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Unforced variations 3

Filed under: — group @ 21 October 2010

Here’s an open thread for various climate science related discussions, to prevent more off-topic clutter everywhere else. We have some good posts coming up, but if you want to discuss something you read in the media, saw in a press release or just wanted to ask about, this is the time.

Some interesting things we’ve seen recently include discussions on the epistimology of climate modelling, Andy Dessler’s adventures in debate land and his new paper on water vapour trends, and a review of trends in the Columbia glacier. Have at it.

Addendum: Kevin McKinney has beaten us to the mention of this, but another recent article of importance is a thorough review of the state of knowledge of drought, past and future, by Dai.  The article is open access here.

573 Responses to “Unforced variations 3”

  1. 251
    SecularAnimist says:

    Septic Matthew wrote: \I think that the solution to global warming is some of everything that is useful, gradually implemented everywhere, over decades.\

    That’s the \Too Little, Too Late\ strategy.

    We don’t have \decades\ to try implementing \some of everything\ \gradually\.

    The anthropogenic excess of GHGs is already self-evidently at dangerous levels, based on its observed effects.

    We have perhaps ten years in which to essentially eliminate all anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and begin to draw down the already dangerous atmospheric excess, if we are to have any hope of averting the worst consequences of AGW.

    If it is not in fact already too late.

  2. 252
    Hank Roberts says:

    > dissolve chalk, much less animal skeletons … Lubchenko
    SM refers to a demonstration of solubility as explained.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=lubchenko+ocean+ph+chalk+animal+skeleton

  3. 253
    Maya says:

    Thank you, Rattus. Useful sorts of pages for educating the “oh it’s not that big a deal” folks that just don’t know any better. I try to get to a few of them before the denial-o-sphere does.

  4. 254
    Didactylos says:

    > gradually, over decades

    Of course implementing a zero-carbon economy is going to take time. Nobody is suggesting we turn off all the coal power stations tomorrow.

    The problem is that the delayers, by saying “gradually, over decades”, keep pushing back the date when we make a serious start. And those targets, set decades ago, keep going past, unmet.

  5. 255
    Didactylos says:

    Septic Matthew said: “Rhetorically, the continual changing of the alarm from “cooling” to “overpopulation” to “resource constraints” to “unsustainability” to “warming” to “change” to “disruption” to “biodiversity” to “ocean pH””

    A nice straw-man. However, these problems are not changing names for a single problem, they are nearly all genuine, challenging problems that face us today. And the “cooling” bit is just typical denier nonsense that SM slipped in to see if we would notice. Good grief.

    But if deniers can deny something as obvious as global warming, little things like biodiversity and sustainability are even more easily set aside.

    Septic Matthew: your self-interest is not something that I admire. Quite the contrary.

  6. 256
    Dan H. says:

    Secular,
    The effects of atmospheric CO2 are reversible. If the burning of all carbon-based fuels were to cease immediately, the atmospheric CO2 level would degrade to pre-industrial levels. How long this would take is disputed.
    At today’s higher atmospheric levels, more CO2 is removed naturally than was occurring at pre-industrial levels. This is the primary reason that CO2 levels have risen much slower than CO2 is being added. If we allow CO2 to rise unabated, the atmospheric level will rise until natural removal effects stabilize the increase. As we decrease the amount of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere, the natural equilibrium level will decrease. We do not need to eliminate CO2 altogether, just enough to balance the natural equilibrium processes.
    Curiously, what is your ten-year time frame based upon?

  7. 257
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re my 234:
    (PS precipitation would actually slightly decrease the moist adiabatic lapse rate below the freezing level However, then there is less latent heat available from freezing of that water

    On a related point, delaying the condensation would cause cooling near the cloud base with warming above; delaying freezing, such as could happen with insufficient ice nuclei, would have the same effect above the freezing level. Condensation usually is not delayed much (but > 100 % RH is generally required to transition from haze particles to cloud droplets – see Kohler curves) but it is common for water droplets to remain liquid well below freezing. (Unlike dry adiabatic processes, moist adiabatic processes can deviate from being perfectly adiabatic, isentropic, and reversable (they go hand-in-hand), even without precipitation and mixing, because of kinetic barriers to phase changes and the requirement of small-scale temperature and composition gradients necessary to drive heat and mass flows between coexisting phases – there is some thermodynamic disequilibrium and some production of entropy.) (Presumably faster updrafts would increase thermodynamic disequilibrium and result in an upward displacement of latent heating.)

    Sinking is often much slower and over a much larger area, with radiative cooling being able to significantly affect temperature and even balance adiabatic warming (as in a steady-state Hadley cell)

    Balance in the sense that the adiabatic warming and radiative cooling at a given location are balanced in steady state circulation; of course, following the air downwards, warming would still occur in that case.

    while moist updrafts are faster and concentrated and with radiation having essentially no role in changing the temperature within a cumulus cloud.

    Of course, moist ascent can also be gentle and over a larger area too (stratiform clouds associated with fronts, extratropical cyclones – though the upward motion is still generally faster than the corresponding dry descent in anticyclones).

    (PS although in the tropics I’ve gotten the impression that gravity waves tend to communicate the effects of moist convection so that larger regions adhere to a moist adiabat at the same vertical levels – which would make sense given a weak coriolis effect that would allow horizontal temperature variations to persist in the face of the tendency for thermally-direct overturning).

    Starting with geostrophic (or gradient-wind) balance, a diabatic thermal perturbation (or mechanical momentum perturbation) causes an imbalance between pressure and the coriolis (or that + centrifugal) force, which causes motion that generally causes the warmed* fluid to ascent and cooled* fluid to descent (* it’s the change that’s important here; the warmed fluid could still be colder than the cooled fluid) or something analogous with a momentum perturbation; this tends to restore balance; in the case of geostrophic balance, this is called geostrophic adjustment. Geostrophic adjustment involves a conversion between APE and KE (available potential energy and kinetic energy). In a closed cell, the motion could overshoot and then oscillate; this would be a standing (inertio-)gravity wave; out in the open, inertio-gravity waves are radiated, carrying some energy with. Some APE (or ‘anti-APE’ ? if the geostrophic adjustment was thermally indirect) can remain in place associated with a remnant of the thermal perturbation. How much remains depends on size. The geostrophic adjustment tends to spread out the thermal perturbation over a horizontal scale called the Rossby radius of deformation LR, which is inversely proportional to the coriolis effect. Thermal perturbations which are horizontally larger than LR will persist more, while much smaller perturbations will nearly vanish. LR does not limit how far the gravity waves can propagate; generally, though, viscosity and radiative relaxation of thermal perturbations will mechanically and thermally damp gravity waves as they propagate; as this occurs, the momentum associated with the gravity waves is ‘deposited’ in the fluid more ‘permanently’ (until something else happens!) .

  8. 258
    CM says:

    Septic Matthew #246,

    it eludes me why Hank wanted you to get on the topic of ocean acidification, but doubly so why you think that

    pH reduction from 8.1 to 7.7 or 7.3 isn’t (pace Jane Lubchenko) going to dissolve chalk, much less animal skeletons

    On what do you base your optimism? Presumably not on these recent summaries of the science:

    Inter-Academy Panel statement on Ocean Acidification:

    …If atmospheric CO2 is stabilized at 450 ppm, only a very small fraction (~8%) of existing tropical and subtropical coral reefs will be surrounded by such water, and at 550 ppm, coral reefs may be dissolving globally. Cold water corals are also vulnerable and are likely to be affected before they have even been fully explored. By 2100, it has been estimated that 70% will be in waters unfavourable for growth. In the polar regions, model projections using current CO2 emission rates suggest that parts of the Southern Ocean will be undersaturated for aragonite by 2050. Aragonite undersaturation is projected for 10% of Arctic waters by around 2020, and by 2060, 80% of waters will be undersaturated for aragonite and calcite. This means the waters will be corrosive to Arctic calcifiers such as pteropods, and bivalves such as clams, which play a key role in Arctic food webs…

    – 2nd International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World (2008):
    Report on Research Priorities for Ocean Acidification:

    …Projections of the saturation levels of aragonite (a metastable form of calcium carbonate used by many marine organisms) indicate that calcification rates in warm-water corals may decrease by 30% over the next century (Gattuso et al., 1998; Langdon and Atkinson, 2005). By the middle of this century, calcification rates of many warm-water
    corals are expected to drop to the point that they will be outpaced by erosion (Erez, 2008; Gattuso, 2008a; Manzello et al., 2008, Langdon et al., 2008), which would have serious impacts on coral reef ecosystems. Cold-water corals, which are found in deep waters, may also be in danger. These corals serve as habitat for many commercial fish stocks, and today virtually all of them are bathed in waters that are supersaturated with respect to aragonite. Yet by 2100, it is projected under the IS92a scenario that about 70% of these cold-water corals will be exposed to waters that are undersaturated with respect to aragonite, which would be chemically corrosive to their skeletal material (Guinotte et al., 2006)…

  9. 259
    SecularAnimist says:

    Dan H wrote: “Curiously, what is your ten-year time frame based upon?”

    It’s based purely on hope — I might even say on wishful thinking — that it is not already too late to avoid anthropogenic global warming that will be catastrophic not only for human civilization but for the entire biosphere.

  10. 260

    258 CM et al.

    Demonstrating the effects of global warming on coral by dissolving chalk in vinegar is an insult to intelligence of a retarded eighth grader.

    Vinegar is indeed an acid on the pH scale. (They used it to neutralize the alkalinity in the Romanian ash spill.) Yes, it will dissolve CaCO3.

    The effect of reduced alkalinity of the ocean on coral is still a problem, but this business of hyping everything by misleading words is no help in convincing anybody about the dangers of CO2.

  11. 261
    Septic Matthew says:

    248, Hank Roberts: We know that won’t work. Why prefer it?

    Because it might actually be implemented. The US is not going to adopt a policy via which coal consumption in the US is reduced to 0 in the next 20 years, and Chinese coal consumption will increase considerably in coming decades before beginning to decline in maybe 2040-2060.

    As documented elsewhere, a considerable amount of the consumption of fossil fuel in the EU actually entailed the transfer of manufacture to China, with a net increase rather than decrease of global CO2 production. This was an unplanned consequence of attempting a rapid response instead of a decades-long response where only a decades-long response could possibly be carried out.

    Incidentally, opponents of the “approved” Ivanpah Valley solar power project have taken the project to court:

    http://www.solardaily.com/reports/Desert_tortoises_could_delay_solar_project_999.html

    If they are successful, the whole facility will not come on line in time to contribute to California’s renewable portfolio standard by the 2012 deadline written into AB32. Expect analogous suits against the other Mohave Desert projects.

    255, Didactylos: A nice straw-man. However, these problems are not changing names for a single problem, they are nearly all genuine, challenging problems that face us today. And the “cooling” bit is just typical denier nonsense that SM slipped in to see if we would notice. Good grief.

    Perhaps you are correct. However, the AGW proponents have taken a serious setback in the public policy debates over the last year, and you might want to consider a rhetorical strategy better than “Everyone who disagrees with us is greedy, shills for the fossil fuel companies, stupid, ignorant, or all of them combined.” The one consistent message from John Holdren over 4 decades has been the forecast of doom.

    As to ocean acidification, note that I responded to a suggestion that ocean acidification was more urgent than global warming. But as long as the topic of ocean temperature has been re-introduced, recall that Caribbean Ocean corals suffered a big kill in last winter’s unusual cold.

  12. 262
    CM says:

    Dan H. #256,

    If the burning of all carbon-based fuels were to cease immediately, the atmospheric CO2 level would degrade to pre-industrial levels. How long this would take is disputed.

    Don’t hold your breath.
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Carbon_Dioxide_Residence_Time_png

  13. 263
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Dan H. says, “The effects of atmospheric CO2 are reversible. If the burning of all carbon-based fuels were to cease immediately, the atmospheric CO2 level would degrade to pre-industrial levels. How long this would take is disputed.”

    Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Interogative! Where in the hell did you get that? CO2 persists in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

  14. 264
    Septic Matthew says:

    258, CM: Projections of the saturation levels of aragonite (a metastable form of calcium carbonate used by many marine organisms) indicate that calcification rates in warm-water corals may decrease by 30% over the next century (Gattuso et al., 1998; Langdon and Atkinson, 2005). By the middle of this century, calcification rates of many warm-water
    corals are expected to drop to the point that they will be outpaced by erosion (Erez, 2008; Gattuso, 2008a; Manzello et al., 2008, Langdon et al., 2008), which would have serious impacts on coral reef ecosystems. Cold-water corals, which are found in deep waters, may also be in danger. These corals serve as habitat for many commercial fish stocks, and today virtually all of them are bathed in waters that are supersaturated with respect to aragonite. Yet by 2100, it is projected under the IS92a scenario that about 70% of these cold-water corals will be exposed to waters that are undersaturated with respect to aragonite, which would be chemically corrosive to their skeletal material (Guinotte et al., 2006)…

    From that it seems to me that a multi-decade strategy to reduce CO2 would be appropriate.

  15. 265

    263 Ray Ladbury

    Huh? CO2 persists if there is no mechanism for removing it. Forests might do that if they were sustained. Maybe some insecticide is needed from time to time?

    But all calcite shelled creatures capture CO2 and eventually that becomes sand. This mechanism does not seem to get adequate recognition.

    Certainly we have to stop things before acids eat the sand. Even that is going to take some serious work, witness the reaction to real solutions.

  16. 266

    261 Septic Mathew,

    I recall that the tortoises settled out of court, reducing the area of the project slightly.

  17. 267

    261 Septic Mathew,

    And of course, the obvious next shoe to drop is: Why will not warmer oceans increase the ocean areas where coral will grow?

    As I recall, the UN IPCC4 said that the coral shell structures could be weakened, but the growth rate might not be seriously impacted. Lots of maybes and mights here.

    Many of the realclimate folks have been very forthright in discussing the real complexities of these issues. And this has been much appreciated. And it has greatly added to their overall credibility.

  18. 268

    261 Septic Mathew

    Ivanpah resident greenback rattlesnakes are next in line at the courthouse.

  19. 269
    Patrick 027 says:

    re 260 Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co.

    If you have a bucket of water with some baking soda in it, and you add a few drops of orange juice, you’re adding acid.

    It’s acidification because of the direction.

  20. 270

    SM 261: The US is not going to adopt a policy via which coal consumption in the US is reduced to 0 in the next 20 years, and Chinese coal consumption will increase considerably in coming decades before beginning to decline in maybe 2040-2060.

    BPL: Then we’re all dead. Period.

  21. 271

    269 Patrick027

    I get that. And it is scientifically true. But I call it a contriving manipulation of ordinary language that most people understand.

    After you get done explaining that ‘acidification’ does not mean that something becomes ‘acidic’, like the very vinegar used to dissolve chalk, many, if not most, people go away mumbling that they are dealing with nitwit environmentalists. And then they get on the campaign to cut off the funding for any reasonable action.

    Take a look at the projections for the next election.

  22. 272
    John E. Pearson says:

    These guys say:

    \CO2 concentrations would start to fall immediately (IF EMMISSIONS WERE HALTED TODAY] since the ocean and terrestrial biosphere would continue to absorb more carbon than they release as long as the CO2 level in the atmosphere is higher than pre-industrial levels (approximately). And subsequent temperatures (depending slightly on the model you are using) would either be flat or slightly decreasing. With this definition then, there is no climate change commitment because of climate inertia. Instead, the reason for the likely continuation of the warming is that we can’t get to zero emissions any time soon because of societal, economic or technological inertia.\

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/climate-change-commitments/

  23. 273
    Nick Gotts says:

    “As documented elsewhere, a considerable amount of the consumption of fossil fuel in the EU actually entailed the transfer of manufacture to China, with a net increase rather than decrease of global CO2 production. This was an unplanned consequence of attempting a rapid response instead of a decades-long response where only a decades-long response could possibly be carried out.” – Septic Matthew

    Complete tosh of course. The transfer of manufacturing from the EU to China and elsewhere had nothing whatever to do with attempts to reduce CO2 emissions (by far the biggest contributor to which has been a shift from coal-fired to gas-fired power stations), and everything to do with lower labour costs.

  24. 274
    Anonymous Coward says:

    SM, I wonder where this is coming from: “As documented elsewhere, a considerable amount of the consumption of fossil fuel in the EU actually entailed the transfer of manufacture to China … This was an unplanned consequence of attempting a rapid response instead of a decades-long response”
    Where is this “elsewhere”? I would like to know who is actively disseminating these notions you are uncritically propagating.

  25. 275
    Radge Havers says:

    Some variation, FWIW:

    Article in The Guardian.

    BP funding TP denialists.

  26. 276
    CM says:

    SM + Jim Bullis,

    You’re right: the ocean’s not a jar of vinegar, and calcifying marine organisms are not a piece of chalk. That’s why it matters and why we shouldn’t play word games.

    SM #264,

    But do you still insist that “pH reduction from 8.1 to 7.7 or 7.3 isn’t (…) going to dissolve (…) animal skeletons”?

    Jim Bullis,

    #261: I’d expect an eighth-grader to understand that the illustration of a principle need not entail the literal recreation of natural conditions. As for “acidification,” surely that’s the appropriate term for reducing pH by adding carbonic acid (and surely not too strong for a process that will ultimately corrode and dissolve the shells of living organisms). CaCO3 dissolves in water that is undersaturated with carbonate; carbonate saturation drops with added CO2, and parts of the world’s oceans are undersaturated at a pH well above 7.

    #267: “As I recall, the UN IPCC4 said …”
    Memory aid:

    Coral reefs will also be affected by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations (…) resulting in declining calcification. Experiments at expected aragonite concentrations demonstrated a reduction in coral calcification (…), coral skeleton weakening (…) and strong temperature dependence (…). Oceanic pH projections decrease at a greater rate and to a lower level than experienced over the past 20 million years (…). Doubling CO2 will reduce calcification in aragonitic corals by 20%-60% (…). By 2070 many reefs could reach critical aragonite saturation states (…), resulting in reduced coral cover and greater erosion of reef frameworks (…). (AR4 WG2 Box 4.4)

    #271: Ah, so you do get it, but will still continue to quibble over terminology you know is correct? “Contriving manipulation of language” indeed.

  27. 277

    273 Nick Gotts,

    Not completely “tosh”.

    Shift of manufacturing to China is driven by total production costs which include both labor costs and energy costs. There is also a factor of regulatory unfriendliness that puts a chill on expansion plans in the manufacturing sector. These added factors are particularly relevant in the heavy manufacturing sector, and no big deal at all for the software world.

    So it is hard to make concise and completely accurate statements.

    Some of us think that our loss of manufacturing jobs has and will continue to doom hopes of economic recovery. That opinion is supported almost daily with the unemployment reports, including all those not even counted.

  28. 278
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 271 Jim Bullis – I get that communicating is important, but should we really alter correct terminology to make it sound less alarmist? And how many people who don’t understand what acidification is refering to have even ever heard of acidification. Given that a lot of people don’t know the implications of reducing the pH just to being closer to neutral, it might be considered whitewashing to use less language that is less alarmist than the technical words now used. I know some people here acid and picture liquids burning through metals, but that shouldn’t mean that a person correctly identifying orange juice as acidic should be sued by Florida. When people think global warming is caused by the ozone hole and wind turbines use more energy than they produce and that solar power plant albedo is a serious issue to global climate, I think there’s bigger fish to fry. And the people who talk about nitwit environmentalists – I like the idea of educating and I hope it works to some great extent, but ultimately we’re just going to have to steamroll over some of those people.

  29. 279

    273 Nick Gotts,

    European issues are somewhat different from those in the USA. There the natural gas supply is substantially under control of Russia, and the cost is easily manipulated. Shifting from coal to natural gas is an action that comes with peril, since the planned costs may not be reliable numbers. Further, the coal supplies in Europe are not as abundant as they are in the USA. I have suggested elsewhere that the real reason European governments have gone along with the renewable energy schemes is that they do not want to be overly dependent on Russian whims.

    I would not like to leave this with the misunderstanding that natural gas supplies in the USA are immune from manipulation effects. And the so-called abundance of natural gas in the USA is highly dependent on the price point on which reserves are calculated. We should anticipate that our reserves will shrink dramatically for each year that the price runs around $4 per MMBTU; and then the price will go up significantly. These kinds of things send chills down the spines of power producers. (Check out Calpine history, and PG&E as well.)

  30. 280
    Ray Ladbury says:

    John Pearson,
    I remember that thread very well, and one of the most trenchant criticisms of the work was that it ignored aerosols as well. No FF burning, and aerosols drop like a shot, and it warms.

  31. 281
    adelady says:

    Jim#271 Are you not a gardener or a farmer?

    Gardeners and farmers talk about “acidifying” soils. Sometimes it’s a problem, sometimes it’s done deliberately to improve the health of certain plants. But “acidify” is the term used -regardless- of the current pH of the soil. It’s all about direction.

  32. 282

    276 CM

    Did you read my whole #271? Should I confine myself to two lines?

    Is there a chance that you could see the difference between something that is correct in scientific terminology, but is misleading in general language usage?

  33. 283

    281 adelady,

    Of course you are right.

    I am trying to make the point about overstating things, which is how I see it when Al Gore said that the oceans were becoming ‘acidic’ in Congressional testimony. And similarly, when Ms. Lubchenko demonstrated vinegar dissolving chalk, and I suspect she extracted the ascetic acid from the vinegar so the demonstration would go quickly.

    Forgive the absolutely true anecdote, but I was in third grade, when the Sunday school brought in a woman to demonstrate the dangers of nicotine. She had a sparrow in a cage and an apparatus to smoke cigarettes to capture nicotine and tar in a small reservoir which she transferred to a hypoderminc needle. The needle was longer than the sparrow, and the tar was sufficient to displace the entire bird’s blood supply. Sure enough, on injection the bird died. Most of the class immediately swore off smoking forever. You guessed it; not me. I went out and tried to find my first cigarette to smoke. I suspect most of the class did the same after they had a moment to get over the shock.

    This is how I see the Lubchenko acid demonstration.

  34. 284
    Mike G says:

    @265 Jim Bullis

    “But all calcite shelled creatures capture CO2 and eventually that becomes sand. This mechanism does not seem to get adequate recognition.”
    That mechanism doesn’t get recognition because you have the reaction reversed. Calcification is a source of CO2. The equation is 2HCO3 + Ca–> CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O

    It’s the weathering of carbonates that consumes CO2, but that doesn’t do the animals who build their skeletons out of carbonates any favors.

  35. 285
    Mike G says:

    @261 Septic Matthew

    “But as long as the topic of ocean temperature has been re-introduced, recall that Caribbean Ocean corals suffered a big kill in last winter’s unusual cold.”

    No. Parts of Florida and the Bahamas had coral die-offs in areas that have been historically inimical to coral growth. There are periodic kills in those areas due to temperature and salinity variations on the shallow banks adjacent to the reefs. The mortality during that event was also mostly limited to gorgonians rather than reef-building corals.

    On the other hand, we’re currently experiencing one of, if not the worst high-temperature bleaching event in the Caribbean.

  36. 286
    David B. Benson says:

    Global Warming to Bring More Intense Storms to Northern Hemisphere in Winter and Southern Hemisphere Year Round:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025152249.htm

  37. 287
  38. 288
    Septic Matthew says:

    274, Anonymous Coward: SM, I wonder where this is coming from:

    Since ratifying the Kyoto Treaty, EU nations have granted green credits to EU companies that finance industrial development in China (it’s a “developing” nation, exempt under KT from CO2 controls.) I’ll try to find a good survey soon.

  39. 289
    flxible says:

    you left something out SM: EU nations have granted green credits to EU companies that finance CLEAN industrial development in China

  40. 290
    Brian Dodge says:

    Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 25 October 2010 @ 6:12 PM

    “Some of us think that our loss of manufacturing jobs has and will continue to doom hopes of economic recovery. That opinion is supported almost daily with the unemployment reports, including all those not even counted.”

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/25/news/economy/NABE_survey/index.htm?hpt=T2
    “NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The outlook for hiring is improving as U.S. businesses continue to report growing demand and increased profitability, according to a survey of leading economists.

    In its October industry survey, the National Association of Business Economics said Monday that employment conditions improved in the third quarter to the highest level since the start of the 2008-2009 recession.”

    Would those negative reports on the job market be coming from Faux News?

  41. 291
    CM says:

    More variation: Tropospheric ozone and the land-carbon sink

    Certain ozone rants in the comments here lately sent me browsing a bit, and I came across this in Nature: Sitch et al., 2007, “Indirect radiative forcing of climate change through ozone effects on the land-carbon sink”, doi:10.1038/nature06059:

    …Here we estimate the impact of projected changes in ozone levels on the land-carbon sink, using a global land carbon cycle model modified to include the effect of ozone deposition on photosynthesis and to account for interactions between ozone and carbon dioxide through stomatal closure. (…) We suggest that the resulting indirect radiative forcing by ozone effects on plants could contribute more to global warming than the direct radiative forcing due to tropospheric ozone increases.

    Likely? Not? How significant?

  42. 292
    Anonymous Coward says:

    People’s standards of evidence really take a hike as soon as far as anything resembling economic issues is brought up, don’t they?
    Take the logic of Jim Bullis’ 277 for instance:
    -hypothesis: A will cause B
    -observation: there’s some A here and some B there
    -conclusion: A will cause B
    And now SM’s 288:
    -hypothesis: C caused D which caused A
    -observation: oh, there’s some E!
    -conclusion: ???
    So do you have a source for your original assertion, SM? I’d still like to see it.

  43. 293
    Septic Matthew says:

    289, flxible: you left something out SM: EU nations have granted green credits to EU companies that finance CLEAN industrial development in China

    about 25% of the money went to CLEAN industrial development, in the most recent years.

  44. 294
    simon abingdon says:

    gavin, what’s your take on Judith Curry’s current acclaim, given her recent trashing by many of the RealClimate regulars?

    [Response: Mostly very silly, and a classic example of how media frames (‘man bites dog’/’heresy/dogma’, ‘conflict’) distort discussion about substance. – gavin]

  45. 295
    Lisa Boucher says:

    I hope people are still checking this page, because I have a few general questions about GCMs. I’m hoping that someone can either provide answers or directions to where my questions were already answered.

    I encountered a mathematician AGW denier (if there is such a thing) in a discussion beneath a story from National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130776747

    (1) First of all, Jason Luttrell claimed, “Anything quantifiable must be based on a model.” I replied that he had it exactly backwards, and I suggested that counting spoons in a kitchen drawer didn’t require a model, but models require quantifiable inputs.

    Luttrell responded, “Wrong again, your spoons are ‘modeled’ by the numerical system you use to count with. Counting theory is based on the idea that a particular instance of a ‘type’ of phenomonon [sic] can be equated to 1, or some other number of units.”

    So I inquired, “If I want to count the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin, do I need a model?”

    Has this line of attack against AGW been previously deconstructed and debunked? I’m not a mathematician, and I have no patience for this kind of nitpicking.

    [Response: It is nit-picking, and is presumably riffing off a statement in which ‘model’ was used loosely, but, he is in fact right. No piece of data is worth anything without some kind of model for what it represents. What use is a voltage reading? or the height of a column of mercury? This is of course, nothing to do with ‘climate models’ (which I assume was your jumping off point). – gavin]

    (2) Luttrell claimed, “Most of the evidence for global warming only confirms the predictions of the models, rather than the models themselves.”

    Is there any difference?

    [Response: This is a difference without a distinction. In fact, successful predictions validate the assumptions from which a model was built. – gavin]

    And FWIW, Luttrell also opined, “The assumptions required to create a model that is simple enough to be useful, even with todays computers, are too great to provide a statistical level of confidence that makes any medium to long term predictions plausible.”

    [Response: This is nonsense. Climate models today are useful, have proved skillful and do have plausible long term predictions. – gavin]

    The comments will be open on the NPR site for a few more days. I’ll also keep checking back here.  Thanks.

  46. 296
    Susan Anderson says:

    Don’t know where else to put this, but hope the usual kind people will take a moment to ID the sad problems with some recent material on DotEarth promoting the Breakthrough Institute and the American Enterprise Institute with what appears to be some successful greenwashing. There seems to be a trend towards credentialing some dubious stuff. I lack the expertise to weigh in properly, and am also a bit tied up for even my amateur efforts to keep science clean and clear against the propaganda avalanche.

    I’m all for solutions, but these guys have a more than dubious history.

    Andy appears to have done some quite good stuff surrounding this, but I do wish I never had to see promotion of the doubtful “middle” ever again.

  47. 297
    Susan Anderson says:

    I think I forgot the link, and please do also take a look at the decent stuff before and after it.
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/25/real-world-steps-on-energy-and-co2/

  48. 298
    flxible says:

    SM: about 25% of the money went to CLEAN industrial development, in the most recent years.
    References for that figure? And for how the other 75% got “green credit” when the regulations specify CLEAN?

  49. 299

    290 Brian Dodge,

    I had assumed the economic conditions in this country were more a matter of common knowledge, and in particular, consistent with the way I see things. That is of course, not scientific.

    I have no idea what Faux news says.

    But the article you linked to says, “Meanwhile, a majority of respondents believe current regulatory policies and federal taxes will be a drag on business next year.” It also says a lot of other stuff which we all can interpret as we choose.

    I just cut a rambling explanation of economics as I see it, because I see not much hope of explaining my view of such matters in a comment box.

    But concisely, it was told to me elsewhere that (long ago) House Speaker Jim Wright told Ronald Reagan, “You can’t have an economy washing each other’s cars and delivering pizza. That is Voodoo Economics with Depression Sauce.” If you see things like Jim Wright and I do, the rest of it is not so hard to understand. If not, forget what I said, but don’t be too surprised about business resistance to proposals that add significantly to cost of operations.

  50. 300

    292 Anonymous Coward,

    My 277 fits not at all into your simple logical format.

    More careful reading is needed to see that no attempt was being made to establish a science of economics.

    About the best I could hope for is to declare as an axiom that cost of manufacturing includes cost of energy, and that cost of manufacturing determines competitiveness, and competitiveness enables increased sales, and increased sales enables expansion of employment. If we can’t go with that, there is no point in having a discussion.