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Warmer and warmer

Filed under: — rasmus @ 13 September 2010

Are the heat waves really getting more extreme? This question popped up after the summer of 2003 in Europe, and yet again after this hot Russian summer. The European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which normally doesn’t make much noise about climate issues, has since made a statement about July global mean temperature being record warm:

Consistent with widespread media reports of extreme heat and adverse impacts in various places, the latest results from ERA-Interim indicate that the average temperature over land areas of the extratropical northern hemisphere reached a new high in July 2010. May and June 2010 were also unusually warm.

Here, the ERA-Interim, also referred to as ‘ERAINT’, is the ECMWF’s state-of-the-art reanalysis. But the ERAINT describes the atmospheric state only since 1989, and in isolation, it is not the ideal data set for making inferences about long-term climate change because it doesn’t go all that far back in time. However, the statement also draws on the longer reanalysis known as the ERA40 re-analysis, spanning the time interval 1957-2002. Thus, taken into context of ERA40, the ECMWF has some legitimacy behind their statement.

The ERAINT reanalysis is a product of all suitable measurements fed into a model of the atmosphere, describing all the known relevant physical laws and processes. Basically, reanalyses represent the most complete and accurate picture that we can give for the day-to-day atmosphere, incorporating all useful information we have (satellites, ground observations, ships, buoys, aircrafts, radiosondes, rawinsondes). They can also be used to reconstruct things at finer spatial and temporal scales than is possible using met station data, based on physical rules provided by weather models.

The reanalyses are closely tied to the measurements at most locations where observations – such as 2-meter temperature, T(2m), or surface pressure – are provided and used in the data assimilation. Data assimilation is a way of making the model follow the observations as closely as possible at the locations where they are provided, hence constraining the atmospheric model. The constraining of the atmospheric model affect the predictions where there are no observations because most of the weather elements – except for precipitation – do not change abruptly over short distance (mathematically, we say that they are described by ‘spatially smooth and slowly changing functions’).

There are also locations – notably the in the Polar regions and over Africa – where ground-based measurements are sparse, and where much is left for the weather models to predict without observational constraints. In such regions, the description may be biased by model shortcomings, and different reanalysis may provide a different regional picture of the surface conditions. Surface variables such as T(2m) are strongly affected by their environment, which may be represented differently in different weather models (e.g. different spatial resolution implies different altitudes) and therefore is a reason for differences between reanalyses.

Furthermore, soil moisture may affect T(2m), linking temperature to precipitation. The energy flow (heat fluxes) between the ground/lakes/sea and the atmosphere may also affect surface temperatures. However, both precipitation and heat fluxes are computed by the reanalysis atmosphere model without direct constraints, and are therefore only loosely tied to the observations fed into the models. Furthermore, both heat fluxes and precipitation can vary substantially over short distances, and are often not smooth spatial functions.

While the evidence suggesting more extremely high temperatures are mounting over time, the number of resources offering data is also growing. Some of these involve satellite borne remote sensing instruments, but many data sets do not incorporate such data.

In the book “A Vast Machine“, Paul N. Edwards discusses various types of data and how all data involve some type of modelling, even barometers and thermometers. It also provides an account on the observational network, models, and the knowledge we have derived from these. Myles Allen has written a review of this book in Nature, and I have reviewed it for Physics World (subscription required for the latter).

All data need to be screened though a quality control, to eliminate misreadings, instrument failure, or other types of errors. A typical screening criterion is to check whether e.g. the temperature estimated by satellite remote sensing is unrealistically high, but sometimes such screening may also throw out valid data, such as was the case of the Antarctic ozone hole. Such post-processing is done differently in analyses, satellite measurements, and reanalyses.

The global mean temperature estimated from the ERAINT, however, is not very different from other analyses or reanalyses (see figure below) for the time they overlap. We also see a good agreement between the ERA40 reanalysis, the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis, and the traditional datasets – analyses – of gridded temperature (GISTEMP, HadCRUT3v, NCDC).

Do the ERAINT and ERA40 provide a sufficient basis for making meaningful
inferences about extreme temperatures and unprecedented heat waves? An important point with reanalyses, is that the model used doesn’t change over the time spanned by the analysis, but reanalyses are generally used with caution for climate change studies because the number and type of observations being fed into the computer model changes over time. Changes in the number of observations and instruments is also an issue affecting the more traditional analyses.

Since the ERAINT only goes as far back as 1989, it involves many modern satellite-borne remote sensing measurements, and it is believed that there are less problems with observational network discontinuity after this date than in the earlier days. It may be more problematic studying trends in the ERA40 data, due to huge improvements in the observational platforms between 1958 and now. Hence, it is important also to look at individual long-term series of high quality. These series have to be ‘homogeneous’, meaning that they need to reflect the local climate variable consistently through its span, not being affected by changes in the local environment, instrumentation, and measurement practices.

An analysis I published in 2004, looking at how often record-high monthly temperatures recur, indicated that record-breaking monthly mean temperature have been more frequent that they would have been if the climate were not getting hotter. This analysis supports the ECMWF statement, and was based on a few high-quality temperature series scattered across our planet, chosen to be sufficiently far from each other to minimize mutual dependencies that can bias the analysis.

The ECMWF provides data for some climate indices, such as the global mean temperature, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a web site for extreme temperatures and precipitation around the world with an interactive map, showing the warmest and coldest sites on the continents. Another useful tool is the KNMI ClimateExplorer, where people can both access data and carry out different analyses on line. It is also possible to get climate data on your iPhone/iPod Touch through Apps like Climate Mobile.

Update: I just learned that NOAA recently has launched a Climate Services Portal on www.climate.gov.

Update: http://rimfrost.no/ is another site that provides station-based climate data. The site shows linear trends estimated for the last 50 years.


532 Responses to “Warmer and warmer”

  1. 51
    Didactylos says:

    RiHo08, the other problem with your anecdotal “evidence” is that it is ridiculously limited in terms of geographic area. These aren’t claims about all of Russia, or even a large part of it. No, they each refer to the personal experience of one commentator, or second-hand accounts. And forest fires are perfectly natural, and very common, as are most of the other phenomena you mention.

    So, in summary:

    1) Unqualified hyperbole.
    2) Even if we believe it, it’s nothing unusual.
    3) Even if we decide to make something of it, it only applies to small areas and can’t possibly be extrapolated to a large region.

    This isn’t to say that Russia has never experienced such a severe heat wave. It may have done. But you haven’t even made the first step in demonstrating anything of the kind.

    If you think this is a harsh criticism, think how often modern commentators are totally wrong, extrapolating local temporary weather events into grandiose claims about the coldest winter ever, or whatever. Modern commentators are unreliable even with objective measurements to aid them. Think how unreliable your sources must be, basing their narrative on subjective experience and word of mouth!

  2. 52
    spilgard says:

    Re #45,
    I’m personally not aware that the stratosphere cools regardless of the warming scenario. Please explain the mechanism involved for, say, the case of increased solar output. This is why it’s best to stick to the standard script and simply deny the existence of stratospheric cooling.

  3. 53
    Rod B says:

    Tom Curtis (49), you are certainty correct that imperfect correlation of CO2 concentrations and global temperatures is NOT a clear disproof of any causal connection between the two. On the other hand, the out of sync correlation begs more specific answers than the hand flip of ‘natural inertia’ or ‘non linear response’ or ‘it’s all aerosols.’

    Increased insolation will warm the stratosphere more that surface or troposphere?? Really? What do you mean with “proportionally”?

  4. 54
    Laws of Nature says:

    Re: #50
    Well, Propose a warming mechansim other than greenhouse gasses that would cool the stratosphere. . . I think any will do it!
    The CO2-effect in the Stratosphere has little to do with the feedback for the warming . . But here is the shortest explanation for it I could find:
    In Ramaswamy (2001):
    “For carbon dioxide the main 15-um band is saturated over quite short distances. Hence the upwelling radiation reaching the lower stratosphere originates from the cold upper troposphere. When the CO2 concentration is increased, the increase in absorbed radiation is quite small and the effect of the increased emission dominates, leading to a cooling at all heights in the stratosphere.”
    Do you see the lack of a reference as to the source of any surface warming?

    > As to the rest of your appeal to AMO and solar activity
    > 1)solar irradiance has been pretty flat for 50 years.
    The sunspot numbers (which serve as an example only, the sun effect is for experts to discuss) are pretty high in the 2nd half of the 20th century,
    if that has any indcation for the temperature (wheat prices!), the sun may contribute to the warming .. Scarfetta estimates up to 30%

    > 2)AMO is an oscillation–care to suggest how that produces steady warming?
    Ever looked at an periodic sine-oscillation? It’s on the rise half of it’s time, that’s 30years for a 60year period ..

    + you forgot to take the possible effect from measurement imperfection aka UHI into account.
    > So far, I’m not to impressed with your reasoning.
    Who’s fault might this be?
    Re #49:So 1880 was cold and right after the Dalton minimum, does that weaken or strengthen my case that the sun might play a role here?

    I am worried that with all this sidestepping you somehow still manange not to address my question back in #18.. there must be a better answer!? Anyone? Please?

  5. 55
    Silk says:

    Post #45 is one of the most laughable attempts at ‘science’ I think I’ve ever read on Readclimate

  6. 56
    Ike Solem says:

    There’s a very good image of the Russian heat wave online. (Aug 9):

    earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD

    A +12C (+22F) anomaly over a region roughly 1000-1500 km per side (a million square kilometers) – that’s rather impressive, but not atypical for heat wave intensity – California heat waves can hit similar peaks – but the persistence is a major issue. A month-long heat wave is unusual; a few days is more typical. The persistence is what destroys agricultural crops (as well as humans and animals).

    Not all parts of the Russian Federation experienced unusual warmth on July 20–27, 2010. A large expanse of northern central Russia, for instance, exhibits below-average temperatures. Areas of atypical warmth, however, predominate in the east and west. Orange- and red-tinged areas extend from eastern Siberia toward the southwest, but the most obvious area of unusual warmth occurs north and northwest of the Caspian Sea. These warm areas in eastern and western Russia continue a pattern noticeable earlier in July, and correspond to areas of intense drought and wildfire activity.

    Denialists will want to focus on the anomalously cool region of northern Russia – not record-breaking, but taking about anomalous cooling can help to introduce doubt into the decision-making process, which is helpful when it comes to blocking climate and energy legislation, preventing federal and state shifts in energy policy, providing talking points for Inhofe & Barton, etc.

  7. 57
    Hank Roberts says:

    “Laws of Nature” —

    “…. the stratosphere …. cooling trends are exactly as predicted by increasing greenhouse gas trends …. The higher up one goes, the more important the CO2 related cooling is. It’s interesting to note that significant solar forcing would have exactly the opposite effect (it would cause a warming) – yet another reason to doubt that solar forcing is a significant factor in recent decades.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/11/the-sky-is-falling/

    This isn’t easy to understand. That’s a recent one from a series of posts about upper atmosphere cooling as a distinctive fingerprint of greenhouse gas warming; they chronicle how our hosts have worked hard to understand and explain this. You’ll find pointers to further sources in that post.

  8. 58
    werecow says:

    I finished reading A Vast Machine a couple of weeks ago, and I highly recommend it. It’s an unusual book, very informative.

  9. 59
    Chris R says:

    Regards RiHo08′s shopping list of heatwaves.

    There’s a pertinent paper by Ummenhoffer et al “What causes southeast Australia’s worst droughts?” GRL 2009 doi:10.1029/2008GL036801. It addresses the droughts of South East Australia and finds that the occurence of droughts appears to be related to the Indian Ocean Dipole. However figure 1 shows that the Palmer Drought Severity Index for the most recent droughts (since 1995) is exceptional in the record and this appears to be because of “large increases in air temperature”, nudge, nudge, wink, wink…

    So as in Australia:
    Russia has had droughts in the past.
    But this drought may be extreme in the historic record.

    I only say “may” because I’ve not read any research on this drought …yet.

    If I had to bet – I’d bet that a thorough scientific review of 2010′s heatwave will back up Alexander Frolov head of the Russian Meteorological Center who said: “We have an ‘archive’ of abnormal weather situations stretching over a thousand years. It is possible to say there was nothing similar to this on the territory of Russia during the last one thousand years in regard to the heat,”

  10. 60

    #43–

    Ed, I believe in science literacy as much as the next guy, probably more, but you can’t persuade people by forcing them to undertake tasks they don’t believe in and will likely come increasingly to resent.

    Moreover, you are underestimating the amount of time and effort required to master other disciplines: my area is music, and the undergrad curriculum is already so stuffed full of really necessary fundamentals that many necessary areas only get covered by such makeshifts as “one credit hour” classes which nonetheless require three “contact hours.” (And which require much more time commitment for many students to pass than many a full-credit course in the general curriculum.)

    Music’s worse than many other areas, largely because so much of the material involves complex cognitive and/or physical skill-building in addition to knowledge acquisition–developing musicians literally have a whole lot of brain “re-wiring” to do. But all kinds of modern disciplines have seriously large curricula that need big chunks of time to absorb.

    So, IMO, appropriating 27 or so additional credit hours for mandatory science education over the undergrad degree would really hurt my discipline, and probably most others, and would have as its main result the creation of a whole lot of frustration and resentment.

  11. 61
    David B. Benson says:

    Tom Curtis @38 — Well stated, thank you. A nonartifact situation is
    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Fast-Melting-Glaciers-Expose-7-000-Years-Old-Fossil-Forest-69719.shtml
    and also reports of permafrost turning to permamud uncovering vast numbers of antlers, etc. in Siberia.

  12. 62
    Edward Greisch says:

    57 Kevin McKinney: In a technological civilization, the things a citizen needs to learn are science and math. Some other courses need to be dropped: gym, English literature, etc. Those who can’t pass the Engineering and Science Core Curriculum [E&SCC] shouldn’t get degrees at all. Part of the purpose is to prevent lawyers and judges whose undergrad degree is music. Judges and lawyers NEED contact with reality and the only place to GET contact with reality is science and engineering laboratory. Judges and lawyers also need a laboratory course in probability and statistics. Our “justice” system is totally nonsense and needs to be replaced completely by something more like science. Just look at how many death row inmates are later found innocent.

    But that is college. My comment was about high school, where courses are necessarily watered down. There is always frustration in learning. So what? As Bart Levenson has said, we have 41 years until agriculture and civilization collapse. Civilization collapse has a survival rate of 1 in ten thousand OR LESS. What about that frustration? Preventing that frustration requires voters who are not fooled by fossil fuel company propaganda. Can music education accomplish that?

    Reference: “Science and Immortality” by Charles B. Paul 1980 University of California Press. In this book on the Eloges of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1699-1791) page 99 says: “Science is not so much a natural as a moral philosophy”. [That means drylabbing [fudging data] will get you fired.]
    Page 106 says: “Nature isn’t just the final authority, Nature is the Only authority.”

    Reference: “Revolutionary Wealth” by Alvin & Heidi Toffler 2006 Chapter 19, FILTERING TRUTH, page 123 lists six commonly used filters people use to find the “truth”. They are:
    1. Consensus
    2. Consistency
    3. Authority
    4. Mystical revelation or religion
    5. Durability
    6. Science

    Music is not there. The Tofflers go on to say that science is the only one that works reliably.

    [Response: Hold on Edward, you're over the top here. I for one, would go stark-raving mad--moreso that is--were it not for music and physical activities, the latter of which formed a huge part of my identity when I was growing up (and still does). Some of my favorite classes in high school and college were language classes, history, and art. You can't shove math and science down people's throats if that's not where they're at, and people have a right to follow their interests and aptitudes--Jim]

  13. 63
    Steve Bloom says:

    Recently David Appell (Quark Soup blog) posted this statement from Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis branch at NCAR (emphasis added):

    The “stalled jet stream” or really the so-called blocking pattern is merely a description of the atmospheric state or phenomenon, not a cause. The question is why is it like that? For that we seek to find systematic influences (what we call forcings) on the atmosphere that tends to lock it into one state. The main sources of such forcings are the mountains, land vs ocean, and the heating of the atmosphere. Only the latter changes. With El Nino or La Nina, the changes in sea surface temperatures change the areas where convection, thunderstorms, tropical storms etc, occur systematically. The heavy rains in those phenomena produce large heating of the atmosphere through the latent heat release: the release of the heat that went into evaporating the moisture in the first place is given up when the moisture condenses. It is that heating pattern that sets up unusual wave patterns and teleconnections in the atmosphere. It acts a bit like a rock in a stream of atmospheric air, with ripples up and downstream. In the case of the very active monsoon, there tends to be generally rising air and a lot of heat released in the rains, and some of that air was coming down over southern Russia. “What goes up, must come down”. We can demonstrate a direct link between the anticyclone over Russia and the monsoon rains over southeast Asia. This is in addition to the waves in the jet stream.

    Under normal circumstances, it is not unusual for this pattern to develop over Russia, but it normally lasts only a week or so. What is unusual is the persistence and duration of this, so that it lasted 5 weeks or so. Weather systems tend to wax and wane but the anticyclones that move through stall and strengthen systematically in the same region because of the influence from SE Asia through the overturning monsoon circulation and the associated wave patterns.

    In this way, we can assign blame for the atmospheric pattern to that of the sea surface temperatures, and the current La Nina. The latter determines the pattern. The elevated SSTs in the Indian Ocean and Indonesian region arise because of global warming and the effects of the last El Nino, and bolster the amount of water vapor available for all the storms, resulting in the excessive rains and flooding.

    So there is a chain of events here, and several things have come together to make it record breaking. But it is not unexpected, even if it is not predictable more than a couple of weeks in advance.

    Global warming plays a role by 1) elevating the SSTs in the Indian Ocean and Indonesian region, where it contributes to the excessive moisture and rains that gave the flooding over Pakistan, India and China; and 2) In Russia by adding to the heat and drying, making the drought more intense, longer lasting, and with stronger and record breaking heat waves. These events would not have happened without global warming.

    Trenberth’s related recent slide show (h/t CEJournal blog) is a must-see. Also, Weather Channel head meteorologist Stu Ostro shows here how blocking highs are indeed becoming more common over Russia.

  14. 64
    Laws of Nature says:

    Re #57:
    Let me answer with this google-quote:
    “IT is now more than 200 years since the great astronomer William Herschel observed a correlation between wheat prices and sunspots. When the latter were few in number, he noted, the climate turned colder and drier, …\
    So it might not be a direct forcing, but there is a measurable correlation between the sunspot number and the climate on the ground.
    Independent from that is the fact you seem to be picking on:
    That with the sptatospheric CO2-concentration a cooling effect up there occurs (which has at first little to do with the surface temperature).
    So we still dancing around .. (re)established in this blog we have:
    - there is an Atlantic oscillation, which might produce a 30 year long rising surface temperature trend
    - the sunspot number had some (positive) correlation with the climate in the past and is unusual high for the last 50 years
    - there might be uncertainties in the temperature measurements (UHI for example)
    - specially for Tony: around 1880 it was cold most likely because of the sun! (Dalton minimum)
    Re #55 Your competend answer speaks for itself!
    Where are the triggerhappy moderators when you need them?

    Back to #18 are we?

  15. 65
    Radge Havers says:

    Edward Greishch @ 62

    Well I basically agree with you, but care should be taken in how courses get dropped or scaled.

    For example cardio exercise is good for brain health, maybe essential for optimal performance, and music education early on supports acquisition of skill in other areas. If I’m not mistaken.

  16. 66
    Tom Curtis says:

    Edward Greisch (#62), I disagree with your argument, if only because most published AGW denialists, creationists, and even geocentrists could pass the Engineering & Sciences Core Curriculum.

    The justification and purpose of public education is to enable our youth to undertake their duty as citizens. For that purpose, and understanding or calculus or physics is largely irrelevant. What our future citizens do need is a thorough grounding in logic, in statistics, and in rhetoric. Courses in the later should included thorough rebutals of popular pseudo-sciences such as creationism and AGW denialism both to show the rhetorical tricks used, and how they use similar tricks.

    I do not expect such educational reforms at any time, however, as all major parties (in all democratic nations so far as I can tell) rely on fooling most of the people most of the time for their chance for power.

    Nor are such educational reforms a useful responce to AGW. AGW denialism will be rendered ridiculous in the public mind long before the graduates of any educational reforms will be influencing policy by the summer shipping lanes across the North Pole.

  17. 67
    Corey Watts says:

    Like some other commentators here, I really struggled to grasp the upshot of this blog. A plain language statement at the start and the end would certainly have helped those of us with precious little climatological training.

    Otherwise, love your work.

  18. 68
    Paul Tremblay says:

    Laws of Nature

    >>The sunspot numbers (which serve as an example only, the sun effect is for experts to discuss) are pretty high in the 2nd half of the 20th century,
    if that has any indcation for the temperature (wheat prices!), the sun may contribute to the warming .. Scarfetta estimates up to 30%

    Sun spots do not explain the rise in temperature. See

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009_12_01_archive.html

    for a discussion on how bad Scarfetta’s analysis is.

    >>> 2)AMO is an oscillation–care to suggest how that produces steady warming?
    Ever looked at an periodic sine-oscillation? It’s on the rise half of it’s time, that’s 30years for a 60year period ..

    Are you just posting nonsense, or really trying to argue? The temperature has steadily risen; if a sine cure is on the rise half of the time, it is on the decline the other half, yet during that decline, temperatures continue to rise.

    >>you forgot to take the possible effect from measurement imperfection aka UHI into account.

    The UHI is well understood and taken into account.

    “A recent peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research looked at data from 114 weather stations from across the US over the last twenty years and compared measurements from locations that were well sited and those that weren’t.”

    http://www.desmogblog.com/urban-heat-island-myth-dead

    They did find an overall bias, but it was towards cooling rather warming.

    >>I am worried that with all this sidestepping you somehow still manange not to address my question back in #18.

    Stop trolling. Your arguments are being addressed. Stop pretending otherwise, that you have made some sound argument.

  19. 69
    Paul Tremblay says:

    Rod W. Brick:

    >>On the other hand, the out of sync correlation begs more specific answers than the hand flip of ‘natural inertia’ or ‘non linear response’ or ‘it’s all aerosols.’

    Now if that isn’t another straw man argument. So you are telling me that there are not robust discussion about these topics, including peer reviewed literature to understand them?

  20. 70
    Radge Havers says:

    62, 65

    I’d hesitate to stand in the way of students attaining certain specialized skills that are time intensive (like music). But requiring the core science and engineering curriculum for business and law degrees might not be a bad idea along with courses for all along the lines that Tom Curtis suggested. It’s not just about rhetoric but habits of thinking and also becoming familiar with and part of the culture of science. You listen to people talk about scientists and you’d think they were talking about martians, even when they’ve had some of those science-for-basket-weavers courses.

    As to practical implementation, all I can say is that the need for an overhaul is overdue and should be pursued however untimely.

  21. 71
    David B. Benson says:

    Radge Havers @70 — Rhtoric, 0properly done, is \habits of thinking\. Properly done been a study of logic as a major part.

  22. 72
    Paul Tremblay says:

    64

    >>Let me answer with this google-quote:

    A google quote does not count as science. You yourself admit that sunspots “might not be a direct forcing.” Indeed, a review of science indicates that solar activity alone cannot account for the increase in warming. If you think the Atlantic oscillation accounts for the rise in temperature, why don’t you cite some science that supports this statement, rather than relying on speculation, which you pass off as some type of genuine argument? As others and myself have pointed out, when the effects of the Atlantic oscillation are declining, the temperature is still rising.

    The same is true of the sun activity; when solar activity increases, so does the temperature; when solar activity decreases, the temperature likewise increases. Solar activity simply can’t account for the rise in temperature.

    Statements like “there might be uncertainties in the temperature measurements” show that you are simply grasping at any argument to prop up your position. Even the hard core deniers admit that the temperature is rising.

  23. 73

    Silk wrote @ #55–”Post #45 is one of the most laughable attempts at ’science’ I think I’ve ever read on Readclimate.”

    And then there was #54.

    Ed wrote: “the only place to GET contact with reality is science and engineering laboratory.” Well, I do agree that science and technology are highly important in today’s society, and decry the low levels of scientific literacy that often seem to prevail. However, I would argue that there is rather a lot of reality to be met with outside the lab–and more than you might think on stages and in rehearsal rooms.

    And the “frustration” I wrote of was not the occasional frustration that comes with serious attempts to learn (and which, I’d bet, musicians are much better able to tolerate than the average bear–we get a lot of practice tolerating that sort of frustration), but rather the frustration of forced labor which is taking you farther and farther from your personal goals. You can’t force understanding, and attempting to do so in this instance will–or shall I say, would–create resentment and ill will where we need it least.

    So, Ed, if you’re venting, fine, I understand. But if you’re serious at all, please reconsider–do you want to divert all your passion and energy from the immediate goal of convincing the electorate and authorities that AGW is the threat you believe it to be, into the decidedly secondary goal of reforming the American (global?) curriculum in higher education? I think you’ll find it no less obdurate than the primary goal!

    But this is all pretty OT, so I’ll leave it here.

  24. 74
    Thomas says:

    If I can inject myself into the science education discussion. What is needed by general non-technical citizens (the vast majority I would suppose), is basic knowledge of the philosophy of science, and good epistemological skills. Current science teaching both for “basket weavers”, and science majors is all about the needed background material, especially tons of math. So even scientists and engineers, don’t get much in the way of learning how good science (or truth determination) is done, but spend an enormous effort learning detailed math and scienec. The survey courses tend to be dominated by gee whizz results, with little attention to the question “how do we know nature does it is this way, and not that way”. All would benefit from being exposed to this stuff. Also a bit of a course on an owners manual to the human brain, which would provide a means of defense against emotional based advertising. But forcing the general public to take lots of science course -especially about the same science, which means deep understanding is totally out of the question. As a astrophysics major, I did not take any biology beyond the two years I had in high school, similarly for Chemistry. I can’t imagine even hard core science students being able to do this, let alone those with other interests/talents.

  25. 75
    Edward Greisch says:

    Thanks to everybody who commented on my comment. Let me go at it from another direction: I know who is telling lies and who is telling the truth because I understand Tyndall’s experiment on the infrared optical properties of gasses. How do we give Joe Sixpack an equal ability to tell the scientist from the fossil fuel company shill? That is my goal. I would also like to give college grads a stronger ability of the same sort.

    A person told me that she saw 2 scientists on TV. One said there is GW and the other said there isn’t. She had no means whatever to tell them apart. Given that her education ended with high school and that she isn’t her best on IQ tests, how do we give her the ability to tell who the liar is? Your answer has to be limited to what less than average students can do in high school.

    My answer is to fill them up with all the science they can take. It is true that we don’t have time to do so, but it is also true that we don’t have the few billion dollars that we need for advertising. We are stuck, and we are trying to avoid doom.

    If you want to play sports, music, learn foreign languages or whatever, that is fine. It isn’t the school’s job to teach whatever happens to be fun. It is the school’s job to turn out good citizens. Good citizens don’t allow civilization to end.

    What does this have to do with “Warmer and warmer?” The whole point of RC is to stop GW before GW stops us. What we need is votes on November 2. We get votes by having an informed electorate.

  26. 76
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    “Jones, Hansen, et al and their running dogs are committed to making every year warmer, damn what the thermometers say.

    The biggest nonsense is Hansen’s claim that most of the NH warming he claims is happening in the high Arctic, with not a thermometer anywhere to justify his claims.” – Orkneygal

    The melting permafrost and record sea ice extent and volume and yes the thermometers tell me that it is rapidly warming in the Arctic.

    Your reliance on the Idso brothers and their CO2 science website doesn’t give your opinions much scientific validity.

  27. 77
    Radge Havers says:

    David B. Benson @ 70
    Thomas @ 74

    I agree but I have to say, pounding through the basic science program was a life altering experience for me in a way that exposure to other courses, including critical thinking, wasn’t.

    For example, it’s one thing to read about box scores and the physiology of playing ball, and another to do some of the exercises and hang out with the players.

    Moreover, and I know it’s not true for everyone, but when faced with the difficulty of some of the concepts combined with awesome organizing power of math, it’s a small epistemological step to appreciating the handling of complexity and nuance in general. Maybe it’s an illusion, but it seems to me you can pretty much tell whether someone expounding at length has had a good grounding in calculus at sometime in their life, whatever the topic– though I admit it’s often harder to tell once they’ve gotten a graduate degree.

    Anyway, I’d probably want at least a good heavy chapter on peer review thrown in there somewhere, and a conference trip just to see the science critters in their element…

  28. 78
    Tom Curtis says:

    Edward Greisch (#75): “A person told me that she saw 2 scientists on TV. One said there is GW and the other said there isn’t. She had no means whatever to tell them apart. Given that her education ended with high school and that she isn’t her best on IQ tests, how do we give her the ability to tell who the liar is? Your answer has to be limited to what less than average students can do in high school. ”

    I’m sorry, but it can’t be done. Whenever your simplify the explanation of a significant theory sufficiently to make it understandable to high school graduates of average education, you also make it misrepresent the science sufficiently that unscrupulous people can make a plausible case that you are wrong. This is particularly true of descriptions of complex systems such as climate.

    You can educate them enough so that if they take a bit of time and effort, they can find out who is lying; but I suspect they are already sufficiently educated for that. What we are combating is not a lack of education per se, but an unwillingness to take the effort required to understand the issues (in some) coupled with a variety of ideological blinkers that make the truth unpalatable (in others). As the examples of Plimer, Pielke, and Curry demonstrate, no amount of education will overcome these impediments.

    In the short term, you would do more to persuade the uncommitted undereducated citizens by establishing prestigious awards for science writing. You can make it prestigious by having it administered by the NAS, and by having a prize pool sufficienty large that the award ceremony is newsworthy across all mainstream media. At least that way your friend will know that one of the scientists is an award winner for clarity and accuracy of their scientific understanding; while they will also know that they other recieved a dishonourable mention as a purvayer of disinformation.

  29. 79
    Ike Solem says:

    Tom Curtis: “Whenever your simplify the explanation of a significant theory sufficiently to make it understandable to high school graduates of average education, you also make it misrepresent the science sufficiently that unscrupulous people can make a plausible case that you are wrong. This is particularly true of descriptions of complex systems such as climate.”

    Well – ask any young person if smoking cigarettes leads to cancer? The explanation can be simplified: chemicals in tobacco smoke form adducts with DNA and other cellular components, increasing the risk of cancer, heart disease and lung disease. Yes, the human body is very complex – but that doesn’t rule out simple convincing explanations.

    However, if every single news outlet in the U.S. for the past two decades had “balanced” every story on tobacco and cancer by inserting the denialist claims of a tobacco-industry sponsored “independent scientist” – who knows what young people would believe? Likewise, if science shows like PBS NOVA started relying heavily on Exxon and Koch Industries funding – if the American Petroleum Institute started dictating policy to the National Science Teachers Association – if BP got to play a role in drawing up science curricula at California schools – well – the tobacco/fossil fuel comparison is fairly valid, isn’t it?

    Maybe the problem is not with scientific explanations of phenomena, but rather with the dishonest and deceptive practices of media institutions, corporate holding companies, think tanks, and public relations agencies? Too many of the media institutions are controlled by holding companies with large interests in fossil fuels – hence, the real solution to the problem might be something like antitrust regulations for media corporations.

  30. 80
    adelady says:

    Good idea Tom. Having good science writing for non-scientists would be a great boon, mainly because it’s about science well beyond the reach of most people’s education.

    And I should throw in a thought about high school science education. Rigour is not a high requirement – just as well because all English speaking countries are far, far short of the number of qualified science teachers we’d need. And the content of some teaching about science is just horrible.

    Apparently the scientific method involves some clever clogs person coming up with an idea, and then finding a way to test it to prove or disprove it. Think isolated, inspired genius, don’t think about hard work, never, never think about careful, detailed observations or exacting precision in record-keeping.

    The idea that most scientists just *work* at tasks that fill in the detail of a larger picture is absent. Let alone that science work is work within a team. I know the curriculum is changing here, but a lot of it will be taught by non-science qualified staff and there’s a long way to go.

    Top quality journalism is a far better bet.

  31. 81
    Laws of Nature says:

    Re #68 and #72
    - Herschel found a correlation with the weat prices and sunspot number
    - The Atlantic AMO correlates resonably well for example with the North American temperature (1940ies almost as warm as 1990)
    For a further random example Goosse, H., M. M. Holland, 2005 J. Climate, 18, 3552–3570 model the effect of various parameters on the Artic and “..the variability of the AMOC plays only a modest role in the changes in SAT in the Arctic” .. this indicates a non-zero effect (and the artic is only weakly connceted to the Atlantic)
    - Every morning I pass by a temperature station with a Stevenson screen and see how wrong is placed (inside a hedge, near 3 concrete streets) and I see the new houses built there over the last 30 years!
    (It’s true, I can upload photos)

    So, you are not answering my question, whereas I am fairly certain, that my cited effects are real (they might be small, but that is for you to answer, since you seem to be sure of that) and there might be more.

    May I summarize, that I do appreciate your attempts to find a weak spot in my question (which was the idea of asking such a provocative question), you so far fail!

    Herschels is still valid, the AMO does exist (and influences the climate), the stratosphere cooling has little to do with the value of CO2-feedback on the ground and there are issues with the temperature measurement . .
    Time to either bring new arguments or answer my question in #18 with “We really don’t know . .”

  32. 82
    Tom Curtis says:

    #40: “Response: Sorry, but I don’t follow that. Your first and second statements above are one and the same, and are exactly what he was trying to argue. We have all kinds of evidence of pre-human climate changes, and it doesn’t negate that AGW is the cause of this climate change we are now in.–Jim”

    I am sorry that I was insufficiently clear.

    At the crudest level, if you have two contradictory theories, A and B, and an event, E; then clearly each theory may predict E, fail to predict either E or not E, or predict not E. Equally clearly, should the event E occur, it would be evidence for one of the theories in prefference to the other only if that theory predicted the event more strongly than did the other. Thus, if theory A predicted E, and theory B did not predict E, or predicted that not E, and E occured, then the occurence of E would give us reason to prefer A to B. But if both A and B predict that E, then the occurence of E gives us no grounds to prefer one to the other (though we may have independant grounds for such a preference).

    As I understand it, RiHo08 claims to show that events like the 2010 Russian heatwave are commonplace in Russia, occuring 2 or 3 times a century even in the absence of Global Warming. Implicitly, that is a claim that the theory that AGW does not exist predicts that events like the heatwave will occur. If he had substantiated that claim, then both AGW and not AGW would have predicted events like the 2010 heatwave; which would then have been evidence for neither. That is what I take to be his implicit claim.

    The rubbish argument which I contrast with that claim is the argument that because A predicts E, and E occured, therefore not B; where A is the theory AGW is false, and B is the theory AGW is true. That is an argument so absurd that it should not need mentioning; but you like I have seen it many times before in the writings of denialists. It is certainly the argument you take RiHo08 to have been implicitly making; but on that we disagree.

  33. 83
    Edward Greisch says:

    78 Tom Curtis: I don’t think prestige is the right answer. Prestige is not what science is all about. Science is about laboratory experiments. If we cannot give them enough laboratory experiences and tell them enough times that the experiment is the thing, we have lost. If you are right, Mother Nature will drive evolution by means of a mass death event. We are not smart enough yet, and we are at a crisis point. It is either up or out.

  34. 84

    Spilgard 52: The balance of energy in the stratosphere works as follows, minus minor details.

    The main energy input is solar ultraviolet light absorbed by ozone.

    Much of this energy is transferred to carbon dioxide by collision.

    The main energy output is infrared emission by the CO2.

    So when CO2 rises, there’s more cooling in the stratosphere. The CO2 isn’t absorbing much IR because there’s very little that makes it all the way up through the troposphere. But absorptivity = emissivity at any given wavelength (Kirchhoff’s Law), so a good absorber is also a good emitter.

    Ozone depletion has also contributed to the cooling, but not as much.

  35. 85

    Lawsy 54: Ever looked at an periodic sine-oscillation? It’s on the rise half of it’s time, that’s 30years for a 60year period ..

    BPL: The trend is up over the last 160 years.

  36. 86
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Laws of Nature
    OK, so let me get this straight. You say that CO2 explains the stratospheric cooling, but you want to invoke some mysterious, unknown mechanism for explaining the warming. Riiiight!

    Scafetta’s “theory” has been addressed here. It is a rather underwhelming tour de farce. He poses no mechanism for all his climatic epicycles, and more and more he is veering off into astrology. Probably the most amazing thing is that he seems to have arrived at his theory without the use of mind-altering substances.

    And sunspots… Well, we’re a year or two into the weakest solar max in a century and will likely have the hottest year on record.

    NEXT!!

    The thing is, dude, it’s really NOT that hard. We have a theory that does a really good job of explaining the climate AND the paleoclimate. Now why would it be that you refuse to look at that theory?

  37. 87

    Rasmus / RC –

    I just noticed your update (www.climate.gov link), because I read Warmer and Warmer as soon as it was posted, and from then on just jumped to the comments.

    In the future… can you/RC put such updates at the top, near the title, rather than at the end of the article? Or at least put a note at the top, that there’s an update embedded somewhere in the text, be it at the end, or in the middle near a related section.

  38. 88

    75 (Edward Greisch),

    My answer is to fill them up with all the science they can take. It is true that we don’t have time to do so, but it is also true that we don’t have the few billion dollars that we need for advertising. We are stuck, and we are trying to avoid doom.

    If you want to play sports, music, learn foreign languages or whatever, that is fine. It isn’t the school’s job to teach whatever happens to be fun. It is the school’s job to turn out good citizens. Good citizens don’t allow civilization to end.

    I grew up in a house of teachers. Dad was a mathematics professor. Mom taught English and Latin. Mom would have won $50,000 easy on Jeopardy. She knew everything about everything. Dad left books on differential equations lying all over the house.

    In my house you learned everything, whether you were good at it or not. Math and science were important, but so were piano lessons, even if I sucked at it and I hated it because The Amazing Spider Man was on during my lessons. My mom could draw, and so could I, so I worked at that, too. History was hugely important. I learned Latin for a lot of reasons, but I regret not having learned at least two other living languages in my life, and hope to do so before the end.

    My point is… a single minded focus on math and science isn’t just inappropriate for most people, but wrong for everyone. There is history in science. There is music and art in math, and vice versa. Everything is interconnected, and everything gives you a new view or insight into everything else.

    Making all of the connections, and having all of the various tools at your disposal, is what being human is all about.

    At the same time, math and science are not the only fields of value. If all people studied were math and science, we’d exterminate ourselves through war, or failed economies, or pure, draining ennui and apathy.

    You will not accomplish your goal by either forcing or enticing the population to learn as much science as they can. Some people will still fall far short of where they need to be, and others will still learn a lot and find ways to believe what they want to believe, and to disagree with you.

    The problem of the two TV presenters comes down to the battle, not the argument. It happened not because people couldn’t distinguish, but because the failure of journalism inappropriately gave both positions equal footing; one expert for each side of the debate.

    You will never accomplish the goal of activating the populace through better science and math education. I’m all in favor of that, but not at the expense of other, equally important spheres of interest. There’s no such thing as useless or unimportant knowledge. And in the end, it’s really not even an attainable goal. Too much to learn, too little time, too complex a society, and too immutable an educational system.

    It’s not a reasonable strategy.

    More education is useful, but what is really needed is trust. And the FF interests know this, which is why their focus is on seeding doubt. You don’t have to battle the misinformation (which is the scientist’s instinctive response). You have to battle the distrust of the true experts, and the promotion of the false prophets (i.e. the false experts).

    Laws of Nature is a prime example. This entire Warmer and Warmer post is about improving the instrumental record (or our interpretation of it), and yet in post 64 he said:

    there might be uncertainties in the temperature measurements (UHI for example)

    Which means he didn’t even get the point of the whole post. He didn’t hear a word, and his level of understanding of math and science is obviously, while deeply flawed, in advance of much of the population. But he came in, guns blazing, not because he didn’t understand, but because he won’t, and he won’t trust the experts to teach him.

  39. 89
    Paul Tremblay says:

    81

    >>Herschel found a correlation with the weat prices and sunspot number

    Wheat prices have nothing to do with AGW. Stop playing games and cite some real scientific literature. However, humorously, you do cite a study to support your theory on AMOC–only, the study completely undermines what you claim, by your own quote! Further, scientific studies show the urban heat islands have little effect on the accuracy on the accuracy of the temperature record. You counter this with a personal anecdote of driving past a weather station? Personal anecdotes don’t count as a serious argument.

    >>you so far fail!

    Could you please take your nonsense elsewhere? These boards are not a place for trash talk; they are reserved for serious science discussion. If you think you can cite a bunch of nonsense, stick to that nonsense, and then pretend you have won an argument or made a serious point, you have come to the wrong place. Take to free republic or wherever you get your info.

  40. 90
    Susan Anderson says:

    On the science education discussion, a couple of cents, though at the moment I don’t have much time, could say more.

    I have a lot of science background including not only some education (nothing like those stringent recommendations) but acquaintance with scientists and scientific thinking, so as far as the average person goes, I’m way ahead.

    What I like to do is to encourage people to think for themselves. Remind them that skepticism means checking everything. Observe for themselves. Don’t trust third-hand sources, but where links are provided go to the originals.

    I do think encouraging even those you regard as below par to respect their own mental abilities and think for themselves is helpful in the long run.

  41. 91
    Rod B says:

    BPL (84) you say that most of the energy leaving the system via IR emission (from CO2 in your example) is sourced from insolation, which would mean that only a small portion of the escaping CO2 radiation energy originates from earth’s IR. Is this what you mean? Or did I interpret it wrong?

  42. 92

    #88–very well said, Bob.

    Ed, #75–This comment seriously misunderstands the reality:

    If you want to play sports, music, learn foreign languages or whatever, that is fine. It isn’t the school’s job to teach whatever happens to be fun.

    Studying music isn’t just about “playing music”–you’ve got to learn theory, history, and a whole raft of perceptual/cognitive skill. While there can be joy in doing those things, I can assure you that learning to part-write decently or to parse the technicalities of pitch-class set theory (to name two examples) is not perceived by any but a tiny majority as “fun!” (No more so than memorizing conjugations of different verb forms, or case endings, for that matter.)

    The humanities are disciplines, not diversions.

    And proceeding from my own experience, I’d argue that–although I am woefully underequipped in math, particularly–the serious scholarly training I did receive through three degrees has done a lot to help me do exactly what you want people to be able to do–ie., pick out the “liar,” as you put it, or as I would say (because I think it’s more general) the “bogus argument.”

    So I think that serious scholarly training in any discipline is potentially helpful–though as noted above, no training assures uniform application of the tools learned.

    Based on my experience as a teacher, I’d say, too, that there is not going to be a “silver bullet” solution in understanding GW, either. For some, better science education will help. For others, training in what we might called “applied epistemology”–AKA honing the BS detector–might assist. (A couple of folks suggested this upthread, and I think they are right, FWIW.) For some, it’s just going to have to get warmer for a while longer. For still others, our insistence, sincerity and integrity in presenting the message of climate realism is going to be the necessary piece of the puzzle.

    One suggestion, perhaps a little “off the wall”: encourage participation in debate clubs. ‘Cause in that setting, everybody cherry-picks and spins. And once you’ve done that enough times yourself, and had to demolish the other guy’s efforts in that regard, recognizing the hallmarks becomes pretty easy. That doesn’t assure integrity, of course. But it does lay necessary groundwork.

  43. 93

    #64–

    “Laws,” you evidently feel your point at #18 is being “side-stepped” because it is such a devastating argument.

    Speaking for myself, I ignored it because it was so completely lame (and the reasons for thinking that were well-summarized in the original inline response.)

    It didn’t persuade me then, and your responses since do nothing to help. You can insist, if it pleases you, but until there’s some solid evidence to support your point, I’ll be no more persuaded than I’ve been so far.

    What would “solid evidence” look like? Well, peer-reviewed studies–especially those that have withstood the test of prolonged scrutiny, or which have generated new insights and new investigations–are the gold standard. Failing that, well-organized propositions buttressed with well-attested fact will work for me.

    Hand-waving about the ability of a 60-year cycle to account for a much longer trend doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid.

  44. 94
    Roddy Campbell says:

    #78 – Tom Curtis:

    I was enjoying your post, especially ‘Whenever your simplify the explanation of a significant theory sufficiently to make it understandable to high school graduates of average education, you also make it misrepresent the science sufficiently that unscrupulous people can make a plausible case that you are wrong. This is particularly true of descriptions of complex systems such as climate.’……

    ….. but I baulked a bit at the next para:

    ‘…….. a variety of ideological blinkers that make the truth unpalatable (in others). As the examples of Plimer, Pielke, and Curry demonstrate, no amount of education will overcome these impediments.’

    Gosh that’s quite strong isn’t it? Pielke (either one?) and Curry are so ideologically blinkered that they cannot see truth? My word. Are you sure they are the only ones with blinkers?

    And re your next para, prizes of great standing, Al Gore won one, but I’m not sure it had the effect you suggest?

  45. 95
    Witgren says:

    88 Bob (Sphaerica,

    Right on, I agree with you 100%. I’m not a scientist, I actually majored in history in college. But I have a great curiousity about a huge number of things in the world, and it is curiousity and the need to ask questions, to ask the “when, where, why, who, how” questions that is to me the real basis for what we need to instill in students. If we teach them to think critically about what they see and hear in the world, everything else flows from that. Yes, give them a solid grounding in the necessary subjects of science and math, but also subjects like history and English (or whatever their native language – this isn’t a concept bound only to English-speaking areas). But the key is to try to instill the curiousity to remain a life-long learner and provide them sufficient tools to accomplish that life-long learning, wherever it takes them in life. Not an easy task, but that, above all else, should be the true goal of an education.

  46. 96
    Hank Roberts says:

    Eric asked ‘Laws’ for sources (inline response at 18)
    [Response: Uh huh…. And it is also not inconsistent with many another deus ex machina. The question is, what is the basis for your ’strong sun effect’ , implied ‘weak CO2 effect’ and ‘ 60 year Atlantic cycle’?-eric]

  47. 97
    tamino says:

    To “Laws of Nature”, your repeated argument that 1880 was cold due to the Dalton minimum shows two things:

    1. You are ignorant of the Dalton minimum (and of solar activity in general).

    2. You are determined to make the data fit your theory, not the other way around.

    The Dalton minimum ended in 1830 — half a century before 1880. And by the way, detailed study indicates that it had little effect on global temperature.

    Your pontifications on other topics (solar activity in the latter half of the 20th century, stratospheric cooling) are likewise so ignorant that you have seriously embarrassed yourself. But you’re ignorant of that too — in fact you parade your errors like a peacock. You will never be able to discuss climate science intelligently until you admit your own ignorance to yourself. We don’t expect that to happen.

    And by the way — the current data do disqualify a model that is based on a strong sun effect + a 60 year Atlantic cycle.

  48. 98
    Ric Merritt says:

    Had to smile at Edward Greisch’s take on education and its connection to grave matters in public life. In a nutshell, his proposals are useless to even think about except from a perspective that includes a good dose of those slippery, almost ungraspable things we call wisdom and judgment. Yet the proposals themselves are so lacking in wisdom and judgment that the only really good response is either the best writing you have ever read in your life (I’m all out today, sorry) or a rollicking satire.

  49. 99
    Laws of Nature says:

    Re #86
    > but you want to invoke some mysterious, unknown mechanism for explaining > the warming.
    The effect of the sun variation on the climate is known for hundreds of years. Just because you cannot explain the correlation between sunspots and the climate and some of your friends are not aware of the Dalton minimum, does not mean, that this effect does not exist or my question in #18 is not legitim.

    I asked a question, nothing more, nothing less.

    However the accusations coupled with a lack of answers/knowledge are quite puzzling. Did someone just post here that the temperature anomaly in the last 40 years cannot be related to the Atlantic AMO, because the recent warming trend is longer? Well I just point out that there still is a positive correlation indicating that this effect indeed is relevant, apparently just not the only one . . LIKE I INDICATED AT MY QUESTION AT THE VERY BEGINNING!

    > We have a theory that does a really good job of explaining the climate
    > AND the paleoclimate. Now why would it be that you refuse to look at
    > that theory?
    Where would I have left that impression?
    I just dared to have asked the question, why another theory based on some measurements/correlations is not possible?

    Apparently I am deeply misunderstood .. I think the 3-5K/doubling CO2-model is entierly possible (while it maybe not explain all of R. Spencers measurements), but dared to ask about the validity of another explanation,

    based on a presumed effect of ocean oscillations on the climate (it’s not just me who assumes this exists!) + the well known assumption, that the sun variation affects the climate + others (including issues with the measurement of the temperature record),
    frankly I am a little shocked about the lack of a solid scientific reply!

  50. 100
    Hank Roberts says:

    “Laws” — there _has been_ a correlation.

    The sun has always had an effect on climate.
    It made a big difference when only solar orbital changes did anything.
    The sun still has its effect — and it’s not been changing very much for quite a while. Look at the numbers.

    The ups and downs attributable to the sun’s effect are not very big compared to what’s happening now.

    Yes, if you took the sun and cranked it significantly down or up, say a whole percentage point, it would make a huge difference.

    Nobody’s arguing with you about that. That’s not what’s happening now.

    now.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7327393.stm

    http://www.gcrio.org/CONSEQUENCES/winter96/sunclimate.html
    “It seems likely that changes in solar radiation, linked to long-term variations in solar activity, may have been the dominant climate driver in the period between about AD 1600 and 1850. As discussed earlier, the explanation of trends in global surface temperature since that time is not as simple, when both the positive and negative impacts of fossil fuel consumption are added to the picture.

    Since 1850, variations in global surface temperature appear to track changes in the level of solar activity at least as well as they track increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. At the same time, when probable energy inputs are taken into account (as in Fig. 4), solar effects can account for only a fourth of the net change in climate forcing in this 140 year period….”

    That’s from 14 years ago. You can find more — but the sun hasn’t changed much since they wrote that.


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