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Unforced variations 3

Filed under: — group @ 19 March 2010

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

844 Responses to “Unforced variations 3”

  1. 651
  2. 652

    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.

  3. 653
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “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.

  4. 654
    JiminMpls says:

    #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.

    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.

  5. 655
    John Peter says:


    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.

  6. 656
    John Peter says:


    Wow 1956 in 3D! That’s pretty impressive.

    Clouds too?

  7. 657
    Patrick 027 says:

    “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

  8. 658
    Patrick 027 says:

    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:

    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.

    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.

    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.

  9. 659
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “You have absolutely no proof of your claims.”

    And you have absolutely no proof of your claims in that post.

  10. 660
    John Peter says:

    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.

  11. 661
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 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.

  12. 662
    Hank Roberts says:

    >> JimInMpls says: ….
    >> … 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.

  13. 663
    John Peter says:

    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


    Check the earlier links. I already had that one – matter of fact, gave it to you.

    You’ll do better on if you want conversation…[8#)]

  14. 664
    flxible says:

    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”

  15. 665
    John Peter says:

    Hank Roberts @661

    > clouds…Marshak 8, 9, 25, 95, 284, 456, 491

    Actually 21 yrs

  16. 666
    John Peter says:

    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…”

    Clouds are tough, but you wondered about something funnier ;)

  17. 667
    BobFJ says:

    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.

  18. 668
    David B. Benson says:

    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.

  19. 669
    John Peter says:

    Patrick 027 @658

    On the chance that you’re still salvageable try some real science by some so-called “deniers”

    If you find any one (or more) boring, skip to the next. As Hank said it’s April 1st 8<(

  20. 670
    John Peter says:

    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?)

  21. 671
    Patrick 027 says:

    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.

  22. 672
    Hank Roberts says:

    > John Peter
    Energy & Environment

    Rebunking. The search tool will find that stuff.
    Please, find something new and interesting, not stuff only new to you.

  23. 673
  24. 674
    John Peter says:


    REBUNKING; better watch your back ;)

  25. 675
    JiminMpls says:

    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

  26. 676
    John Peter says:

    Patrick 046 @671

    I’m glad to see that you agree with me. It was a lot of work. Thank you

  27. 677
    Ray Ladbury says:

    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.

  28. 678
    Patrick 027 says:

    I made some contributions to a discussion on the relationship of radiation, electronic and molecular and atomic energies, and thermodynamics, starting here:

    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:

    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.

  29. 679
    John Peter says:

    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.

  30. 680

    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

  31. 681
    john byatt says:

    The Latest Scam,
    rocket scientist journal J. Glassman (3/27/10}

  32. 682
    john byatt says:

    Sorry the scam link j glassman is

  33. 683
    Sou says:

    @ #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.

  34. 684
    Sou says:

    @ #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).

  35. 685
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “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.

  36. 686

    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< 4.3×10-8!) 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]

  37. 687
    John Peter says:

    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.


    Syun Akasofu”

  38. 688

    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.

  39. 689

    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.)

  40. 690
    Ray Ladbury says:

    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.

  41. 691
    JiminMpls says:

    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.

  42. 692
    John Peter says:

    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<(

  43. 693
    John Peter says:

    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.

  44. 694
    John Peter says:


    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.

  45. 695
    John E. Pearson says:

    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.

  46. 696
    John Peter says:


    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?

  47. 697
    Sou says:

    @ #692 John Peter:

    The word ‘greenhouse’ doesn’t appear in this paper published by Arrhenius in 1896:

    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.

  48. 698
    John Peter says:


    Way over my head (too?)

  49. 699
    John Peter says:


    very OT

  50. 700
    John E. Pearson says:

    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: .
    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.