessary to tax an emitting pathway at one point along the flow; added price is distributed over sales and decreased profits are distributed back up the chain, driving both investors and consumers toward alternatives.))

    —-

    “The volume of production is not constant : it has continuously increased despite an almost constant price – because first of demographic growth and second the continuous rise in various applications, including electricity. You forget that world has only 15% of people with reasonable (for western people) standard of living, and 85 % of eager people knocking at the door. is what you propose locking the door ? it seems contradictory with your last sentence ! ”

    Certainly I have not forgotten. I was comparing effects for a given time (how does a publically-imposed change in demand or supply affect economic conditions at the time it is implemented, or in the short term as measured relative to the trajectory in the absence of such a policy), and for trajectories over time (economy with no climate policy vs economy with climate policy, compared for the same time periods).

    —-

    “For fossil fuels, this MUST be wrong at some time since the production cannot grow indefinitely. So there is a point where the increase of prices simply reduces the demand (like the tax you prefer is supposed to do ! why should a tax reduce the demand, and not the natural increase in prices ??? ) , and there is then no more investment, nor alternatives, since the demand has simply been destructed. That just happened last year.”

    Well I never implied that scarcity of fossil fuels would not eventually bring down consumption. However, there is an externality; given an externality with public net cost, scarcity alone will not bring consumption down along an optimum trajectory; it would be better than otherwise for consumption to go down faster.

    PS noting how realistic markets perform, and some other issues, it might be argued that the full imposed price signal for fossil fuels should be larger than that justified by CO2 (and some CH4 associated with fossil fuels) alone. It might be benificial to force the market into realizing some higher scarcity sooner, so as to have a smoother transition.

    Oh, and a quick note (so as to not annoy the hosts more than necessary), yes, peak oil seems near, gas – I don’t know, but there is coal, and more coal, and more coal, and oil shales and tar sands. Coal is dirty at both ends (moutaintop removal mining especially), but dirt cheap as far as markets are concerned. What if coal is gassified? Oil shales and tar sands are probably more expensive sources (and dirty at both ends from what I’ve heard), considering conventional oil resources are considered conventional for a reason, yet they are being pursued. Eventually the pace of innovation and depletion of the lowest fruit of fossil fuels may cause a switch and keep a lot of carbon in the crust (assuming civilization is able and willing to support vibrant economies through that point), but given the logic of externalities, however fast this happens without appropriate climate and pollution policy, it ought to happen faster than that.

    —-

    “You said it. So, again, can you say when the marginal cost of externality exceeds the marginal benefit of burning 1 more t of C ?”

    No, you’ll have to go to others for likely numbers. (Maybe IPCC AR4 WGII and wGIII)
    Of course, if the tax is accurate and the market works well, the market will limit emissions at that point.

    —–

    (are you Patrick C. in my neighborhood ? :) )

    Nobody knows me as Patrick C, and I don’t know anybody outide of here as Gilles.

    “Which “thresholds”? I don’t catch your point.”

    - The idea that a quantity has to exceed some amount before it matters to another quantity. It’s a bit like saying that reducing your sugar and saturated fat intake by 1/4 will be of no good to your health (assume for the sake of the argument you’re an average person in a modern affluent society) but reducing them by 1/2 will. Of course there may be nonlinearities, but the idea that small reductions simply don’t count seems odd, in this case and for climate change (but I will agree that small actions by small groups are not so great because the benifits are distributed, which is why of course it is important to have policy agreements for at least large industrialized countries and, depending on how fast innovation is relative to growth, eventually the world).

    (An aside:
    Of course, such thresholds do exist in the climate system (and other things), such as in the orbital forcing required to green the Sahara or perhaps end an ice age (or start one) (though in that case I’m not sure the threshold is quite as stark as ‘not mattering at all until it matters’), but with regards to AGW, if we only have probalistic knowledge of where any such threshold exists (if there are any such large and sharp thresholds), than the expectation value is a smoother function of our actions.)

    In other words, even if emissions continue to grow for awhile and take time to decay to zero, it may still be better than having emissions grow faster for a longer time period with a greater cummulative effect.

    ———————–
    Gilles (167)

    “what is wrong is computing an “amount” without questioning the form (liquid fuel is not like electricity), the availability , and the costs. “Amount” doesn’t mean anything. The amount of methane in Titan is huge, but it is totally useless.”

    Yes, of course, but:

    As to forms of energy: many people, including myself, are not arguing that we must replace all energy consumption with one particular type of power. Although we needn’t continue to use energy with the same proportion of electricity and heat as we presently do.

    (Hybrid PV solar systems can produce electricity and heat, perhaps boosting the electricity production by cooling the PV devices, while heating water at the same time. Of course, CSP could do the same thing, or provide heat directly for industrial processes. Heat (as in CSP) can be stored on the timescale of a day, and fuel (solar produced H2, biofuel, or something else) or, in some cases, geothermal could be available to supplement CSP or solar heating (industrial or residential) during the winter or cloudy weather. Hydroelectric power as well as the grid (think of varying weather conditions over space) (HVDC lines) (rooftop solar electricity and heat and passive solar and more efficient HVAC systems can reduce might reduce average use of the grid, so that the same grid might handle larger deviations from average power transmission) can help in matching supply to load over short time periods, and weather patterns may involve some correlation between hydroelectric power and wind power and lack of solar power, while solar power might be more available during droughts when there is greater need for water desalination and pumping. When total renewable energy goes above all other available uses and storage capacity (CAES, pumped water, aluminum?, geothermal storage?), the surplus might be directed towards carbon sequestration (including carbonate mineral production) (effective sequestration should be payed at the same rate as the emissions tax). Some energy intensive activities might be made flexible to adapt to changing weather patterns (aluminum, other materials?, water).

    (If we continue to get methane gas fed to buildings through pipelines, we might use that fuel in fuel cells or thermophotovoltaic furnaces to produce electricity and heat; could natural gas pipelines handle hydrogen, or could we feed biofuel-produced CH4 or ___ into them?)

    As to practicality and economics: Of course we can’t hope to use any large fraction of solar energy reaching the surface (directly), nor should we (in a direct way), nor need we. But technology has come, it is advancing, the economics are getting better. Material scarcity is an issue for some types of solar and other renewable power or energy conversion devices, but there are alternatives even within these categories.

    I don’t know how much of global electricity in 2050 or 2100 could be supplied by CdTe or CIGS devices, but certainly it could be quite a bit more than now, and there’s still room for improvement with c-Si, and there are other promising materials (it’s unfortunate investments in zinc phosphide and copper-tin-zinc-sulfide (?) have lagged behind – so far as I know, that may be simply a consequence of investment and attention flocking towards already somewhat-known materials, as opposed to any actual lack of promise in these less familiar but abundant (relative to the amounts that would be used) materials), and there is CSP, … etc.

    There may be issues with Li for batteries and some rare-earth metals (they are actually not all that rare, but they tend not to be found in concentrated form) in other things, but these are not make-or-break issues for the larger categories (there are alternatives within the broader alternatives to fossil fuels).
    Some have suggested that energy input into production and operation, etc, of renewable energy is a problem. It could be if the wrong choices are made, but from what I’ve read, it’s not such a big problem in general (for ethanol from corn, yes, it is a problem, at least the way it’s done now). Consider how much energy is used by the energy industry now, petroleum in particular (I am not refering to the fuel input that corresponds to fuel equivalent energy output, that is the energy they supply, but I am refering to the use energy in extracting and processing fuel, in producing and maintaining power plants, etc. Water use is not such a big issue for solar power (it tends to be an issue for nuclear and fossil fuel power plants). It also should be kept in mind that materials in devices could be recycled, so in the long term, extra expenditure of money, energy, etc, to mine the lower grade resources could pay back a lot in money, energy, etc. Also, don’t think that the warranties for photovoltaic devices reflects the expected lifetime. Good PV cells could work for 60 years or more (it’s interesting to consider their effective energy density as a fuel substitute). A lot of this is long term investment.

    And for centralized solar and biofuels, there are some land-use issues (though not huge for solar, and they needn’t be huge for biofuels, especially if biofuels came more from certain plants or from crop residues or used napkins and coffee grounds and peanut shells and algae, etc.). There are also land use issues with coal and nuclear, though. But solar needn’t destroy large or rare ecosystems, and I suggest it might be used in such a way as to boost productivity on neighboring agricultural land. (Solar collectors cast the longest shadows (in daily average effect) in winter, so they might be used within agricultural land and the spaces between them might still be quite productive, especially if the solar power concentrates the precipitation into those spaces.) The amount of land necessary can be reduced with increasing power conversion efficiency and with decreasing device cost (which makes it less costly to allow more shading at more hours and more months of the year – for example, newer more efficient devices might be placed in taller collectors in between the older less efficient devices within established power plants). (If the series connections within panels are horizontal than partial shading needn’t shut down larger parts of the panels.)

    —-

    Re 223 –
    “Well, I could say the same for the argument that our modern civilization can’t survive to some degrees more in average temperature. Isn’t it a misconception of potential of the ingenuity of mankind, too?”

    Could be a priori, but remember we also would need to help ecosystems adapt in order to keep them up to what we want for them and from them or else replace them. If there is some cost to change in general, it makes sense that there would be a cost to switching away from fossil fuels, but also a cost to adapting to climate change. The cost of adapting to climate change should be reflected in the externality tax. Then ‘the market’ would (tend to, ideally) decide what’s best (to some approximation).

    Incidentally, because of the inequities of consequences as well as responsibility, I think it would be best to make some effort to compensate for above-average climate change damages. Lest we sow more of the seeds of future genocidal campaigns and perhaps epidemics?

    Assuming a convex production possibilities curve, some mix of mitigation and adaption will be optimal. Research needs to be done to quantify that. See WGII and WGIII of IPCC AR4, for example.

    ——–
    Re many people:

    The origin of life required anoxic conditions somewhere (so far as I know) and could have benifited from cyanide and hydrogen sulfide (and maybe atmospheric shock waves?). Human evolution (in the specific form we’ve seen it; this is not a general comment about intelligent life) in some way was contingent on an asteroid impact. The Earth itself was born in harsh conditions.

    If Fossil Fuels were a necessary step, that step might be like crawling. We’re ready to walk now.

    Good point, 224 Philip Machanick

    The second batch of cookies can turn out better if we learn from the mistakes with the first batch. In one way, developing countries have an advantage in that they can start building infrastructure most compatable with clean energy sources. It is in the interest of developed countries to encourage other countries to take full advantage of that opportunity.

    ———–

    Re 186 Jean B. -

    “I think Norway, Australia, Israel, Japan, Sweden, Texas are good example of no correlation between any of these parameters and any climate parameter.”

    Okay, now move everthing in Sweden and Japan into Texas, Israel, and Australia, and see what happens. And how many of these countries (and Texas) have important trade relations with cropland regions like the central U.S.?

    Re Nick Gotts 195, good point.

  37. Edward Greisch:

    Gilles red herring: Fossil fuels were necessary to START the Industrial Revolution and DO the research that lead to: NON-FOSSIL sources of energy that could not have been discovered without fossil fuel energy.
    BUT NOW THAT NON-FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY SOURCES HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED, WE CAN DROP THE FOSSIL FUELS.
    So drop the red herring.

  38. Gilles:

    Ray :”Andreas, Don’t you think it should bother you that your picture of science is utterly unrecognizable to anyone who actually does science? You seem to be unable to understand that science is inherently a collective activity. Yes, individual scientists may be advocates or pigheaded or simply wrong. That is why consensus is crucial in science.”

    I think that what you say is utterly unrecognizable for a scientist. In their all day work, there is no consensus at all, for the simple reason that the research deals with topics where no consensus exists – or it isn’t research anymore. Of course some consensus emerges at the end, but AFTER research is settled. If you wan’t to exist as a researcher, you have to bring new ideas and hence try continuously to break the consensus. Think of this simple question : who were the greatest scientists in the history of mankind and what did they do ?

    It is not the least paradox of IPCC that it is (was?) in charge to express a consensus by exploring the scientific literature. Actually policymakers need consensus – but not scientists. That may be the reason why some researcher admitted privately (and very honestly) that he ” tried hard to balance the needs of the science and the IPCC , which were not always the same.” Consensus can not be declared by a intergovernmental panel. It exists as a fact, when no serious scientist questions the basis of knowledge (which don’t seem to be the case in climate science, as far as I can judge), or it doesn’t exist.

  39. Gilles:

    Ray actually i reacted to the first part of your post, but I agree on the second part, which obviously contradicts the first one :
    ” Science rewards individual scientists for (anong other things)…

    4)being creative and challenging long-held views

    It punishes individual scientists for
    ….
    4)conformism

  40. Jim Eaton:

    Having watched this discussion for some weeks, it appears that Gilles, Jean B, and Andreas Bjurström are dishing up the same old contrarian arguments that have been debunked time and time before.

    If they truly were skeptics who wanted to learn, they would pay attention to the wealth of information offered on this site, and the patience of those who reply to their comments with detailed documented replies.

    But no, they have no interest in really learning the science behind climate change, they are simply here to waste our time.

    I do truly appreciate the patience of those who take the time to try to educate these folks, assuming that they really want to learn, but is surely must be clear by now that these three are stuck in the mode of “my mind is made up — don’t confuse me with facts!”

    It makes me sad that “…the U.S. is 33rd out of 34 developed countries in the percentage of adults who agree that species, including humans, evolved.”

    Does our species deserve to survive? Considering that we are but one of millions of species that may face extinction due to our actions, it is a good question to ponder.

  41. Andreas Bjurström:

    216 Richard Ordway,
    “For 11 years I was with arguably the best climate scientists in the world at a US national center for climate research … If you so much as opened your mouth to the press, you were quivering in your shoes for fear of the career implications (and getting harassed) and you often got called in by a (non scientific) supervisor afterwards.”

    Can someone confirm that this is true? Is this the culture of the best climate scientists in the world?

    I very much hope not. The North Korea of science are controlling the climate agenda. A very scary thought. But that can´t be true, can it? That if far beyond my fantasy (and far beyond, far worse, much more ugly, than all my claims here, that some find to be offensive).

  42. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Gilles (167): Kevin, have you ever looked at a correlation curve between any indicator of development you wish, and CO2 production?

    BPL: Gilles, have you ever looked at a correlation curve between any indicator of development you wish, and rapes? Number of jails? Deaths due to pollution emergencies?

  43. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Gilles (172): Imagine a small group of humans living in the middle of nowhere from agriculture (which is obviously a way of converting solar energy for human applications, including cattle). They would also have theoretically 1.2 10^17 watts available. Actually this amount would be proportional to the cross section of the Earth, and for a theoretically flat and infinite Earth, it would be also infinite. But this wouldn’t change the slightest thing in their way of life. So your parameter is simply irrelevant.

    BPL: It’s HIGHLY relevant for a civilization with well-developed industries manufacturing, setting up, and using photovoltaic power cells, concentrating solar power plants, and wind turbines. A small group of humans living in the middle of nowhere from agriculture is what we’ll wind up with if too many people listen to you.

  44. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Gilles (223): The only thing I’m saying is that it’s probably impossible to keep it without fossil fuels.

    BPL: And we’ve explained at length why you’re wrong, and you keep saying it, and you always will–because, by your own words, you work for an oil company! Your superiors are reading this blog. If you openly changed your mind, or even admitted doubt, you know very well they’d fire your butt. You’re here to disrupt and delay, not to either learn or teach.

    Everybody, can we put this troll on Ignore? His pal Jean B., too, who is either a sock puppet or a colleague of Gilles. I know I’ve been as guilty as anybody in answering these disinformation experts, but we’ve got to stop giving them a platform.

  45. CM:

    Gilles #223

    argues that if human ingenuity will allow modern civilization to survive without fossil fuels, by the same token it should be able to handle a few degrees’ global mean temperature rise.

    The topic of this post, the sensitivity of the Amazon to climate change, illustrates one flaw in that argument. Rapid cuts in fossil fuel use only affect the functioning of modern human societies, they leave nature undisturbed. Rapid warming, beyond the temperature range known to human civilization, threatens vast and hard-to-predict changes in the natural world, disrupting the provision of resources and ecosystem services on which civilization ultimately depends.

    Replacing fossil fuels as an energy source for the technological underpinnings of modern civilization is not a trivial task. But at least we know something about building renewable energy technologies. Substituting brainpower for the genetic resources and ecosystem services of, say, the Amazonian rain forest, goes way beyond non-trivial to the realm of science fiction.

  46. Completely Fed Up:

    Gilles also doesn’t know his history of the petrol engine.

    The Diesel Engine was invented first and was intended to use biofuel oils. Petrol was refined before the Diesel engine got off the ground commercially speaking and then when it saw a resurgence, it was recrafted to use diesel from fossil fuel sources.

    Now they’re having to retool it back to its original purpose: using waste buifuel oils.

  47. Andreas Bjurström:

    242 Jim Eaton,
    Interesting that you frame scientific discussion on climate related issues as mere a proxy for political debate. Or how should I interpret “contrarian arguments”? The bad guys from the wrong political camp I suppose? If so, you are just being prejudiced. I´m not a sceptics at all.

    [Response: Separate two things in your mind. The quality of an argument - which can be assessed based on logic and the literature, and the use of such arguments by various people. It is unfortunately true that many bad arguments (by which I would define as one that can be independently assessed as being logically and scientifically weak) are used by specific political groups. However, this isn't exclusive. The same bad arguments have been used by people as politically opposed as Alex Cockburn (on the radical left) and Senator Inhofe (not so much). Thus the 'badness' of an argument cannot be easily correlated to political opinion, and certainly the converse (that because an argument is used by someone with whom you disagree politically it must perforce be 'bad' ) cannot be supported. So, please, can you stop with the strawman arguments? You might enjoy arguing with imaginary caricatures of people, but it's not particularly interesting for the reader. - gavin]

    252 Barton Paul Levenson,
    Science is evolving all the time as well as splitting up in thousands of subfields. You should not with for a science that is not chaning. Moreover, if you read the discussion here, you will find lots and lots of
    judgmentalism attitudes from the natural science ….

  48. Ray Ladbury:

    Gilles says: “In their all day work, there is no consensus at all, for the simple reason that the research deals with topics where no consensus exists – or it isn’t research anymore. ”

    Whoa, now there’s a massive failure to comprehend. Let’s see:

    1)In particle physics we have The Standard Model. They use this model to design experiments, interpret results. They use this model even to suggest for what to look for in terms of departures from it.

    2)Geophysics: Ever hear of the Preliminary Reference Earth Model (PREM)? It revolutionized seismology.

    3)In my own field, there are agreed upon standard models for charge carrier behavior in semiconductors, radiation transport…

    And of course, we have consensus that particles exhibit both wave and particle-like behavior, standard analysis techniques, standards for evidence. Hell, when publishing, you even have standard fonts you must use! All of this is essential to your beloved research–and it’s all based on consensus. Yes, by definition there is no consensus on fields of active research, but consensus is essential for doing active research. In fact, learning all of this background is the reason why it takes so long to become a scientist.

    Let’s look at an example–the establishment of quantum mechanics in the period from the Bohr model to about 1930. Physicists were dealing with incomprehensible new behaviors, and yet they were able to establish order within 20 years. Why? In part because they had a common understanding of classical physics and a common belief that quantum behavior ought to converge to classical behavior as masses, energies and distance and timescales approached the classical sclaes.

    Consensus does not stifle creativity–it makes it possible. Take a look at oriental painting sometime

  49. David Miller:

    Andreas asks in relation to Richard Ordways description of political pressure on climate scientists during Republican administrations:

    Can someone confirm that this is true? Is this the culture of the best climate scientists in the world?

    Andreas, that’s the way Hansen describes the political climate in his book “Storms of my grandchildren”. He goes into some detail on the lengths the political appointments went to to try and keep him quiet.

    He went public with both the information, and the fact he was being told to keep quiet, and did so by making it crystal clear that he was speaking on his own time and traveling on his own nickel as a member of the public.

    [Response: It is also worth stating that this was an aberration, and has stopped. The statement on scientific openness by the then-head of NASA, Michael Griffin, is the ideal that is (mostly) lived up to. - gavin]

  50. Andreas Bjurström:

    257 Gavin,
    I usually appreciate your comments, since you are a clever and sharp researcher. Although I don´t see any evidence that you have reading much social science literature, you usually contribute with something valuable anywat. However, this last statement of yours is flawed, since it totally miss the point. I describe the position of Jim Eaton. He clearly frame scientific discussion on climate related issues as mere a proxy for political debate. In other words, he is strongly politizicing climate science. I think that this is problematic. In fact, I think the whole “culture” of this site is deeply problematic (yet I do appreciate your educational mission). I have rather good insight to why this is the case, and I also understand that the culture will not change. We are interested in different things, and the culture here will keep on being extremely ignorant on many things that I care about. many of these things will (are are all the time) refuted without any second thought, despite there being a huge literature that support most of these things with empirical studies. You cant blame me for faults I intentify in your culture.

  51. Gilles:

    Patrick #233 : sorry, I can’t find a single clear point in your long speech, to which I could answer. Except that you aren’t Patrick C. Maybe if someone else here can explain me in one or two sentences what you’re really trying to explain.

    Edward #238 : “BUT NOW THAT NON-FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY SOURCES HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED, WE CAN DROP THE FOSSIL FUELS.”

    Maybe you should tell it Chinese and Indian people ? I’m sure they would appreciate if you show them how to do it.
    Maybe also you’re not aware that “non-fossil fuel energies” were discovered well before FF, but never succeeded in insuring an average GDP of between 500 and 1000 $/yr/cap, very close to what is currently considered as the absolute poverty threshold.

    Ray :1)In particle physics we have The Standard Model.
    hemm.. since when haven’t you read a paper or attended a lecture on particle physics?
    I agree that consensus emerges at the end, allowing new researches to be done. I say consensus cannot be decided by a panel. It is a reality “in march”. It’s absurd to say “you can’t criticize that since it has made consensus among scientists”. If there is a consensus, there must be very clear answers that explain why, and if there are still criticisms, there isn’t consensus yet. I watched Lindzen’s video on TVO, for me this guy is a reasonable scientist. He may be wrong. He may also be true. Anyway you can’t contradict him by claiming that there is a consensus. He’s a living proof that there isn’t yet.

    BPL: Gilles, have you ever looked at a correlation curve between any indicator of development you wish, and rapes? Number of jails? Deaths due to pollution emergencies

    No. Where are they to be seen?

  52. Gilles:

    “BPL: It’s HIGHLY relevant for a civilization with well-developed industries manufacturing, setting up, and using photovoltaic power cells, concentrating solar power plants, and wind turbines. A small group of humans living in the middle of nowhere from agriculture is what we’ll wind up with if too many people listen to you.”

    No it isn’t, because this will be regulated by their price, meaning the amount of people you have to pay to built, maintain, and replace them. Which is obviously independent of amount of solar photons hitting the earth.

    Besides : I gave my personal homepage showing that I’m an academic working in astrophysics, not an employee of an oil company. Where did you find this strange idea ? (and oil companies don’t want to hear anything about Peak oil..). And for CFU : I already knew that Diesel’s engine was designed to work with vegetable oils (and of course it can). This doesn’t prove that vegetable oil would have been enough to power our society. Again I didn’t say everything will disappear. I said that the growth was to end soon, and that all scenarios of IPCC were unrealistic, because they were all (without exception) based on hypothesis of continuous growth throughout the XXI century. So all dire predictions of “what could happen if…” will just remain what they are : “What if…” scenarios – especially the most fossil intensive ones which are out of any likelihood.

  53. Gilles:

    ” Rapid cuts in fossil fuel use only affect the functioning of modern human societies, they leave nature undisturbed. Rapid warming, beyond the temperature range known to human civilization, threatens vast and hard-to-predict changes in the natural world, disrupting the provision of resources and ecosystem services on which civilization ultimately depends.”
    Come on, look around you. What is left from the ancient nature? Civilization has always “disturbed” nature, even well before FF. Actually nature has always “disturbed” itself, the composition of atmosphere has been dramatically changed by small blue algae, well before mankind, and at a level much beyond a variation of a few hundreds of ppm of CO2. Your picture of untouched nature is only mythologic.

    There is a strong contradiction in the whole discourse about GW. People pretend wanting to save the nature, but they are actually only interested in saving their way of life. For if it were only the nature on stake, well, we could very easily all go back to the fields or even to the forests, and that’s it. If it were only the nature, we wouldn’t have any concern about the end of FF and the fact that industrial civilization could collapse : nature doesn’t worry about collapse of the civilization. You’re not really concerned by nature, you’re only concerned with the future of your children and grand-children. You’re interested in the amazon forest only up to the point it can concern mankind. I precise that it is perfectly understandable and not a criticism at all (after all we have been naturally selected on our ability to survive and we don’t want – globally – to disappear. ) But be honest : would you accept to destroy all the cities where we are living and reintroduce bears and wolves to protect “the nature”?

  54. Hank Roberts:

    > Andreas
    > There is a difference between explicit lying and not saying the full truth

    What’s that called in science?

    It’s called the “sin of omission” by Catholic theology, and maybe others.
    It’s called lying under oath by the judicial system.
    It’s called advocacy by “advocacy science” practitioners, lawyers, and liars.

    What do you call it?

  55. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #267 Gilles

    I said that the growth was to end soon, and that all scenarios of IPCC were unrealistic, because they were all (without exception) based on hypothesis of continuous growth throughout the XXI century. So all dire predictions of “what could happen if…” will just remain what they are : “What if…” scenarios – especially the most fossil intensive ones which are out of any likelihood.

    Ever heard of coal sands?
    Ever heard of climate feedback’s?

    And of course, peak oil is not the end of burning oil, just the beginning of the more rapid rise in cost.


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

  56. Walter Manny:

    [Response: Read the whole comment thread, we went through all this before. - gavin]

    Gavin, where do you infer that? My not agreeing with your assessment of the IPCC re. advocacy does not merit a dismissive statement that I must not have read the thread. “The whole comment thread”, at least as it pertains to IPCC advocacy, in particular your exchanges with Andreas, is what I was interested in and responding to. If you don’t want to respond in turn, fine, why should you, you’re the moderator, but why muddy the waters with a needless potshot? With respect, we have all gone through everything before on this and countless other items and will continue to do so — climate change is a fraught topic which aspects bear repeating and arguments about it bear refining.

    [Response: Where do I infer what? I merely directed you to where the answers are. Forgive me if I don't have time to expound at essay length to every question you pose. - gavin]

  57. Ray Ladbury:

    Gilles,
    1)My PhD is in experimental particle physics.
    2)Scientific consensus has nothing to do with panels or polls. It is measured by what techniques, ideas and theories are used or implied in work being published and cited. And actually, I would say that Lindzen is proof of the consensus–if someone as smart as Lindzen can be sidelined by refusal to adopt the consensus model, that model must contain important insights that are indispenible. Lindzen has published nothing of note in over a decade. As to whether he is a scientist–well, he left that category when he started making specious arguments designed to delude lay audienced (e.g. warming on Mars, Jupiter…).

    Gilles, would you say that there was consensus on the correctness of quantum mechanics as the appropriate description of the micro-world in the 1940s and ’50s?
    And yet Einstein never accepted it.
    How about the Big Bang as the appropriate model for cosmology? Then what about Fred Hoyle?

    Likewise, there are particle physicists who reject the standard model. They just don’t publish much, mainly because they have no understanding to add.

  58. Andreas Bjurström:

    266 Sou and Gavin,
    I agree, sorry for derailing, although I don´t think it is fair that I should take all (or most) of the blame. There are perhaps 10 people here that derail discussion and also a couple of people that behave badly (attacking people, being ignorant, don´t argue for their standpoints, or just having a very bad attitude and interpersonal morality). Im rather guilty of hijacking but others are much more guilty of behaving badly…. and I do think there is a strong bias here: “True believers” are much less likely to be critiqued by the moderators and contributors.

  59. Completely Fed Up:

    “Hank Roberts says:
    18 March 2010 at 10:19 AM

    Aside: CFU, you’re being used by the trolls.”

    Duh.

    But I don’t really get involved. Andreas is almost completely ignored and Gilles is only read for the first few lines to see if he’s got anything new. This is not happening often.

  60. Gilles:

    Ray “Gilles, would you say that there was consensus on the correctness of quantum mechanics as the appropriate description of the micro-world in the 1940s and ’50s?
    And yet Einstein never accepted it.”

    Ray, what Einstein refused to accept has never been really settled, and there is certainly no consensus about the interpretation of quantum reality, even if this is not a particularly good place to debate about that. The scientists admit that the QM is perfectly well suited to reproduce reality only because there hasn’t been the slightest experimental facts disproving it, with all the possible accuracy (meaning in the most extreme case up to the 11th decimal if I remember correctly). But it is still continuously tested, as is general relativity or even Lorentz invariance. And remember than very tiny effects on the speed of light have been enough to discredit the whole classical mechanics…

    I wouldn’t certainly say the same for climate science.

    The originality here is that mankind is asked to change significantly, and globally, its life, based on uncertainties. I am not aware of any scientific field where this happened in the past. As you understood, I really think that mankind will have to change its life anyway. I just question if it has really to do it faster than what the natural constraints will impose us – given that I think that the natural rate already risks to be hardly bearable. Actually I question both the interest and the realism of such a claim.

  61. SecularAnimist:

    It is good to have an open thread specifically for “OT” comments.

    It appears that there might also be a need for an open thread specifically for self-indulgent incoherent doubletalk, pompous pronouncements based on willful ignorance, and baseless flame-baiting slanders against climate scientists that appear to have no purpose except for the author to impress himself with his ability to waste other people’s time.

  62. Alexandre:

    Good. There was something I wanted to ask, that was not related to any recent thread:

    Why is it that on professor Mann’s recent reconstruction, the thick red line (instrumental record) shows a 0.8+ ºC temperature increase relative to the mid-20th-century warming pause?

    Shouldn’t it be something around 0.5~0.6ºC?

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/36/13252.figures-only?sid=cce5950f-28c1-4098-9e25-59511b907308

    And thanks again for the great outreach work.

    [Response: Northern Hemisphere, not global. - gavin]

  63. Gilles:

    “If they truly were skeptics who wanted to learn, they would pay attention to the wealth of information offered on this site, and the patience of those who reply to their comments with detailed documented replies.”
    My opinion is that climate science is still in a state of active research. So I deeply respect all those (including the excellent guys maintaining this site ) who work hard in this field. I’m not still convinced that the state of certainty is high enough to justify that we should be sure that we are heading towards a catastrophe -or more exactly that the main catastrophe will be climatic.

    Does our species deserve to survive? Considering that we are but one of millions of species that may face extinction due to our actions, it is a good question to ponder.”
    well, if your answer is no, then why bother about AGW ..

  64. Sou:

    In the spirit of the open thread, has anyone noticed Melbourne, Australia, has broken yet another climate record. Last November (2009), the extended heatwave meant that the average temperature for the month was 5.3C above the 1961-1990 average (that’s 9.5F for those still on the old scale). The average minimum was 3.9C above the 1961-1990 average minimum. That’s for a whole month. Pretty incredible.

    Now Melbourne has just had 100 straight days of temperatures higher than 20C, and it’s not over yet. Now anyone who knows Melbourne knows how unusual that is, you don’t need to go to the records. But if you do go to the records, the closest it’s come in the recorded past is 78 days in 2000-01. By the way, the recorded past goes back to 1855.

    The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology issued a joint report on the State of the Climate the other day, as reported by the ABC Australia.

    Two of the nation’s top research bodies – the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO – have come out strongly in defence of the science behind global warming. The leading research bodies say the evidence is irrefutable: climate change is real and the link with human activity is beyond doubt. Universities have also joined the fray, saying it is time to stand up for Australian science and research.

  65. Aaron Lewis:

    There are a couple of new lines on the surface of southern Greenland (http://ice-map.appspot.com/ , 16 March 2010 , Arctic, 65.505 N, 29.686 W )

    Anybody know what they are?

  66. Edward Greisch:

    43 Gilles: Nuclear power was discovered before fossil fuel?

  67. Gilles:

    “Ever heard of coal sands?”

    eheeem. No. Do you mean TAR sands?

    “Ever heard of climate feedback’s?”

    yes. And?

    “And of course, peak oil is not the end of burning oil, just the beginning of the more rapid rise in cost.”
    Technically, it is the moment of largest production rate, and the beginning of its decrease. Cost can fluctuate very largely following demand, and can easily drop after an economic crash, as the past years have shown.

  68. Ray Ladbury:

    Gilles says: “Ray, what Einstein refused to accept has never been really settled, and there is certainly no consensus about the interpretation of quantum reality, even if this is not a particularly good place to debate about that.”

    Actually, what Einstein refused to accept–the nondeterministic and (even more important) nonlocal nature of quantum mechanics–has now been shown to be reality beyond any practical doubt. Einstein’s famous paradox is now the basis for much of quantum computing.

    Gilles: “And remember than very tiny effects on the speed of light have been enough to discredit the whole classical mechanics.”

    Bullshit! When you are passinga car in traffic, do you take into account the foreshortening of your vehicle? Classical mechanics remains an excellent account of our surroundings 99.99% of the time. It also remains the basis for our interpretation of the remaining 0.01%.

    Gilles: “The originality here is that mankind is asked to change significantly, and globally, its life, based on uncertainties.”

    OK, now you’ve said yourself that depletion of fossil fuels will require massive changes–and that is a certainty, and on a relatively short timescale. Climate change merely makes that more imperative and favors some changes over others. Moreover, that CO2 is driving current warming and that the warming will have adverse consequences is virtually certain (better than 90% confidence). That is part of the naturally imposed requirements.

    Gilles: “I am not aware of any scientific field where this happened in the past.”

    Look at the history of thermodynamics–how different would our lives be without Sadie Carnot et al.? Those studies led the way to modern industry and mass production, automobiles and all the social change (e.g. from urbanization to urban sprawl) that resulted. Look at the green revolution and the dependence in engendered on petroleum–which now determines the foreign policies of most industrial nations. Dude, science changes the way we live. You just don’t happen to like this change. That doesn’t make it any less real.

  69. SecularAnimist:

    Hank Roberts wrote: “Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it.”

    A commenter on another climate-related blog posted this quote from one of my favorite authors of imaginative fiction, which addresses that point rather eloquently:

    “The sciences … have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

    — H.P. Lovecraft

    The urge to “flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age” can be readily seen in the denialist attacks on climate scientists and climate science, and even attacks on the foundations of scientific epistemology itself.

    As to “going mad from the revelation” … well, a full appreciation of what AGW almost certainly has in store for us over the next several decades is certainly disturbing. So much so, that perhaps even the most “alarmist” amongst us can be said to be engaging in a certain degree of denial to the extent that we carry on with our day-to-day lives as though everything were “normal”.

  70. SecularAnimist:

    Oops, left out the close-italics tag at the end of the first quote from Hank in my previous comment … if the moderator has a moment … ?

    By the way, is there any possibility of getting the “Preview” button back some day?

  71. Ray Ladbury:

    Gilles says: “For if it were only the nature on stake, well, we could very easily all go back to the fields or even to the forests, and that’s it.”

    Nope! There’s no way the planet could support 6.7 billion people as hunter-gatherers or even subsistence farmers. That’s a recipe for at least half of humanity to starve to death. The only reason our population has climbed this high is because we’ve learned how to convert petroleum into corn and soy beans.

  72. Patrick 027:

    Gilles – “It exists as a fact, when no serious scientist questions the basis of knowledge (which don’t seem to be the case in climate science, as far as I can judge), or it doesn’t exist.”

    Serious is a key word there. Also, achieving zero dissenters may be too stringent a criterion. There are people who believe the world is flat, that ___ never happened (you know what I mean), that the moon landings were faked, that there is so much controversy in biological evolution, and on and on. Many not being serious scientists, of course, but consider that biochemist who believes aliens produced humanity by cloning (Raelians??)

  73. Andreas Bjurström:

    “Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it.”

    Wishful thinking rooted in the natural sciences. So sweet and comfortable.

  74. Richard Ordway:

    [Response: It is also worth stating that this was an aberration, and has stopped. The statement on scientific openness by the then-head of NASA, Michael Griffin, is the ideal that is (mostly) lived up to. - gavin]
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Another peer reviewed statement which perhaps sheds a bit more light…

    “””Environmental geoscientists working within government agencies usually are restricted to existing institutional means of distribution or communication with external agencies or the public… (see Nield 2008)”””

    Liverman, 2008

    Geological Society, London, Special Publications; 2008; v. 305; p. 197-209;
    DOI: 10.1144/SP305.17
    © 2008 Geological Society of London

    Articles
    Environmental geoscience; communication challenges
    David G. E. Liverman

    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/AJPH.2007.118455v1

  75. Gilles:

    “Actually, what Einstein refused to accept–the nondeterministic and (even more important) nonlocal nature of quantum mechanics–has now been shown to be reality beyond any practical doubt. Einstein’s famous paradox is now the basis for much of quantum computing.”

    Another point on which we disagree. Nobody can contest that QM works perfectly for explaining what is measured (including possible quantum computers). Nobody can claim he has understood what a measurement really means. Or, quoting Feynman, if he does, he is a liar.

    ” Classical mechanics remains an excellent account of our surroundings 99.99% of the time. It also remains the basis for our interpretation of the remaining 0.01%.”

    sure ! because it is verified with a 0,0001 % or so accuracy, and only BECAUSE that. With which accuracy are measured the numbers on which the AGW speeches rely , please, remember me ?

    “Moreover, that CO2 is driving current warming and that the warming will have adverse consequences is virtually certain (better than 90% confidence). That is part of the naturally imposed requirements.”

    Well , maybe some, yes, maybe. Not sure. Actually it is VERY unlikely that a change in anything has no adverse consequences. I remind you that the simple use of cars makes more than 1 million casualties every year. I suspect that it is – by far – the largest impact of the use of fossil fuels regarding to the numbers of deaths. But curiously no one ask for their forbidding. Just try to limit the numbers of deaths. 200 000 or 300 000 a year would be ok may be? but of course, we need electric cars (whose development will for sure increase the number of victims..) As you see, perception of adverse consequences is rather subjective…

    “Dude, science changes the way we live. ”
    Sure I’m the first to say that use of fossil fuels has totally changed our lives. I said that nobody said that we SHOULD change it in advance.

  76. Jim Galasyn:

    Nice: New Jersey latest U.S. state to raid carbon auction funds

  77. Jim Galasyn:

    Re Post 69: Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

  78. David Miller:

    Gavin responds in #49:

    [Response: It is also worth stating that this was an aberration, and has stopped. The statement on scientific openness by the then-head of NASA, Michael Griffin, is the ideal that is (mostly) lived up to. - gavin]

    I’m glad to hear it. I wasn’t a climate scientist during the period Richard Ordway referred to, so I certainly can’t speak first-hand to it. I’m glad that the current and two previous Democratic administrations have been much more open.

    I also, however, can’t help but note that we seem to have had 20 years of climate science suppression on the part of the previous 3 Republican administrations.

    So, Gavin, what’s your confidence level that Griffins mission statement will be upheld should, say, Palin, move to the whitehouse in 2012?

    In related news, it appears our previous administration wasn’t the only one trying to suppress inconvenient news:

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/03/17/harper-leaked-document-canadian-climate-scientists-being-muzzled-from-media/

  79. SecularAnimist:

    The epistemological implications of quantum physics are indeed profound, and its ontological implications disturbing.

    And anyone who suggests that they have any bearing on the scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming is engaging in sophistry.

    We are not talking about the margins of reality here. We are not talking about the role of the observer in establishing the properties of an electron through the act of measurement. We are talking about a two-ton rock that has been dropped from the top of a twenty-story building and is hurtling down towards the observer’s head.

  80. Rafael Gomez-Sjoberg:

    This cartoon is great:
    http://mediagallery.usatoday.com/Editorial-Cartoons/G373,S81137

    It says: “What if it’s a big hoax [AGW] and we create a better world for nothing!”

    That seems to be the attitude of some of the “skeptics” in this forum.

  81. Septic Matthew:

    7, Gilles: So I offer you a precise prediction : I would bet that the production of CO2 per capita is to peak before 2020, which isn’t predicted by any IPCC scenario to my knowledge. Would you agree to bet on that ?
    &&&&
    CFU 162 :”Let me ask: are you convinced that plate glass is a requirement for economic development? After all, you tell me of one country that hasn’t progressed into a higher economic realm after the introduction of it?Therefore we MUST continue to use it, yes?”
    &&&&
    Plate glass is ONE of the commodities that was VERY expensive before the availability of cheap fossil fuel energy, and became much cheaper with them. I agree, it would be one of the requirement that would disappear with the disappearance of fossil fuels – not impossible to produce of course, but much too expensive for most people. And they are many others like that.

    I wouldn’t bet against you, but do note that one of the reasons you would win the bet would be the concerted action of many AGW believers to accelerate the move away from heavy reliance on fossil fuels. Put differently, you’ll win the bet if you fail to persuade people of your judgment about the great importance of fossil fuels. As a matter of policy, I side with the AGW crowd in trying to speed development of renewable and nuclear alternatives (but not in all things.)

    The importance of the plate glass example is not just the plate glass per se, important though it may be. Instead of thinking of the whole economy, it is quite worthwhile to think of the segments of the economy. In California summers, about 15% of peak demand is for air conditioning; this demand can be met with solar power, and by 2020 probably will be. Although solar electricity is expensive, it compares well with other methods of providing peak power for 8 hours per day, less than half the year round. That’s with little reduction in comfort, and economics that generalize to other regions of the US. And, since most of Californians live in places that have lots of winter sunlight, they can heat their homes in winter with solar powered reversible heat exchangers (that is, their new air conditioners!) It just takes a while to replace what we all have with new stuff. As for plate glass itself, it can be made with electricity from nuclear power plants, just as steel and aluminum are made using hydro-electricity.

    Some sacrifice may be necessary to build the new energy industry during the next 40 years, but whoever does it best will be best positioned to be a technological leader in the second half of the 21st century.

  82. Chris S.:

    Re Post 69: Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

    Dread Cthulhu may be sleeping, if only the same could be said for all those zombie arguments!

  83. Septic Matthew:

    Gilles
    Simply, I think it impossible to sustain everything that made our life so different from that of our grand-grand-parents without fossil fuels.

    There is plenty of evidence, and ongoing development, to suggest that we might be able to replace our entire fossil fuel economy in the upcoming decades. Like the rest of the civilization enterprise, it will take time, labor, and capital investment. Exactly how successful humans can be, and at what rate, can’t be foretold, but there is now no good reason to believe that it absolutely can’t be done.

  84. Ron:

    Gavin. I think your response to 47 was an accurate and restrained summary of how the debate should be conducted. Judith Curry in a recent interview (http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2010/03/judith_curry_and_michael_mann.html ) drew a nice distinction between ‘scientific sceptics’, who can follow the science and who argue on the basis of the science, and ‘political sceptics’, who are closed to scientific argument.

  85. Kevin McKinney:

    77–Very amusing, Jim. I hope that’s *not* easy for you to say! (As I recall, HPL suggested that these words weren’t really intended for human vocal apparatus.)

    Secular’s original post @ 69 was rather thought-provoking for me. Is facing the truth really so difficult? HPL seemed pretty melodramatic to me when he suggested that it can be. Yet we have no end of cognitive distortion on prominent disply, here and especially elsewhere on the Net. Is denial, when sufficiently exaggerated, a form of “madness?”

    It really seems that the only reality test employed by many denialists I encounter is “which side does this datum support?” So much so that this morning I actually found myself pointing one totally confused (but nonetheless dogmatic) fellow to Roy Spencer’s “Defence of the Greenhouse Effect.”

    (It’s actually a pretty clear statement of the basics. Too bad he published it on April Fool’s last–I *think* it’s meant to be serious!)

  86. Richard Ordway:

    Andreas Bjurström says:

    “”"Can someone confirm that this is true? Is this the culture of the best climate scientists in the world?”"”
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Well, here is some more peer review which is going on the record for the rest of human history for one reason climate scientists don’t talk to the public about global warming…as if I have not already given enough peer-reviewed statements already.

    “Scientific culture A major disincentive to scientists interested in communicating to non-scientists is the lack of encouragement and reward to do so, from their peers, their employers and their funding agency. In addition, a reluctance to engage the public lies within the scientific community itself.

    A prime obstacle cited by those interviewed by Hartz & Chappell (1998) is a loss of status amongst their peers. There is a perception amongst scientists that scientists with a high media profile are no longer doing worthwhile research themselves, and thus turn to public engagement as being in some way less demanding. A UK survey found that 20% of scientists agreed with the statement that scientists who engaged with the public were less well regarded by their peers. In qualitative interviews several scientists expressed the opinion that public engagement would be detrimental to their careers (Royal Society 2006).”

    Geological Society, London, Special Publications; 2008; v. 305; p. 197-209;
    DOI: 10.1144/SP305.17
    © 2008 Geological Society of London

    Articles
    Environmental geoscience; communication challenges
    David G. E. Liverman
    Geological Survey of Newfoundland & Labrador, Department of Natural Resources, Government of Newfoundland & Labrador, PO Box 8700, St. John’s, NL A1B 4J6, Canada (e-mail: dliverman@gov.nl.ca )
    http://sp.lyellcollection.org/cgi/content/abstract/305/1/197

  87. pete:

    In “The Guardian Disappoints” you said:
    In two follow-up pieces we will host a letter from Ben Santer on Part 7 and on the skewed reporting of the ‘Yamal‘ issue in Part 9.
    When is the part of Yamal going to come?

  88. Hank Roberts:

    Applauding hosing out the ‘Brown is Green’ topic, may I suggest bringing in the firehose and flushing all the off-topic stuff from the past few days into an appropriate holding tank or two, leaving just

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/up-is-down-brown-is-green-with-apologies-to-orwell/comment-page-5/#comment-167179

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/up-is-down-brown-is-green-with-apologies-to-orwell/comment-page-5/#comment-167241

    I’m sorry y’all have to do so much cleanup. I’m very grateful you’re doing it. It’s really good to see some name authors showing up to discuss their work.

  89. John Peter:

    Brian 520

    Hi,

    You mention increased/decreased data which brings up an interesting question – natural (proxy) data or satellite data?

    An Alaskan geophysicist has discovered recently that climate change from the end of the little ice age up to now is an almost linear global temperature increase of 0.5C/100 years with a superimposed multi-decadal oscillation about half that size. He labels this “natural” data since there is (obviously?) no AGW content. He proposes this representation so that anthropogenic data can now be investigated and explained as the difference between natural and measured. His study which, while phenomenologically global, is very regional surface phenomena oriented. It presents glacier melt, sea level rise, and sea ice as well as temperature change.

    I’m trying to find some reference to cloud measurement for which I know there is a lot of proxy “data” from airplanes and such before satellite measurements.

    Any ideas?

    TIA

    The reference is downloadable from http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/pdf/two_natural_components_recent_climate_change.pdf
    should anyone be interested.

  90. Richard Ordway:

    re. Andreas Bjurström,

    “”"”However, Bolin was clear that HE deliberately used a conservative approach in the IPCC to establish climate change as a policy issue. Thus, to be conservative in the IPCC context is SCIENTIFIC and POLITICAL at the same time.”"”
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Hmmm, let’s see, according to permanent peer review, in instances where scientists were bad at communicating (and not communicating enough) resulted in failure and disaster and possible future disaster coming our way which we seem to be ignoring again… In short Katrina, many floods, tsunamis, and human caused global warming:

    “The 2005 flooding associated with Hurricane Katrina in the USA was predicted with remarkable accuracy by research well in advance of its occurrence (Fischetti 2001; Travis 2005).

    The research was well documented in articles in the popular science press, including detailed descriptions of the likely impact of a major hurricane on the Gulf Coast. For example, the following appeared in Scientific American: ‘A major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Human activities along the Mississippi River have dramatically increased the risk, and now only massive reengineering of southeastern Louisiana can save the city’ (Fischetti 2001).

    However, when Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, the lack of preparation both in infrastructure and planning did little to mitigate the effects of the hurricane. The reasons for this are complex and subject to considerable investigation and research, but scientists were ultimately unsuccessful in provoking an appropriate policy and planning response to their conclusions (Laska 2005). The success in communicating these same conclusions to the popular science media makes this case even more puzzling.”

    “In Newfoundland, Canada, floods cause considerable economic loss that has to be borne by a comparatively small population.

    The flood in Badger in 2003 is estimated to have caused $(Canadian) 12 million damage, a significant economic impact on a province with a population of approximately 500 000 people.

    Floods in Stephenville, in 2005, are estimated to have caused close to $20 million damage.

    Flood hazard mapping was undertaken in the 1980s and 1990s, covering many communities in the province, including Badger and Stephenville.

    Analysis of these flood disasters indicates that development continued in high-risk flood zones after the publication of the hazard maps, increasing the impact of the subsequent flooding events (Liverman 2007). This suggests problems not in the science, but in its communication.”

    “On 26 December 2004, the margins of the Indian Ocean were struck by a tsunami, a natural disaster of enormous proportions with a staggering loss of human life. Although Indian Ocean tsunamis were known to be unusual events they were by no means unprecedented, and the lack of preparation may have been due, in part, to a failure of scientists to communicate the importance of rare but high-impact events (Alverson 2005; McCloskey 2007).”

    My, my, my- how many thousands of people have been killed and billions of dollars in damage have been caused, it seems, because scientists weren’t perhaps forceful enough…and people want them to be even quieter! Talk about grabbing a tiger by the tail.

    And for the coming possible future disaster (95% confidence level of human caused global warming/climate change) in the peer review (IPCC)…

    “On the global stage, it can be argued that the failure of several major first-world countries to take prompt action on carbon dioxide emissions since scientific consensus on anthropogenically induced climate change emerged well over a decade ago is, in part, a failure of communication. Shackley & Wynne (1996)…

    …for instance, argued that discussion of uncertainty in climate model predictions, an accepted part of scientific discourse, has led to undermining of scientific authority when applied to policy.

    Boykoff & Boykoff (2004) ascribed the reluctance of the US Government to address climate change issues in part to disjuncture between a scientific community that deals in a language of uncertainty and probability and a political culture that requires certainty before action.

    Etkins & Ho (2007) discussed the large gap between the scientific community and the general public in terms of their understanding, awareness and perception of risks associated with climate change.

    Climate change offers further challenges in communication, as the process of change is slow by human time scales; in general, it is harder to initiate responses to hazards that develop over long time scales as opposed to rapid-onset events.

    Effective action on climate change required major changes in policy with serious political implications. As such, even when scientists effectively communicated their results to policy-makers, political considerations made taking action difficult until such action gained broad support within the community at large.”

    “Both Cavazza & Sassi (2004) and McCloskey (2007) called for scientists to increase their involvement and activity so as to influence both policy and public response, yet, as it will be argued below, environmental geoscientists frequently lack the tools to do this effectively.”

    Tsk, tsk…Now that’s a dilema, isn’t it? Scientists have a culture (and other impediments) to being activist (according to peer review)…and when they aren’t activist in history…massive disasters have happened (according to peer review).

    Geological Society, London, Special Publications; 2008; v. 305; p. 197-209;
    DOI: 10.1144/SP305.17
    © 2008 Geological Society of London

    Geological Society, London, Special Publications; 2008; v. 305; p. 197-209;
    DOI: 10.1144/SP305.17
    © 2008 Geological Society of London

    Articles
    Environmental geoscience; communication challenges
    David G. E. Liverman

    http://sp.lyellcollection.org/cgi/content/abstract/305/1/197

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9yqfy2TSX4EC&oi=fnd&pg=PA197&dq=Geological+Society,+London,+Special+Publications%3B+2008%3B+v.+305%3B+p.+197-209%3B&ots=dGHwfgmDZw&sig=JOjs1x1AJ6ZhvgudvfYdvE_kDqE#v=onepage&q=&f=false

  91. ccpo:

    Kevin McKinney says:
    18 March 2010 at 7:23 AM

    You’re supposedly trying to convince me that fossil fuels are necessary to development.

    I would not say they are necessary in the broad sense that only fossil fuels can fuel civilization, but they certainly have been and currently are necessary. There are a few different issues withe transitioning from FF to “renewables.” 1. Renewables aren’t really renewable. The sources are, but not the machines used to harness the sources. 2. There is literally nothing yet known that is as freely available, cheap and fungible as oil is, and especially has, been, so the amount of energy that will be needed from non-fossil fuel sources will be higher for an equivalent level of use. 3. The time frame needed to transition is quite likely to be much longer than the time we have (Hirsch Report). (Hint: despite exceedingly high prices the last 5 years, there has been no rise in oil production.)

    So, the issue isn’t that FFs are *necessary* in any absolute sense, but that the transition will be difficult, and possibly impossible on a global scale before the effects destabilize globally.

    The amounts of energy available from renewables is theoretically much more than enough to meet today’s global demand

    You cannot consider only total energy. You must consider how to change that energy into useful energy.

    Yet you are resigned to a future of slow decline because–poor humanity!–we are running out of those “indispensible” fossil fuels. It would be purely pitiable, if it weren’t that there are difficult and urgent practical challenges to be met.

    Dismissing analysis because it doesn’t fit your constructs is not very impressive. Unless you believe FFs to be renewable, you need to wrap your head around the fact that there is a finite amount and they must necessarily be declining.

    We don’t need more councils of despair (WRT fossil fuels) or ungrounded complacency (WRT climate change.)

    We don’t need any ostriches, either. Why is dismissing the energy issues we face not ungrounded complacency? Do you not understand physics? If you dismiss any part of the Perfect Storm, you are leaving yourself vulnerable. Energy is an issue. As are many other things. Climate is not everything, not is Peak Oil. Both, and more, interact to make this period strikingly dangerous for humanity.

    Cheers

  92. Karen Street:

    announcement and question

    • Climate activist group beginning March 28, videoconferencing and in person, described in two parts:
    http://pathsoflight.us/musing/?p=849
    and http://pathsoflight.us/musing/?p=870

    • I would like to chat with people who actually give presentations to audiences including skeptics. Last presentation I got 3 questions from skeptics (the majority not skeptics, of course), and answered them well enough to not turn them off and to be given credit for “being prepared and thinking on my feet”. I am interested in something else, though, a way to characterize the climate discussion at the beginning which will invite skeptics to join a little more in the presentation.

    If interested in either, go to my blog and leave a comment, and say don’t publish on your comment, just in case I can’t figure that out.

    For people interested in reading more on the climate change culture wars, I highly recommend Mike Hulme’s Why We Disagree About Climate Change, which I first saw recommended on RealClimate. Thanks to person recommending!!!!

  93. Robert:

    “Simply, I think it impossible to sustain everything that made our life so different from that of our grand-grand-parents without fossil fuels.”

    Yet you have failed to produce a shred of evidence that this is so, and merely repeat ad nauseum that it must be, and accuse those who question you of not valuing that standard of living.

    Why continue your trolling here? Nobody’s fooled by it.

  94. John McManus:

    The other day I read something that at first glimpse seemed OK ( unfortunately I didn’t write down the URL). The gist was that there is no need to worrry about warming melting arctic because said warming will result in the growth of dwarf birches which will shade the snow thus resulting in cooling and the preservation of the permafrost. The author didn’t say wheather the birches will die in the new cold, but so what?

    So far so good, but something is wrong. There are no leaves on birches when there is snow on the ground.

    I’m learning. There is a simple fallacy in every denialist arguement. It’s up to me to find it.

  95. Hank Roberts:

    > John Peter
    > Akasofu
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/search?q=akasofu

  96. Hank Roberts:

    > Akasofu
    in particular
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2007/04/is-earth-still-recovering-from-little.html

  97. CM:

    Gilles (#53),

    Funny that you should attribute to me a mythological picture of undisturbed nature in the same breath as you lecture me on how I’m not really concerned with nature at all. Well, you’re wrong about me. More importantly, you’re missing or evading the point of the argument. Let me try again.

    You argued that, if human ingenuity can help civilization cope with quitting fossil fuels, human ingenuity can surely help it cope with a few degrees of warming.

    I noted that, unlike the end of fossil fuels, global warming would both affect human systems and the natural systems on which human systems ultimately depend. The oil price doesn’t matter to the rainforest, but rainfall matters a great deal.

    (I didn’t claim nature was pristine, nor does my argument require it to be; the more stress we have already put on ecosystems, the greater the reason to worry about adding rapid climate change to the burden.)

    The transition to a renewable energy infrastructure and economy will be a planning and engineering challenge, but that’s a kind of problem to which human ingenuity has proven itself equal. (It took some planning and engineering to build the fossil fuel economy in the first place.) And we know how to make machinery move without fossil fuels; we know how to make windmills, PV cells, biofuels.

    Major disruptions to what’s left of nature — now, that’s a different matter. We don’t know how to make rainforests that grow without rain. We don’t know how to make anything that does what rainforests do. It’s a salient difference.

    Clear now?

    (Your last question was off on a tangent, and had nothing to do with anything I was saying or any position I have ever defended in this forum, but OK: No, I’m for cities. Yes, I’m also for wolves and bears. Living, as I do in a small country with hundreds of bears, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want them back.)

  98. Jean B.:

    #81 Matthew
    “I wouldn’t bet against you, but do note that one of the reasons you would win the bet would be the concerted action of many AGW believers to accelerate the move away from heavy reliance on fossil fuels.”
    No, if you have read Gilles messages you would have understood that he is saying the peak will come from supply (production) and not demand, which is a very very different thing !

    One is from our own good will (and IMHO is unachievable), the other comes from the fact that resources are finite and that marginal costs increase.

  99. Hank Roberts:

    http://imgsrv.gocomics.com/dim/?fh=f7fecb79f551e584e1217d1bc9e96e95

  100. Pekka Kostamo:

    Some musings on the limb, probably OT…

    The insistence on GDP as a descriptor of human condition does not cut it. How about real life in the current global information society?

    To go into some personal history…

    I had a happy childhood under the most tragic circumstances of the WW-II in Europe. Yes, we spent daily a spoonfull of petrol for the lanterns in addition to the dynamo power (probably way less than 100 W) provided by a local brook. All available energy was expended to resist the political power of Stalin, our family’s six sons being in harm’s way fighting on the front.

    Yet, my grandfather was a most successful person. His two violin waltzes were played by local bands, his horses collected prizes at the local races, he was well known for his blacksmith skills and he was a friendly summer host to renowned painters. He was appreciated as a good and helpfull neighbour.

    There is no world war of similar scale right now. Instead, there is the global information society which has an impact as great or even greater. Old rules do not apply. The GDP is hopeless and useless as a measure.

    We have available on-line all the science, art and history. It is a resource truly limited only by an individual’s capacity to absorb and apply. Not only by the privileged few in the industrialized countries, but by the third world as well. A huge transformation but quite necessary.

  101. SecularAnimist:

    ccpo wrote: “There is literally nothing yet known that is as freely available, cheap and fungible as oil is …”

    That is simply false. Sunlight is far more freely available, and is cheaper when all costs are internalized, and can be easily converted to electricity which is the most fungible form of energy there is. And there is vastly more energy available from sunlight than from all the world’s reserves of fossil fuels, and the supply is limitless and inexhaustible on time scales that are relevant to human civilization.

    As for the transition being “difficult” — well, it will be especially difficult for those who have grown immensely wealthy and powerful from extracting, processing, distributing and selling a limited (and rapidly dwindling) supply of expensive fuel, and who are looking at not only their products but their entire business model being rendered obsolete by an energy economy which is no longer based on fuel but on the widespread proliferation of powerful, inexpensive technologies for harvesting ubiquitous, abundant supplies of free energy.

    And the transition is being made more “difficult” by their deceit, denial, obstruction and delay.

  102. Ray Ladbury:

    Gilles@75, There is how well we know a quantity and how well we need to know it. If CO2 sensitivity is 4.5 degrees per doubling, we are in severe trouble. If it is 3 degrees per doubling, we’re in it deep, and if only 2 degrees, we’re only in serious trouble. In other words, we know enough to know that keeping on our current course is betting the future of our progeny on a 20:1 longshot.
    Gilles, I would love for the situation to be as cut and dried for some of the decisions I make in my day job as it is for climate.

    Here’s something that puzzles me Gilles. You are claiming that civilization will collapse without fossil fuels. I would think you would be advocating the strictest conservation measures so that we could find solutions–or at least prolong the plenty. But, no, it seems we can’t burn fossil fuels fast enough for you. Now why is that?

    I happen to agree with you that developing a sustainable energy infrastructure won’t be easy. I do think it is doable, and it’s doable with a lot less hardship and infringement of liberties if we have longer to do it. I just wonder why you aren’t agitating for strict conservation and a crash program to develop solutions. Hell, taxing fossil fuels would even curtail driving and thereby reduce some of those traffic fatalities you’re so worked up about. Ever think of that?

  103. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #67 Gilles

    Right, TAR sands. As to prices easily dropping, I read an article from the Economist recently that showed oil price inflation (during a recession). The inference was that this may be a sign that we are near peak oil. Then, about a month ago, there was an article on increase pricing of extraction, which indicates to me that water pumping costs are going up to squeeze more oil out.

    My opinion of your posts in general is that you are building giant straw-men in the sky. It’s the old John Coleman argument by inference. We love the benefits of fossil fuels, so global warming can’t be human caused. But you of course play with the nuances.

    In my opinion, in your case, your being afraid of posting your full name is an integrity issue that seems par for the course.

    And Hank Roberts is right, I do tend to target those that appear to be trolls, along with the reasons aforementioned.


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

  104. Sufferin' Succotash:

    The transition to a renewable energy infrastructure and economy will be a planning and engineering challenge, but that’s a kind of problem to which human ingenuity has proven itself equal.

    Three centuries ago the notion of using coal as a primary energy source seemed wildly exotic. Wood was definitely the way to go, an indispensable resource in fact. And there were in fact practical difficulties involved in exploiting coal resources (flooding mineshafts, accumulations of coal dust, etc.)
    So that’s why we never took up coal and why we still heat our homes and power our vehicles and industries with wood instead.
    :P

  105. Bulldust:

    Ray Ladbury
    You seem to put great stake in consensus… do you not acknowledge that it is just as easy to poit out many examples of where the consensus was exactly wrong? We can go back to earth-centric views of the solar system and right through to more modern gaffes like the main causes of peptic ulcers. Consensus is not proof of truth although it appears to be very compelling for a large section of the populace.

  106. ccpo:

    since the pre-industrial society did not endanger the climate system.


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/

    Says whom? If I recall correctly, the signal of human impact on climate, while on steroids as we speak, has been detected back millennia as per recent research. I’ve seen no estimate of the long term effects of pre-industrial society. Got any?

    Cheers

  107. Garry S-J:

    Andreas: “He (Jim Eaton) clearly frame scientific discussion on climate related issues as mere a proxy for political debate.”

    Utter nonsense. Please stop insulting everyone’s intelligence, Andreas. There is nothing clever about misrepesenting what other people say.

  108. flxible:

    JohnReisman@103 – Gillies did post his name, a link to his edu page, I don’t recall where, you’d have to search all these threads he’s been dominating. He is pretty much as he appears, a swaggering young astrophysicist who believes he swings the world by the tail, he even dazzled us with some slight-of-hand numeracy in a couple posts, which excited him so much he accidently misremembered his own name – he seems to have forgotten one slip about working for the petro industry tho, consulting or something on the side, and later denied it. Judging by his erratic use of the English language, I think time of day has a lot of influence, like before or after the aperitifs and digestifs. ;)

  109. Andreas Bjurström:

    107 Garry S-J,
    I suppose you don´t see any problem with Jim Eatons misrepresentation what i was saying? Why did he call me contrarian? I guess you dont want to give any argument to what I misrepresent? What was wrong in my analysis?

  110. Ray Ladbury:

    Bulldust@105,
    First, you have to draw a distinction between scientific consensus and political consensus. The “consensus” regarding the geocentric Universe predates Galileo and Francis Bacon by a couple of thousand years, and hence could not have been scientific. Moreover, scientific consensus is based on evidence and the productivity of a theory in terms of insight, pridictive ability and understanding. Rarely is a “consensus” written down–for one thing it is evolving continually. However, a good idea of the consensus can be gained from looking at the techniques and theories used by the most productive researchers in a field.

    Second, your example of a geocentric universe isn’t a good one–as there was no consensus at the time of the Greeks and in Medieval Europe it was more enforced dogma than consensus.

    More common and better examples would include
    1)Wegener’s continental drift hypothesis–unfortunately, though Wegener was wrong, as his mechanism was nonsense. It would have had little predictive power and might well have retarded development in geophysics. Thus you had a competition between two wrong theories. Once our understanding of the physical properties of rock under high pressure evolved sufficiently, the appropriate theory became clear.

    2)The role of H. Pylori in causing ulcers. Here, the theory of stress causing ulcers was not based on evidence, but rather on ancient medical lore–hardly a scientific consensus in any reasonable sense of the term.

    However, consensus can certainly be wrong. In fact, it almost always is–as scientific knowledge evolves continually. However, I know of no consensus theory that has been overturned when it had acheived the level of support we see with the theory of Earth’s climate. Such a theory is likely to evolve gradually, rather than be overturned. I’ll go even further, scientific consensus provides the most reliable knowledge of the physical world that we as humans can possess at a given moment. So the question with regard to climate change is whether we make policy based on extraordinarily well supported science or whether we go 180 degrees against extraordinarly well supported science. Which way you gonna bet? Feel lucky?

  111. richard ordway:

    105Bulldust says:
    19 March 2010 at 6:06 PM
    “”"”Ray Ladbury
    You seem to put great stake in consensus… do you not acknowledge that it is just as easy to poit out many examples of where the consensus was exactly wrong? We can go back to earth-centric views of the solar system and right through to more modern gaffes like the main causes of peptic ulcers. Consensus is not proof of truth although it appears to be very compelling for a large section of the populace.”"”

    Read peer-reviewed Naomi Oreske’s new scholarly book. You are putting up a strawman.

    Today’s science is almost in another universe compared to your first example. Back then, you could count the number of scientists on your hand. For the false comparison to peptic ulcers, climate change is based on extremely well understood principles.

    If the Earth’s energy can’t leave due to a force, the Earth’s surface must warm up (1827 Fourier). Global warming due to human produced carbon dioxide by burning oil, coal and gas was predicted by equations in 1896 and the 1970s to cause warming (Arrehenius, US National Academy of Sciences, IPCC 1995).

    Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas (1860s-Tyndall). You add it and it must warm you up (1860s-Tyndall). CO2 is increasing… Guy Calendar-1930s, Keeling curve-1958-1980. It is caused by humans (Keeling curve and isotopes). Warming was predicted because according to the irrefutable laws of physics it had to happen…and it happened-National Academy of Sciences 1970s/ IPCC 1995).

    Human caused global warming has to happen according to the laws of physics. It has no other choice and was first predicted in 1896 by equations. Your comments show ignorance of the most basic science.

  112. Gilles:

    66 Edward : “43 Gilles: Nuclear power was discovered before fossil fuel?”

    we in France have the best place to judge what nuclear power can bring : useful to reduce somewhat CO2 production, but far from being able to replace fossil fuels. How could you do much better than France with it?

    “The importance of the plate glass example is not just the plate glass per se, important though it may be. Instead of thinking of the whole economy, it is quite worthwhile to think of the segments of the economy. In California summers, about 15% of peak demand is for air conditioning; this demand can be met with solar power, and by 2020 probably will be”

    You’re only talking about concerns of rich people. American people use twice as much energy as European ones, who are very far from living in third world. So obviously you can cut off some of your energy needs (air conditioning is not really necessary for life…), and replace some of the carbon energy by renewable ones. You don’t solve the problem of basic needs for poor people, that can only be fulfilled with fossil fuels. Again, try to convince China and India to develop with solar panels.

    “Some sacrifice may be necessary to build the new energy industry during the next 40 years, but whoever does it best will be best positioned to be a technological leader in the second half of the 21st century….”

    that the weird point of your argumentation. IF renewable energies were much more productive that fossil fuels, then they should have replaced them naturally just like fossil fuels have replaced wood, mechanical water and wind mills; just because they were much more interesting, producing more energy by unit human work invested. It was not a cost, it was a benefit to use them. Energy produces much more wealth than it costs , and the cheaper it is, the more wealth it produce.

    Now you both argue that renewable energy can replace without problem fossil fuels , but that it requires money and sacrifices. That’s plainly contradictory for me. IF it was as productive as fossil fuels, it would just be economically interesting to develop them, because they would be cheaper and allow to build things at a lower cost. The replacement would trigger a new phase of growth just like implementation of fossil fuels has trigger an unprecedented growth in western countries.

    But it’s obviously not the case. Alternative energies are NOT cheaper, are NOT more productive, and indeed need subsidies to be viable. That’s plainly contradictory with the claim that it would do no harm to the economy to use them. Again energy is not a cost, it is an earning for the economy.

    “Gilles
    Simply, I think it impossible to sustain everything that made our life so different from that of our grand-grand-parents without fossil fuels.
    There is plenty of evidence, and ongoing development, to suggest that we might be able to replace our entire fossil fuel economy in the upcoming decades.”

    Sorry, but a claim, even repeated, is not evidence. Where is the “plenty of evidence” that we could replace the ENTIRE fossil fuel economy??? apart in science fiction reports, of course?

    Ray 71 :”Gilles says: “For if it were only the nature on stake, well, we could very easily all go back to the fields or even to the forests, and that’s it.”
    Nope! There’s no way the planet could support 6.7 billion people as hunter-gatherers or even subsistence farmers. That’s a recipe for at least half of humanity to starve to death. The only reason our population has climbed this high is because we’ve learned how to convert petroleum into corn and soy beans.”

    Come on ! don’t say you that fossil fuels are helpful for mankind ! well actually you’re right of course, but agriculture uses only 10% or so of the total fossil energy produced, so we could reduce drastically our need without starving for death. Just living in much smaller houses, having no car, and not travelling abroad, would spare a fair portion of our consumption. Of course at the expense of GDP …

    102 “Ray :”Gilles@75, There is how well we know a quantity and how well we need to know it. If CO2 sensitivity is 4.5 degrees per doubling, we are in severe trouble. If it is 3 degrees per doubling, we’re in it deep, and if only 2 degrees, we’re only in serious trouble.”

    Sorry, your statement cannot be true since you don’t consider the crucial parameter of how much carbon we can burn, which controls entirely the amount of CO2 we produce. How can you hope to convince me with so illogical statements?

    “Here’s something that puzzles me Gilles. You are claiming that civilization will collapse without fossil fuels. I would think you would be advocating the strictest conservation measures so that we could find solutions–or at least prolong the plenty. But, no, it seems we can’t burn fossil fuels fast enough for you. Now why is that?”

    Ray, the real question is : why did you understand something that I never said ???

    CM “we know how to make windmills, PV cells, biofuels.”

    Wrong. We don’t know how to make them without fossil fuels. And we don’t know how to power a society just with them. If you believe it , you’re either naive or a liar, and in any case you don’t have a single piece of evidence that it is possible.

    OK, so if the bet for CO2 production isn’t strong enough, I offer a second bet. Unlike you, I don’t believe that renewable energy will be able to replace fossil fuels, starting with oil. So I bet that after the peak oil, GDP per capita won’t increase anymore, and eventually global GDP won’t increase at all. Meaning that peak oil won’t occur willingly and because we don’t need it anymore, but because of the squeezing of natural resources, bringing industrial civilization to decadence. And energy is only part of the problem. After it, all metallic ores, and other commodities like phosphates, helium, etc… will also gradually become exhausted. That will be the real problem of XXI century.

  113. David B. Benson:

    ccpo (106) — Read climatologist W.F. Ruddiman’s popular “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum”, his guest post here on RealClimate and his highly readable professional papers hosted on his website.

  114. ccpo:

    I noted that, unlike the end of fossil fuels, global warming would both affect human systems and the natural systems on which human systems ultimately depend. The oil price doesn’t matter to the rainforest, but rainfall matters a great deal.
    This is a view that belies a lack of systems analysis. One reason I encourage people to study permaculture is that it takes a systemic view of how we live with the planet at large. Such thinking encourages us to see all systems as part of a larger system. What you have done here is claim that energy, its different forms and how it is procured mean nothing to the natural system. There are numerous areas of the planet laid waste by the extraction of energy that are easily pointed out. I trust I need not do so here.
    The price of oil matters a great deal to the rainforest, for it is the price of oil, and the effects of its burning, that are significantly responsible for the destruction of natural systems to distill biofuels.
    The transition to a renewable energy infrastructure and economy will be a planning and engineering challenge, but that’s a kind of problem to which human ingenuity has proven itself equal. (It took some planning and engineering to build the fossil fuel economy in the first place.) And we know how to make machinery move without fossil fuels; we know how to make windmills, PV cells, biofuels.
    You are missing several very important points here. One, all the things listed above have been built with FFs. (You can’t make plastic out of sunlight.) Two, human ingenuity is the cause of collapses historically. Diamond argues that as societies become more complex they try ever more complex fixes. The eventual extreme complexity is fragile. Typically, those societies that simplify, transition and survive much more successfully than those which attempt to solve all their problems by adding complexity. There are two reasons, basically: complexity itself, and that virtually all collapses have a resource constraint as a primary or secondary cause. You can engineer more rainfall, e.g. You can simplify and use less.
    Another thing you may be ignoring is unending growth. This is impossible, as illustrated by a few simple examples. While we are attempting to transition to RE, billions of people are seeking to live like we do. For everyone on the planet to live like the US does? 174 billion barrels of oil a year. All oil gone, taking the absolute most optimistic view and assuming every drop is recoverable (as opposed to the more realistic 30 – 40%), that oil would last perhaps ten or eleven years. European lifestyle? Maybe 20. How low would you like to go?
    In other words, you are thinking ethnocentrically/regionally and not globally and ignoring population growth altogether.
    Finally, you are completely missing Liebig’s Minimum. Think weakest link. That which causes collapse is not necessarily that which is most obvious. Did you know there is a serious issue with phosphorus? What of the 95% drop in large fish stocks? Etc?

    Major disruptions to what’s left of nature — now, that’s a different matter. We don’t know how to make rainforests that grow without rain. We don’t know how to make anything that does what rainforests do. It’s a salient difference. Comment by CM — 19 March 2010 @ 4:34 PM
    Again, if you really believe electricity (a form of energy, not a source, btw) is as fungible as oil, you’ve got another thing coming. First, it’s the wrong comparison, you mean solar radiation/heat, not electricity. While you can get far more energy from sunlight than FFs, given enough infrastructure, you actually need more sun energy than the equivalent FFs, particularly oil, because it is *not* as fungible. You will use a lot of resources getting that solar energy to be combined with other things to become useful. You cannot lube a machine with electricity.
    All of you dismissing energy from the equation of future fixes is making a huge mistake. Let me end this by pointing out that the Kuwaiti government just released their analysis of oil production going forward and found peak in oil in 2014. (Crude peaked already, actually. All liquids likely peaked 2008. Decline without intervention in existing fields is 9% a year, minimum. (IEA) and around 6% after intervention (IEA.) With replacement we are treading water IF you include all liquids and not just crude.)
    • ccpo wrote: “There is literally nothing yet known that is as freely available, cheap and fungible as oil is …”
    That is simply false. Sunlight is far more freely available

    Then why does it make up well under ten percent of our energy mix? Perhaps you mean it *will* be?
    and is cheaper when all costs are internalized
    Hmmm…. How many joules in a cup of oil, which costs between 15 and 20 cents, vs the energy from SPV?
    and can be easily converted to electricity which is the most fungible form of energy there is.
    Well, if you consider the building, distribution, installation and maintenance of solar panels easy…
    Fungibility? You are quite simply wrong. Make plastic from electricity. Lube an engine with electricity. Make polyester clothing from electricity. Virtually everything you see around you as you read this is made with some form of FFs, and much of it from oil.
    And there is vastly more energy available from sunlight than from all the world’s reserves of fossil fuels, and the supply is limitless and inexhaustible on time scales that are relevant to human civilization.
    True. But that is not the issue. No straw men allowed. The issue is availability now and during the transition.
    As for the transition being “difficult” — well, it will be especially difficult for those who have grown immensely wealthy and powerful from extracting, processing, distributing and selling a limited (and rapidly dwindling) supply of expensive fuel
    Actually, those very rich people will hardly notice. They’ll all have off-grid homes much as W did even as he fought against climate change legislation.
    And the transition is being made more “difficult” by their deceit, denial, obstruction and delay.
    Comment by SecularAnimist — 19 March 2010 @ 4:45 PM

    What’s your point? Are you under the delusion I work for an oil company?

    Cheers

  115. ccpo:

    Thank you Mr. Benson. I appreciate the links to add to my overburdened set of links. I was hoping Reisman would support *his* contention, though. Perhaps he will in future.

    Cheers

  116. Ray Ladbury:

    OK, Gilles, then make yourself clear: Do you favor aggressive conservation measures to 1)conserve the supply of petroleum as long as possible and coincidentally 2) to minimize CO2 emissions.

    As to the amount of CO2 we can produce–I’ve done the math. We can easily make it to 1000 ppmv with proven reserves of fossil fuels. We could easily do that this century, particularly if we must burn a lot of energy converting coal into a liquid fuel.

  117. Thomas:

    Well Giles, I think we are both (actually just about everyone here) worries about the transition away from fossil fuels. Where we disagree is whether concerns about climate should justify an additional constraint, beyond those created by the simple geological exhaustion of the sources. We ought to be able to agree, that a near term policy response of conserving our sources of fossil fuels (in case the transition takes longer than currently hoped), and a policy based upon climate protection, really don’t look much different. That is unless you think fossil fuel sources put off limits in the near future will somehow be binding on future generations. So I really don’t think opposition to the earlyg steps of the transition makes sense -even if you completely discount the climate part of the argument. Slowing our fossil fuel consumption buys us more time to make the transition away from them.

    When I look at India and China, I see two societies which (relative to the size of their economies) are being much more aggressive with respect to the pursuit of alternative energy technologies than the USA. True they are both still pusuing coal. But China is trying to force an annual doubling of wind generation for the next decade, and has taken over a large portion of the world solar panel production. Compared to the pace here, that has to be considered to be an extraordinarliy aggressive pace.

    As far as the cost of the transition. I’m currently getting about two thirds of my electrical consumption from PV panels which cover about a third of the southwest facing roof. The ratio of the cost of this stuff to the market value of the house is something like one part in twenty. I.E. the implication is that the cost of converting to renewables is a small fraction of the cost of our built infrastructure. Its just not an economy killing proposition (not if we allow several decades to accomplish it). I think we would agree that solar plus wind has problems with intermittency. But a combination of solar plus wind, with natural gas backup makes sense as a major thrust for our energy policy for say the next quarter century. Not only does this reduce carbon emissions, it also conserves our limited fossil fuel resources.

  118. Robert:

    “That is simply false. Sunlight is far more freely available”
    “Then why does it make up well under ten percent of our energy mix?”

    You’re moving the goal posts, ccpo. You said oil was more freely available than sunlight. That’s wrong. Now you wan to change the subject to why solar energy is a small part of our energy mix. Different question entirely.

    You got carried away and exaggerated the virtues of oil, and in so doing you made a basic mistake of fact. Can you admit that?

  119. Thomas:

    Now for another change of topic. We have a rather odd report out:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316101705.htm
    Which claims that the local increase of urban CO2 does so much local damage, that Cap and Trade makes no sense, as Urban emissions are much more damaging than rural emissions. I have to confess (I don’t have acess to the details of their arguments), that my response is Huh! I can’t imagine the local vertical column CO2 could be more than a percent or two than for rural areas. And the local climate effect should be quite minimal. Has anyone read the papaer? Does his claim make any sense at all?

    [Response: The local temperature differences reported are tiny (thousandth's of degrees), and given the very short length of the simulations (a year) I find it hard to see how this could possibly be detectable in the real world. - gavin]

  120. Bulldust:

    richard ordway
    You seem to have me confused as someone who thinks CO2 does not cause warming. Far from it. It would be folly to argue otherwise, so thanks for the stroll down scientific memory, but that is not the crux of the issue as we both know.

    The difference between the warming caused by CO2 alone and that supposed to be caused by feedbacks portrayed by the IPCC projections is where the debate lies. But I am perfectly willing to read conclusive and/or compelling evidence that the multi-fold amplifications of CO2 warming through feedbacks are consensus science.

    It is the leap from accepted CO2 warming science to predictions/projections (semantics) of 4-6C temperature rises due to feedbacks that I struggle with.

  121. flxible:

    ccpo@114 – An objection – the “fungibility” claimed is with respect to energy, not the range of other products petroleum provides – and plastic really doesn’t require petroleum anyway, Henry Ford proved soybean meal and hemp work fine. It’s actually likely that there’s a lot of what we use petroleum for beyond energy that could be obtained from plant materials, including medicines and chemicals, we’ve already found modified vegetable oils more useful for a variety of lubricating purposes. And I, among many, do quite well without polyester clothing, thank you!!

    Also for joule comparisons interesting figures here, and note that SA was specifying “when all costs are internalized”, which I believe means include the “deferred” environmental costs.

  122. JiminMpls:

    Gilles – The supply of oil isn’t as limited as you seem to think. Cheap oil, yes, but recoverable oil, no. There are an estimated 513 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in the Orinoco tar sands alone. At a $100/bbl, it would be economically recoverable. As prices go up, so will the supply. Oil is odd that way. After that, we’d move on to extracting keragen from marlstone – another trillion or so barrels of oil-equivalent.

    It could be done, but it is wise to do so?

  123. kd:

    I have come across a rather strange and somewhat incoherent argument from a climate denialist (of the variety that the problem is much smaller magnitude than the scientific consensus suggests). His latest argument is based on Trenberth’s latest energy balance paper, and suggests that the climate sensitivity will reduce to zero as we get to a doubling of co2 levels on pre-industrial levels.

    Here is one of his less incoherent versions of the same argument, and I’d really appreciate it if someone with a better understanding of this stuff than me could take a look at it and point out the problems:

    [ Trenberth starts with a warming imbalance of 0.9W/sq.m (2000-2004 average) which equates to 145E20 Joules/year applied to the whole planet’s surface.

    The O.9W/sq.m is made up from radiative forcing elements quoted in IPCC AR4 Fig 2.4 plus various feedbacks. Dr Trenberth makes the point that this number is not derived from direct measurement because the devices for such are not accurate enough. ie. an imbalance of 0.9 W/sq.m is not possible to directly measure in the roughly 240 W/sq.m of energy flux passing through the atmosphere. So the 0.9 number is composed from climate model corrections and indirect measurements, feedbacks etc (complex to describe all the components).

    Dr Trenberth then goes on to account for a range of 45-115 E20 Joules/year (av 80) by best estimates of ice melt, land warming and ocean warming etc leaving a residual of 30-100 E20 Joules/year (av 65) for the period 2004 – 2008.

    So of the 145 he accounts for roughly 80 and a residual of 65. That is the current state of play.

    The 80 accounted for represents an imbalance of about 0.55W/sq.m of his assumed starting point of 0.9W/sq.m.

    In the Aug09 paper and a particular email he suggests that brightening of clouds could be an unmeasured factor. Cloud albedo has a low LOSU and wide error bars in the IPCC AR4 Fig2.4 forcing numbers requoted in Dr Trenberth’s paper.

    Clean Air Act reductions in SO2 are quoted as explaining the cooling of 1940-70 but there were few if any direct measurements 1940-1980, and the Clean Air Act does not apply to current India & China (the world’s most reliable witnesses to these emissions).

    I would suggest that the places to look hard at the discrepancy between the proposed 0.9 W/sq.m warming imbalance and the roughly accounted 0.55 W/sq.m are:

    1) Cloud Albedo increase from unaccounted emissions,
    2) Much more accurate measurement of ocean heat content.

    Remember that AGW theory rests on an assumed warming imbalance postulated by the lead IPCC author Dr Trenberth at 0.9 W/sq.m. He can only account for 0.55 W/sq.m as of Aug09.

    There are only two possibilities – (1) either the imbalance is not 0.9 but something less – closer to 0.55 W/sq.m due to overestimated CO2 effect or increased cooling effects mainly from aerosols …..OR… (2) the ‘missng heat’ is sequestered in the oceans below the depths which currently show no warming (700-900m).

    A paper by von Schuckmann publiched after Dr Trenberth’s Aug09 paper suggests that 0.77 W/sq.m of ocean surface equivalent heat flux is stored down to 2000m. This sole paper (unknown to Dr Trenberth until last month) is the only piece of evidence so far quoted in the AGW blogs which finds the missing heat energy. Several other analyses of ocean heat content give different results.

    The above illustrates the serious uncertainties in the current knowledge of the energy balance of the earth system – which is the key to the degree or warming (if any) occurring at the present time. ]

  124. Kees van der Leun:

    The details on how NASA analyzes global temperature, and their conclusion: continued rapid temperature increase: http://bit.ly/GISmeth

  125. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Cthulu for President!
    When you’re tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.

  126. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Hank (95, 96),

    As they say in Japan–or should…

    Akasofu-san wa bakayaro des’.

  127. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Ray, John,

    I strongly recommend ceasing to respond to Gilles (and Gavin et al., I recommend kicking him off or at least restricting him to his own thread, as they do with obnoxious posters at Deltoid). His clear pattern is to present some indefensible statement (“Only fossil fuels can provide a high standard of living!” or “Only fossil fuels can develop the Third World!”). A dozen people refute him at length. He argues minor points. Then, after a while, he makes the same indefensible statements again, often without bothering to reword them. He is neither trying to learn, nor teach. He is here to waste our time. Don’t enable him.

  128. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Bulldust: You seem to put great stake in consensus… do you not acknowledge that it is just as easy to poit out many examples of where the consensus was exactly wrong? We can go back to earth-centric views of the solar system and right through to more modern gaffes like the main causes of peptic ulcers. Consensus is not proof of truth although it appears to be very compelling for a large section of the populace.

    BPL: You use “consensus” the same way creationists use “theory”–with the popular definition instead of the one scientists use. The scientific consensus is that which has been so thoroughly shown by the EVIDENCE that scientists don’t bother with it any more. Nobody’s investigating whether the sun orbits the Earth. Not because it wasn’t a viable hypothesis at one time, or because they’re trying to suppress brave dissenters with a new idea, but because THEY KNOW IT’S A WASTE OF TIME. Get with the program.

  129. Gilles:

    Thinking a little bit more of what Ray said, I’ll try to elaborate the reasons of my trouble in all these discussions

    102 “Ray :”Gilles@75, There is how well we know a quantity and how well we need to know it. If CO2 sensitivity is 4.5 degrees per doubling, we are in severe trouble. If it is 3 degrees per doubling, we’re in it deep, and if only 2 degrees, we’re only in serious trouble.”

    Ray recognizes explicitly that there is a rather large uncertainty in a physical quantity , the CO2 sensitivity. Of course it is perfectly understandable given the complexity of the climate machine, and it would be difficult to reproach it to climate scientists who are doing their best to reduce this uncertainty. But at least it is relatively well-posed physical problems (even for instance if the validity of things like “global average temperature” can be questioned). But what is weird is that he seems to claim that the relation between CO2 sensitivity and “trouble” of mankind is much better known. Well, that’s surprising. First because i don’t know any precise quantitative definition of how this “trouble” is measured, not speaking of a scientific definition of “severe”, “deep”, or “serious”. Then even if such a definition could be given, the relation between it and CO2 sensitivity depends obviously on many factors, such as (as I recalled) the total amount of carbon we can burn, the impact of temperature on various very different ecological systems, and the impact of ecological systems on the “trouble” of mankind – and of course the potential POSITIVE impact of the use of fossil fuels. None of these things are well settled, and as far as I know , many of them cannot even be precisely defined. So what is weird is that Ray seems to acknowledge that what should be expected to be the best known physical quantity, which is the main goal of climate science (CO2 sensitivity) is the main source of uncertainty, but that all the rest (which if you think a little bit is NOT the result of climate science studies and for the main part isn’t studied by any “hard science” and scientific peer-reviewed literature) is very well known ?? strange indeed, very very strange.

    and worse, what people like JeanB, myself, and other are claiming, that all known (even imperfect) indicators of welfare are positively correlated with the use of fossil fuels, with regression coefficients relatively easy to define and measure , is considered here as mere BS and dismissed as totally unproven. Whereas it seems to me that the amount of evidence for this correlation is much greater and the quantitative coefficients are much better defined that any of the supposed “well-known” factors above. Well, I can admit that despite being a honest scientist and not the worse student of my generation, I can do mistakes and misunderstandings. But sorry guys, I need some more explanation from you, on how you form your judgement about what is “proved” or not by facts, since my conclusions are obviously very different from yours.

  130. ZAREMA:

    Thanks the author for article. The main thing do not forget about users, and continue in the same spirit.

  131. Fred Magyar:

    Andreas Bjurström @73,

    “Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it.”

    Wishful thinking rooted in the natural sciences. So sweet and comfortable.

    For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

    Richard Feynman

    Andreas, if I recall it was Social Science that brought us public relations…

  132. Hunt Janin:

    Please forgive my inexact language, but didn’t I read somewhere that the work of the IPCCC is going to be “investigated” (my word, not the article’s) by a group headed by a famous British scientist? Can anyone enlighten me on this matter?

  133. Walter Manny:

    GAS: Fair enough.

  134. Walter Manny:

    Ray,
    “However, I know of no consensus theory that has been overturned when it had achieved the level of support we see with the theory of Earth’s climate. Such a theory is likely to evolve gradually, rather than be overturned.”

    You have made an appealing argument except for one drawback: it is baseless. For one thing, not knowing about other strong consensuses being overturned has nothing to do with the efficacy of this one. I love analogies as much as the next human and have fallen victim to analogizing many a time, but either we are causing warming or we are not. The theory claims to be able to predict the future well enough for us to takes steps to avoid the harmful aspects predicted. To state that the theory is likely to be proven correct, with refinements (a fair paraphrase?) is to state that our ability to predict the future will be proven correct in the future. Well, yeah, maybe. But we actually have no way of knowing whether the theory will evolve gradually or skew wildly. It is frustrating, to be sure, that neither you nor I will live to see whether the long-term predictions are borne out, but I submit that claiming the consensus is accurate this time in this case is just that, a claim, and one well worth considering. With respect, I suggest you stick to the merits of what we know now, which you do very well, rather than the merits of what you surmise we will know in the future.

  135. Louise D:

    # 61 SecularAnimist

    “It is good to have an open thread specifically for “OT” comments.
    It appears that there might also be a need for an open thread specifically for self-indulgent incoherent doubletalk, pompous pronouncements based on willful ignorance, and baseless flame-baiting slanders against climate scientists that appear to have no purpose except for the author to impress himself with his ability to waste other people’s time.”
    Rather a belated response but I second this!

  136. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Just as I suspected, “IPCC has underestimated climate-change impacts, say scientists” – see: http://www.dailyindia.com/show/365610.php

    According to Charles H. Greene, Cornell professor of Earth and atmospheric science, “Even if all man-made greenhouse gas emissions were stopped tomorrow and carbon-dioxide levels stabilized at today’s concentration, by the end of this century, the global average temperature would increase by about 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 2.4 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels, which is significantly above the level which scientists and policy makers agree is a threshold for dangerous climate change.”

    “Of course, greenhouse gas emissions will not stop tomorrow, so the actual temperature increase will likely be significantly larger, resulting in potentially catastrophic impacts to society unless other steps are taken to reduce the Earth’s temperature,” he added.

    “Furthermore, while the oceans have slowed the amount of warming we would otherwise have seen for the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the ocean’s thermal inertia will also slow the cooling we experience once we finally reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

    This means that the temperature rise we see this century will be largely irreversible for the next thousand years.

  137. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    As an addendum to what I wrote….

    A group of faculty are planning an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Program at our U. I suggested we have a “Statistics & Research Methods” course requirement, because I felt students should understand that science is conservative and is set up to err on the side of NOT establishing a causal link. That is, it focuses on avoiding the FALSE POSITIVE of making untrue claims. However, others — policy-makers, environmentalists, journalists, people concerned about the viability of planet earth, mothers & others — should be striving to avoid the FALSE NEGATIVE of failing to mitigate (& adapt to) AGW when it really is happening and threatening great harm.

    One Humanities faculty said she thought lots of Humanities students might fail such a “Stat & Methods” course.

    So I came up with a Humanities alternative, using expressive culture.

    See, once upon a time there was this boy who stood guard at night against wolves entering the village and killing the people…

    You know the story. Well, the moral of the story for scientists is: they cannot afford to be that boy–they cannot risk losing their reputations by making false claims (and having people disbelieve them in the future), so they have to be very very confident (usually 95% confident) that there really is a wolf out there threatening the villagers, before calling “wolf.”

    However, we lose sight of the moral for us, the villagers, who get eaten up because we made an error of the FALSE NEGATIVE, of disbelieving the boy on that final “Call Wolf” and failing to protect ourselves.

    So the moral is:
    Avoid the FALSE NEGATIVE of sleeping while the wolf eats us up & AGW kills us off; and don’t worry about the FALSE POSITIVE of that boy calling wolf when there isn’t any wolf — which would be the very best of all worlds re the AGW issue: we mitigate & thereby save tons of $$ and help the economy, plus mitigate a plethora of other problems,… AND no AGW!

  138. MartinJB:

    Gilles,

    just curious… has anyone here actually suggested that we should (or could) go cold-turkey on fossil fuels in the next few years? I don’t think so.

    Also, you make the point that if alternative/ renewable energy was really competitive with fossil fuels, it would be replaced fossil fuels. That assertion is flawed. First, the cost of fossil fuels to the economy is understated in multiple ways. It doesn’t include the cost of mitigating the damage caused by fossil fuels – air pollution, damage from extraction, climate change. A lot of fossil fuels rights are sold or leased at prices below cost by governments. Arguably, the US spends a lot of money on military and foreign efforts to keep fossil fuel sources secure. Second, market forces are not quite so powerful. Social and political momentum (both of which protect status quo, i.e. fossil fuels as the dominant energy source) are important too. Change doesn’t happen just because it’s more efficient.

    Finally, you’ve mentioned multiple times that we won’t (or is it can’t? it’s not obvious from your writing) emit enough CO2 to cause the worst effects of global warming. Really? Do you know how much CO2e is tied up in oil shale, tar sands, clathrates and coal? Look it up. It’s truly vast. Hopefully, we’ll have the sense to make sure that most of those “resources” stay where they are.

    –Martin

  139. Septic Matthew:

    114, ccpo: (You can’t make plastic out of sunlight.)

    Not directly, but you can make plastic out of cellulose and algae squeezin’s.

    Make plastic from electricity. Lube an engine with electricity. Make polyester clothing from electricity. Virtually everything you see around you as you read this is made with some form of FFs, and much of it from oil.

    With current catalysts, you can make the precursors of this stuff out of water and CO2 powered by sunlight.

    Did you know there is a serious issue with phosphorus? What of the 95% drop in large fish stocks?

    These issues are not closely related to AGW or new energy industries.

    How many joules in a cup of oil, which costs between 15 and 20 cents, vs the energy from SPV?

    He did say “when all costs are internalized”. The US spends considerable $$$ and lives guarding MiddleEast oil, and fighting the insurgents who are paid from ME oil proceeds. With coal, there are deaths and disease due to the release of mercury and (ironically) radiation. If these costs were paid by taxing the resultant energy, then PV cells would produce cheaper electricity.

    Well, if you consider the building, distribution, installation and maintenance of solar panels easy…

    Now here, I side with you instead of SA: “easy” is the wrong word, but so are “hard” and “impossible”. Some companies now produce more than 1GW peak PV generating capacity per year, which is faster than 1GW of continuous nuclear power generating capacity can be produced. PV power is now more expensive than nuclear, but the costs continue to decline with better materials and production technology. Nuclear costs will also probably decline, but there is a huge up front capital cost for each installation.

    112, Gilles: CM “we know how to make windmills, PV cells, biofuels.”
    &&&&
    Wrong. We don’t know how to make them without fossil fuels. And we don’t know how to power a society just with them. If you believe it , you’re either naive or a liar, and in any case you don’t have a single piece of evidence that it is possible.

    On this, you appear to be uninformed. Perhaps there will some day be a thread devoted entirely to energy, and we can fill you in on ALL the alternatives under development. The rapid expansion of algae based biofuels is especially impressive. What is needed now is continuous investment of money, labor, talent and time.

  140. Geoff Wexler:

    I seem to have misunderstood the title of this thread. Perhaps the only comments I have seen which refer even tangentially to unforced variations of the climate sort, is one referring to Akasofu , who appears to have a pre-scientific outlook (dodgy description without understanding) and #111 which is good except for its disregard of unforced variability. I take it that the gap can be filled by running a climate model for say a thousand years and plotting the magnitude against the frequency of occurrence of such unforced behaviour. Am I right? If so has anyone got the references?

  141. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #106 ccpo

    In context, I am inferring magnitude of event by comparison. I think it is safe to say pre-industrial society did impact its environment, but comparing those minor changes to a radiative forcing shift up to 3.6 W/m2 above relative natural forcing averages…

    well, no meaningful comparison in that context.

    No cites, I’m merely making a qualitative argument.


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  142. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #108 flxible

    Thanks. No time to review all his posts but if he is only afraid of aggressive words, then he should relax a bit and feel free to post his full name on his posts.

    You may be right about language and location. After aperitivo may explain lapses in memory as well ;)


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  143. Dale:

    If this has been previously noted I apologize.

    “Some new voices pronouncing predictions of peak oil have distinctly Arabic accents. Researchers from the University of Kuwait with the Kuwait Oil Company have published a new study titled Forecasting World Crude Oil Production Using Multicyclic Hubbert Model (abstract here) that names 2014 as the fateful year when conventional crude oil production will peak. That’s pretty close to the 2015 date chosen by Sir Branson and his taskforce pals.

    The Kuwaitis arrive at their conclusion via an updated version of the Hubbert model that uses additional production cycles that consider political situations, new finds, technical innovation and other factors. Their world model is derived from an amalgamation of the individual models of 47 producer countries.”
    http://green.autoblog.com/2010/03/18/kuwaiti-study-conventional-oil-to-peak-in-2014/

  144. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #127 Barton Paul Levenson

    If Gilles tried to be more explicit and clear on what he thinks should or should not be done, or tried to understand holistic context, or was open-minded enough to drop his religious beliefs in without fossil fuels civilization ends etc., I would not mind him so much.

    But he is a slippery fish and quite boring in my opinion. This latest idea up-thread about how we will exhaust all natural recourse completely ignores the innovative potential of humankind.

    I remain of course

    1. Consumption reduction
    2. Transition to renewable/sustainable
    3. Start looking ahead and stop staring at our feet as we walk through life.

    Gilles should start his own blog where he can rant all day long in incoherent strings of circular logic that never lead anywhere meaningful.

    However, as long as Gavin et al continue to allow him to post, we should respond so that others that see the string can see reasonable, logical and factual refutation of the poor logic Gilles employs in his myopic pseudo reasoning.

    My thoughts are that we are here to help others understand how truly silly and unreasonable arguments like his (and others like his) are. He spins nearly everything out of context, so much so that I suspect he is a politician of sort… no wonder he is afraid to post his name. Politicians hate being responsible for things they like to say, but publicly can’t for reasons of culpability.


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  145. Ray Ladbury:

    Walter Manny claims: “But we actually have no way of knowing whether the theory will evolve gradually or skew wildly.”

    Bullshit! Either science works and gives us a reasonable approximation of the truth or it does not. Do you have evidence that when it is strongly supported by evidence over a period of decades that it does not? Because, I can point you to a 400 year track record of success. What is more, the issue here is the effect of a strong, long-lived, well mixed greenhouse gas–the fingerprints of which are all over the climate everywhere you look. It is not particularly demanding act of prognostication to assess how increasing such a gas will affect climate. That is something we know now. It’s something we’ve known for 50 years. The fact that the knowledge comes with error bars doesn’t change the fact that it is knowledge.

    What you are asking us to do is take actions that will have disastrous consequences unless reality winds up being well outside of those error bars. In effect, you ask us to bet the future of human civilization on the only known habitable planet on a 20:1 longshot.

    The fact is, Walter, science does predict the future–even for unpredictable and chaotic systems. And compared to that, the consequences of our current course are quite predictable.

  146. JiminMpls:

    Gilles – Take a look at http://www.switch2hydrogen.com/h2.htm.

    Using solar/wind power to produce hydrogen overcomes the greatest limitation of hydrogen fuel cell powered automobiles – the amount of electricity required to produce hydrogen. Imagine hydrogen fueling stations powered by wind and solar. No distribution system required for either the fuel or the electricity! It’s all produced in situ. Vehicles could be gas/elec/hydrogen hybrids allowing for maximim flexibility.

    Renewables will replace oil and coal just as oil and coal replaced wood, beeswax and sperm oil.

  147. Ray Ladbury:

    Gilles,
    As I have repeatedly recommended, read this:

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

    At least read figure 5, as it is a good summary of likely consequences. If you have some actual (evidence based) qualms with the projected consequences, that’s fine. However, to date, you seem immune to evidence.

  148. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #137 Lynn Vincentnathan

    Wholehearted agreement on method. Personally, I’m virtually 100% confident (99.99%) there is an AGW wolf. Science is at 95% or greater and AR5 may even raise the bar? Therefore, to not say there is an AGW wolf can be reasonably considered irresponsible. If villagers get eaten, it should be because they ignored the warning, not because scientists, and people who understand, did not give the warming.

    Since science is conservative by nature, it is safe to say that the warnings given based on the science are on the conservative side. That needs to be taken to heart. The likelihood of more challenging and expensive outcomes is reasonably considered more, rather than less, likely.


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  149. Gilles:

    Martin :”Gilles,just curious… has anyone here actually suggested that we should (or could) go cold-turkey on fossil fuels in the next few years? I don’t think so.”

    well, actually , the idea that we should restrain our consumption of fossil fuels really means that we should, at some point, not extract a fair part of fossil fuels that we COULD extract. Leaving them untouched under the ground, depriving future generation of their use, even when they will eventually totally disappear, although they are technically and economically extractible.

    So in other words we have to organize a sooner peak in fuel consumptions that what is imposed by nature, and maintain it for eternity . I’m ready to accept a demonstration that we must indeed do that. I’m just asking : ok, but why, when, and who will insure this will really be done in the entire world, for eternity ?

  150. ccpo:

    Just as I suspected, “IPCC has underestimated climate-change impacts, say scientists” – see: http://www.dailyindia.com/show/365610.php

    According to Charles H. Greene, Cornell professor of Earth and atmospheric science, “Even if all man-made greenhouse gas emissions were stopped tomorrow and carbon-dioxide levels stabilized at today’s concentration, by the end of this century, the global average temperature would increase by about 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 2.4 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels… …This means that the temperature rise we see this century will be largely irreversible for the next thousand years.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 20 March 2010 @ 10:23 AM

    It will be interesting to see if this result stands, but I have considered this to be self-evident for at least the last three years. While it is good to confirm what logic states must be true, it is not wise to curtail action in search of certainty.

    The fact that so many changes are happening so far ahead of schedule was all we needed to know to come to the conclusion climate is more sensitive than we realized.

    But what the heck does a former teacher/current director of a permaculture training program know?

    Cheers

  151. Patrick 027:

    Gilles (And a part for ccpo):
    Comment 36 http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/ ,
    Summary for wannabe policy makers (That’s meant in good humor).

    I. ECONOMICS:

    A. TOTAL EFFECT OF POLICY

    When all that is of value is properly accounted for, an ideal market is more profitable in total when a proper price signal is enforced to account for externalities (public costs are charged, or some other mechanism), then when it is not. Real markets don’t necessarily reach, even approximately, an optimum profit, for various reasons… …but the tendeny of response to good public policy for externalities should be qualitatively the same (and the caveats of real markets could be to some extent dealt with).

    PS there are also government policies now in place that should be changed.

    B. EFFECT OF POLICY ON CONVENTIONAL MEASURE OF SHORT TERM ECONOMIC CONDITIONS

    Of course, more conventional measures of profit may not follow the same way, particularly if they don’t assess the externality or do so at times removed from their cause. In the short term, climate policy could cause a slowdown in global GDP growth. However, the long term effect may be different.

    (Investments to produce future profits reduce production of value for present benifit, **interest rates reflect competition between desires for present and future, as well as expectation and risk, and inflation.)

    II. COMPARE DIFFERENT POLICY SCENARIOS ON A FAIR BASIS

    Economic growth: Yes, but with regards to Jevon’s paradox and climate-changing emissions reductions, I was refering to comparisons among different possible trajectories for the same time periods. In other words, the relevant measure of the effect of a policy or decision is not how much something changes over time, but how that change is different from how it would otherwise have changed over time.

    III. SCARCITY DOESN’t CORRECT AN EXTERNALITY;
    IT CAN ONLY SHRINK THE TOTAL EFFECT OF THE EXTERNALITY TO INSIGNIFICANCE (SCARCITY OF FOSSIL FUELS IS INSUFFICIENT FOR THAT).

    Fossil fuel scarcity will eventually cause price increases; combined with technological innovation, assuming civilization continues so as to support technology, there will come a period in time when fossil fuels are largely driven to a minor role or less as other energy sources dominate the market. However, if the price signal justified by the externalities of fossil fuel use is not enforced, this doesn’t happen soon enough for an optimal trajectory.

    There is coal, tar sands and oil shale. Some of these are expensive, but perhaps not expensive enough to prevent their use as a replacement (in the absence of some public policies).

    IV. NO SHARP THRESHOLD BETWEEN IMPORTANCE AND UNIMPORTANCE

    There is no threshold at which climate policy starts to make a difference. Climate is a, perhaps nonlinear, but, in general and globally within the context of AGW, likely a continuous or approximately or probalistically continuous function of climate policy and of other factors.

    (It starts to make a difference as soon as the externality tax is raised from zero to any nonzero number. It’s not a matter of either/or, it’s a matter of how much.)

    V. JEVON’S PARADOX

    (Jevon’s paradox does reduce the effect of policy undertaken by one subset of the world, but it would be odd if it reduced it to zero, because that would imply that in some place, the quantity consumed does not vary with price at all over some range – possible in general but doesn’t seem likely for fossil fuels.)

    VI. GLOBAL POLICY AND TRADE

    (International trade is also an issue. There are ways to deal with the international situation, either via global policies, or in the absence of that, trade policies can at least have some effect. If the rate of innovation is sufficient relative to the rate of economic growth, policies in some countries can eventually affect emissions intensity in other countries in the same direction. Mass market advantage could play a role in that relationship.))

    (Developing economies do present an opportunity to avoid investments in infrastructure that will have to be replaced at a loss when transitioning to a cleaner energy mix; it is in the interest of nations in general to encourage capitalizing on this opportunity.)

    VII. CLEAN ENERGY RESOURCES (for ccpo, too), MEANINFULLY MEASURED POTENTIAL

    I agree that it is not all that meaningful to compare human energy consumption to total solar radiation incident at the surface. However, more meaningful comparisons, for solar and other renewable energy resources, do suggest that renewable energy is up to the task of replacing fossil fuels. There are material and land use and cost issues with harnessing some of these resources, but these issues must be weighed against the other issues including those of fossil fuels (which also have land use issues), and strategic use of resources can minimize the costs (such as using precipitation on solar power plants to boost agricultural value of land between collectors or adjacent to the field.)

    It makes since to pick the lowest hanging fruit in each category. For example, for centralized solar power plants, the cheapest, sunniest, least ecologically sensitive land, closest to populations, makes sense to go after first. It could be disastrous if we used biofuels for 75 % or more of our energy, but it could be very benificial, perhaps even to food production, to have a few percent contribution from biofuels. The energy market is large enough to support not just one or two but many mass markets. Furthermore, if we can’t get rid of every last bit of fossil fuel dependence, that’s not a reason to not get rid of any. It would be much better to use a little coal to produce a lot of solar energy then to use the same coal to produce a much smaller amount of energy.

    ‘IN DEPTH’ (not really):

    Two of the most promising PV technologies emerging into the market now are CdTe and CIGS; they use rather hard to obtain elements (Te, Se, Ga, In) (these are, so far as I know, generally byproducts of obtaining other mineral resources, and are thus limited or partially limited by the economic reserves and resources of other mineral resources, and their rate of production). But even if these technologies are limited to supplying a few percent of global electricity (I don’t remember actual numbers offhand), that’s still a lot more than what all of solar power does now (in other words, still a growth industry for awhile). There is still room for improvement for c-Si (which is still in the market!), there’s also a-Si, and there are promising materials with abundant economical resources (relative to what solar PV would ever need to supply all global energy use) such as zinc phosphide and maybe copper-tin-zinc-sulfide (? – something to that effect).

    Some clean energy investments, such as solar PV, is really long term investment. If it takes 10 or even 20 years to pay back economically, that’s still good. Energy payback times are not that long, and should be compared to the energy used by the energy industry as it now stands (Fossil fuels and nuclear power also use energy (aside from the energy they process and sell, which is not the point here); petroleum especially. Energy is used to get the materials, to process them, to build devices and infrastructure and to maintain them and to conrol pollution and handle waste.) It’s a similar case for water use. (Compare the amount of solar energy produced with some amount of water to the amount of water that could be desalinated and transnported using that same amount of energy.) Considering reuse and recycling of the same material for hundreds of years, the energy and other costs of mining lower-grade resources could be justified by the payback.

    I think a typical ratio of land area to collector area for a solar power plant field could be about 2.5; assuming this minimizes shading of collectors by other collectors for enough of the daylight hours and enough of the year, 40 % of solar radiation reaching the land area would then be collected. Assuming, for purpose of illustration, 10 % system efficiency (higher efficiency for installed panels, then including other system losses and panel aging for a time-average supply, and the lifecycle energy investment), a solar electric power plant system would have an average power supply of 4 % of the incident solar radiation, which may typically be 200 W/m2 or more (250 W/m2 is available in some areas, depending on whether these are tracking collectors, geometric concentrators of flat plate, etc; 200 W/m2 can be found over large land areas.). So 100,000 km2, assuming 200 W/m2, area factor of 2.5 or 40 % depending on whether you want to divide or multiply, and a system efficiency of 10 %, would supply 0.8 TW of electric power (1 TWe). That’s a little over 1 % of U.S. land area supplying a majority of the electrical equivalent (using average power plant fuel to electricity conversion) power used by the U.S. (population will grow, but energy efficiency has room for improvement, and don’t forget some of that land use can be displaced with rooftop devices and other such usage on already-used land). Compare that to agricultural land usage (and human-made lakes). For the globe, 10 billion people with 1/2 present U.S. energy consumption per capita (not just efficiency and lifestyle, but also geographic variations in energy needs), that’s roughly 10,000 million people * 1 TWe/(2 * 300 million people) ~= 17 TWe, 0.1 million km2 * 17/0.8 ~= 2.1 million km2, which is less than 2 % of global land area. And of course, some of that will be displaced by wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, etc. Actual numbers may vary a bit depending on system efficiency and technological progress, but the numbers just used are not far out of the range (and, at least for solar PV, theoretical limits on conversion efficiency have not yet been commercially approached).

    Forms of energy?

    Solar energy can be used directly for heat or light (concentrated for industry or otherwise collected for residential use), and solar electricity production can be more efficient by also supplying heat. Solar heat (for direct use or electricity production) can be stored on the scale of a day and supplemented by fuels when necessary.

    Electricity can be used to create fuels.

    Thus, clean energy can ultimately supply most or all of the input for it’s own growth and maintenance and could supply carbon and hydrocarbons to industrial processes.

  152. Hank Roberts:

    For Hunt: some background reading you should be familiar with:
    http://nobelprize.virtual.museum/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1995/crutzen-lecture.pdf

  153. Patrick 027:

    CORRECTION:

    V. JEVON’S PARADOX

    (Jevon’s paradox does reduce the effect of policy undertaken by one subset of the world, but it would be odd if it reduced it to zero, because that would imply that in some place, the PRICE does not vary at all with QUANTITY consumed over some range of prices – possible in general, but doesn’t seem likely for fossil fuels (at least not in aggregate))

  154. ccpo:

    114, ccpo: (You can’t make plastic out of sunlight.)

    Not directly, but you can make plastic out of cellulose and algae squeezin’s… you can make the precursors of this stuff out of water and CO2 powered by sunlight.

    I am not arguing that alternatives exist. What I am pointing out is the cost in time, money and energy to do these things. While all the things you say might be possible, they all rely on complex processes which themselves need money and resources (receding horizons) and almost certainly have a poor energy return on energy invested (EROEI). Oil had a huge EROEI of 100/1 in the beginning, and is still between 11/1 and 30/1, depending on whom you ask. I can state without fear of rebuke the same is almost certainly not true of any of the processes you describe.

    Did you know there is a serious issue with phosphorus? What of the 95% drop in large fish stocks?

    These issues are not closely related to AGW or new energy industries.

    Really? You think noxious oceans have nothing to do with AGW? Recent article stated dead zones are adding to AGW. EVERYTHING relates, and that is what I am trying to get people to start thinking about. You will not choose the best options if you are ignoring one half or one third of the problem.

    How many joules in a cup of oil, which costs between 15 and 20 cents, vs the energy from SPV?

    He did say “when all costs are internalized”. The US spends considerable $$$ and lives guarding MiddleEast oil, and fighting the insurgents who are paid from ME oil proceeds. With coal, there are deaths and disease due to the release of mercury and (ironically) radiation. If these costs were paid by taxing the resultant energy, then PV cells would produce cheaper electricity.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 20 March 2010 @ 12:17 PM

    Preaching to the choir, but, still, the same can be said of everything. All have external costs. Just wait to see how hard it gets to produce, maintain and begin replacing wind generators when 95% of the rare earth ores are in China, but China doesn’t care to share, e.g.

    My point stands: many of you who are climate aware/activists dismiss the energy issues we face with a cornucopian wave of the technical progress wand. This is a deadly mistake.

    By the same token, many of the energy/PO aware/activists dismiss AGW based on their misconception it will happen slowly and that there are not enough FFs to push us past dangerous limits. Another deadly error.

    These two issues go hand-in-hand and should be handled that way. It’s simple: we have been on an energy production plateau since 2004 despite huge increases in prices. An idiot understands the implications of this. However, using biofuels to solve the problem, such as ethanol, makes other issues worse. Food becomes more expensive and we’re still polluting the air. Good answer to PO, bad answer to AGW and hunger.

    At the same time, if the time to ramp up renewables is longer than five years from today – which is absolutely will be – then PO makes it a certainty that the energy and economic power to make the transition become scarce. Every large run up in oil prices has been followed by a recession. This one is no different. Largest run up in oil prices = largest recession. Given peak is now (plateau), what powers the recovery? Renewables are not ready.

    Energy = work. Period. No energy, no work. This basic equation is why you *must* look at this as a perfect storm of over-population, declining energy, AGW, and economic chaos.

    Everyone needs to quit protecting their favorite little kitty and start figuring out how to deal with the whole litter.

    Cheers

  155. Jeffrey Davis:

    To me, it sounds like Gilles has simply read Lomborg and has decided that he doesn’t need to read more.

  156. Patrick 027:

    CORRECTION:

    “0.8 TW of electric power (1 TWe)”

    SHOULD BE

    “0.8 TW of electric power (0.8 TWe)”

  157. David B. Benson:

    Lynn Vincentnathan (137) — Alternatively, take a Bayesian approach. For simplicity, assume just two hypotheses (models) to determine which best explains the data. One can use AIC or BIC to determine how much better and so whether one of the hypotheses can definitely be discarded. (Thoroughgoing Bayesians will use a weighted sum of both, but that is advanced stuff.)

    Bayesian methods have the advantage of avoiding language such as false positive and flase negative but more important I think it easier to teach and learn than Fischer/Pearson/Nyman approaches. The most recommended text is “Probability Theory: The Logic of Science” by E.T. Jaynes.

  158. Gilles:

    139;Septic matthew “On this, you appear to be uninformed. Perhaps there will some day be a thread devoted entirely to energy, and we can fill you in on ALL the alternatives under development. The rapid expansion of algae based biofuels is especially impressive.”

    Just for curiosity : have you any idea of how much the oil production will shrink after the peak, year after year ? have you any idea how how much biofuel should be produced each year to offset this decline ?

    Ray :”At least read figure 5, as it is a good summary of likely consequences. If you have some actual (evidence based) qualms with the projected consequences, that’s fine.”

    You don’t really answer my questions. I said I am surprised that you consider that evaluating the consequences of sensitivity could be done more precisely that the sensitivity itself, but you don’t explain me how it’s done. You just show a graphic with unknown uncertainties, unquantified events, and say “well you see I told you so !” . That’s not really my understanding of scientific evaluation.

    I don’t think you have really answered my question about car accidents. Car accidents are remarkable because they aren’t a “what if” consequence of the use of fossil fuels : it a certain, documented, and undoubtable tragedy of more than one million deaths each year, which could double or triple in the century if growth scenarios do happen. Curiously, this is nowhere on your paper. And nobody really asks to suppress cars – they just want electric ones ! well it seems to indicate at least that this kind of “drawbacks” are not always a good reason to renounce to the modern comfort. Have you an idea of which criterion should be used to know if this king of things is acceptable, or not ?

    For the others : I’m really impressed by the numbers of counter truths you can emit about me, without knowing me. Really impressive. If you want to convince me that you’re much more lucid and know much better the truth than me, that’s not really a good way. Sorry for my fluctuating english, I try to do my best to have a correct language, but that’s not my mother language. But maybe you smart people are much better than me in foreign languages, so we can continue the discussion in French?

    regarding all science fiction novels about cars powered by hydrogen,produced by electrolysis from windmills, nuclear plants, and so on, thanks, I’ve already read that many times. Call me up the first time you see a hydrogen car on the street, I offer you a beer !

  159. Gilles:

    Patrick : you’re only dealing with electric power generation. But oil depletion will hit the whole economy, first where electricity cannot be really used, and first, transportation. So the effect is simply a recession. Recession lowers the electricity demand. So your solar panels are simply useless. What the hell do we need to add more expensive electricity to a grid when demand for cheap eletricity is already shrinking ? What you don’t understand is that fossil fuels are the source of CHEAP AND CONVENIENT energy. We won’t be lacking energy, we’ll be lacking cheap and convenient energy. Solar power is neither cheap, nor convenient. So it won’t have the slightest action against recession. Remarkably, all countries have suffered from recession whatever their electricity sources are : nuclear, fossil, wind, geothermal… this is totally immaterial (actually the first countries in Europe that have entered into recession have been Denmark and Iceland…) Again, we don’t suffer from a lack of electricity.. !

  160. phil c:

    #145 The fact is, Walter, science does predict the future–even for unpredictable and chaotic systems. And compared to that, the consequences of our current course are quite predictable

    except that the AGW hypothethis predicts that increasing CO2 will product increased temperatures. Co2 is still rising but (according to Phil Jones and others) temperatures are not. Therefore, the AGW hypothethis is not passing the test as a theory.

  161. John Peter:

    HR

    In Akasofu’s note suggesting postponing Copenhagen, he ended:

    We should bring back the science of climate change to a basic science, avoiding interferences by policy makers and the world mass media. Only then can this particular science proceed in a scientifically healthy way. Only then can we discuss any global warming hypothesis as proponents and opponents (instead of as “believers” and “skeptics” or “deniers” in the religious sense), regardless of one side being in the majority or minority. In science, unlike in politics, a minority can be right.

    Do you disagree?

  162. Septic Matthew:

    154, ccpo: Recent article stated dead zones are adding to AGW.

    True, but that is a small effect compared to the hypothesized effect of CO2. Aren’t the dead zones mostly due to nitrogen, with phosphorus contributing some.

    157, Gilles: Just for curiosity : have you any idea of how much the oil production will shrink after the peak, year after year ? have you any idea how how much biofuel should be produced each year to offset this decline ?

    First they replace the oil with natural gas and biofuels, then with more and more biofuels (and fuels from sunlight and catalysts, municipal waste and sewage.)

    Here is my quote of a previous comment from you: 112, Gilles: CM “we know how to make windmills, PV cells, biofuels.”
    &&&&
    Wrong. We don’t know how to make them without fossil fuels. And we don’t know how to power a society just with them. If you believe it , you’re either naive or a liar, and in any case you don’t have a single piece of evidence that it is possible.

    I don’t think that we are either naive or liars who think that conversion to alternatives is possible. In 20 years of continuous research and development, Brazil drove the price of ethanol below the price of gasoline (on an energy equivalent basis.) Based on biofuels progress of the last few years, I think that the same will be true of biodiesel, biobutanol, and cellulosic ethanol in the next 20 years. Total volumes are indeed huge, but so is the total distributed energy capacity, and so is the total natural gas reserve. If CC&S works (large scale demonstrations/evaluations are under construction), then coal can be used during the transition.

  163. Philip Machanick:

    For those who do LinkedIn and support my campaign as exemplified by my petition supporting the right of climate scientists to work without harassment, I’ve set up a LinkedIn Stand Up for Science group.

    Please join if you would like to share ideas on how to take this forward.

  164. David B. Benson:

    phil c (160) — Using HadCRUTv3 global temperature product, the last 15 years have a 19:1 chance of showing warming; using GISTEMP those 15 years have a 20:1 chance of showing warming, i.e., statistically significant. Using the last 16 years of HadCRUTv3 gives statistically significant warming. I fear you’ve been had.

    In any case, the decade of the 2000s is the warmest of the insturmental record for all four major global temperature products. This agrees with the known physics, which I recommend you learn to avoid being had again and again and…

  165. John Peter:

    HR 95 96

    You are my internet reference hero but you really blew this one. The Japanese language can be tricky sometimes.

    Syun-Ichi Akasofu has been in Alaska, at the University in Fairbanks, for 50 years. Try the full name.

    A summary of his talk in English is here: http://joannenova.com.au/2009/04/global-warming-a-classic-case-of-alarmism/

    BTW, I hope you’ll change your mind when you read his paper here: http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/pdf/two_natural_components_recent_climate_change.pdf

    (got lost first time)

  166. MartinJB:

    Gilles,

    I’ll do you a favor and ignore your silly nonsequitor about needing to curtail fossil fuel use for eternity and focus on your insistence that the cheapness and convenience of fossil fuels make them too difficult (or whatever) to replace.

    First, fossil fuels are not as cheap as the price suggests. The costs to society of fossil fuels are quite large and will only get larger as global warming gets worse. Alternatives will keep getting cheaper and have not gotten, I suspect, nearly the amount of subsidy that fossil fuels have received over the past century.

    Second, it may be true that at the moment fossil fuels are more convenient (except, of course, for those who feel the impacts of their use), but that is in large part due to the fact that the existing infrastructure is built around them. Alternative energy will get more convenient as more of the infrastructure is converted and more solutions are found the employ non-fossil fuels in more applications. It won’t be cheap, but as you point out, fossil fuels aren’t going to be around for forever, so we’ll have to make the switch at some point anyway.

    Finally, it is certainly true that fossil fuels will be harder to replace in some applications than in others, and it is even possible that we’ll never find an adequate replacement for fossil fuels in every instance (air transportation comes immediately to mind). But that’s probably OK (and please correct me, all, if I’m wrong on that score). NET emissions are the key measure and there are already ways of offsetting emissions and even technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

    We’ll be OK phasing out fossil fuels as much as possible. I have a lot of confidence in our species to solve problems (and cause them!). Let’s get through the next hundred years. Then we can worry about eternity (grin).

    –MartinJB

  167. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #158 Gilles

    Don’t you think it’s even a little ironic that you accuse someone of not answering your questions?

    As to your “For the others”. People are just trying to figure you out. Since you are really good at non specificity, straw-man and red herring arguments befitting the style of politician or lobbyist or any such ilk that favors ambiguity or obfuscation in communication, expect a lot of that.

    No one is picking on your capacity in English, merely pointing out that it indicates English is not your mother tongue… which you have confirmed. And if you want this conversation in French, by all means, start your own blog and have this conversation in French… please.

    Everyone has a motive behind an action. Your action seems to be illustrated in obfuscation. As to your motivation, well that is a mystery. Care to fill us in in an explicit manner?


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

  168. Hank Roberts:

    > John Peter
    > Akasofu

    Read again: http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/search?q=Akasofu

    Same guy. You leaped to a conclusion, I don’t see why.

    Yes, he’s been _working_ in Alaska, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t left Alaska for 50 years. He was there in Japan, and he is the same person that James has been writing about from time to time.

    Follow the link and take the time to read the description.

    As to Joanne Nova, you could do better for sources.

  169. philc:

    Re: 164 Ahhh, more statistics. I suggest you read a little primer: http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/03/defending-statistical-methods.html by Luis Motl. And a counter argument in Science News: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/57091/title/Odds_Are,_Its_Wrong by Tom Siegfried.

    The gisst(pun intended) of both articles is that statistics are being used rather cavalierly in many areas of science, including the putative global warming effect. Even a 95% confidence interval allows a 5% chance that there is no effect. Or in this case, a fairly likely chance that any observation is due to something else entirely. There simply is no way to rule that out. The bottom line, if you want solid results REPLICATE, REPLICATE, REPLICATE the experiment. And look for 99.99% confidence intervals. The particle physics groups do that routinely with events that are much more unlikely than global warming.

    [Response: You're kidding, right? Any of our readers want to explain to 'philc' what's wrong with his (and "Motl's") thinking. I'm too tired of hearing this kind of misleading crap. I do have one question for 'philc': though: how many times do you suggest we repeat the global warming experiment?--eric]

  170. flxible:

    Gilles@158 “Call me up the first time you see a hydrogen car on the street, I offer you a beer”

    Obviously you didn’t attend the Vanvouver/Whistler Olympics, buses take many cars out of the loop [and those are not the "first"] …. I think you owe septic Matthew a beer.

  171. MartinJB:

    Eric,

    how much do you think the Magratheans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magrathea#Magrathea) charge for duplicates of the Earth and how many would we need to get a statistically significant result on the global-warming experiment? I bet we’d still get people denying the results….

    –MartinJB

  172. Ray Ladbury:

    Uh, Philc, Do you have any idea how many trials you’d have to run to get 99.99% confidence? You are SOOOO talking out your ass. And what do you think Motl’s confidence intervals are when he does the tiny little area of physics he does understand–string theory. You guys are clownshoes.

  173. Ray Ladbury:

    Gilles, if you can’t even be bothered to read the article, then there’s nothing anyone here can do for you. The figure makes the consequences pretty clear, and the text and references give more detail. For any level of warming much above 2 degrees, the consequences start to become severe. We get that with a doubling of CO2 even at the bottom of the 90% CL for sensitivity–and we’re well on our way to a doubling. You’ve made it clear that your position is not evidence based and that you aren’t interested in learning anything. B’bye, troll.

  174. ccpo:

    “That is simply false. Sunlight is far more freely available”
    “Then why does it make up well under ten percent of our energy mix?”

    You’re moving the goal posts, ccpo. You said oil was more freely available than sunlight. That’s wrong. Now you wan to change the subject to why solar energy is a small part of our energy mix. Different question entirely.

    You got carried away and exaggerated the virtues of oil, and in so doing you made a basic mistake of fact. Can you admit that?

    Comment by Robert — 19 March 2010 @ 10:19 PM

    I’m afraid I’m not willing to let you tell me what I meant by what I wrote. How much sunlight can be captured right now and turned into usable energy? Not much. The context is what you are missing, and that context is transitioning from FFs to RE. I do not know what the EROEI is or will be on, say PV, but I seriously doubt it is higher than the EROEI of crude oil, even now. If it is, it is still limited by extent. A global build out of REs will be long, expensive and difficult. Sunlight cannot “easily” be had, period. Not yet.

    Don’t blame others for your lack of consideration of context.

    Cheers

  175. Patrick 027:

    Re Walter Manny and the like minded (not that this hasn’t been addressed, but I think I have an interesting way of putting it):

    If the best scientific and ecological and economic assessments, which produce a fuzzy picture but nonetheless clear enough to make some solid conclusions (the details of regional shifts are uncertain (although it might be argued we sometimes do know there will likely be regional changes even when and where we don’t know the direction of those changes (?)), and climate sensitivity is hard to constrain to 0.1 K accuracy), indicate a significant net public cost for not making a decision to …

    Sorry,
    A simpler rephrasing:

    The best prediction, which has some finite error bars but good confidence within those error bars, indicates that you need to do x+/-y to achieve Z+/-W.

    Question:

    1.
    How foolish and regretfull will you feel if heed the prediction and it turns out wrong? (Sorry, we did our best, this is really VERY surprising to us as well…)

    2.
    How foolish and regretfull will you feel if you ignore the prediction and it turns out correct? (We told you so!)

    Question:

    How successful will you be if you make it a habit to heed such advice, even if it is occasionally wrong?

    How successful will you be if you always ignore such advice, and it only occasionally turns out wrong, and even then, you guess the wrong sign for error half the time?

  176. Kevin McKinney:

    Given that fossil fuels are actually great industrial feedstocks, I’d think that our conservation efforts should in part aim to shift away from burning them, in order to be able to continue using them to economically create useful materials.

    Just a thought. . .

    Of course, if the price went up, we might be forced to stop using plastics as disposables with quite the freedom we do now. Considering the infamous Pacific gyre, and the regular toll on wildlife caused by plastic detritus, that might not be a bad thing.

    And hey, our descendants wouldn’t need a whole new materials technology to implement electronics.

  177. Hank Roberts:

    > philc
    has been around long enough to learn, if it were going to happen. Track record:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%2Bphilc+site%3Arealclimate.org

  178. Patrick 027:

    Re 159 Gilles – DID you even bother to read what I wrote?

    If we absolutely need to gassify coal for fuel, we can still do some good by replacing most fossil fuel electricity plants with clean energy electricity plants (the cogeneration facilities would use CSP and maybe some biofuels, geothermal…).

    But electrification of transportation will likely make things a lot better. In fact, that could help in the economics greatly, since … been awhile since I tried to calculate and I don’t have all factors regarding different costs of car technologies, but it’s possible that solar electricity as it was a few years ago or now, fed to vehicles, would be less expensive than oil within the last few years or even now. But solar is getting more competitive…

    So you can’t replace 100 % of something with something else? Then please don’t, just replace 90 % or 70 %, maybe replace half of the rest with something else, etc. Whatever works.

  179. Hank Roberts:

    > Tom Siegfried
    has also been around long enough, as a science journalist, to know
    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/9211/title/A_New_Editor_for_%3Ci%3EScience_News%3Ci%3E
    what will get made of his article. I predicted it as soon as I saw it (sigh)

  180. Rod B:

    Just a little sidebar for John Peter (161), in politics a minority can be right. They just don’t win…

  181. jyyh:

    Just a note that a glacier is melting quite rapidly:
    http://www.ruv.is/frett/eldgos-hafid-i-eyjafjallajokli

  182. jyyh:

    headline changed:
    http://www.ruv.is/frett/eldgos-i-eyjafjallajokli

  183. Gilles:

    septic Matthews 162 : I meant : do you know how much oil will have to be replaced after it peaks, each year? I mean, the real figure or at least order of magnitude (I mean that “large” is not very scientific answer ! )? for instance, how long will it take before the equivalent of the whole production of Saudi Arabia, or US, or Russia, would disappear ? do you know the figure?

    J. Reisman 167 : Sorry, I answer what I feel, but only about the debate here. I avoid as much as possible personal ad hominem attacks and irrelevant imaginary conception of who you’re and your motivations – which are not my business. I think you would admit that at least I know better than yourself who I am, so if you emit false judgements about me, the simple consequence will be that I won’t have a very good opinion of your ability to understand the truth. This is to be avoided in your own interest. More generally, It has been a long time since I decided not to engage in personal disputes on forums (I met the same problem on French forums of course); so I’d like to discourage you to try this line of argumentation, which I won’t answer anyway. I try to keep as close as possible to scientific argumentation, and I expect to get the same kind of answers (scientific argumentation doesn’t mean that I claim to be always right, but that I try to present only objective arguments). Apparently the moderators of this forum don’t think that I am way off this track, apart from some occasions where I went too much OT, but I understand that this thread is open for general thoughts.
    Concerning French blogs, I have indeed considered this possibility, but first I think that blogs tend to be somewhat closed places where the owner can’t resist to select only favorable comments , and second I must admit that the anglo-saxon world is more active and developed in the discussion that the French one. So despite the possible difficulty to argument properly in a foreign language, I find it more interesting to discuss openly about my concerns with you and other people here. Again I may be wrong – I just liked to have objective arguments showing why.

    I’m sorry to tell you that I haven’t been convinced by any argument you presented – mainly because that no one is new for me, I have already seen them many times, already carefully examined, and already made my mind about them. Simply repeating them again and again won’t change this mind. I am a scientist, so I am more sensitive to NUMBERS : if you want to convince me, give me quantified estimates of how much solar panels, windmills and so on we can build without fossil fuels (including coke for steel and oil just for transportation and building of the windmill for instance !), how much it would cost, which percentage of electricity can be reached in a modern society, and so on. Handwaving as very little influence on me.

  184. Philip Machanick:

    Something that comes up sometimes in my conversations with the denialati is how to calibrate CO_2e in preindustrial times vs. now. Some of them do the rather convenient thing of taking 280ppm preindustrial (actually the CO_2 number) as the CO_2e number, and calculate the current CO_2e number including CH_2 and other greenhouse gases, then say, look, we’ve have a large fraction of a doubling so the science must be wrong.

    A simple calculation would be to take the methane level in 1750 and apply the same multiplier as is used today, but I think that would be inaccurate. If the methane level in 1750 was in equilibrium, you should really look at the total GHG effect of that exact quantity because any amount that decayed would have to be replaced by new CH_4 to maintain steady state. On the other hand in a period of rising CH_4, you should discount the increase for decay over a justified time window.

    Do I have this straight? Is there a good reference I’m missing?

  185. Martin Vermeer:

    Even a 95% confidence interval allows a 5% chance that there is no effect.

    So, you would be willing to bet on 5% odds… what if you’re wrong?

    Actually what you’re saying is simply incorrect: A 95% significance level means that there is a 5% probability that the test will find an effect even if there is none — a very different thing. It’s forward inference, and what you’re trying to do is reverse inference. You cannot do that without some prior idea on the probabilities of the hypotheses considered. That’s what’s the problem with the value 95%: it reflects subjective priors that are never made explicit. You’ll rarely find this discussed in the standard statistical literature on testing (exception: Edwin Jaynes 2003: Probability Theory: The Logic of Science).

    You know, failing a 95% significance test while there is a real effect happens all the time — like this time. All it takes is being dishonest enough to choose a suitably short time interval. But you can’t test the physics away that way!

    The Science News piece is worthwhile reading, and even more worthwhile understanding. As for Motl, he understands enough statistics to deceive with.

  186. KTB:

    Has there been any good reviews of the book “The Hockey Stick Illusion”?
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Illusion-Climategate-Corruption-Science-Independent/dp/1906768358

    Here is one, but it seems a little bit biased…
    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/03/the-case-against-the-hockey-stick/

    “But that is an even more worrying thought: how much dodgy science is being published without the benefit of an audit by Mcintyre’s ilk?”

    “A new Siberian data series from a place called Yamal showed a lovely hockey stick but, after ten years of asking, McIntyre finally got hold of the data last autumn and found that it relied heavily on just one of just twelve trees, when far larger samples from the same area were available showing no uptick. Another series from Finnish lake sediments also showed a gorgeous hockey stick, but only if used upside down. McIntyre just keeps on exposing scandal after scandal in the way these data were analysed and presented.”

    Seems that it contains the usual just plain wrong information, how surprising…

    The reviewers final comment:
    “Oh, and by the way, I have a financial interest in coal mining, though not as big as Al Gore has in carbon trading. Maybe you think it makes me biased. Read the book and judge for yourself.”

  187. Marco:

    @philc #169:
    Let’s do a little Gedanken-experiment, shall we?

    You have a very important job interview, on the other side of a very broad river. There are three bridges across that river (A, B, C), with A giving the shortest route, B somewhat longer, and C the longest. It’s a hot day, and you’re all dressed up in your suit and take off in your airconditioned car.

    Of course you take the shortest route, and arrive at bridge A. Unfortunately, the police stops you and tells you the bridge is broken and you only have a 5% chance of reaching the other side in your car, and a 95% of crashing and perhaps even dying. On the other hand, you have a 90% chance of reaching the other side on foot, and 10% that you’ll have to return. Another problem is that you will most likely be late for the job interview when you go on foot, and since it is a hot day, you’ll arrive all sweaty and with a wrinkled suit.

    The police also tell you that you have a 50% of getting across in your car when you use bridge B. You’d have to violate some traffic laws, though, in order to get to your interview on time, and still have a 50% chance of not getting across and possibly dying. You may, however, get halfway the bridge and walk the rest, a much shorter distance than in the case of bridge A.

    For bridge C your chances of getting across with your car are 95%, but you will be late for your interview. But unlike crossing bridge A on foot, you will not be all sweaty.

    Which bridge do you take, Phil?

  188. tamino:

    Re: #160 and #169 (philc)

    Saying that “Co2 is still rising but (according to Phil Jones and others) temperatures are not” is an outright lie. Yes, I’m calling you a liar.

    Saying that the global warming trend is only significant at 95% confidence because that’s what you get when starting at 1995 is called “cherry picking.” The evidence is that the modern trend has taken place since at least 1975 and continues unabated. If you want to compute a “p value” for global warming, using anything less is dishonest. The confidence level for the global warming trend is well in excess of 99.9999%.

    As for explaining what’s wrong with philc’s and Motl’s thinking, that would take too long for a blog comment.

  189. JiminMpls:

    Syun-Ichi Akasofu is a real piece of work! He claims, for example, that permafrost thawing is caused by heating buildings. Really!

    He later proclaims that: “Integrity and trust in science is at stake when confusion is caused in the minds of the public. Scientists are responsible for clarifying and rectifying the confusion.”

    Indeed.

    http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/misleading.php

  190. Walter Manny:

    WM “But we actually have no way of knowing whether the theory will evolve gradually or skew wildly.”

    RL “Bullshit!”

    Well argued :) Now that you’ve had a day to cool off, though, perhaps you would address my point. I am not saying that the current theory is not a predictive tool — you believe highly predictive, others not so much — but I am saying you can’t predict the future of a theory’s evolution. Otherwise stated, neither you nor anyone else can predict the impact on the theory of things we don’t yet know. I am not arguing in this instance that what we know now is or is not actionable, I am merely pointing out that your assurance that “the theory is likely to evolve gradually” is only that, an assurance. It sounds good, it sounds almost authoritative, and it has no basis in fact.

  191. Mike:

    Any thoughts on the Iceland volcano? Could it mask AGW this summer and make it harder to get a climate/energy bill passed in the U.S. Senate?

    “‘This was a rather small and peaceful eruption but we are concerned that it could trigger an eruption at the nearby Katla volcano, a vicious volcano that could cause both local and global damage,’ said Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland’s Institute of Earth Science.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100321/ap_on_sc/eu_iceland_volcano

  192. Hank Roberts:

    Oh, wait, I shouldn’t assume the “philc” posting just above with the naive questions is the same person who used to post so much as “PhilC” — are you?

  193. Jeffrey Davis:

    re: 169

    how many times do you suggest we repeat the global warming experiment?

    philc, it might not hurt to hit your hand with a hammer. Test it enough times to make sure. And be sure to let us know the results of your experiment.

  194. Chris Dunford:

    @philc 160

    Co2 is still rising but (according to Phil Jones and others) temperatures are not.

    I don’t know about “others”, but that is most certainly not what Phil Jones said.

  195. wildlifer:

    The WSJ with mix-and-match graphs takes another swipe at Hansen:

    http://wallstreetpit.com/20710-climategate-goes-back-to-1980

  196. Septic Matthew:

    166, Martin JB: NET emissions are the key measure and there are already ways of offsetting emissions and even technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

    Just to reinforce the point, here are sites about CO2 uptake:

    http://www.terradaily.com/2007/091106140421.mbapskof.html

    That one is about planting salt-tolerant mangroves in Senegal. There is also substantial reforestation in Indonesia, some related to growing oil palms.

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

    That one is about CO2 uptake in forests.

    It has been argued (peer-reviewed empirical research and some debate) in Science Magazine that the US forests, understory, and crops absorb more CO2 than US generates anthropogenically. I have lost the reference, but the above web page is indicative.

    And there’s my favorite, the famous “stabilization wedges”:http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/305/5686/968.pdf

  197. Tom Dayton:

    philc, just one part of what’s wrong with your comment is explained in my comment over at Open Mind.

  198. Brian Dodge:

    Akasofu says on page 2 “temperature changes may be approximated by a straight line, together with ‘fluctuations’ superposed on it…” then flips right around on p3 saying “…The halting of the temperature rise in about 2000 can be seen clearly in figures 1d-1g.” Is it “fluctuation” or “halting”, or does the meaning depend on whether it’s being used to support or deny AGW?
    On page 6 Akasofu says “The recovery from the LIA was gradual.’ and that the recovery “…was, at a first approximation, linear and that the same linear change continued until about 2000.” If you actually look at his figure 1, it is obvious that he is wrong.
    On page 7 Akasofu demonstrates his ignorance of the basic physics of logarithmic response of T to CO2 concentration when he finds that “Although the global average temperature (T) changes can be
    approximated by a linear relation as a fraction of time (t) (T = at), CO2 changes are more like T = bt^2, suggesting that the T-CO2 relation is not simple.”
    In figure 4 p12 Akasofu shows “The linear trends for the temperature of central England over the period 1660~1996 for (a) the annual data and (b) the winter months (December to February), show a marked warming. In both cases, this warming is significant, but although the temperature rise is greater in winter, this trend is less significant because the variance from year to year is correspondingly greater.” The seasonal, diurnal, and latitudinal differences in warming due to increased CO2 were predicted by Arhenius in 1896. Apparently Akasofu believes that because of the scale of the “fluctuations” increases when you decrease the number of data points from the full yearly data to just wintertime data, that less significant is the same as not significant.
    I could go on, but it’s clear to me that Akasofu’s arguments are error filled wishful thinking hand waving, not science, and a waste of time. I’m not inclined to suffer fools lightly, and Gavin Schmidt won’t let me tell y’all what I really think.

  199. sHx:

    I’ll assume you’re just under bad weather and this bizarre thread is not indicative of any long term trend. I’ll come back later. Thank goodness, Anthony Watts has a permanent link to your blog so you are only one click away.

  200. Brian Dodge:

    Lubos Motl says “Particle physicists choose such a big separation – and huge confidence level – because they don’t want to flood their discipline with lots of poorly justified speculations.” Lubos is apparently unaware that in the one month (say February) that it takes Spencer to acquire one data point that confirms it was the second warmest in the 32-year record, behind Feb 1998 which was itself the second warmest of all months.”“, the dozens of experiments running concurrently at Fermilab and CERN generate millions of data points. Particle physicists have the luxury of as much data as they can analyze to support “huge” confidence levels; “The Tevatron proton–antiproton collider continues its smooth operation. With more than 6 fb–1 integrated luminosity delivered and peak luminosities exceeding 3.5 × 10^32 cm^–2s^–1, the CDF and DØ experiments are steadily increasing their statistics. Both collaborations are pushing forward on the analysis of their latest data in a joint effort to confirm and enlarge the previously reported exclusion region for the Higgs mass of around 160–170 GeV.” “160-170 GeV” sounds sorta like “2-4.5 deg C per doubling of CO2″ to me.

  201. Stuart:

    I have an interesting question that I hope some of the experts can shed some light on… and it seems an open thread is the best place for it.

    I know that most of the focus has understandably been on the effect of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere (most notably carbon dioxide). I’m wondering what would happen if you were somehow able to remove all carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or kill the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect.

    Obviously the surface temperature would fall, but by how much? Would the oceans freeze? Does the current distribution of the continents tip the balance one way or the other? The instantaneous forcing change should be easy to work out, but feedbacks would likely complicate the situation somewhat. I can see the water vapour feedback falling with temperature, and a naive approximation would be to take the blackbody limit of about 30 K cooling… but albedo changes of clouds and ice cover would presumably be a factor as well.

    This might be a simple way of conveying the role of carbon dioxide in the greenhouse effect, avoiding the “it’s all water vapour” or “carbon dioxide is a trace gas” arguments. If you show how different the climate would be without a CO2 greenhouse effect, it’s easy to demonstrate how different it would be if you enhance the CO2 greenhouse effect.

  202. David B. Benson:

    philc (169) — For a proper application of statistics in climatology, visit
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/
    wherein the latest thread considers just those (silly) writings. For the undoubted warming, decade by decade, see
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/whatevergate/comment-page-23/#comment-164509
    with the warming therein explained as largely due to forcing by excess CO2. To start learning the physics, begin with the Start Here link at the top of the page.

    Once again, you’ve been had.

  203. Jerry Steffens:

    #169 (and Eric’s comment)

    How to replicate the global warming experiment:

    (1) Get a time machine.
    (2) …

  204. Martin Vermeer:

    Stuart #182: has been done. It’s called Snowball Earth.

  205. Glenn Tamblyn:

    Guys

    Some time back you did a post on the Solomon Et Al paper on lower stratospheric water vapour levels. At the time you said there would be a followup post. Just some thoughts on that and the current state of play wrt Climate science research and winning the PR war – getting the herats and minds of Joe Public behind the things we need to do.

    It is probably fair to say that the denialist/sceptic forces have made significant advances in the hearts-and-minds campaign for Joe Public. Which is a sorry state of affairs indeed.

    A significant component of their ‘advances’ is that Mother Nature hasn’t been particularly kind in the last decade or so. Just when it started to become critical to win over public support, Mother Nature decides to throw in a chunk of ‘natural variability’ that was PR poison – the ‘why isn’t it warming’ meme.

    We expect that this will reverse in the next few years, but that may well be several more years of delay.

    I understand from what I have read recently that one of the themes for AR5 is a greater focus on decade level prediction. This is absolutely critical. We need to advance the science. But we also need the scientific tools to advance the main game – reaching Joe Public and convincing them of how serious this is.

    Having said that, the last decade or so of ‘interesting’ variability needs to be treated as a resource to be used. All that data we have started to collect in the last decade or so, Mother Nature supplying us with the information we need to understand how she wriggles around.

    Which brings me to Solomon et al. Is there hidden in there some clues to mechanisms we don’t fully understand yet that will illuminate our research? Consider some armchair expert speculations:

    1. It has been suggested that major El Nino’s can have multi year climatic effects. Could this be what we are seeing? A particularly strong El Nino like 1998 is able to inject water vapour beyond the tropopause and into the lower stratosphere which then takes some years to return to its ‘equilibrium’ H2O level.

    2. Could this be related to Methane? Methane levels have been rising for centuries and then plateaued during the 2000′s only to start rising again near the end of the decade. Since Methane is oxidised in the stratosphere, could some mechanism have resulted in increased transport of Methane into the stratosphere and/or increased oxidation rates in the stratosphere resulting in elevated H2O levels. This mechanism ends/declines, and H2O levels start to decline again?

    3. Could 1 and 2 be linked. Could a strong El Nino be a driver for a mechanism affecting Methane?

    4. Could this be a solar cycle influence? Since the current one has been deep and long, could there be a mechanism from solar input that impacts on stratospheric H2O or Methane oxidation. Not Svensmark’s GCR/Clouds theories but something else at work in the stratosphere, not just TSI variation. Perhaps this might be a small rate change of a reaction involving Methane or H2O that grows/declines over a solar cycle. Only because this cycle has been protracted has this impact been more significant whereas over a more normal cycle it doesn’t have time to have as strong a cumulative effect. And in effect this becomes a magnifying effect to TSI variation over a long cycle.

    Just some speculations, I am sure there are other possible causes for the results seen by Solomon et al and more generally for this quiet decade. But we need to find the answers to why the last decade happened quickly. Yes its natural variability but to win over Joe Public we need to be able to model and predict them. Otherwise the ‘these scientists don’t know what they are saying’ meme is just too strong.

    Good Luck guys.

  206. Gilles:

    “Gilles@158 “Call me up the first time you see a hydrogen car on the street, I offer you a beer”

    Obviously you didn’t attend the Vanvouver/Whistler Olympics, buses take many cars out of the loop [and those are not the "first"] …. I think you owe septic Matthew a beer.”

    Of course I know that hydrogen vehicles exist. The beer is for the first time that you see a private hydrogen car on a normal street :).

    Glenn Tamblyn 201 :”A significant component of their ‘advances’ is that Mother Nature hasn’t been particularly kind in the last decade or so. Just when it started to become critical to win over public support, Mother Nature decides to throw in a chunk of ‘natural variability’ that was PR poison – the ‘why isn’t it warming’ meme.

    We expect that this will reverse in the next few years, but that may well be several more years of delay.”

    Are you saying that a definitive proof of the exact amount of anthropic influence on temperature hasn’t yet been given ?

    Martin “I’ll do you a favor and ignore your silly nonsequitor about needing to curtail fossil fuel use for eternity…”

    could you elaborate a little? does it mean that you think that we will use all the available fossil fuels at the end, whatever we do for their conserving ?

    “fossil fuels aren’t going to be around for forever, so we’ll have to make the switch at some point anyway.”.

    Well I understand that the argument is often presented in this way, but I’m rather doubtful on what you mean exactly by “making the switch”. The point I’m raising is that it is absolutely not granted for me that the “switch” could power the same society as ours. And BTW, which one is it supposed to power? average global one? european one? american one? more? less? which growth? how long? up to which level ? why ?

  207. Brian Dodge:

    If norman is still following the discussion here, I downloaded data from http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl over 5×5 degree areas in the western (dry) US and the eastern (wet)US, and compared monthly averages of precipitable water versus Outbound Longwave Radiation. The graph is at http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/water_vapor_vs_olr-pZOTO.jpg.
    Keeping in mind that the data is uncorrected for altitude, landform/vegetation, and cloud cover, (which would affect albedo, surface temperature, and emissivity), one could argue that the dry climate rapid Jan-Jun increase in OLR as the season advances towards summer, followed by flatter OLR over Jun-Sep as the precipitable water vapor increases is due to the changing water vapor greenhouse effect. The modest rate of OLR change Jan-Jul in the wet climate, followed by peak OLR in Sep and small drop to Oct as the precipitable water vapor decreases, and the differences in trajectory between the dry and wet climates are consistent with water vapor greenhouse effect on OLR.

  208. flxible:

    Gilles: “Again I may be wrong – I just liked to have objective arguments showing why”
    You missed my point #170, Septic Matthew is waiting for his beer.

  209. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #114, #115 ccpo

    I’m just reviewing the thread.

    Very interesting discourse in these posts. ccpo, my apologies but I am a little disconnected. Which contention do you wish me to expound upon?


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  210. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #165 John Peter

    The link you posted for the article by Dr. David Evans is a classic example of someone trying to sound as if they know what they are talking about when in reality they are merely offering a load of horse manure and attempting to paint it to look like science.

    Not even close though. He presents a lot of the classic out of context arguments that have long been debunked.

    Only the relevant contextual science that is now well understood on the basic mechanisms of climate forcings.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    Denialists tend to pick on the periphery of the things unknown, but again, in context, how much does that really matter to the main signal that has been reasonably bounded?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/images/temperature-records/2000yrs_models_ipcc_6_1_large.jpg/view

    It’s like the pathetic M&M argument against the ‘Hockey Stick’.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/the-hockey-stick

    Statistically insignificant in that case. Just because models are not perfect does not mean they are not useful or indicative.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/models
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/models-can-be-wrong


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  211. flxible:

    RodB@180 “Just a little sidebar for John Peter, in politics a minority can be right. They just don’t win…”
    Obviously Rod, you don’t know much about the Canadian political system or our present minority conservative govt. They’re not right, but sadly they did win.

  212. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #183 Gilles

    Have I emitted false judgments about you? Please do point them out and show me where or how I am wrong.

    I assess your words as you have written them. They are easily characterized by your tendencies to build straw-man arguments, use red herrings distractions, spin what others say and present ambiguous statements and inferences. For one who loves numbers so much, why don’t you present them in all your arguments?

    You see, I’m not judging you, you are judging yourself with your own words. There is a Biblical phrase that is most appropriate here. Each man eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

    I don’t judge you. I recognize the judgments you place upon yourself with your words.

    You say you try to keep as close as possible to scientific argumentation. If that is true, then why so much ambiguity in your posts? Why so many notions out of context and lacking relevance? You mainly make qualitative arguments but seemingly with less support for your reasoning. And then you expound about how you love numbers and science??? In other words you are the pot calling the kettle black and the accusing others of not being scientific. How utterly bizarre. How illogical and unreasonable.

    Here is a judgment for you. Based solely on what I have seen of your writings; If I worked for you I would probably say to coworkers, see, there is a good example of the ‘Peter Principle’ in action. But am I really making this judgment, or is it not reasonable based on your ambiguous spin-fests about fanciful ideas and notions??? Where are your numbers? Where are your facts? Where is your substantive reasoning for your opinion?

    You are standing on air and claiming now one is convincing you of anything. Does the word hypocrite mean anything to you?

    I would love to hear your objective scientific arguments. Can you please post them clearly and in relevant context.


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  213. Barton Paul Levenson:

    ccpo (154): Just wait to see how hard it gets to produce, maintain and begin replacing wind generators when 95% of the rare earth ores are in China, but China doesn’t care to share

    BPL: Attention, ccpo: There is nothing inherent in the concept of a wind turbine that requires rare earth ores. Not one thing. You could make a wind turbine entirely of wood, iron, and copper. If rare earths get too expensive, wind turbine manufacturers will find a substitute. We don’t need rare earths any more than we need fossil fuels. We are used to using them; the present economy is set up to use them; it will take money to change. But we need to replace our whole energy infrastructure anyway, so let’s lose the rare earths and lose the fossil fuels.

    BTW, we don’t need horse harnesses, buggy manufacturing plants, horsewhips, gas lights, or vacuum tubes, either.

  214. Barton Paul Levenson:

    phil c (160): Co2 is still rising but (according to Phil Jones and others) temperatures are not.

    BPL: Look again:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Ball.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Reber.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

  215. Barton Paul Levenson:

    JP (165),

    I know he’s in Alaska. We were discussing what he said in Japan. Thus my description of him remains accurate: Baka des’.

  216. philc:

    RE 169 et al. OK I’ll admit it, I get easily confused between 95% CI and p=.05. mea culpa.

    That doesn’t answer the argument that statistics are being misused. Yeah, CERN can do a lot more experiments and get more reliable data relatively quickly. That doesn’t mean climate science should charge forward with much less reliable results does it? Admit it, the data is sparse, noisy, and open to more than one interpretation. Not good grounds for making epic pronouncements.

    198 Brian Dodge: You can take Dr. Akasofu to task, but at least do it honestly. on your “he is wrong” you choose to break up the HadCrut data into two trends? Want to give some reasons for doing so? The IPCC looks at the whole series with a linear regression(AR4 p253), and then breaks it up also into 100 50 and 25 year trends to make a misleading point-that the rate of temperature change is increasing, when it isn’t.

    So observing that an exponential variation is not a simple linear variation is a mistake? If you look at the whole page, the key rvation is that the projected CO2 increase graph is markedly less correct than the linear variation+mulitdecadal oscillation in correctly predicting the post 2005 temperatures observed and that the 1940′s temperatures did not fit very well with the CO2 causal model either.

    Aarhenius’ use of a model of atmospheric temperatures affected by levels of CO2 is an example of the basic use of a model- to determine if the effects of a change are large enough to justify further investigation. He did this, even though the fact that the results sort of match current calculations is happenstance not science. He got it right, and that is still where we are today. CO2 could have an effect, it was big enough to be interesting. It’s time to stop modelling and start measuring so we can make scientific predictions about what is likely to happen(www.forecastingprinciples.com).

    Both sides in this ruckus are not above making unfounded claims. See the above graph in AR4, p.253 Chapter 3. Another author, Olaf Humlum(http://www.climate4you.com/ under reflections), makes a pretty clear case that the IPCC made a major error in AR4, specifically the graph on p253, Chapter 3, proclaiming that “note that for shorter recent periods, the slope is greater, indicating accellerated warming”. This is a highly unusual statement given that short periods in any long term record could easily have a higher slope than the overall rate of increase. A more honest assessment would compare 25 year averages throughout the period from 1850 to 2005. Doing this shows that the recent period is nothing special. He also does an assessment from the HadCrut3 data showing that the temperature has been rising in a uniform manner since the end of the Little Ice Age, and that the simplest explanation is that it shows a naturally occurring recovery of temperatures from the litttle Ice Age without clear anthropogenic impact.

  217. Ray Ladbury:

    Walter Manny@190

    Actually, when dealing with a theory of something like Earth’s climate, you most certainly can predict some aspects of its future evolution. Once you have a handle on the long poles and the theory has demonstrated strong predictive power, it is extremely unlikely that you will abandon that theory and start from scratch. CO2 is one of those poles.

  218. Clark Lampson:

    RE216 The reason we use statistics is to pull an underlying signal out of a noisy background. If the signal stares you in the face, you don’t need statistics.

    From an economic perspective you might ask how cheaply you can do an experiment and get an intelligent answer. You can spend lots of money and do it without statistics (or with simple statistics) or spend as little as possible and use statistics to pull the less obvious results out of sparser data. Sometimes the reason for sparser data is not dependent on $ spent, it might depend time, or the fact that you can’t replicate the system. Think climate change on planets. It takes time, and you can’t replicate it. Hence the value of statistics to pull a signal out of noise.

  219. phil c:

    192 Oh, wait, I shouldn’t assume the “philc” posting just above with the naive questions is the same person who used to post so much as “PhilC” — are you?

    Yes Hank, “phil C” is me, but to add confusion there is another PhilC (no space) #169 & #216.

    So what if questions are (or appear to you) naive? Do you only answer sophisticated questions? “Naive questions” not good enough for you.

    One of the Naive questions I asked a few months ago was about the first BBC report on the IPCC Himalayan glaciers error. I was told I hadn’t read it properly, so I read it properly and asked the same naive questions and got the brush off being told that I didn’t understand glaciers. That particular question does not seem so naive now.

    I also naively asked about the Cloud experiment at CERN – which seems to be to be strongly connected to climate and so I thought (naively) would be of great interest to contributors to this site.

    If you are going to persuade the increasing sceptical public of your case then you had better get used to answering naive questions as you and several others on this site will not persuade many by getting annoyed, talking down to people or by telling them they know nothing about physics or statistics.

  220. phil c:

    214
    Barton Paul Levenson

    Are your personal web-pages “peer reviewed”?

  221. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #216 philc

    Your assessment that the latest rise is nothing special is simply myopic. If you have a trend and attribution and confidence is reasonably high in the correlation, then it’s simply not ‘nothing special” as you have stated.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-variability
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/human-caused

    What you seem to be saying is that there is a body on the floor, we have the gun, we have the culprit, we have the fingerprints of the culprit on the gun, we have gunpowder residue on the hands of the culprit, the bullet markings prove it was fired from the gun with the culprits fingerprints on it, and we have motive…

    but someone made a grammar mistake in one of the reports so how can we know that we have the right guy???????? Even though all the evidence is clear.

    You are saying we still are not sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I find that stunning. By the way, what is your full legal name. You should put your stamp of approval on this amazing assessment of yours. Go ahead, let the world know you stand by your words.


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  222. flxible:

    Gillies: “Of course I know that hydrogen vehicles exist. The beer is for the first time that you see a private hydrogen car on a normal street.”
    Move the goal posts much? Those buses ARE on “normal streets”, and when did the “private” limitation get added to your “argument”? Only people who can afford private vehicles are allowed wheeled transport? Public transit is currently the fastest way to reduce overall vehicle emissions.

    “And BTW, which one is it supposed to power? average global one? european one? american one? more? less? which growth? how long? up to which level? why?”
    Aren’t you the one claiming civilization is doomed no matter what? The answer is for you to give, which are YOU talking of? Can you specify the GDP necessary in any location for the lifestyle you claim is necessary and can’t be acieved without FF? Exactly how much FF’s are needed for that GDP? How many “some degrees of global warming” would make that GDP impossible? You continue to demand specific details while offering only ever-changing generalities yourself. Objective arguments? Which “growth” do you desire? Up to which level? Why?

  223. Geoff Wexler:

    Re: Bayes.

    The most recommended text is “Probability Theory: The Logic of Science” by E.T. Jaynes.

    also the free book by David McKay which uses and argues for Bayesian stats.

    http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/mackay/itila/book.html

    Yes he is the same person as the author of the energy book.

  224. JiminMpls:

    154 ccpo – This is of course just in the research staget, but the rare earth problem may be solvable, as well.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215101708.htm

    As for hydrogen as a power source, I think its development is inevitable and not too far off. It is the ideal complement to wind and solar. Wind/solar address the primary challenge with hydrogen (the amount of electricity required to produce it) and hydrogen fuel cells address the primary challenge with wind/solar power (cost-effective storage.)

  225. JiminMpls:

    #159 Gilles – CHEAP AND CONVENIENT will be replaced with EXPENSIVE BUT EFFICIENT. The cost per unit of power will be higher, but the productivity of each unit of power will be FAR higher, as well.

    You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. It’s a shame that someone of your intelligence and talent would choose the former.

  226. JiminMpls:

    #198 Brian – I think the honorable Dr Akasofu may have been nipping just a wee bit too much sake. Still, I’m sure he enjoyed his all expenses paid trips to NYC. I’ve heard that Heartland treats their “experts” extremely well.

  227. JiminMpls:

    Gilles – Here’s a privately owned hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that can be found on “normal” streets. It’s no the first.

    http://world.honda.com/news/2010/c100106FCX-Clarity/

    And a new hydrogen power fuel station

    http://world.honda.com/news/2010/c100127New-Solar-Hydrogen-Station/

    And let’s not forget the Chinese

    http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/214371876/wind_powered_hydrogen_generator_equipment.html

  228. JiminMpls:

    158.139;Septic matthew The rapid expansion of algae based biofuels is especially impressive.”

    Yes, especially since it compliments and combines with concentrated solar so well.

    There is not silver bullet. There is not single techology that will solve the energy/co2 problem. It’s the synergistic combination of complementary technologies that hold the greatest promise for the future.

  229. JiminMpls:

    Are you all familiar with the Hypercar concent developed by the Rocky Moutain Institute? You shoud be. Amory Lovins is one of the most visionary thinkers out there. What makes him a genius is that he goes beyond theory and actually develops the manufacturing processes to make the Hypercar a reality. I’ll gush for a bit and admit that he’s one of my heroes. Bright Automtive will be one of the first commercical implementations of Lovins vision (thogh initially is will incorporate the body construction princiles and not the drive train.)

    Lovin is revolutinary, but he’s soooooo on point.

  230. John Peter:

    Brian 198

    Thank you for interesting interpretations and your fun reference.

  231. Stuart:

    Martin #204: Thanks for the comment, I have come across the Snowball earth hypothesis before but thought it was due to a number of factors at the time. So removing the CO2 greenhouse effect would be sufficient to trigger a snowball earth? Have there been studies on this?

  232. Brian Dodge:

    “198 Brian Dodge: You can take Dr. Akasofu to task, but at least do it honestly. on your “he is wrong” you choose to break up the HadCrut data into two trends? Want to give some reasons for doing so?” Comment by philc — 21 March 2010 @ 6:17 PM
    “Note that the amount of CO2 began to increase rapidly in about 1946 while the temperature distinctly decreased at that time;” Akasofu, page 7. Remember?
    “.. and then breaks it up also into 100 50 and 25 year trends to make a misleading point-that the rate of temperature change is increasing, when it isn’t.”
    Then what’s causing sea ice melt”” and accelerating glacier loss”” ? GCRs? Decreasing solar output?
    That Arhenius’ “…results sort of match current calculations is happenstance not science” ? And the UAH, RSS, and “UHI contaminated” GISS records accidently match ““. And the concurrent cryosphere losses are a coincidental “fluctuations”, its only “happenstance” that the ice shelves, glaciers, sea ice, and Oetzi the iceman all thawed out at the same time. What are the chances of that?
    “It’s time to stop modelling and start measuring” Measure what? CO2 absorption spectrum? Done. H2O absorption spectrum? Done. How water vapor varies with temperature? Done. Dry adiabatic lapse rate, moist adiabatic lapse rate, actual lapse rates? Done, done, and done. Sea level rise? Done. State of the cryosphere? see above. Methane destabilizing in the Arctic? Ya don’t need an icebreaker to get to it in the summertime anymore, so yeah, done. Do you think anyone can explain how CO2, well mixed in the atmospheric column from sea level to 10 millibar, with a bunch of pressure dependent fine structure in absorption bands that overlap H2O vapor, which varies by about 3 orders of magnitude from sea level to 250 millibar, without using a model? I know its easier to sit on our hands and “measure” the unfolding disaster, instead of doing the hard work of testing and comparing and improving and figuring out as best we can what’s coming using all the tools we have. We can see the future, through a glass, darkly and uncertainly, and make it happen for the better, or wait until it happens to us.
    “A more honest assessment would compare 25 year averages throughout the period from 1850 to 2005.” and not proclaim that there has been “…halting of the warming after 2000.” Akasofu, page 7

  233. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    OT Re. Peak Oil

    A friend of mine who does visualization work for NASA and others, has been maintaining tracking data for energy for a while. Although it can not be confirmed due to economic imbalances and affects, there is an indication that we hit peak oil in 2008. This may not be true for a few reasons, such as economic trends, but other indicators point to the possibility that we have hit peak oil. I suppose we will know soon enough though.

    http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/index.html

    You can click on the tabs ‘Import/Export’ and ‘All Fuels’ to get different pictures and parameters. Country and group as well as consumption and production.


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  234. John Peter:

    John P. Reisman #210

    Thank you for the information. Since I realize I know little to nothing about climate science, your tips are very helpful to my education.

    Your website is excellent (you already knew that). My only suggestion would be that you make it clearer that you aren’t referring to cap and trade.

    I believe the models as far as they go. I only wish we had equations for more physical laws that we could understand. Then we mght even be able to integrate over regions we have yet to discover…

    Thanks again, your posts are always worthwhile reading for me.

  235. John Peter:

    RodB@180, flxible@211

    “..devoted to the poorest of the poor.
    For in real life the ending isn’t half so fine,
    victorious messenger does not come riding often…”
    Kurt Weill 1928

  236. gary thompson:

    why is the USA seeing lower temperature annolamolies (close to zero) for the past 2 years vs the rest of the world which is seeing close to 0.6C warmer? there are more weather stations per square km in the USA than other countries so is this a case of the USA data set is more reliable due to higher sample size?

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

  237. John Peter:

    JiminMpls 226

    Actually tired old man…

  238. Gilles:

    “#183 Gilles Have I emitted false judgments about you?”
    Well, I didn’t know that I was an alcoholic politician working for oil industry, but may be I drink so much that I don’t remember who I am…

    I’m sorry that you didn’t understand clearly what I stated. In a nutshell, my claim is : most of fossil intensive scenarios of IPCC are unlikely since they assume unreasonable rates of production of non conventional resources. Oil production is already very likely to peak much sooner that what they predict, which makes their all methodology relying on the assumption of economic growth quite doubtful. Reasonable scenarios based on proven reserves do not exceed 550 to 600 ppm, which is likely to produce a moderate warming without great catastrophes (and is much likely to be unavoidable anyway). On the other hand, replacement of fossil fuels is also much more difficult and costly than people usually think, since some crucial features of modern civilization (cheap and easy transportation, stable electric grid, all carbo-chemistry) rely heavily on them. The combination of all this makes that the main issues of mankind is much more likely to be due to the depletion of fossil fuels than to the warming caused by their excess.

    If my english is too poor to be understood, and your French is better, I offer you a free translation (this version is guaranteed to be fine ! ):

    La plupart des scénarios intensifs en fossiles du GIEC sont improbables car ils supposent des taux de production de ressources non-conventionnelles improbables.
    La production de pétrole va très probablement piquer bien plus tôt que ce qu’ils prédisent, ce qui rend toute leur méthodologie basée sur l”hypothèse d’une croissance économique très douteuse. Les scénarios raisonnables basés sur des réserves prouvées ne dépassent pas 550 à 600 ppm, ce qui va probablement produire un réchauffement modéré sans grandes catastrophes (et sera de toute façon probablement inévitable). D’un autre coté, le remplacement des combustibles fossiles est aussi bien plus difficile et coûteux que la plupart des gens imaginent, car plusieurs caractéristiques cruciales du monde moderne reposent fortement sur eux (transports bon marchés et faciles, réseau électrique stable, et toute la carbochimie).La combinaison de tout ceci fait que les principaux problèmes de l’humanité seront bien plus sûrement dus à la dépletion des fossiles qu’au réchauffement produit par leur excès. .

  239. Gilles:

    JiminMpls : I repeat, I know that hydrogen powered vehicle do exist, and I even knew the existence of the Honda FCX. I don’t drink that much that I would offer a bet that I’m sure to loose. My offer is valid only for the fact that anyone of you see an actual hydrogen car on the street, not on a web site. It relies of course on the probability that a reader of RC crosses the trajectory of a hydrogen car in a random walk- which I hope you would admit that it SHOULD become close to one if your vision of the future world is correct, whereas it is currently extremely low. So you may think that this probability will rapidly rise in the next decades, I think the opposite. This bet makes sense.

  240. Gilles:

    “Aren’t you the one claiming civilization is doomed no matter what? The answer is for you to give, which are YOU talking of? Can you specify the GDP necessary in any location for the lifestyle you claim is necessary and can’t be acieved without FF? Exactly how much FF’s are needed for that GDP? How many “some degrees of global warming” would make that GDP impossible? You continue to demand specific details while offering only ever-changing generalities yourself. Objective arguments? Which “growth” do you desire? Up to which level? Why?”

    I’m quite ready to try to answer this kind of question. The current carbon intensity is about 1tCO2 /2000 $ GDP. Specifically, I don’t think this will change a lot, although some improvement may be possible of course. Let’s say to be conservative that it could be improved up to 1tCO2/3000 $, but not faster than a rate of about 1% /yr in the best case (I’m not even sure this is possible). The problem is that as long it has a finite upper bound, and the CO2 production is headed to decline anyway, the GDP can do nothing else but decrease eventually. The exact moment of this decline is difficult to ascertain since the improvement of the carbon intensity can counterbalance during some time the peaking and the beginning of the decline of fossil fuels . (All your arguments about the development of alternatives are of course not wrong: they will just be not sufficient to counterbalance eternally the decline of fossil fuels). Anyway if the fossil fuel production indeed peaks between 2020 and 2030, as shown by an estimate based on proven reserves, it is unlikely that the consequences of the warming on the economy would be greater than the consequences of this depletion. I think that the current crisis offers a good picture of what will happen : explosion of prices of fossil fuels each time that the limits of production will be reached, strong recessions, decrease of the consumption (and CO2 production), and a repeated series of such crisis. For most people, problems will be : unemployment, debts, inflation, even collapse of state economies (the case of Greece is a clear warning for that..). The average temperature of the globe and the discussion about which year has been the hottest will be a very secondary concern for billions of people….

  241. Barton Paul Levenson:

    philc: it shows a naturally occurring recovery of temperatures from the litttle Ice Age without clear anthropogenic impact.

    BPL: What is the mechanism that causes “natural recovery” from a little Ice Age? Are you under the impression that the climate system is like a spring in simple harmonic motion?

  242. Barton Paul Levenson:

    philc (220),

    No, my web pages aren’t peer reviewed. The sources I quote in them are. And the calculations are right. If I’ve made a mistake, please point it out–and show your work.

  243. Scott A Mandia:

    Taking the Money for Grant(ed) – Part II is now online and I wish to thank thos of you from RC that helped me by commenting and sending email messages.

    In Part I, I addressed the following two claims:

    1) Scientists are getting rich from research grants!

    2) Scientists holding an anti-AGW viewpoint cannot get funding!

    I then asked scientists from around the world to relate their experiences and if they were getting rich from grant funding. Since Part I, I also did a little more digging and came up with some important information. That information as well as a few examples from those that commented appear at the link below.

    http://profmandia.wordpress.com/

  244. Sekerob:

    re # 224

    As for hydrogen as a power source, I think its development is inevitable and not too far off. It is the ideal complement to wind and solar. Wind/solar address the primary challenge with hydrogen (the amount of electricity required to produce it) and hydrogen fuel cells address the primary challenge with wind/solar power (cost-effective storage.)

    Some 40 years ago I asked the question of what the effect of widespread irrigation would have on precipitation… now I’m asking the same question if hydrogen engine would have, if it could be build safely, without hanging prius gas pedals… I’m getting a Blade Runner image…rain rain rain in those Urban CO2 rich Heat Islands… all those concentrated humans, they’ll continue to be unhealthy heat island. Wish we could have CO2 rain out… yes some Ain’t true-ists actually claimed that happening.

  245. Sou:

    @ 236gary thompson says:

    why is the USA seeing lower temperature annolamolies (close to zero) for the past 2 years vs the rest of the world which is seeing close to 0.6C warmer? there are more weather stations per square km in the USA than other countries so is this a case of the USA data set is more reliable due to higher sample size?

    It’s because much of the rest of the world really has been very hot lately. The arctic for example.

    And it has been the hottest decade in my life where I live, and the hottest on record (since the 1850s). It’s easy to tell the difference between 117F, 100F and 80F with or without a thermometer.

    117F (47C) is so hot it’s hard to go outside or walk more than a few metres, and it happened last year in a heat wave for the first time in my part of the world. We hope the air conditioner lasts the distance, since it is only rated to 41C. (I hope the a/c manufacturers can devise a way to cool things down in a carbon-neutral manner – this will be a challenge when temps this high become more normal.)

    100F (38C) is hot enough to go for a swim and we used to call it a heat wave – no longer. 80F (27C) has now become a cool summer’s day, edging toward a normal spring or autumn day, which used to be cooler.

  246. Brian Dodge:

    Sekerob — 22 March 2010 @ 6:44 AM
    I did some crude spreadsheet calculations, and found that if the current 6.6e9 world population consumed energy at the current US per capita rate (3.89295e+11 J/annum, ignore the false spreadsheet precision), and it was all supplied by hydrogen, and it all rained out on the US, the result would be about 35mm extra rain per annum. Spread it out worldwide, and it would be less than a mm. My gas water heater which supplies space heating as well is a “condensing” design, and the water recovered goes into my septic tank whose drain field keeps the herb garden green during the dryer months in NC, but the amounts are likely small compared to my other water use. If I replaced my water heater with a hydrogen fuel cell which supplied me with all my energy usage at a US average rate (including charging an electric vehicle for transportation), and all my neighbors who live in the watershed of the stream behind my house did the same, it would increase the streamflow by about 3 percent, probably ecologically imperceptable against the manyfold seasonal variation from a summertime trickle to rainy weather meter deep flow. Widespread adoption of hydrogen vehicles would probably have some effect on roadside vegetation, and possibly wintertime road hazard.

  247. Completely Fed Up:

    “236
    gary thompson says:
    22 March 2010 at 12:01 AM

    why is the USA seeing lower temperature annolamolies (close to zero) for the past 2 years vs the rest of the world which is seeing close to 0.6C warmer”

    Because you’re selecting a place where this happens to be so.

    Check to see what the difference was 10 years ago.

    (remember, the US is 1.7% of the landmass)

  248. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #234 John Peter

    Thank you for the tip. I have adjusted the signature for clarity. Always open to relevant suggestions :)

    I played with the html. Not sure what it will look like since preview has gone the way of the dodo


    Join the Climate Lobby for ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Our best chance for a better future
    Understand the politics of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

  249. ccpo:

    OT Re. Peak Oil

    Although it can not be confirmed due to economic imbalances and affects, there is an indication that we hit peak oil in 2008. This may not be true for a few reasons, such as economic trends, but other indicators point to the possibility that we have hit peak oil. I suppose we will know soon enough though.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 21 March 2010 @ 11:39 PM

    Actually, a better metric, I think, is the yearly average. The July ’08 peak is a monthly peak. The avg. peak for a full year is 2005. This chart doesn’t show that, specifically, but I cannot find a recent post on this issue at theoildrum.com just now. Eyeballing it, though, you can see ’05 was fairly steady while ’08 was quite chaotic.

    http://www.crudeoilpeak.com/wp-content/gallery/gallery1/opec_non_opec_2009_12.jpg

    Even more astonishing is that oil went up in price by double digits yearly between 2002 and 2008, yet additional crude? Hardly any. Most MSM storied don’t clarify between crude and all liquids, either, even though the net energy from a barrel of oil is quite different than a barrel of LNG, for example. They are treated as equal despite 2nd Law considerations. Even oil from different sources have different net energy levels. Light crude flowing easily from the sands of Saudi Arabia has a higher net energy than very deep water heavy oil. This, too, is ignored.

    I wish more climate folks knew more about energy, and vice-versa.

    Cheers

  250. ccpo:

    #154 ccpo – This is of course just in the research staget, but the rare earth problem may be solvable, as well.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215101708.htm

    As for hydrogen as a power source, I think its development is inevitable and not too far off. It is the ideal complement to wind and solar. Wind/solar address the primary challenge with hydrogen (the amount of electricity required to produce it) and hydrogen fuel cells address the primary challenge with wind/solar power (cost-effective storage.)

    Comment by JiminMpls — 21 March 2010 @ 9:27 PM

    http://anz.theoildrum.com/node/6242

    Read the full post *and* the comments.

    Cheers

  251. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #236 gary thompson

    In addition to CFU’s response, remember that:

    - regional is not global
    - the temperature in your backyard does not represent the temperature of the earth
    - short term is more strongly mixed with natural variation in climate variance influenced by oceanic cycles and other factors
    - weather (short term variability) is not climate (30+ years)

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/weather-v.-climate


    Join the fight for ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Our best chance for a better future
    Understand the dangers of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

  252. Christoffer Bugge Harder:

    We have had a debate in Denmark recently about the GISS adjustments where some have claimed that the GISS have been readjusting the decline in temperatures 1940-70 away. Unfortunately, it has spilled over into Anthony Watt´s infamous page:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/18/weather-balloon-data-backs-up-missing-decline-found-in-old-magazine/

    “Mathews Graph 1976: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.3C warmer than 1970’s
    Hansen/GISS 1980: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.1C warmer than 1970’s
    Hansen/GISS 1987: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.05C warmer than 1970’s
    Hansen/GISS 2007: 1955 – 1965 was around 0.03C cooler than 1970’s”

    I am sure that you will quickly realise that it is used to push average septic nonsense “temperatures today as warm as in 1958″. He has apparently arrived at the conclusions that the GISS have supposedly adjusted the temperature series around 1980, 1987 and 2007 from pictures in old magazines. We have tracked down the source of the Matthews 1976 NG graph – it is presenting a spuriously large 1940-70 decline due to some unfortunate splicing of two Russian datasets. However, I have not been able to figure out what has happened to the GISS graphs by looking in the old literature (E.g. the famous Hansen AGU 1988 paper does not much look like the 1987 image from the WUWT post), and you know all to well that the septics will jump at any compellingly looking picture.

    So, could you point me to literature setting these claims straight? And could you provide a little further information about the different visual appearance of the GISS series for the different years, and if they be due to some large-scale corrections having taken place in the 1980ies?

    I would be very happy for just a short answer.

    Best regards,

    Christoffer Bugge Harder

    [Response: The references for GISTEMP provide most of these answers specifically, Hansen and Lebedeff 1987, Hansen et al 1999 and Hansen et al 2001. All are available directly from the GISS publications page. - gavin]

  253. Ric Merritt:

    Understandably, everyone is sooooo tired of trolls (and worse) who give no complete name, eschew straightforward reasoned argument, and casually dismiss the best science, that they tend to jump on anything looking like opposition. However, since the topic doesn’t seem forbidden on this thread….

    Most of us are OK with the possibility, or even good probability, that we are around peak oil now. Everybody knows there’s enough fossil carbon still in the ground to make climate risks even worse than they are today. The candidate replacement energy sources include many varieties of renewables, the ever-provocative nuclear stuff, and, for a while, frantically making liquid fuels from coal, with attendant climate effects. Nobody knows how fast we can scale up renewables, whether we can gain ground on the (still increasing!) population (absent the dreadful “solution” of a rapid population decrease), or whether we will start to lose ground, that is, see a drop in the average standard of living as we bumble through the attempts to cope. It is worth asking whether such a drop in standard of living (keep in mind, we’re already seeing enough of that to be big news on a decadal or century scale) will snowball into horrendous damage to civilization. You may hope not (so do I), and you may feel that we should keep raising the big issues and finding the best path to renewables as soon as we can, but we still don’t know how that stuff will scale up EVEN IF the politics and sociology of it all go better than heretofore.

    Another thing nobody knows is how many humans can be supported on Earth using renewable energy sources, or even if that sustainable state includes a wealthy and high-technology civilization. Think you can electrify transportation and do without oil (and later coal) while supporting billions of wealthy folks? That would be great, but we haven’t done it yet. And it is *******NOT******* in the same category as garden-variety climate denialism to wonder whether that is possible. The energy flux from Sol is gargantuan, but dilute, and it is therefore harder, in some important sense, to get useful work out it. (I am not competent to quantify the thermodynamics.) What is the EROEI for your favorite renewable energy path, implemented without recourse to fossil fuels? OK, there’s lots to discuss, but if you are honest, your bottom-line answer is still “I’m not sure”, because there’s a whole aspirational civilization’s worth of unproven engineering in there, not to even mention the current state of population and politics. And that is the nub of Gilles’s point about peak oil affecting the whole economy so deeply that some scenarios about emissions may need to be thrown out.

    The regulars here are quick to tell newbies to read up before they make fools of themselves. There is better discussion of these issues on The Oil Drum from time to time. I particularly recommend the links to well-written and literate essays by John Michael Greer. He doesn’t quantify the thermodynamics either, so I don’t necessarily swallow all of his favorite points without demur, but there’s no call to trivialize the discussion. One thing you will not find anywhere, I am confident, is a vast scientific consensus, backed by decades of painstaking research and reviewed by sober international bodies, showing with 90-99% confidence how to feed 7+ billion people well, with resources left over for Brahms and Dancing With the Stars, without using the black stuff from underground. Until you make that demonstration, humility is in order.

  254. David B. Benson:

    phil c (219) — The cloud experiment at CERN is unlikely to be definitive due to wall effects, according to Eli Rabett. By the way, his blog is listed on the sidebar.

  255. Neal J. King:

    This week’s The Economist has a couple of articles on the global warming issue: Indeed, the cover story is: “Spin, science and climate change.”

    Somebody should take a good look at these:

    http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15720419&source=most_commented

    http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15719298

    Depressingly, even in this relatively high-brow paper, the skeptical commenters out-number the well-informed, even if the grammar is better than usual.

  256. CM:

    Gilles, ccpo,

    I owe both of you a reply from way back. But perhaps I owe it to the other readers here not to prolong the discussion of that particular claim I made about human aptitude to make engines work without oil vs. making rainforests work without rain. (ccpo, I take your point about the potential linkage between oil price and rainforest destruction.)

    I did not mean to argue it would be easy to build enough renewables to replace a significant amount of fossil energy in a carbon-constrained economy, or that developing new energy sources is the only policy needed, or that technological fixes will allow unlimited growth or allow a growing world population to aspire to the wasteful lifestyles of rich countries. But the points you both bring up reinforce, in my mind, the need for an aggressive energy efficiency / renewable energy program, sooner rather than later. I’m baffled why Gilles apparently does not.

  257. John E. Pearson:

    Walter Manny said “Otherwise stated, neither you nor anyone else can predict the impact on the theory of things we don’t yet know. ”

    This is sheer unmitigated nonsense. I predict that if and when we have a “theory of everything” that it will give a value for the Lande g-factor of about 2.0023193043617 to within about a part in a trillion. I wonder if there are any physicists who disagree with me.

  258. gary thompson:

    251.#236 gary thompson

    In addition to CFU’s response, remember that:

    - regional is not global
    - the temperature in your backyard does not represent the temperature of the earth
    - short term is more strongly mixed with natural variation in climate variance influenced by oceanic cycles and other factors
    - weather (short term variability) is not climate (30+ years)

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/weather-v.-climate
    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 22 March 2010 @ 12:11 PM

    Thanks John for the response. i agree with most all you state above but my concern is with the third and fourth points- short term variation. i’ve heard that the general trend over several decades clearly shows global temperature anomalies of 0.5C to 1.0C over almost 40 years and one should not pay attention to the short term variation (weather). but then we have short term variations (noise) that have the same magnitude as the very critical variable that is so often quoted. if you have variation in a process of 1C (which is how much the US temperature anomaly dropped over the past few years) then how can you statistically quote trends in values less than the variation (0.5C to 1C)? And yes, the US is not the world but it is a fairly large land mass and as i stated above, it has more than its fair share of weather stations. the analysis and agw theory should still hold true. if agw proponents are allowed to use the north pole warming over the past decade (which also doesn’t equal the world) to validate agw theory then why can’t we use the US cooling over the past decade to invalidate the agw theory?

  259. Richard Ordway:

    Bulldust says:
    19 March 2010 at 10:36 PM

    “”"It is the leap from accepted CO2 warming science to predictions/projections (semantics) of 4-6C temperature rises due to feedbacks that I struggle with.”"
    ______________________________________________________________________
    Well, I would not be so worried about the IPCC including screwed up positive feedbacks with their high temp projection rises …almost no reliable source states that the IPCC has come close to modeling all the positive feedbacks fully…and still the IPCC projections show pretty high temp increases without them.

    Several peer reviewed studies suggest that the IPCC projections might be *underestimating* the temperature increases for the next 100 years in some scenarios due to underestimated/not-included positive feedbacks.

    Our children and grandchildren could be in for a very nasty surprise based on conservative IPCC projections:
    ______________________________________________________________________
    “The consensus view of climate scientists, as represented by the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report, is that the enhanced greenhouse effect likely will lead to global average surface warming by 2100 of between 1.4° and 5.8°C, and global sea level rise of between 9 and 88 centimeters. This assumes the climate sensitivity is in the range 1.5°–4.5°C for an equilibrium doubling of preindustrial carbon dioxide concentrations, and the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) range of emissions scenarios [IPCC, 2000.

    However, recent developments suggest that this dated IPCC view might underestimate the upper end of the range of possibilities and shift the probabilities toward an increasing risk of greater warmings and sea level rises by 2100.”

    “Permafrost melting is widespread. Observations show rapid melting of permafrost
    [Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004; Nelson, 2003], which is expected to increase
    [Lawrence and Slater, 2005].”

    “Biomass feedbacks are kicking in. Observations of soil and vegetation acting as
    sources rather than sinks of greenhouse gases [Bellamy et al., 2005; Raupach et al.,
    2006] suggest an earlier than expected [Friedlingstein et al., 2001; Matthews et al.,
    2005] positive feedback in the terrestrial carbon cycle [Gruber et al., 2004; Scheffer
    et al., 2006].”

    “Circulation changes in mid to high latitudes. The northern and southern annular
    modes have become more positive, with increasing sea level pressures in midlatitudes,
    poleward movement of the midlatitude westerlies, and a strengthening of the
    major ocean gyres [Gillett et al., 2003; Marshall, 2003; Cai, 2006; Cai et al., 2005]. This is due to a combination of the enhanced greenhouse effect and reductions in stratospheric
    ozone, has significant effects on surface climatology [Carril et al., 2005; Fyfe, 2003;
    Fyfe and Saenko, 2006], and may be underpredicted in climate models [Gillett, 2005].”

    “The above lines of evidence, while not definitive and in some cases controversial,
    suggest that the balance of evidence may be swinging toward a more extreme outcome.
    While some of the observations may be due merely to natural fluctuations, their conjunction and in some cases… positive feedbacks are causes for concern. They suggest that critical levels of global warming may occur at even lower greenhouse gas concentrations and/or anthropogenic emissions than was considered justified in the IPCC [2001] report.”

    Pittock, 2006, EOS, TRANSACTIONS AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2006EO340006.shtml
    http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/pittock.pdf
    ______________________________________________________________________
    “The estimated feedback effect might be conservative,
    as higher temperatures are also likely to promote concentrations
    of methane [Woodwell et al., 1998; Petit et al.,
    1999] and N2O [Leuenberger and Siegenthaler, 1992].
    Although, these relationships have received somewhat less
    attention, the synergy implies that the overall positive effect of warming on greenhouse gases is substantially larger than would be inferred from the feedback on CO2 alone.”
    Scheffer et al. 2006, Geophysical Research Letters
    http://climatechange.pbworks.com/f/Positive+feedback+between+global+warming+and+CO2+-+Scheffer+Cox+2005.pdf
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Models using current feedback effects and sensitivity underestimate the warming of the Pliocene (they underestimate the warming).

    “Taking these lines of evidence together, we estimate that the response of the Earth system to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is 30–50|[percent]| greater than the response based on those fast-adjusting components of the climate system that are used traditionally to estimate climate sensitivity.”

    Lunt Haywood, Schmidt et al, 2009 Nature Geoscience
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v3/n1/abs/ngeo706.html
    ————————————————————————————————————
    “Assuming a nominal ‘Charney’ climate sensitivity of 3 ◦C
    equilibrium global warming for doubled CO2, BAU scenarios
    yield a global warming at least of the order of 3 ◦C by the
    end of this century. However, the Charney sensitivity is
    the equilibrium (long-term) global response when only fast
    feedback processes (changes of sea ice, clouds, water vapor
    and aerosols in response to climate change) are included
    (Hansen et al 2007). Actual global warming would be larger
    as slow feedbacks come into play. Slow feedbacks include
    increased vegetation at high latitudes, ice sheet shrinkage, and
    terrestrial and marine greenhouse gas emissions in response to
    global warming.” Hansen, 2007, Environmental Research Letters
    ________________________________________________________________________
    “The first GCM climate change projections to include dynamic vegetation and an interactive carbon cycle produced a very significant amplification of global warming over the 21st century. Under the IS92a business as usual emissions scenario CO2 concentrations reached about 980ppmv by 2100, which is about 280ppmv higher than when these feedbacks were ignored.”

    “Figure 1c shows that climate change also has a
    negative impact on carbon storage in vegetation,
    resulting in a reduction of global biomass from
    the middle of the 21st century onwards.”

    ”Conclusion. Society may be lulled into a false sense of security by smooth projections of global change. Our synthesis of present knowledge suggests that a variety of tipping elements could reach their critical point within this century under anthropogenic climate change.”

    “Amazon forest feedback…”

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/38/14308.full
    ___________________________________________________________________

    “The strong reduction of rainfall predicted by the UKMO-HadCM3 model suggests a very high future risk of extensive forest fires and a climate more accessible for highway construction and commercialized farming in large parts of the western equatorial Amazon. The predicted long dry season in the eastern equatorial Amazon could change forest to savanna.”

    http://climate.eas.gatech.edu/dickinson/publications/Li-jgr2006-rainfall.pdf

    ________________________________________________________________________
    “The relative constancy of the climate over the past 10,000 years
    is exceptional in view of the large variability found in
    reconstructions of almost all periods before.” Dakos, 2008, PNAS.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/38/14308.full.pdf+html
    satellite reveal that although most of the models climatological sea ice area is within 20 percent of the observational climatology, the Arctic sea ice is currently disappearing faster than the ensemble mean and faster than indicated by the range of ensemble members. From 1953-2005, a combination of satellite and in situ observations indicate the September sea ice has… Stroeve, J C et al, (2006), Arctic Climate Change: Are Current Climate Models too Conservative?, Eos Trans. AGU,
    87(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract http://www.agu.org/cgi-bin/SFgate/SFgate?&listenv=table&multiple=1&range=1&directget=1&application=fm06&database=%2Fdata%2Fepubs%2Fwais%2Findexes%2Ffm06%2Ffm06&maxhits=200&=“U33A-0013″
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Not to beat a dead horse into the ground, but arguably the top NOAA CO2 expert told me privately when I was at the place I was, that he is quite worried about the Earth’s temp increases exceeding the IPCC maximum temperature increase in 100 years due to possible future *nonincluded* IPCC feedbacks. It does not make you sleep very well at night.________________________________________________________________________

  260. Hank Roberts:

    > Gary Thompson
    You’re asking a fairly basic question in statistics — is it fair to say you haven’t taken a 101 statistics class?

    There’s a procedure for this that’s quite general — take any set of data, look at how much it varies and how you take measurements, and from that figure out how many measurements over what period of time you need to say with good confidence that a trend exists.

    See Robert Grumbine’s explanation, aimed at high school level students, which is about what any of us were when we took an intro statistics class; here:

    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/08/what-is-climate-2.html
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

    If you follow his directions, walk through the material, do it for yourself, you’ll grasp the idea.

    Many people who haven’t done that will tell you it’s too hard, or can’t be believed, or couldn’t possibly be right.

    Your choice, do it for yourself, or decide who you can trust about it.

  261. Phil Scadden:

    258. Gary you cant validate AGW with 10 year’s warming. But AGW IS a global model. It is predicting the global heat balance, not the local one. The heat transfer systems that make up the weather are way too complex to making short term, regional predictions. The number of guages in US means you can good spatial control on the temperature variation but so what? Stick to 30 years – you cant invalidate on shorter times. Do you really, truly, think we are not warming on climate scales despite GISS, sealevel, global glacial volume and MSU satellite trends?

  262. Sou:

    #258 gary thompson 22 March 2010 at 8:57 PM

    if agw proponents are allowed to use the north pole warming over the past decade (which also doesn’t equal the world) to validate agw theory then why can’t we use the US cooling over the past decade to invalidate the agw theory?

    The thing is that global warming is a ‘global’ phenomenon, not confined to a single region, whether it be the arctic or continental USA. The earth as a whole is showing a warming trend. Parts of the earth may cool, parts may warm – when you sum all the changes it’s clear that the net effect is that the earth is warming.

    The arctic might be referred to simply to show that parts of the earth are warming quite a lot, in response to another saying the USA hasn’t warmed (if it hasn’t). You could just as easily point to Australia to show warming of a land mass. Or point to the warming of the oceans to show their warming. And I expect there are parts of the world outside the USA that will from time to time have lower than average temperature. But it’s the overall change that is relevant because this shows how much energy is retained vs how much is incoming, and is because of the increase in greenhouse gases, particularly CO2.

    The overall warming trend won’t apply equally across the entire world all at the same time because of winds and currents and the way the oceans absorb heat vs land etc.

  263. Phil. Felton:

    Gilles says:
    21 March 2010 at 4:28 PM
    “Gilles@158 “Call me up the first time you see a hydrogen car on the street, I offer you a beer”

    Obviously you didn’t attend the Vanvouver/Whistler Olympics, buses take many cars out of the loop [and those are not the "first"] …. I think you owe septic Matthew a beer.”

    Of course I know that hydrogen vehicles exist. The beer is for the first time that you see a private hydrogen car on a normal street :).

    Try here for a list of customers in Southern Cal:
    http://automobiles.honda.com/fcx-clarity/driver-photos.aspx

  264. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #258 gary thompson

    Remember, context is key. US is not global, you need to average the temps around the world to get a global average. US is as you noted, regional. It’s the planet that matters most in the context of ‘global’ warming.

    Take a look at Gistemp

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

    land/ocean

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

    You can take a look at US temp there too

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

    America is not that huge actually. Russia is huge, Africa is huge. But that is a misnomer also. It’s not about how huge a land mass is. It’s about the temperature of the planet and what is reasonably expected with AGW.

    The simple reason as to why you can’t use the US temperature to invalidate Anthropogenic Global Warming is because the ‘globe’ is warming. It’s not about just the US, or any other region.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/get-file.php?report=global&file=map-blended-mntp&year=2010&month=2&ext=gif

    [play around with the year and month parameters to see the global picture and how much it can vary regionally, but notice overall that lately, there is a lot more red than blue on average.]

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

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge/2010/2010-jan-the-leading-edge

    The AGW models predicted that the Arctic would warm faster than the rest of the planet and now the observations show that is happening. This is at least a good indicator that the models may be doing a pretty good job but there are other types of confirmation that increase the robustness of the assessment.

    I’m not a statistician, and others here in RC can answer such questions better than I. But from a general view:

    - we have prediction,
    - we have quantitative amounts of GHG’s
    - we have predicted increases in radiative forcing
    - we have reasonable assessment of increases in radiative forcing
    - we have temperature rise observed in accord with predictions based on the quantitative analysis and modeled predictions
    - we have relatively decent modeling of how much cooler the earth should be without industrial GHG’s
    - we know that we are past peak forcing in the Milankovitch cycles and we should be very slowly cooling, but in fact are warming

    From my perspective, we don’t know a lot of things about what changes will occur or how bad it might get in specific time periods, from a climatic perspective, but that is not what is most important when it comes to human systems. Human infrastructure and agricultural capacity are critical and we do know that systems are expected to generally shift. Very quickly on a geological time scale. Prediction is slowly improving on how much and when, but the shift will cause egregious expenses that will put pressure on the monetary economy and productive capacity.

    My current assessment indicates relatively large scale economic pressures within 7 to 15 years. That will beat out sea level rise in problem magnitude before wall street and Miami go under water. I predict we will see serious pressures on the resource capacity and monetary systems within that time frame, worsening of course as time goes on. The longer we wait on meaningful action, the more expensive it gets. Expense can be measured monetarily and also in resource capacity. That translates to human lives. That includes quality of life, standard of living, sustainability, and increasingly, survivability on ever increasing scales.

    We are risking the global economy for the sake of profit that can not be attained in the long run (decades). Any reasoned qualitative assessment indicates that on a business as usual approach all corporations fail and all monetary profits are lost, eventually (within decades, increasing in severity of impact as we move deeper into the warming trend). The CSIS report, when combined with the BAU MIT analysis, that all geopolitical borders fail by around 2080 on this course.

    Of course then you might say I’m being alarmist. To say there will be no United States by 2080 to 2100 sounds ridiculous. But I’m not saying this, this is the combined assessment of geopolitics based on the resource issues, based on the climate path predictions assigned to probabilities and ranges and the mean values. So, though these are merely potentials, they are potentials that can be achieved simply by doing nothing different (BAU).

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/security
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge/2009/2009-may-leading-edge

    Where is the profit in delay of meaningful climate policy? If we delay enough there is not profit, there is only system failure on many levels in many economies. The magnitude of inertia we allow will dictate potentials. Delay should not be an option. But in reality delay is an option, and we have been delaying action far too long.

    This is why the climate petition is so critically important. We really do need a ‘Fee & Dividend’ approach and we need it immediately, in order to lessen the impacts and create a less worse future.

    I recommend you sign the petition, and help educate your friends as to the importance of rapid and meaningful action.


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  265. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #249 ccpo

    Thanks for the perspective.

    If I recall properly, the price spike may have been due to deregulation of the controlling parameters during the Bush administration. It was not a supply/demand influence event as far as I can tell. I my opinion, if true, it was truly a sad statement about our leadership.

    PO is not an area I am knowledgeable on other than a few reports I have read such as the Princeton report that came out around 2005(?). I think the key to PO is knowing the water pumping numbers and that is not information that is revealed publicly by the oil companies. I can only hope we have not yet hit it, but we may have. This will put further strains on our ability to transition to renewable sustainable, but it will also add further impetus to transition rapidly, so all I can say is I don’t know how it will play out.


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  266. John Peter:

    gary thompson 258

    I found RC at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/regional-climate-projections/

    quite helpful. I see the key technical problem in cloud radiation understanding and description. The measurement and theory improvements hoped for and needed since TAR still haven’t happened. Progress is very slow.

    Regional weather forecasts have the same sort of problems with clouds…

  267. Gilles:

    “But the points you both bring up reinforce, in my mind, the need for an aggressive energy efficiency / renewable energy program, sooner rather than later. I’m baffled why Gilles apparently does not.”

    Seriously, how can you think that I could be against improving energy efficiency ? why the hell could anyone be against that, in any case ? I already said that even if CO2 hadn’t IR absorption lines, this would be mandatory in any case. And it is rather obvious that economy would ALWAYS benefit from improving energy efficiency. Actually the modern economy has never stopped improving efficiency – it cared more or less about it, following the price of energy of course, but on average it has always improved it.

    On the very long term, we’ll all use only renewables (again.. ! ). That’s a certitude. So I don’t see why our grand grand children wouldn’t do exactly the same as our grand grand parents : improving their use as well as they can. There is no point that they WILL do it. Why not ?

    So this is not the point. What is the point ? the point is only (I stress : ONLY) : an infinite growth being physically impossible, there is an asymptotic upper limit to the “useful” energy consumption per capita you can achieve with any energy system (by “useful” I mean that can be transformed into some valuable thing, barring any waste of energy). It seems that this point has been more or less reached since the 80′s (the energy consumption per capita has more or less plateaued since this date, its growth has only been parallel to demographic growth), around 1,5 tep/cap/yr. Of course this allows still some progress , for instance the development of computers and internet. But I think it is fair to say that the world has not become much richer/cap since this time – there has been progress, but the number of poor people is still very large and doesn’t seem really to improve. In any case, the world has less changed from 1980 to 2010 than from 1950 to 1980 – meaning that the average growth rate has decreased after the “30 glorious years” (essentially due to Green Revolution).

    Now the use or renewables would probably have its own plateau. So the question is : how will the asymptotic value of the consumption/capita based only on renewable energy compare with that of fossil fuels ?

    I don’t know, of course, and I think nobody can claim he knows. I have just a very general thought. Well there are only 3 possibilities : it could be much lower, much larger, or approximately the same.

    Well I doubt that it could be much larger, for the reason I already mentioned. If renewable energies were much more productive than fossil fuels, why wouldn’t they have already replaced them? If it is more expensive and less convenient, they would probably sustain only a lower consumption.

    Now we have the choice between “much lower” and “approximately the same”. Here I ask : why should two very different sources of energy converge towards “approximately the same” standard of living? after all, that’s a strange idea. The use of fossil fuels instead of “traditional” renewable energies has increased by a factor of 10 the use per capita and by 100 the total energy use. There is no reason that giving them up would leave the system untouched. That’s not a natural expectation if the whole energy system is totally modified. So at least I think that the standard of living will sensitively decrease. Now remember that the consequences of GW have been estimated by N. Stern around 20 % of GDP, which is considered as unbearable. I don’t know if it is realistic or not, but I simply ask : why do you expect that the total replacement (on the long term , it WILL be total) of fossil fuels by energies that are more expensive, less convenient, and cannot even been produced at this price without fossil fuels, won’t cause a similar change in the economy ? I can’t find any reasonable argument for that – apart from that we would LIKE that it can do it.

  268. Gilles:

    “In addition to CFU’s response, remember that:

    - regional is not global
    - the temperature in your backyard does not represent the temperature of the earth
    - short term is more strongly mixed with natural variation in climate variance influenced by oceanic cycles and other factors
    - weather (short term variability) is not climate (30+ years)”

    of course, but you should also remember that everybody :

    * is only sensitive to regional temperature and doesn’t have any idea of the global one if he doesn’t read GISS home page.
    * live in his backyard and not “on the earth” as a whole.
    * is much more sensitive to short term weather and doesn’t have a clear remembering of how it was 30 years ago – and doesn’t really care. For the supposed incapability of mankind to adapt to changes at a 30 years scale, well,look at the recent history, and remember that 30 years is just close to an average working time in your life, meaning that after this time you’re just replaced by young people who have no idea of how you were living 30 years ago – and care very little about it.

  269. JiminMpls:

    #250 – ccpo

    What does the Bloom Box – or any of the comments – have to do with hydrogen?

    There was one mention of the Rocky Mountain Institute. Amory Lovin is my hero. He not only gets the vision right (distributed micropower, conservation/efficiency ethic, transition to hydrogen, holistic vehicle design, etc) the RMI Hypercar concept is the realization of that vision. Bright Car will be launching a first generation (gas/electric hybrid) Hypercar in 2012. Hydrogen fuel cell powered versions will be in volume production by the end of the decade – as will vehicles from Honda, BMW and others. It’s not science fiction – it’s industrial innovation at its finest.

  270. Completely Fed Up:

    “but then we have short term variations (noise) that have the same magnitude as the very critical variable that is so often quoted.”

    And noise doesn’t accumulate, whereas a bias trend does.

    “if you have variation in a process of 1C (which is how much the US temperature anomaly dropped over the past few years) then how can you statistically quote trends in values less than the variation (0.5C to 1C)?”

    Because the noise doesn’t accumulate, whereas the bias does.

    Just remember: noise doesn’t accumulate. Bias does.

  271. Tim Jones:

    RE: 122 JiminMpls says:
    19 March 2010 at 11:18 PM
    “The supply of oil isn’t as limited as you seem to think. Cheap oil, yes, but recoverable oil, no.
    … At a $100/bbl, it would be economically recoverable. As prices go up, so will the supply. ”

    This isn’t necessarily so. If it takes more energy to extract the oil than the oil provides it won’t be worth doing no matter what the price. If the energy returned is less than the energy invested you have a negative ERoEI.

  272. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Gary Thompson (236),

    Look again. Temperatures are rising in the US as well:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/1930s.html

  273. Barton Paul Levenson:

    cm (256): the points you both bring up reinforce, in my mind, the need for an aggressive energy efficiency / renewable energy program, sooner rather than later. I’m baffled why Gilles apparently does not.

    BPL: Because he’s a political conservative who works for the fossil fuel industry, as he originally admitted before later denying it.

  274. Barton Paul Levenson:

    gray thompson (258): if agw proponents are allowed to use the north pole warming over the past decade (which also doesn’t equal the world) to validate agw theory then why can’t we use the US cooling over the past decade to invalidate the agw theory?

    BPL: Polar amplification A) was predicted by AGW theory long before it was observed, and B) can be demonstrated by analyzing the temperature field over the entire globe. It’s a statement about the latitudinal gradient of mean global annual surface temperature.

  275. simon abingdon:

    #270 Completely Fed Up

    “the noise doesn’t accumulate, whereas the bias does”. Really? That sounds to me like a surprisingly uncompromising assertion.

    Is not “the noise” simply what’s happening in the background that we haven’t yet analysed or understood? Wouldn’t we expect such “noise” to come and go unpredictably since we haven’t yet accounted for its origins?

  276. Completely Fed Up:

    ““the noise doesn’t accumulate, whereas the bias does”. Really? That sounds to me like a surprisingly uncompromising assertion.”

    Why?

    Do you think that if the average of a real series is 3.5 but the random variation around it means it varies anywhere between 1 and 6, that you will inevitably see the dice rolls accumulate to higher and higher values?

    “Is not “the noise” simply what’s happening in the background that we haven’t yet analysed or understood?”

    Yes, but it is, as far as climate signal is concerned, it is noise.

    Check up on UDMA and its use of the frequency domain to discern signal (from the connecting mobile phone) from noise (both other mobile phones and genuine out-of-system noise from other things “happening in the background that we haven’t analysed or understood”).

  277. Completely Fed Up:

    Tim Jones #271, you’re both right. He is right and you’re right because there’s a limit where energy out has to be a net positive, therefore a limit to the increase Jim is talking about.

  278. Ray Ladbury:

    Gilles says:
    “of course, but you should also remember that everybody:

    * is only sensitive to regional temperature and doesn’t have any idea of the global one if he doesn’t read GISS home page.”

    Well, actually, no. Ever hear of the global economy? Brazilian orange farmers are watching the frost reports for Florida. La Nina and El Nino influence the price and availability of seafood. Flooding in the US midwest can raise flour prices around the globe, causing food riots in Asia and Africa. And what is more, our ability to feed 6.6 billion people is dependent on the global economy.

    “* live in his backyard and not “on the earth” as a whole.”

    And remember that ENSO can determine whether it’s a nice spring day or whether your backyard is under six inches of water.

    * is much more sensitive to short term weather and doesn’t have a clear remembering of how it was 30 years ago – and doesn’t really care.”

    You clearly don’t talk to old people much. They do remember what the weather was like in their youth and they know it’s different now.

  279. CM:

    Gilles

    #267:

    OK, you favor energy efficiency. Sorry. But what is your beef with renewables, given that sooner or later we’ll depend on them anyway? Are you just concerned to dispel the wishful thinking of naive Greens and prepare us mentally for the economic decline you think is to come? Or are you arguing that a transition to renewables will be bad for us, and therefore our best course of action is to postpone the inevitable for as long as possible?

    #240:

    Thanks for putting numbers on your assertions regarding the relationship between fossil fuel use and GDP. Could you also explain some of your assumptions?

    I’m looking at the IEA statistics publication “CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: Highlights” (2009 edition, http://www.iea.org/co2highlights/) which has a table for CO2 emissions / GDP in exchange-rate terms.

    It gives the CO2/GDP of the world economy in 2007 as 0.73 kg CO2 per dollar GDP, hence, in your terms, closer to 1.5 tons CO2 per $2,000 than to 1 ton as you stated. You may be using a different source.

    > Specifically, I don’t think this will change a lot,

    What’s a lot? Over the period 1971-2007, the world economy became 33% less carbon intensive. The OECD countries cut their CO2/GDP by 50%.

    > Let’s say to be conservative that it could be improved up
    > to 1tCO2/3000 $,

    Why should we assume no further gains are possible? Is that an arbitrary figure? If not, could you show your reasoning?

    > but not faster than a rate of about 1% /yr in the best case
    >(I’m not even sure this is possible).

    Why not? With a 33% reduction (1971-2007) I make the rate out to be 1.1% a year, so on past experience, it’s possible. Why should we not expect a 1%/yr reduction in CO2/GDP to continue, in the absence of radical new policies to cap emissions? Why would this be the upper bound on what’s possible?

    > it [GDP/CO2?] has a finite upper bound,

    Possibly. But what are the real considerations that define this upper bound?

    —–

    PS. Just for the record: I think your English is better than that of some native speakers who comment here, and that jokes stereotyping national drinking habits get old fast.

  280. Sou:

    #258 gary thompson – follow up to my post #262

    To clarify, I’m not just referring to Australia because it’s where I live. It’s also because it’s the 96% the size of contiguous USA (and 79% of the size of all the USA incl Alaska and Hawaii). So the increase in temperature of 0.7C (1.3F) since 1960 in Australia overall (and in some parts up to 2C (3.6F) in the same period), adds more to global warming than the lesser warming of the contiguous USA of 0.4F since 1960. (I didn’t check Alaska, but I understand it’s warming faster than the contiguous USA.)

    BTW – when is the USA going metric – please?

    Sources:
    http://www.csiro.au/files/files/pvfo.pdf
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html

  281. Sou:

    #280 correction to my previous post – that should read USA has a trend of 0.4F per decade increase since 1960, not an actual rise of 0.4F since 1960. My mistake.

    So despite the last couple of years when the annual mean has been average for the period 1960 to 2009, contiguous USA is warming at least as fast if not faster than Australia! (I wasn’t comparing apples with apples, mixing trends and annual means.)

  282. simon abingdon:

    #276 Completely Fed Up

    simon abingdon: “Is not “the noise” simply what’s happening in the background that we haven’t yet analysed or understood?”

    Completely Fed Up: “Yes, but it is, as far as climate signal is concerned, it is noise.”

    So how can you make any meaningful statement at all about such “noise” and why should it have anything to do with dice rolls or mobile phones? On what grounds can you be sure that it might not accumulate, at least over millenial timescales?

  283. Rod B:

    Neal King (255), I was quite impressed with the summary description of the situation in The Economist that you referenced, especially the second one. Though I didn’t read and make judgements on the comments.

  284. Rod B:

    Ray L (278), I’m old (chronologically ;-) ) and don’t recall material differences from the weather of my youth…

  285. Completely Fed Up:

    “So how can you make any meaningful statement at all about such “noise””

    It’s called “statistics”.

    “and why should it have anything to do with dice rolls or mobile phones?”

    Because with dice rolls, your deterministic view that associates variations about the mean would have the variations in dice rolls be the result of mitroscopic changes in the forces enacted upon the dice deterministically, where the randomness that is the “dice roll” is a result of processes “happening in the background that we haven’t analysed or understood”.

    And as far as your UMTS phone is concerned, the effects of out-of-system noise and other-caller noise are noise that must be discounted before you can get the signal you are attempting to detect: your phone call.

  286. Completely Fed Up:

    PS: “On what grounds can you be sure that it might not accumulate, at least over millenial timescales?”

    On what grounds do you assume that something you admit you don’t know about and aren’t measuring will accumulate, at least over millenial timescales?

    For me (or, rather, climate models), the reason why not is that the processes are not sources of millenial-scale climate forces.

    So what do you have?

  287. Completely Fed Up:

    CM: “OK, you favor energy efficiency. Sorry. But what is your beef with renewables, given that sooner or later we’ll depend on them anyway?”

    And how does moving to renewables stop you being more efficient with energy? Does he think that they are the wrong sort of electrons?

  288. Hank Roberts:

    > Simon Abingdon
    > background noise

    Simon, do you recall the other times your question has been answered?
    I’ve seen you post the same doubt and uncertainty repeatedly. Examples:

    RealClimate – Comments on FAQ on climate models
    I may be too pessimistic, but the problem with regional temps is that the background noise, … Comment by simon abingdon — 11 November 2008 @ 1:28 PM

    RealClimate – Comments on The CRU hack
    Comment by simon abingdon — 21 November 2009 @ 2:43 PM … There are outliers, background noise, maybe data just plain wrong.

    Statistics 101 is the answer to this confusion. Once you’ve passed a beginning statistics course, the doubt and fear are much less because you have an idea of how science and math help us understand this stuff.

  289. John Peter:

    Sou @262

    Seems to me you’re standing a very slippery slope when you parcel out different temperatures and then average over regions. You don’t do that for CO2, you say that’s uniform. Same with the radiation energy balance.

    BTW, you have lots and lots of company whereas I’m pretty much alone ;-)

  290. Bob:

    “Journalism” strikes again… slightly OT, except it’s another example of the press twisting a valid scientific study to say something it doesn’t…

    The Fox News headline:

    Winds, Not Warming, Leading to Arctic Ice Melt

    The Fox News opening sentence:

    Strong arctic winds rather [sic] the effects of global warming can explain the dramatic loss of ice in the Arctic Ocean, explains a new scientific paper.

    The Fox News admission, quoting the lead scientist in the study, doesn’t come until the 7th (next to last) paragraph:

    “the combined effect of winter and summer wind forcing accounts for 50 percent of the variance of the change in September Arctic sea ice extent from one year to the next, and it also explains roughly 1/3 of the downward linear trend” of ice over the past 31 years.”

    At the same time, none of this even stops to consider that if this is caused by a change in wind patterns, then are those changes anomalies in themselves or a result of warmer temperatures? And would the winds have had that same effect without the addition of anomalous warming? That is, would the winds have had anywhere near that degree of effect if that volume of ice had not also broken up, due to heat, to free it?

    A good journalist would have asked those questions of the lead scientist.

    It looks like the paper isn’t published yet, though, so it’s hard to say what’s actually in it.

  291. Neal J. King:

    simon abdington, #282:

    “Noise” is, by definition, a part of the signal that doesn’t add up to anything. If instead it adds up, it becomes part of a trend.

    Example: Every month you put $100 into your bank account. Every month you spend about $50 from that bank account – not exactly $50, some months it’s $40, some months it’s $60, $55, etc. You get the idea.

    - If on the average, you spend $50, then on the average you will be contributing a net $50/month. That’s the main part of the trend.
    - On top of that, if you watch long enough, you will notice that the bank account grows at a rate slightly larger than $50/month, because you’re earning something like 1% on the amount in the account. That’s also part of the trend.

    What’s the noise? The noise is the difference between the actual spending each month and the average, which was $50. The noise will fluctuate between -$10 and $10. And it will average to 0.

    That’s why “noise” doesn’t accumulate.

    A more interesting question: How do you know something is a noise signal and not a trend signal? It comes down to knowing what the source of the noise is. If you can pin the blame on a source that is unrelated to what you are trying to find out (e.g.: climate change CANNOT be related to diurnal variations, because the timescales are inappropriate), the magnitude is actually not important. If you can’t prove a specific cause, you can’t say that some UNKNOWN cause is impossible – but you can make an effort to rule out anything interesting.

    A proposal that “This variation is not noise, but is actually a signal from an unknown source with unknown behavior” is not likely to win many converts, if there are plausible alternative explanations.

  292. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #264 John P. Reisman

    I should add to my post that with meaningful effective climate policy we may be able have/achieve a ‘relatively’ sustainable and functional future.

    The case scenarios derived from the security perspectives are looking at potentials and when combined with BAU don’t look very good. I still believe that we can mitigate substantially with meaningful action. It’s just that we are not doing that.

    Overview of security/economic perspectives:

    DOD QDR Report, Feb. 2010: “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. Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration.”

    The Center for Strategic International Studies analysis outlined needs in their 2007 report regarding climate change establishing there is a general consensus that multilateral cooperation is key to solution development.

    In March 2007 the U.S. Army War College analyzed the security perspective of military mitigation, adaptation and preparation for climate change. They “climate change-related security problems likely would require multi-agency cooperation, especially for domestic emergency management, and typically multinational action.”

    In April 2007, the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) issued a report which addressed the concerns of the national security community. “The chaos that results can be an incubator of civil strife, genocide, and the growth of terrorism.” The report warns of contribution to state failure, interstate conflicts, and other security problems.

    In the October 2006 review on the Economics of Climate Change, economist Nicholas Stern: near-term costs of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG’s) would cost 1% of global GDP, major delay would result in substantially higher aggregate costs with estimates reaching 20% of the worlds GDP.


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  293. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #268 Gilles

    Education, education, education.

    Therefore the onus of responsibility is upon all those who do understand to help others learn the contexts involved regarding well reasoned expectations for ramifications in the global economy. Especially how it impacts our lives with expected trending inflation rates.


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  294. gary thompson:

    #260 – > Gary Thompson
    You’re asking a fairly basic question in statistics — is it fair to say you haven’t taken a 101 statistics class?
    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 March 2010 @ 9:34 PM

    When you take the US temperature anomaly yearly averages for the past 30 years and put them on a run chart and then test for trends and oscillations you get a p-value for trends of 0.28 and a p-value for oscillations of 0.72. and if you want to be at 95% significance, then both of these suggest accepting the null hypothesis which states that the data has a random sequence. and using this data which has a standard deviation of 0.494C and running a 2-sample t-test to determine the sample size required to discern a shift in the mean of 0.25C would require a sample size of 103 (years).

  295. Ray Ladbury:

    Simon Abingdon–I hesitate to respond given your past sophistry. However, we know how the “noise” of climate behaves because of 1)conservation of energy, and 2)paleoclimatic studies.

    We know most of the sources of such noise–factors from ENSO to volcanism, etc. They tend to oscillate quasi-periodically. For a long-term trend to emergy there must be a long-term driver.

  296. Bob:

    Okay, last OT post on this… Ogi et al is a good paper for a non-scientist to read (IMHO). Well written, restricted to the topic at hand, and seemingly pretty solid. They looked for a statistical correlation between winds and SIE and found a good one. End of story (or rather, the end of the next chapter in the story). I look forward to the next piece to which they allude:

    It would also be of interest to make a more direct comparison between the wind fields examined in this study and the two-dimensional field of satellite-derived ice-area flux examined in the study of Kwok [2009].

    I seem to remember some graphs from previous years pitting various model’s minimum SIE predictions for a year against each other and the actual, like a horse race. It will be interesting to see how much better predictions become with this new variable factored in… if people can also accurately predict the 925-hPa wind field.

    Back on topic, however… glad to see it’s only the media at fault for spinning this. The scientists did science, and answered the journalists’ questions with science answers.

  297. Bob:

    Here’s the link to the Ogi et al 2010 SEI paper.

  298. Completely Fed Up:

    “When you take the US temperature anomaly yearly averages for the past 30 years…”

    … you aren’t going to get a global temperature record…

  299. ccpo:

    But the points you both bring up reinforce, in my mind, the need for an aggressive energy efficiency / renewable energy program, sooner rather than later. I’m baffled why Gilles apparently does not.

    Comment by CM — 22 March 2010 @ 6:34 PM

    Speaking for myself, we are agreed. My point has been to broaden the scope of vision required. There are many solutions that deal well with all aspects of the problems we face, but some actually make things worse when all factors are considered (corn-based ethanol). Those are what we need to avoid, and can only do so if we consider all major criteria: climate, energy, economics.

    Cheers

  300. Completely Fed Up:

    “You don’t do that for CO2, you say that’s uniform. Same with the radiation energy balance.”

    Nope, please show where this is stated.

  301. Ray Ladbury:

    Gary Thompson,
    OK, so what is your point–that somehow the US is immune to global warming even though the rest of the planet isn’t? Somehow, I don’t think that will pass the straight face test. Warming does not happen uniformly. Are you really so desperate that you’ll keep looking at smaller and smaller areas until you find one that’s only warming a little bit?

  302. ccpo:

    RE: 122 JiminMpls says:
    19 March 2010 at 11:18 PM
    “The supply of oil isn’t as limited as you seem to think. Cheap oil, yes, but recoverable oil, no.
    … At a $100/bbl, it would be economically recoverable. As prices go up, so will the supply. ”

    This isn’t necessarily so. If it takes more energy to extract the oil than the oil provides it won’t be worth doing no matter what the price. If the energy returned is less than the energy invested you have a negative ERoEI.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 23 March 2010 @ 5:24 AM

    Jim needs to study more. Anyone conflating reserves with flow rates has no idea what the issue actually is. There are probably near 6 trillion barrels of oil/tar deposits held by the planet. However, we can typically only extract 30 – 40% of what we find. Also, because of receding horizons (costs are always increasing) and difficulty in extracting them, the energy returned on energy invested is constantly falling.

    Was 100:1, now is between 11:1 and 30:1, depending on whom you ask. This trend will continue, guaranteed. The return on ethanol, for example, is in a range from negative to 3:1, depending on whom you ask.

    Efficiency? The US increased energy efficiency 33% or so between 1980 and 2007 or so. Net effect? Around 5 million barrels/day increased consumption.

    Factor in most of the rest of the planet aspiring to our standard of living?

    Technology will not solve this problem. Not even close. This is why we are learning and teaching systemic approaches to solving these problems via permaculture design principles.

    Cheers

  303. Richard Ordway:

    A Mar 2010 study in the peer-reviewed Journal of Oceanography on how the IPCC may be underestimating the next 100 years warming. Of course, one study is only one small piece of a huge puzzle going back to 1824 and it is written by an oceanographer.

    http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/23_1/23-1_greene.pdf

  304. Hank Roberts:

    > Gary Thompson
    > US temperature anomaly yearly averages for the past 30 years

    Talking about global temperature trends, then doing some kind of statistic with data from only one country for only the most recent 30 year period, is wrong. Whose blog are you getting this from?

    Why do you consider that a reliable way to understand what’s happening?

    Seriously, this is the kind of thing that Stat 101 can inoculate you against.
    Otherwise people can fool you.

  305. Hank Roberts:

    > http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d2/masayo.ogi/2009GL042356-pip.pdf

    “… the combined effect of winter and summer wind forcing accounts for 50% of the variance of the change in September Arctic sea ice extent from one year to the next (ΔSIE) and it also explains roughly 1/3 of the downward linear trend of SIE over the past 31 years.”

    And the other 2/3?

    See: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html
    “… The pattern of winds associated with a strongly negative AO tends to reduce export of ice out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait. This helps keep more of the older, thicker ice within the Arctic. While little old ice remains, sequestering what is left may help keep the September extent from dropping as low as it did in the last few years. Much will depend on the weather patterns that set up this spring and summer.”

    and

    http://wotsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/the-guardian-sees-the-light-on-wind-driven-arctic-ice-loss/

  306. John Peter:

    Gary Thompson@294

    You might find this exchange interesting even though a bit dated:

    Bruce Tabor says:
    27 May 2007 at 6:17 AM

    Thanks Rasmus,

    I did not fully grasp the concept of skilful scale. Are you saying that GCMs do not reliably represent climate to a resolution of 1 grid point and that to achieve accurate representation you need to average over about 8 grid points? Hence the “skilful scale” is 8 grid points.

    [Response:This is basically the point, yes. But there has not been much discussion about what the skilful scale has been lately, so I'm not sure if it is still true. -rasmus]

    Do climate scientists expect any surprises as resolution increases? Were there “surprises” between the 1980s GISS models and the latest models? I note that in our region (Australia) your minimum scale map leaves out Bass Strait (between Australia and Tasmania) and Torres Strait (between Australia and PNG). These are significant water ways for local climate and ocean currents. They are also about 150 km wide – close to 200 km – so why would they be omitted?

    [Response:One Japanese model does have a very high spatial resolution, but I don't think there are any particular surprises. Perhaps an improved resolution may provide a better rpresentation of the MJO and the monsoon system as well as cyclones. The very high resolution model makes very realistic pictures of the cloud and storm systems, and the guys presenting the results are fond of showing animations which look very much like satellite pictures. Quite impressive. -rasmus]

    Do GCMs capture coarse topographic features, eg the Tibetan Plateau?

    [Response:apparently not well enough. -rasmus]

    If you’re seriously interested in pursuing the latest (and have the time) try here:

    http://edgcm.columbia.edu/spotlight-o/edgcm-project-overview/

  307. Septic Matthew:

    Here is a note on total investments in renewable energies:

    http://cleantechnica.com/2010/03/21/renewable-energy-investment-could-hit-200-billion-in-2010/

    In that article the unit of measurement is $$$$, but we must remember that costs are falling dramatically (electricity from PV fell 65% last year, IIRC, though there are transient spikes when the supply of refined silicon is challenged), so that overall growth in energy exceeds 50% per year, and in some places for some sources exceeds 100% per year for several years.

    In the US, the growth in supply from renewables exceeds the growth in demand for energy.

    Chevron Corporation is installing a solar farm in the Central Valley of CA to power its petroleum pumps. When they find it economically right to do so, they’ll produce fuel from sunlight instead of pumping it from the ground.

  308. Hank Roberts:

    > Journal of Oceanography
    Nitpicking, that’s not a study. It’s a “Science and Policy Feature”
    > written by an oceanographer
    Who?
    > peer-reviewed
    Reviewer Sarewitz is at the Breakthrough Institute; he and reviewer Bill Travis (a geographer) are at Colorado: http://128.138.136.233/about_us/annual_report2009.pdf Both are big in adaptation. The piece basically reads to me like a push for investing in geoengineering. Any ideas?

    The Journal of Oceanography piece doesn’t disclose explicitly that the author from the Roda Group may have some financial interest in the subject, but you can look it up. This may help: http://www.rodagroup.com/news.html

    I don’t have any objection to authors of feature articles who also have interests in businesses that would solve the problems they’re raising.
    But one should dig at least slightly into references.

    Otherwise mistakes like calling it “a study” in a “peer-reviewed journal” can propagate.
    Once you know where the money’s going, investing in small brewery equipment to grow algae may look profitable.

    I am still puzzled why this piece appears in an oceanography journal as a feature article, though. Any idea?

  309. Hank Roberts:

    Watch for a new wave of amateur charting
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/climateindices/caveats.html

  310. David B. Benson:

    Here, decada by decade, is the GISTEMP global temperature anomaly (GTA) followed the the difference in ln(CO2) from the previous decade (diffs).

    decade GTA diffs
    1880s -0.275 0.014
    1890s -0.254 0.007
    1900s -0.259 0.009
    1910s -0.276 0.013
    1920s -0.175 0.012
    1930s -0.043 0.014
    1940s +0.035 0.004
    1950s -0.020 0.009
    1960s -0.014 0.022
    1970s -0.001 0.033
    1980s +0.176 0.043
    1990s +0.313 0.042
    2000s +0.513 0.050

    For a prediction of the GTA for the 2010s, see
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/whatevergate/comment-page-23/#comment-164509

  311. simon abingdon:

    #288 Hank Roberts

    Thanks Hank for you well-intentioned response. Your attributions are quite wrong however.

    RealClimate – Comments on FAQ on climate models Comment by simon abingdon — 11 November 2008 @ 1:28 PM

    Here (#347) I ask gavin “Please explain how changes in the shape of the mountains are an issue”

    RealClimate – Comments on The CRU hack
    Comment by simon abingdon — 21 November 2009 @ 2:43 PM

    Here (#572) I make complimentary remarks regarding gavin’s manifest integrity.

    Just wanted to put the record straight. No need to apologize. simon

  312. Brian Dodge:

    “If it takes more energy to extract the oil than the oil provides it won’t be worth doing no matter what the price.”
    Nope. If I can dig up the energy equivalent of 5 barrels of oil worth of tar sand for 50 dollars, burn up 4 barrels worth to convert the remainder into 1 barrel of crude, and sell that for 100 dollars, I’m making a profit of 50 dollars on every barrel I sell, even though I’ve burned up 4 times as much as Ive sold.
    Energy isn’t equal to dollar value; Osama bin Laden will pay a lot more for a joules worth of PETN than for a joules worth of goat dung.
    Also bear in mind that the income to the Saudis isn’t linear with the amount they sell; depending on the worldwide demand & economy, more production may lower the price and total revenue(like the Laffer tax curve). Also, controlling their oil production and affecting the world price also has political as well as economic value – what do you think the supply/demand curve and price per barrel would be if bin Laden controlled the Saudi and Iraqi output?

  313. Gilles:

    Ray : “You clearly don’t talk to old people much.”

    well you know my parents are around 70. I can’t say they are really obsessed by weather, and it would probably not be the first thing they would cite as the greatest change in their life since they were young. Concerning the impact of global economy… I had the feeling that the burst of oil prices in the recent years have raised more concern than the global temperature … that BTW have hardly changed in this period. I can’t see any correlation of the strong recent recessions with climatic events. Much more with restrictions in oil availability, of course.

    CM : first thanks for your kind appreciations that contrast with other words I’ve read here ;).

    “Or are you arguing that a transition to renewables will be bad for us, and therefore our best course of action is to postpone the inevitable for as long as possible?

    No of course I have no problem with the development of renewables, as long as they are really harmless. I just say that their capacity is limited.
    “I’m looking at the IEA statistics publication “CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: Highlights” (2009 edition, http://www.iea.org/co2highlights/) which has a table for CO2 emissions / GDP in exchange-rate terms.

    It gives the CO2/GDP of the world economy in 2007 as 0.73 kg CO2 per dollar GDP, hence, in your terms, closer to 1.5 tons CO2 per $2,000 than to 1 ton as you stated. You may be using a different source.”

    the last figure I see in the IEA excel worksheet is 0.47 kg /$ GDP ( 2000 $ PPP precisely). Depends on the dollar you use of course.

    “Possibly. But what are the real considerations that define this upper bound?”

    Well of course I can’t justify rigorously any upper bound. But there are real reasons to worry about possible future improvements :
    a) much progress in carbon intensity has already been done, first by converting many oil power plants to less carbon intensive sources (gas and nuclear). But the development of coal counteracts this trend.
    b) progresses in carbon efficiency of several industries like metallurgic ones are bounded by thermodynamics.
    c) the more you exhaust conventional resources , the more you have to use non-conventional ones, which produce much more CO2 per unit energy.

    the basic problem is the following. The rate of (relative) increase of GDP/capita is the sum of
    increase of energy consumption
    + increase of energy efficiency
    - increase of population (demographic growth).

    The last 30 years, the first and the third term nearly cancelled, the growth in GDP/cap was only due to improvement in energy efficiency (for the total growth of GDP you have to add the demographic growth rate)

    passing the fossil peak will invert the sign of energy consumption. The demographic growth will not stop until 2050 – in the best case. So you have to increase A LOT the energy efficiency to counterbalance the decrease of energy production – or develop very quickly the alternatives but with a decrease of oil production of – 1%/yr you should more than double the number of windmills in one year – and electricity is not lacking anyway. Typically you should increase it by 2 or 3 % each year. I don’t think that this rate has ever been reached in the past. So it’s justified to worry about it – at least as much as about global temperatures, in my opinion (actually much more in my REAL opinion).

  314. Hank Roberts:

    Sure enough, wrong pointers on my part. My apology.

    Should’ve pointed directly to Gavin’s replies to your questions throughout that thread, e.g.

    “What system is the model modelling? What does “outside” mean?

    [Response: It depends on the model. Whatever it is modelling, there are internal prognostic variables and then fixed elements that provide external boundary conditions. For a standard AGCM, the amount of CO2 is a fixed input, as is the sea surface temperature, the shape of the mountains etc. Changes in those external parameters are a forcing. For a coupled ocean-atmosphere model, the sea surface temperature is a prognostic variable and so no longer acts as a forcing. In climate-speak, people often talk about 'forcings' as a shorthand for the forcings in a standard coupled ocean-atmosphere model and refer mainly to their TOA radiative effect which is useful for comparing their effects. - gavin]
    Comment by simon abingdon — 11 November 2008 @ 12:30 PM

    and later where he says you’re overthinking this and it’s not all that complicated. You ask in many ways how one can say there’s a trend with all the noise. It’s both a very tough task, and a fairly simple concept.

    Variation without a trend always happens; we’re trying to figure out how to tell the natural variation from a trend; statistics is the tool to figure out how much variation is happening over how long, then get an idea how many measurements over what time span will be needed to reject the assumption that it’s all noise with no trend.

  315. Completely Fed Up:

    Brian, it’s “if it costs 6 barrels to extract and refine and sell 5 barrels of oil”.

  316. Democracy Center:

    Here at the Democracy Center we are working hard to draw attention to the impact of climate change already happening in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world. We’ve recently produced:

    A a video on Bolivia’s melting glaciers (http://democracyctr.org/blog/2009/12/visit-to-cemetery-of-glaciers.html)

    A new article in Yes! Magazine (http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/as-glaciers-melt-bolivia-fights-for-the-good-life).

    We are also getting ready to report on the upcoming World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (http://democracyctr.org/blog/2010/03/global-climate-change-conference-coming.html), an alternative response to failures of Copenhagen.

    Keep your eyes out for our coverage!
    (www.democracyctr.org)

  317. phil c:

    254
    The cloud experiment at CERN is unlikely to be definitive due to wall effects, according to Eli Rabett.

    while I appreciate the link it looks like the opinion of a blogger. I would hope that CERN are aware of what they need to do before they do it. Anyway, without prejudging the outcome, it will be interesting to see the results and if they have any bearing on possible links to climate.

  318. simon abingdon:

    #314 Hank

    VS had you worried though. (OK, only briefly).

  319. David B. Benson:

    phil c (317) — I assure that Eli Rabett is far more than just a blogger. Here is one of his recent threads
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/03/simplest-explanation.html
    and his essay on the pathways by which methane degrades was quite thorough. So his opinions on matters of atmospheric chemistry and physics are too be taken rather seriously.

  320. Richard Ordway:

    “”"> Journal of Oceanography
    Nitpicking, that’s not a study. It’s a “Science and Policy Feature”
    > written by an oceanographer
    Who?”"”

    Thanks for bringing this up. I think the information in the article is resaonably legit (but maybe I am wrong)… (except for the relatively low ranking of the journal and his not listing connections).

    …I find it interesting that the author lists peer review studies that show how the IPCC seems to understate warming projections in a peer reviewed journal..in a bit more accessible form than most articles (although admittedly it is published in a remote journal for discussing climate change). Secondly, admittedly, if his information was ground breaking, he probably would have gotten it into a more reputable journal.
    “”"
    > Journal of Oceanography
    > written by an oceanographer
    Who?”"”

    His bio (author Charles H. Greene)
    says:

    “After receiving his PhD in Oceanography from the University of Washington in 1985, Greene began a postdoctoral fellowship at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).”

    http://www.geo.cornell.edu/geology/faculty/Greene.html

    > peer-reviewed
    Reviewer Sarewitz is at the Breakthrough Institute; he and reviewer Bill Travis (a geographer) are at Colorado: http://128.138.136.233/about_us/annual_report2009.pdf Both are big in adaptation. The piece basically reads to me like a push for investing in geoengineering. Any ideas?”"”

    The Journal of Oceanography=The Oceanographic Society of Japan?
    http://www.terrapub.co.jp/journals/JO/index.html

    “”The editorial board of the Journal decides the acceptance of the manuscript on the basis of peer-reviews and is responsible for its final editing.”" http://www.terrapub.co.jp/journals/JO/contrbts.html

    Perhaps there were also other reviewers since the publication is listed (perhaps falsely? as a peer-reviewed journal although it seems to be listed in Journal Citation Reports (Impact factor .731), Thomson Reuters; Eigenfactor, and http://www.journal-ranking.com)

    http://www.journal-ranking.com http://www.journal-ranking.com/ranking/listCommonRanking.html?citingStartYear=1901&externalCitationWeight=1&journalListId=387&selfCitationWeight=1

    Eigenfactor http://www.eigenfactor.org/results.php?fulljournalname1=JOURNAL+OF+OCEANOGRAPHY&rosvcat=%25&year=2008&resultsperpage=100&issnnumber=&ordering=perarticle&grping=%25&nam=names&Submit=Search

    I wonder if the author is really pushing for geoengineering itself and not just research into it like Crutzen and Wigley. (Crutzen Climatic Change, 2006. and Rasch,Crutzen, Coleman, Geophys. Res. Lett, 2008) and Wigley, Science, 2006.)

    Greene: “their associated risks to the environment and socio-economic well-being …However investing in geoengineering research now will enable policymakers to make informed decisions based on science rather than uninformed decisions make out of desperation.”

    He certainly is pushing for studies into it…as Crutzen and Wigley seem to be doing/did/are.

    Personally (although the concept of geoengineering scares the hell out of me-published studies don’t seem too happy so far with possible unintended consequences of geoengineering-Trenberth, A Dai – Geophys. Res. Lett, 2007).

    I think geoengineering is very likely going to be seriously raised by some desperate politician during a future emergency. If solid studies have been done, written down, analyzed thoroughly, maybe-just maybe the politician will have to think twice before using it(-maybe not with the disinformation campaigns by the pseudo-skeptics).

    http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/23_1/23-1_greene.pdf

    “”"The Journal of Oceanography piece doesn’t disclose explicitly that the author from the Roda Group may have some financial interest in the subject, but you can look it up. This may help: http://www.rodagroup.com/news.html

    I don’t have any objection to authors of feature articles who also have interests in businesses that would solve the problems they’re raising.
    But one should dig at least slightly into references.”"”

    Yes, I should have dug deeper into it and mentioned their connection- thanks for bringing it up.

    However also, anyone is allowed to write peer review and offer possible solutions (even if obliquely)…as did Crutzen and Wigley. Hopefully, if Greene is spinning science, future published science would challenge it. Greene still quotes legit studies such as Hansen 2008, Schneider 2008, etc. and (to me) makes a case that the IPCC is possibly underestimating the future projected warming for scenarios.

    “”"Otherwise mistakes like calling it “a study” in a “peer-reviewed journal” can propagate.
    Once you know where the money’s going, investing in small brewery equipment to grow algae may look profitable.”"”

    I am still puzzled why this piece appears in an oceanography journal as a feature article, though. Any idea?

    I wonder if Greene:

    1. Couldn’t get it into a better journal.
    2. He wrote in a journal of his specialty because they know of him.
    3. He wanted oceanographers to read/be exposed to the “IPCC-is-undetrestimating the projected warming”…and they might miss reading other journals.
    4. It was easier to get it published in an Oceanography journal since it is his specialty.

    Although Greene is obviously pushing for more research into geoengineering and might have nenfarious motives, he seems (except for pushing geoengineering and the relatively low ranking journal), to be reasonable in his assessment that the IPCC might be underestimating the future warming.

    He, also, seems to not be alone in pushing for more research into geoengineering- (Crutzen and Wigley). However, yes, it is perhaps unusual that he is writing outside his specialty of oceanography…and did not list his connections.

    However, if the information in his work stands up under future peer review…well, that’s science.

  321. Patrick 027:

    Re 253 Ric Merritt -

    Thermodynamics (none of this really gets at EROEI):

    The sun’s photosphere emits approximately as a blackbody at ~ 5780 K (I’m going from memory, but it’s definitely closer to 6000 than 5000); it diverges from this at various wavelengths, especially at the extremes of the spectrum.

    But based on the second law applied to a Carnot heat engine, a conversion efficiency of near 95 % could be obtained (with a heat sink near 300 K).

    But, the entropy of sunlight is increased by the atmosphere and thus reaches the surface with a lower brightness temperature. There is some absorption, and some scattering of radiation (the blue light of the sky (or grey/white in cloudy weather, pink, green, yellow, etc., is scattered out of the beam, and distributed over a much larger solid angle; both the direct beam and diffuse solar radiation are ‘cooler’ than solar radiation in space). (The relationship to entropy: The entropy is the energy divided by the temperature; in this case, the brightness temperature, and in this case, especially for diffuse solar radiation, it must be analyzed at each frequency.)

    Also, there are other issues with the device that would be used to convert solar energy to work (or electricity).

    For a simple CSP thermal – mechanical – electrical energy conversion with geometric optics using a blackbody at all wavelengths as the targe for focussed sunlight, only direct beam solar energy can be used, and in order for the blackbody to supply heat to a heat engine, it’s temperature must be lower than the brightness temperature of the solar radiation it is using so as to not emit the same amount of energy back out of the device. (With Ts being effective brightness temperature of direct beam solar radiation (setting variations over wavelength aside) and S being the solar power that is concentrated, with Th and Tc being the temperatures of the heat source and heat sink of a heat engine, the efficiency relative to S would be, assuming S takes the form of blackbody radiation (within the solid angle of the solar beam) at Ts (actual spectral distribution of S, which is affected by atmospheric absorption and scattering as well as solar characteristics, may allow for a different answer)

    eff = (1-Tc/Th)*[1-(Th/Ts)^4],

    which is maximized (as a function of Tc and Ts) at:
    (see note on these calculations below; also I did this quickly and can’t guarantee every value Th and eff)

    Tc (K), Ts (K), Th (K), eff (%)
    373, 5780, 2591, 82.1
    373, 5345, 2437, 81.0
    300, 5345, 2324, 84.0
    373, 5055, 2333, 80.2
    300, 5055, 2224, 83.3

    If Th is limited to smaller T, for example, 1000 K or less, then the efficiencies are:

    373, 5055, 1000, 62.6
    373, 5055, 600, 37.8

    300, 5055, 1000, 69.9
    300, 5055, 600, 50.0

    For smaller Th, the Carnot efficiency is a good approximation to the full equation. The optimal Th values are less than half of Ts for all examples given, thus the eff as calculated is at least 15/16 of the Carnot efficiency for the sample Ts and Tc values.

    ——————
    373 K = boiling point of water,
    5780 K ~= Ts in space, full spectrum,

    5345 K is an approximate brightness temperature (full spectrum) for direct insolation 1000 W/m2 (standard full sun under 1 atmosphere, although that may include diffuse radiation and so the temperature may be an overestimate of the brightness temperature;

    5055 K is an approximate brightness temperature (full spectrum) for a direct insolation of 800 W/m2.

    The last two brightness temperatures were calculated from distance to sun and solar radius here:
    http://www.nasa.gov/worldbook/sun_worldbook.html, and with blackbody flux per unit area = sigma * T^4, with sigma = 5.67e-8 (** thus only three significant figures); where by ‘full spectrum’, I am refering to the temperature of a blackbody of the size of the sun, at the same distance from Earth, that would emit such a flux per unit area reaching Earth.

    These are only effective brightness temperatures for the intensity of the direct beam over the whole spectrum, which is sufficient for the equation used, but in other cases the spectrum must be considered.

    **For diffuse light, 1000 W/m2 and 800 W/m2 correspond to brightness temperatures of 364.4 K and 344.6 K, respectively; however, spectral considerations are very important for finding the actual brightness temperature of diffuse solar radiation for thermodynamic purposes (consider the temperature of an object required to emit visible radiation as intense as a clear or even cloudy sky!))
    ————————-

    The optimal temperature Th can be higher if the target has lower emissivity at longer wavelengths and/or the optics are designed around the spectral properties of the incident solar radiation (Relative to solar radiation in space, at the surface, global (direct and indirect) solar radiation is depleted in UV and somewhat depleted in solar IR, especially in particular wavelength bands; direct radiation is farther depleted in shorter visible wavelengths).

    Also, the formula assumes the target on which solar radiation is focussed is always at the same temperature. In the case of parabolic troughs heating a fluid flowing through a pipe, the fluid only reaches Th as it leaves the solar collectors; it is thus less than Th for some portion of the length and thus eff can be a little higher.

    These are theoretical limits, of course.

    —-

    Regarding other solar energy devices, there are flat-plate collectors, which can use direct and diffuse light. Diffuse solar light still has somewhat high brightness temperatures (see note above), and thus can be converted to electricity and/or concentrated in a luminescent concentrator (see below).

    Flat plate collectors can be solar cells (PV devices). They can also be luminescent concentrators, which concentrate solar radiation via absorption in a layer of fluorescent dye, which emits some portion of the incident radiation at a wavelength that is mostly trapped in a thin layer by total internal reflection, thus being concentrated onto the small area of the edges of the layer (which may be where solar cells are placed).

    Both flat plate collectors and geometric concentrators (lenses, curved mirrors, mirror arrays) can be used only to produce solar heat. The flat plate collector would generally supply low temperature heat (for example, residential water heaters), although a technology employed in Israel uses flat collectors (ponds) with a sort of greenhouse effect to produce hot water to run a heat engine.

    And Solar cells can also be used with geometric concentrators (CPV).

    Cogeneration/hybrid systems:
    Whether in CPV or flat plate form, Solar cells, like mechanical heat engines, or thermophotovoltaic or thermoelectric devices, or (photo/photoelectro/electro/thermo/etc.)chemical reactions …
    (any of those could be used in some way with solar power; heat stored by a CSP device or otherwise produced could produce electricity through a thermophotovoltaic or thermoelectric device; as I understand it, a thermophotovoltaic device is a photovoltaic device that uses lower-energy photons, while a thermoelectric device works like a thermocouple)… can supply/produce work plus ‘waste heat’; that waste heat need not be wasted if the economics allow; for example, PV cells can be kept cool (typically increasing their efficiency) if their waste heat is transfered to water (I think this is called a hybrid system). Luminescent concentrators also produce some heat during the absorption and fluorescence process, which might be utilized.

    From what I recall, I think the theoretical limits of solar cells’ photon to electric energy conversion, allowing multijunction or spectrum splitting (or hot carrier collection?), etc, is somewhere around 60 % for unconcentrated sunlight and around 80 % for concentrated sunlight (No commercial technology comes anywhere near such limits yet). (I think the difference might be explaine by considering concentrated sunlight, if fully concentrated, has the same intensity of the direct solar rays over a whole hemisphere, so that the solar flux per unit area is as it would be at the surface of the sun (except for atmospheric effects), so that the charge carriers and PV material can be ‘hotter’ while losing energy via emission as the same fraction of absorbed radiation, and the charge carriers can be that much ‘hotter’ than the PV material and lose more energy to the PV material while still retaining the same fraction of absorbed solar radiation – see below.)

    I haven’t studied the thermodynamics of solar cells much but I know some basics of both thermodynamis and of solar cells and so can make some inferences. I think there may be somewhat analogous issues with the CSP efficiency limits discussed above; in this case, excited charge carriers (electrons and holes) must be produced by absorption of solar radiation; these charge carriers are ‘hotter’ than the material they are in, and thus they can lose energy via emissions of photons or heating of the material faster than energy would be gained from the material (and even if at equilibrium with the material, they will combined emit photons at any given frequency and direction and polarization just as easily as they would absorb them, relative to blackbody emission for the material temperature), so the maximum efficiency occurs when the current drains the electron and hole populations out of the photovoltaic material fast enough to reduce such losses while also not being too strong, to reduce resistance losses of voltage and the voltage within the photovolatic material required to drive the electrons and holes out different sides of the material (for a short circuit, their is no build up of charge within the photovoltaic material to support a voltage outside the material, so the current can’t do work outside the material; for an open circuit, the charge-carriers build up to such a density that they stop their net movements to different sides and do recombine at the same rate they are produced. The maximum power output is found with a current Imax less than the short circuit current Isc, and an output voltage Vmax less than the open circuit voltage Voc; the fill factor = Imax*Vmax / (Isc * Voc). I have read that higher fill factors can be attained with a greater photon flux absorption per unit volume – I’d guess because this can sustain a higher charge carrier density with the same recombination rate as a fraction of the electron-hole pair production rate.).

    —-

    If I recall correctly, the theoretical limit for conversion of fluid kinetic energy to work via a turbine in an ambi-ent unenclosed flow is 16/27, where this is the fraction of kinetic energy flux through an area that is the area swept by the turbine. It can’t be 100 % because in order for the fluid to transfer kinetic energy to the turbine, it must slow down; but it needs the same mass flow rate to ‘get out of the way’ of the next bit of fluid, so it can’t slow down to zero. Because the turbine puts up some resistance to the flow, as the air flows toward the turbine, it slows down, increases in pressure, and this redirects some flow to the side around the turbine. There will be a pressure drop across the turbine (the kinetic energy that is converted to pressure is not lost; kinetic energy works on a turbine via pressure (although for a Tesla turbine ? … well, that’s not really applicable to wind power so far as I know)). Assuming the pressure downwind of the turbine is the same as upwind (outside the region where the turbine causes a pressure rise in front), the air will have the same density and the same volume flow rate, so the area it flows through must expand in order for it to have reduced speed.

    In an enclosed flow (as in a hydroelectric dam or a steam turbine), the intake can be directed through a narrow area and the outflow from the turbine can occur through a very large area, and all the flow can be directed through the turbine, so the limitations to a wind turbine (or analogous water turbine within an ambi-ent current) don’t apply. Note: Fluid has energy via pressure and motion (and potential energy); when energy is not extracted or otherwise lost, fluid going from higher to lower pressure will speed up (if it is not gaining some other potential energy, such as by flowing upward against gravity). Trying to get an ambi-ent fluid flow to go through an enclosed process when it is not already doing so (mountains, buildings), doesn’t have any benifit, because the device has to have a larger area than the intake area anyway, and the fluid is free to flow around the intake rather than through it as the pressure builds up in front.

  322. Sou:

    289John Peter says: 23 March 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Sou @262
    Seems to me you’re standing a very slippery slope when you parcel out different temperatures and then average over regions. You don’t do that for CO2, you say that’s uniform. Same with the radiation energy balance.

    John, I was responding to Gary Thompson’s query, where he was asking why one couldn’t look at a couple of years of lower temp over the (contiguous) USA to say that there is no anthropogenic global warming. I pointed out that there are other areas in the world where the temperature is rising, and that global means global (not just the contiguous USA).

    I didn’t mention the uniformity of CO2. However yes, I agree that CO2 is rising fairly uniformly at every measuring point from Cape Grim in Tasmania to Hawaii and points in between, and I understand that it does spread well through the atmosphere, which isn’t a great surprise given the dynamics of gases and the atmosphere. It’s more like O2 and N2 in that regard, than like H20, because H20 goes in and out of the atmosphere much more quickly and doesn’t have time to ‘even out’, whereas CO2 hangs about for a very very long time.

    I didn’t do any calculation of regional or global temperatures myself, I leave that to the experts. The professionals are the ones who analyse the raw data and do the gridding and work out the global temperature. Most amateurs would be bound to make lots of errors.

    I don’t understand what you think is the slippery slope. It seems straightforward to me. The analysis of incoming and outgoing radiation supports the analysis of observations of temperature rise and CO2 increase. Again I don’t understand what you find problematic.

    BTW, you have lots and lots of company whereas I’m pretty much alone ;-)

    We’re all in the same boat, John – or should I say we’re all on the same earth, so no need to feel alone. We’re all experiencing the effects of a warming earth over time. Individually we react differently as the direct and immediate impacts on each of us differs :D

  323. Andrew Hobbs:

    #312 Brian Dodge

    Wrong.

    “If it takes more energy to extract the oil than the oil provides it won’t be worth doing no matter what the price.”
    “Nope. If I can dig up the energy equivalent of 5 barrels of oil worth of tar sand for 50 dollars, burn up 4 barrels worth to convert the remainder into 1 barrel of crude, and sell that for 100 dollars, I’m making a profit of 50 dollars on every barrel I sell, even though I’ve burned up 4 times as much as Ive sold.”

    In your example you have only used 80% of the energy in the extracted oil to actually extract it.

    The original quote is saying that if it takes the energy of more than 5 barrels of oil to extract 5 barrels of oil then it isn’t worth doing.

  324. Hank Roberts:

    Richard, thanks for looking further into that. I’m not complaining about the article, just wanted a better idea about what weight to give it. Scholar finds a _lot_ of interesting oceanography work by C.H. Greene — which says to me he’s the kind of scientist we’d really want watching the effects of geoengineering trials very carefully. Reassuring.

  325. Patrick 027:

    Re 323 Andrew Hobbs –
    “The original quote is saying that if it takes the energy of more than 5 barrels of oil to extract 5 barrels of oil then it isn’t worth doing.”

    Yes

    … but …
    And not to take away from the general point, but this won’t always be true; it could be worth getting the oil for certain special purposes, for the same reason it is worth expending some energy to produce some smaller amount of energy in the form of a battery, or for that matter, for the same reason energy is used to get copper or phosphorus or sulfur or titanium.

  326. John Peter:

    Sou@322

    Thanks for the kind words. They are comforting.

    The slope is slippery because the energy balances, at least all that I’ve seen, have all surfaces radiating at the same temperature in thermodynamic equilibrium. When different regions have different temperatures, how does one balance the radiation energy?

    It gets slipperier. The warmer here, cooler somewhere else, while making intuitive, qualitative, sense to us, might not compute quantitatively by any of the models. At least that’s what Mike Mann seemed to say when interviewed last November about his study of regional temperatures over the past century, century and a half. He could figure out that the NH and SH were 180 out of phase, but he couldn’t get his two models to back cast that way. Mike claims it’s too non-intuitive. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/326/5957/1287-b/DC1/1

    Hang in there and thanks for the help.

  327. Richard Ordway:

    “…wanted a better idea about what weight to give it.”

    Thanks Hank for keeping track of all these articles.
    http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/23_1/23-1_greene.pdf

    Greene’s article concludes with a wary view toward geoengineering:

    “…society may ultimately decide that most of the proposed approaches cannot be implemented on a global scale because of their anticipated risks to the environment and our socio-economic well being.”

    Greene seems to have been a lead author on a a peer-reviewed article related to human-caused climate change and others including one in Science:

    Greene,Pershing; Science, 2007

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/315/5815/1084
    ——————————————————————–
    ARCTIC CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS IMPACTS ON THE ECOLOGY
    OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC, Ecology, 2008, Ecological Society of America,

    Greene’s study concludes: “As we enter the 21st century and face the likelihood of climate changes unprecedented in human history (IPCC
    2007), society must anticipate changes in the structure
    and function of the ecosystems on which we have come
    to depend.”
    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/Greene.pdf
    ______________________________________________________________________

    So it seems, Greene has the capability/talent/history of publishing in top journals, but chose not to in this case…maybe to try to clue in more oceanographers who might be reading only their own specialized journals (that would hardly be a surprise, from my experience at a climate place).

  328. Patrick 027:

    Gilles –

    Re 158
    “And nobody really asks to suppress cars – they just want electric ones ! well it seems to indicate at least that this kind of “drawbacks” are not always a good reason to renounce to the modern comfort. Have you an idea of which criterion should be used to know if this king of things is acceptable, or not ?”

    Mixing two different issues. The argument for reducing fossil fuel usage (and/or sequestering C) (and reducing other greenhouse gas emissions) via alternatives – renewable energy (and maybe nuclear?), efficiency, etc, is not based on ALL problems of fossil fuels, it is based on the problems that alternatives would alleviate/avoid. The problem of traffic deaths is a different issue – how do we drive, how do we regulate driving, do we make cars differently – and these can affect energy efficiency, but to the extent they are done or not done for the purpose of energy efficiency is not supposed to be the same as what is done for all reasons.

    Re 159
    This recession was caused by more than expensive oil (it didn’t end when oil prices plummeted). It was caused by a form of dishonesty (and fear?) – people pretended that something was likely worth more than it was, and managed to convince themselves and others of that falsehood. (What appears puzzling is why, if the wealth wasn’t real, how was the economy was still working nicely up to the point that the truth was revealed? Two possibilities I can think of a priori to further research (which I won’t pretend to have done much) are 1. people may have been working harder and sacrificing more in anticipation of future benifit contingent on an illusion; thus motivation of productivity and sacrifice was reduced by the truth; 2. when it was revealed that something was thought to be worth more than it was, fear about illusory value of other things stopped economic processes from proceeding based on reality; uncertainty makes decisions harder, and the efficiency of the economy fell. Fluctuations also reduce economic efficiency.)

    Gilles: 206
    “Well I understand that the argument is often presented in this way, but I’m rather doubtful on what you mean exactly by “making the switch”. The point I’m raising is that it is absolutely not granted for me that the “switch” could power the same society as ours. And BTW, which one is it supposed to power? average global one? european one? american one? more? less? which growth? how long? up to which level ? why ?”

    1.
    In the approximation of a linear constant externality and ideal market, climate policy needn’t know these things; the externality will redirect the market towards something better, whatever that ends up being.

    2.
    Of course, in actuallity the externality and the cost of mitigation will both depend on the future trajectories of things, including population and technology.

    3.
    Given that, it’s a tough calculation to do, but the point is that qualitatively the proposal makes sense. Whatever we are able to get, we’ll get more with a good policy than with a bad policy.

    Gilles 267:
    “If renewable energies were much more productive than fossil fuels, why wouldn’t they have already replaced them?”

    Including the externalities for all, if renewable energy is better it will eventually replace fossil fuels, faster than determined by scarcity of input resources alone, if the externality is taxed or otherwise managed properly. If the externality is not managed, then renewable energy will wait longer to dominate.

    But there is an additional factor; renewable energy and some efficiency improvements involve long-term investment. They cost up front, but they pay back dividends. To the extent that some of the benifits are not realized for many decades, this might make up for some portion of a GDP drop, if there is one, at that time. Once there is a sufficient infrastructure established, the continuing investment can be payed for with returns from the infrastructure in place.

    And the market isn’t perfect:

    ———

    (some possibilities and other interesting points (which may or may not be framed as externalities themselves?, and may also overlap with each other or be examples of each other):
    1. negative sum games (competitive fertility, theft and murder (public protection of rights is government involvement in the market),
    2. mass market advantage and increasing returns and nonlinear supply-demand relationships (multiple equilibria),
    3. consideration of the rational self interest of future people,
    4. Negotiating power (is it used wisely, has it been earned?) (ie can cheap labor be farmed like a crop (West Virginia coal miners ?));
    5. Nonlinearities of big actions (the effects of incremental decisions may individuals might be calculated with the approximation that nothing else changes (?), like linearized wave equations.)
    6. self-fulfilling optimism and pessimism (smaller discounting of the future could encourage more investment so as to make the future better (consider how much fat and sugar you might eat if you only expected to live another year)) (monetary systems require trust), NOT to be confused with the idea that there are no physical limits (starvation verses metabolic disorder, the boundary depends on point of view, of course).
    7. How much a choice is valued depends on other choices including choices made by others, and choices in the past, and choices expected in the future. (If only the most favorite meal is chosen each day, in the absence of anticipating future days, then many foods will not be enjoyed.) (The costs of mitigation and adaptation both depend on future population.)
    8. Psychology: “Paradox of Choice”, limitations of ‘rational man’ and his/her ability to stay awake, delegate responsibilities to ‘rule of thumb man’, ‘habit man’, ‘experienced man’, and ‘instinct man’,
    9. Dependence on how optimum is defined; time horizons affect the production possibilities curve – the profit landscape (analogous in some, but not all, ways to the fitness landscape concept in biological evolution) depends on time horizon, and government action that is truly optimal could be considered a reshaping of the profit landscape (most clear cut example is the public decision to drive on one side of the road, which decreases the profitability of driving on the other side of the road but increases the potential profitability of driving) but from a more ‘global’ perspective actually represents a different path along the profit landscape; a valley between two peaks that is too deep to bridge actually indicates that as a function of real trajectory (initial conditions), the optimal path not taken doesn’t exist as an optimal path for that reality as it requires going back in time and making different choices)but the tendency in the response to externality policy should generally be the same.)
    10. Some value may be degraded by privatization of the commons; some public magagement and planning, etc, could boost overall economic profit (the aesthetic (and possibly, scientific) value of nature is affected by ownership; depending on technology, there is a cost to using toll roads; public consumer and worker protection may boost consumer confidence and worker enthusiam (?).)

    (I’ll just mention also that it can be a bit silly to state that government doesn’t create wealth but only redistributes it. Any economic activity involves some redistribution or rearrangement (including sometimes at the atomic or subatomic level) which has the effect of creating wealth (or bringing wealth from potential to actual). At some point, decisions are not made ‘by the market’ with no conscious effort; somebody somewhere actually has to make a decision. It is more reasonable to say that a government action can’t create more wealth or perhaps even the same wealth relative to the alternative of no government action (for a particular government action). Of course this doesn’t seem true for protection of property and life rights, etc. (environmental protection is really in part a form of that); aside from that, there is a logic there, in that, if the market is not ideal, how could the government do any better, since both depend on imperfect people? And the government doesn’t have the same incentives to perform optimally. Okay, but different problem solving methods may be more or less immune or prone to error when applied to different problems. And the government does have to work for votes. Because everyone may have some potential to be productive differently than they are at any one time, a government that responds equally to each person might still benifit the economy (?). Voters of course are often not that bright – they are misled by propaganda, they are too busy or too lazy or too pessimistic to invest in their decision making abilities. The same could be said of consumers and maybe others. We have proof that the market is plenty capable of waste and inefficiency.)

    When people continue to build and make things based on what they think people want, and people continue to buy things based on what’s available, the market is slow to change. We can get stuck in a rut. That’s why I do support some auxilliary measures (to the externality tax), for example, updating building codes, perhaps incorporated specific incentives or mandates for rooftop solar cells, water heaters, skylights (with some flexibility, for the mandate especially, that the requirements are contingent on local climate and solar resources, local and temporal economics, and landscaping – obviously solar cells shouldn’t be placed under the persistent shade of a tree, although a skylight could still be benificial in that case).

    ——

    “If it is more expensive and less convenient, they would probably sustain only a lower consumption.”

    It is more expensive now (if it even still is) because it is new; it is inconvenient because it has small market penetration. How inconvenient would it be to run a car on gasoline if we had a much smaller refinery capacity?

    “Now remember that the consequences of GW have been estimated by N. Stern around 20 % of GDP, which is considered as unbearable. I don’t know if it is realistic or not, but I simply ask : why do you expect that the total replacement (on the long term , it WILL be total) of fossil fuels by energies that are more expensive, less convenient, and cannot even been produced at this price without fossil fuels, won’t cause a similar change in the economy ? I can’t find any reasonable argument for that – apart from that we would LIKE that it can do it.”"

    Well, GDP might shrink (relative to a business as usual trajectory with climate change magically not in the equation) by a much smaller amount, at first (See N. Stern’s work). But electrification of some sizable fraction of transportation, even with solar power, might grow the GDP.

    (The necessary battery size of PEV’s can be shrunk if they are PHEV’s, which can use fuel when the batteries are depleted; this could be a good choice for someone who makes a lot of short trips and a few long ones.)

    Re 268
    “of course, but you should also remember that everybody”…”is only sensitive to regional temperature”…”live in his backyard”…”is much more sensitive to short term weather and doesn’t have a clear remembering of how it was 30 years ago – and doesn’t really care. For the supposed incapability of mankind to adapt to changes at a 30 years scale, well,look at the recent history, and remember that 30 years is just close to an average working time in your life, meaning that after this time you’re just replaced by young people who have no idea of how you were living 30 years ago – and care very little about it.”

    In addition to Ray Ladbury 278,

    The identification of a global trend is part of the scientific work (for identifying actual global warming). It will be easier to identify global trends before regional trends. This doesn’t mean there won’t be regional variations, with great importance.

    Re 183,
    - NUMBERS:

    The U.S. spends roughly $ 1 trillion per year on energy, for an electrical equivalent of roughly 1 TWe. Solar cells cost somewhere between $4 and $1 per peak W (peak W refers to a standard insolation of 1000 W/m2), or maybe slightly less now. Multiply that by 5 for typical insolation in regions where solar cells would be widely used (200 W/m2 on a proper fixed-tilt flat panel, many residential/urban/local applications will get less, many centralized power plants will get more). $20 per average W to $5 per average W or less. IF the costs are trending towards the lower end, and other costs (inverters, maintanence, some storage capacity (note storage is not necessary for grid-connected applications until variable renewable power exceeds some significant fraction of the total), HVDC lines) don’t more than triple the cost, then let’s take $15 per average W. That’s per installed average W. The Wattage decays over time, perhaps 0.5 % each year. Allowing for an additional 0.5 % loss of installed capacity from storm damage, etc, a replacement rate of 1 % is required to maintain constant power. 1 TWe * $15/average We = $15 trillion. 1 % of $15 trillion is 15 % of present energy expenditures, roughly; a HUGE ECONOMIC SAVINGS (not including rising costs of fossil fuels)! But yes, that’s for a mature steady state power supply (and actually doesn’t take into account the difference between panel output and system output, EROEI (say about 1 year of energy output invested for 50 or more years of energy output, requiring perhaps a 2.0408… % larger power supply and thus a replacment rate of 1.02 % per year, although compared to EROEI for fossil fuels and maybe nuclear, that may actually reduce the power supply needed), and costs or benifits associated with replacing fuels with electricity or using electricity to create fuel or using direct solar heat to reduce fuel needs, although we’ve got another $850 billion/year to to buffer that); BUT ALSO, what about the ramp up? Well, I did some sample calculations earlier for a couple of other RC comments on other threads several months ago on an Excel spreedsheet…

    (AND no, I’m not saying we must use only solar power. This is just an example.)

  329. Hank Roberts:

    John Peter, you post a link to an interview with Mann and tell us what you say he said, but you don’t give a direct quote. Is this what you’re interpreting? You say “he couldn’t get his two models to back cast that way” but that seems exactly the opposite of the point he was making — which is we have paleo data saying how the climate works:

    He says:

    “… there was a net heating of the global climate, it was a relatively warm interval, and yet those same factors appear to have drove the climate not into the warm El Niño state of the tropical Pacific, but the cold La Niña state, a bit counterintuitive.”

    And he goes on to say

    ” … There are only a relatively small subset of coupled climate models that exhibit this tropical thermostat response; most of the models do the opposite. …. However, the paleoclimate record of the past thousand years, in our analysis, suggests that at least with respect to the response that the climate has exhibited to natural factors, the response appears to be that thermostat response – it appears to be the opposite of what most of the IPCC projection models project….”

    So — seems to me — this is not saying that his models or anyone’s models don’t or can’t work right. Not at all. He’s saying some models do match reality, as we learn more about reality, better than others, and that’s how models get improved (and added to the IPCC’s collection).

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22All+models+are+wrong.+Some+models+are+useful.%22

  330. Kees van der Leun:

    Dear RC experts. How good is the estimate that Greenland ice sheet may already collapse at 400 ppm? From article “The effect of more realistic forcings and boundary conditions on the modelled geometry and sensitivity of the Greenland ice-sheet,” in The Cryosphere, “An Interactive Open Access Journal of the European Geosciences Union”
    http://bit.ly/Grld400

  331. Sou:

    @ #326 John Peter says: 23 March 2010 at 10:35 PM

    The slope is slippery because the energy balances, at least all that I’ve seen, have all surfaces radiating at the same temperature in thermodynamic equilibrium. When different regions have different temperatures, how does one balance the radiation energy?

    John, the thing is radiation can be measured at the outer perimeter of the atmosphere, so we’re talking different ‘surfaces’ – ie the surface of the outer atmosphere, not the land/water surface. The troposphere is where the weather happens, and it is separated from the stratosphere by the tropopause.

    I’m no expert in this area, but as I understand it, most of the incoming radiation just shoots in right through all the layers and gets absorbed by the surface (land and water). Some of the outgoing radiation from the IR emitted back from the land/water surface get’s ‘trapped’ in the troposphere by greenhouse gases etc, some passes back through the different atmospheric layers, particularly the troposphere, and heads on out to space. (With rising CO2, more is being reflected back to earth, so the radiation is not in balance – more incoming than outgoing for now, until CO2 stabilises.)

    That’s why you get different weather and temperature on the ‘inside’ (ie in the troposphere) while still being able to measure what goes back out to space – because the measurements of outgoing radiation are taken in layers above the ‘weather’. The outer layers are more consistent and don’t have the same turbulence as the troposphere. I’d expect those who do the measurements take into account any day / night effects and seasonal variations when calculating the net radiation over a period and any trends.

    You might find it useful to look up the atmospheric layers and their properties, composition etc, and look at where the satellites are positioned, which measure radiation.

    Now hopefully someone will correct me if I’m wrong with any of the above, or expand where I’ve oversimplified.

  332. Gilles:

    Patrick027 : I won’t comment your long post in all details, but I don’t think you have really addressed the main problem.It is that your “savings” have only the effect of leaving some fuel available either for other people who wouldn’t have accessed them if you hadn’t saved them : these people are either current poor people , and you have absolutely no reason for depriving them from their use, or your children or grand-children whom you have no reason – and no power – to deprive as well. I didn’t check your computation of solar power (you KNOW the problem of intermittency I presume?). I trust the FRench electricity company EDF will do the best choice by building cheap power plants and sell the electricity at the normal market price if it is possible; why wouldn’t they do it ? do you think that nuclear power is easy to master and is a pleasure to make accepted by populations? and France has been equipped for one century with hydroelectricity – I live actually in a small town where the first industrial application of the “white coal” (“houille blanche” ) has been done for a paper factory, by our local hero Aristide Berges. Renewable energy has been used from the beginning when it was interesting, cheap, and convenient. And I recall you that windmills, electric cars, biofuels, even hydrogen fuel cells already existed at this time (not solar panels, I admit). They all have been tested against fossil fuels – and not retained. There must be a reason?

  333. Andreas Bjurström:

    33 Ray Ladbury,
    “Don’t you think it should bother you that your picture of science is utterly unrecognizable to anyone who actually does science?”

    The irony is that the overall responses shows that many of the things I have said is more or less true. (and I don´t find your hard core view of scientic concensus very recognizable to working scientists. They usually work in cutting edge areas without concensus).

    49 Gavin
    Let us hope that is was an aberration that was not significant for the culture of the natural sciences in climare research.

    ps
    Time to say good bye to you all. It was interesting, valuable, constructive, frustrating, preasant and also unpleasant to discuss here.
    ds

  334. CM:

    Gilles (#313),

    > 0.47 kg /$ GDP ( 2000 $ PPP precisely).

    That explains it. I was looking at the other CO2/GDP table (Sheet 15), which uses exchange rates, not purchasing-power parity. I’m not sure which to prefer. But using PPP, the world economy reduced its CO2/GDP ratio by 41% from 1971-2007, which translates into an annual decarbonization rate of 1.5% per year. In that light, and using past experience as our guide, your concern that 1% a year might be the best we can do looks unduly pessimistic. However, past experience may not tell us much about life in a carbon-constrained 21st century world.

  335. t_p_hamilton:

    John Peter said:” The warmer here, cooler somewhere else, while making intuitive, qualitative, sense to us, might not compute quantitatively by any of the models. At least that’s what Mike Mann seemed to say…”

    Now we are warming everywhere. However, it would be nice to know regional effects more precisely, a well publicized shortcoming of current modeling. Paleoclimate comparisons might help, they might not.

  336. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas,
    I hardly think you can characterize my view of consensus as extreme–I merely contend that it tends to work. There is a certain body of knowledge that virtually any researcher in a field must agree upon to be productive–that’s where the consensus lies. If you’d bothered to talk to any real scientists, you’d know that.

  337. Barton Paul Levenson:

    simon a. (282): So how can you make any meaningful statement at all about such “noise” and why should it have anything to do with dice rolls or mobile phones? On what grounds can you be sure that it might not accumulate, at least over millenial timescales?

    BPL: If it accumulates, it’s not noise, it’s a trend. Please check out a book on time series analysis.

  338. Hank Roberts:

    > @ #326 John Peter says: 23 March 2010 at 10:35 PM
    > all surfaces radiating at the same temperature in thermodynamic
    > equilibrium. When different regions have different temperatures,
    > how does one balance the radiation energy?

    I think our local expert on that is Rod (NO WAIT I was joking) –though Rod’s wrestled with this for years, this is the same place he gets hung up repeatedly. Part of the problem is it took the first big computers in the 1950s to do the math needed to understand this question, so giving an answer in a few words typed casually is never very satisfactory. You’ll find this asked and answered over and over here for years.

    This is one good example where we need pointers not off the cuff answers.
    I think Eli Rabett has one clear enough for his grandmother. Where is it?

  339. Barton Paul Levenson:

    gary thompson (294),

    I regressed NASA GISS temperature anomalies for the continental USA for 1880-2006 (N = 127). The trend was up 0.5312 K/century. The significance, at t = 5.055, was 1.495 x 10^-6. Lower-48 US temperatures are rising, and the increase is highly statistically significant.

  340. Barton Paul Levenson:

    John Peter (326): When different regions have different temperatures, how does one balance the radiation energy?

    BPL: For a (reasonably large) given region, heat sources are:

    * Sunlight
    * Thermal IR back-radiation from the atmosphere

    Heat losses are:

    * Thermal IR radiation
    * Conduction
    * Convection
    * Evapotranspiration

    In addition, advection (side-to-side heating) can be either negative or positive depending on local conditions, mainly those having to do with winds and ocean currents. Overall, the latitudinal gradient of such transfer tends to run from the equator to the poles.

  341. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Gilles (332): windmills, electric cars, biofuels, even hydrogen fuel cells already existed at this time (not solar panels, I admit). They all have been tested against fossil fuels – and not retained. There must be a reason?

    BPL: Well, I said I’d stop answering Gilles, but this was too stupid to resist.

    They dropped renewables for fossil fuels because fossil fuels were cheaper at the time. Some renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels, and others are becoming so. And the costs of fossil fuels in terms of pollution and damage to peoples’ health wasn’t properly factored into their costs (and still isn’t).

    The idea that there was once a grand test between coal/oil and solar/wind, and solar/wind lost for all time because it was somehow intrinsically inferior, is economically illiterate.

  342. Hank Roberts:

    Okay, let me say something agreeing with several of the folks who’ve been posting here about fossil fuel use who’ve seemed rather intransigent about what we can do. I agree with them. But I think it’s clear we have choices.

    My text is from:
    http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/copenhagen/

    “The central fact of our carbon-constrained future is that China – along with India and South Africa, Brazil and Mexico, and indeed the entire ‘emerging’ world – stands at the edge of an impossible future. These countries are expected to constrain their carbon emissions while at the same time (here’s the punch line) pulling hundreds of millions of their citizens out of poverty. Yet the only model of modern prosperity that they have to work with is one based on huge per-capita emissions.”

    That’s real. That’s from Tom Athanasiou. See the more verbose version, with charts, here: http://www.ecoequity.org/2010/01/after-copenhagen/

    (Eco-equity is one of the links in the right sidebar at RealClimate. Don’t miss these, all are worth looking at.)

    We can _imagine_ a different model; we can point to baby steps being taken toward a different model; we can even point to models and scenarios showing that a different model is feasible; we even have investors funding some ideas.

    But the only _established_historical_path_ out of poverty — the one we in the West are enjoying the fruits of — ate up all the big mammals and fish and most of the birds, cut almost all the trees, washed much of the topsoil into the oceans, and burned twice as much carbon as the planet could manage in real time, the rest going into the air and oceans.

    Oops. Our bad — if we take responsibility for the path our grandparents all unknowingly followed, because it left us rich and the world destitute.

    The historical path now leads to where it’s always led–biology crashes.
    The people _on_ the path now look at us, fat and happy and rich, and ask how our grandparents got to use it and got rich, but they can’t.

    The margins have been used and overused:

    “Scientists have set thresholds for key environmental processes that, if crossed, could threaten Earth’s habitability. Ominously, three have already been exceeded….
    “… nine environmental processes could disrupt the planet’s ability to support human life. We then set boundaries for these processes—limits within which humankind can operate safely. Seven of the processes have clear boundaries, scientifically defined by a single number (that of course carries some uncertainty). Three of those boundaries—for climate change, ocean acidification and stratospheric ozone depletion—represent tipping points, and the other four signify the onset of irreversible degradation….”
    http://wap.sciam.com/newscontent.do?channelId=ch19_20100321&contentId=ch19_headline1&page=0 (pp. 1-2)

    So — a century ago, the resources for development were in the oceans and on the land, there to be harvested. Earth was rich.

    Now — the resources for development are in the banks and the businesses and organizations, legal and otherwise, that still have the riches of the Earth.
    People and corporations and organizations, legal and otherwise, are rich.

    Where is the money? One answer is rather astonishing — look at where most of the liquidity to bail out the banks last year came from (more than any government bailout, which should make some ‘bertarians happy):
    http://www.google.com/search?q=drug+funds+saved+banks

    Rich people have the money to fund the restoration of the Earth.
    Will they do that? If not, what’s the next step?

  343. Hank Roberts:

    PS, from Tom Athanasiou’s article
    http://www.ecoequity.org/2010/01/after-copenhagen/
    here’s the point.

    Note the little downtick in carbon burned the last few years? That’s the financial crash.

    http://www.ecoequity.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/figure1.jpg

  344. Andreas Bjurström:

    336 Ray Ladbury,
    I am also a real scientist, and I have listened to this rhetoric of yours about real scientists many times.
    I am sorry but your viewpoint is dogmatic. That hinders our discussion to be productive.

    Of cource there is a “certain body of knowledge that virtually any researcher in a field must agree upon to be productive”. However, this core body of knowledge change with time. Your “concensus is truth” viewpoint can neither explain why scientific knowledge change nor why some important truth can be true one day and false the next. If you bothered to pay closer attention to real science, and less to scientific ideology and wishful thinking, you’d know that.

  345. Richard Ordway:

    re. 333 Andreas Bjurström says:
    “”"”The irony is that the overall responses shows that many of the things I have said is more or less true. (and I don´t find your hard core view of scientism consensus very recognizable to working scientists. They usually work in cutting edge areas without consensus).”"”"

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    CONSENSUS

    There has been an undisputable scientific consensus on global warming since
    1979 as described by the USA’s highest science body.

    QUOTE: “A plethora of studies from diverse sources indicates a consensus that climate changes will result from mans’ combustion of fossil fuels and changes in land use.”

    1979-National Academy of Sciences Archives, “An evaluation of the Evidence for CO2-induced Climate change, Assembly of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Climate Research Board, Study Group on Carbon Dioxide, 1979, Film label: CO2 and Climate Change: Ad Hoc: General.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Second, this scientific consensus was repeated by governments of about 120 countries in 1995:

    “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human impact on global climate.”

    Houghton et al., eds., Climate Change 1995, 5. It’s not hysterical, not catastrophic, …human fingerprint had become scientifically detectible. This was a scientific consensus.

    Oreskes 2004: “The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)…But there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change….In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members’ expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements.” Oreskes 2004, Journal of Science.

    Study showed that scientists had a consensus that warming would happen since late 1970s…and it did:
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Why did so many people (nearly ½ Americans) have the impression of a raging debate?

    Short answer: That is the impression that a small but powerful group of people, aided and abetted by well-funded think-tanks and a compliant mass media, wanted them to have.

    -Peer reviewed Oreskes,- her scholarly book the Merchants of Doubt.

    This is good enough for scientists whose work holds up over time in the peer reviewed literature…it should be good enough for you.

  346. Jeffrey Davis:

    What appears puzzling is why, if the wealth wasn’t real, how was the economy was still working nicely up to the point that the truth was revealed?

    The money was “real” and was being used. In pension plans and as collateral. To name 2.

    When the price dropped, building projects stopped in their tracks and industrial expansion became almost non-existent.

    And retirement became chimerical for lots of people.

  347. Septic Matthew:

    332, Gilles: And I recall you that windmills, electric cars, biofuels, even hydrogen fuel cells already existed at this time (not solar panels, I admit). They all have been tested against fossil fuels – and not retained. There must be a reason?

    1. They were not the fuel cells, windmills and biofuels that have been developed recently;

    2. It was not so clear that we might soon run out of petroleum;

    3. It was not so clear that the pollutant effects of coal (soot, mercury, radiation) were dangerous;

    4. It was not clear that there was a possible threat of warming due to CO2 (I am a skeptic, not a denier.)

    5. Don’t forget to include nuclear in the list of solutions, i.e. sources of electricity. do you think that nuclear power is easy to master and is a pleasure to make accepted by populations? “easy”? “pleasure”? Remove the misleading/loaded words and think about what is happening: the U.S. has 104 nuclear power plants supplying about 90GW of power, and running at a high load capacity, especially in winter when solar is in reduced supply. More people die from the electricity (kitchen fires, etc.) than from handling the fuel. Modern designs use most of what up until now has been spent fuel (somewhat better than the SuperPhenix models in France). India and China are now building a few dozen new plants over the next decade, and the rest of the world will follow; the U.S. has about a dozen in various stages of planning/financing. Were you aware that people die from hydroelectricity? In the last year about 75 died when a transformer in a dam blew up in Russia — more than the number of people who contracted any problem from Three Mile Island (though Chernobyl was worse). Every technology that produces electricity kills people, and nuclear is far from the worst.

    334, CM: But using PPP, the world economy reduced its CO2/GDP ratio by 41% from 1971-2007, which translates into an annual decarbonization rate of 1.5% per year. In that light, and using past experience as our guide, your concern that 1% a year might be the best we can do looks unduly pessimistic.

    Even China and India are expanding their GDP faster than they are expanding CO2 production. On present plans and recently observed progress, they’ll probably be reducing CO2 production by about mid-century. Your modest and well-supported optimism is refreshing.

    328, Patrick027

    We definitely have to be committed to the long haul: a sustained effort of decades. Every 5 – 10 years we’ll be able to evaluate progress and allocate investments differently for the next 5 – 10, compared to the last 5 – 10. I think that at some point in the next 10 years solar power will become the cheapest source of electricity for making new PV cells, and I think that will change the economics. I am glad you included the short life-span of the panels. Current nuclear power plants operate at nearly full power (I think US capacity utilization is about 90%, but I need to read up) for nearly 60 years, and their life-span is increasing. All of the alternative technologies are improving. Cost is a factor: it is substantial, but not prohibitive (IMO), compared to the cost of petroleum.

  348. Septic Matthew:

    342, Hank Roberts: Rich people have the money to fund the restoration of the Earth.
    Will they do that?

    I and some of my friends buy CO2 offsets. We are CO2-negative. Some of the money goes to wind and solar farms, some to Equatorial reforestation. Some people derisively refer to CO2 offsets as “Indulgences”, but there is a difference between the science of CO2 and its offsets (on the one hand) and the theology of Pergutory and Intercessory Prayers (on the other hand): there’s lots of evidence for the efficacy of CO2 offsets. If all AGW promoters bought their own CO2 offsets, that would make a measurable impact on the problems.

  349. Bob:

    WUWT has a post up about Simon Lewis’ complaint about the Amazon issue coverage. It includes the laughable following (was he looking in a mirror as he typed it?)… emphasis mine:

    Heh. This must be the first time Lewis has been interviewed by the press. From experience I can tell you that in matters of science, the message is often muddled by the time it gets to print. Sometimes this is intentional if the reporter has a specific agenda, but sometimes it simply is a combination of poor understanding of the subject

  350. Didactylos:

    “The idea that there was once a grand test between coal/oil and solar/wind, and solar/wind lost for all time because it was somehow intrinsically inferior, is economically illiterate.”

    BPL talking good sense here.

    I just wish he would apply the same thinking to nuclear power, too, without prejudice.

  351. Ric Merritt:

    Patrick 027
    @ 23 March 2010 at 7:23 PM –

    Thank you for all the details. Knowing the theoretical targets that limit devices is a wonderful thing. The real questions come in that rich middle ground between physics and engineering (not to mention human factors, which may also be decisive).

    Trying to concentrate solar power, for example, is a plausible step, and may be economic. To do it on the real Earth, living in our actual society and economy, you have to make small proofs of concept, then raise enough capital to try it at scale, which is approximately where we are now. The early attempts will understandably be far too expensive, but one hopes to do better with experience and economies of scale.

    Let’s say this goes reasonably well, with some investment capital from private or government entities we hope will prove far-sighted. Keep in mind that all the while you are building the wonderful mirrors and towers, or whatever your scheme uses, mostly with fossil fuels. This of course is drawing crucial resources from other crucial projects, like keeping humanity alive and worth living, so the competition is fierce. And you are very proud of your particular scheme, but let’s face it, some of those other dunderheads are wasting those precious, dwindling resources on blind alleys. Perhaps ethanol from corn, or tar sands, are blind alleys, for various reasons. And you have to admit, the mirrors and towers are pretty expensive. (Windmills also concentrate solar power, of course. All the same reasoning applies to them, mutatis mutandis.)

    But we aren’t even halfway to the promised land yet. Now that your scheme is showing some hope, start doing it over and over, replicating it worldwide, with less and less fossil fuel, eventually none to speak of. That’s the part nobody knows will work. Counting on being constantly richer (Lomborg’s forehead-slapping error, though he is not alone) is circular reasoning. What if we stop getting richer? We’ve proved previously that we don’t need Peak Oil to get seriously messed up by greed, pyramid schemes, political-economic corruption, and the 4 Horsemen. You have to wonder how all that will feed back when Peak Everything and climate change are thrown in. How will that investment buildup, economic restructuring, and electrification of transportation go in times of decline and war? If you aren’t worried about that, you aren’t thinking.

    Also, even if the human factors go better than expected, we lack even a proof of concept showing how much net useful energy can come from renewable technology without using fossil fuels. That’s pretty tough to model. We know at least a little is available, because it’s been done, with wood and dung and muscle built from photosynthesis. We’d like to do better than that. I think you just have to try it. Until we get further down the road, we won’t know where it goes.

    This sort of topic can get gloomy. I’m not in favor of dropping dead, and I am in favoring of thinking and caring and doing the best possible with what’s at hand. Assuming that constantly increasing wealth comes from technical knowledge is dangerous. We don’t know what percentage is actually due to fossil fuels.

  352. Richard Ordway:

    Oops, if true, it looks like Shell Oil is still trying a type of insidious deception campaign as of March 2010.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE62N0ZH20100324?type=marketsNews

    [Response: Unbelievable.--Jim]

  353. Richard Ordway:

    If true, the US Navy has an active climate change task force:

    ‘”For the U.S. Navy, climate change is a challenge…” said Rear Adm. David Titley, who is leading the Navy’s Task Force Climate Change.’

    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/03/24/24climatewire-accelerating-arctic-changes-pose-long-term-r-99952.html

  354. Naindj:

    BPL, 341 “Some renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels”.

    The figures I found so far agreed more on less on this: 0.05$ per kWh for the oil (at 70$ a barrel) and around 0.3$ per kWh for solar energy. (coal is even a lot cheaper, about 0.01$ per kWh).
    So that we have a factor of at least 6.
    You are saying that this factor has now been reduced to 1? Are you talking about solar panels? Can you direct me to some studies showing that?
    Many thanks

  355. John Peter:

    HR@329

    Thanks for your interpretation, it’s very interesting to me, I’ll re-read Mike’s initial description and see if I can understand it. In any case thanks again for your contribution to my education. (I’m trying to understand what a “regional model” really is and there seems to be a lot of fairly high powered statistics to crawl through).

    I apologize for not being clearer about Mike’s interview. What caught my attention were some questions and answers at the end; the interviewer and Mike were in a fast paced Q&A. To make it easier so there’s no mistake about what Mike said I’ll reproduce it here:

    Interviewer – Robert Frederick
    Now, as the title of your team’s paper makes note, the time period that you and your team analyzed includes the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Climate Anomaly.
    Interviewee – Michael Mann
    Right.
    Interviewer – Robert Frederick
    When are those periods? And, according to your team’s model, what happened?
    Interviewee – Michael Mann
    So, the complication sometimes in defining those periods is that, unlike the recent warming of the past century, past periods of warming or cooling tend to be very heterogeneous regionally. That means that if one region was relatively warm, there’s a good chance that other regions were cold, and vice-versa. because of that, it means that it’s actually somewhat of a challenge to define, in a global sense, the Little Ice Age or the Medieval Climate Anomaly. What used to be called the “Medieval Warm Period,” most Scientists favor now the use of the term the “Medieval Climate Anomaly” for the reason that I just cited, that it wasn’t warm everywhere, and that’s very clear in our own reconstructions. So, these intervals are a challenge to define because they are so spatially, they’re variable regionally. The warming and cooling happens in different places and different times, but if you look at, say, the average temperature over the Northern Hemisphere, there is a period of somewhere between the 9th century and the 13th century where temperatures were relatively warm compared to subsequent centuries, and, in fact, a period during the, roughly the, say, the 17th century to the 19th century, or somewhere about there, where temperatures averaged over the Northern Hemisphere were relatively cool in comparison with that Medieval Period. But if you look at theMedieval Period, even though it was relatively warm compared to that Little Ice Age, it compares, in a global sense, at most with the level of warming that we saw in the mid-20th century. It doesn’t reach the levels of warmth that we’ve seen in the most recent decades, at least globally. So we used those two intervals characterizing overall when it was relatively cool and relatively mild averaged over the Northern Hemisphere to define the intervals that we would call the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the subsequent Little Ice Age, and then we looked at the spatial patterns of those time intervals.
    Interviewer – Robert Frederick
    What aspects then, more precisely, of your team’s model of the past may help in predicting current climate change?
    Interviewee – Michael Mann
    Well, there are really two very interesting observations in the reconstructed patterns that we were actually able to test against climate model predictions. And so, we took those same periods – that Medieval Climate Anomaly period and the Little Ice Age period –and we know, imperfectly, but we have some idea of what the level of natural factors that influenced climate in the past, we sort of know what those factors were. We have a good idea of how the output of the sun has varied over the past thousand years, although there’s some uncertainty. We have a fairly detailed record of the history of explosive volcanic eruptions. And so, these are two natural factors contrasting, for example, with the human factor of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. These are natural factors that influence climate over time. And we took those factors and we ran two different climate models with the estimated difference in the levels of volcanism and solar output in those two different intervals – in the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age period. One of the models is the NCAR-coupled model. The other model we used was the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies coupled model. So, it gave us sort of a sampling of two different physical representations of the way the climate system responds to these natural factors. And we could look at both of those models, we could see what they predicted, and we could see how it compared with what we actually observed. And what we observed was that the surface temperature patterns during the Medieval era counter intuitive l look more like the La Niña phenomenon, when it’s cold in the eastern and central tropical Pacific. Now, this is a period of time when solar output was relatively high, there was relatively little explosive volcanism, so there was a net heating of the global climate, it was a relatively warm interval, and yet those same factors appear to have drove the climate not into the warm El Niño state of the tropical Pacific, but the cold La Niña state, a bit counterintuitive. We also saw in the reconstructed pattern, that when you compared the Medieval era to the Little Ice Age era, aside from the Medieval era actually being cooler in the tropical Pacific, counter- intuitively what we used to think of the Medieval Warm Period, is that it was actually cold in the tropical Pacific in comparison with the Little Ice Age, which is what we normally think of as the cold period.
    Interviewer – Robert Frederick
    So, this is the idea of the tropical Pacific acting as a thermostat.
    Interviewee – Michael Mann
    Absolutely, and we see that in the reconstructions. As it turns out, neither of the two models that we looked at actually exhibit that response.
    There are only relatively small subsets of coupled climate models that exhibit this tropical thermostat response; most of the models do the opposite. When you warm the tropical Pacific, the models respond with an El Niño-like state, and when you cool the tropical Pacific, they respond with a La Niña-like state. So the majority of the models used in the most recent IPCC projections, for example, don’t favor the thermostat response – they favor an El Niño-like response to a warming at the surface, like the warming that we’re seeing with increased greenhouse gas concentrations. However, the paleoclimate record of the past thousand years, in our analysis, suggests that at least with respect to the response that the climate has exhibited to natural factors, the response appears to be that thermostat response – it appears to be the opposite of what most of the IPCC projection models project.
    Interviewer – Robert Frederick

    So is it your team’s intention, then, to try to get your model included in the next assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC?
    Interviewee – Michael Mann
    Well, the two models…
    Interviewer – Robert Frederick
    The NCAR and NASA ones are already in there.
    Interviewee – Michael Mann
    Yeah, exactly. So the – yeah, I think that it’s useful, and in the next IPCC assessment, it may very well be the case that there will be a new section that deals with the question of how paleoclimate data can inform our understanding of some of these fairly complex, dynamical responses of the climate. So, while I don’t see our results as being made explicitly part of an IPCC projection, I do see them as potentially informing our assessment of the extent to which we think the current generation models are, or are not, capturing some of the regional mechanisms that may be important in making regional climate change assessments.
    Interviewer – Robert Frederick
    Michael Mann, thank you very much.
    Interviewee – Michael Mann
    Thank you. It was a pleasure talking with you.

    This was the time of the climate-gate problems with the MSM; I thought Mike was caught off-guard by the IPCC question but he fielded it very well. He’s one scientist who knows how to talk to the press.
    Before your post, I believed I understood this interchange so I posted that understanding. What do you make of it? ;-}

  356. Patrick 027:

    Re Simon Abingdon – signal verse noise:

    More generally, a signal is any component of the data’s structure that you are ‘looking for’ and noise is everything else. So what is noise and what is a signal depend on what issue you are studying. A cycle can be a signal. The most basic signal of forced climate change is a longer-term trend, which reflects the change in forcing over time plus a lag-time from thermal inertia, etc. If any noise could occur with long-period trends, than the data alone wouldn’t be enough to pinpoint what the signal is, but considering the physics of the noise (how much low frequency noise could there be?) and using multiple dimensions (spatial-temporal patterns, heat content changes) can help tease things out. However, a change in the texture of the noise itself could constitute a signal of sorts.

  357. Completely Fed Up:

    Didactylos, I would think that ending comment would more validly be placed at your feet…

  358. Andreas Bjurström:

    345 Richard Ordway,
    It seems that you never really listen to what I actually say. The same goes for most people I have discussed with here. And your response is very telling for how politicized climate science is and how that results in a trench warfare with very limited options on how to understand and respond to this very complex and broad problem.

  359. Gilles:

    BPL :”BPL: Well, I said I’d stop answering Gilles, but this was too stupid to resist.

    They dropped renewables for fossil fuels because fossil fuels were cheaper at the time. Some renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels, and others are becoming so. And the costs of fossil fuels in terms of pollution and damage to peoples’ health wasn’t properly factored into their costs (and still isn’t).”

    BPL : if the situation has changed, we should see that in the marginal capacity added each year. So can you remind me which fraction of the increase of energy (except last year where the energy consumption decreased) is brought by renewable energies in the recent years, compared with fossil fuels ?

  360. Richard Ordway:

    358Andreas Bjurström says:

    “”"”345 Richard Ordway,
    It seems that you never really listen to what I actually say…
    and I don´t find your hard core view of scientism consensus very recognizable to working scientists. They usually work in cutting edge areas without consensus..”"”"

    This is ripe. Please present some evidence that there is not a scientific consensus from publishing climate scientists whose work holds up over time.
    ===========================================================================
    CONSENSUS

    QUOTE: “A plethora of studies from diverse sources indicates a consensus that climate changes will result from mans’ combustion of fossil fuels and changes in land use.”

    1979-National Academy of Sciences Archives, “An evaluation of the Evidence for CO2-induced Climate change, Assembly of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Climate Research Board, Study Group on Carbon Dioxide, 1979, Film label: CO2 and Climate Change: Ad Hoc: General.

    Okay dude. I personally have known many of the world’s top publishing climate scientists whose work holds up over time for over 11 years at the climate research center where I was for 11 years as well as NOAA and EPA scientists… and saw many of them and talked to many of them on an almost daily basis.

    They accepted the consensus’s for what it was…written solidly in the peer review, but still willing to keep an open mind. Your ideas are mad.

  361. Patrick 027:

    Correction: The formula (1-Tc/Th) * [1 - (Th/Ts)^4] was specifically for dish or other such concentrators that theoretically can focuse sunlight so that at the focus, the flux per unit area would be the same as at the surface of the sun (except for atmospheric effects). It could apply to a parabolic trough concentrator but only if the material at the focus only acted as a blackbody in a limited range of directions… otherwise it might be necessary to … use the square root of Ts in place of Ts (? I haven’t actually done the math yet for that problem).

    And all other caveats still apply.

  362. Barton Paul Levenson:

    AB (344),

    Ray Ladbury has forgotten more about science than you’ve ever known.

    Peer review and consensus is how modern science is done, and it has been a fantastically productive system. Everyone I’ve ever encountered who argued against the idea of scientific consensus was a pseudoscientist.

  363. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Did (350),

    It’s not prejudice just because someone disagrees with you.

    I know how a nuclear plant works. I believe a safe nuclear plant can be built. It’s just that I think it would no longer be cost-effective if it were safe. And the damn things take forever to build. Other options are better. If our options were ONLY coal or nuclear, I’d take nuclear. But they aren’t. Period.

  364. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Naindj (354),

    I’m talking about windmills. And possibly biodiesel; I haven’t seen the latest figures.

  365. Didactylos:

    Completely Fed Up: No.

  366. Didactylos:

    Naindj:

    BPL and others sometimes fall into overly-simplistic views on energy cost. The reality is that energy costs vary considerably by country, state – even by individual installation. BPL and CFU will try to push the California figures, and pretend that no others exist. I have yet to see figures for California that properly account for subsidies. You seem to be using whole-US figures. In the US, coal is still very cheap.

    You can find breakdowns by country and power source here: http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/Downloads/PDF/07/0706_TPA_A_Review_of_Electricity.pdf

    I would be very interested if you happen to find any similarly credible sources for global energy costs. I’m not naive enough to claim that the UKERC figures are in any way definitive (but they are the result of academic studies and have no clear bias, unlike most sources of energy cost estimates).

  367. Andreas Bjurström:

    362 Barton Paul Levenson,
    Stephen Schneider shows a rather critical view of the IPCC conservative concensus culture (in his new book). Is he a pseudo-scientist according to you?

    360 Richard Ordway,
    Ýou still don´t read what I actually say. I was mere contesting that a strong culture of concensus are good for scientific progress. To be critical and question the taken for granted are very important in science.

    But sure, I can give an example of concensus and climate change. 100 years ago Svante Arrhenius argued that a warmed climate due to AGW is beneficial for humankind. In the cold war era, many climate scientists in the USA was worried of atomic winter. They also worried that aerosols could cause cooling. And they had a technocratic view on the possibility to control climate (keep it stable). The environmental discource where climate is seen as a problem of the environment started in the 1970´s. The concensus we see today stems from this era, and have been gradually produced. We dont know yet, if the concensus frame of today will change in say 10 or 20 years. I would be very surpriced if we dont understand climate differenty in 20 years time.

  368. Didactylos:

    BPL:

    You have made your prejudice about nuclear power very clear in the past. And since those previous discussions, you have already forgotten that different countries have different energy needs, and different renewable resources, and different practical constraints.

    Proof, if any were needed, that I am talking to someone who has made up his mind years ago, and who is not open to further discussion.

    CND? Chernobyl? Who knows what cemented your opinion. If you honestly believed that “a safe nuclear plant can be built”, then you would not argue against nuclear power using emotive appeals to hysteria, patently false claims about financial viability and frankly ridiculous lists of nuclear fatalities.

    Perhaps you could use your list of fatalities to calculate your own estimate of deaths per GWY? Don’t forget to exclude the military accidents.

  369. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas says, “Of cource there is a “certain body of knowledge that virtually any researcher in a field must agree upon to be productive”. However, this core body of knowledge change with time.”

    Well thank you Dr. Obvious–and you will note that it changed via the efforts or scientists–experts in the field.

    Andreas: “Your “concensus is truth” viewpoint can neither explain why scientific knowledge change nor why some important truth can be true one day and false the next.”

    Actually, Andreas, first, I never equate consensus with truth. Rather, I state that consensus gives the most reliable approximation of trugh we have at any moment. And my view explains quite precisely why an “important truth” (or rather an approximation thereov) may change. It does so because a new approximate truth does a better job at explaining the phenomena under study. And then to be maximally productive, scientists in that field must adopt that truth–a new consensus emerges.

    Moreover, my viewpoint explains why once the explanatory power of a theory becomes sufficiently great, it is very rarely overturned but instead tends to be refined gradually over time. Such gradual evolution is much more common than scientific revolution. It is what we as scientists work at on a daily basis.

    Andreas: “If you bothered to pay closer attention to real science, and less to scientific ideology and wishful thinking, you’d know that.”

    Actually, Andreas, I not only pay attention to science, I do science. Very applied science, it is true, but it is application of the scientific method. Would you care to name some real scientists who buy into your postmodern [edit]?

  370. John Peter:

    BPL@363

    Why either/or? Phase the coal out. Phase the nuclear in. Bridge the gaps with solar, wind, biodiesel whatever.

    Sounds pretty good to me.

  371. Rick Brown:

    #344 Andreas Bjurstrom, thinking he’s responding to Ray Ladbury #336:
    “I am also a real scientist . . .”

    Not being a scientists myself, I’ll accept that you are a “real” one. I’ll also humbly suggest that you’ll be a “good” scientist, i.e., contributing to the body of scientific knowledge, when you learn to constrain your highly developed confirmation bias, which has been much in evidence in most of your many postings (generalized, along the lines of “I came to this site and found just what I expected . . .tsk, tsk”). Perhaps you could put it in a blind trust along with your similarly unhelpful, self-described, “warrior” side.

    I’m really not interested in encouraging you to post again, so please feel free to consider the following question rhetorical. Where, precisely did Ray L. say that scientific consensus “is truth?”

  372. Phil Scadden:

    “But sure, I can give an example of concensus and climate change. 100 years ago Svante Arrhenius argued that a warmed climate due to AGW is beneficial for humankind. In the cold war era, many climate scientists in the USA was worried of atomic winter. They also worried that aerosols could cause cooling. And they had a technocratic view on the possibility to control climate (keep it stable). ”

    I dont agree. Since Arrhenius the consensus is that GHG cause warming. At rate of CO2 production in Arrhenius time, the warming might be well be beneficial but I strongly doubt that he would have thought rapid warming was good. The consensus is still that aerosols cause cooling and your only reason for not worrying about an atomic winter is that risk of atomic war has receded. I’ll be very surprised if the consensus here will change in even 10,000 years time.

  373. John Peter:

    Soo@331
    It seem pretty simple to me. We do the energy balance easily by looking at the earth and sun as black body radiators sitting in space.
    The sun radiates mostly IV radiation at the earth. Some gets reflected to space the rest gets absorbed.
    The earth radiates IR to space. At the outer edge of the atmosphere these energies must be equal.
    The surface temperature of the earth is warmer (35C) than needed to radiate enough energy balance the sun’s. Enough of the energy radiated by the earth is trapped in the atmosphere to reduce the net earth energy to balance with the sun.
    To calculate the earth radiation instantaneous emission is averaged diurnally and over latitudes, pole to pole.
    If I have this (nearly) right, I can’t envision doing this average “regionally”

  374. Hank Roberts:

    > At the outer edge of the atmosphere these energies must be equal.
    When? Why? Says who?

  375. John Peter:

    t_p_hamilton@335

    Thanks for noticing.

    If regional models don’t work too well (yet), I have a problem with the “hot here, cold there” explanation we try to use to explain GW. How do we know who’s hot and who’s cold if our models won’t tell us?

    As a physicist

    “Paleoclimate comparisons might help, they might not.”

    makes sense to me, although Mike’s answer is a little better PR.

    Global warming predictors that back-casted successfully would be even more impressive to me as a financial analyst…

  376. Andreas Bjurström:

    372 Phil Scadden,
    You misunderstand me. I don´t argue about “GHG cause warming” concensus. Climate change is a complex of hundreds of different theories and “hypothesis” and facts and speculations and evaluations …

    Im not sure why you cherry-pick just one of the most well-established facts as a symbol for climate change as a whole. To disagree with me you must first understand what I was saying.

  377. David Miller:

    Naindj (354): Sorry, but I’ve got to call BS if you’re talking about coal fired electricity going for a cent per KWH.

    We are talking about a delivered price for new generation capacity, right? A cent per KWH doesn’t cover the fuel, let alone the plant cost.

    Citation required if you’re going to stick with that number.

  378. David Miller:

    Someone – Tim Jones, I think, opines:

    This isn’t necessarily so. If it takes more energy to extract the oil than the oil provides it won’t be worth doing no matter what the price. If the energy returned is less than the energy invested you have a negative ERoEI.

    I wish that were so.

    Unfortunately, it’s not always so. It is true if you’re using some of the extracted energy in order to extract more.

    With in-situ combustion of coal an tar sands, however, the economics picture is very different than the EROEI picture. How many barrels of would-be oil are burned in place is irrelevant to making a profit. All that counts is money invested and hydrocarbons extracted. Burning 3 barrels in the ground for each barrel extracted means the extraction rate is 25%, but it’s worthwhile if there’s a good financial ROI.

    Coal is the same deal. They’re already talking about partially burning it for the producer gas output. Coal to liquid! And you don’t even have to remove the top of the mountain first!!

    So, from an greenhouse gas point of view, things could get very ugly when oil starts getting expensive again.

  379. Richard Ordway:

    Andreas Bjurström says

    “”"”Stephen Schneider shows a rather critical view of the IPCC conservative concensus culture (in his new book). Is he a pseudo-scientist according to you?”"”"

    Please give actual quotes from Steve Schneider in your statements. I doubt he or Joe Romm disagree with the scientific consensus that we humans are causing global warming.
    ________________________________________________________________________

    CONSENSUS

    1) The USA’s highest science body-1979:

    QUOTE: “A plethora of studies from diverse sources indicates a consensus that climate changes will result from mans’ combustion of fossil fuels and changes in land use.”

    1979-National Academy of Sciences Archives, “An evaluation of the Evidence for CO2-induced Climate change, Assembly of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Climate Research Board, Study Group on Carbon Dioxide, 1979, Film label: CO2 and Climate Change: Ad Hoc: General.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    2) This scientific consensus was repeated by governments of about 120 countries in 1995 in the peer reviewed literature:

    QUOTE: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human impact on global climate.”

    Houghton et al., eds., Climate Change 1995, 5. It’s not hysterical, not catastrophic, …human fingerprint had become scientifically detectible. This was a scientific consensus.
    ————————————————————————
    3) This scientific consensus was repeated in the peer reviewed Science Journal in 2004 by a respected scientist… and the information has held up over time:

    QUOTE: “The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)…But there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change….In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members’ expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements.” Oreskes 2004, Journal of Science.

    Study showed that scientists had a consensus that warming would happen since late 1970s…and it did:
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Why did so many people (nearly ½ Americans) have the impression of a raging debate?

    Short answer: That is the impression that a small but powerful group of people, aided and abetted by well-funded think-tanks and a compliant mass media, wanted them to have.

    -Peer reviewed Oreskes,- her scholarly book the Merchants of Doubt.

  380. John Peter:

    Hank Roberts@374

    Hank, you asked:

    When? In equilibrium, a day is pretty good, a year would be even better

    Why? Conservation of energy. 1st Thermodynamics Law (I think maybe it was Kirkhoff’s absorption=emission?)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_thermodynamics

    Who? Probably Stephan or Boltzman. Read Ram’s 0-dimensional model in the 1989 Physics Today Review. Maybe Trenberth around 1997 or any other energy balance description. Out in space radiation in equals radiation out. Otherwise we get hotter or cooler.
    Try http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography-book/radiationbalance.htm
    for a more professional description.

    Remember we only care about radiation.

    Hope this helps 8%)

  381. Sou:

    @ #373 John Peter says: 24 March 2010 at 6:53 PM
    John, I’m thinking you are talking about two issues here. One is the overall extent of global warming (net radiation), being induced by an increase in greenhouse gases and all the follow on consequences of that (ice loss etc). The other is the response to global warming in different regions and localities. There is a lot of work going on in regard to both aspects.

    The climate models are able to use smaller grids as computing capacity increases and this should help work out regional changes more precisely.

    You’ve got me interested in just how the radiation side of things is variously measured and calculated. I’m so far figuring there are various ways of doing it, using data from satellites and ground-based instruments. The new NASA climate site (http://climate.nasa.gov/) is very good and has a lot of information, but it’s not always easy to find exactly what you want :)

  382. Patrick 027:

    Correction for CSP efficiency limits:

    The actual limit for concentration of solar radiation (in terms of flux per unit area) is [(distance from center of sun)/(solar radius)]^2 ~= 215^2 ~= 46,300. (I vaguely recall reading that it could be concentrated up to 80,000 times – perhaps this requires some shift in the … I don’t know, it just doesn’t sound right, it would break the second law of thermodynamics; perhaps I misunderstood what the 80,000 specifically measures).

    But reaching such a limit for the entirety of the solar flux that is being concentrated may require some nongeometic optics, or at least, something more than a parabolic dish, or a simple lens, so far as I can tell.

    Consider for example a parabolic dish, with rays from the center of the solar disk reflecting off the dish precisely onto a focal point. Now what happens to the rays from the limb of the solar disk? If the aperture of the dish is small relative to it’s curvature, then all lines from the focal point to the dish will have nearly the same length, so the rays from the limb of the solar disk reaching different parts of the dish will all make their closest pass to the focal point at about the same distance from the focal point (that distance gets larger for reflected rays from the more distant parts of the dish). And if the aperture is relatively small, the reflected rays from the center of the sun will still be in nearly the same direction, so the rays from the limb will get closest to the focal point while nearly in the plane perpedicular to the axis of the dish (and to the incident solar rays). Thus an approximate image of the sun should be produced on a flat surface at the focal point. However, the small aperture means that the dish covers a small solid angle as seen from this surface; in terms of the flux per unit area, it brings the sun somewhat closer but still far from the theoretical limit.

    In order to get to that limit, all points on the target surface would have to ‘see’ the sun in all directions exterior to the target. The dish would have to large enough for the focal point to be within the plane of the dish’s edge, so that radiation reflected off the dish would cover the full hemisphere as seen from all points on the target surface. However, the ‘image’ (if it can be called one?) of the sun produced on this surface by rays reflected from the outer parts of the dish would be larger, and in fact, getting near the edge of the dish, not all reflected sunlight would even reach the surface – near the edge, only about half of the solar rays would reach the target surface at first pass and they would be spread out over an area nearly the size of the aperture of the dish itself (the other rays would be reflected back up after hitting near the edge of the dish on the opposite side of the dish, and they would pass through the target surface mainly near the edge of the dish).

    Alternatively, one could have a sphere or ellipsoidal surface at the focus, to better recieve rays from near the edge of the dish. But for a dish of such dimensions that the focus is in the plane of the edge of the dish, the surface recieving radiation from the edge of the dish would only ‘see’ the dish covering about half the ‘field of view’ – the flux per unit area would be half of the theoretical limit; also, in order to capture all solar rays reflected from the dish, the targe would have to extend out to points where reflected rays are only coming from that one part of the dish, thus the flux per unit area would not be so large. The dish can be expanded to increase the concentration; the concentration reaches the theoretical limit when the dish is a full ellipsoid with the other focus at the sun (although a hole in the ellipsoid behind the sun is allowed) – obviously that’s not practical at this point in history, if ever.

    Still, the compromises available needn’t fall too far short.

    Considering either a parabolic dish or trough, with a flat target surface facing into the dish/trough passing through the focal point/line, just large enough to capture all reflected solar radiation:

    —–

    With dish aperture radius or trough aperture half-width = a.
    distance from center of dish/trough to focal point/line = r.
    a/r = g

    distance to center of sun = ds
    radius of sun = Rs

    angle from center of solar disk to limb = q

    sin(q) = Rs/ds

    height of dish/trough edge = h = r * (a/(2*r))^2 = a^2 / (4*r)

    h/a = a/(4*r) = g/4,

    Radius or half-width of target = Rt

    —-

    a/(r – h) = tan(b)

    tan(b) = 1/(r/a – h/a) = 1/(1/g – g/4) = 1/G

    where G = 1/g – g/4
    and
    where b is the angle from vertical of the reflected ray from the center of the solar disk, reflected from the edge of the dish/trough.

    —-
    (relative to both incident and reflected rays from the center of the solar disk, rays from the solar limb will be at an angle q. The reflection of the limb from any point on the reflector will form a circle (in the approximation of the sun as a sphere) on a surface perpendicular to the ray from the disk’s center, but it will be an ellipse on the target surface, with the point farthest from the focus being on the far side of the focus from the point at which the ray was reflected).
    —-

    q+b is the angle from vertical of the reflected ray from the solar limb that reaches the target surface farthest from the focal point.

    (a+Rt)/(r-h) = tan(b+q)

    Rt = ([r-h] * tan[b+q]) – a

    Rt/a = ([r/a - h/a] * tan[b+q]) – 1

    = ([1/g - g/4] * tan[ arcsin(Rs/ds) + arctan( 1 / [1/g - g/4] ) ]) – 1

    = (G * tan[ arcsin(Rs/ds) + arctan(1/G) ]) – 1

    where G = 1/g – g/4
    and g = a/r

    —-

    C’ = Approximate concentration factor = area of aperture / area of target
    C = concentration factor = (area of aperture – area of target)/area of target

    Concentration factor for a parabolic trough
    C’ = a/Rt
    C = C’-1

    Concentration factor for a parabolic dish
    C’ = (a/Rt)^2
    C = C’-1

    —-

    Theoretical conversion efficiency for blackbody target
    = eff
    = (1 – Tc/Th) * [1 - (Th/Teq)^4]

    where

    C*S = sigma * Teq^4

    S = incident direct beam solar flux per unit area (standard full sun (1 atmosphere) is 1000 W/m2, although that may be too large if it includes diffuse radiation)

    sigma ~= 5.67e-8 W/(m2*K4)

    Teq = (C*S/sigma)^(1/4)

    eff = (1 – Tc/Th) * [1 - (sigma * Th^4 / (C*S)]

  383. Brian Dodge:

    “I don´t find your hard core view of scientic concensus very recognizable to working scientists. They usually work in cutting edge areas without concensus.” All that “standing on the shoulders of giants” stuff is just conspiratorial BS to keep the grant money rollin’ in.

  384. CM:

    With apologies to the anarchist comic strip Wildcat: Scientists practice dog-eat-dog consensus, while denialists disagree like zombies.
    :)

  385. Andreas Bjurström:

    379 Richard Ordway,
    Again you do not read what I actually say. I hope you can see the big difference between these two statements:

    “critical view of the IPCC conservative concensus culture ” (AB)

    “disagree with the scientific consensus that we humans are causing global warming (RO).

    Please read Scheiders book and you will see that the AB statement is true whereas the RO statement are totally false (I dont think a single quote captures this). Scheider believes strongly in the scientific consensus … and that is probably one of several reasons to his scepticism towards conservative concensus culture. The same is probably true of Jim Hansen for example.

  386. CM:

    Andreas,

    The frustration has been mutual. I for one would have liked to learn more about the interesting field you are working on, and your findings might have usefully informed some discussions here. But not the way you’ve been communicating. As long as we’ve known you, you’ve been arguing by ill-phrased assertion. You’ve been telling working scientists how scientists work, then called them ideological for not recognizing themselves in your description, which does not appear to be based on much in the way of field studies. You do not back your claims either with data or references — with the notable exception of your no doubt painstaking analysis of the TAR bibliography, but I don’t think that speaks to many of the points you’ve been arguing. I assume your reference to the comments section here is ironic, and that really you know about representative samples and blog readerships. As for theory, you’ve been telling your critics that they’re not competent to judge what you’re saying because they don’t know the relevant social science literature, and you defend this approach as being merely the reverse of the attitude of the natural scientists here. But many people here go on to actually cite scientific studies, whether to help others learn, or just to show they know what they’re talking about. Do you?

  387. Andreas Bjurström:

    369 Ray Ladbury,
    I think your moral emphasise the collective of the average not that good researchers whereas mine emphasise the brilliant minds that reshape science and cause big breakthroughs. We have a number of such heroic individuals in clmimate change for example. Svante Arrhenius is one of them. Ge liked to be brave and to speculate rather than to restrict himself and nurce the concensus of his time (and he combined this with quantitative data). Today we are glad that he did that. History attend to such minds rather than the cautios minds that nurse concensus.

  388. Andreas Bjurström:

    386 CM,
    I agree with most of your fair critique (as always) but you miss the symmetry (many here act the same as me, some even worse) and the power assymetry (I am one against many) and the purpose of the site (to combat political and scientific climate denialism) and the attitude between “the two cultures” (to overcome this, both sides must contribute with an open attitude) etc. In short, you cant attribute the whole cause of the total breakdown of communication to me.

  389. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas,
    Again, I am emphasizing consensus as a standard for RELIABLE approximations of truth. Any single mind, however brilliant, can be wrong. When Newton dominated British science single-handedly, his insistence on a corpuscular theory of light dragged Britain down the wrong path for nearly a hundred years, while Europe dominated optics. On the other hand, although Einstein never accepted the indeterminacy or nonlocality of quantum mechanics, the rest of the physics community continued to progress around him. That is the difference that consensus can make.

    Yes, there will be brilliant minds who are well in front of the consensus. However, the competitive nature of science means that every scientist is always on the lookout for new techniques and ideas and theories that will improve his understanding and thereby give him a competitive edge. Scientific consensus advances reliably because
    1)scientists are motivated to be early adopters of powerful new ideas and techniques
    2)scientists are reluctant to abandon ideas that work for ideas that while intriguing have yet to prove their mettle.

    In any case, I contend that requiring a brilliant mind to convince lesser minds like mine of the correctness of her approach is not an insurmountable or unreasonable hurdle. It is like publication–it forces scientists to find improved ways of communicating their ideas and finding applications that demonstrate the usefulness thereof.

    Believe it or not, Andreas, I am not hostile to sociological studies of science. My reticence toward much of what passes for scholarship in that field stems from a recognition that the authors have published before they understood the culture they thought to analyze. I have read a plethora of studies that were absolute bullshit attacking science from the political left, the political right, feminist studies, minority studies, sociology, anthropology and even divinity. What all of them had in common was that they did not bother to understand the culture they purported to “deconstruct”.

    The problem with most such studies is that they ignore the most notable and important trait of science–the fact that it works astoundingly well in the overwhelming majority of cases and corrects itself on those rare occasions where it does not work well. It is my opinion that until you understand why that is true, you don’t have sufficient understanding of science to say anything meaningful about it. Hint: Scientific consensus plays a huge role in that success.

  390. Completely Fed Up:

    “whereas mine emphasise the brilliant minds that reshape science and cause big breakthroughs”

    And then jump to the ASSUMPTION that the IPCC denialists are the ones able to create breakthroughs and deny that the IPCC were the ones who made a breakthrough.

  391. t_p_hamilton:

    John Peter says:”Global warming predictors that back-casted successfully would be even more impressive to me as a financial analyst…”

    Models have back-casted successfully, for the historical record where the temperatures are more precisely known. The low precision in regional paleoclimate is a data problem, not a model problem. That is the reason paleoclimate data may not help much to distinguish between different models. For example – the large uncertainty about the medieval warm period is based on the fact that the northern hemisphere is where most of the land is, and most of the temperature proxies. What we know so far does not indicate warming globally for the medieval period.

    The models have also future casted very well (globally), and continue to do so. Large scale effects, such as polar amplification, are quite clear now.

  392. t_p_hamilton:

    John Peter asks:”If regional models don’t work too well (yet), I have a problem with the “hot here, cold there” explanation we try to use to explain GW. How do we know who’s hot and who’s cold if our models won’t tell us?”

    Our thermometers tell us. Weather is chaotic, but climate is the average. The temperature per se is not as much a concern as precipitation patterns, melting ice and rising sea levels (the last two are no-brainer, except for the rate at which we need to adapt).

  393. Rod B:

    Richard Ordway (353), if you are implying the US Navy is a strong protagonist AGWer, I would suggest that such misleading exaggeration is not helpful to you all.

  394. Rod B:

    Richard Ordway (360), I might be totally wrong but I think Andreas is mainly saying your consensus is a straw man that you’ve built into an idol.

    [Response: If that's what he's saying, he's wrong. There is a very strong consensus on the basics.--Jim]

  395. Completely Fed Up:

    Rod B if you have evidence that Richard’s information is wrong, please present it, rather than smear his post with innuendo.

  396. Ray Ladbury:

    No, Rod, rather Richard is suggesting that the Navy is at least reality based.

  397. ge0050:

    The idea that long range climate forecasts are more reliable than short term forecasts is fundametally flawed. The simplest example is the coin toss. Over time, you can forecast that the number of heads and tails will balance out. Applying this logic to forecasting, it could be argued that like heads and tails, the errors plus and minus will balance out, and the forecast will become more reliable.

    The problem with this is that in the case of climate forecasting, stock market forecasting, currency exchange rate forecasting, inertial guidance systems, and many other “real world” situations, the errors are not heads and tails. The errors are cumulative.

    The law of large numbers works for a coin toss because the probability distribution remains the same going forward in time. This does not hold true for systems in which errors are cumulative. The mean may remain unchaned, but the deviation increases. This makes these systems inherently unpredicatble and chaotic.

    Looking at chaotic data is like looking at the clouds. It is easy to see pictures of faces or animals – yet we know these are illusions. Like the human mind, pattern recognition software, is also very good at finding patters where no pattern exists.

    Climate Modelling is a form of pattern recognition. You train it by looking at the past, trusting that it will predict the future. We are yet to find any modelling software that can predict the stock market long term better than chance. There is no reason to expect climate models will do any better.

    [Response: Rather, you have some very fundamentally flawed understandings of predictability in relation to statistics, boundary conditions, and climate modeling. Fortunately, you can address that by reading archived articles here and elsewhere.--Jim]

  398. Hank Roberts:

    > John Peter says:
    > radiation in equals radiation out. Otherwise we get hotter or cooler.

    Yes. It’s called equilibrium, and stays equal in the absence of forcings.

    The “Otherwise” you refer to is the climate sensitivity, over a variety of timescales, to changing something that affects that equilibrium.

    We burn carbon, fast.
    As much carbon burned since 1970 as was burned since civilization started.
    Of the CO2 produced at this rate, about half is handled by natural biological cycles and the other half builds up in the atmosphere for a long time.

    With the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, radiation out is delayed, and no longer equals radiation in.

    We get hotter.

    That’s why we’re talking about this.

  399. Andreas Bjurström:

    390 Completely Fed Up:
    “the IPCC denialists are the ones able to create breakthroughs”

    In your dreams perhaps ;-)

  400. Richard Ordway:

    393Rod B says:
    25 March 2010 at 9:20 AM
    “”"Richard Ordway (353), if you are implying the US Navy is a strong protagonist AGWer, I would suggest that such misleading exaggeration is not helpful to you all.”"”"
    ____________________________________________________________________

    My, my, my, my- that got quite a rise didn’t it?

    It is apparently a fact from a direct quote from a US Rear Adm (“For the U.S. Navy, climate change is a challenge — and not a crisis,” said Rear Adm. David Titley, who is leading the Navy’s Task Force Climate Change.”)

    …if you want to disprove it, you need to give evidence instead of giving your political opinion. It is what rational people do.
    ———————————————————————–

    ‘If true, the US Navy has an active climate change task force:

    ‘”For the U.S. Navy, climate change is a challenge…” said Rear Adm. David Titley, who is leading the Navy’s Task Force Climate Change.’

    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/03/24/24climatewire-accelerating-arctic-changes-pose-long-term-r-99952.html

  401. harrywr2:

    Given that following.

    US coal production east of the Mississippi has declined from 600 million tons/year to 400 million tons per year in the last 20 years and continues to decline.

    The EU currently imports 40% of it’s coal and it’s production continues to decline.

    China with the worlds 3rd largest coal reserves became an importer in 2006.

    India with the worlds 5th largest coal reserves became an importer in 2009

    I would note coal is quite expensive to transport. China and India currently have to import from as far away as Columbia.

    Where exactly do these enormous amounts of coal IPCC projected to be burned in the future come from?

    The current global price of coal delivered is approximately $100/ton. Electricity from nuclear is cheaper if one has to depend on imported coal.

    Is not the correct ‘business as usual scenario’ in a free market that the cheapest source of something will be chosen absent government interference?

    Why did China just announce another 28 Nuclear reactors by 2020 on top of their already aggressive nuclear power program? Free Market Economics or Concerns over the Environment?

  402. Andreas Bjurström:

    389 Ray Ladbury,
    I agree, although you always emphasise (for the ideology of scientific advancement) favourable aspects of a complex reality.

    As I told you before, many of the studies you dislike have other aims than to improve science (yes, I agree that there are many crap studies as well). For example, the aim of a a gender study may be to emphasise what is denied in the laboratory: that their exist gendered roles. Elderly men might be very upset by such studies, yet this is pure denialism. The results may not be useful at all to advance methods of gene sequencation for example. But that was not the purpose of the gender study.

  403. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #385 Andreas Bjurström

    Look up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

    My assessment of your argument style is that it simply is not holistically intelligent. Whether they be arguments to your own authority or the authority of others, or non sequitur arguments. What precisely do you mean by your usage of ‘conservative consensus culture’, since that is a relativistic phrase. If someone else is using the phrase, what is their context? etc.

    Might it be possible you are trapped in thinking you are right because of your own possibly, or even likely, conflated opinion of your intelligence (confirmation bias)? This is a trap though. You see, I’m an idiot. I know this because I realize that there are many angles in intelligence and I do not possess all of them. In fact I don’t think anyone possess all the angles. Maybe the human brain simply is not big enough. So I come to a new definition of intelligence, at least from an individualistic perspective. Intelligence is the ability to parse reasonable certitude from plausible error in such amount as to allow for humility to recognize that another line of logic (another intelligence) that may not yet be considered could enhance understanding to a higher level, even though a particular line of logic shows within the scope of that reasoning to be relatively correct. You might see the trap?

    In other words, in a complex consideration, it is oft easier to be wrong than right (partially right/wrong in variant degrees) and what we are really trying to get to in human understanding is better versions of right that are more considerate of the interconnected influences that we yet do not see or recognize. In that sense intelligence is not what you know, but what you can come to know.

    In other words, intelligence is knowing that some things are knowable but there is always more to learn. This, to a degree is somewhat different than mathematics or physics which through the scientific method have produced relatively better intelligence than the scope of human sociological understanding wherein all manner of bizarre and interesting arguments are purported. But in the realm of understanding the mind, how many theories are truly holistic?

    I confess I have not been reading all your posts, but what I have read seems to ambiguous in it’s argumentation. Your premise does not seem to stand on what might better be called holistic logic but rather your interpretation, or relativistic logic. Granted this is a common problem in logic interpretation as those that do not see yet have limited scope, and therefore can not see, yet. One of course hopes both sides of an argument are open minded enough to consider that which they do not yet understand. But this runs into a problem, that of if one side of the argument may have heard the other argument over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, and already knows the contexts that show how illogical the position on the argument is and yet faces an argument that simply is unable to see the fallacy of ones ones own argument. . . When this ‘impression exists on both sides of the argument, progress is impeded or fails utterly. . . well, you ‘might’ see the point.

    . . .then again, you might not. Such determination is likely, or possibly, in your hands. It is merely a manner of realization that one does not know it all or even an appropriate fraction to contain the mysteries of the universe, especially when we are discussing the universe of man’s understanding. Man’s arrogance is all to often his undoing. Humility and reason capacitate the potentials of higher intelligence. It is the open mind that learns, and the closed mind contains the intelligence of a stone.


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  404. Naindj:

    David Miller, 377,
    Didactylos, 366,
    Barton Paul Levenson, 364,

    Thank you for your replies.
    My figure was effectively very generous for the coal. It is more about 4 cents per kWh.
    And I was comparing coal with solar, whereas windfarms appear to be more cost effective.

    This is a document I found, already several years old, alas.
    http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/Cost_Generation_Commentary.pdf
    They estimate cost of wind farms at 7-10 cents per kWh…
    And we can see that cost depends on a lot of parameters: fluctuations of coal price and CO2 capture for coal generated elec, and back-up plant for wind generated elec, to name a few.
    So coal appears to be twice cheaper than wind farm to produce electricity.

    So on which basis can one claim that renewables are becoming cheaper now?
    I understand that in some particular regions it might me the case, but at the scale of a big country??

    Also, David Miller, 378, I don’t understand your point. If you burn locally 75% of you coal (or gas, or oil), the question is: are the 25% remaining, that you can export, still enough to cover all costs? And coal is so highly energetic that it might be the case. Of course, environmentaly, this is not the best… Did I miss something?

  405. Andreas Bjurström:

    394 Rod B and Jim,
    That is not what I am saying (I dont contest the scientific basis).
    You are pre-occupied by (1) protecting a scientific and political concensus (2) combat climate scepticism (3)wheres I claim that this pre-occupation with 1 and 2 hinders scientific and political progess to adequately adress, evaluate, mitigate and adopt to climate change.

  406. Richard Ordway:

    393Rod B says:
    25 March 2010 at 9:20 AM

    “””Richard Ordway (353), if you are implying the US Navy is a strong protagonist AGWer, I would suggest that such misleading exaggeration is not helpful to you all.””””
    ___________________________________________________________________

    Nice putting words in my mouth. Well, I highly doubt the US Navy is a strong protagonist for human-caused global warming …They just apparently have a “Task Force Climate Change”-Rear Adm. David Titley.

    Secondly, the USA Department of Defense in 2010 also released their report saying climate change is a threat to US security:

    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/03/24/24climatewire-accelerating-arctic-changes-pose-long-term-r-99952.html

    http://www.defense.gov/QDR/QDR%20as%20of%2026JAN10%200700.pdf

    Oh, by the way, since you bring it up, LET’S DIG A LITTLE DEEPER, SHALL WE?
    __________________________________________________________________________

    Now, AHEM, I officially, bonafide, guaranteed, verifiably… AHEM, COUGH, COUGH, COUGH…don’t think the US NAVY (OR the US Department of Defense) is a human-caused global warming protagonist- (Whew, I finally got that little bit out of the way, finally…GASP, GASP).

    H-O-W-E-V-E-R, there is a little thing you and I need to look at…Yes, it is your nemesis (and kinda hard to ignore since it is a 2010 major US published Department of Defense release for all to see and download, you’ll admit)…the GOSH, DARN IT:

    US Department of Defense 2010 report with global warming as a threat in it to the good ole US of A.
    ________________________________________________________________________

    It says, and I quote:

    “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

    “Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration.” p. 84
    __________________________________________________________________________
    OW!!!! The Department of Defense (2010) is saying climate change is a fact…not maybe…and may spur or “exacerbate mass migration.”

    Dude, when I was at the place I was, it was pretty well established that any national government is looking at the country SOUTH of it as a future threat.

    So the US of A is looking at M _ _ _ _ O (border) as a threat from unstoppable mass migrants (10-100 million possible massed migrants at the fence in the future 50-200 year time frame at this rate).

    (The only way to stop it that we can figure out so far (fences don’t stop sh_t historically) is to (and I am really sorry to bring this up and I mean it), is to put up defense in layers at the border with robot machine guns backed up by roving border patrols.

    This won’t fly politically in the future because we already see effective demonstrations from illegals in the USA in 2009. Start a real defense at the border with robot machine guns…and uh…they won’t tolerate it to put it mildly.

    And Canada is looking at the U _ A as a threat to them (we are south of them) from mass migrants in the 50-200 year future time frame from personal discussions I was in. Golly gee. This is the cr_p that we were discussing.

    You tell me why the US Navy has a “Task Force Climate Change” and why the US Department of Defense has released their 2010 report with climate change slapped all over it (please read it).

    So how do we fix this?

    1) Wait until the sh_t hits the fan…and try to use “geoengineering techniques” to slow the warming effects down…HIGHLY DANGEROUS according to peer reviewed studies so far…droughts, rain pattern shifts, famine, etc.

    2) Go into a crash mode now and shift out of oil, coal, gas (which releases (permanently for our purposes)trapped CO2 from millions of years ago and causes warming (Tyndall 1860s, IPCC 1995, National Academy of Sciences- 1979).

    The cruddy warming takes 30 or more years to manifest and is on autopilot according to peer review due to the large heat capacity of the oceans.-IPCC.

    And I am really sorry to bring up the border issues…but it is something we are having to face.

  407. Richard Ordway:

    “”"”"394Rod B says:
    25 March 2010 at 9:31 AM
    Richard Ordway (360), I might be totally wrong but I think Andreas is mainly saying your consensus is a straw man that you’ve built into an idol.

    [Response: If that's what he's saying, he's wrong. There is a very strong consensus on the basics.--Jim]“”"”

    Hey, Don’t beat up on me! I’ve always said there is a very strong consensus on the basics of climate change (I hope)!

    [Response: My response was in regard to what Rod B thought Andreas was saying, not you Richard.--Jim]

  408. Completely Fed Up:

    “Where exactly do these enormous amounts of coal IPCC projected to be burned in the future come from?”

    From here:

    “China and India currently have to import from as far away as Columbia.”

    I.e. with the coal reserves people like this:

    “The EU currently imports 40% of it’s coal and it’s production continues to decline.

    China with the worlds 3rd largest coal reserves became an importer in 2006.

    India with the worlds 5th largest coal reserves became an importer in 2009″

    are importing. With the added problem that because

    “I would note coal is quite expensive to transport.”

    and such transport is currently done by fossil fuel use, this increases the CO2 load of coal.

  409. Completely Fed Up:

    “399
    Andreas Bjurström says:
    25 March 2010 at 10:52 AM

    390 Completely Fed Up:
    “the IPCC denialists are the ones able to create breakthroughs”

    In your dreams perhaps ;-)”

    Nom, Andreas, in YOURS.

    Why else do you not look to the IPCC reports as THE BREAKTHROUGH but merely assume that the reason why there is no breakthrough from the opposition to the IPCC reports because of suppression of those breakthroughs that would dissolve the science the IPCC reports?

    YOU hold in your every action that the breakthroughs can ONLY come from those single names and single papers that the denialists trot out every now and then.

    NEVER looking to the IPCC reports to see if they are the ones making the breakthroughs.

    YOU do not wish the IPCC to be right.

    So YOU ignore them.

    :-)

  410. John Peter:

    t_p_hamilton@391, 392

    The latest problem(s) I have had with models came from my interpretation of Mike Mann’s interview last November. I posted much of the interview @355. What do you think Mike meant?

    I like your posts, they’re straightforward and clear.

    TIA

  411. J:

    A “consensus on the basics” is a far cry from the alarmist view seen in the media and by such highly visible propagandists such as Al Gore. Not to mention the discredited predictions of the IPCC.

    [Response: The very serious problem with a very large fraction of the climate change deniers is that they cannot discriminate between information which comes from science and that which comes from the media's interpretation of the science. Very serious and very telling.--Jim]

  412. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas, I think that I have personally done more to rectify gender bias in the sciences than any feminist critique of science–and all I have done is mentor promising female (and minority) scientists. I’ve also mentored white male scientists–pretty much indiscriminately.

    I start with the premise that science works–which is pretty difficult to deny in a reality-based paradigm. I then try to show that it can work with women and minorities. Lo and behold, it does. Meanwhile, how many postmodern feminist or minority studies scholars have helped women or minorities get PhDs in science by equating the scientific method to rape or colonial subjugation?

    You claim that insistence on scientific consensus gets in the way of a political solution. Well, on what would you have us base policy if not scientific consensus? Yes, we must go through the probabilistic risk assessment, etc., but you absolutely must start with the most reliable information you can find, and that is the scientific consensus. The portions of it that pertain to AGW and mitigation have been stable for years. They are unlikely to change very much.

    I think that you misunderstand people’s positions here. No one is saying that sociology, politics, psychology, etc. don’t play a role. We are merely saying that you have to accept the science first as a basis for policy. I don’t think that should be controversial.

  413. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Gilles (359): So can you remind me which fraction of the increase of energy (except last year where the energy consumption decreased) is brought by renewable energies in the recent years, compared with fossil fuels ?

    BPL: Renewable energy generation worldwide is rising at about 50% per year, doubling every two years or so.

  414. arch stanton:

    @ 401harrywr2-
    “Why did China just announce another 28 Nuclear reactors by 2020 on top of their already aggressive nuclear power program? Free Market Economics or Concerns over the Environment?”

    Likely both, along with: GLOBAL PR -and- luring their next door neighbor KAZAKHSTAN away from the motherland. China’s neighbor has the second largest uranium reserves in the world and China has been busy signing contracts with them.

    Your implied dichotomy of causation based on selective facts is somewhat misleading. After all, the US has also been importing coal- when delivered imported coal is locally cheaper than domestic derived delivered coal. It doesn’t mean the end of coal as an electrical generating fuel or even imply imminent Peak Coal.

  415. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Did (366): I have yet to see figures for California that properly account for subsidies. You seem to be using whole-US figures. In the US, coal is still very cheap.

    BPL: Is the cost due to environmental degradation and health problems properly accounted for in the price of coal?

    You factor that into coal and I’ll gladly factor subsidies into wind.

  416. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Did (368): If you honestly believed that “a safe nuclear plant can be built”, then you would not argue against nuclear power using emotive appeals to hysteria, patently false claims about financial viability and frankly ridiculous lists of nuclear fatalities.

    BPL: Oh, is that how I’ve been arguing it?

  417. J:

    >>>Respons: The very serious problem with a very large fraction of the climate change deniers is that they cannot discriminate between information which comes from science and that which comes from the media’s interpretation of the science…

    It’s not just the media. Look at the gross errors Al Gore promotes (20 ft. sea rise for example), many of which are in his film which is required viewing in many grade schools. Look at all the debunked “interpretations” in the IPCC which they got from the advocacy group WWF.

    [Response: Who exactly is it that you think dreamed up and propagated to the world the fiction that "all the IPCC interpretations" have been "debunked", scientists??? Did you read the RC story on that topic? And the relevant IPCC material?--Jim]

    And look at the wild predictions such as the “collapse of civilization” posted by commentors on this site, which the moderators do not post corrective responses to.

    These alarmist predictions are wrapped up into the science and further used to promote radical political policy. Those that then oppose the latter are deemed deniers.

    The result is politicized science: alarmist vs. denier. And it is all very very far removed from the consensus on the very narrow set of “the basics.”

  418. Hank Roberts:

    Nukeeeeeees on all sides
    —> Please, go where this is actively discussed and on topic:
    ———> http://bravenewclimate.com/

  419. Richard Ordway:

    “”"”"405Andreas Bjurström says:
    25 March 2010 at 12:17 PM
    394 Rod B and Jim,
    That is not what I am saying (I don’t contest the scientific basis).
    You are pre-occupied by (1) protecting a scientific and political consensus (2) combat climate skepticism (3)whereas I claim that this pre-occupation with 1 and 2 hinders scientific and political progress to adequately address, evaluate, mitigate and adopt to climate change.”"”"”

    Come on… come out and just say it.

    You think we should just be allowed to burn every last drop of oil, coal and gas that we have. We should just adapt to global warming effects.

    The United States might even do better than other countries in the short term until we get a sudden influx of 50 million+ desperate climate refugees who flood our borders from South and East of us and the world’s economy shuts down due to billions of dead people spreading infectious diseases to the USA.

    Europe, with its close proximity to Africa, would be totally destroyed by desperate immigrants and disease/ crop failures as high pressure systems move in and storm tracks move poleward… and so leave the USA the remaining world power to rule the world.

    China and India, would meanwhile be destroyed by famine (the tropics/ Hadley cells are expanding and storm tracks are moving toward the poles).

    Both countries rely hugely for agriculture on snow melt which is disappearing as the storm tracks move pole ward and high pressure systems move into inhabited areas. The snow melt would leave- which normally fills the rivers which gives huge amounts of irrigation to both countries for crops.

    Wow, nice and tidy for the USA (oil, coal and gas companies)…until we get the flood of infectious diseases and tens of millions of desperate, starving army’s of immigrants from south and east of us and the world’s economy shuts down.

    Our infrastructure (law and order, medical, food, social services, stability would start going as systems ground to a halt with the impossible influx)…then roads, electicity and water would go…I can’t wait.

  420. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #411 J

    “discredited predictions of the IPCC”???

    You are no specific and anonymous. How apropos. Mistakes were made in a couple areas, but the IPCC is vetting tremendous amounts of data and perspective. As has been pointed out, to achieve a reasonable level of consensus, one often needs to lean towards the more conservative position. Thus, the output of the IPCC, generally speaking is conservative in nature.

    Example: We are still sitting on IPCC AR4 SLR predictions measured in centimeters by 2100. The leading edge work indicates relatively well that we have locked possibly 2 meters of SLR by 2100. And, there are indicators that show how it could be even higher than that.

    So, yes, models are wrong1 Yes, the IPCC is wrong1 DO YOU GET IT. ARE YOU ABSORBING WHAT THIS ALL MEANS!!!


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  421. Septic Matthew:

    379, Richard Ordway: That is the impression that a small but powerful group of people, aided and abetted by well-funded think-tanks and a compliant mass media, wanted them to have.

    I don’t understand the epistemological point of these references to the money in the denialist camp. Are people really unaware or indifferent to the amount of money that is promoting AGW?

    406, Richard Ordway: So how do we fix this?
    &&&&
    1) Wait until the sh_t hits the fan…and try to use “geoengineering techniques” to slow the warming effects down…HIGHLY DANGEROUS according to peer reviewed studies so far…droughts, rain pattern shifts, famine, etc.
    &&&&
    2) Go into a crash mode now and shift out of oil, coal, gas (which releases (permanently for our purposes)trapped CO2 from millions of years ago and causes warming (Tyndall 1860s, IPCC 1995, National Academy of Sciences- 1979).

    option 3 is to debate, implement, and continuously update a prudent strategy. Prudence requires, among other things, that we keep reserves of wealth (all kinds) to deal with the other calamities that will continue to occur, such as fires, floods, famines, droughts, heat waves, killing cold spells, typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, epidemics, volcanoes and earthquakes.

    411, Jim: The very serious problem with a very large fraction of the climate change deniers is that they cannot discriminate between information which comes from science and that which comes from the media’s interpretation of the science.

    This would be corrected, IMO, if the AGW promoters would immediately disavow the exaggerations and outright falsehoods sometimes made in support of AGW by media, politicians, etc. Today there is a report that an island off the coast of India/Bangladesh has been swamped by wave action, and this has been touted as due to AGW, even though such things have happened repeatedly throughout human history. This is a region of water where sea level rise has been below the world average over the last few decades.

  422. t_p_hamilton:

    John Peter asks for clarification of what Mike Mann was talking about in an interview. This paper seems to be from around the same time, and dealing with many of the same issues: go to his research page, find the Fan, Mann, Ammann paper.

    The abstract says (note the last sentence in particular):
    ” The Asian summer monsoon (ASM) and its variability were investigated over the past millennium through the analysis of a long-term simulation of the NCAR Climate System Model, version 1.4 (CSM 1.4) coupled model driven with estimated natural and anthropogenic radiative forcing during the period 850–1999. Analysis of the simulation results indicates that certain previously proposed mechanisms, such as warmer large-scale temperatures favoring a stronger monsoon through their effect on Eurasian snow cover, appear inconsistent with the mechanisms active in the simulation. Forced changes in tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures play an apparent role in the long-term changes in the ASM. Analyses of the simulation results
    suggest that the direct radiative effect of solar forcing variations on the ASM is quite weak and that dynamical responses may be far more important. Volcanic radiative forcing leads to a clearly detectable short-term reduction in the strength of the ASM. Comparisons with long-term proxy reconstructions of the ASM are attempted but are limited by the divergent behavior among different reconstructions as well as the
    limitations in the model’s coupled dynamics.

  423. Didactylos:

    BPL:

    You are so eager to score cheap points that you have forgotten that I want coal gone. Coal has no up-side. When I say that in the US, coal is very cheap I am simply stating a fact – one that makes me very unhappy, since amoral executives always want to go for the cheap, dirty option.

    In stark contrast, your own actions and rhetoric seem designed to force the UK and other countries into a corner where they can’t generate enough renewables, and they can’t use nuclear, and they are stuck with CCS nonsense. You said that nuclear is a lesser evil than coal, but everything else you say is militantly anti-nuclear.

    I’m not asking you to go out and campaign for nuclear power, I’m just asking you to stop spreading misinformation.

    Hank: This is an open thread. That means that climate solutions and energy plans can be on topic if we want it to be.

  424. Patrick 027:

    Re 417 – civilization could collapse even without any climate change; so the idea that climate change adds to that risk is not quite so far-fetched (Though I wouldn’t personally attempt a quantitative assessment of that risk in either case).

  425. Rod B:

    Jim (response to 394), yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that consensus can’t be used either as a straw man or an idol.

    CFU (395), I’m not sure to which post you’re referring: if the navy comment, I simply asked what Richard meant. But if he did mean what I wondered, my evidence to refute that is in his referenced article. My suggestion is just trying to offer a helpful opinion.

    Ray L (396), if that’s the case, it’s O.K.

  426. Rod B:

    Richard Ordway (400), No, I didn’t rise more than a tad. Just trying to keep things rational. As I said earlier (regarding the Quad Military assessment), the military would be remiss in their duties if they did not have plans to address serious problems stemming from climate change (among many other things…). Some could be sceptics or even “deniers,” — doesn’t matter. You quote the Admiral, “…For the U.S. Navy, climate change is a challenge…” I think it would have been more instructive to include more of what was said to keep it in context:

    “For the U.S. Navy, climate change is a challenge and not a crisis.”

    or, the challenge posed by climate change — in the Arctic and beyond — is more complex, long-term and tinged with uncertainty.

    The Admiral might be a protagonist or a sceptic. You can not tell from the article so it should not be used as a testimonial.

    My suggestion: hurling hyperbole against the wall only detracts from credibility.

  427. Patrick 027:

    Re 397 ge0050 –
    “pattern recognition software, is also very good at finding patters where no pattern exists. ”

    I’d guess with proper statistical analysis, that problem could be minimized, though you could always have a grey area of is it there or not.

    But perhaps more importantly, climate models in general, and GCMS (AOGCMS, etc.) are NOT pattern-recognition software. They make simulations based on known physics (a much more complex and somewhat fuzzy version of something analogous to calculating the orbit of an object based on the masses of objects and the gravitational force). To the extent that there is any tuning of uncertain parameters based on the scale of emergent behavior, the tuning is for the average climate over a period of time, NOT to reproduce a trend. (See the FAQ on climate models parts I and II).

  428. Hank Roberts:

    J, if you want to learn who’s lying to you, Google for the quoted string ” 20 feet in the near future” along with any mention of sea level rise and Al Gore’s film.

    That’s the lie, and it shows up many places–but not in the movie, the documentation, or anyone who’s warned about sea level rise.

    The lie is promoted by people who can’t accept that sea level has been that much higher whenever Greenland or Antarctica have been ice-free and will be again, and we are hurrying the warming along with extreme rapid changes.

    People who don’t believe in geological time spans hear Gore wrong because they think every change that’s ever happened has happened recently.

  429. Hank Roberts:

    Here’s the fact checker on that claim:
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2007/10/an_inconvenient_truth_part_ii.html

    Note this:

    the quoted words “in the near future” are from a British judge, and not from the movie; and the judge’s time estimate (“millenia”) for sea level rise was 10x what the IPCC and Gore warn about (centuries)

    Centuries for sea level rise is fast, in geological time scales, compared to the rates of change we know happened in the geological past.
    —excerpt follows—-
    1. The judge disputed what he depicted as Gore’s assertion that the melting of icecaps in Antarctica and Greenland could cause sea levels to rise by 20 feet “in the near future.” [Although Gore implied that this could happen quickly, he did not specify a timetable.]
    Parry says that Gore is right that the melting of icecaps could cause a 20 foot rise in sea levels. He says this would likely take place over “several hundred years,” (not millennia as the judge maintained.) However, the IPCC has concluded that “we could become committed” to such phenomena occurring in the next seven to ten decades. “Strictly speaking, it is not a near-term impact, but it is not avoidable,” Parry said.
    —–end excerpt—–

    Not that I expect “J” to quit posting the claim, and it’s such a widely used letter of the alphabet that we won’t know if the same person is posting it repeatedly. But whoever “J” is should at least be aware it’s bunk.

  430. Rod B:

    Richard Ordway (406), My! My! My! If that was not what you implied about the Navy, then O.K. ‘Course you go on to take the QDR out of context to assert the same thing. I explained that in an earlier post (but can’t find it right off) and choose not to boringly repeat it. Succinctly, the QDR is NOT prepared to espouse the military’s belief in any theory of any kind — and doesn’t do that.

  431. Rod B:

    ps Richard, “…climate change slapped all over it [QDR]…” is another gross exaggeration. You should be more careful.

  432. John Peter:

    HR@398

    Climate science energy balance is long term – centuries in fact. The 0.05C decadal effects you refer to are much too small for consideration compared to the 33C in the global energy budget.

    In Earth’s Global Energy Budget (Trenberth et al March 2009) on page 315 sidebar we find:

    “We compared results at TOA with those from the NCAR CCM3 and found good agreement, so that the spatial structure was accounted for. At the surface, the outgoing radiation was computed for black-body emission at 15°C using the Stefan–Boltzmann law
    R = εσT4, (1)
    where the emissivity ε was set to 1.”

    That’s precisely what I posted in the thread.

    The energy flux, 396W/m2, is 200 times the forcings to which you want to refer. AGW forcings are much too small to have any measurable effect on earth/sun black-body T^4 radiation balance. If you want to disagree with 130 years of astrophysics up to and including Keith Trenberth last year, that’s your right as a skeptic. IMO you’re OT here.

  433. Ray Ladbury:

    J@417,
    I have not seen a convincing argument that environmental stresses due to climate change, coupled with the need for the globe to produce enough food, water, energy, fabric, etc. for 9-10 billion people will not cause a collapse of civilization. Have you? Last I saw
    1)The oceans were already in terrible shape. Acidification certainly isn’t helping that.
    2)Humans were consuming something like 25% of the globes biomass. That was for 6 billion people, and the likely failure of several important food crops (strains of wheat, rice, etc.) due to climate is bound to worsen this strain.
    3)The globe is already crowded, and sea-level rise is going to inundate some of the most crowded areas.
    And so on.

    Certainly, climate science has established that there are credible threats due to climate change. I have not seen reliable upper bounds to these threats. Until those are established, it would be imprudent to simply assume everything will be all right, don’t you think?

  434. John Peter:

    BPL@326

    It’s your Thermal IR radiation with its T^4 dependence that’s giving me trouble. The regional differences (several degrees) are averaged out for global energy balance. I haven’t (yet?) seen how to do this – even conceptually – for regional energy balance.

    The obvious answer may be “don’t try”. I can accept that, but it doesn’t make me happy.

  435. John Peter:

    Hank Roberts@329

    We seem to be drifting apart, let me try again

    Hank said
    “John Peter, you post a link to an interview with Mann and tell us what you say he said, but you don’t give a direct quote. Is this what you’re interpreting? You say “he couldn’t get his two models to back cast that way” but that seems exactly the opposite of the point he was making — which is we have paleo data saying how the climate works…”

    Mike Mann said:
    “However, the paleoclimate record of the past thousand years, in our analysis, suggests that at least with respect to the response that the climate has exhibited to natural factors, the response appears to be that thermostat response – it appears to be the opposite of what most of the IPCC projection models project…”

    i.e. the models that give correct responses to AGW forcing give opposite (incorrect?) responses to paleo (non AGW) forcing.

    That’s the way I read it and I appreciate any help in straightening me out.

  436. John Peter:

    Sou@381

    You’re right, both regional aspects are very important.I was ignoring the grid size problem because it seemed to me that was a computer power/programming problem that technology would (eventually) solve. Bug I was ignoring a lot of problems that faster computers and better numerical analysis programs may not solve. For example , if it doesn’t converge, it may never converge. And so on.

    I am trying to learn about atmospheric radiation transfer and I am hung up on the regional radiation partitioning problem. And you are right it is very interesting.

  437. John Peter:

    HR@398

    Climate science energy balance is long term – centuries in fact. The 0.05C decadal effects you refer to are much too small for consideration compared to the 33C in the global energy budget.

    In Earth’s Global Energy Budget (Trenberth et al March 2009) on page 315 sidebar we find:

    “We compared results at TOA with those from the NCAR CCM3 and found good agreement, so that the spatial structure was accounted for. At the surface, the outgoing radiation was computed for black-body emission at 15°C using the Stefan–Boltzmann law
    R = εσT4, (1)
    where the emissivity ε was set to 1.”

    That’s precisely what I posted in the thread.

    The energy flux, 396W/m2, is 200 times the forcings to which you want to refer. AGW forcings are much too small to have any measurable effect on earth/sun black-body T^4 radiation balance.

    replacing 25.3.10 5:24 lost in the shuffle)

  438. Gilles:

    413 “Gilles (359): So can you remind me which fraction of the increase of energy (except last year where the energy consumption decreased) is brought by renewable energies in the recent years, compared with fossil fuels ?

    BPL: Renewable energy generation worldwide is rising at about 50% per year, doubling every two years or so.”

    This is not an answer to my question, Barton. (and your figure is incorrect because renewable energy is by far dominated by hydroelectricity which doesn’t increase at all at this rate).

  439. John Peter:

    Hank Roberts@329

    Hank said
    “John Peter, you post a link to an interview with Mann and tell us what you say he said, but you don’t give a direct quote…”

    Mike Mann said:

    “However, the paleoclimate record of the past thousand years, in our analysis, suggests that at least with respect to the response that the climate has exhibited to natural factors, the response appears to be that thermostat response – it appears to be the opposite of what most of the IPCC projection models project…”

    i.e. the paleoclimate response is opposite of the response the models back cast.

    That’s the way I read it. I appreciate all your trouble trying to straighten me out

    (replacing 25.3.10 6:02PM lost in the shuffle)

  440. Septic Matthew:

    Any comments on this paper?

    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0904/0904.2767.pdf

    I have been recently restudying multidimensional calculus and some dynamics and mechanics. I can’t tell whether the authors here are correct all the way through.

  441. Sou:

    @ #425John Peter
    I still see them as two different issues. The regional issue is that of modelling such that regional climate change can be predicted given various scenarios of warming. Predicting regional climate change is a matter of computer power and grid size, plus of course getting the physics right and increasing the understanding of cloud dynamics, albedo changes, ocean circulation, methane emissions etc.

    The radiation balance is between energy coming into the earth and energy going out of the earth and is as a global issue that doesn’t need to use regional variations to compute. The radiation balance can be computed using the overall, without necessarily knowing all the detail of which regions will change and how. It’s sufficient to know what is happening to the whole, without needing to know every detail at each specific point on the globe. (If one were to use an aggregate of smaller sections, it would be reasonable to assume that any errors would cancel out and that there is not a bias in one direction only.)

    The radiation balance can be calculated in a number of ways, I’d have thought, that can be used to cross check against each other. Although complex and difficult, it’s simpler than modelling for the detailed climate change of small regions on the globe, particularly land-based regions where topography plays a part.

    Nevertheless, the CSIRO models of climate change in Australia seem to be fairly close to the mark, as far as the projections to date. (Even the CSIRO models that I saw back in the late 1970′s weren’t far from the mark and the projections from then of a warmer, drier south eastern Australia are happening today. Those models projected a shift to the east in the climate – now they are talking more a shift to the south, but the effect is the same.)

  442. Septic Matthew:

    441, Sou: The radiation balance is between energy coming into the earth and energy going out of the earth and is as a global issue that doesn’t need to use regional variations to compute.

    That may not be true. IR radiation is proportional to T^4, so small variations in T from region to region, day to night, and across seasons make it quite a challenge to compute a single aggregate (average or total accumulation), as shown in the paper that I cited in 440. According to them, the random error in computing the energy balance is at least as great as the estimated “average” effect of CO2 doubling. And that assumes that all the biases (inaccuracies caused by simplifications in the formulae) are not large enough to be important. (IIRC: I have only read it once.)

  443. Richard Ordway:

    “”"”431Rod B says:
    25 March 2010 at 5:18 PM
    ps Richard, “…climate change slapped all over it [QDR]…” is another gross exaggeration. You should be more careful.”"”"

    Where’s YOUR evidence? Here’s mine:

    1) Out of 126 printed pages in the 2010 US Quadrennial Defense Review with words included on them including title pages, the phrases “climate change/greenhouse gases” is stated on pages p. IX (1 times), p. XV(3 times), p.3(1 times), p.7(1 times),p.73(1 times), p.84(6 times), p.85(5 times), p.87(1 times).

    2) It has also has one whole titled section devoted to “climate change/energy” itself: It is named: “Crafting a Strategic Approach to Climate and Energy.”

    3) Climate change itself is not just limited to a titled climate change section, but is included in five separate named sections :executive summary, introduction, Key Geopolitical Trends, Strengthening Interagency
    Partnerships,Crafting a Strategic Approach to Climate and Energy.

    I think, someone can make a fair case that climate change is “slapped all over the 2010 US Quadrennial Defense Review.”

    Instead of innuendo, where’s YOUR evidence? You say the nebulous term “gross exaggeration” and don’t back it up with evidence. I do.

    However, thank you for making me dig into it and quantifying it.

  444. John E. Pearson:

    John Peter says: radiation in = radiation out

    this is not a consequence of any the stuff you cited. conservation of energy, thermodynamics etc. Imbalance leads to heating/cooling. this is really very elementary physics.

  445. J:

    >>> RESPONSE: the fiction that “all the IPCC interpretations” have been “debunked”, scientists??? Did you read the RC story on that topic? And the relevant IPCC material?–Jim]

    I didn’t say all have been debunked. I said look at all the predictions that have been debunked – not all of them, the ones that have been debunked. And yes I did read the RC story on the topic and the relevant IPCC material.

    Look at the photoshopped cover of Al Gore’s latest book: “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis” for example. Is this an example of the consensus on the basics? The basics of hurricane predictions for example?

    Do you believe “Inconvenient Truth” is NOT trying to convince the audience sea levels will rise 20 feet? Do you believe this movie does not go far beyond the basic consensus of the science? Did you miss Al Gore’s attempt at: “there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.”

    Are you trying to say Al Gore’s alarmism is part of this consensus on the basics? Or that the recanted predictions of the IPCC based on shaky WWF sources is not alarmist and in error?

    As for mixing politics, did you miss the call for petition signing for cap and trade legislation – “as outlined by Dr. James Hansen” – posted on this thread?

    There is alarmism beyond the “consensus on the basics,” it is at the foundation of politicizing the science. And this is a major reason for opposition – not denial of the basic science.

    [Response: Sorry, not going to follow your circuitous trail into the weeds. If you spent half the time you spend fixating on Al Gore's supposed "propaganda" and mistakes, trying instead to understanding what the science says, you'd learn a lot. Notwithstanding that Gore got the basic story very right. The problem's not with either Gore or the science, but with your biased obsession with him.--Jim]

  446. Richard Ordway:

    “”"”421Septic Matthew says:
    25 March 2010 at 3:16 PM
    379, Richard Ordway: That is the impression that a small but powerful group of people, aided and abetted by well-funded think-tanks and a compliant mass media, wanted them to have.

    I don’t understand the epistemological point of these references to the money in the denialist camp. Are people really unaware or indifferent to the amount of money that is promoting AGW?”"”"
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Facinating. Yes, according to the peer-reviewed respected scholar Naomi Oreskes in her book “Merchants of Doubt”, after six or so years of her research, a small group of anti-science -mainly rocket scientists-WOW (go figure that one out)…OH NO…ROCKETGATE!!!!!, (to be promptly followed by BIG-OIL-GATE and RUSH-LIMBAUGH GATE and then PSEUDO-SCEPTIC GATE!!!!!).

    The initial bunch of powerful men were motiviated by sharp ideology…laissez faire government, opposition to government regulation in all forms. They sincerely believed that big government and government regulation were a slippery slope and bad.

    They were an inordinately powerful all- out- of- proportion small band of cold war physicists. They were powerful and influential, known from cold war work. They went to the White House to brief presidents and were treated in awe.

    The main players were Robert Jastrow (Astrophysicist), Fred Seitz president of NAS- *******consultant to RJ Reynolds*******), William Nierenberg (nuclear physicist). They needed to be prominent or would have no credibility with mass media and no access to corridors of power.

    They founded the George C Marshall Institute to initially defend SDI- Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles) against scientists’ boycott of it.

    The big industry used them and they used big industry. They learned from the Tobacco campaign and applied it to other campaigns that threatened big government intervention.

    They promoted the idea of doubt/scientific uncertainty to avoid action on a set of issues ranging from tobacco, ozone layer, acid rain, global warming. It was very sophisticated with hiring PR firms and focus groups.

    Seitz and George C. Marshall Institute principle strategy of tobacco industry was to promote “doubtmongering”, to insist the science was not settled and that it was premature to act now to control tobacco use. Insist over and over again that the science is unsettled and the public will believe it.

    In 1989, cold war ended and Seitz’s work with the tobacco industry merged and the George C. Marshall Institute turned to other matters. Suddenly there was no Soviet threat. These men were in their late 70s and 80s and had had very successful scientific careers. They had to find new work/causes against big government…

    It was now ”environmental extremism”(Guess who gets lumped in that crowd-climate scientists (“bloody tree huggers”).

    Their new campaign was now against:
    1. Exaggeration of environmental threats
    2. Insistence that government regulation was needed to control these threats.
    3. Acid rain, the ozone hole, second hand smoke, global warming, DDT.

    In every single case, they insisted that the science was too uncertain to justify government interference in the market place. This begins to show a pattern. All were too uncertain…. Acid rain, the ozone hole, second hand smoke, global warming, DDT…all together??? Always the same argument no matter what the scientific argument, what scientists, what agencies were involved, these men always attacked it as if the science was insufficient.
    __________________________________________________________________________

    “Doubt is our product,” ran the infamous memo written by one tobacco industry executive in 1969,” Since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the minds of the general public.”

    - Smoking and Health Proposal, 1969, BN:680561778, Legacy Tobacco Documents Library,
    - http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/nvs40f00
    __________________________________________________________________________

    Naomi Oreskes states in her book, that S.J. Green, “Director for research for British American Tobacco, confessed later in life,“ What his industry did was wrong, not just morally, but also intellectually, “a demand for scientific proof is always a formula for inaction and delay, and usually the first reaction of the guilty.”
    _________________________________________________________________________

    So it looks like the American public got conned and duped… and is still being conned and duped.

    If it were anyone else except for a peer reviewed publishing scientist writing this (Naomi Oreskes) with an excellent long, solid reputation and whose work has stood up over a long time …this would sound like a fantastical movie.

    It does indeed seem that truth is far stranger than fiction in this case.

  447. Sou:

    @ #442 Septic Matthew (and John Peter): Far from me to try to assess the different points made by Arthur Smith vs Gerhard Kramm when they are expressed as detailed as that – my physics education ceased a long time ago :(.

    However, the following links show what I meant by different ways of estimating the net radiation, this one from satellites.

    Radiation flux as monitored via satellite by NASA

    http://aqua.nasa.gov/about/instrument_ceres.php

  448. RichardC:

    Some information on Cryosat-2.

    http://orbitalhub.com/?p=646

    http://www.esa.int/esaLP/SEMIOT9KF6G_LPcryosat_0.html

  449. Gilles:

    442 ,441 : there is no simple relation between the averaged temperature and the average effective temperature. You can develop in theory the local temperature at the upper atmosphere in an expansion in spherical harmonics T(theta,phi) = T0 + somme (c_l,m Y_l,m (theta, phi) ) Because only the first ( l= 0 ) term has a non-vanishing average over the sphere, T0 is simply the average global temperature, all the rest describe the local changes around this average. But because the emissivity varies as T^4, the emitted power is a complicated fonction of To AND all the clm. This has a very important consequence : you can keep the same To and make the effective average temperature vary by choosing an infinite number of possible clm. And of course the reverse is true : you can achieve the same effective temperature, and hence energy balance , with different average temperature To.

    It is further complicated by the fact that heat is transferred partly by convection between the ground and the upper troposphere, and so the local temperature isn’t the same between the two. So generally speaking there is no reason why the global imbalance should be a single function of average ground temperature. It is even possible to decrease the average temperature and increase the emissivity, or the opposite. A single relationship between the two would be obtained only if all clm would be proportional to a same parameter, which means that the anomaly should vary homothetically – which is far from being the case, since the coolest regions vary more than the hottest (it should be the opposite). So notions as “climate sensitivity” understood as a single derivative along the forcing has no real physical ground. It may be approximately justified by models, but isn’t a consequence of first principles.

  450. John Peter:

    Hank @342

    You remarked “Rich people have the money to fund the restoration of the Earth.
    Will they do that? If not, what’s the next step?

    Former crusader Ralph Nader has a possible answer for you in his recent first novel Only the Super Rich Can Save Us Now. The novel is fiction of course and unbelievable by any but the most altruistic optimist but much of the 700+ pages go into details of obstacles faced by this long time crusader for “constructive” change.

  451. John Peter:

    John E. Pearson@444

    I agree, Ram described it as a zero dimensional global model.

    What I wonder is could anyone discover a zero dimensional regional model? If such a regional model could be made not to depend on any global model but instead depended only on data and elementary physics directly, regional models might not be so dependent on ensembles of global models. We have a lot of global models, maybe we could get along with a smaller, more easially comprehended, set of elementary physics laws. Such ideas may be pretty far “off the wall” and my poor description of my quest has been non-productive.

    I apologize to all whose time and effort I may have wasted.

  452. Hank Roberts:

    John Peter, read it again, that interview is talking about changes comparing hemispheres of the planet — not a general broad statement that all (or all but two?) models are wrong about radiation physics. It doesn’t say what you seem to think.

    Have you read Weart’s book? He invites questions on the radiation physics section, which he says is the most challenging.

  453. Hank Roberts:

    SM, plenty of comments out there on that from a while back.
    Google will help.

    Here’s one: http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009/05/krammed-to-our-misfortune-gerhard-kramm.html

  454. John Peter:

    t_p_hamilton @422

    Thank you very much.

    Actually the interview was from a Science Magazine podcast 11/27/09. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/326/5957/1287-b/DC1/1

    There were three interviews, the second was of Mike for his Science magazine paper making sense of the Medieval Climate Anomaly and Little Ice Age

    The abstract at

    was:
    “Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly
    Michael E. Mann,1* Zhihua Zhang,1 Scott Rutherford,2 Raymond S. Bradley,3
    Malcolm K. Hughes,4 Drew Shindell,5 Caspar Ammann,6 Greg Faluvegi,5 Fenbiao Ni4
    Global temperatures are known to have varied over the past 1500 years, but the spatial patterns have remained poorly defined. We used a global climate proxy network to reconstruct surface temperature patterns over this interval. The Medieval period is found to display warmth that matches or exceeds that of the past decade in some regions, but which falls well below recent levels globally. This period is marked by a tendency for La Niña–like conditions in the tropical Pacific. The coldest temperatures of the Little Ice Age are observed over the interval 1400 to 1700 C.E., with greatest cooling over the extra tropical Northern Hemisphere continents. The patterns of temperature change imply dynamical responses of climate to natural radiative forcing changes involving El Niño and the North Atlantic Oscillation–Arctic Oscillation

    Buried in the paper were a few paragraphs about models that led to my back casting query.

    We examined results for two different coupled model simulations of the past millennium, driven with those factors (solar irradiance changes and stratospheric aerosols from explosive volcanic eruptions) that can most plausibly explain the climate changes of the past millennium (17)…The La Niña–like nature of the MCA-LIA pattern is not reproduced in either of the two different coupled model simulations analyzed. On the other hand, such a pattern is reproduced in simulations (19) using the low-order Cane-Zebiak (24) model of the tropical Pacific coupled ocean-atmosphere system. The discrepancy in the model responses may arise because the tropical Pacific “thermostat” mechanism (25) is not active in either the NCAR or GISS simulations…(i) the high- and low-pressure regions in the NorthAtlantic sector are somewhat asymmetric and geographically shifted relative to the conventional pattern—hence, for example, the relative absence of warming in western Europe; and (ii) there is a positive SLP anomaly over Northern Greenland and part of the Eurasian Arctic Ocean that is absent in the conventional pattern]. Comparisons over the Pacific sector and neighboring regions, by contrast, are of limited utility, given the inability of the GISS-ER model to reproduce the aforementioned LaNiña–like feature of MCALIA pattern, which strongly affects the Pacific basin. There is no evidence of a positive NAOAO response in the NCAR simulation (Fig. 4)…”

    I’ve probably “cherry-picked the areas of disagreement and elided the areas of agreement to get closer to the sense of the interview. Of course I am disappointed that Mike didn’t seem to agree to mainstreaming the next IPCC with versions of the GISS and NCAR and GISS-ER that reproduce the “thermostat” behavior (negative forcing is it?).

    So my question is what do you make of all this? Should John Q Public, a financial analyst, believe our coupled global models back cast pretty well?

    TIA

  455. Andreas Bjurström:

    419 Richard Ordway,

    You are pre-occupied by combat climate skepticism (AB)

    come out and just say it. You think we should just be allowed to burn every last drop of oil, coal and gas that we have. We should just adapt to global warming effects. (RO)

    The irony is that your response verify that preoccupation of yours …

    My ethically based viewpoint on climate politics is that the western world needs huge mitigation (especially the US) and that we should more or less stop using oil, coal and gas rather soon. Regarding adaptation, I think that should be directed to the most vulnerable regions in the south.

  456. Completely Fed Up:

    “That may not be true. IR radiation is proportional to T^4, so small variations in T from region to region, day to night, and across seasons make it quite a challenge to compute a single aggregate (average or total accumulation), as shown in the paper that I cited in 440.”

    Uhm, no it isn’t.

    You take each pixel and work out its temperature by taking the fourth root of the energy.

    You then have a simple linear series to average.

    This is not rocket science for most of the educated world…

  457. Completely Fed Up:

    Rod B talking rectally : “CFU (395), I’m not sure to which post you’re referring: if the navy comment, I simply asked what Richard meant”

    No you didn’t you simply smeared him with this statement:

    “Richard Ordway (353), if you are implying the US Navy is a strong protagonist AGWer, I would suggest that such misleading exaggeration is not helpful to you all.”

    WHERE does this say in ANY FORM WHATSOEVER “what do you mean, Richard?”.

    NOWHERE, that’s where.

    I can’t believe you said that. Did you really say “I simply asked what Richard meant”?

  458. Andreas Bjurström:

    412 Ray Ladbury,
    We should not demand that gender studies equals, or even involves, hands on rectification of gender bias. Perhaps the researcher in question are ONLY interested to understand some mechanism involved in the reproduction of gender bias in the laboratory? Or the mindset regarding gender of the laboratory researchers? Gender studies are very often accused of being mere politics (also by you). We can´t blame them both for not being objective and for not being enough political and action oriented, can we?
    And we can´t equate the field to the worst possible studies we can find. that is kind of the climate denialism strategy: Find a bad study and refute a whole field. Well, it is very easy to be a gender denialist since there indeed are easy to find bad studies.

    “I start with the premise that science works–which is pretty difficult to deny in a reality-based paradigm.”

    Work in what aspect and context and for what purpose??? natural science works well in the laboratory. Can the same approach be effectively applied in a policy context? I would answer NO! But this is exactly what the IPCC are doing. They, as you, think that policy follows in a linear fashion from science and that we first must reduce scientitic uncertainty. that is not how the world works outside the laboratory. that is not the prioririties of the world. that is just natural science priorities that can be uphold just as long as the natural sciences are very powerful inside climate change. We already have a strong concensus. its time to move one. We are dead-locked, the natural sciences and the scéptics are deadlocking us. natural sciences are not very relevant in solving climate change, yet they have almost all the research money. The budget for climate modelling is huge, and also tied to military and space interests of the US. In a perfect world, we would take all this money and do something important with it, invest it to solve the problem instead of doing very expensive “pure” “objective science that values and politics are tainting science.

  459. Completely Fed Up:

    “You are so eager to score cheap points that you have forgotten that I want coal gone. Coal has no up-side.”

    You appear to think that means nuclear has to be safe.

    The lack of coal doesn’t make nuclear power safe.

  460. CM:

    Andreas (#388): Sure, communication is a two-way street. And it’s not your responsibility that e.g. CFU and Richard Ordway insist, wrongly, on labeling you a coal-burning denialist. But if you haven’t given the rest of us your best shot, complaints about power assymetries and the like are a bit moot. (Of course, you could give us your best shot and people might still disagree with you simply because they think you’re wrong.)

    You might catch some undeserved flak here just by coming from the academic angle you do, by asking searching questions of the consensus and the IPCC, and by not slotting easily into a pro or anti position. That is perhaps part of the culture that has developed around this blog, which is after all a frontline defense of science and scientists against some very nasty attacks.

    But cultural obstacles to communication are just a professional challenge, something for the researcher-critic to understand, anticipate, and patiently work around. This is where a political scientist could pick up useful clues from colleagues in the social anthropology department.

  461. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Did (423): In stark contrast, your own actions and rhetoric seem designed to force the UK and other countries into a corner where they can’t generate enough renewables, and they can’t use nuclear, and they are stuck with CCS nonsense.

    BPL: Crap. I think renewables can do it all and I don’t think CCS will work. It’s YOUR view that we can only do it with nuclear, not MY view.

    Did: You said that nuclear is a lesser evil than coal, but everything else you say is militantly anti-nuclear.

    BPL: For good reason. I think nuclear is a lousy way to generate municipal power. It’s expensive, dangerous, and takes far too long to deploy. Plus it provides material for nuclear weapons to any country that has it, plus whatever terrorists they’d like to give it to.

    Did: I’m not asking you to go out and campaign for nuclear power, I’m just asking you to stop spreading misinformation.

    BPL: Specifically what misinformation have I spread, Did?

  462. Barton Paul Levenson:

    JP (432): AGW forcings are much too small to have any measurable effect on earth/sun black-body T^4 radiation balance.

    BPL: No, they are not. AGW has already reduced outgoing longwave radiation 0.85 W m^-2.
    But the biggest change with AGW, of course, is at the surface, not at TOA.

  463. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Ray L. (433),

    Humans now appropriate about 40% of global net primary productivity, not 25%–i.e., it’s even worse than you think, and the margin is even smaller (maximum theoretical safety factor of 2.5 rather than 4).

  464. Barton Paul Levenson:

    JP (434),

    I don’t understand what you’re asking. Do you want to know how to calculate the additive factors, or how to define an average, or both?

  465. Barton Paul Levenson:

    SM (440),

    In brief, Kramm doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Check Rabett Run for several extensive, commented posts about this. Kramm still believes Gerlich and Tscheuschner who, on climate issues, are crackpots of the first water.

  466. Ray Ladbury:

    SM@440
    OK, so we are not content now to merely dispute physics that is older than Special Relativity. Now we have to go back and dispute physics that is older than thermodynamics, electromagnetism and the Theory of Evolution. As nearly as I can tell, they are saying that a first-order refutation of an absolute bullshit paper has problems at second order. Duh! And they only take 26 pages to do it as opposed to the original G&T, which went on for f*cking ever.
    Reply: Global Circulation Models. Next!!!

    This looks like an example of stupidity sent to grad school.

  467. Septic Matthew:

    445, Richard Ordway.

    Yes, tobacco is dangerous and promoters lied about it. Alar, aspartame, acrilonitrile, power lines (as leukemia risk), thimerasol, and fluoridated water supplies are safe, and opponents lied or were self-deluded about them.

    Now we have AGW to evaluate, independently of alar and tobacco: are you really unaware of or indifferent to the amount of money that is invested in advertising the risks of AGW? I respect Al Gore’s work, his Noble Prize, and his Oscar, but it does promote his substantial busniness interest: at the Academy Award ceremony his company was giving away free CO2 offsets as introductory offers. Then there’s ADM, Sharp, Siemens, GE, and on and on who will gain $billions in subsidies and protected sales.

    446 Sou, 452 Hank Roberts, Thank you.

    465, Ray Ladbury: This looks like an example of stupidity sent to grad school.

    So itemize the stupidities. If it’s rebutted, I’ll read the rebuttal.

  468. Hank Roberts:

    John Peter, you’re utterly confused because you’re trying to find a “negative forcing” and a “radiation balance” problem — but you’re referring to a paper about how the energy is _rearranged_ on the planet.

    Google would like to be your friend. Even if you just take the bit you quoted, look for the acronyms, and paste them into the search (not usually the best way to look things up) — Google will help you with this one:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=MCA+LIA
    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/shared/articles/MannetalScience09.pdf

    Please spend a little more time reading the basics.

    The paper and the discussion you’re stuck on is about how energy _moves_around_on_the_planet_. It’s a big complicated heat engine spinning around with currents and mountains and phase changes and changing forcings.

    This paper isn’t about “energy in/energy out” — it’s about how energy moves within the Earth system.

    Of course it’s complicated. It’s enormously complicated _inside_ the atmosphere, and that’s what this paper and discussion are about — the inside patterns and changes.

  469. Rod B:

    Richard, Mentioning the phrase on eight pages out of 126 doesn’t strike me as “slapped all over it.” And of course there is a section: it is a serious strategic military assessment of a potential major problem. But have a go at describing it how you wish. I was just offering a suggestion, but it’s your ballgame.

  470. Rod B:

    CFU, My statement to Richard was a conditional, starting with If you are implying. If this English syntax is too difficult for you, there’s probably help at a library or night school.

  471. t_p_hamilton:

    “So my question is what do you make of all this? Should John Q Public, a financial analyst, believe our coupled global models back cast pretty well?”

    Globally back casting, yes. Regionally back casting, no (just as models are thought to perform poorly for future regional projections).

    Keep in mind that there are multiple models. They all agree (back to Arrhenius) on the overall global effect of the known forcings. The chances of this happening by coincidence are infinitesimal. The primary purpose of scientific modeling is to elicit understanding of what the important effects are. The secondary result was the realization that increasing CO2 is going to heat us up. The models can and are being refined through incorporation of more known effects (carbon cycle, etc) and comparisons with more data (modern, historic and prehistoric). To expect radically different results, when each improvement has given the same answer as before, is not rational.

    La Nina and El Nino currently swap back and forth periodically, with known effects. If El Nino continues, 2010 is bound to be a global record, because we understand how global temperatures are tied to El Nino (when it is occurring – not long term) and CO2 increase warms the planet, and volcanoes (if one goes off, then 2010 won’t be a maximum). None of these are particularly difficult ideas.

    However, if the La Nina El Nino pattern changes (say La Nina for a couple hundred years), expect large changes in climate. According to the paper you found, there is a connection between changes in that pattern, and in the pattern of the rest of the globe (Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period). Most models don’t get the exact distribution, but that is assuming the climate reconstruction from proxies is good enough to say precisely where cooling and warming were.

  472. Wayne Davidson:

    Extraordinary recent observations of extreme steady warming of the entire Arctic ocean area requires more attention. Thinner first year ice is playing an important role with greater heat flux warming the air immediately above.

    My own Observations in Resolute, Nunavut Canada are nothing short but extraordinary, sunsets are rounder, horizon sun disk positions are severely displaced, water skies never seen before over the Western part of the Northwest passage also have added a newly observed boundary layer heat injection causing a never seen before refraction effects.

    I believe that the key failure for Ice GCM at Hadley to predict greater ice melts is the radiative flux effect from thinner ice and or greater numbers of leads, so far I read scant bits of info from some journals proclaiming something like 6 w/m2 extra heat coming from first year compared to multi year ice. This number is quite close to CO2 doubling 4 w/m2 calculation. Yet the temperatures over the last winter were +5 to 8 C warmer than average for the Arctic Ocean during March 2010:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30b.rnl.html

    followed by equally warm dec-feb

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2010&month_last=2&sat=4&sst=0&type=anoms&mean_gen=1203&year1=2009&year2=2010&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg

    I rather we deal with analyzing current climate results as they tend to show amazing warming in the Arctic.

  473. J:

    >>>Ray Ladbury #433: “cause a collapse of civilization.”

    This is not part of the “consensus on the basic science” It’s at least two levels away from it. No, this is not established.

    It reminds me of Paul Ehrlich’s “Great Die Off” [edit. continued ad hominem attacks will get you banned]

  474. John Peter:

    BPL@461

    I misspoke. “any measurable” should have been “much”
    (0.85/390 = 0.22% might be measurable under proper conditions)

    BPL@463

    Thanks for listening.

    I had the idea to try to partition a region as some sort of isolated radiator and come up with physics that avoided complexities of other forms of heat transfer (except at boundaries?).

    It’s probably a dumb idea.

  475. John Peter:

    Hank Roberts@451

    Great idea!!!

    I like Weart’s stuff, agree with him that it’s challenging, and will follow your always good idea to read his book and try some questions.

    Thanks Hank

  476. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas B. says “natural science works well in the laboratory.”

    It also works extremely well in the field, in the school, in the workplace…in fact anywhere you might want to have reliable information on the natural world.

    As to policy, I am not saying that science determines policy. I am saying that the most reliable science must form the basis for policy that affects or is affected by the natural world. What is more, there is a record of success for science-based policy–from air and water quality to soil conservation–even to some extent wrt endangered species.

    Now, as to the IPCC–I don’t know where you get the idea that they feel tightening uncertainties on parameters will push policy forward. The science has been at a state to justify action for at least a couple of decades now. The fact that politicians and the public still think there is controversy is simply absurd.

    There is value, though, in reducing uncertainties, as this tightens upper bounds on risks that need to be mitigated.

    Look, Andreas, we know how to do this. The discipline of probabilistic risk assessment is well developed and science-based. The problem is that it is not being allowed to proceed–and that has nothing to do with the scientists or the IPCC.

  477. Richard Ordway:

    Contrarian’s anti-science history in the peer review:

    If anyone wants a thorough documented history of the deceipt, tactics and history used by the contarians in climate science, you might want to look up this solid peer reviewed source:

    It’s been reasonably well cited (129 times), and was cited by CICERO. The writing journal’s Eigenfactor AI was pretty high: 91.

    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/McCrightDunlap2000.pdf
    McRright, Dunlap, 2000, Social Problems, cited 129 times/ ISI ranking for Social Problems placed it among the leading journals in sociology, with an impact factor of 2.059- Eigenfactor AI 91 Cited by, CICERO Policy Note, 2005

  478. Andreas Bjurström:

    The problem I am trying to address, very often, is that uncertainty in the physical sub-systems are rather low compared to biological and social systems. Politics are dealing with uncertainties that are of a different magnitute than the physcial sciences and they are used to that. To invest billions of dollars to reduce physical uncertainty a little bit more will not do us very much good. If politics was rational (it is not) and the funding of science was rational (it is not) I think we would see different kind of research by now, less research on adressing the physical mechanism, and much more research on adaptation and mitigation. However, we dont see such a shift, the physical sciences tend to control the agenda of climate change. If one wants to be conspirational (I think that is not that good) one could claim that denialism are the best friend of the physical sciences, as long as we have strong denialism we will probably see huge investments of research money in the scientific basis. But sooner or later we must also do something and understand what we should do …

  479. J:

    To those who responded to my previous post – in the off-chance that this post makes it – I seem to have been frozen out of replying to you. So now it is a one-way argument for your benefit.

    Enjoy. [see warning in your last comment. -moderator]

  480. Richard Ordway:

    467Septic Matthew says:
    26 March 2010 at 9:21 AM
    445, Richard Ordway.

    Yes, tobacco is dangerous and promoters lied about it. Alar, aspartame, acrilonitrile, power lines (as leukemia risk), thimerasol, and fluoridated water supplies are safe, and opponents lied or were self-deluded about them.

    Now we have AGW to evaluate, independently of alar and tobacco: are you really unaware of or indifferent to the amount of money that is invested in advertising the risks of AGW? I respect Al Gore’s work, his Noble Prize, and his Oscar, but it does promote his substantial busniness interest: at the Academy Award ceremony his company was giving away free CO2 offsets as introductory offers. Then there’s ADM, Sharp, Siemens, GE, and on and on who will gain $billions in subsidies and protected sales.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    I think you missed something. Yes the American left and right are battling each other with lies and exaggerations… and I agree they are both probably bad for science.

    The left’s rabid/fanatical anti-nuke policies are probably so entrenched, that the USA has stopped work on much safer 4th generation nuke power plants which are partial-nuke-problem-solving (it eats up existing nuclear bomb making radioactive material stocks) and does not produce active bomb making materials…except for dirty bombs(Clinton canceled the 4th generation research as it was about to be tested if I understand correctly).

    But it’s science (and scientists being slandered-Saunter, Wigley, Mann) who are caught in the middle. Science, studies (were) and scientists are being repressed and harassed (I hope not with future catastrophic consequences for the United States…We have to act 30-50 years ahead of individual effects of human caused global warming showing up(and perhaps hundreds of years ahead if feedbacks come into play) on human caused global warming because that it about how long the delay is due to the oceans’ thermal inertia). Peer reviewed science and scientists should be left alone by both sides.

    Screwing with science has lead to safety concerns for the US public to the point of whole papers/studies/science never being published or released to relevant authorities (or being whited-out- before being released but not for the papers/information at the place I was that I heard about) and the public being put at risk…like for chemical effects on pregnant women, childhood lead poisoning, toxic chemicals, polluted drinking water supplies,potential chemical hazards in communities, diseases and of course human-caused climate change.

    It has been recorded in peer review as well.
    Rest and Halpern American Journal of Public Health | November 2007, Vol 97, No. 11

    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/AJPH.2007.118455v1

    McRright, Dunlap, 2000, Social Problems
    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/McCrightDunlap2000.pdf

  481. John E. Pearson:

    450: JOhn Peter asked: “could anyone discover a zero dimensional regional model? ”

    For what use? I’d like to see some simple models myself but you have to be realistic in what you hope to learn from them. I don’t think you can expect an overly simplified model to have sufficient precision to determine whether the climate sensitivity is 1C or 3C or 6C.

  482. CM:

    BPL,

    > Humans now appropriate about 40% of global net primary productivity,
    > not 25%

    Isn’t that mainly a question of definition? The headline figure from Haberl et al. 2006 was 23.8% (28.8% if limited to above-ground NPP. They got to 37% when recalculating for a “high” estimate as defined in the original Vitousek et al. (1986) study. It’s staggering in any case.

  483. Patrick 027:

    Re 437 John Peter
    “The energy flux, 396W/m2, is 200 times the forcings to which you want to refer. AGW forcings are much too small to have any measurable effect on earth/sun black-body T^4 radiation balance. ”

    (If the only way we knew such forcings was to measure the totals and subtract, then that could be true. But we know that CO2 has an effect and we know to a good approximation how to quantify it. We can do this even if errors, whether in approximation of theory or in measurement, are larger in total than the change we are considering. Because these types of errors don’t tend to jump back and forth a lot; if the total greenhouse effect of ~ 33 K has been overestimated by 1 K, for example, it isn’t likely that a small change in greenhouse effect will switch that error a lot, because of the nature of what gives rise to the error. Consider for example a person who’s height is known to be between 5 feet and 6 feet. If this person stands on their toes, is there an uncertainty of 1 foot in the change of the height of their head?)

    and Re

    441 Sou
    442 Septic Matthew
    450 zero dimensional models

    Re 448
    “So notions as “climate sensitivity” understood as a single derivative along the forcing has no real physical ground. It may be approximately justified by models, but isn’t a consequence of first principles”

    (A constant single climate sensitivity for all types of forcings is not justified (though for forcings not too idiosyncratic and for some range of climate, it may be a reasonable first approximation), but the idea that for a given initial state, some forcing results in some amount of change, is justified, and that is what defines climate sensitivity).

    Re 455

    OKAY,

    For constant emissivity (greybody), greater spatiotemporal (latitude, region, day-night, transient, seasonal, low-frequency variability) temperature variations (over a horizontal surface) result in greater emitted flux for the same average temperature over that surface, because the flux is proportional to the fourth power.

    But that effect is not unquantifiable. My own attempt for the surface temperature, assuming perfect LW emissivity, came up with an effective difference of under 1 K (it was a rough estimate so I won’t bother specifying further – I’d be interested to see a more accurate calculation). That is, for the spatiotemporal variations in surface temperature as they are, in the annual average, a global average surface temperature of 288 K, if a perfect blackbody, would emit to space over the whole globe with the flux of an isothermal 289 K surface, roughly. These temperature variations at the surface are generally larger than through most of the mass of the atmosphere, for any given vertical level (at least in geometric or pressure coordinates), so the difference for emission from the atmosphere and for surface temperature with a greenhouse effect could be less (although the effect on equilibrium average temperature would be counteracted by decreasing temperature with height within the troposphere). Further complications (perhaps tending to decrease the difference between average and ‘effective average’ temperatures) will arise as atmospheric optical properties may have some correlation with surface and atmospheric temperatures. But that can be quantified by calculations that take that all into account.

    The effect of imperfect LW emissivity – Yes, this increases the equilibrium temperature. And because of the correflection of LW, depending on angular and spectral variations in the nonzero LW albedo, this effect on temperature decreases with increasing greenhouse effect, generally with more of that occuring with the first bits of added greenhouse effect. If the emissivity of the surface were 0.96 (I’m not quite sure of the value, this is for illustrative purposes), that would increase the equilibrium temperature for the surface, absent any greenhouse effect, by about 1 %, or 3 K. This effect should diminish as a greenhouse effect is added (at least for one based on emission and absorption), because the reduction in emission from the surface is partially replaced by reflected radiation from the atmosphere (depends on the spectral and angular distribution of optical properties, though). Thus, relative to a blackbody surface, increasing the the greenhouse effect from zero results in a smaller than otherwise warming, but the effect for more and more greenhouse effect increases should tend to be less and less. So it may not matter as much to the warming from a further 8 or 10 W/m2 or ___ greenhouse effect (forcing plus non-planck feedbacks) as it does, in relative proportion, to the total warming from the total greenhouse effect.

    Of course, variations in surface emissivity do occur, and that, along with atmospheric temperatures and surface temperatures and atmopspheric optical properties, and how they correlate over space and time, could have some further effect. Again, though, this can actually be quantified by doing the calculations.

    For that matter, there could be some small effects from index of refraction of the air, the curvature of the Earth and the increasing area per unit surface area with increasing height (which will have a combined effect with tropospheric expansion and increasing height of sources of emission to space with increasing greenhouse effect), though the vertical compactness of most of the mass of the air relative to the dimensions of the globe tend to minimize the last two, and the index of refraction of the air is only just slightly different than 1.

    And gravitational lensing and redshift, and doppler shift of sunlight depending on time of day and latitude and season, etc, but I’m guessing those effects are even smaller.

    Anyway, for any time of day, any weather condition, any time of year, any time of Milankovitch cycles, etc, there is some upward and downward radiative and convective heat fluxes at any given vertical position, and how they change over vertical position corresponds to some accumulation or depletion of heat. This may be balanced by storage and horizontal convergences or divergences of heat fluxes, and by conversion to or from kinetic energy at some locations (to a first approximation kinetic energy budgets don’t affect the overall heat budget (except via moving heat around) because 1. small rates of conversion compared to overall energy budget 2. I think most kinetic energy produced in the troposphere/surface is then converted back to heat in the tropospher/surface; certainly very little energy radiates to space as kinetic energy (perhaps radio waves produced by wind in the ionosphere?)). In the net production and consumption of kinetic energy, this effectively acts as a transport of heat from where kinetic energy is produced to where kinetic energy is consumed.

    (Enthalpy is lost from rising air that is decreasing in pressure, and gained by sinking air increasing in pressure, by an amount proportional to temperature; so there is a net loss in enthalpy when warmer air rises and colder air sinks past the same pressure level. This is equal to kinetic energy production (as in a heat engine). Kinetic energy is consumed by the reverse process (like a heat pump or refrigerator). It is also converted back to heat by friction and mixing across momentum variations, and by mixing against stable stratification. There is some more complexity in considering the effects of compositional variations, though those are more important in the ocean, and ultimately the energy they may impart must be supplied from heat (and organized via differential heating and cooling) (aside from gravitational tides, which are a much smaller energy source than geothermal heating, which itself is quite small globally).

    For global averages and totals, the horizontal surfaces that define vertical levels are closed surfaces, so there is no net horizontal loss or gain.

    There is some (I think) small amount of non-radiative energy flux from the troposphere into the stratosphere and above, from a small amount of kinetic energy that drives ‘thermally indirect’ (hot sinking, cold rising, kinetic energy converted to enthalpy) motions in the upper atmosphere, and from actual mass transport across the tropopause. Regionally, parts of the stratosphere and mesosphere can be very far out of radiative equilibrium, but in the global average, so far as I know, they are near radiative equilibrium, with the net vertical heat flux being mostly radiation. The troposphere is more fundamentally not in radiative equilibrium, because pure radiative equilibrium would require a lapse rate unstable to convection. Regionally this is not always true; a permanent night or polar winter condition would certainly allow convectively-stable radiative equilibrium, but it would also tend towards absolute zero K. The troposphere exists over the globe because, besides lack of permanent night (heat capacity prevents equilibrium from being reached over a few hours, or even longer, especially over water), of horizontal convective coupling (in the ocean and in the atmosphere).

    Not every location and time is in radiative-convective equilibrium; the lapse rate can be locally stable to convection, and even if unstable to moist convection, moist convection is not automatically triggered by such instability. However, local vertical overturning is just one way to transport heat vertically by convection; another way is large-horizontal scale overturning. This larger scale overturning, as occurs with the Hadley cell, the Walker circulation, monsoons, and extratropical storms / baroclinic waves, can transport heat vertically on a global or regional basis even when all locations are themselves stable to convection (although in the examples given, some more localized convection often or generally occurs, generally within regions of general ascent); these motions also transport heat horizontally from warmer to cooler regions. If the larger-scale overturning were reduced, with no other changes, heat would initially build up at and near the surface, reducing vertical static stability, tending to increase localized convection. Of course, these two forms of overturning are not always completely distinct (**) and they can occur with each other; localized moist convective updrafts tend to produce descent over a larger region (effects of vertical displacement communicated via gravity waves; like throwing a stone in a pond, the water level doesn’t rise everywhere instantaneously but a change ripples outward.)

    Greater thicknesses of the troposphere tends to gain heat convectively from the surface in those places and times where the surface is warmer (though not a perfect correlation); In some locations and times, there is a net radiative flux up from the tropopause, and heat is being brought in from other locations by the air within some portion of the troposphere, keeping the surface from getting colder faster.

    As the surface cools, at least some layer of air may become warmer than the surface via storage from another time or horizontal transport, and heat is lost from this layer and part of that goes to the surface, slowing the rate of surface cooling or keeping it warmer than otherwise..

    In the diurnal cycle in particular, over land, in particular when humidity is low and clouds are absent and especially if the elevation is high (when the greenhouse effect is locally small), the surface and near-surface air temperature drops much faster than in most of the atmosphere’s mass. The rapid cycling of solar heating limits how far temperature fluctuations can penetrate into the ground, so there is a larger solar heating per unit heat capacity of the surface than of the air; the solar heating cycle goes from high to zero, but the heat capacity limits the temperature cycle amplitude, and thus limits the cycling of LW radiation emitted; thus surface radiation can’t drive a large diurnal temperature cycle in the atmosphere as a whole; the more constant temperature of the atmosphere keeps the LW emission from the air more steady (for given optical properties), and this also reduces the temperature cycle that can be achieved at the surface. A wet surface can also cool by evaporation, which limits the temperature cycling at the surface.

    The greenhouse effect depends on the variation of temperature with height as well as optical properties; the surface can at some times and places be colder than some of the air above; however, increasing the greenhouse effect globally doesn’t miss such locations; aside from regional variations in surface albedo feedback, etc, changes in temperature in one location are communicated to other places. With ongoing localized convection, a change in temperature at one level tends to increase or decrease convective heat fluxes so as to bring a thicker vertical layer along to a new convective lapse rate, but absent localized convection, any forced change in temperature at any vertical level will locally tend to drive changes in the same sign at different vertical levels at the same location via changes in LW fluxes, modulate by LW optical properties. If the regions of the surface underneath general ascent (with or without localized convection) get warmer, this tends to warm the troposphere above convectively. Even with no change in atmospheric circulation, this warming then propagates within some layer of the air to a descending region, ultimately making some layer of air warmer above where the surface may be cold, warming the surface there. If a cold surface area beneath descending and spreading air gets warmer, then the low-level air arriving at warmer locations will be warmer initially and cool the warmer areas less. So to some extent the troposphere and surface do tend to warm up and cool off together in response to changes in heat supplie or removed, such as from the subsurface ocean (ENSO, for example) or from radiative forcing and feedbacks in the global average at the tropopause level – not the same everywhere and with possible exceptions depending on optical and circulation feedbacks.

    PS to illustrate why radiation at the tropopause level is key, consider what happens if the troposphere has zero thickness, as might occur if there is no greenhouse effect. In this case, define the tropopause as resting at the surface. The atmosphere might be warmer than the surface if absorbs any solar radiation. In that case, initially increasing the greenhouse effect (an absorbing/emitting greenhouse, not a scattering greenhouse) will increase the outgoing LW radiation to space, and increase the downward LW radiation to the surface tropopause. After stratospheric cooling, the outgoing LW radiation to space may have increased or decreased relative to before the greenhouse effect was changed, depending… But the downward LW radiation at the surface will still be nonzero, whereas it was zero before. Thus the net upward LW flux at the surface has decreased, and the surface warms, until the net fluxes (with whatever feedbacks occur) are balanced again. At some point a troposphere may form, raising the tropopause off the surface. Then, changes in the greenhouse effect can force changes in both downward and upward LW fluxes across the surface, both before and after stratospheric adjustment. Etc.

  484. Patrick 027:

    Correction: last sentence refers to tropopause, not surface.

  485. Richard Ordway:

    Here is a non-peer just-released paper on the history of climate change scientific supression with historical dates (hard to screw that up) from greenpeace.

    It probably has some bias in it but deals a bit with documenting the recent attacks on science and scientists…and probably has some useful information in it. Many things such as dates and events are easily verified.

    http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/dealing-in-doubt.pdf

  486. Richard Ordway:

    WMO releases 2009 report on human-caused global warming:

    The previous decade was the warmest on record in spite of the pseudo-sceptics multiple claims to the contrary.

    http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_869_en.html

  487. Didactylos:

    BPL said “Specifically what misinformation have I spread?”

    Let me see…. you have conflated military and civilian nuclear accidents, you have compared US nuclear costs with California wind costs, and applied your “result” to the entire world, you have cherry picked prototype reactors when discussing build costs….

    …and those are just off the top of my head. I’m sure a search through the comments would find dozens more, but I don’t want to waste my time. I have made my point. If you won’t accept it, then you are less reasonable than I had supposed.

    BPL said “Crap. I think renewables can do it all and I don’t think CCS will work. It’s YOUR view that we can only do it with nuclear, not MY view.”

    My view, yes – backed up by hard data for the UK. If you plan on refuting that, go ahead. Otherwise, I will give “your view” the attention it deserves. Or do you think that the UK should demolish a few cities to make space for wind farms?

    Do you know the biggest obstacle to building new UK wind farms? Yes, you guessed it – environmentalists.

    I think it’s time everyone concerned with the future of the planet corrected their cranio-rectal inversion, and started working pragmatically, working together, and forgetting old and irrelevant battles.

  488. Sou:

    @ 478 Andreas Bjurström says: (26 March 2010 at 3:14 PM)

    (snip)…To invest billions of dollars to reduce physical uncertainty a little bit more will not do us very much good. If politics was rational (it is not) and the funding of science was rational (it is not) I think we would see different kind of research by now, less research on adressing the physical mechanism, and much more research on adaptation and mitigation. However, we dont see such a shift, the physical sciences tend to control the agenda of climate change.

    In order to adapt and mitigate, we need to know more about what we need to adapt to and where – at the regional and local level. The science is able to provide more information as time goes by, but we are not there yet.

    National politicians are still making decisions at the global level (eg through Copenhagen) to reduce overall CO2 emissions. That part is clear.

    It will largely be the local politicians at the state/province and regional level who will need to make decisions about local adaptation – and the pathway is not clear enough at the local level. There are many issues on which more information is sought. Such as do we need to build more water storage facilities and of what kind – ie is it better to invest in stormwater capture or desalination plants. If we build a desalination plant where should it be built? Will it be submerged in 30 years time? Will we need to build irrigation infrastructure or storm water channels or both?

    These questions need more precise answers before the political decisions can be made. Even then, the questions move from the scientific to the engineering, social, economic and financial. The restructure and rationalisation of agricultural sectors in most nations will be huge and costly, as an example. The infrastructure involved in adapting major cities will likewise be huge and costly. Mitigation will be even more costly and mistakes could easily bankrupt states and even nations.

    At the national level there remain questions about immigration policies, capacity of nations to absorb refugees – these will require examination by physical scientists, biologists, economists, agricultural scientists as well as by engineers, social scientists and economists. The answers are not readily apparent, and in any case will involve intergovernmental cooperation and agreements.

    But sooner or later we must also do something and understand what we should do …

    Many governments, organisations and individuals are doing something, but it is still very haphazard and insufficient to deal with the problem so far. The continued investment in science is essential if governments are to properly work out ‘what we should do’.

    The devil is in the detail!

  489. Icarus:

    Could anyone please comment on this:

    Total net anthropogenic forcing is calculated at ~1.6W/m². At any one time half the planet is in darkness and for the half that is illuminated, the sun strikes at different angles, so the average forcing over the whole of the Earth’s surface is one quarter of that, i.e. 0.4W/m² (one quarter being the ratio of the cross-section of the Earth, πR², to its surface area, 4πR²).

    At 0.4W/m², each 2,500km² of the Earth’s surface on average receives 1GW of additional energy from the sun. Surface area of the Earth is 510,072,000km². Hence the Earth should be receiving the additional energy of 510,072,000/2,500 = 204,000GW continously pouring into the climate system, due to anthropogenic forcing.

    Skeptical Science has a figure of 6 x 10^21 Joules per year for the rate of heat accumulation in the climate system since 1970 (from measurements), which is 190,000GW.

    204,000GW and 190,000GW match pretty well. Is this meaningful? Is this calculation correct? Am I right in thinking that the anthropogenic forcing calculated from what we know about greenhouse gases, aerosols etc. is close to the measured increase in the Earth’s heat content in the last few decades?

  490. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas, The entire US government investment for all aspects of climate research is less than 3 billion dollars. That is certainly not an unreasonable funding level. For comparison, high-energy and nuclear physics get 1.35 billion, NASA about 18 billion (half to manned spaceflight). I would say that if anything climate science is slightly underfunded. The Europeans spend considerably less on climate science than the Americans–I think it was $13 million for the Brits.

    As to shifting funding toward mitigation and adaptation, that is a problem. How much funding? Certainly, the funding should be commensurate with the risk, don’t you agree? Unfortunately, several of the risks due to climate change remain unbounded.

    And what mitigation techniques will be effective? One of the leading candidates at this point is injection of sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere. Unfortunately, there are many unanswered questions. Would this really be effective? How long would the sulfate aerosols work? How often would they need to be replaced? Would they exacerbate ocean acidification as they rained out? Would decreasing visible light to compensate for greenhouse warming have unintended consequences. And yet, the portion of climate forcing we need to answer these questions has some of the biggest uncertainties in it.

    In fact, the only mitigation we know would work is drastic reduction in fossil fuel consumption? But how much would we have to decrease consumption? Over how long before we face the prospect of severe risk? Would Hansen’s proposed program of concentrating initially on secondary ghgs be effective? Again, we don’t know completely.

    Sorry, Andreas, but in part, this is a science project. We need to target our resources and efforts efficiently. How do you propose to do that if you don’t base policy on science?

  491. Ray Ladbury:

    SM@467,
    I suffered through G&T once. I think that is enough. G&T are idiots. I think it is safe to assume that anyone who takes them seriously must be at least as stupid. The little bit that I looked at this morning was mainly crap. Smith’s rebuttal never set out to give an exhaustive treatment–merely to show G&T was utter crap. It succeeded. For the authors to then take him to task because he is not detailing a full GCM is disingenuous. Beyond that, I don’t care to read bullshit.

  492. Septic Matthew:

    480 Richard Ordway: I think you missed something. Yes the American left and right are battling each other with lies and exaggerations… and I agree they are both probably bad for science.

    You may have missed my point about both sides having strong financial interests.

    The left’s rabid/fanatical anti-nuke policies are probably so entrenched, that the USA has stopped work on much safer 4th generation nuke power plants which are partial-nuke-problem-solving (it eats up existing nuclear bomb making radioactive material stocks) and does not produce active bomb making materials…except for dirty bombs(Clinton canceled the 4th generation research as it was about to be tested if I understand correctly).

    On that we agree, but I think that Obama, Chu and others have shown that the left has changed. At least it seems that they may have changed enough.

  493. David Miller:

    Naindj asks in #404:

    Also, David Miller, 378, I don’t understand your point. If you burn locally 75% of you coal (or gas, or oil), the question is: are the 25% remaining, that you can export, still enough to cover all costs? And coal is so highly energetic that it might be the case. Of course, environmentaly, this is not the best… Did I miss something?

    Yes, I think you missed the reference to tar sands and coal-to-liquid.

    The way tar sands are currently being processed is to have gigantic machines mine the tar sands for processing. The raw material is heated, usually with natural gas, and the bitumen is washed off the sand. The sand and wash water is stored in vast tailing ponds that are an environmental disaster waiting to happen. The bitumen is mixed with naptha and piped off to be further processed/upgraded.

    That’s what’s happening now.

    What they’re talking about is a very different process. If you drill vertical shafts into the tar sands, then a horizontal shaft across the bottom you can force air down one side and vent the exhaust at the other. By lighting a fire in the horizontal shaft you can burn some of the bitumen without ever having to extract it from the ground. That’s the “in-situ” combustion.

    By burning some portion of it in place you heat it enough to extract some without also having to extract all the sand. Neither do you have to heat with natural gas, wash with water, and provide tailing ponds for the tailings. Nor do you have to pretend you’re going to push all the tailings back where they came from when you’ve stripped all the economically feasible bitumen from the deposit.

    So with the in-situ processing you have far lower setup and processing costs, you don’t have to burn a lot of natural gas, and – this is a big one – you can extract deposits that aren’t economical with surface mining because they’re too far down or under rock.

    Naindj, do you see the problem here? If you acquired mining rights to, say, a billion barrels of oil equivalent and the most practical way to extract it is through in-situ combustion because they’re 400 feet down do you worry that you’re burning 3 barrels of raw material to get one to sell? Businessmen will look at it as an investment and on a cash-flow basis. If a maximum rate of return on your investment comes from burning 3/4 of the stock to get the other quarter how many will not do this? If you extract 250 million barrels and sell at $100/bbl you’ve got 25 billion in revenue, and in-situ processing means you can get it quicker and with less investment.

    It’s financially very possible. It’s an environmental disaster.

    And note that while I talked specifically of tar sands, the picture is not very different for shale or coal.

  494. Septic Matthew:

    483, Patrick027,

    Good enough as far as it goes. The paper I cited that Ray Ladbury didn’t like tries to quantify a lot of the effects that you wrote of semiquantitatively.

    Consider for example a person who’s height is known to be between 5 feet and 6 feet. If this person stands on their toes, is there an uncertainty of 1 foot in the change of the height of their head?)

    I think that weight is a better analogy: if your weight fluctuates +/- 10% across seasons, regions (visits to relatives), epochs (repeated partially successful exercise regimens while raising children or commuting 50+ miles to work sometimes), then it is very difficult to create and maintain and document a permanent decrease of about 1% in the mean. It is even harder to tell what caused it (giving up milk in the coffee?) For 230 lb men, repeated weight losses and gains of 10% are not that uncommon. It’s an even worse problem if the scale itself is changing and requires frequent recalibrations.

    This is where tamino and BPL, among others, start using more complex time series analyses (autocorrelation, partial autocorrelation, cross-correlation, vector autoregressive models [the result of a VAR analysis was recently put up by a friend of tamino, but I don't remember the name]), and others start to write that “the CO2 mechanism is sufficiently well known and nothing else exists” or other things of that nature.

    Proponents of the solar theories are up against the same problems, probably worse.

  495. John Peter:

    t_p_hamilton @471

    Hmmm. I thought Mike Mann said (many times) that he “knew” where the LIT and MA were, the proxy data was good enough.

    In this paper – as I read it, and as he told the interviewer – NCAR and GISS, both models, reversed the proxy data and responded cold where the proxy data indicated hot and hot where the proxy data showed cold, the models were out of phase.

    A tyro like me would see that as a back-casting failure in NCAR and in GISS. That’s the way the interviewer saw it and Mike did not try to correct him. Mike just wouldn’t commit to fixing this problem in AR-V.

    To me it’s clear in the interview, confused in the paper, and not mentioned in the abstract.

    What do you think?

  496. Patrick 027:

    … in other words:

    For a forcing that directly causes warming or cooling at one position, there is a tendency for the response to be less strong at that location but extend outward (the outward extensions of forcings at other positions add up at any given position, though).

    This happens via LW radiation vertically (this reduces the difference between tropospheric/surface and stratospheric/above temperature changes generally caused by increased greenhouse effect; the direct tropopause level forcing is reduced somewhat by stratospheric cooling, and when the troposphere and surface warm, the stratosphere warms back up a bit (relative to adjustment with troposphere and surface conditions held constant) in response (with corresponding tropopause-level feedback).

    This happens via horizontal motion.

    And, at least and especially within the troposphere, this happens by responses of vertical convective heat fluxes.

    ——

  497. Patrick 027:

    Re 489 Icarus -

    You have the right idea but some corrections need to be made.

    Climate forcings are generally expressed as per unit area over the whole climate system, which means the whole surface area of the globe. Thus 1.6 W/m2 is what you wanted, not that divided by 4. Solar TSI variations need to be divided by 4 to be converted to climate forcings (And then, for tropopause-level forcing, there’s an issue of how much is absorbed in the stratosphere, etc.).

    As the climate responds, it tends to approach equilibrium by changes the fluxes so as to balance the forcing. It is the remaining disequilibrium that drives the heat accumulation (or depletion in the other direction). The amount of warming required to restore climatic equilibrium depends on feedbacks. The Planck response (if that is the best name for it) is a negative feedback whereby LW emission increases as a function of temperature. Other feedbacks may reduce or increase the net upward LW flux and change net incoming SW flux (equal to solar heating below the level for which the flux is described) in response to temperature changes. These other feedbacks, combined, are most likely positive, meaning they reduce the increase in upward LW emission relative to what it would be with the Planck response alone (these are the feedbacks that are generally described as ‘the feedbacks’, because the Planck response is default – this can cause confusion, as the total feedback including the Planck response is actually negative (for present Earthly conditions) so that the climate is stable (in the sense that it can reach a new equilibrium in response to a forcing, given time), but this doesn’t limit the climate sensitivity to be less than 1 K per doubling CO2, rather it (as so-far described in this paragraph) merely limits climate sensitivity to be a finite value).

    The time it takes to approach equilibrium is proportional to climate sensitivity and to heat capacity.

    At present the disequilibrium is roughly half of the forcing; that is the rate heat is accumulating now (averaged over shorter-term variability).

    For 1 W/m2 of radiative disequilibrium, and approx. 510 trillion m2, the global heat accumulation would be 510 TW (I’m using American trillion, etc.). With 31.5576 Ms per year (based on 365.25 days/year), that’s approximately 16.1 billion trillion J / year, or 1.61 e22 J / year.

    The disequilibrium has been growing because of continually increasing anthropogenic forcing. So an average heat accumulation of 6 e21 J/year, which is a little less than 0.5 W/m2, sounds about right.

  498. Patrick 027:

    Re 494 Septic Matthew

    Your weight analogy: Maybe okay for regional climate variations over short time periods (??) – or maybe not…

    But the error introduced by setting aside relativistic effects, approximating the atmosphere as having no curvature and area not varying with height, ignoring macroscopic index of refraction variations,

    and setting aside LW atmospheric scattering

    and even approximating the surface as a blackbody for the LW portion of the spectrum

    and even using a 1 dimensional, global annual representative radiative-convective model for the purposes of estimating vertical energy fluxes and global average temperatures,

    these errors are not the sort of errors that flip back and forth as the global average temperature is increased over several K; rather they grow or decay, generally slowly. Which means the errors they make to changes of a few K is small. In other words, these are not the types of errors that introduce a noise that can hide a sufficiently weak signal; rather they may introduce an error that is some small fraction of the signal.

  499. Patrick 027:

    Re 494 Septic Matthew

    Your weight analogy – maybe okay for issues of detecting a signal mixed with noise for short time periods.

    But the types of errors introduced by such approximations as

    setting relativistic effects aside

    assuming the macroscopic index of refraction is exactly 1 within the atmosphere

    assuming the atmosphere is horizontally flat and area doens’t change with height

    and even setting aside atmospheric LW scattering

    and even approximating the surface as a blackbody for LW radiation

    and even using a 1-dimensional global annaul representative model for relating vertical heat fluxes to temperature

    and using some approximation for optical properties of gases and maybe even clouds

    these types of errors are not the types of errors that fluctuate and flip back and forth over changes in global average temperature of several K; rather, they may change by small amounts. So they don’t produce any noise that would hide a sufficiently weak signal; rather, they may introduce a small fractional error in the signal.

  500. Patrick 027:

    Re my Re 489 Icarus
    “Solar TSI variations need to be divided by 4 “…

    And then scaled by the fraction absorbed (1-albedo), etc.

  501. Barton Paul Levenson:

    JP (474),

    The only problem with that is that the regions are not isolated, so the answers you’d get wouldn’t reflect the real world. Even in a “latitude-band” model which divides one hemisphere up into nine bands, each 10 latitude degrees “high,” the heat transfer between bands is a major term.

  502. Completely Fed Up:

    “Do you know the biggest obstacle to building new UK wind farms? Yes, you guessed it – environmentalists.”

    WRONG.

    There are environmentalists who are against wind farms.

    This is not the same as environmentalists are against wind farms.

    And the biggest obstacle is the selfish, not the environmentalist.

  503. Completely Fed Up:

    “470
    Rod B says:
    26 March 2010 at 11:39 AM

    CFU, My statement to Richard was a conditional, starting with If you are implying.”

    Where is the *IF*???

    “if you are implying the US Navy is a strong protagonist AGWer”

    This doesn’t say in any shape or form “please explain”.

    I really can’t believe it, do you STILL say that you were merely asking for explanation???

  504. John Peter:

    t_p_hamilton

    I reread your response @471

    We know that global models sometimes forecast misleading regional results even when their global forecasts are correct. Mann(etal) used such global models to study the LIA and MCA that their proxy data indicated were regional. They found La Nina-like and El Nino-like patterns, except their El Nino-like pattern was associated with the LIT and their La Nina-like pattern with the MCA, the opposite of what we now see in our current anthropomorphic CO2 period. During the LIT/MCA natural forcing periods, the El Nino-like and La Nina-like patterns did not exhibit the decadal switching seen between the El Nino and La Nina in our current anthropological period.

    So what should be interesting in these (very tentative) results is the existence and persistence of the newly discovered patterns, not the behavior of the models as research tools. Any back casting anomalies observed are readily attributed to known difficulties in the use of global models to get regional results.

    So I and perhaps the interviewer(?) were confused, but the paper is (ugh) clear. The abstract is good because it emphasizes those discoveries of importance to research climate scientists.

    Thank you very much for your help in my education (I knew you could do it ;

    All above mistakes are my own 8<)

  505. Walter Manny:

    To Jim the moderator re. “continued ad hominem attacks will get you banned”. You don’t need to publish this request, but here’s one reader who hopes you will apply this rule to ALL posters, regardless of their points of view. I recognize I am likely tilting at windfarms, as you yourself join the fray when you employ ad hominem the stomach-turning term “denier”.

  506. Dave G:

    Didactylos says:
    26 March 2010 at 6:10 PM

    “Do you know the biggest obstacle to building new UK wind farms? Yes, you guessed it – environmentalists.”

    Real environmentalists see the benefits of wind farms. Take the Scottish village of Fintry, for example. This village of 500 people is buying a turbine on a wind-farm near their village and will make about £5million over 25 years from that turbine. That money will, in turn, go towards funding other environmentally friendly projects, like insulating the homes of villagers and changing from oil-fired heating to ground source heat pump heating for the village hall. So not only is Fintry using wind powered electricity, they are making money doing so, and they are investing the profits in other energy-saving measures.

    I hope Fintry is the template for other villages. If there’s money to be made from wind farms which could greatly benefit the community, then maybe the objections will become less frequent.

  507. Andreas Bjurström:

    490 Ray Ladbury says:
    Of these 3 billion dollars, probably more than 2 billion goes to the physical sciences, especially climate modelling.

    [Response: Nonsense. Climate modelling is a tiny fraction of this money (I'd estimate about 3%). The vast bulk of it is for satellite missions from NOAA and NASA. - gavin]

    If we look at the IPCC assessment of climate change, less than 1 % of the content are about conflicts and politics etc. Despite this void or societal analysis, the IPCC was awarded the peace price. We don´t have a clue whether climate change will increase conflicts because there are no research about it.
    This is NOT to abandond science as a basis for policy. On the contrary, that is to do policy relevant research and that require a broadening of the scientific basis and new approaches to be more relevant for policy.

  508. Andreas Bjurström:

    488 Sou,
    Sure, we need lots of more knowledge, but the thing is, we can´t rely on climate models to the extent that we do today. We need a BROADER and more INTEGRATED knowledge base. We have quite good knowledge on the physical aspects, the vast majority of money and intellectual efforts are invested there, yet this is small islands of knowledge in a sea of ignorance.

    Is it really sound to have more or less a one discipline knowledge base for the very complex problem of climate change?

    And is it really sound do address a “post-normal” problem as if it has a technical issue, e.g. a car breaks down and you need to fix a tire. I don´t think climate change is a technical problem.

    [Response: Strawman argument. What proportion of climate scientists actually work on or with climate models? It's much smaller than you imply. What proportion of the IPCC references are to clinate modelling papers? Again, it is a small fraction. These kinds of metrics are easily calculatable, and yet you appear to prefer rhetorically useful assumptions. Why? - gavin]

  509. Patrick 027:

    Re 508 – “a “post-normal” problem ”

    In the cold war, when ICBMs were being developed, did the study of gravity switch to a post-normal problem?

  510. Andreas Bjurström:

    Gavin, please contribute if you have easily avaible metrics. I use hyberbole, but I don´t think you can falsify the general picture with any metrics. Here is some metrics that I have:

    1994, 1,7 % of the US federal funding for global change research was invested in the human dimension (Rayner and Malone 1998).

    50 % of the IPCC content belongs to the physical sciences (earth science) and 10 % to the social sciences (Bjurström and Polk, 2010, forthcoming in Climatic Change).

    How much money are invested in the physical sciences? I dont know unfortunately. but since natural science research are much more expensive, especially climate modelling that are extremely expensive, I would guess that 70 to 80 % of all climate research money are invested in the physical sciences.

    Can we quantify the modelling approach part of this? I think not. But can be contest that modelling are a strongly prioritized appproach of climate research and the IPCC assessment? hardly. There are models all over the place in the IPCC.

  511. Andreas Bjurström:

    507 Gavin,
    Ray Ladbury claims that climate research in the US has a total budget of 3 billion dollars. You claim that 3 % of these goes to climate modelling (I am not sure that this is a correct interpretation of your statement). Unfortunately I dont know if neither of this is true. However, there is also a fact that climate modelling are a higly dominant approach in the IPCC and my research shows with through quantitative analysis that the earth sciences are heavily dominant in the IPCC assessment of climate change. These different facts and claims dont fit each other very well.

    Are the total budget much bigger than 3 billion dollars? (e.g. additional finance to climate modelling etc. from the US military industrial complex that are hidden or additional? There are a huge military interest in these physical and technical areas since the WW2 period in the US and forward. Fore example, weather predicitons are important in the many US initiated wars all over the world). That would explain the budgets, or?

  512. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas@507,
    I would contend that the reasons why there is less spent on social aspects of climate change is that
    1)there is a very vocal minority who oppose such research as it would likely highlight the criticality of the crisis
    2)there is much less consensus here on what models and methods to use (as evidenced by the widely varying conclusions (from Lomborg to Stern to WWF)
    3)there is no historical precedent for such a slowly unfolding global catastrophe in recorded history
    4)There remain significant uncertainties about a)how quickly the adverse consequences will unfold; and b)how bad they will become–in other words, the risk is still unbounded

    Indeed, I think that much of the credible analysis that has been done in this area may not find its way to the public literature, because it is done by intelligence and defense departments as contingency planning.

    There is not even a peer-reviewed journal for the subject that I know of, and when the IPCC tries to cite literature for this field–almost all of it by governments of advocacy groups–they are severely chastised. Indeed, I think given the response to WG II, you’re likely to see less of this in the future than more.

    Andreas, you have a very distorted view of how resources are allocated in climate science. As with pretty much all theory expenditures, climate modeling actually geta a tiny proportion of the budget. Moreover, even for satellite expenditures (probably the bulk of the money), only a tiny proportion of satellites were purpose built for climate studies. Most are up there for a)weather, b)surveilance, c)general Earth sciences (e.g. Landsat), d)general research (GRACE) or e)space weather. The amazing impact ICESAT had, despite serious problems with its laser altimeter is in part testament to how underserved we are for purpose-built climate satellites. Indeed, under the Bush administration, plans for any sort of Earth Observing effort were shelved and even satellites ready to launch (TRIANA) were mothballed.

    You really owe it to yourself to have your facts straight before you come in advocating changes of priorities. I think if you look at how expenditures are allocated, you’d be calling for more expenditures rather than less. After all, I don’t think hard science vs. soft is of necessity a zero sum game. Social studies would also benefit from firmer science data.

  513. Septic Matthew:

    498, 499 Patrick027

    This is where I think that the confidence that AGW proponents have is at best premature. I think that, overall, the sources of random variability and their consequences are generally underappreciated.

  514. Patrick 027:

    Re myself 483,484,496,499 (Re 437 441 442 448 450 455 494)

    So the patterns of change in immediate response to forcing tend to be spread out by LW radiation and convection, with convection being especially important in the troposphere, tending to couple all vertical levels so that the surface temperature shifts along with temperatures at other levels in some proportion. It isn’t the clear-cut case one finds in a 1-dimensional model, with the actually lapse rate being a moist adiabatic lapse rate as a function of surface temperature, but the general tendency is there, and variations from that tendency can be predicted based on the physics. Regions and times of larger stability to localized convection could allow greater temperature increases at lower levels, for example (unless the large scale circulation evacuates a greater heat horizontally).

    Setting aside horizontal motions, consider an atmospheric column that undergoes a diurnal cycle of solar heating. For reasons previously mentioned, if over land, especially at high elevation, with clear skies (or at least with lack of lower-level clouds) and not much water vapor, the surface temperature and the air near the surface can vary much more than the atmospheric temperature. (This is also enhanced by calm conditions; wind-driven mixing, which must work against stabile stratification once set in and must exceed some strength to do so, but can prevent stabile stratification from developing in the first place, although any such mixing of a finite layer ultimately increases the stability at the top and/or bottom of such a layer by cooling the top and warming the bottom (this would also be true for vertical mixing driven by thermally-direct convection, for mixing that occurs when the kinetic energy produced reaches outside the region where convection occurs spontaneously). And the entire layer is subject to a temperature change by heat gains or losses (analogous to tropospheric and surface warming or cooling in response to tropopause-level radiative imbalances). When wind-driven mixing reduces the temperature decline at night, it is by spreading the temperature change over a greater heat capacity.) When warming up from the minimum, The surface heating required per unit temperature increase will actually tend to grow, because the height to which convection can penetrate increases. A wet surface increases the potential convective heat loss.

    But relevant to the original topic, the surface must warm up to some treshold before convection can deliver heat to the majority of the troposphere. Thus, when the diurnal cycle is larger, the daily-average surface temperature can be colder for the same average tropospheric temperature. To the extent that a climate change (clouds, humidity, surface moisture, removing ice cover from the ocean) or forcing (CO2, aerosols? etc.) reduces the surface temperature diurnal cycle, the surface temperature increase could be larger (or decrease could be smaller) than it would be for a model with no diurnal cycle, for the same tropospheric temperature change.

    (I have wondered if this might be a contributing factor, along with the time lag of climate response from oceanic heat capacity, to the land-ocean pattern of warming (the bulk of the troposphere is more readily coupled horizontally than the near-surface, so tropospheric temperature changes away from the surface may vary less over horizontal distances (generally faster winds away from the surface), other things being equal), at least in so far as temperature variations due to changing surface properties over distance) – maybe not, I don’t know (while CO2 forcing, etc, and water vapor feedback, and increasing backradiation from the atmosphere as it warms, would tend to decrease the DTR (diurnal temperature range), surface drying and reduced cloud cover may occur and have the opposite effect, as would loss of snow-cover (increasing solar heating for that time of year), etc.)

    This isn’t to say that the optical property feedbacks are spread out. The temperature response to those feedbacks will spread out for the same reasons as the response to forcings, but not so much as to eliminate the effects of regional variations.

    Hence, surface and near surface warming is relatively larger at higher latitudes where sea ice cover is reduced (especially in spring and summer, when solar heating can be larger), specifically in the colder seasons when sea ice is or would otherwise have been forming or when sea ice is thinner, etc. (because solar heating of the water adds heat but with not much temperature change; the temperature impact is large when greater heat loss is required to start forming ice, delaying or eliminating ice formation and/or reducing it’s thickness, so that both the additional prior solar heating and the greater availibility of the heat capacity of the ocean increase the surface temperature locally). This change in temperature doesn’t need to ‘fully’ (as in following a convective lapse rate) penetrate via local convection up to the rest of the troposphere because polar conditions, especially in winter, give rise to an inversion (surface cooling to space while it is being heated from at least some layer of the atmosphere above).

  515. David B. Benson:

    Variability of El Niño/Southern Oscillation activity at millennial timescales during the Holocene epoch
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v420/n6912/full/nature01194.html

  516. John Peter:

    Andreas@508

    Hi,

    I have lurked about your discussions on this and several other RC threads. In a narrow casual sense I think I agree with Sou@488 and Gavin’s somewhat irritated response.

    It didn’t seem to me I could add much useful content by adding any of my comments, since Sou and Gavin are much more knowledgeable pros. Instead I tried to parse your, what to me were pretty complicated, Andreas points by removing/replacing as many of your adjectives as I felt I could without harming the sense or meaning of your post@508.

    I tried to classify your ideas as assertions or analysis – very hard, very arbitrary and probably very unnecessary. Then I decided to share this with you to try to find out if I was on the right track. Of course, since this is a blog, it meant sharing with others. Since I am only trying to understand what Andreas means and not trying to frame an argument I trusted Real Climate posters and moderators to let us perform this experiment without too much interference.

    Would you care to edit my lists? Anything may be changed including the number of lists, their classification, their contents, the number of items and, of course, the expression of any or all items. I would only request that an edited item be kept as simple a declaration of your idea as possible, i.e. few if any adjectives, and, of course, no qualification. Right or wrong, in this country, qualifying a talking point can lose any debate about or practical understanding of that item.

    TIA
    AB ASSERTIONS:
    1) we have quite good (physical) knowledge
    2) (most of the) money is invested in physical efforts
    3) (most of the) intellectual effort is invested in physical efforts
    4) physical knowledge are in small islands
    5) physical knowledge is surrounded by a sea of physical ignorance
    6) physical knowledge is surrounded by a sea of non-physical ignorance

    AB ANALYSIS:
    A) we need more knowledge
    B) we cannot rely (completely) on climate models
    C) we need a BROADER knowledge base
    D) we need a more INTEGRATED knowledge base

  517. Andreas Bjurström:

    512 Ray Ladbury,
    The first half of your text is (theoretically) interesting since it hint to how deeply politicized climate research priorities s. What kind of research we have, what kínd of research the IPCC assess, what reseach we dont have, what research the IPCC does not assess, depends upon lots of political mechanisms. These in turn will control what we know and what we dont know on climate change. For example, we dont know anything at all about climate change and violent conflicts.

    As for budget, what you and Gavin say reinforce my point: since you both indicate the huge quantities of more hidden budgets in the industrial military complex (satellites, weather forecasts, etc, etc) that are not really included in the climate change budget, that will boost the research bias even more towards technical aspects and the physical sciences. The social sciences for sure dont have billions of dollars in hidden military budgets that are related to climate change.

  518. Andreas Bjurström:

    516 John Peter,
    I can agree with your list on a general level, especially your separation of assertions from analysis (although the details is not right, and my language in part is quite bad due to me not being native english speaker).

    I would call it descriptions instead of “asssertions” (and they are open to improvements). And probably “assessment” would be better than analysis. An assessment is both analytical and subjective and value-laden.

    Descriptions in short: most things we know about climate change is the physical aspects. because there is a long research tradition within a few disciplines and the bulk of funding are still directed to them.

    Assessment in short: We need a BROADER and more INTEGRATED knowledge base.
    That is more important than to improve the quality of the narrow and non-integrated knowledge base we have today.

  519. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation):

    #505 Walter Manny

    If someone is a denialist, it is not an ad hominem attack to point it out. In other words, if someone is denying well established evidence, it is not inappropriate to point out that the person is denying the evidence.

    Maybe you should read up on what an argumentum ad hominem is?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    or any number of other web sites ind


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  520. CM:

    Andreas #517:
    Careful: Gavin did not at any point indicate any “huge quantities of more hidden budgets in the industrial military complex”. That was your speculation at #511. And if you go back and think about what Ray wrote about defense planning, and what comment of yours he responded to, you’ll realize Ray speculated there are studies about climate change and conflict, i. e. about the the (geo)political and social dimensions, that are not made public — not “technical aspects and the physical sciences.”

    Andreas, a question about the standard against which you measure the disciplinary “bias” in the IPCC reports: You have counted TAR sources. But do we have a comparable statistic on the whole of the scientific literature on which TAR could have drawn? Were the TAR sources really skewed toward physics/earth sciences at the expense of social/human sciences (and towards economics at the expense of the softer social sciences)? Or did the TAR provide a representative sample of the existing published research on climate change across disciplines — it’s just that a great deal less work had been done in social science?

    Answering the question would obviously require an extremely wide-ranging survey of science publishing, and throw up tricky questions about commensurability between fields with different publication habits. But it is a natural question to ask.

  521. Patrick 027:

    Re 513 – You seem to be refering to actual climate variations and not small errors introduced by such approximations as I was going over 498,499.

  522. BobFJ:

    Ray Ladbury & David B Benson have suggested that a discussion around Tamino’s article on “Volcanic Forcing Lag” on the “Daily Mangle” thread, that has closed, be continued here.
    Ray, you commented in part:

    1) Anomalously low volcanic forcing from 1910-1940 dumped a lot of additional energy into the climate system
    2)That the oceans responded to that forcing with a characteristic timescale of 30 years before returning to the new equilibrium
    3)That once that equilibrium was established, the effective forcing from the combined volcanic-ocean system was zero
    4)That volcanic forcing does not account for the relative lack of warming from 1945-1975

    We already knew point 4, since aerosols from burning fossil fuels have been shown to be the main driver of the lack of warming during that period.

    a) Lack of volcanic forcing is a solid argument for the warming period up until around 1940, however there was continued near zero forcing thereon from ~1940 through 1960, when a cooling period commenced; initially rapidly; which is inconsistent.

    b) The argument that increasing industrials from 1945, caused the cooling, which was then countered later by various clean air acts, is intuitively good, but is not supported by GISS data. See this graph which shows continuous increase in industrial aerosols through to today.

    c) The slight cooling from ~1960 through 1975, (despite increasing CO2), is better explained by significantly increased volcanic forcing. See also this composite graph delineating those periods.

  523. David B. Benson:

    Septic Matthew (513) — What do you mean by “random variability”?

  524. John Peter:

    Andreus@518

    I’m disappointed that you can not or will not be specific. In general you are very incorrect in that we know nowhere enough about the physical side of weather and climate. Our hypotheses and measurements get better all the time because we work at making them so. We spend as much as we can, there are few opportunities because the work is too hard, too specialized and the progress – against what is required – is too slow.

    You can’t turn good physical science work into good social science by switching money around, the $$ are fungible but the skills, materials and measurements are not. So your problem is not that too much time, attention, money, whatever is being absorbed by the physical side, rather the problem is that not enough time, attention, money, whatever is being applied to the social side. It is cowardly defalcation for the social side to try to identity the physical side as a source for their own inaction.

    All three classes of physical climate scientists, orthodox, skeptic, and denier agree on one point, we don’t yet know enough science or have enough measuring capability to turn any hypothesis into a scientific theory.

  525. John Peter:

    Patrick@483

    “…Consider for example a person who’s height is known to be between 5 feet and 6 feet. If this person stands on their toes, is there an uncertainty of 1 foot in the change of the height of their head?…

    I was taught (20th century) that there probably was. Physicists then were taught to distinguish between precision and accuracy. We were taught it might be very difficult. If you measure the person’s height enough times, you will get a precise – but necessarily accurate result. The instructor used this Emperor of China homily:

    If you asked each of 1 billion Chinese peasants the height of their Emperor – whom they had never seen – you would have a highly precise but probably inaccurate answer.

    So I would guess that it all depends on how you “know” the CO2 forcings;)

    Please keep up your radiation discussions. They are oh sooooh much better than I have found in the half dozen books or hundreds of web sites I’ve explored recently.

  526. David B. Benson:

    BobFJ (522) — Also consider the AMO:
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/amo_faq.php

  527. Patrick 027:

    Re 525 – My analogy was based on the expected relative proportion of a person’s foot size to a person’s height. Of course there will be variations from that, and various biological and medical … the analogy could break down, but anyway, if there were a ~ 20 % uncertainty in the person’s height then there might be a ~ 20 % uncertainty (or more or less, I don’t know typical anatomical proportions so precisely or accurately) in the change in height if the person stands on their toes verses flat on their heels. This will be just a fraction of a foot, and a foot is typically not much more than a foot long.

    A climate model may get a global average temperature 1 K higher or lower than the actual value; this doesn’t mean that any simulated change, by the same model in response to a change in forcing, smaller than 1 K is insignificant. There is a type of error that persists relatively unchanged over small changes, such an error, subtracted from the initial and final values, leaves nearly the same change. The uncertainty in climate sensitivity comes from a different sort of error.

  528. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas, Boy, talk about confirmation bias. In no way did I assert at all that there were black programs doing climate research, and even if there were, their tools, results and conclusions would not be available to the public or scientists.

    What I said was that much of the sociological analysis of climate change impacts is probably done by military and intelligence organizations.

    What Gavin said and what I reiterated was that the overwhelming majority of expenditures in climate research go for satellites–many of which serve multiple purposes in addition to climate research. Even with these satellites, we have a paucity of information.

    In contrast, social research does not use expensive tools like satellites ($100-500 million a pop). You have asserted repeatedly that such research is underfunded, but what would the field do with additional resources? (There is nothing stopping you from submitting a grant proposal, you know.) In what journal would you publish? What research tools would you use? In some ways, you seem to be criticizing climate science for having an infrastructure in place that allows them to make rapid use of resources, while sociological research on climate effects does not. Wouldn’t it be more effective to build up the sociological infrastructure than tear the science infrastructure down? Again, you seem to be assuming the game is zero-sum. It ain’t.

    As to the $3 billion–that is based on an analysis of this article:
    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/index.php/csw/details/house-climate-funding/
    and assuming that there is additional funding for some climate measures under other appropriations (e.g. instruments in NASA’s budget like TIRS)–and actually, you will see that much of the $2.56 billion for USGCRP has to do with things other than climate research.

    Actually, given how badly climate science languished under Bush, most new satellite initiatives are at an early stage (so-called Phase A), so they aren’t spending much yet. Again, Andreas, you really need to look for hard numbers rather than simply assuming that physical scientists are rolling in cash. It ain’t so.

  529. Ray Ladbury:

    Bob FJ, Look closely at your aerosol forcing–the slope is not constant.

  530. Andreas Bjurström:

    520 CM,
    Good questions on ”bias”. It is easy to quantify “the whole of the scientific literature” since that is available in databases. But there is two problems. 1: the whole is only journal articles and not from all journals. There is no way to include books and gray literature. 2: the whole includes all research, but how do we delimiate climate relevant research?

    Because of mainly point 2, I decided to not do this comparison in my study, i.e. I only describe TAR. What I do know, from my analysis, is that IPCC reproduce a traditional disciplinary structure of science. I do not know whether they reproduce the disciplinary bias (emphasis) of the research community (published research). Overall this is most certainly the case. The earth sciences dominate climate research as well as the IPCC assessment. I would not be surpriced if IPCC pick only the best earth science literature (since there is so much available) whereas IPCC includes rather crappy sources on for example insurance and economic concequences (Tol say some interesting things about that on Pielkes blog. My analysis of gray literature also indicate that). In other words, counteract the disciplinary bias of the research community. However, I am rather certain that IPCC downplay political and cultural analysis among others (I hardly find any references at all from political science, sociology or anthropology). Political analysis are downplayed because that is sensitive for politics, i.e. one aspect of the politization of climate science in IPCC. Cultural analysis are downplayed because IPCC have a technical approach to policy: identify the problem (with mainly physics) and solve it with techical fix and liberal economic instruments. How climate relevant research is delimiated is crucial here. One could of course include much general social science theory to strengthen the human dimension of climate change, maybe similar to how IPCC includes physical laws in climate models and many other physical systems besides the atmosphere.

    The general “bias” is likely overall the same irrespective of IPCC mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion.

  531. JiminMpls:

    Please excuse the dumb question, but why isn’t the nearl complete deforestation of the continguous USA between 1850 and 1920 considered a factor in the warming observed between 1910 and 1940? Has anyone even studied the impact?

    The rate of deforestation was equal to or greater than the rate occuring in Amazonia and souteast Asia today.

  532. Andreas Bjurström:

    524 John Peter,
    Sorry to disappoint you, but I think you did a good job, and I´m not sure what specifics you want me to deliver? It is hard to be holistic and specific at the same time. I try again.

    Descriptions:
    1) We have a long research tradition on climate change within a few disciplines
    2) These disciplines frame how we understand, approach, evaluate climate change
    3) These disciplines are also effectively allocating most research fundings to their “businees as usual” disciplinary research.
    4) We have quite good physical CORE knowledge (e.g. that CO2 is a greenhouse gas)
    5) We don’t have good physical knowledge on all aspects (e.g. models with 100 year forecasts are speculative).
    6) We know far too little of most other aspects of climate change

    Assessment:
    A) we need more knowledge
    B) we need a BROADER knowledge base
    C) we need a more INTEGRATED knowledge base
    D) decisions must always be made despite uncertainty
    E) we don´t have unlimited resources

    This imply that I don´t agree with your arguments. Of course knowledge on physical aspects increase with time. We never know enough if enough equals know everything perfectly (A). Due to E and D and B we cant say that reducing physical uncertainty are the most prioriticed issue (that is the priority of 3 above). To think that reducing uncertainty are the only key for responses is to misunderstand D (and the nature of policymaking and the role of science in that in general and also the nature of climate change as very broad and also to a large extend an energy issue) and also misunderstand C (causes and conseqnences are caused the total earth system including humans).

    Research funding are not zero sum, yet there is a trade-off and a total budget. Same with aid. Climate aid to the developing world are already resulting in worrysome decrease in poverty aid. The total research and political budget of climate change is limited.

  533. Septic Matthew:

    523, David B. Benson: Septic Matthew (513) — What do you mean by “random variability”?

    I mean “random variability” in the empirical sense, of the variability that is not preventable nor exactly predictable. An example is the set of residuals from a fit of a straight line to some data. “Random variability” is the most thoroughly replicated result in empirical research, not the exact values (by definition), but the fact that everything that is observed has unexplainable variation.

    For example, take 10,000 atoms of a radioactive substance (this can be done nowadays with optical tweezers): after a half-life of observation nearly a half of them will have decayed, but we can not predict which of them will have decayed, nor when the next will decay, nor which will decay next, nor why the number is slightly different from exactly 5,000, nor how much different it will be. What is known is that for short observation intervals the number of decays has a nearly (or exactly) Poisson distribution, and that the inter-decay times have nearly (or exact) an exponential distribution.

    You get something similar with “tunneling”: no one can predict which electrons will “tunnel”, only the average number over a bunch of observation intervals. And you get this with breeding drug resistant disease germs: no one knows which of the poisoned germs will survive and have offspring, only that a few will, and the offspring of those few will have greater drug resistance than the original population — this happens all the time with drug treatments for infections. After the fact we might discover which members of the population we might have predicted would have the highest survival rates — but when we do an experiment to test the hypothesis, there will be yet additional random variation.

    All of the parameters for heat and radiation transfer in the earth climate system have been computed from experiments in which there were random deviations about the calibration curve of the measuring instrument, or random deviations from the fit of data to a curve, or some such. Not only that, but for the same parameters estimated by multiple research teams, the between-group differences are frequently bigger than the random variability estimated from the within-experiment residuals. The American Statistical Association each year gives an award for the best paper on inter-laboratory reliability.

    Consider the different climate forecasting models: no one knows exactly why they give different forecasts, otherwise there would be single forecast with a variation for each of the others. Instead they are averaged together, as though they were a random sample from the space of possible models. Instead, they are merely the models that have been thought of so far, and included in the averaging process.

  534. Sou:

    @ #508 Andreas Bjurström: (27 March 2010 at 11:51 AM)

    488 Sou,
    Sure, we need lots of more knowledge, but the thing is, we can´t rely on climate models to the extent that we do today. We need a BROADER and more INTEGRATED knowledge base. We have quite good knowledge on the physical aspects, the vast majority of money and intellectual efforts are invested there, yet this is small islands of knowledge in a sea of ignorance.

    Is it really sound to have more or less a one discipline knowledge base for the very complex problem of climate change?

    And is it really sound do address a “post-normal” problem as if it has a technical issue, e.g. a car breaks down and you need to fix a tire. I don´t think climate change is a technical problem.

    [Response: Strawman argument. What proportion of climate scientists actually work on or with climate models? It's much smaller than you imply. What proportion of the IPCC references are to clinate modelling papers? Again, it is a small fraction. These kinds of metrics are easily calculatable, and yet you appear to prefer rhetorically useful assumptions. Why? - gavin]

    It is sounding as if you are looking for the universal answer to everything :D

    I acknowledge that there are important issues being discussed here. The IPCC has a mandate to “to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences”. WG1 focuses on the scientific impacts, WG2 on the socio-economic and natural impacts and WG3 on mitigation. The socio-economic and natural environmental impacts will only be better understood as the effect of climate on particular regions becomes more clear.

    In the meantime, there is a lot of research being undertaken by government agencies, universities and private research institutes to look at social and economic factors as well as into specific matters that will impact the future. These are rightly taking into account more than climate change. Governments need information from a more holistic viewpoint when it comes to developing policy solutions. Example include the Stern review in the UK and the Garnaut review in Australia.

    In my own state of Victoria recent reviews include the Russell review on water security (which is probably the single biggest issue for this part of the world), which took account of social, economic and policy issues. In addition there is a lot of research being funded by agricultural research funding bodies into matters such as future pasture and farm management strategies to cope with a hotter and drier climate that is evident now and likely to continue. There is an increasing amount of research on other impacts such as human health (eg Ross River fever, malaria etc), population, immigration, future infrastructure requirements, planning regs for projected sea levels and other matters. Much of this locally-specific research would not be expected to be referenced by the IPCC, which has an international focus.

    There are entire government departments set up around the world to deal with climate change. In Australia there is a Ministerial portfolio for climate change in the Federal Government as well as in State governments. (In Victoria the Commissioner Environmental Sustainability, the Department for Sustainability and Environment and other government agencies all have a strong focus on climate change.)

    More research is undoubtedly necessary, but to suggest we cut down research into physical sciences to divert funds to social sciences is wrong. That’s no different from the age-old dilemma of funding education vs health vs law and order etc. The social science research will be useless if it’s not founded on solid information about what is likely to happen to the climate in particular locations. For that we need to continue to study the climate itself.

    As I stated earlier, policy is informed by research and can lead to massive investment decisions. If the base information is incomplete or inaccurate, the cost could be calamitous.

  535. Gilles:

    522 : the volcanic forcings have obvious difficulties to explain the pre-1970 variability? Nobody could track the occurence of major volcanic eruptions just by inspecting the temperature curve : there is no correlation with them. The breaks in the slope aren’t happening in correlation with anything linked with volcanoes. It must be although stressed that comparison of the effects of volcanic eruptions both in temperature (http://www.ipcc.ch/graphics/ar4-wg1/jpg/faq-8-1-fig-1.jpg ) and in height of the tropopause (http://www.ipcc.ch/graphics/ar4-wg1/jpg/fig-9-14.jpg ) seems to show they are greatly exaggerated.

    Rather, there seem to be a broad 60 -years periodicity in the 30-yrs averaged slope, which is indicative of a significative Fourier component at this scale. Note that this exactly what is supposed to be the “climatic scale” and would have the effect of overestimating the trend over a positive rising half-period.

  536. John E. Pearson:

    494: Septic Matthew says: (to Patrick 027)
    “Good enough as far as it goes. The paper I cited that Ray Ladbury didn’t like tries to quantify a lot of the effects that you wrote of semiquantitatively.”

    Dude. The paper you cited isn’t doing any such thing. Here’s what I suggest for you. Get some books on basic atmospheric physics and read them. I’m currently enjoying “Atmospheres” by Goody, et al, which is available for $1.49 from Amazon. It was written in 1971 and it’s not horribly technical so someone who doesn’t know calculus can read and understand it. If you learn a little of the basic physics you’ll be far less inclined to cite drivel like that paper.

  537. Completely Fed Up:

    “If the base information is incomplete or inaccurate, the cost could be calamitous.”

    Then all works done are calamitous in cost since ALL our information is incomplete or inaccurate to some extent.

    PS what is the causation that ensures that the cost will be calamitous?

  538. Completely Fed Up:

    “Climate aid to the developing world are already resulting in worrysome decrease in poverty aid.”

    So the US having spent a trillion dollars (with comensurate spending on all the other “partners”) cannot be the reason? I guess that the recession and bailouts of banks hasn’t had an effect on aid donations, either…

    I think you’d be better looking off into your own bias and politicisation of this science discussion before trying that laser sight on others…

  539. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas, OK, let’s look at this. First, you need to understand what the IPCC is. They are not a research organization. They do not give grants. They have few permanent employees. Their charter is to summarize the state of the research. If you do not know what the state of the research is in the general literature, you are in no position to say how well they have done.

    If in fact there is little sociological research that is directly related to the effects of climate change (and that is my impression), then the IPCC publications merely reflect this fact. They are fulfilling their charter.

    So, then you have to go back to the primary literature and ask whether the problem lies in a lack of grant proposals from social scientists or in the failure of grantmaking agencies to fund such proposals. THAT would be an interesting study.

    There have been some interesting psychological studies of how humans perceive various risks. They don’t give us much hope for optimism that humans will deal with this crisis before it becomes a catastrophe. Again, though, if these studies were cited, denialists would have a field day saying that climate scientists were spinning the science.

    I would argue against citing general sociology of science references that do not pertain directly to climate change. Most policy makers wouldn’t even know how to read these. I think that there is a necessity that the research cited be directly relevant or it doesn’t belong in the summary.

  540. Wayne Davidson:

    So it comes to this, again, very strong temperature anomaly +25 C above average for the high arctic…

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/trends_table/pages/yrb_metric_e.html

    I guess curiosity is fickle, and demands more?

    When are we going to focus more on the Arctic?
    There are all sorts of events demanding study and analysis. Also none the least, praise for those who said this would happen, and respect for what they have to say for the future. Thinner sea ice, or no sea ice is playing a huge role along with increasing incursions of warm Cyclones. So it seems the models were right , but are equally too conservative…

  541. Sou:

    @ 537 Completely Fed Up says: (28 March 2010 at 7:40 AM)

    “If the base information is incomplete or inaccurate, the cost could be calamitous.”
    Then all works done are calamitous in cost since ALL our information is incomplete or inaccurate to some extent.

    PS what is the causation that ensures that the cost will be calamitous?

    Slow down, CFU, and try not to quote out of context, it might get you in strife :D

    Would you be satisfied if I rephrased to: "The risk of less than adequate information is that funds are misspent on white elephants, leaving none for works that are subsequently seen as essential. Therefore continued climate research is critical to better inform decisions at the local level." (A bit awkward?)

    The point I was making was that funds allocated to climate science should not be cut to divert it to fund social science. Climate research already competes with research in other sciences. Social science is important, but not much good if the climate is not well enough understood. Social scientists can seek funds from elsewhere in social science or from other sources to do the required research, not from cutting funding to ongoing climate science. It doesn't have to be either/or.

    Local infrastructure works need local information about climate, which will become more and more reliable as climate science and computing power advances.

    As an example, if a local water authority spends available funds on expanding water storage and irrigation infrastructure on the expectation that rain will fall seasonally as in the past, but instead there's no rain except for infrequent torrential downpours, then further funds must be found for building storm water infrastructure. It might be beyond the capacity of the local authority to fund both, so towns and farms may end up without water at all. (Purely illustrative and not the best example, perhaps.)

    I'm not suggesting all decisions must wait for total certainty before being made. That's impossible. Obviously decisions can only be made with the best information available at the time. Nor am I saying that social research is not important. It is. (As is education, community awareness, economic research etc.)

  542. Septic Matthew:

    536, John E. Pearson: The paper you cited isn’t doing any such thing.

    You didn’t read it, did you?

    I’m currently enjoying “Atmospheres” by Goody, et al, which is available for $1.49 from Amazon. It was written in 1971 and it’s not horribly technical so someone who doesn’t know calculus can read and understand it.

    In learning about AGW, why would you limit yourself to sources that are not terribly technical and don’t require calculus? I’m currently reading “The Cointegrated VAR Model” by Juselius.

  543. Andreas Bjurström:

    538 Completely Fed Up says:
    Sorry to disappoint you, but the world is biggger than the US. And when we talk about poverty aid and climate aid, we are talking pure politics, not climate change. You are confusing yourself ;-)
    I know for sure that Sweden are thinking about cutting poverty aid because we promise so much climate aid, and Sweden are giving har more per person in such aid than the US does. That the economic cricis also has effects on aid is not a very good argument against what I argued. There is for sure a trade-off between climate aid and poverty aid. The western world wants to pay very little, that is why Copenhagen was not successful …. We are egoistic bastards for sure …

  544. Kevin McKinney:

    Re #543–

    Actually, in many instances climate aid can synergize with poverty aid. (Think local PV solar, efficient communications, information infrastructure, sustainable agriculture, and many more.)

    I expect Ray has some experience on the ground with these issues: I know he’s done development work in Africa.

  545. Andreas Bjurström:

    539 Ray Ladbury,
    IPCC is of course NOT a research organization. IPCC rely on the contribution of elite scientists that work for free with grants from other sources. I have never claimed otherwise.
    To understand IPCC, one must begin with the fact that it is a FN organization characterized by its hybridity inbetween science and politics that assess research on a regular basis. There are many scientific as well as political mechanism built into IPCC architecture and processes.

    IPCC is NOT merely reflecting the research community. That would be naive to believe. All organisations influence their outcomes. It is possible to assess science with other approaches than the IPCC have choosen, to give different emphasis, to structure the report differently, to
    interpret research results with other nuances …. IPCC is powerful enough to shape research priorities to some extent and to impact on what kind of climate policies that are adopted.

    One example of exclusion: Anthropology have a hundred year long research tradition on human adaptation to natural conditions, yet we hardly see any references to this body of literature at all. Why is this so? Probably because more technological approaches of risk assessment and the like dominate these areas in the IPCC community. More humistic oriented research have very hard to fit the technocratic approach of IPCC. And the IPCC hardly cite any psychological literature. Why? Perceptions and behaviour are highly relevant. And IPCC dont have to use only studies that explicitly address climate change. They can assess the general psychological literature and apply that to climate change. IPCC is free to do that.

  546. Kevin McKinney:

    Wayne’s #540–

    He didn’t link the normals for that date.

    Here:

    http://www.climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca/climateData/hourlydata_e.html?timeframe=1&Prov=NU&StationID=1776&Year=2010&Month=3&Day=27

    I don’t think this shows exactly +25C anomaly, but it’s still pretty darn dramatic. (For the 25C, Wayne is probably talking about a bigger picture than this specific, very limited comparison.)

    Another reason that I doubt the recent increase in sea ice extent extent says much about how this year’s melt season is likely to go.

  547. Andreas Bjurström:

    544 Kevin McKinney says:
    Sure, there are many synergies, not just between poverty and climat aid. But to find synergies, one needs integrated research. We concequently doesnt know very well where these synergies are, since climate research and the IPCC assessment are weak in integrating research. We rely mainly on traditional disciplinary based research. The natural and social systems must be integrated if we want to find synergies (in mitigation and adaptation) and to spot the regions where the effect will likely be worst.

  548. Walter Manny:

    519. John, you are giving the appearance of being disingenuous on the topic of ad hominem argument. You know perfectly well I know what I’m talking about on the subject, [edit]

    [Response: You are continually bring up the same issue, and you are still wrong about the implications. The use of the term denialism or variants thereof are simply a description of the behaviour (and apply equally to those who deny the link between HIV and AIDS, the evidence for evolution, the lack of evidence for a vaccine/autism link, the curvature of the Earth etc.) and attempts to play the victim card every single time someone uses it, are tiresome. If you choose not to engage with people that use the term, fair enough, but please move on from this topic. - gavin]

  549. Hank Roberts:

    > Sweden are thinking about cutting poverty aid because we promise
    > so much climate aid, and Sweden are giving har more per person
    > in such aid than the US does

    Would this be your own personal political position? “We give too much?”
    You seem to be representing it well here. But at the same time you seem to be saying you’re here to discuss science.

    Can you start separating clearly what’s science, what’s politics, and what’s your opinion?

    To get into weighing global political responsibility, gets into history, and a nation’s responsibility looks at one’s grandparents as well as one’s grandchildren and what share they took, of what, to what result.

    I doubt you want to go into that, and we’d run into Godwin’s Law problems immediately.

    I suggest you spend a bit of time reading at eco-equity.org (one of the links in the right sidebar under Other Opinions: http://www.ecoequity.org/

    The most recent page there is really worth some thought.
    –excerpt follows–

    “… unless the South comes to trust the North’s willingness to accept its fair share of the necessary effort, whatever it turns out to be, honest emergency pathways will remain forever out of reach.

    Return to China, which despite wealthy enclaves still has many, many people living in poverty. Consider that the targets that the Chinese expunged from the Copenhagen Accord would have important developmental implications. And that the South has for years made it clear that it will simply not allow itself to be trapped into sacrificing development for climate protection. Remember that, during the run up to Copenhagen, the South repeatedly insisted that the North accept a science-based reduction target at the “upper end” of the IPCC’s 25% by 40% range (from the 1990 baseline, by 2020). And that the North, for its part, attempted instead to enshrine a global reduction pathway that would have implicitly (as above) constrained southern development, and to do so without itself adopting science-based targets of any kind. Then ask yourself, again, exactly what (other than its failure to properly explain itself) was so unreasonable about the Chinese position.

    The answer is not obvious.”
    —- end excerpt —–

    Click the link for the full document with illustrations of various paths.

  550. Walter Manny:

    [off-line, though post it if you have the balls] Gavin, I am disappointed in you for the obvious reason that you are responding to my post without posting it. It is a cowardly decision on your part, you know it, and we have returned to the censored world I thought the EAU business had scuttled. I have a good argument to make, though you disagree with it, and you have done exactly as I predicted someone would, which is to offer yet another rationalization for the use of a noxious and loaded term (though I am proud of you for not using it yourself this time). But you can’t stomach doing so while leaving my prediction there for all to see. You clearly do not find the topic so tiresome, or you wouldn’t bother with it at all.

    Here’s the gutsy move, though your behavior indicates you will not make it: Discourage the use of the term on your site, take the high road, and make your arguments the way an admirable scientist would choose to make them. You’ll find joy in it. – Walter

    [Response: Oh please. Your concern for mental well-being is noted. But this is a tedious topic that only succeeds in bogging down conversations about more substantive issues. I am simply not interested and further missives on the subject are OT. - gavin]

  551. Wayne Davidson:

    #546, Kevin, I agree about ice extent, quite meaningless as a cooling metric unless you look at the recent spike:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png

    which is associated with High Arctic anti-cyclone , negative AO , or a lot of clear air which I call big blue. Its a narrow short to live spike.

    As far as normals are concerned.

    Normals Resolute Bay Nunavut Canada

    Max:
    -24°C
    Min:
    -31°C

    the daily normal is -27.5 C… The temps went near -2 C as forecasted.
    This does not come as a surprise when the climate for the entire winter was very warm not only for the Arctic.

  552. Andreas Bjurström:

    549 Hank Roberts,
    No, my personal political position is that we give far too little money in poverty aid. The north south divide is the biggest problem for climate change politics. Science favors north. Science claims objectivity. As a concequence we dont see much of ethical analysis from the scientific community. South want ethics. No, I dont think we can or should separate clearly between science, politics and opinion since these are not separated in reality.

  553. Hugh Laue:

    #547 Andreas

    I don’t think it’s a language issue that’s resulting in most of us being unsure of what constructive points, if any, you are bringing to the topic itself that is focused on a particular aspect of empirical science, namely the contribution of so-called “unforced variations” to year to year, decade to decade, observed longterm ocean-land temperature anomaly trend with respect to an agreed baseline.
    “Unforced” does not mean “effect without cause”; “unforced” is defined with respect to “forced” and the distinction is agreed by convention (this may be a tacit agreement).
    Anthropogenic global warming theory is an explanation of the observed longterm trend (the effect) to the behavior of human-kind (as the primary cause).
    The behavior of human-kind has resulted in the proximate cause, high levels of fossil-fuel derived CO2 in the atmosphere. The high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere has resulted in the ultimate cause of global warming, namely the trapping of more energy of the solar radiation that would otherwise be radiated back out to space.
    Of course a more sensible argument might work backward and, correctly in my opinion, point to the behavior of human-kind as the ultimate cause.
    The question of how to change human-behavior then does become one to which psychologists and social scientists could make useful contributions. Empirical science says, IF we want to avoid catastrophic harm to ourselves we have to change our behavior to that where CO2 emissions are dramatically reduced.
    And if I am not prepared to change my behavior unless everyone else does then who am I harming in the long run but myself? I have to stop blaming others or even expecting any particular behavior from others but rather lead by example. It starts with self-management.
    You appear to be arguing for a more integrated approach. I came across the following today – perhaps it addresses in some way your concerns.
    http://www.integralleadershipreview.com/archives/2010-03/2010-03-article-johnston.php
    Johnston says “My definition of integral self-managing includes consciously choosing one’s responses to not only changes in one’s body but also intentionally selecting emotional and intellectual responses to social and ecological events and circumstances in mutually empathic, healthful, and creative visionary ways.”
    He has a “list of fifty natural characteristics of an integrally conscious self-manager/leader” of which number 27 is “Is conceptually and experientially conscious that probably the closest one can come to reliably predicting the distant future is through the scientific interdisciplinary.study of nature’s various cycles.”
    RealClimate is primarily addressing number 27 – maybe you can find (start?)another blog run by “real social scientists” where your interests can be better elaborated and explored?

  554. David B. Benson:

    Gilles (535) — Please see my coment #526 and follow the advice therein.

  555. Hugh Laue:

    #543 “We are egoistic bastards for sure”

    Further to social science:

    From introduction to “A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency”

    The Dalai Lama has stated ” We are facing the most massive wave of extinction in 65 million years. This fact is profoundly frightening. It must open our minds to the immense proportions of the crisis we face.”

    “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our own separateness.
    When I realise that “I” am what eh whole world is doing, right here and now, then taking care of “others” becomes as natural and spontaneous as taking care of my own leg. This is the vital link between wisdom and compassion. My own well-being cannot be distinguished from the well-being of others.”

    Love thy neighbour?

    Ego = greed & fear = problem?

    Greed for the free lunch, fear that it’s been eaten already.

  556. Ray Ladbury:

    Andreas, I would contend that the literature on dealing with changing environment is not entirely germane–previous changes were local or regional, and the primary response was migration. That likely will not be an option in this case. I also think that again, you would face a lot of criticism from denialist circles.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing a chapter by Jared Diamond, perhaps condensed from Collapse. However, this would likely be viewed by denialists and many governments as “propaganda”. And citations of psychological research would be rejected out of hand as such. There is a reason why the IPCC operates within narrow bounds. Believe it or not, the climate science is likely the least controversial aspect.

  557. Completely Fed Up:

    “IPCC is NOT merely reflecting the research community.”

    No, that is PRECISELY what the IPCC does.

    “That would be naive to believe.”

    What is naive is your belief that the IPCC doesn’t reflect the research community.

    A truther-like conspiracy theory.

    “All organisations influence their outcomes.”

    Well duh.

    By printing a report, there’s an influence.

    Show that the influence is wrong and not supported by the research.

  558. Completely Fed Up:

    “Sorry to disappoint you, but the world is biggger than the US.”

    I know.

    Over 98% is not the US.

    However, they are the only world superpower left.

    If you exclude the Indian, Chinese and African contingents who do not have much spendable money on foreign aid, then the US is a large contingent.

    I also note that you COMPLETELY IGNORE that I stated that this was not only the US.

    But I guess it’s easier to argue something if you ignore the difficult bits, hmm?

    So, do you still assume that the global recession hasn’t affected aid to the third world?

  559. Completely Fed Up:

    “Would you be satisfied if I rephrased to: “The risk of less than adequate information is that funds are misspent on white elephants”"

    That ending there would have been more accurate and sufficient.

  560. Hank Roberts:

    Andreas, do read the eco-equity piece.

    He clearly sets out why science does not favor the North, if we take the problem seriously. I don’t think you’ll find any scientist who understands the area who believes that.

    Much like the fisheries issues (codfish, bluefin tuna, hammerhead sharks); the science is inarguable that we’re destroying the fiseries and taking out the few remaining top predators, ruining the trophic structure of the oceans.

    If we don’t take it seriously, the North can buy science to suit delaying tactics. That is much of the problem.

  561. BobFJ:

    David B. Benson Reur 526:

    BobFJ (522) — Also consider the AMO:
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/amo_faq.php

    Yes, that is one of the things that is not included in Tamino’s simple model, and to be frank I don’t know if there are reliable data going back to 1880. I think Polyakov has studied this but that is all that comes to mind at the moment, and of course there are other oscillations too. However, currently, I’m addressing issues with GISS forcing data, and Tamino’s modelling methodology etc. See below.

    Ray Ladbury Reur 529:

    Bob FJ, Look closely at your aerosol forcing–the slope is not constant.

    Whoops, Yes, you are right, the industrial stuff levels off after ~1990, (whilst various clean air acts around the world were legislated some 30 years earlier). But anyway, the period of concern is ~1915 through 1975 where GISS shows a steady exponential increase. So, there is no correlation there with the cooling from about 1940 through 1975. What is more, this graphical compilation comparing GISS net forcings, (including CO2 etc.), shows greater divergence still.

    Gilles Reur 535:
    An interesting post. The 60 year cycle idea is seen well in the HADCRUT data in peaks at 1880, 1940, & 2000, as in my graphic above. (GISS does not show the current plateau so well) I don’t want to go there at this time though.

  562. Andreas Bjurström:

    “that is PRECISELY what the IPCC does”

    How do you know that? As far as I know, there is no study that can demonstrate that. You base your assertion on wishful thinking.

    “you still assume that the global recession hasn’t affected aid to the third world?”

    I never assumed that. I was saying something else. Why are you always trolling like this?

  563. David B. Benson:

    A test to see if it is possible to obtain fixed fonts and no blank compression on this site.
    23 24

  564. David B. Benson:

    One more test for the moderator to delete.
    decade GTA -- AEP - residual AMO
    1920s -0.175 -0.176 +0.001 -0.124
    1930s -0.043 -0.041 -0.002 +0.164

    [Response: Now why would we delete this (other than it doesn't appear to mean anything)?--eric]

  565. Lab Lemming:

    Can one of you guys clarify the role of ozone (both anthropogenic and natural) as a greenhouse gas? I tried at the link below, but I’m a crystal chemist, not a radiative forcer.
    http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com/2010/03/ozone-as-greenhouse-gas.html

  566. David B. Benson:

    Eric — Re: comments #563 & #564. Since there is no preview, the only way to test to see what html features are available is to submit a comment. Then one can see the effect while the comment is awaiting moderation. So there really isn’t any need to confuse people with meaningless posts such as those two; I see that the test in the middle was indeed deleted.

    Those remaining two can go as well, along with this one; I’ve learned what I needed for a future (long) commment on this thread.

  567. David B. Benson:

    BobFJ (561) — The AMO goes back further than 1880 CE.
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/faq/amo_fig.php
    Think of it as an index for internal variability plus the net of forcings other than CO2. That is approximately correct, after some testing.

  568. Ray Ladbury:

    BobFJ, Wrong on clean air acts–the first was passed in 1970, but there were very significant amendments in 1990 that significantly decreased sulfate emissions for acid rain–that’s the relevant factor for dimming.

  569. John E. Pearson:

    542
    Septic Matthew says:
    28 March 2010 at 10:29 AM
    536, John E. Pearson: The paper you cited isn’t doing any such thing.

    You didn’t read it, did you?

    I read the first 5 or 6 pages. It was too stupid to continue with. If you want to learn the science you need to develop a basic understanding and reading tripe like that is not the way to do it.

    I don’t limit myself to noncalculus based texts. You said you didn’t know calculus so I was suggesting a text that you shouldn’t have any trouble with.

  570. BobFJ:

    David B. Benson Reur 567:

    BobFJ (561) — The AMO goes back further than 1880 CE.
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/faq/amo_fig.php
    Think of it as an index for internal variability plus the net of forcings other than CO2. That is approximately correct, after some testing.

    David, I would prefer that you had this discussion with Gilles, but out of courtesy; a quick response:
    Of course the AMO is unlikely to be a new phenomena. The question is; what reliable data for it do we have in earlier times?
    Your link to recent data shows only two positive phases with the suggestion of the beginning of a third. They are all out of phase with the goodly suggestion of a ~60-year cycle seen in the HADCRUT temperature cycles peaking at 1880, 1940, & 2000.
    My understanding is that ENSO and PDO have greater global significance than the Atlantic oscillation, (the latter being in a smaller effective oceanic area), but as I have said before, this is a distraction to my main interest at the moment.

  571. BobFJ:

    Ray Ladbury Reur 568:

    BobFJ, Wrong on clean air acts–the first was passed in 1970, but there were very significant amendments in 1990 that significantly decreased sulfate emissions for acid rain–that’s the relevant factor for dimming.

    Ray, I’ve just done a Google, and according to Wikepedia:
    The United States Clean Air Act is a United States federal law enacted by the United States Congress to control air pollution on a national level. It requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and enforce regulations to protect the general public from exposure to airborne contaminants that are known to be hazardous to human health. The Clean Air Act was passed in 1963 and significantly amended in 1970 and 1990.
    But there was also stuff all around the world, for instance Australia legislated in 1961. Of course there is almost certainly a lead on effective implementation. For instance, your 1990 amendments….. Probably took a good while to be effective?

    But so what? The GISS data does not step-correlate with global temperatures in the period when you say it had such an effect; ~1945 through 1975. (and neither did the various clean air acts around the globe terminate such effect, as asserted by another…. According to the GISS data.)

  572. Completely Fed Up:

    ““that is PRECISELY what the IPCC does”

    How do you know that?”

    Because the IPCC put their reports online for you to check against the periodicals:

    http://www.ipcc.ch

    “As far as I know,”

    Ah, well, I’ve spotted the problem, right there.

    “there is no study that can demonstrate that”

    Yes there is: one you do on your own will be sufficient.

  573. John Peter:

    Andreas Bjurström @532

    Thank you for reconsidering and for doing a good job under trying circumstances. Your changes give me a much better idea of your beliefs and concerns. I don’t believe I can be of much help, we differ on too many of the basics, in particular, on practical forms of governance.

    Because you do not specialize in physical science, and I know even less social science than I know climate science, perhaps I can help you better understand climate models. You understand scientific method at some level in the physical sciences. Physical scientists get ideas, perform experiments, formulate hypotheses, write papers, peer review each others work, etc., etc. Physical science usually progresses from exchange of hypothesis and results and from repeating experiments.

    In climate science where repeatable experiments are nearly impossible, you only get one try. You need believable models for your experiments, there is no other way to confirm hypotheses and turn them into theories. I am a physicist, in my career I have learned not to trust models completely – in matters of climate science I realize I have no other choice. Social science would seem to have a similar situation in their use of sampling and trials to evolve their theories.

    The current state of climate science models is that we have some pretty good global models, good enough to project results for various differing climate assumptions. There is much work to be done to learn how to get useful regional projections, a key requirement for any realistic mitigation analysis. Unfortunately, Clouds are in the way. Cloud physics, chemistry and modeling science has been the key technical obstacle to weather and climate forecasting for over 30 years. There has been some slow progress, our weather forecasts are improving – but we still have a ways to go. IMO, you will fail to find Climate Change funding rational unless you try to understand and accept this fact.

    We need a lot of progress before world governance is a reality. We’ve been working at it for almost 100 years, but then that’s your field of expertise. It is important we try hard, but remember what the wise men said (I’m sure you will recognize the author):

    “In the point of rest at the center of our being, we encounter a world where all things are at rest in the same way. Then a tree becomes a mystery, a cloud a revelation, each man a cosmos of whose riches we can only catch glimpses. The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable.”

    For my part, Kurt Weill pretty well summed up IPCC, League, UN, EU, etc. in the Three Penny Opera Finale:

    “pursue, but not too eagerly, injustice”

  574. Barton Paul Levenson:

    AB (543): I know for sure that Sweden are thinking about cutting poverty aid because we promise so much climate aid, and Sweden are giving har more per person in such aid than the US does.

    BPL: Considering that there are 9 million people in Sweden and 300+ million in the US, I’m not sure Sweden is representative.

  575. Alexandre:

    Where can I find out how the data infilling is done for paleoclimate reconstructions?

    My interest is general, but I got specially curious when I first saw the Mann et al. 2009:

    Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly

  576. Ray Ladbury:

    BobFJ,
    Not all provisions of the Clean Air Act are relevant. Those most relevant are the portions dealing with sulfate aerosols–and the main reductions in those occur in response to the 1990 provisions. As I said, that is just the US, but other countries followed similar timescales. And in China and India, the sulfate emissions are still on the rise.

  577. ccpo:

    Comment by David Miller — 26 March 2010 @ 8:51 PM

    The THAI method has its improvements over mining, but you have to keep in mind EROEI still applies. What was a resource becomes a fuel to get at… fuel. It doesn’t matter, at the end of the day, when that happens. What matters on a survival of society level is the overall efficiency of use of that resource.

    Simply, the bitumen burned is no longer a resource. Think 7 generations, minimum. After all, what have we gained if in a few centuries there is nothing left for our descendants? If the goal is just to get this generation into the grave at a ripe old age, what the heck is the point?

    Cheers

    Cheers

  578. David Miller:

    CCPO says in #577:

    The THAI method has its improvements over mining, but you have to keep in mind EROEI still applies. What was a resource becomes a fuel to get at… fuel. It doesn’t matter, at the end of the day, when that happens. What matters on a survival of society level is the overall efficiency of use of that resource.

    I’m sorry, CCPO, you’re completely missing the point.

    My point is that EROEI doesn’t apply if A) you don’t have to extract the resource you’re wasting, and B) there is financial incentive to waste the major part in order to extract the minor part.

    Simply, the bitumen burned is no longer a resource.

    Yes, that’s exactly right. And utterly irrelevant. Look at the world around you and ask whether industry would willingly sacrifice a profit in order to not waste a resource.

    Think 7 generations, minimum. After all, what have we gained if in a few centuries there is nothing left for our descendants?

    Please don’t confuse what I think about the resource and the future with what I think industry will do if it can make a profit.

    If we’re to think of future generations the ONLY thing that can be done with the tar sands (shale oil, most of the coal) is to leave it where it is while we try to lower existing levels of CO2. Using it “efficiently” and “saving it for future generations” is simply a way of killing ourselves a bit less rapidly. As long as we turn these unconventional carbon stores into CO2 in the next century or two it really doesn’t matter whether it’s used to power a million cars or a billion – our fate is sealed.

  579. ccpo:

    I recognize I am likely tilting at windfarms, as you yourself join the fray when you employ ad hominem the stomach-turning term “denier”.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 27 March 2010 @ 10:04 AM

    Pray tell, what is one to call someone who denies? We are not talking about equally viable scientific inquiry here, we are talking about people denying reality. Would you prefer fantasists? Left Fielders? Don’t Know Their Butts From A Hole In the Groundists? Inellectually Dishonistists?

    Let’s be serious, shall we? Climate Denialists are to Climate Science as “is” is to political sex scandals.

    If there were just one paper that calls into question any of the foundation, or even the framing, plumbing, wiring or roofing of Climate Science, perhaps you wouldn’t need to deal with being called a denialist. But there aren’t any. None. So…

    IF you are an intelligent person
    AND you have read and understood the science
    AND you actually doubt that AGW is a fact
    THEN you lack insight and WISDOM
    AND are allowing your ideology/biases rule your logic
    THUS are a denialist.

    One last stab at this:

    IF the scientists who founded and run RealClimate allowed only relevant, useful, honest critiques of climate science on this site,
    THEN there would be virtually no posts by denialists.

    You are what you bleat.

    Cheers

  580. ccpo:

    #

    Would you be satisfied if I rephrased to: “The risk of less than adequate information is that funds are misspent on white elephants, leaving none for works that are subsequently seen as essential. Therefore continued climate research is critical to better inform decisions at the local level.” (A bit awkward?)

    The point I was making was that funds allocated to climate science should not be cut to divert it to fund social science. Climate research already competes with research in other sciences. Social science is important, but not much good if the climate is not well enough understood. Social scientists can seek funds from elsewhere in social science or from other sources to do the required research, not from cutting funding to ongoing climate science. It doesn’t have to be either/or.

    Local infrastructure works need local information about climate, which will become more and more reliable as climate science and computing power advances.

    As an example, if a local water authority spends available funds on expanding water storage and irrigation infrastructure on the expectation that rain will fall seasonally as in the past, but instead there’s no rain except for infrequent torrential downpours, then further funds must be found for building storm water infrastructure. It might be beyond the capacity of the local authority to fund both, so towns and farms may end up without water at all. (Purely illustrative and not the best example, perhaps.)

    I’m not suggesting all decisions must wait for total certainty before being made. That’s impossible. Obviously decisions can only be made with the best information available at the time. Nor am I saying that social research is not important. It is. (As is education, community awareness, economic research etc.)

    Comment by Sou — 28 March 2010 @ 10:12 AM

    This is Do-Nothing Denialism by a thousand cuts. Your claim we just don’t know enough is BS. We know with certainty (colloquial usage) that the earth is warming, that we are a large part of the reason for that and that it will, if not attenuated, and possibly even if attenuated, have catastrophic effects. We also know with certainty that a sustainable economy/society is several orders of magnitude less dangerous (i.e. is beneficial) than either A. doing nothing or B. doing not enough. THERE IS NO METRIC BY WHICH DOING NOTHING OR DOING LITTLE IS AN ACCEPTABLE RISK.

  581. ccpo:

    CCPO says in #577:

    The THAI method has its improvements over mining… What matters… is the overall efficiency of use of that resource.

    I’m sorry, CCPO, you’re completely missing the point.

    My point is that EROEI doesn’t apply if A) you don’t have to extract the resource you’re wasting, and B) there is financial incentive to waste the major part in order to extract the minor part.

    No, you are. EROEI *always* applies, unless you care to predict the far future of humanity.

    Simply, the bitumen burned is no longer a resource.

    Yes, that’s exactly right. And utterly irrelevant. Look at the world around you and ask whether industry would willingly sacrifice a profit in order to not waste a resource.

    I’m not arguing what industry will do to make a profit. I am obviously arguing what they *should* do to manage the Commons.

    Think 7 generations, minimum. After all, what have we gained if in a few centuries there is nothing left for our descendants?

    Please don’t confuse what I think about the resource and the future with what I think industry will do if it can make a profit.

    I didn’t.

    If we’re to think of future generations the ONLY thing that can be done with the tar sands (shale oil, most of the coal) is to leave it where it is while we try to lower existing levels of CO2.
    Comment by David Miller — 29 March 2010 @ 8:43 AM

    Yup.

  582. John Peter:

    ccpo@579

    Is Syun-Ichi Akasofu the exception that proves your rule?

    http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/little_ice_age.php {8<(}

  583. John Peter:

    ccpo@580

    “…THERE IS NO METRIC BY WHICH DOING NOTHING OR DOING LITTLE IS AN ACCEPTABLE RISK…”

    http://www.meteo.uni-bonn.de/mitarbeiter/venema/essays/2004/fractal_cloud_structure.html#cloud_structure

    You did shout “NO”

    cheers

  584. Septic Matthew:

    569, John E. Pearson: You said you didn’t know calculus so I was suggesting a text that you shouldn’t have any trouble with.

    I think I said that I was reviewing some calculus. It’s been a while since I worked with Stokes’ Theorem.

    I read the first 5 or 6 pages. It was too stupid to continue with. If you want to learn the science you need to develop a basic understanding and reading tripe like that is not the way to do it.

    What in particular did you think was wrong with the paper in the first 5 to 6 pages?

    There are distinctions among “having a basic understanding” of physics, statistics and systems science, knowing a lot of physics, statistics and systems science, and knowing everything in physics, statistics and system science. You and I alike do not know all of physics, statistics and systems science. If you know something in particular that I don’t know, why not write it out? Would you say that “The Cointegrated VAR Model” by Juselius is tripe?

  585. Hank Roberts:

    > John Peter
    > Akasofu

    Google would like to befriend you.

  586. Patrick 027:

    Re Septic Matthew

    542 – If in fact that paper was by G&T (I didn’t look), then it’s probably not worth while, given their prior track record.

    533 – There is a distinction to be made between variability among model physics (the parameterizations and grid scales) variability among runs or among models due to variations in forcing (runs with or without a solar cycle, volcanic eruptions, different future projections of anthropogenic emissions, etc.), and variability among runs of the same model with the same forcing (that being internal variability).

    Re Unforced variations: interesting things to note:

    Of course, all things within the universe, at least not near it’s poorly-understood boundaries (Beginning of time, etc.), are externally forced in some way (including specific quantum fluctuations (the weather of quantum fluctuations, not the climate) as an external forcing and setting their cause ‘elsewhere’).

    For the climate system, one can define boundaries to the system, and things outside of that which act on the system are external forcings. It is most convenient to set the boundaries such that the external forcings do not respond much to changes in climate system itself, so that they can be treated as boundary conditions (or otherwise, the portion that doesn’t change is a boundary condition), and that is a time-dependent issue (very short term: ocean acts as external forcing to the atmosphere; usually intermediate to longer term to very very long term: ice sheets, ecology and biological/cultural evolution, biogeochemical feedbacks, erosion of mountain ranges (which affects rivers, which affects …) … etc. become climate feedbacks). [Note that on the scale of a few seconds, individual landings of snowflakes or raindrops are weather events, while the average accumulation rate over a minute is a kind of climate. On the scale of millions of years, the pattern of glacial-interglacial variations is like a weather system - though externally forced by Milankovitch cycles, those cycles have always been (though slowly changed by cummulative effects of tidal interactions, which is affected by geography, and thus the 'weather' and 'climate' of orbital forcing is affected by the 'weather' and 'climate' of mantle convection); the 'weather system' is the change which made the climate sensitive to those forcings in the way that it it has been over the last millions of years.]

    Changes considered to be forced changes are caused by external forcing in some clear systematic physical relationship that in principle is predictable, outside the realm of butterfly effects.

    Other changes may be 1. forced by the system itself 2. forced by external events/conditions but not in any systematic way, but rather via butterfly effects. Ultimately, all ‘weather’ gets traced back to 2: Why the sun has the mass that it does, why Katrina struck at the time and place it did with the intensity it had, why some place has partly cloudy weather yesterday, why the Rocky mountains exist, etc., perhaps why the universe has the physics and initial conditions that it does…

    However, it isn’t necessary to have some particular setup of such external conditions to cause a ‘climate’ pattern within which stars like the sun may occasionally form with planets including one something like the Earth, or that life evolves with some general tendencies, or that, given the systematic forced conditions, cumulus convection occurs. Small perturbations by a single photon arriving at a place and time can shift the climate system from near one part of strange attractor to near another part of a strange attractor, but for such a chaotic system, continually-internally generated perturbations are sufficient to cause the same ‘climate’ of unforced (interally-forced) variations.

    And on that note, such unforced variability is not just deviations from a climatic average – they are part of the climatic state. And their existence can affect averages. For example, the heat transport and precipitation accomplished by extratropical storm tracks affects the average climate; take away the day-to-day variability, and the climate would be quite different. The weather of individual cumulus updrafts and synoptic scale cyclones are shaped by butterfly effects, but the existence of that weather – the texture of the variability – is produced, or at least can be produced, by constant steady-state forcings. It happens that for various conditions, there is some instability, and something other than a steady-state (for all-timescales shorte than external forcing variations) pattern is the easiest path to a climatic equilibrium.

  587. Patrick 027:

    “For example, the heat transport and precipitation accomplished by extratropical storm tracks affects”

    … AND momemtum tranport!

  588. Patrick 027:

    … AND cloud and snow-cover and vegetation (via precipiation) ‘forcing’, etc.

  589. David B. Benson:

    Global warming, decade by decade

    First look at
    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/10yave.jpg
    to observe the general upward trend in global temperatures.
    From well understood physics, we suspect the logarithm of CO2 concentrations (lnCO2) explains most of the variation and indeed from a standard correlation
    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/Correlation.html
    this is confirmed. Now we want to explain the GISTEMP global temperaure anomaly product (GTA) from the Arrhenius formula which (approximately) explains the warming due to ln(CO2).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius#Greenhouse_effect
    The formula as applied is, for each decade d,

    AE(d) = k(lnCO2(d-1) – lnCO2(1870s) – GTA(1880s)

    so the priod decade’s lnCO2 provides the forcing with the assumption that the first decade, the 1880s is unforced by CO2. The final term is the adjustment for the way GISTEMP anomalies are reported and there is a constant k to give the temperature change due to the forcing by lnCO2. This constant is traditionally reported for 2xCO2, so

    k = (OGTR for 2xCO2/ln(2).

    OGTR stands for Observed GISTEMP Response and is estimated to be 2.280 K. Using just this, we have the following table in which the residuals are the differences between GTA and the AE estimate. The standard deviation is 0.052 K and the value of R^2=0.953 shows that almost all of the variance in GTA is explained.

    The diffs are the differences lnCO2(d)-lnCO2(d-1). If these were all the same the forcing would be the same for every decade. This is approximately so before the 1960s (being the forcings for the 1970s via the AE formula).

    OGTR for 2xCO2 = 2.280 sd= 0.052 R^2= 0.953
    decade GTA -- AE -- residual diffs
    1880s -0.275 -0.275 +0.000 0.014
    1890s -0.254 -0.231 -0.023 0.007
    1900s -0.259 -0.206 -0.053 0.009
    1910s -0.276 -0.176 -0.100 0.013
    1920s -0.175 -0.135 -0.040 0.012
    1930s -0.043 -0.096 +0.053 0.014
    1940s +0.035 -0.051 +0.086 0.004
    1950s -0.020 -0.038 +0.018 0.009
    1960s -0.014 -0.010 -0.004 0.022
    1970s -0.001 +0.064 -0.065 0.033
    1980s +0.176 +0.173 +0.003 0.043
    1990s +0.313 +0.316 -0.003 0.042
    2000s +0.513 +0.454 +0.059 0.050

    All in all, quite decent for a simplified model based on the physics of the atmosphere plus the shallow ocean, but there is certainly some other effect(s) causing the temperatures to swing (wobble) more widely than can be explained by lnCO2 alone; there is the deep ocean. On the centennial scale of the instrumental record so far, the deep ocean is approximately just a heat sink, but one with a rate which varies on a multidecadal scale. Fortunately there is a proxy for this internal variability, the Atlantic Multidecadal Osciallation (AMO):
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/faq/amo_fig.php
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/amo_faq.php
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/faq_fig2.php
    Although linearly detrended, the AMO for the 13 decades of interest has an average of -0.014 which is removed for this decadal study. Our formula to account for this internal variabilty, in addition to lnCO2, is

    AEP(d) = AE(d) + AxAMO(d)

    where A and k are estimated for best fit to GTA data. Incidently, the AMO also will include some very small effects of lnCO2 (as this forcing is not linear in time) and also some net nonlinear portions of other forcings. Still, this works well to refine the estimate and better approximate GTA. (RMS is the Root Mean Square of the residuals.)

    OGTR for 2xCO2 = 2.280 A = 0.335 RMS= 0.023 R^2= 0.991
    decade GTA -- AEP - residual AMO
    1880s -0.275 -0.253 -0.022 +0.066
    1890s -0.254 -0.232 -0.022 -0.003
    1900s -0.259 -0.243 -0.016 -0.110
    1910s -0.276 -0.240 -0.036 -0.192
    1920s -0.175 -0.176 +0.001 -0.124
    1930s -0.043 -0.041 -0.002 +0.164
    1940s +0.035 -0.010 +0.045 +0.120
    1950s -0.020 +0.013 -0.033 +0.152
    1960s -0.014 -0.004 -0.010 +0.017
    1970s -0.001 -0.012 +0.011 -0.227
    1980s +0.176 +0.145 +0.031 -0.084
    1990s +0.313 +0.323 -0.010 +0.022
    2000s +0.513 +0.521 -0.008 +0.200
    2010s ??.??? +0.686

    Using lnCO2(2000s) and assuming the AMO does not change, there is a prediction for the 2010s of 0.686 +- 0.024 K, lots warmer.

    The autocorrelations (not listed) show that essentially everthing is explained by AEP, in accordance with the R^2 of 0.991.

    Summarizing, CO2 accounts for the centennial scale secular trend with some additional fluctuations due to internal variability.

    Notes:
    The decadal delay in applying the forcing is a simplification of the two box model studied in
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/volcanic-lull/
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/not-computer-models/
    from which I determine that about 11–13 years would be slightly better, but thought decadal averages would be more helpful in showing the essense of the climate response.
    Attempts to remove the CO2 diffs from the AMO result in almost no change from the above. Using detrended NH SSTs instead of the AMO produced a somewhat inferior result.
    The OGTR for 2xCO2 of 2.28 K roughly corresponds to a Charney equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of about 3.3 K, by one rule of thumb. This just indicates the physics has not been too overly simplified and is not an estimate of ECS. To the exent that the net of other forcings contributes to the secular trend, OGTR is overestimated. This effect is thought to be quite small as the IPCC AR4 report concludes, in effect, that the net of other forcings is near to zero.
    http://www.ipcc-wg1.unibe.ch/publications/wg1-ar4/wg1-ar4.html

    GISTEMP:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
    CO2 concentrations:
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/law/law_co2.txt
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_gr_mlo.txt
    AMO:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/correlation/amon.us.long.data

    — David B. Benson

  590. John Peter:

    Hank Roberts @ 585

    No, I may be slow to catch on but I try to learn from my mistakes. He’s retired now so he really isn’t a player anymore.

    I’ve only scanned the examples where he uses contemporary records to bolster his LIT recovery hypothesis. In any case that would require expert climate scientist evaluation who either have already done the work or mindlessly reject anything he claims.

    I believe that anyone can curve-fit the past few centuries of temperature data to just about any mathematical expression they choose to employ so his linear plus multi-decadal oscillations is a yawn, even for me.

    Should climate scientists in the future “discover” that he was “right”, I might tell you “I told you so”. FWIW we need a sensible physical explanation for his multi-decadal oscillations to look any further into his claims. My hunch is that Mike Mann will do this (if he hasn’t done so already) as part of his paleoclimate studies. Wait and see is more than good enough for me.

    cheers

  591. CM:

    Andreas,

    I tend to agree with all the points Ray made in #539.

    Still, I imagine there might be disciplinary lacunae in the IPCC coverage that you could point out without necessarily having full knowledge of the state of research.

    You mentioned anthropology, and it is my feeling too that the field should have a lot more to contribute than AR4 appears to reflect. (Disclaimer: I’m not an anthropologist, so I’m not saying that ’cause I’m after the grants.)

    But then, I took a quick look at articles from anthropology journals since 1995, indexed at Jstor.org under “climate change” and “global warming”. Some interesting paleoclimate stuff there, but only a handful of articles concerned with man-made global warming as a current policy issue.

    By contrast, the same search limited to economics journals resulted in an only slightly larger number of hits, but a far larger share of these were relevant to the current issue (and clearly positioned themselves as such).

    Probably, many more anthropologists are doing relevant work and publishing in various other forms and venues. But I got the loose impression of a discipline that has not widely seen itself as doing research on contemporary man-made climate change, or sought to contribute effectively to the scientific basis for climate change policy-making. This may be changing, cf. this interesting-looking and apparently pioneering collection:

    Susan Crate and Mark Nuttal (eds.), Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2009. Pbk ISBN 978-1-59874-334-0.

  592. JiminMpls:

    #590 John

    Akasofu is a highly respected and honored scientist, but it doesn’t take a climatologist to realize that he is a bit unhinged when it comes to climate change. Just read his Recommendation to Postpone the 2009 Copenhagen Conference. It’s just rambling nonsense.

    I can’t find it now, but in one of his rants he claims that permafrost melting is caused by heating buildings. He repeatedly claims that warming in the Arctic halted a decade ago. (Everyone is familiar with the “no warming since 1998″ diatribe, but he is the first and only one that I know of that claims that warming in the Arctic had stopped.)

  593. Septic Matthew:

    589, David B. Benson

    That is pretty interesting. What lag in CO2 would you have to choose to get k equal to a Charney equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of about 3.3 K? Since 3.3 is taken from a different data set, and since you estimate lag anyway (somewhat informally, perhaps totally informally), I think that this question is better posed. If nothing other than CO2 is important on time scales of 10+ years, I think it’s an interesting way to estimate the time to equilibrate.

  594. BobFJ:

    Ray Ladbury Reur 576:

    BobFJ, Not all provisions of the [USA] Clean Air Act are relevant. Those most relevant are the portions dealing with sulfate aerosols–and the main reductions in those occur in response to the 1990 provisions. As I said, that is just the US, but other countries followed similar timescales. And in China and India, the sulfate emissions are still on the rise.

    Thanks for that Ray…. It all makes very good sense.… and these things all have a lead-time from legislation through to effective implementation…. And are outside of the popular proposition that the ~1940 through 1975 cooling, and its termination was caused by a step-wise rise and then fall of such emissions.

  595. Andreas Bjurström:

    591 CM,
    I agree with your description of Anthropology. They work in a disciplinary mode where positioning onself as policy-relevant is not given priority. My personal experience (from my department where there are also a section of anthropology) is that they are surpriced that they even can be relevant to policy. They have kind of a humanistic culture, knowledge for its own sake, with low trust that their knowledge is valuable for every-day concerns. I belong to an environmental research culture that are strongly normative and applied that are very different from a humanistic culture.

    However, the earth sciences are also working in a disciplinary mode. They dont try very hard to be policy-relevant. They live in a culture of objectivity where such concerns tend to taint science (compare that a earth scientist can be harazzed by collegues for speaking to the media). This is also the culture of the IPCC. To claim objectivity and to not be overly concerned by what is relevant for policy and not (this is of course not true, but they are selling that false view of their mission).

    So why is Anthropology excluded and earth sciences included in the IPCC? because the earth sciences control IPCC. They dont have to sell themself. They dont have to claim policy-relevance. They define what policy-relevance are (e.g. to run very expensive quantitative climate models). I dont think that degree of policy-relevance as an objective fact of each discipline are that important to exclusion and inclusion in the IPCC. or?

    ps
    I was also reading that historical empirical climate research are marginalised. This research was especially strong in russia whereas USA was more focused on modelling. Thus, also overall politics may be important for inclusion and exclusion and what kind of research that are given priority. If this is true, it is also an explanation to why anthropological paleoclimate studies are excluded. Also paleoclimate studies from the earth sciences are largely excluded from the IPCC.
    ds

  596. Barton Paul Levenson:

    John Peter (582),

    In a word, no. Akasofu doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s a perfectly decent solar physicist, but in climate science he’s a raving nutter and a living illustration of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Thus my frequent repetition of “Akasofu-san wa baka des’.”

  597. Completely Fed Up:

    “What lag in CO2 would you have to choose to get”

    With a physical model you don’t have to guess.

    Ask instead “what is the lag in CO2 from physical models…?”. Maybe with a follow up of “And what assumptions had to be made to get there?”.

  598. Sou:

    @ #580ccpo says: (29 March 2010 at 9:01 AM)

    This is Do-Nothing Denialism by a thousand cuts. Your claim we just don’t know enough is BS. plus more like this…

    ccpo, perhaps you didn’t read my post properly, or the full series of posts I made, or the original post to which I was responding. Or maybe you in fact agree with Andreas Bjurström when he implied that funds should be diverted from climate science to social science.

    I realise it’s hard on this forum to follow the threads, so if you want to know my overall position on the research and action required it can be summarised as follows:

    The global climate has changed significantly, unequivocally and irrevocably because of human emissions of carbon from fossil fuels, deforestation and other sources. (It is highly noticeable where I live, with very adverse consequences already, and it will continue to change globally.) A lot more action is needed urgently to (i) reduce carbon emissions and (ii) to adapt to climate change.

    (i) Reducing emissions Governments urgently need to take concerted action to ensure reduction of carbon emissions. Much more needs to be done urgently at the international, national and local levels, by governments, businesses and individuals. Action to reduce emissions includes policy (eg incentives / disincentives), regulation and investment in renewable energy production among other strategies.

    (ii) Adapting to local climate change Governments at national, state and local levels are already starting to invest in infrastructure to adapt to climate change, but risk making bad decisions, in part because the information about local climate trends is not sufficiently well understood (compared to global climate trends). Infrastructure development for adaptation has a long lead time and is very costly. Therefore governments need to continue to fund ongoing research in climate science to better inform such decisions. (This was the point I was making in the post that you yelled at.)

    Fair enough if you don’t agree and think we have all the information we need. I think we need to continue research. The US government thinks the same as I see that they’ve recently announced a program researching local climate change in the USA and the adaptation required.

    PS Sorry for taking up so much space on what to my mind is the obvious. Maybe there’s a language barrier as I suspect we are on the same page in the main (I’m from Australia).

  599. John E. Pearson:

    Septic Matthew wrote:

    “write it out”

    I really don’t know where to begin. The paper in question was a defense of G&T. After 5 pages they level their first complaint against Smith (who wrote an unpublished criticism of G&T) because they think Smith did something awkward. Half of one of the 5 pages was a figure they lifted from an elementary calculus text. G&T purport to show that the greenhouse effect violates the second law of thermodynamics among other nonsense. The authors of the paper you linked to spend pages and pages on stuff that is completely trivial, showing for example that the product of integrals isn’t equal to the integral of the product, etc. All this stuff is taught in highschool calculus. As Pauli would’ve said “It’s not even wrong.” Its just embarrassing. G&T go on and on about how the greenhouse effect isn’t how greenhouses work etc. Goody’s 1971 book “Atmospheres” which I recommended to you (and which you dismissed) pointed out that the phrase “Greenhouse gases” is something of a misnomer explicitly in 1971. On page 52 Goody wrote: “This phenomenon, in which the surface temperature of a planet is increased because the atmosphere is translucent to solar radiation but opaque to infrared radiation, is known as the GREENHOUSE EFFECT*.” The the footnote says: “Some writers prefer to avoid this term because the analogy to the domestic greenhouse is not complete, but the term is evocative and rather widely used.” END OF QUOTES.

    In 200&whatever G&T use 100 pages to show that the greenhouse effect doesn’t work like domestic greenhouses and along the way “prove” that the effect violates the second law of thermodynamics. I’ve only scanned the jibberish that is G&T. This stuff propagated out into the denial-osphere. I have no scientific obligation to waste my time reading jibberish which is what G&T is. A paper devoted to asserting that G&T is not jibberish is derivative jibberish.

    If you’re gonna post links to papers that purport to be shooting down about a century’s worth of atmospheric physics you first ought to read an elementary text book on … atmospheric physics. Goody’s little monograph isn’t a bad place to start since it’s cheap and it is an accessible introduction to a difficult subject.

  600. John Peter:

    JiminMpls@592 BPL@596

    In science one is expected to criticize another person’s science, not psychoanalyze the scientist. I would find it more interesting if you would critique this scientist’s suggestions for more use of contemporaneous record data. However, my curiosity can wait for Mike or Tom or Bo or David or maybe even one of Judith’s students for that task.

    One lesson of climate-gate is that, when trying to design a new science, better leave out all requirements for ad hominid attacks. Even if you happen to believe you’re saving the world from itself.

    Jastrow and Feynman were excellent physicists, so are Seitz and Dyson. They all criticized your work, not your personal attributes. Ditto Akasofu.

    My own personal ad hominem on “climate scientists” is they seem to be much too impatient. As I posted to Hank, our world renowned note author is retired now, why not just wait and see?

  601. Hank Roberts:

    > John Peter
    > Akasofu
    > expert climate scientist evaluation who either have already done
    > the work or mindlessly reject anything he claims.

    Like I said, Google would dearly love to befriend you. You can look this up.

    Yes, if Google is part of a global scientific mindless conspiracy, along with every scientist who could follow his math and evaluate the claim, and every journal editor — then you won’t find much support for his ideas.

    You have to weigh the possibilities that you consider may be real.

    – massive mindless conspiracy of every possible person, or
    – big yawn by people who’ve evaluated the ideas

    Go with the probabilities.

    What do you consider may be possibly real?
    You include the massive worldwide conspiracy in your reality?

  602. Richard Ordway:

    I don’t endorse the thoughts of the two following people…but these are two of the brightest brains who usually accurately predict trends by about 15-20 years.

    World famous thinker/former peer-reviewed scientist James Lovelock says:

    “I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change,” said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. “The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

    One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is “modern democracy”, he added. “Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

    Lovelock, 90, believes the world’s best hope is to invest in adaptation measures, such as building sea defences around the cities that are most vulnerable to sea-level rises. He thinks only a catastrophic event would now persuade humanity to take the threat of climate change seriously enough, such as the collapse of a giant glacier in Antarctica, such as the Pine Island glacier, which would immediately push up sea level.

    “That would be the sort of event that would change public opinion,” he said. “Or a return of the dust bowl in the mid-west. Another Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report won’t be enough. We’ll just argue over it like now.” The IPCC’s 2007 report concluded that there was a 90% chance that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are causing global warming, but the panel has been criticised over a mistaken claim that all Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2030.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock-climate-change

    I know James Hansen has made a similar statement about democracy (storms of my grandchildren).

    [Response: No he didn't, despite what you might have read elsewhere. - gavin]

  603. Ray Ladbury:

    John Peter,
    Akasofu is a pretty reasonable solar scientist. He is not, however, a climate scientist. He’s been caught in some pretty basic errors (e.g. ignoring SO2 dimming), and he has declined to publish his work in climate science. However, to merely say that “we are recovering from the LIA” without proposing a forcing mechanism isn’t science.

    My question to you is this: Why do you give more credence to a solar/aurora physicist on climate science than you do to climate scientists, particularly when the climate scientists have a very well supported and venerable theory that explains their observations and Akasofu is merely asserting a “recovery” and proposing no credible mechanism?

  604. Septic Matthew:

    599, John E. Pearson: The authors of the paper you linked to spend pages and pages on stuff that is completely trivial, showing for example that the product of integrals isn’t equal to the integral of the product, etc.

    On the whole, I think I like my characterization better: the authors attempt to quantify the effects of the variations in temperature across regions of the earth. They do so to show that Smith’s rebuttal can’t be precise enough to achieve its stated aim. Applied math is all about approximations, and they conclude that Smith’s simplifications lead to approximations that are too coarse. One of the details of their argument, which they claim Smith overlooked, is a fact of calculus that you claim is taught in high school. That it is taught in high school is not relevant to anything, except possibly to show that Smith’s paper ought not to have been believed by anyone who studied high school calculus.

    G&T might be wrong, but Smith’s rebuttal is inadequate to prove them wrong.

    597, Completely Fed Up: With a physical model you don’t have to guess.

    Even with a physical model (and there isn’t an adequate physical model for the response time) the parameters would still have to be estimated, not guessed. Without a physical model, examining the cross-lagged correlations is a way to estimate the response time. Maybe not real accurate, yet maybe the best available so far. RPB only supplied 13 data points. The cointegrated VAR models might give a better estimate.

  605. John E. Pearson:

    China Huaneng Group, the nation’s biggest power generator, targets a capacity to produce about 35 percent of its electricity from clean energy by 2020 as the country seeks to cut pollution, President Cao Peixi said.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=aVB4v6GHv_O8

  606. Completely Fed Up:

    “G&T might be wrong,”

    No “might” in it.

    ” but Smith’s rebuttal is inadequate to prove them wrong.”

    Please explain why.

    Because as far as most of the educated world considers, Smith’s rebuttal is adequate.

    “Even with a physical model (and there isn’t an adequate physical model for the response time)”

    Says the man who insists there’s a good model of climate in fourier analysis…

    I rest my case.

  607. CM:

    Andreas,

    > So why is Anthropology excluded and earth sciences included in the IPCC?

    Rephrasing. Why does the IPCC discuss climate change a lot in terms of earth sciences and very little in terms of anthropology?

    Because it’s obvious how it is an earth science problem, but not quite so obvious where anthropology comes in? Because earth scientists describe their work as having to do with anthropogenic climate change, and anthropologists do not (that was what I suggested)? Because anthropologists compete with other social scientists, like economists, who have pretty sharp elbows when it comes to getting to formulate the basis for policy? I could think of many plausible explanations…

    > because the earth sciences control IPCC.

    …but that wouldn’t be one of them.

    > paleoclimate studies from the earth sciences are largely excluded
    > from the IPCC.

    Huh? What’s chapter 6 then?

  608. Patrick 027:

    Re Septic Matthew -

    The original G&T was so utterly wronger than wronger than wrong that even imprecise work is adequate to illustrate that they were just completely off the tracks of science and logic.

    If the 1-dimensional time-average analysis with the surface as a perfect blackbody suggests the greenhouse effect in total has a 33 K warming effect at the surface, and a more precise account shows maybe 34 K, or 31 K, well, that hardly blows the whole notion of a greenhouse effect out of the water…

  609. Hank Roberts:

    > SM
    > Gerlich and Tscheuschner

    “I don’t understand” isn’t the same as saying the paper isn’t adequate.
    Read a bit of the background; published papers assume much they don’t include.

    E.g.
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009/12/god-will-know-his-own.html
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/03/formal-reply-to-gerlich-and-tscheuner.html

  610. John Peter:

    Hank Roberts@601
    I believe I first ran across Syun when I was searching UK Fairbanks for permafrost references. IARC caught my attention, and I looked up the acronym.
    “The International Arctic Research Center [IARC] serves as a focal point of integrating/synthesizing arctic research efforts in terms of climate change and communicates the results to the global climate research community. Our core research group interacts with a larger number of scientists from many parts of the world, enabling climate change research to truly be an international effort.”
    My goodness, an international arctic climate change organization in a 9000 person university. Since the top IPCC-4 scientists realized they were way off in their knowledge and ran off to the arctic as soon as they finished WK1, I decided to look more at the IARC which was located in a region that was not way off in their knowledge
    I found the founder and director for 10 years was someone named Syun-Ichi Akasofu, an AK Fairbanks professor with 550+ papers and 9 PhD’s to his credit. Since I have managed data base programmers at Department, Group and Executive levels for an International corporation, I find setting up and successfully running a climate science shop including Russia, Japan, and US quite an impressive accomplishment.
    Hank, I have much respect for your judgment and knowledge. When I called SA’s paper to your attention and you suggested caution I took a second look. I found one joint author paper in the 550+ about climate, embedded in a mass of aurora and uv radiation atmosphere peer-reviewed work. Until such time that you all discover that cloud forcing is negative feedback, you’ll have not much use for such research.
    I read his paper (you call it notes) and was impressed. His linear plus multi-decadal fit to a temperature time series was amusing but nothing I thought I couldn’t do myself if I wanted to. What did impress me was the fact that he had examined a large number of contemporaneous records of ice/temperature events from the past couple of thousand years. I kept trying to get you to look at SA’s paper with no luck, as far as I could tell. Since CS’ers diss world renowned scientists like Jastrow, Seitz, Feynman, Dyson – not to mention Curry – I didn’t even bother to follow up.
    When I found Mike Mann’s LIA work about the same paleo-time, I figured that SA’s work in that area would probably get enough critical attention. ( FWIW, I believe MM to be a careful researcher – after all, we learned the trade in the same department at the same university.) That’s why SA’s paper being “notes” didn’t bother me. Professors are always giving “notes” to grad students – that’s how the adviser system works. Either some grad student(s) will do thesis(s) on the contemporaneous stuff or we’ll never hear about it again. I can wait to see which.
    OK?

    Thanks for pointing me at Google Scholar, it’s often useful. It seems to give more pay-locked refs than raw Google which, being an SV person, I use all the time. Best spell checker I’ve found.

  611. David B. Benson:

    Septic Matthew (593) — Thank you for the interest. A typical way to determine the ECS of an AOGCM is to stabilize it and then inject a step of 2xCO2; then compute until equilibrium, which takes about 120 (simulated) decades. The range for the 23(?) AOGCMS is from 2.1 K to 4.4 K, if memory serves. From a wide variety of studies, ECS is close to 3 K:
    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

    My use of a decadal lag was motivated by a desire for simplicity, decades being quite a standard measure, together with the fact that such a lag approximately agrees with the physics of atmosphere plus shallow ocean; for greater precision I should have used somewhere between 11 and 13 years, but such intervals are not in common use and a decade is cloase enough. The formulas I used do not account properly for the deep ocean on millennial scales, so OGTR cannot be used as a very good predictor of ECS; nonetheless, ECS will be “close to” (3/2)OGTR and the result, 3.3 K, is “close to” the most likely value of around 3 K.

  612. Hank Roberts:

    > until such time as you all discover that cloud forcing is negative feedback

    If there’s a paper in there, yes, he or someone will write it. If there’s an idea in there, one of the scientists who’s read it will comment on it.

    Unless of course that vast global conspiracy prevents any mention of the idea.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=cloud+forcing+negative+feedback

    PS, remember, you still have to be careful with what Scholar brings up.
    It includes far more than scholars would cite as sources in peer reviewed work.

  613. Andreas Bjurström:

    607 CM,
    I could think of many plausible explanations … (because the earth sciences control IPCC) … but that wouldn’t be one of them.

    I don´t have very much insight in the IPCC process, but I do know that there has been strong opposition from the earth sciences to include “soft” issues such as sustainable development among others. Don´t you think that the earth sciences (that dominant in number of studies, personal, reseach history, the fact that the IPCC is build upon institutions from the earth sciences, that the first IPCC chief was an earth scientist, etc, etc) are able to molde the IPCC according to their liking?

    I would suggest that:
    earth science -> the climate problem
    biology -> the biodiversity problem
    1 (discipline) -> 2 (problem)

    1 -> 2 = the dominant discipline of problem X to some extent (an important degree) shape how we describe the problem, why we argue it is a problem, how we solve the problem …

  614. John Peter:

    Ray @603

    Thanks for noticing, I believe – along with many others- you produce pretty good posts.

    As usual, you ask a pretty good question, which I may have answered in a long post to Hank that I just finished.

    You said:

    Akasofu is a pretty reasonable solar scientist. He is not, however, a climate scientist.

    I think he was a director of climate scientists for 10 years at IARC

    You continue
    He’s been caught in some pretty basic errors (e.g. ignoring SO2 dimming), and he has declined to publish his work in climate science.

    Don’t know, need more data. Does SO2 dim ir or uv?

    You say:

    However, to merely say that “we are recovering from the LIA” without proposing a forcing mechanism isn’t science.

    As I told Hank, that’s what professors and directors do all the time. Besides I thought that no one knew why we came out of the LIA.

    His main point, as I saw it was naturally temperatures rise when we leave an ice age, any ice age. SA calls it natural linear rise, wants to subtract it from the measured temperatures leaving a multi-decadal remainder that he doesn’t try to source. OTOH MM may be finding that cause right now – per his recent paleo paper.

    My question to you is this: Why do you give more credence to a solar/aurora physicist on climate science than you do to climate scientists, particularly when the climate scientists have a very well supported and venerable theory that explains their observations and Akasofu is merely asserting a “recovery” and proposing no credible mechanism?

    SA seems to have a much richer data with much broader scope. I’m a TP so I may not give enough credit to, theory. FWIW all major investment had a risk assessment VP and they melted down anyway.

    Remember Ray, I’m trying to learn CS and repay youall for my education with advice from my life experiences. And the RC poster I probably owe the most to is Ray Ladbury.

    OK?

  615. Septic Matthew:

    608, Patrick027: If the 1-dimensional time-average analysis with the surface as a perfect blackbody suggests the greenhouse effect in total has a 33 K warming effect at the surface, and a more precise account shows maybe 34 K, or 31 K, well, that hardly blows the whole notion of a greenhouse effect out of the water…

    How much of the 0.7C rise since 1850 is due to AGW?

    209, Hank Roberts, Thanks for the Rabett links.

  616. Jerry Steffens:

    Here’s a troubling story concerning the beliefs of TV weathercasters. Perhaps it merits a post?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/science/earth/30warming.html?hp

  617. Septic Matthew:

    609, Hank Roberts

    From one of the Rabett links: Hank Roberts said…
    &&&&
    Guthrie’s right that
    > “the last word wins” for the
    > “lay people”
    and in a quick look at dozens of threads on various blogs, the “last word” is very often an uncited claim by a persistent fabulist denying something well known.
    &&&&
    I think hosts figure it’s not worth their time to refute such, and they get tired, and they don’t want to post a personal refutation as the last thread, so they close it.

    I shall have to leave and let you have the last word!

  618. John Peter:

    Hank Roberts @612

    I am a techie. I believe good climate scientists are techies. They understand satellite measuring tools. They can design measurement experiments. They can design better measuring tools. They can program physics, chemistry and complex mathematics into big computer programs, run them in big powerful computers and understand the results.
    They believed in and were successful at bigger and better climate science. They are in trouble cutting things down to (regional) size. Despite a lot of their best efforts, there remains an area where their physics/chemistry/math/equations/numerical analysis/ has failed them so far.
    CLOUDS
    Maybe we could get Joni Mitchell to help us develop regional models:
    ”Bows and flows of angle hair
    And ice cream castles in the air
    And feather canyons everywhere
    I’ve looked at clouds that way
    But now they only block the sun
    They rain and snow on every one
    So Many things I would have done
    But clouds got in my way
    I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It’s cloud illusions I recall
    I really don’t know clouds at all

    Joni Mitchell – Clouds Album – ”Both Sides Now”

  619. Ray Ladbury:

    John Peter says, “His main point, as I saw it was naturally temperatures rise when we leave an ice age, any ice age.”

    NO! John, the energy has to come from somewhere. In the case of the onset of a normal interglacial, it is a slight increase in insolation sufficient to begin melting the ice, followed and enhanced by many feedbacks (including increase in CO2). If you don’t have a mechanism, you aren’t doing science, you’re doing numerology.

    Does it not bother you that Akasofu doesn’t even think enough of his own analysis to publish it in a peer-reviewed journal? I would urge you to read what John Mashey had to sab about Akasofu
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/05/01/glaciers-al-gore-got-it-right/#comment-1739

    It is much more impressive for its heft than for its insight.

  620. Septic Matthew:

    Sorry I’m back so soon. I have to admit to one mistake. I had not realized that G&T had attempted to refute the entire greenhouse gas effect using the second law. The paper I cited merely details all the difficulties of working with an “average temperature” when the radiation is proportional to T^4 and the natural variations are on the order of tens of K.

    Claiming, as Kramm et al do, that they have refuted all of Smith’s refutation of G&T is probably unjustifiable, just as Ray Ladbury wrote.

    Sorry I wasted your time.

    Matthew

  621. Patrick 027:

    Re 615 – most of it.

  622. John Peter:

    Ray@619

    Read Wikipedia on Little Ice Age (You can edit it if you think it wrong)

    I believe it occurred, the description seems pretty complete and the beginning and end confused. It was 1C colder which is what SA charts with his fit.

    “Scientists have tentatively identified these causes of the Little Ice Age: decreased solar activity, increased volcanic activity, altered ocean current flows, the inherent variability of global climate, and reforestation following decreases in the human population. One of the difficulties in identifying the causes of the Little Ice Age is the lack of consensus on what constitutes “normal” climate, or if one exists…it is very difficult to know what the true level of variability from only internal causes might be, since other forcings, as noted above, exist; and their magnitude may not be known either. One approach to evaluating internal variability is to use long integrations of coupled ocean-atmosphere global climate models. These have the advantage that the external forcing is known to be zero; but the disadvantage that they may not fully reflect reality. These variations may result from chaos-driven changes in the oceans, the atmosphere, or interactions between the two. Two studies have concluded that the demonstrated inherent variability is not great enough to account for the Little Ice Age. Beginning around 1850, the climate began warming and the Little Ice Age ended.

    Some global warming critics believe that Earth’s climate is still recovering from the Little Ice Age and that human activity is not the decisive factor in present temperature trends, but this idea is not widely accepted. Mainstream scientific opinion on climate change is that warming over the last 50 years is caused primarily by the increased proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by human activity. There is less agreement over the warming from 1850 to 1950.”

    You tell me what forced LIA to stop and why you believe we’re not recovering still.

  623. Ray Ladbury:

    John Peter,
    Careful on satellite measurements. We went 8 years with pretty much bupkes new for Earth observation, and what we have is not tailored to climate measurements. The experience of the UAH team is a good indication of the difficulties one can run into when turning satellite measurements into a climate “product”. And with the launch of the OCO (now dubbed the “Oceanic Carbon Observatory” by wags), there will be a deficit for a few more years.

    There are a few birds going up that will have more ability to look in the IR. ICESAT2 is on the boards. OCO2 is under development. Global Precipitation Monitor is moving along, and the Solar Dynamics Observatory and other birds are looking at Mr. Sun. And it looks like DSCOVR might actually be allowed to look at Earth after all.

    Even so, what is needed is a long-term, sustained program of observation using purpose-built satellites, and I don’t see that in the offing.

  624. Hank Roberts:

    Ray’s pointer is the right place to look; don’t miss the following posting, also by John Mashey in the same thread, more specific to Akasofu’s paper. John did it as an exercise in how to work through a document and think about what you’re reading. Direct link, save for reference:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/05/01/glaciers-al-gore-got-it-right/#comment-1754

    This one (he gets up early):

    “John Mashey // May 17, 2007 at 5:03 am
    http://www.iarc.uaf.edu/highlights/2007/akasofu_3_07/Earth_recovering_from_LIA.pdf

    1) Thanks, I’ve seen this before, but maybe this worth going through as though I’d never seen it, as an illustration of skeptical analysis…..”

  625. Ray Ladbury:

    John Peter,
    A rising temperature does not just happen. It requires a forcing? We know that increased insolation and decreased volcanism were occurring early in the century. We know that climate responds on a timescale of roughly a year (corresponding to the atmosphere and the shallow ocean) and has another relevant timescale of about 30 years. Given those timescales, what form would you expect the temperature rise to assume? Wouldn’t you expect a more rapid rise early on followed by a slow approach to a new equilibrium temperature? Yet that is not what we see. Instead, we see the most rapid rise in temperature in the past 3 decades. Why the delayed warming?

    If you are going to posit a timescale substantially longer than 30 years, be careful. After all, Akasofu’s argument does nothing to invalidate all of the independent lines of evidence that show CO2 sensitivity is between 2 and 4.5 degrees per doubling. So if Akasofu is right, we are in fact further from equilibrium than we thought, and CO2 sensitivity must be on the high side of that confidence interval. Thus, we will warm more slowly, but the eventual damage will be worse.

    Ultimately, Akasofu makes the mistake so many denialists make–focusing only on the temperature rise of the late 20th century. This forms only a tiny portion of the evidence that shows we are warming the planet. The evidence as a whole hangs together, and the only theory that comes close to explaining all of it is the consensus theory…which of course is why we have consensus.

  626. Hank Roberts:

    > John Peter
    > You tell me what forced LIA to stop
    Stuff happens; no one event forced it to stop, it, er, petered out.

    > and why you believe we’re not recovering still.

    Multiple lines of evidence have been found showing a consistent change.
    One paper mentioned at a NOAA paleoclimate page, for example:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/295/5559/1511?ijkey=NyP8Qu6m/yT0E&keytype=ref&siteid=sci
    Abrupt Decrease in Tropical Pacific Sea Surface Salinity at End of Little Ice Age, Science 295, 1511−1514 (2002)

    Why might this be one good place to start reading? Because it’s been
    Cited by 110 more recent papers.

  627. Hank Roberts:

    Er make that second link
    Cited by 110:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=6074965493478182875&hl=en&as_sdt=2000

  628. JiminMpls:

    John Peter

    READ http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/pdf/recommendation_to_postpone-shortened.pdf

    Read his other Notes on Climate Change at http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/the_big_steamy_age.php

    Like this precious gem: “The most prominent warming (twice the global average) took place in the Arctic, particularly in the continental arctic, during the last half of the 20th century, as stated in the IPCC Report, but it disappeared during the last decade or so.”

    There’s no science to argue. It’s garbage.

  629. Patrick 027:

    Re Septic Matthew – Yes, it’s not that G&T are not correct in pointing out that there are some complexities that can make a global average climate different than what it would be if all points on the globe were forced by global average forcings and then made to undergo the same responses (for one thing, that would obviate the coriolis effect, which varies over latitude), and with the added approximations of the surface as a perfect blackbody in LW, etc. But we already knew that. And it turns out the corrections for the global average surface temperature are not so big, but of course we need the whole globe and year, etc, to look at diurnal, seasonal, latitudinal, regional, transient and low-frequency variability – related effects in total and in response to changes (one can progress from a 1-dimensional time-average model to a 2-dimensional model (zonal average) to a 3-dimensional model, learning more and refining previous lessons each time, but the simple models help illustrate a portion of what is happenning in the more complex models and in reality.)) The Smith paper so far as I recall was not intended to describe a comprehensive climate model, but to merely illustrate how some of the laws of physics apply to climate (in particular, how the equilibrium average temperature changes if the temperature variation is changed), which is something G&T utterly screwed-up when they tried to apply the second law of thermodynamics and started refering to ‘superinsulation’, and apparent arguments which would seem to imply that nothing can ever actually emit any radiation – stuff that not only goes against established and uncontroversial physical theory and law, but even casual everyday experience combined with cause-and-effect logic (a photon emission can’t depend on conditions far away and in the future).

    With regards to 2nd Law, the second law does not occur by way of a physical force (like gravity or electromagnetism) that attracts or repels energy. Rather, it works by default – it just happens because of statistics. Concievably (??), many if not nearly all hypothetical universes with all sorts of different physics would have to have a second law of thermodynamics (you could destroy entropy by creating a new physical law, but once that law is in place, entropy could no longer by destroyed).

    Essentially, the second law is a consequence of the low probability of a system shifting into a ‘special’ state (a subset of possibilities that have a distinctly different ‘climate’) if it is not already in such a state. Entropy cannot be destroyed in net within a closed isolated system.

    But in thermodynamic equilibrium, it is not the case that all processes shut down. Photons are emitted and absorbed and scattered, electrons and atoms and molecules gain and lose energy, chemical reactions occur, materials change phase, molecular collisions and diffusion transport internal energy and mass. But in equilibrium, all processes occur in forward and reverse directions equally. And even in disequilibrium, while one process may occur at a greater rate, the reverse can still happen.

    G&T apparently must think ‘backradiation’ was made up to explain the greenhouse effect, but it is a consequence of established physics.

    Re Septic Matthew by way of Re John E. Pearson 599

    ‘Greenhouse effect’ Is it a misnomer? I’m not sure it is. Of course an actual greenhouse works differently, as does a winter coat, from how the atmospheric greenhouse effect works, but they all follow a basic pattern: Energy goes in one way (solar radiation, metabolism, solar radiation again), is processed into a different form (generally gaining entropy) and it can’t all get out the same way it got in, and the way it can get out can be closed or open as if by a valve that can be largely independent of the valve that controls the energy inflow. So the energy can be forced to build up or be depleted to achieve equilibrium between inflow and outflow by adjusting the inflow valves (optical properties for SW radiation, metabolism) and the outflow valves (optical properties for LW radiation, thermal conductivity, convection) seperately.

  630. Richard Ordway:

    Telegraph report on funding of climate change sceptics:

    “An oil conglomerate (Koch Industries) has allegedly spent nearly $25 million on campaigns to discredit climate change and clean energy policies…between 2005 and 2008, according to a new report (Greenpeace).”

    “…Koch Industries did not reject Greenpeace’s claims about its support for climate opposition groups but said its report “distorts the environmental record of our companies”.

    Greenpeace…supplied a list of 35 organisations and 21 politicians – 17 Republicans and four Democrats – who it claimed received money, either directly or indirectly, from Koch or foundations it had set up.

    “They include the Cato Institute, a conservative think-tank, and Americans for Prosperity, a free-market campaign group.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7538934/Oil-conglomerate-secretly-funds-climate-change-deniers.html

  631. John Peter:

    Hank, Ray, JiminMpls

    Thanks for all your references to SA and his work. Collectively they make a powerful case for ignoring SA’s recent “climate research”. In particular, I found Mashey’s analysis creditable, fair and pretty complete. As Ben Santer might put it, the weight of the evidence is compelling.

    Quite graciously and most fairly, youall have demonstrated that, while SA’s ideas might have appealed to me, any such appeal was more likely due to what I wanted to believe than to any intrinsic scientific merit in the ideas themselves.

    Excellent work again. Thanks much.

  632. CM:

    Andreas (#613), re: reasons for disciplinary inclusion/exclusion in IPCC:

    >I don´t have very much insight in the IPCC process

    Me neither. So we’re trading speculations, and we’ve come as far as that will take us. You have a hypothesis, I have offered some alternative hypotheses. We won’t resolve this with general reflections on the disciplinary construction of research subjects. And we’ll bore others stiff.

    If you have references regarding the stipulated disciplinary resistance you’ve heard or read about (against Russian historical approach, sustainable development approach, softies in general, etc.), I’ll read up.

    Meanwhile, here’s an interesting article by a countrywoman of yours that indicates: some pragmatic, uncontroversial (?) ways anthropology could contribute to mitigation research; the importance of a gender approach; and – yes – a ‘soft’ scientist’s experience of techies questioning the relevance of her work.

    Annette Henning, “Climate change and energy use: The role for anthropological research,” Anthropology Today 21, no. 3 (2005): 8-12. DOI: 10.1111/j.0268-540X.2005.00352.x

  633. Robert:

    Does anyone by any chance know where I can find temperature data for some of the longest meteorological stations. I know that the central england station data can be received through the met office but I am trying to use a methodology similar to Jones and Bradley (1992) which looks at as many of the long records as possible. Cru and Giss don’t go as far back as the farthest datasets such as the ones from Trondheim (1761), Stockholm (1756), De Bilt (1706), Leningrad (1743), Berlin (1701), Cape Town (1857), Toronto (1770), Boston (1743), New Haven (1781), Rio de Janeiro (1832)… for example… I have tried the Global Historical Climate Network but haven’t been able to find what i’ve been looking for. Any ideas?

  634. Ray Ladbury:

    John Peter,
    Glad we were able to help. You can certainly do worse than to consult what John Mashey has to say.

    BTW, the first author on the execrable piece of crap that Septic Matthew has been flogging is Gerhard Kramm–one of the primary group of denialists around Akasofu. The denialosphere is indeed a very, small, small world.

  635. Barton Paul Levenson:

    John Peter (600)

    Read my lips: Akasofu talks nonsense on climate science. He says the Arctic (!) isn’t warming. He says permafrost is melting due to the exhaust heat from buildings. He says carbon dioxide doesn’t influence climate. Good solar physicist. In climatology, he’s a loony. Period.

  636. Barton Paul Levenson:

    SM (615): How much of the 0.7C rise since 1850 is due to AGW?

    BPL: Pretty much all of it.

  637. John E. Pearson:

    629: Patrick 027 on “misnomer”.

    Goody’s exact words (Atmospheres, 1971) which I quoted were “Some writers prefer to avoid this term because the analogy to the domestic greenhouse is not complete …”

    I recall various atmospheric physicists saying similar things to me personally when I was an undergrad at Texas A&M. Perhaps “misnomer” isn’t the right word, but clearly enough the term isn’t an exact analogy and I presume that has been known since the first time the term “greenhouse effect” was used. To write 100 pages about it in the 21st century is pretty silly as is writing 10 or 15 more in defense of the 100!

  638. Completely Fed Up:

    “but clearly enough the term isn’t an exact analogy”

    If the analogy were exact, it would be a tautology, surely?

  639. John Peter:

    602 Richard Ordway, Gavin

    Jim Hansen pg 246, paragraph 2 is a statement of support for civil disobedience when we fail to do right through electoral processes.

    Civil disobedience is a fine old American custom and is supported in the constitution’s bill of rights:
    “Civil Disobedience is the act of disobeying a law on grounds of moral or political principle. It is an attempt to influence society to accept a dissenting point of view. Although it usually uses tactics of nonviolence, it is more than mere passive resistance since it often takes active forms such as illegal street demonstrations or peaceful occupations of premises. The classic treatise on this topic is Henry David Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” which states that when a person’s conscience and the laws clash, that person must follow his or her conscience. The stress on personal conscience and on the need to act now rather than to wait for legal change are recurring elements in civil disobedience movements. The U.S. Bill of Rights asserts that the authority of a government is derived from the consent of the governed, and whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right and duty of the people to alter or abolish it.”

    http://www.civilliberties.org/sum98role.html

  640. BobFJ:

    David B Benson & Ray Ladbury.
    Concerning your citations of Tamino’s Volcanic Lull article:

    End of PART 1…. full comment flagged for spam

  641. Patrick 027:

    Re “To write 100 pages about it in the 21st century is pretty silly as is writing 10 or 15 more in defense of the 100!”

    Yes! I promise I won’t write any more than 9 pages on the subjet :) !

  642. BobFJ:

    PART 2:
    I’d like to move-on to Tamino’s second figure,
    where he writes; The 30-yr smooth looks quite a bit different:

    It is apparent that the value of zero at 1880 could only apply if there was zero volcanic forcing for at least the previous 30 years if PMA (Prior Moving Average) smoothing was used. (or 15 years if CMA was used). Perhaps this is true, however, in his replacing third figure he starts the x axis origin at 1900 ILO 1880, and writes:

    We note that there’s a large decrease early in the data. This is not necessarily reflective of an actual decrease, it’s because for the earliest few decades we’re estimating a 30-yr smooth based on considerably less than 30 yrs. of data. To approximate the 30-yr smooth with any accuracy, we should only use the data from about 1900 on, giving us 30-yr smoothed values based on at least 20 years of data. That looks like this:

    Testing: embedded link to tamino’s fig 2 removed

  643. BobFJ:

    PART 3 This seems strange because whilst 20 years of real data is made available, (although hidden) it does not suit either PMA or CMA 30-year smoothing. There also seems to be a question as to what units are used, OR how the volcanic forcing can increase significantly when it is smoothed. Also, what weighting and why. Here is an approximate graphical comparison of unweighted PMA & CMA smoothing etc.

    Here are the 1-year and 30-year smoothing graphs compared:

    I’ve Emailed Tamino, asking for some clarification. Any thoughts?

  644. Patrick 027:

    Re John Peter: “Please keep up your radiation discussions.”…

    Thank you; anything you had in mind?

    (I’ve been thinking about trying to put something brief (enough for a couple comments) about atmospheric fluid dynamics together (Outline: enthalpy, kinetic energy, hydrostatic approximation, gravity waves, coriolis effect, geostrophic adjustment, momentum, potential vorticity, Rossby waves, wave-mean interaction) but that has a tendency to snowball…)

  645. John Peter:

    Patrick 027 @644

    I appreciate your posts. They seemed pretty basic radiation balance to me. I’m a slow reader and you’ve already given me a week or two to digest.

    I am trying to put together a table of radiation energy balance from Trenberth 2008 with ranges to try to get as simple an uncertainty build-up as possible. I would use your posts to cross check.

    Since clouds are a key technical modeling problem a survey of what the models are really doing against what could be done should be of interest. Are any of the climate models 3D yet? What is the effect on the albedo? I’ve seen one paper on fractal clouds, are any models using them?

    I’m very satisfied (and overwhelmed) with your topics to date so whatever you choose will be great by me. I only listed some suggestions because you have been so helpful I couldn’t turn down your request.

    My advice would be to continue doing your own choices, they are great by me.

  646. David B. Benson:

    BobFJ (643) — I prefer decadal averages thus avoiding smoothing problems. Then the volcano forcings look to me to be appearing as part of AMO, so I prefer to use that, treating internal variability and the random volcano forcings together:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530

  647. David B. Benson:

    Robotic Planes Chase After Climate Data
    http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/24907/?a=f

  648. Patrick 027:

    … Speaking of thermodynamics and solar power:

    First, CORRECTION: I earlier wrote something to the effect of non-geometric optics being required to achieve the limiting concentration of solar radiation over a finite area; what I should have said was non-imaging optics are required (so far as I know); they can still be geometric (as in designed via ray-tracing, which is what I then did and will do here).

    1. CSP with parabolic dish or trough reflector:

    Earlier I gave equations describing concentration factor for a target that is a flat surface facing downward, crossing through the focus (relative to the dish or trough; upward (y) in this frame of reference is toward the sun, the direction across the trough or through the dish is x, and when it comes up, (0,0) is the focus).

    In general, (describing the parabolic dish reflector; for a trough, the cross section through the trough and it’s targe is identical to a cross section through the axis of the dish and it’s target; conical surfaces become pairs of rectangular flat surfaces, a circular surface becomes a rectangular flat surface, a spherical surface becomes a cylindrical surface):

    A parabolic dish with an aperture of radius a and length from center of dish to focal point r, with edges height h above the center:

    g = a/r
    G = 1/g – g/4
    —————–
    h/a = g/4
    r/a = 1/g
    (r-h)/a = 1/g – g/4 = G

    r-h = a*G = the vertical distance from the edge of the dish to the focal point.
    ——————–
    H is distance from edge of dish/trough to focal point
    H = sqrt( a^2 + (a*G)^2 )
    H/a = sqrt(1-G^2)

    1/G = tan(b), where b is the angle from vertical for the reflected ray from the center of the sun off the edge of the dish; it is the angle from vertical of the line from the dish edge to the focal point.

    ————

    q is the angular radius of the solar disk
    sin(q) = Solar radius / distance from Earth to center of sun

    ————

    A non-optimal but sufficient target that intercepts all reflected solar radiation is a sphere of radius Rts centered at the focal point:

    Rts/H = sin(q)

    Rts/a
    = H/a * sin(q)
    = sqrt(1-G^2) * sin(q)

    —————-

    A portion of the sphere does not recieve any reflected radiation; this is the portion within an angle J from the top of the sphere; this could be used to recieve direct solar rays, but excluding it:

    Target Areas as a function of angle J:

    area/length OF CYLINDRICAL TARGET:
    = Rts * 2 * (pi – J)
    = Rts * (2*pi – pi – 2*q + 2*b)
    = Rts * (pi + 2*(b-q))

    area of spherical target:

    integral(j = 0 to J)[2*pi*sin(j)*dj] = 2*pi * [1 - cos(J)]
    = Rts^2 * (4*pi – 2*pi*[1-cos(J)] )
    = Rts^2 * 2*pi * ( 2 – 1 + cos(J) )
    = Rts^2 * 2*pi * [ 1 + cos(J) ]

    Other angles will be substituted in these formulas below.

    —————
    This is not yet a minimal area (for sufficiently small a, at least, including a = 2r, where G = 0).
    —————
    Consider angle JJ, the angle from the bottom of the sphere that is grazed by the lowest reflected ray off the dish edge:

    ANGLES J and JJ:

    (b-q) + J = pi/2

    J = pi/2 + q – b

    (b+q) + JJ = pi/2

    JJ = pi/2 – (b+q)

    —————–

    Also consider an angle K on the sphere, from downward.

    CASE 1 (perhaps (?) an optimal reduction of target area for intermediate aperture sizes; K will be different between the dish and trough cases and will be a function of G and q):

    K is selected to minimize target surface area (K > JJ, if K is found to be only a little more than JJ, or smaller, then an alternative geometry is better (CASE 2).)

    A flat circular surface of area Ab replaces the spherical surface within the angle JJ; this has radius Rts*sin(JJ)

    The spherical surface above angle K is replaced by a conical surface, which is tangent to the sphere at K and extends upward just to reach the highest reflected ray. The radius of the lower edge is u and the radius of the upper edge is p. The area is Ac.

    The remaining spherical area used is As.

    —-

    CASE 2 – a flat circular target area is used, with radius p, in the plane of the upper edge of the cone in CASE 1, where K = JJ. The edge of this target is at the intersection of the highest reflected ray from the edge of the dish on one side and the lowest reflected ray from edge of the dish on the opposite side.

    ———

    Equations (I can’t guarantee that I didn’t make an algebraic error, especially here):

    u = -xL = Rts*sin(K)

    The position of the upper edge of the truncated cone, in cross section, is found at the intersection of these lines (both lines are tangent to the circular cross section of the sphere, the first runs through the conical surface, the second is a reflected ray from the edge of the dish, in a coordinate system with the origin at the focus, y upward, reflected ray coming from the negative x direction):

    y + yL = -tan(K) * (x + xL)

    y – yJ = tan(J) * (x + xJ)

    where

    L = pi/2 – K

    xJ = -Rts*sin(J)

    xL = -Rts*sin(K) = -Rts*cos(L)

    yJ = Rts*cos(J)

    yL = -Rts*sin(L) = -Rts*cos(K)

    ————
    Solve for x:

    yL + yJ = -x*[tan(J) + tan(K)] – tan(K)*xL – tan(J)*xJ

    -x = [yL + yJ + xL*tan(K) + xJ*tan(J)]/[tan(J) + tan(K)]

    p = -x

    p/Rts = [-cos(K) + cos(J) - sin(K)*tan(K) - sin(J)*tan(J)]/[tan(J) + tan(K)]

    ————
    Solve for y (y is the height (from the focus) of the top of the truncated conical surface):

    y*[1/tan(J) + 1/tan(K)] = xJ – xL + yJ/tan(J) – yL/tan(K)

    y = [ xJ - xL + yJ/tan(J) - yL/tan(K) ] / [1/tan(J) + 1/tan(K)]

    y/Rts = [ -sin(J) + sin(K) + cos(J)/tan(J) + cos(K)/tan(K) ] / [1/tan(J) + 1/tan(K)]
    ———–

    The length along the conical surface from top to bottom edges is Nc:

    Nc = (y – yL) / sin(K)

    u = Rts*sin(K)

    CASE 1:
    ———————
    The area of the conical surface is Ac:

    Ac1
    = pi*Nc*(u+p)
    = pi * [y + Rts*cos(K)] * [Rts*sin(K) + p] / sin(K)

    The corresponding area per unit length for a parabolic trough:

    Ac2
    = 2*Nc
    = 2*[y + Rts*cos(K)] / sin(K)

    ————–

    The area of the circular flat bottom is Ab:

    Ab1 = pi*[Rts*sin(JJ)]^2

    The corresponding area per unit length for a parabolic trough:

    Ab2 = 2*Rts*sin(JJ)

    ————-

    The area of the remaining spherical surface is As:

    As1
    = Rts^2 * 2*pi * ([1 + cos(J)] – [1 + cos(K)])
    = Rts^2 * 2*pi * [cos(J) - cos(K)]

    The corresponding area per unit length for a parabolic trough:

    As2
    = 2*Rts*(K-J)

    ————-

    Target area

    Atn = Acn + Abn + Asn, n = 1 or 2

    ————-

    CASE 2: K = JJ

    Area of target = An

    dish: An1 = pi*p^2

    trough, per unit length: An2 = 2*p

    ——-

    Area (facing the sun, a flat projection) of dish or trough = Aan

    dish: Aa1 = pi*a^2

    trough, per unit length: Aa2 = 2*a

    ————-

    Approximate concentration factor:

    Cn’ = Aan/(Atn or An), n = 1 or 2

    Exact concentration factor:

    Cn = Cn’ – 1
    for either n = 2
    or n = 1 AND K < pi/2

    otherwise

    C1 = C1' – (a/p)^2
    _______

    Where

    J = pi/2 + q – b

    JJ = pi/2 – (b+q)

    p/Rts = [-cos(K) + cos(J) - sin(K)*tan(K) - sin(J)*tan(J)]/[tan(J) + tan(K)]

    y/Rts = [ -sin(J) + sin(K) + cos(J)/tan(J) + cos(K)/tan(K) ] / [1/tan(J) + 1/tan(K)]

    u = Rts*sin(K)
    ——

    g = a/r
    G = 1/g – g/4

    H/a = sqrt(1-G^2)

    1/G = tan(b)

    sin(q) = solar radius / distance to center of sun
    ————

    Rts/a
    = H/a * sin(q)
    = sqrt(1-G^2) * sin(q)

    —————-

    And the limiting efficienty, relative to intercepted direct solar radiation, for perfect blackbody target (and perfect reflector, too!) is

    (1 – Tc/Th) * [1 - (Th/Ts')^4 ]

    where S = incident direct solar flux per unit area

    and S*C = 5.67e-8 W/(m2 K4) * Ts'^4

    Yes, I could tidy that up a bit (set a = 1 and then just deal with relative sizes, try solving for K (YIKES!), etc., but it's not like I'm getting paid here, so…

    Anyway, it now occurs to me that the the target area for CASE 1 can be trimmed a bit more and still intercept all reflected rays (the radius of the circular area and the top of the conical surface and vertical positions of those must be the same, but the spherical and conical surfaces could be flattened a bit.

    Note that the radiation emitted and absorbed by the target is limited by a minimum convex or flat surface that wraps around the actual surface; provided that the silhouette (sp?) of the target is not cut into as seen from any direction (no long grooves that wrap around a curve or penetrate to an edge), dents can be put into the surface to increase the effective absorptivity and emissivity of the convex/flat surface.

    And the efficiency can be increased if the target is tightly wrapped in a greenhouse or otherwise has lower absorptivity at longer wavelengths, or if the target surface is not isothermal (with fluid coming through the cold parts first and exiting at the hottest parts – in which case, the target surface should probably pass through the actual focal point), etc.

  649. Patrick 027:

    In the partial surface area of a sphere, the line:

    integral(j = 0 to J)[2*pi*sin(j)*dj] = 2*pi * [1 - cos(J)]

    is not actually equal to the next line, but was work done in formulating the next line.

    Sorry about the length; I was interested, I worked on it, I wanted to share, now I’m done with the geometric optics for CSP stuff. Hope this didn’t end the thread.

  650. John Peter:

    BPL@635

    Strange. Have you looked at any of the other IARC research published in peer-reviewed climate science journals? That doesn’t seem to be what SA’s researchers publish, i.e. regional studies of ice and oceans using global models, etc.

  651. John Peter:

    Ray Hank

    What do you think of Ice and Climate News
    http://web.arcticportal.org/uploads/Mb/oU/MboULxLNedshtsO9gC1U7g/no12_iceclimnews_web-1.pdf

  652. Barton Paul Levenson:

    JP (645): Are any of the climate models 3D yet?

    BPL: Every global climate model (GCM) since 1956. A modern GCM usually has from 11 to 40 layers of atmosphere divided into cells a few degrees wide in latitude and longitude, plus a similar distribution for the ocean and cryosphere.

  653. Completely Fed Up:

    “Are any of the climate models 3D yet? ”

    Yes, all the climate models in use by governmental weather organisations are 3D models and include a height as well as a lat/lon 2D grid.

  654. JiminMpls:

    #650 John Peter

    You are MUCH better informed about climate science than the general public (and I for one admire your attempts to come to grips with the actual science) yet you were at least partially fooled by Akasofu’s bogus research paper. This is conjecture, of course, but I suspect that at least part of the reason you were seduced by Akasofu’s “research” was that he is the founder and former Director of the IARC. A non-critical reader may infer that his views are consistent with the findings of the IARC, when in fact they are not. A non-critical reader may also infer that as a Geophysicist and former Director of the IARC that Akasofu is a “climate expert” when he is not. Google “akasofu climate expert” and you’ll find dozens of references to Akasofu as a “climate expert”. His profile as a “Climate Expert” at Heartland Institute certainly sounds impressive, but Heartland conveniently omits the simple fact that none of his research had anything to do with climate. http://www.globalwarmingheartland.com/expert.cfm?expertId=187.

    IT MATTERS that Akasofu allows Heartland to misrepresent his credentials. IT MATTERS that he has received at least two all-expenses-paid trips to NYC courtesy of the Heartland Institute to present his bogus “research” at Heartland’s bogus “Climate Conferences”. I don’t know if he receives a stipend in exchange for being listed as one of Heartland’s “Climate Experts”, but I strongly suspect that he does.

    IT MATTERS that Akasofu repeatedly makes wildly unsubstantiated claims about climate change.

    I don’t have to understand the science in order to know that what Akasofu writes is BUNK. Same with Tim Ball, Pat Michaels, Fred Singer, Suet and Baloney and other paid propagandists. They lie. It’s been proven that they lie. While there may be some morsel of truth in some of their writings, it is reasonable to assume that whatever they write is BUNK unless proven true by another credible source.

  655. John Peter:

    JiminMpls@654

    Your links won’t work for me, so I can’t tell the wheat from the chaff. FWIW sounds like Salon-speak to me and I hope the moderators can help you get it back there.

    You have absolutely no proof of your claims.

  656. John Peter:

    BPL@653

    Wow 1956 in 3D! That’s pretty impressive.

    Clouds too?

  657. Patrick 027:

    “now I’m done with the geometric optics for CSP stuff.”

    Except I have to make a couple corrections:

    “it now occurs to me that the the target area for CASE 1 can be trimmed a bit more and still intercept all reflected rays”

    Only for the trough geometry; at least the spherical portion of the target area for the dish must be filled out to intercept reflected rays from the edges of the solar disk that are between the highest and lowest reflected rays.

    “Exact concentration factor:”

    Case 1
    Cn = (Aan – An)/Atn
    Case 2
    Cn = (Aan – An)/An = Cn’ – 1

  658. Patrick 027:

    Re John Peter (re JiminMpls) “You have absolutely no proof of your claims”

    I myself tend to shy away from saying someone definitely lies, because I can’t know for sure what it’s like to be inside another person’s mind. However, it is possible to say someone is definitely wrong (within philosophical limits that we can’t truly know that we aren’t constantly hallucinating all the time, etc. – but if we are so wrong, what’s the point anyway, we might as well spend a lot of money solving a non-existent problem or publishing error-filled textbooks if we don’t truly know that money and textbooks exist!). Even if there is uncertainty in the facts, a person can be factually incorrect in asserting that the facts are outside the range of uncertainty (if it is a hard edged range) or expresses confidence that the facts are definitely within one portion of the possibilities. And if a person asserts that 1 + 1 = -pi^7, well, that’s just obviously wrong. And if a person, in trying to contradict that a picture has a mountain in it, only points to those parts of the picture outside the mountain, or points out that the individual rocks on the mountain are much smaller than mountains, or points out that the trees on the lower slopes cast doubt on whether there is a mountain or an asteroid mysteriously suspended above a forest, … well.

    This is what the charlatans (at least most of them; I haven’t heard of Baloney or Suet myself – perhaps I should be grateful for that) listed by JiminMpls do.

    They make stuff up:

    1. water vapor (and clouds, or not?) 95 % of greenhouse effect? NO! (at least not in global average, and at least not in terms of outgoing radiation (water vapor is concentrated near the surface so it can make a bigger impact on atmospheric opacity in total than it does on radiative fluxes at the tropopause or above) [ locally, water vapor can get to such a concentration that it blocks almost 100 % of radiation from the surface, but the outgoing radiation, including atmospheric emissions, are less profoundly affected; locally, a cumulonimbus cloud or cirrus may bring the net tropopause LW flux and outgoing LW down to a point where greenhouse gases can do little more, but if the clouds weren’t there, the gases would have more effect (that’s an overlap issue; there is overlap between clouds and all gases, and overlap among gases, and that is taken into account in climate and radiation models (for example, water vapor and clouds in present climatological distribution do reduce the effect of additional CO2, but that is accounted for, and subtracting this effect from stated forcings for the real climate would be double-counting) (the overlap of water vapor and CO2 is larger for backradiation than for tropopause-level and higher radiation effects).

    One source used by Fred Singer to back up this inflated-water vapor role claim appears to be based on absorption of solar infrared, which does have effects (clouds also reflect SW (solar) radiation and absorbs solar radiation; within the troposphere, a significant amount of solar radiation is absorbed by water vapor; clouds absorb much less, and a few gases add a small amount to the total solar direct heating of the troposphere; ozone absorbs UV in the upper atmosphere, and there is some absorption of SW radiation be CO2 and water vapor within the stratosphere. SW absorption above the tropopause is generally a negative radiative forcing, but only partially, since heating the upper atmosphere does increase downward LW radiation at the tropopause level, and since a portion of the intercepted SW radiation would have been reflected back to space anyway; SW absorption in the troposphere would have no direct effect on the tropopause-level radiative balance if it only removed solar heating from the surface, but it can actually be a positive radiative forcing by reducing the albedo; my understanding is the SW forcing by additional CO2 is, in the global time average at least, much smaller than the LW effect, and (?) may also already be included in calculations of radiative forcing and climate models.

    2. ‘we forgot to include water vapor in models’ NO!

    OR they take things out of context:

    1.
    See water vapor claim again. So what? Yes, water vapor does dominate the instantaneous greenhouse effect, and clouds are quite important, but these things change rapidly in response to climate change. CO2 over intermediate and some longer timescales acts as a climate regulator.

    2.
    CO2 is a trace gas. Yes, so what? If you wrapped a thin sheet of aluminum foil around the Earth, that would have cataclysmic effects, but only be a tiny alteration to the composition of the atmosphere. Small amounts of potent things matter.

    3.
    Most CO2 added to the atmosphere is through natural processes. Yes, and most CO2 extracted from the atmosphere is through natural processes. These tend toward a balance, except in positive feedbacks, such as to climate change, but such feedbacks can’t explain much at all of the surge in CO2 level since preindustrial time; the mechanisms involved are actually understood to at least some extent, and notably, CO2 levels varied very little over thousands of years prior to the last couple centuries; even the changes over glacial-interglacial cycles happened much more slowly. Bottom line: Human activity is responsible directly for the ~ 100 ppm and counting increase in CO2 since preindustrial times (as well as changing ocean composition), and it is a highly unusual change for it’s combined speed and size, and has gone well outside the range of values seen over the recent glacial-interglacial cycles, and we could very easily take atmospheric levels into territory not seen in several million years if even that. As for geologic sources – they may occur somewhat in sudden spurts, but even averaged over small time intervals, they are quite small; geologic processes combined with climate and biology do control CO2 levels over millions of years, with at least the first two tending to stabilize CO2 levels over very long time periods in response to geologic changes or climate changes from other causes.

    4a. Climate has changed before. Yeah, so? Extinctions have happened before too. An asteroid hit the Earth 65 million years ago, and our own existence is in part owed to that – should we do it again? And large global changes are usually slow (But even a change over 1 (?) million years (Siberian traps volcanism CO2 accumulation) has been fingered as a suspect in the largest mass extinction of the entire Phanerozoic eon).

    4b. And we ignore those changes (Actually, this falls under the category of just making stuff up). NO! The science of anthropogenic climate change is rooted in a more general knowlegde that is informed by the geologic record.

    4c. CO2 was high in the past and climate was cold or similar to now… Well, solar forcing was less in the past, by much much more than the variations that occur on the 100 to 1000 year scale (it’s an aspect of long-term stellar evolution). Also, there is some significant uncertainty in how much CO2 there was going beyond the relatively young ice-core records, though I think there is agreement about relative CO2 changes. And the inferred CO2 record has course data – it may miss short (geologically speaking) aberations, such as associated with the Ordivician cold period (though from what I’ve read, the CO2 record is being filled in there and now tends to agree with climate physics – including that, the three big deep glacial intervals of the Phanerozoic eon all correlate with relative minima in CO2).

    I could go on, there’s a lot of stuff out there – see for example Skeptical Science (the website).

    —-

    Point being, in as far as the things these contrarians/’skeptics’/deni… know that are actually true/supportable, there isn’t anything new to climate science in there.

  659. Completely Fed Up:

    “You have absolutely no proof of your claims.”

    And you have absolutely no proof of your claims in that post.

  660. John Peter:

    Patrick 027@658

    All models are “made up”, you know that. Reality, which you seem to struggle with here, is not a model, or at least so many people believe. When models are math or physics some of us believe they are better than arbitrary equations or cherry-picked or adjusted computer programs, but to the rest of us, they are only models. Modelers sometimes forget this, which causes concern should the modelers desire us to act on their say-so.

    IPCC, by mixing politics with science, has created conflicts that cannot be resolved by science alone, to the distress of all of us who would rather try to resolve differences of opinion with logic and science. It also puts a stress on models, as well as accepted physical “laws”, mathematics and logic that is unbearable outside the normal realm of these disciplines. Familiar methods such as peer review used to decide differences of opinion within the borders of scientific disciplines are replaced by proselytizing, web blog posts, church sermons, public opinion surveys, what have you.

    Labeling programmers “software scientists” gave them status – for awhile. When “reality” caught back up and results failed to meet expectations, science disappeared from view. Climatologists, who wish to call themselves “climate scientists”, should be careful to learn from this lesson so as not to do the same.

    1-Clouds are not “important”, they are probably the source of most of the imprecision in global models. Ram, probably climate science’s best radiologist, has given up and moved into the stove business. Clouds will probably never be meaningfully incorporated into global climate models, at least during this century. Though I haven’t (yet) looked at water vapor, I suspect it will have similar difficulties.

    2-IMO (and others) fascination with atmospheric CO2, has caused climate scientists to ignore major climate effects from atmospheric turbulence and ocean currents and slow our progress.

    I believe that more attention is now being addressed to these areas and I hope and expect much better understanding of climate change to result.

    3-Please forgive me, but I see CO2 simply as an easily understood straw man. It has become a proxy for temperature on the slimmest of scientific grounds. If we were more confident about our radiation energy balance, I might be better convinced, but for now,, like Jim Hansen, I would prefer more concentration on coal and its long term deleterious effect on our world. At least that would align us more clearly with the “nuclear lobby”.
    4a, 4b -Read SA’s paper – you are repeating what he has been saying.

    As I’ve mentioned before, the internet can be an enormous gift to knowledge, but it’s a dangerous place. PR being what it is it’s hard to tell just which web site is blogging which.

    Peer reviewed papers, imperfect as they might be, are a much better source from which to get information.

  661. Hank Roberts:

    > Clouds will probably never be meaningfully incorporated into global
    > climate models….
    > fascination with atmospheric CO2, has caused climate scientists to
    > ignore major climate effects from atmospheric turbulence and ocean
    > currents …
    > I see CO2 simply as an easily understood straw man. It has become
    > a proxy for temperature on the slimmest of scientific grounds….
    > Peer reviewed papers, imperfect as they might be, are a much better
    > source from which to get information.

    And happy April 1 to you too; funniest posting of the day so far.

  662. Hank Roberts:

    >> JimInMpls says: ….
    >> http://www.globalwarmingheartland.com/expert.cfm?expertId=187.
    >> … Akasofu … Heartland ….
    >
    > John Peter says:… Your links won’t work for me

    Works fine; try the link again. Links there lead to his papers at IARC.
    Nothing relevant to climate, though.

  663. John Peter:

    Hank @661

    #1 reason global model differ in results for te past 15 years – clouds

    Why do you think currents were ignored?

    Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. That’s all blog entries are, even yours.

    Aren’t you the one who alerted me to GOOGLE Scholar. I use it more and more. Thanks again.

    I’ll check in the cool, calm and collected state of tomorrow AM and see if I repent@660

    @661

    Check the earlier links. I already had that one – matter of fact, gave it to you.

    You’ll do better on Salon.com if you want conversation…[8#)]

  664. flxible:

    John Peter – More relevent is Akasofu’s statement concerning his “Notes on Climate Change”, where he makes clear he is not a climate scientist and that his ideas on climate change are opinionated assertions, not “research”

  665. John Peter:

    Hank Roberts @661

    > clouds…Marshak 8, 9, 25, 95, 284, 456, 491

    Actually 21 yrs

  666. John Peter:

    Hank Clouds

    Just at random for this April 1, 90yrs ain’t much more than 80yrs, and Science is an accessible reference.

    “Turbulent mixing of liquids and gasses is ubiquitous in nature (1); it is the basis of all industrial fluid mixing processes, and it determines the spread of pollutants or bio-agents in the atmosphere (2) and oceans
    (3). Biological organisms in marine ecosystems also exploit it for their survival (4–6). A crucial component of turbulent mixing is the fluctuation of local concentration. The rate of destruction of ozone in the atmosphere, for example, is largely determined by these fluctuations
    rather than by the mean concentration (7), as is the toxicity of gas leaks or air pollution. It is natural to relate these concentration
    fluctuations to the separation of two nearby fluid elements; i.e., pair dispersion (8, 9). In a quiescent fluid, the relative dispersion of two fluid elements (or tracer particles) is dominated by diffusion. The particles undergo Brownian motion, and the mean square separation
    between them grows linearly in time. In a turbulent flow, however, if the two particles are separated by distances smaller than the characteristic
    size of the largest eddies in the flow, they will separate faster (super-diffusively). At large separation times and distances, the local correlations responsible for the super-diffusive separation will no longer be present, and, on average, the relative dispersion will again be linear in time. Despite almost 80 years of scientific inquiry into relative dispersion (2, 9–17), no clear experimental verification of the theoretical predictions has emerged. One critical unresolved question is
    the extent to which the initial separation of the fluid particles influences their subsequent motion. Our measurements in a laboratory water flow (18, 19) in very intense turbulence suggest that the initial separation remains important for all but the most violent flows on Earth. This observation…”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/311/5762/835.pdf

    Clouds are tough, but you wondered about something funnier ;)

  667. BobFJ:

    David B. Benson Reur 646:
    Your decadal averaging + AMO sounds interesting, but please let me come back to it later……. meanwhile:

    David and Ray Ladbury
    Re your citations of Tamino’s Volcanic Lull article:
    I’d like to move-on to Tamino’s final figure, where he combines ‘30-year smooth’ volcanic forcings with all of the other GISS forcings. I have some additional concerns as shown on this composite graph:

    The following graph also helps with the issues highlighted in green on the graph above.

  668. David B. Benson:

    BobFJ (667) — I think GISS forcings do not include so-called internal variabity. If not, the positive internal variabilty as indicated by the AMO won’t be part of the forcing data and so leave a positive residual; similarly for strongly negative values of AMO.

  669. John Peter:

    Patrick 027 @658

    On the chance that you’re still salvageable try some real science by some so-called “deniers”

    http://content.imamu.edu.sa/Scholars/it/net/dyson%202008%20nyr.pdf

    http://elementy.ru/lib/430802?context=20451

    http://multi-science.metapress.com/content/cx27431844018158/

    http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d16b/d1686.pdf

    If you find any one (or more) boring, skip to the next. As Hank said it’s April 1st 8<(

  670. John Peter:

    fixible @664

    Absolutely, I agree with you. A wise person knows what what s/he knows and what s/he doesn’t know.

    Try to get some of the poor-mouthing, character assassins around the web to do as well.

    As they say in politics “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. I suspect SA knows this, he’s been around a long time.

    BTW, I heard he was a contrarian aural scientist and managed to turn the field around (Are you listening BPL?)

  671. Patrick 027:

    John Peter – Of course a model that is not the real world …

    (technically you could say that reality is a 100 % accurate computer model of itself (well, almost – quantum uncertainty, etc…(?)) – after all, a computer does number crunching, and what does the real world do – it’s really number crunching)

    … will be imperfect. That doesn’t make them entirely wrong or useless. Is it wrong to say the Earth is spherical. More accurate to say it is an oblate spheroid, but that is still not a perfect description…

    We’re all aware (to varying levels of detail) the models have some significant problems with clouds. But what is your basis for claims regarding water vapor, and turbulence and currents? Models aren’t perfect but they do include these things (and I for one am fascinated by Rossby waves, for example). How else would models succeed in simulating ENSO-type variability and produce trends in NAM and SAM?

    Note that is has been firmly established beyond any fraction of any reasonable doubt that adding CO2 or other such greenhouse gases and keeping atmospheric circulation patterns and water vapor and clouds and snow, etc, the same, the temperature must increase to a new equilibrium. It has also been firmly established that other things will change in response to such a change in temperature. So uncertainties in feedbacks don’t send the burden of proof all the way back to square one. And modelling studies converge with observations (heat gain and temperature change (the combination suggesting a climate lag time and remaining radiative disequilibrium and thus a climate sensitivity, though with room for error in particular from uncertainty in anthropogenic aerosol forcings)and other things) and paleclimatic studies (recent ice ages, variations over the Phanerozoic eon). What remains to be shown and substantiated is anything that makes the climate response to forcing signficantly different from what we presently think it will likely be.

    “IPCC, by mixing politics with science, has created conflicts that cannot be resolved by science alone, to the distress of all of us who would rather try to resolve differences of opinion with logic and science.”

    1. Regarding political decisions, logic and science must be combined with a values system.

    2. Many of the more publically-known, important, and larger differences of opinion, which still exist, HAVE ALREADY BEEN RESOLVED by logic and science. Just because people have a range of opinions doesn’t mean that they aren’t necessarily wrong; a person can have an opinion and be completely wrong about it. (That is not a statement of rights; a person has a right to believe that the moon is made of cheese.)

    3. Are you suggesting that all science regarding anything of importance to society must be distrusted? Because then maybe we shouldn’t trust medical advice from doctors, for the reason that we sometimes want medical advice and doctors know it? (PS a weather forecaster interviewed on the Weather Channel last night seemed to be distrustful of doctors, in that they ‘hide behind peer review’. He lost his wife – okay, that’s going to affect a person, I get that, and I certainly wouldn’t claim to know the details of what happened, but taking him at his word would seem to imply that he would would encourage us all go out and eat cheeseburgers all day and not worry about heart disease, since that is something doctors would tell us to do. He has spread that distrust to climatologists as well. So no amount of peer-reviewed science will ever be enough for him, I guess. I don’t see why non-peer-reviewed texts would be more trustworthy, though.)

    By the way, has anyone ever created an error-free model of the human body? So how could we possibly know that too little or too much vitamin A or C, etc, is bad for us, or that if we eat more calories than we burn (adjusting for gut bacterial consumption and excretion, and any changes in bones, etc.), we’ll gain weight? I guess we can’t possibly know that UV radiation can cause skin cancer. And hey, come to think of it, I’ve gotten all that from second-hand material; I don’t read the peer-reviewed studies; I’ve merely gained a sense that you can trust some sources to some extent and not others, and you have to take seemingly surprising or contradictory headlines in context. Maybe that means that my knowledge of nutrition is a religion for me, something I accept in blind faith? And the same could be said of historical events, since I’m not a historian myself. I guess I really should be skeptical of the claim that there was ever a Revolutionary war – perhaps it was faked, just like the moon landings, since as we all know, if astronauts had landed on the moon, they would have gotten cardiovascular disease from eating all that cheese – oh wait, I forgot, Fred Singer and Richard Lindzen disproved the supposed connection between saturated fats and cardiovascular disease when Singer noted that most of the fat in the human body on any day was there before breakfast, and Lindzen noted that when we gain weight, we have to work harder to do the same things, thus causing us to lose weight, so of course it’s physically impossible to gain or lose much weight, as he proved by finding a bunch of people who have never gained or lost much weight.

  672. Hank Roberts:

    > John Peter
    Dyson
    Dyson
    Energy & Environment
    Nordhaus

    Rebunking. The search tool will find that stuff.
    Please, find something new and interesting, not stuff only new to you.

  673. Patrick 027:

    “As Hank said it’s April 1st 8<("

    Yeah, I know:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack-context/comment-page-14/#comment-144815

  674. John Peter:

    >Hank

    REBUNKING; better watch your back ;)

  675. JiminMpls:

    John Peter – If links don’t work, google “Heartland Climate Conference”. Akasofu is listed as a confirmed speaker for both the 2008 and 2009 conferences. Check out the list of co-sponsors. These are NOT scientific conferences.

    If you’re not familiar with the Heartland Institute then google “sourcwatch heartland institute” and educate yourself.

    Now, do I have absolute proof that Heartland or a cosponsor paid all of his expenses? No. But do YOU think he paid his own way?

    If you don’t what what/who the Heartland Institute is, you should educate yourself dp

  676. John Peter:

    Patrick 046 @671

    I’m glad to see that you agree with me. It was a lot of work. Thank you

  677. Ray Ladbury:

    John Peter @660
    What a load of crap! I’m sorry, but that is just sad. Not only are you utterly ignoring the huge amoung of research that has gone on for decades and continues to go on continually into turbulence, ocean currents, etc.

    Somehow you have gotten things utterly backwards! Climate scientists do very little research on CO2–that’s the easy part. A well mixed, long-lived greenhouse gas stands out like a sore thumb in paleoclimate! Most actual research in climate is on the things we don’t know yet.

    You are again making the mistake of assuming that climate science is all about anthropogenic climate change. It isn’t. That merely gets lots of attention because it is a credible threat with potentially catastrophic consequences. I think it would be instructive for you to look at some climate journals and see how many articles there are that don’t deal with climate change.

  678. Patrick 027:

    I made some contributions to a discussion on the relationship of radiation, electronic and molecular and atomic energies, and thermodynamics, starting here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/close-encounters-of-the-absurd-kind/comment-page-20/#comment-166208

    my comments: 984 – 986, 1001, 1002, 1018, 1019, 1027, 1029, 1030 – 1032

    I wasn’t certain about everything but tried to note that when it was the case; others, I think a few more knowledgeable than myself, were also contributing.

    I’ve been reading more about solar cells and wanted to correct part of my comment 1027:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/close-encounters-of-the-absurd-kind/comment-page-21/#comment-166778

    It isn’t that all time-independent states (i.e. ‘allowed states’: that can be occupied for some time while not in the process of gaining or losing energy) are standing waves; I was wrong about that. Electrons form standing waves at the wave vector values that form the boundaries of a Brillioun zone; wave vector values (which are proportional to momentum) outside that zone, which are part of a different energy band, correspond to wave vector values within the zone, and so, again for reasons I don’t quite understand, electrons outside the Brillioun zone on another energy band can effectively have the same momentum as electrons on a different energy band within the Brillioun zone, and are described as being on a different energy band within that Brillioun zone. (An energy band is a set of ‘allowed’ electronic states wherein, in the approximation that k (the wave vector) can vary continuously, the energy level is a continuous function of k. Each energy band has the same domain of k values (I think this applies even if k values are a discrete set (technically they always are, though, I think, at least within a material), as in a small volume of material, but I’m not sure) but different energies at each k value, though some energy bands can cross at particular k values.

    … according to a source which I will get back to when I briefly go back to solar cell thermodynamics.

  679. John Peter:

    Ray Ladbury @ 677

    Don’t be sorry, a load of crap is better than no fertilizer at all – unless it contains too much carbon. Remember that I get everything almost right.

    I’m not ignoring the load of research that went on, some of it before we were born, nor is SA. He was doing science before you were born.

    My comment about turbulence has to do with 25 yrs ago when we began to realize that El Nino, La Nina and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation needed to be included in climate models. That’s 20 yrs after we started modeling. As I read Mike Mann, we still don’t have it right. (But, of course, we have CO2 right – at least if we continue to adjust the radiative energy balance terms)

    For my part the first climate research I looked at was paleoclimate. I was/am fascinated by D&O cycles. I could not understand – still can’t – why for 800M yrs, temperature rise led CO2 rise by many thousands of yrs. The only attempt at an explanation I’ve seen has been for the last century. If you can point me to peer reviewed papers yrs (not web sites) that explain this for the 800Myrs, I would again be grateful.

    Most research doesn’t pan out, that’s why it’s called re-search. Cloud research has not paid off – yet – by that I mean more was spent than was gained (ref Marshak). Nothing but 3D seems to work for radiative transfer and we have a hard time doing that. By 3D I mean the clouds are three dimensional with a 3D shape, an inside, an outside, and an interior filling. If we can get past that we will find that we have unknown chemical reactions to consider.

    As I understand it, the various climate model results differ, and that difference is due mainly to different cloud treatments. These different results are about the same as they were 15 years ago. That is certainly something we do not yet know and that’s not much research progress compared to, say, semiconductor or any other materials science I can think of.

    My comment about turbulence has to do with 25 yrs ago when we began to realize that El Nino, La Nina and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation needed to be included in climate models. That’s 20 yrs after we started modeling. As I read Mike Mann, we still don’t have it right. (But, of course we have CO2 right. Ha)

    Politically, I believe Senator Joe McCarthy may have performed some important services for our nation. The manner in which he performed them years ago ruined many, many innocent lives – including his own. Climate scientists are as deep into guilt-by-association as anyone I can think of since the senator.

  680. Workplace Safety:

    It sounds like you’re creating problems yourself by trying to solve this issue instead of looking at why their is a problem in the first place

  681. john byatt:

    The Latest Scam,
    rocket scientist journal J. Glassman (3/27/10}

    http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/2010/03.sgw.html#more

  682. john byatt:

    Sorry the scam link j glassman is
    http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/2010/03/sgw.html#more

  683. Sou:

    @ #679 John Peter
    Re CO2 in the past, this lit review might be of interest (not the definitive paper you’re looking for but touches on the topic). It looks as if there are relevant references in the bibliography that you might want to look at as well.

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1810/1831.full.pdf+html

  684. Sou:

    @ #679 John Peter

    As an addendum, I know you asked for peer reviewed papers re CO2, but if you haven’t already seen it, this video is well worth watching. It is an AGU lecture by Prof Richard Alley on the response/contribution of CO2 in past climate changes, and discusses CO2 and rock weathering among other things. (It might whet your appetite for looking at the literature).

    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml

  685. Completely Fed Up:

    “nor is SA. He was doing science before you were born.”

    And Ug was doing engineering before you were born.

    His invention of the wheel however doesn’t mean he can build a suspension bridge.

  686. Frank O'Dwyer:

    I have a question regarding Gavin’s paper about de Laat and Maurellis (2006) and McKitrick and Michaels (2007). Evidently McKitrick is still arguing for his conclusions in MM07 and this seems to draw the most focus, but I am curious as to where things stand with the other paper. Do the authors accept Gavin’s analysis or does that debate also continue?

    I also have another question, and I am no expert so this question is possibly stupid: de Laat and Maurellis (2006) suggests that whatever effect they have found (if they have), it is not UHI and the satellites also see it. In other words they seem to be suggesting a new source of real heat, as opposed to some spurious measurement. If so and if the paper’s conclusions survive, then shouldn’t the warming from that source (whatever it may be) itself be amplified by CO2?

    [Response: de Laat submitted a comment on Schmidt (2009) last summer, but it was rejected and he was asked to try again. I am not aware that he has done so, and as far as I know, the discussion of dL&M in my paper is unchallenged - that is the result they got cannot be differentiated from the expression of internal variability (figs 1 and 2) (i.e. it cannot be used to detect a climate change). I'll note too, that in the comment de Laat explicitly rejected McKitrick's contention that their result indicated that the surface data set was 'contaminated'.

    As for McKitrick.... Well, I'll take this opportunity to make a number of points: 1) The paper he submitted with Nierenberg was not submitted as a comment on my paper, but as a standalone paper, and therefore would have been treated as such. Specifically, it would have had to advance the state of play significantly. 2) The submission was very confused in a number of respects - I glad that McKitrick apparently realises that testing statistical claims against appropriate synthetic data sets is a good idea (the basic point of my paper), but the analysis done was inadequate. First off it only reported results using the ensemble mean of the GISS model runs to compare to the data (which is only a 'single realisation' and which has a very different noise structure). Results with the individual simulations showed again that spurious 'highly significant' correlations (as impressive as P< 4.3x10-8!) could be found with the socio-economic variables (curiously this was calculated by McKitrick, but not reported in the paper). This is still true if you use his method for adjusting for 'spatial autocorrelation' (P<0.0086). Since there is no possibility of contamination in the model results, it demonstrates clearly that their statistical tests are not showing the significance they claim. 3) The claim that there is no spatial autocorrelation in their residuals is just false - one can just calculate it, and it is significant at distances less than about 1000km. 5) The impression that McKitrick's title and statements leave is that he has done a straight correlation of the socio-economic variables with the surface temperature record. However, if you actually do that, you find that the socio-economic variables are much more highly correlated with the satellite trends (r2=0.49 with UAH) than the surface fields (r2=0.35 with CRU) (somehow that never gets mentioned - I wonder why not?). Additionally, the Area of a country correlates much more strongly with the socio-economic variables than any of the climate variables. Are they contaminated too? ;) Thus follow-on calculations - even accepting McKitirck's mehodology - still show the claimed regressions are spurious.

    Overall, Mckitrick's story tells has a couple of very important messages - obviously anyone with persistence can get anything published eventually. But the reception that his results have received (very little, and what there is has been dismissive) is a reflection, not of the climate science community's disdain for new ideas, but rather that his analysis is just not that interesting or convincing. Assuming that Barrow Alaska has the same socio-economic status as Miami, or that Moscow is the same as Siberia, makes no sense. Assuming that national educational attainment is a proxy for National Met Service competence is simply that, an assumption. Confusing real effects in surface temperature changes (local pollution, land use change) with 'contamination' adds no insight at all. Claiming support from de Laat and Maurellis that simply doesn't exist is just wrong. I am not at all surprised that statisticians like this kind of stuff, but the errors are not in the statistics (for the most part), but in the underlying assumptions - and statisticians are not necessarily going to see that. - gavin]

  687. John Peter:

    April fool’s day is past, so let’s get down to business. Flxible kindly provided us a reference of SA’s description of the paper and of SA himself.
    It contradicts JiminMpls, BPL, Hank, and Patrick 026.

    Should any of you wish to take issue with one or more of SA’s statements, please quote it directly and in context. I have no interest in Heartland, Tobacco or oil companies – anything not tightly linked to a direct SA quote is OT as far as I am concerned. If any of you have ever reviewed a scientific paper you would have had to follow some such rules for your review.

    Here is Flxible’s reference – the entire note for your convenience:

    ” Dear Readers,

    I would like to respond to a number of comments I have received on my Notes on Climate Change. Since it is not possible to respond to them all individually, I have prepared here a general response.

    The purpose of my Notes on Climate Change is to point out some serious deficiencies in the recent IPCC Report. I would like to emphasize:

    (i) natural components are important and significant, so that they should not be ignored,

    (ii) it is insufficient to study climate change on the basis of data only from the last 100 years,

    (iii) it is difficult to make conclusions about causes of the temperature rise since 1975 until we can understand the rise from 1910 to 1940,

    (iv) the present GCM modelings are an attempt to simulate the IPCC hypothesis that the present warming (0.7°C/100years) is caused by the greenhouse effect, and thus,

    (v) because of these deficiencies, their future prediction is unreliable and uncertain.

    If most of the present rise is caused by the recovery from the Little Ice Age (a natural component) and if the recovery rate does not change during the next 100 years, the rise expected from the year 2000 to 2100 would be roughly 0.5°C. Multi-decadal changes would be either positive or negative in 2100.

    This rough estimate is based on the recovery rate of 0.5°C/100 years during the last few hundred years. Note that this value is comparable with what IPCC hypothesize as the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect shown by GCMs should be carefully re-evaluated, if the present rise (0.7°C/100 years) contains significant natural components, such as those I suggest.

    I have been emphasizing the importance of “natural components” during the last few years, but it seems that it is too vague to be getting the attention of many climatologists, GCM scientists, and IPCC scientists. I thought that a more concrete term is needed for this purpose. This is why I used the term “Little Ice Age”. I did not talk about causes of the Little Ice Age, because it is out of my own field. As far as the solar effects are concerned, I find many conflicting results in the literature.

    I was director of the UAF Geophysical Institute for 13 years and then director of the International Arctic Research Center for 7 years. Although I am not a climatologist, it has been interesting to observe climatology from the point of view of an arctic scientist. In order for the field of climatology and IPCC to be healthy, I want to provide a few criticisms, which I hope are constructive.

    Since I am not a climatologist, all the data presented in my Notes on Climate Change can be found in papers and books published in the past; that is why I do not want to publish Notes on Climate Change as a paper in a professional journal. It is very important for climatology to include some aspects of archaeology and anthropology in studying earth’s climate change, not just computer science.

    The IPCC climatology is a sort of ‘instant’ climatology. Old data, however inaccurate they may be, could be more valuable in predicting future changes than the most accurate (instant) data from satellites.

    Finally, when I sent an early version of my Notes on Climate Change to several distinguished climatologists for their comments, one of them responded that his graduate student is now estimating the “rebounding rate” from the Little Ice Age, thus I suggested that his student should publish it at the earliest opportunity.

    Regards,

    Syun Akasofu”

  688. Barton Paul Levenson:

    JP (660): It has become a proxy for temperature on the slimmest of scientific grounds.

    BPL: What part of “CO2 mostly passes sunlight but absorbs thermal IR” do you not understand? That was established in 1859, and there’s no way around it. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Deal with it.

  689. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Our “rocket scientist” lists almost every denialist cliche out there. As someone who used to design rockets for the Tripoli Science Association, I have to say he makes me ashamed to be a “rocket scientist.” (Not that there really is such a field.)

  690. Ray Ladbury:

    John Peter,
    I think the problem you are having is that you are confusing the study of climate with the study of climate change–they are distinct endeavors. In climate change, we concentrate on CO2 because we KNOW that is largely responsible–that’s 50 year old climate science!

    In climate science, we continue to try to improve our understanding of the entire systems. Of course there are differences in how the models treat clouds–and aerosols,too–that’s where the uncertainties are! They all, however, show warming to increasing CO2–that’s universally agreed upon in all the models (the precise amount varying).

    Also, your failure to understand the lag of CO2 to temperature is puzzling to me. Ask yourself where the CO2 came from in previous interglacials–from natural sources, of course. The beginning of the warming was initiated by increased insolation. Now, in our case, have we started yet to see dramatic increases in CO2 from natural sources? No. That’s one of the tipping points we want to avoid. So NATURAL CO2 is lagging temperature in this warming epoch as well. There is no paradox, no riddle.

    Methinks you are getting some of your information from confused people and it is confusing you.

  691. JiminMpls:

    John Peter – Why didn’t you search for Akasofu’s Notes on Climate Change and explanatory yourself? Why did you have to relyon fixible. It takes 45 seconds of googling to get to Asasofu’s website. It’s all there.

    In his rebuttal, Akasofu clearly states that he is not a climatologist yet he allows the Heartland Institute to list him as a Climate Expert and feature him as a Climate Expert at their annual Climate Conference. In short, he allows Heartland to misrepresent his credentials. I think it is foolish to believe that he doesn’t receive a stipend for these appearances and reimbursement for his travel expenses.

    Don’t believe me. Don’t rely on others to provide you with links. Investigate for yourself. CHECK YOU SOURCES.

  692. John Peter:

    BPL @689

    Deal with it yourself

    Svante Ahrhenius’s 1896 theory was demonstrated to be false in an experiment performed by the optical physicist, R. W. Wood, in 1909.

    From Wikipedia:

    “…The “greenhouse effect” is named by analogy to greenhouses but this is a misnomer. The greenhouse effect and a real greenhouse are similar in that they both limit the rate of thermal energy flowing out of the system, but the mechanisms by which heat is retained are different. A greenhouse works primarily by preventing absorbed heat from leaving the structure through convection, i.e. sensible heat transport. The greenhouse effect heats the earth because greenhouse gases absorb outgoing radiative energy and re-emit some of it back towards earth.

    A greenhouse is built of any material that passes sunlight, usually glass, or plastic. It mainly heats up because the sun warms the ground inside, which then warms the air in the greenhouse. The air continues to heat because it is confined within the greenhouse, unlike the environment outside the greenhouse where warm air near the surface rises and mixes with cooler air aloft. This can be demonstrated by opening a small window near the roof of a greenhouse: the temperature will drop considerably. It has also been demonstrated experimentally (R. W. Wood, 1909) that a “greenhouse” with a cover of rock salt (which is transparent to infra red) heats up an enclosure similarly to one with a glass cover.[24] Thus greenhouses work primarily by preventing convective cooling.[25][26]

    In the greenhouse effect, rather than retaining (sensible) heat by physically preventing movement of the air, greenhouse gases act to warm the Earth by re-radiating some of the energy back towards the surface. This process exists in real greenhouses, but is comparatively unimportant there.

    The greenhouse effect we all love was discovered by Gilbert Plass in 1955, about 55 years ago. Ten years before our first model as you recall.

    Like many others, you probably were confused by an urban legend promulgated by author/historian, Spencer Weart, who has produced numerous historical articles, two children’s science books, and written or co-edited seven other books. Strangely (for an historian, but not for an author ) he missed Wood’s experiment, but then it made one of his stories a better tale… 8<(

  693. John Peter:

    Workplace safety@680

    If you mean Joe McCarthy, Kurt Weill said it best:

    “…What keeps a man alive?
    He lives on others
    He likes to taste them first
    Then eat them whole if he can…”

    If you mean SA, I tried to drop it but Hank Roberts wouldn’t let me.

    I’m a let’s wait and see guy.

  694. John Peter:

    Soo@683

    Interesting abstract. Thanks.

    I’ve learned to be careful with “appears” and “seems” in programmer’s papers.

    I’ll swap you:

    “There is much interesting work by UNC prof Jose Rial (and others)on D&O paleoclimate cycles. They need to consider “tipping points” and occasional chaos, extremes that might be of interest. Jose also is a seismic scientist, his abstract re arctic ice follows:

    Measurements of seismic activity in Greenland’s ice sheet indicate the activity is related to the ice sheet’s probable fragmentation due to global warming. Project SMOGIS (Seismic Monitoring of Greenland’s Ice Sheet), a collaboration between UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Colorado at Boulder, has detected intense microearthquake activity throughout the region close to the Jacobshavn glacier, one of the world’s fastest moving glaciers. The seismic activity is clearly related to glacial sliding (at the base of the ice sheet) and crevassing, or large fractures expanding under the increased warming. “The area we are inspecting could be seen as belonging to the buttresses of a giant cathedral, which is the Greenland ice sheet,” Rial said. “If the buttresses fail, the entire cathedral could collapse, perhaps in just a few years. This may be part of what has been called abrupt climate change.”

    hmm, looks like Jose had trouble with the Guardian also.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/sep/13/climatechange.comment

  695. John E. Pearson:

    692: John Peter wrote “Svante Ahrhenius’s 1896 theory was demonstrated to be false in an experiment performed by the optical physicist, R. W. Wood, in 1909.”
    and then goes on to say “Like many others, you probably were confused by an urban legend promulgated by author/historian, Spencer Weart,”

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. Dunno about Wood, but Weart certainly wrote about the greenhouse theory being shot down in the early 20th century, probably before 1909, by Angstrom and his assistant who (if i recall correctly) was named Koch. Don’t have time to check my memory by going to “The history of global warming” . I’m not sure what you mean by this whole “urban legend” thing. It seems to me that the whole GHG thing went the way that science normally does. First one way, then another, then another and then finally settles down.

  696. John Peter:

    BPL@688

    I don’t (yet) see how 0.2W/m2 can cause Trenberth to adjust his radiation energy balances by 48W/m2.

    Can you help me?

  697. Sou:

    @ #692 John Peter:

    The word ‘greenhouse’ doesn’t appear in this paper published by Arrhenius in 1896:

    http://web.lemoyne.edu/~giunta/Arrhenius.html

    And if you are referring to the experiment by Wood, where he tested rock salt vs glass to explore the properties of a greenhouse, it does not look to be about the same thing that Arrhenius wrote about (which was C02 and water vapour in the atmosphere).

    It’s common knowledge that ‘greenhouse effect’ is a misnomer. But it’s a term that most people understand to refer to the warming effect of IR absorption of molecules in the atmosphere.

  698. John Peter:

    BPL@689

    Way over my head (too?)

  699. John Peter:

    JiminMpls@691

    very OT

  700. John E. Pearson:

    re: John Peter’s 989 and Pearson’s memory.

    Yes. it was Angstrom and Koch who shot down Svante Ahrhenius’s 1896 theory, not in 1909 but in 1900 and Weart discusses it here: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm .
    Reference 7. So if Weart missed Wood doing something similar in 1909 it was more likely because the key work had been done 9 years earlier. I don’t see that there is anything remotely like propagating an urban legend. I gather you haven’t actually read Weart. I recommend him. Strongly.

  701. Sou:

    @ #692John Peter
    In case you have not read Wood’s experiment, it is of minor interest in that it shows that greenhouses keep warm air inside primarily by preventing cooling by convection with the air outside, rather than from surface IR being unable to penetrate the glass.

    I found a version of it here in case you have not read it. It’s not a full paper, just a note of the experiment (plus some incorrect musings on the capacity of the atmosphere to absorb infrared radiation from the ground). Apart from showing how greenhouses keep warm, it has no significance in relation to climate science.
    http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/wood_rw.1909.html

    Weart includes the note in his bibliography. I don’t know if he mentions Wood in his book as I don’t have it (yet):
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/bibdate.htm

    Here is the wikipedia article on Robert Wood. (He also wrote adult and children’s fiction.):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_W._Wood

  702. flxible:

    John Peter@892 – Start by spelling the mans name properly, Arrhenius. Then learn the difference between nominal terms and descriptions. The “greenhouse effect” is an accepted rubric for the observed physics.
    Next show some search abilities and reading comprehension, like the beginning of the Wiki article you cherry pick [that everyone here is no doubt familiar with]: “The greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824, first reliably experimented on by John Tyndall in 1858, and first reported quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896″. You also failed to note the further “(…) Arrhenius’ greenhouse law reads as follows:
    if the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression. This simplified expression is still used today.”

    R. W. Wood did not “demonstrate” anything except some conjecture on details of the process, which he also did not fully understand. [Read the whole page, slowly, with comprehension]

    And Plass did not “discover” the greenhouse effect, but because of the computing power available to him and 50 years of observation, he discovered it’s a result of your emmissions, AGW.

  703. Hank Roberts:

    John Peter, if you get to make the rules for the discussion, of course you can prolong it indefinitely.

    But the point is clear; you know about Asafoku because of Heartland, not because of anything published in the scientific literature.

    If you were to look up the science you’d know why. You’re just doing the “what about this? Oh. Well, then what about _this_?” pattern we see often.

    Look, it’s tough to come in to a science education site and have people say that you’re just tossing out talking points. It’s not about you, this is something that’s always happening. You’re the one right now who’s most actively pulling stuff out of the “climate debate” area and posting it here asking people to deal with it as though it were science.

    Take each new thought that occurs to you. Put your very best skeptical thinking hat on. John Mashey gave you a good example earlier of how to think through this stuff.

    Look it up. Tell us what you find in the science journals — not the ‘summary’ stuff you find in sites that lie about the science.

    Who lies consistently? CO2Science is one of the worst providers of very well crafted misinformation, and relied on by many copypasters on blogs.
    Watch out especially for their stuff, whether first or second or thirdhand:

    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2008/08/more_for_the_annals_of_climate_1.html

    Recommended: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/08/john_mashey_on_how_to_learn_ab.php

    Cautionary: http://www.sej.org/initiatives/outstanding-media-coverage/outstanding-coverage

  704. Tom Dayton:

    John Peter, you would benefit from an overview such as cce’s The Global Warming Debate.

  705. Sou:

    @ 700 John E. Pearson
    I’ll just point out for the record that Angstrom and Koch did not ‘shoot down’ Arrhenius’ work at all, but they probably delayed further research by some decades. As Weart notes:

    “These measurements and arguments had fatal flaws. Herr Koch had reported to Ångström that the absorption had not been reduced by more than 0.4% when he lowered the pressure, but a modern calculation shows that the absorption would have decreased about 1% — like many a researcher, the assistant was over confident about his degree of precision.(9*) But even if he had seen the 1% shift, Ångström would have thought this an insignificant perturbation. He failed to understand that the logic of the experiment was altogether false.


    (My emphasis.)
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    If you read the paper by Arrhenius that I linked to in post #697, you will see that Arrhenius stated some assumptions (eg clouds will not change), presumably so as to simplify his calculations, which he would have made without the benefit of even an HP scientific calculator :D However his results are remarkably similar to those still held today. It’s well worth a read:
    http://web.lemoyne.edu/~giunta/Arrhenius.html

  706. Completely Fed Up:

    Jon Peter is just trolling, unable and unwilling to accept anything that may cast his abiding principle: that the IPCC and AGW is wrong.

    It’s a waste of electrons conversing with him.

    Converse instead to anyone who may be misled into thinking he has a point.

  707. Ray Ladbury:

    John Peter, Where in the hell are you getting your information? You are spouting utter falsehoods–knowingly or not. The experiment by Woods did not disprove the greenhouse effect due to CO2, but rather showed that that effect had nothing to do with keeping greenhouses warm. Arrhenius knew the mechanism of the greenhouse effect when he did his calculations. See this post by the Rabett:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009/12/eli-rabett-and-rw-wood-r.html

    particularly Arthur’s comment.

    Also, you do know that Spencer is a physicist, do you not. I used to work down the hall from him at the International House of Physics when I was an editor. You really ought to read history. You would clearly learn a lot.

  708. John E. Pearson:

    705:Sou wrote “@ 700 John E. Pearson
    I’ll just point out for the record that Angstrom and Koch did not ’shoot down’ Arrhenius’ work at all”

    poor choice of words on my part. I didn’t mean to imply that they shot it down and that it stayed down

  709. John Peter:

    John E. Pearson@695 @700

    No, Koch was Angstrom’s go-fer and misunderstood the behavior of CO2 under pressure. Wood didn’t believe the result. He measured a different way using quartz (which is ir transparent) instead of glass. Wood’s result was the proof that Arrhenius was wrong.

    Your ref to Weart leads (finally) to:

    ”…already in 1896 Arrhenius somewhat inaccurately wrote, “Fourier maintained that the atmosphere acts like the glass of a hothouse,” Arrhenius (1896), p. 237; the word “greenhouse” perhaps first appeared in this context in a study which explained how greenhouses keep the warmed air from rising and blowing away, and that this matters more than the fact that infrared radiation from within does not escape through the glass (which is more like what happens in the atmosphere), Wood (1909); for the science, see also Lee (1973); Lee (1974); possibly the first widely seen use of the phrase “greenhouse effect” was in a 1937 textbook (repeated in later editions), wrongly describing “the so-called ‘greenhouse effect’ of the Earth’s atmosphere” as an effect “analogous to that of a pane of glass.” Trewartha (1943), p. 29…

    Experts could dismiss the hypothesis because they found Arrhenius’s calculation implausible on many grounds. In the first place, he had grossly oversimplified the climate system. Among other things, he had failed to consider how cloudiness might change if the Earth got a little warmer and more humid.(6) A still weightier objection came from a simple laboratory measurement. A few years after Arrhenius published his hypothesis, another scientist in Sweden, Knut Ångström, asked an assistant to measure the passage of infrared radiation through a tube filled with carbon dioxide. The assistant (“Herr J. Koch,” otherwise unrecorded in history) put in rather less of the gas in total than would be found in a column of air reaching to the top of the atmosphere. The assistant reported that the amount of radiation that got through the tube scarcely changed when he cut the quantity of gas back by a third. Apparently it took only a trace of the gas to “saturate” the absorption — that is, in the bands of the spectrum where CO2 blocked radiation, it did it so thoroughly that more gas could make little difference.

    Still more persuasive was the fact that water vapor, which is far more abundant in the air than carbon dioxide, also intercepts infrared radiation. In the crude spectrographs of the time, the smeared-out bands of the two gases entirely overlapped one another. More CO2 could not affect radiation in bands of the spectrum that water vapor, as well as CO2 itself, were already blocking entirely. These measurements and arguments had fatal flaws. Herr Koch had reported to Ångström that the absorption had not been reduced by more than 0.4% when he lowered the pressure, but a modern calculation shows that the absorption would have decreased about 1% — like many a researcher, the assistant was over confident about his degree of precision. But even if he had seen the1% shift, Ångström would have thought this an insignificant perturbation. He failed to understand that the logic of the experiment was altogether false.

    The greenhouse effect will in fact operate even if the absorption of radiation were totally saturated in the lower atmosphere. The planet’s temperature is regulated by the thin upper layers where radiation does escape easily into space. Adding more greenhouse gas there will change the balance. Moreover, even a 1% change in that delicate balance would make a serious difference in the planet’s surface temperature. The logic is rather simple once it is grasped, but it takes a new way of looking at the atmosphere — not as a single slab, like the gas in Koch’s tube (or the glass over a greenhouse), but as a set of interacting layers.”

    From Wikipedia:
    Robert Williams Wood (May 2, 1868 – August 11, 1955) was a physicist and inventor. He is often cited as being a pivotal contributor to the field of optics and is best known for giving birth to the so-called “black-light effect”. Wood’s patents and theoretical work shed much light on the nature and physics of ultra-violet radiation and made possible the myriad of uses of uv-fluorescence which became popular after World War I.

    From Weart Wood, R.W. (1909). “Note on Theory of the Greenhouse.” Philosophical Magazine ser. 6 Vol. 17: 319-20

  710. John Peter:

    I would be remiss if I did not thank you all for contributing so much to my education. I really do appreciate it even though my posts do not (always?) show it. So thanks very much.

    I know that good science is not done on blogs, even on as fine an example as RealClimate. I am a skeptic because, right or wrong, that is how I was trained to approach science. I will never (too strong a term?) be a denier, for two reasons:

    1)- Should we cause a “tipping point” or too many tipping points, the results would be, to say the very least, uncomfortable.

    We can show that we have given the planet more CO2 than it can conceivably use, at least that’s what I believe. So what could possibly be wrong with cutting back,some?

    Risk much greater than the cost, go for it.

    2)- I am a nuclear enthusiast and would like to see nuclear plants phase out coal plants. Not only do coal plants produce a lot of unnecessary carbon, but the mining wrecks our mountains and streams. No matter how much coal folk claim they won’t.

    I am trying to “learn” climate science and you all help me a lot. I try to follow and examine any links you share. I prefer papers to web sites and peer reviewed papers the most. Though most of my opinions may seem, to say the least, ignorant, they also may have some value to you because they are “outside the box”. At leaat that is what I always believed.

    So be patient with me and again many thanks.

  711. Sou:

    @ #709 John Peter says: “Wood’s result was the proof that Arrhenius was wrong.”

    John, you need to do some more reading on the topic of the greenhouse effect. Woods didn’t do any research at all on what is commonly called the greenhouse effect. Wood’s little experiment was to determine how actual greenhouses stay warm, which despite sounding similar to the greenhouse effect, is quite a different thing.

    I suggest you go and read the papers by Arrhenius and Wood to which I provided links. From your comments you either haven’t read these papers or haven’t understood what you’ve read.

    (Oops, I see that Ray Ladbury has already picked you up on this one! I’ll let this post ride anyway, if the mods allow it; although I’m starting to think CFU has a point #706)

  712. John Peter:

    I forgot to say that, while I can tolerate some of the skeptics, the deniers turn me off. For many reasons find SA a skeptic and I have no trouble relating to him and most his ideas as I understand them.

    FWIW, after all your complaints about SA, I haven’t seen any of you critque his letter. That should say something, but I certainly don’t know what.

  713. Septic Matthew:

    681, 682, John Byatt

    Why call it a “scam”? Is he asking for money?

    The paper illustrates what’s wrong with the solar theories, namely every one invents a new summary statistic for whatever measures of solar activity are supposed to produce climate change. He uses a standard technique to identify some periodicities, different from anyone else’s periodicities. The author is cognizant of that fact, and urges more research into all of the measurable aspects of solar fluctuation that might matter. He says that the true test of the model will be in predictions of the future (I would find this attractive, as I have said the same myself!) And he wrote that his model can not predict more than 10 years ahead because the predictions are conditional on measured (and aggregated) solar activity — future solar activity is not yet known.

    If his criticisms of IPCC AR4 are objectionable, they should be rebutted, cliched or not.

  714. John Peter:

    sou sorry.

    When is RC going to get an edit button

  715. John Peter:

    Ray @707

    Spencer had studied physics but he was a writer. Just like you and Jeff. Jeff was ok til you left (or so he said)

  716. David B. Benson:

    John Peter — The atmospheric phsyics of CO2 is known to a fair-the-well. Try HITRANS or MODTRANS. Guess what? Arrhenius’s formula is quite a good approximation and Arrhenius himself knew it was approximate.

    I put the formula to use in a smiple decadal model of the instrumental temperature data:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530

  717. John Peter:

    Sou @701

    Thank you very much for the reference.

    I read it and am puzzled. What did I say that caused you to believe I didn’t understand this? Am I missing some important detail?

  718. John Peter:

    Hank Roberts @703

    A sincere thanks again. I think I understand and agree with you. I’ll study your links.

    BTW, I got SA’s letter reference from flxible just as I claimed. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at Heartland?

  719. John Peter:

    Tom Dayton @704

    I took a peek and it does look interesting. I’ll try to work my way through it. Thanks much.

    I must admit that the sheer volume of material blew my mind – what’s left of it. It helps a lot to make me aware of why everyone’s so teed off with me.

  720. John Peter:

    Sou @705

    You’re right, I hadn’t looked at it and yes there’s much more there than I had any idea of. I’ll have to learn how to spell his name.

    Thanks Sou, you hit a home run. It’s too much for computer viewing, I had to print it.

  721. John Peter:

    Ray @707 (again)

    His middle name was Wilson. I have his book. And yes, I agree with rabbit

  722. John Peter:

    John E. Person @708

    Aha! Now I see.

    Arrhenius didn’t STAY down 8>)

  723. Hank Roberts:

    > critique [Akasofu]

    I’m sure I already pointed this out; were you the one who mentioned Joanne Nova’s blog?

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2007/04/is-earth-still-recovering-from-little.html

    You can keep an idea bouncing around for weeks here if you manage to keep getting us ordinary readers to retype what we think. But when one of the scientists looks at the ideas, it’s far more useful if we ordinary readers point it out. This is a good example on the major points.

    Go through the skeptical exercise yourself; you’ll be able to let go of this once you do.

    [Response: Thanks. Anymore on this is OT (it is very tedious). - gavin]

  724. BobFJ:

    David B Benson, Reur 667:
    Re concerns with Tamino’s article:

    BobFJ (667) — I think GISS forcings do not include so-called internal variabity. If not, the positive internal variabilty as indicated by the AMO won’t be part of the forcing data and so leave a positive residual; similarly for strongly negative values of AMO.

    Yes, I agree. Tamino’s fourth figure would be much better replaced with this GISS graph (a) which appears alongside their graph (b), the latter apparently being the same as Tamino’s fifth figure.

    Graphs (a) & (b) appear here and both predate Tamino’s article. They clearly do not include any internal variability such as AMO.

  725. Patrick 027:

    Re John Peter – 709 – that last quoted paragraph is key – along with the realization that opacity varies over wavelength and the CO2 and the H2O greenhouse effects are not completely saturated at all wavelengths; in the case of CO2, the variation of opacity over wavelength gives rise to the approximately logarithmic relationship of radiative forcing to amount once the central portion of the absorption band is saturated at the tropopause level.

  726. David B. Benson:

    BobFJ (724) — Yes, one needs net of all forcings plus some index of internal variabiliy to remconstruct the instrumental record. On a decadal scale, the MAO acts as such an index, but imperfectly so since the net of the nonlinear portion of forcings will also effect the AMO.

  727. Patrick 027:

    Re John Peter

    “after all your complaints about SA, I haven’t seen any of you critque his letter.”

    (i) He implies IPCC ignores natural components. IPCC does not ignore natural components.

    (ii) The most detailed and accurate observations are limited in time, but proxy records do provide at least some information of what has been going on for 100s, 1000s, 10000s, 100,000s, millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions and even billions of years; physical predictions can be tested against analysis of paleclimatic data. Other planets also provide real examples of what happens when the forcings are much much different (though this must include the change in gravity and atmospheric thermodynamic properties, etc.).

    (iii) In terms of global average temperature: When model trends are compared to historical data over the last century, only the time around 1940 sticks out, and this is comparable to unforced variations seen in individual runs (See IPCC AR4 WGI … chapter 9, I think).

    PS model output with only natural forcings and with all forcings only diverge significantly after 1950 or 1960, give or take, and the record follows the model output with fo