Unforced Variations: Aug 2011

This month’s open thread. Your starter for 2010, the 2010 State of the Climate report….

475 comments on this post.
  1. J Bowers:

    No Unforced Variations for August, sorry, but this seems worth a look.

    Himalayan glaciers shrinking

    Spatially heterogeneous wastage of Himalayan glaciers. Fujita (2011), PNAS.

  2. Chris Colose:

    Just as a quick self-advertisement to hopefully get traffic flowing…

    My University runs a Weather and Climate blog here where I will be a frequent contributor, if anyone would like to add it to their list of reads (my posts specifically are here).

    A lot of the articles will probably be on recent weather topics, but I will be posting exclusively on broader climate issues. They will not be very technical, as it is geared to be part of a newspaper blog, but hopefully people find it interesting, and of course any technical level is fair game in the comments.

    This will act as replacement to my old WordPress blog, which I am putting to rest, but my old articles will still be up.

  3. Ed Davies:

    I’m reading Robert Zubrin’s How to Live on Mars. Quite fun in parts but made me cringe a bit in others: particularly a short diversion on global warming (on Earth) which is basically the CO₂ is plant food argument. He does say, though, that the reduction of CO₂ in the atmosphere since the Eocene was due to the evolution and proliferation of grasses which I hadn’t heard before. Does this idea have any scientific basis?

    [Response: I’m sure others can chime in, but this seems very odd. Most arguments for the secular trends in CO2 over the Cenozoic are tectonic in origin (i.e. rates of crustal formation, impact of the uplift of the Himalyas on chemical weathering etc.). – gavin]

  4. Hank Roberts:

    > CO2 … grasses
    Good info here on the various thoughts about this over the past few decades: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01323.x/full

  5. Chris Colose:

    Ed,

    This seems backwards. The long-term decline of CO2 lead to the wider spread distribution of C4 plants (a more evolved process), which are less sensitive to the CO2 content as C3 plants (i.e., the most primitive photosynthetic pathway in terrestrial plants). The long term evolution of CO2 is controlled by the balance of weathering vs. outgassing.

  6. bigcitylib:

    Arab News, of all places, has the latest on Charles Monnett:

    http://arabnews.com/lifestyle/science_technology/article481649.ece

    My take here:

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2011/08/charles-monnett-and-polar-bears.html

  7. J Bowers:

    @ 6 BCL

    The full letter to Monnett can be downloaded HERE (H/T Gavin’s Pussycat).

    Here’s the irony: US government department criticised for failing to collect oil revenues. That’s a possible billions, not just a few grand. BTW, ever heard of the USGS cartographer Ian Thomas?

  8. Lars Rosenberg:

    I would like to recommend Raymond Bradley’s new book ”Global Warming and Political Intimidation”. Bradley was one of the three scientists behind the hockey stick, and he tells the inside story of the political controversy in a straightforward and highly readable manner.

  9. Ed Davies:

    Gavin, Hank, Chris, thanks; I thought the idea was weird. I’ll take the rest of the book with an even bigger pinch of salt (i.e., treat it as fiction).

  10. Nick Stokes:

    Good article by Raymond Bradley in the Guardian on Romney and the Republicans.

  11. IA:

    I’d be interested in the experts views on this paper:

    Katsman, C. A., and G. J. van Oldenborgh (2011), Tracing the upper ocean’s “missing heat”, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38,

    “The analysis reveals that an 8-yr period without upper ocean warming is not exceptional. It is explained by increased radiation to space (45%), largely as a result of El Niño variability on decadal timescales, and by increased ocean warming at larger depths (35%), partly due to a decrease in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Recently-observed changes in these two large-scale modes of climate variability point to an upcoming resumption of the upward trend in upper ocean heat content.”

  12. Kevin McKinney:

    #7–

    I note that, despite BOEMRE’s statement that this has nothing to do with the previous investigation, Agent May states that he intends to ask ‘followup’ questions WRT that previous interview. Seems it’s not such a separate question after all.

  13. Hunt Janin:

    What will be the impact on sea level rise, if any, on water now impounded in earth in dams, etc.?

  14. MARodger:

    #13
    The volume of fresh water in all rivers & lakes, if drained into the oceans, would raise sea levels by something like half a metre.
    If by “dams, etc” you mean human-built reservoirs, the figure will be a lot smaller. There are some pretty big reservoirs in the world. The biggest (on the Zambezi River) would raise sea levels 0.5mm if it was full (and it quite often is). A quick Wikicalc yields a figure of 7.5mm rise for the top 46 reservoirs if full.

  15. Paul S:

    #13, Hunt Janin – Water now impounded in dams won’t have any effect on future sea level change. Chao et al. (2008)* estimate that sea level rise was reduced by about 3cm over the 20th Century, almost entirely after 1950, due to water being impounded in terrestrial reservoirs.

    So if it was all released right now you would expect a quick 3cm rise.

    The current rate of impoundment is something like 0.2mm/year, a fall from an average 0.55mm/yr since 1950. Again, that’s according to Chao et al. (2008). It’s possible this might pick up again due to large scale projects in developing countries (e.g. Three Gorges dam).

    *Can’t find a non-paywall link but key figures are in this slideshow

  16. Rick Baartman:

    Anyone here who is member of the APS, please help out by commenting on the “Physics Today” thread:

    http://is.gd/s8ryff

    It’s an essay by Steven Corneliussen global warming science and the media.

    [Response: I’m a member, but it’s not worth commenting in response to the political drivel being posted there after the article you link to. On the subject of APS though, it is interesting to note that APS has recently added a new “topical group” on climate physics. This is important because these topical groups are not something that APS members can just add on a whim. For example, a colleague of mine had to get quite hard to get the Quantum Information topical group to happen in APS. That, at least, should presumably be a non-political subject. This attests to the seriousness with which most physicists — and not withstanding e.g. Dyson — take the physics of climate.–eric]

  17. catman306:

    Here in NE Georgia, in the winter I heat with firewood and in the summer I survive the heat with a window A/C. I define spring and fall as the days when I need neither a fire or the A/C.

    The number of spring/fall days is steadily diminishing, replaced by heating or cooling days. Climate change means fewer days when the temperature and weather are ‘just right’.

    I think some metric of fair spring/fall days might be useful in explaining the full effect of human caused climate change to non-scientific people. Anyone without central HVAC could easily relate to this metric.

  18. Fred Moolten:

    Among the intriguing items in the State of the Climate report was the observation that although recent SST rises have been fairly slight, and subject to the fluctuations from ENSO and other modifying influences, the temperature of lakes has been rising rather steeply, with a global average in the range of 0.4 C/decade. This is even faster than land surface temperatures in general, but I expect that the difference is due at least in part to the fact that the lake temperatures measurements have been nighttime measurements, and not subject to the diluting effects of insolation that has not been rising on average. The different rates of rise of SST and lake temperatures also presumably reflects the consequences of heat transfer to the deeper layers of the ocean.

  19. Ragweed:

    @15 (et al.) There was a special issue of BioSciene on Global-Scale Environmental Effects of Hydrological Alterations in 2000 that addressed some of the impoundment volumes, etc. I believe that an earlier paper of Chao et al. was included. I don’t seem to be able to access the issue, but I recall that in addition to the effect of water impounded by dams, there is also the issue of water released to the surface from underground aquifers. Apparently impoundment has lowered sea level by about 3cm, but total aquifer release has raised sea level by nearly the same amount, so it has been in balance.

    I will have to find the issue, however to confirm the numbers.

  20. David MW:

    Real Climate readers might be interested in these two rather depressing related comment pieces on The Guardian website on climate change and environmental protection more generally, and the US Republican Party – the first is by Raymond S. Bradley…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/aug/03/global-warming-republicans

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/aug/03/epa-republicans-tea-party

  21. Chris Snow:

    Can anyone help me out here? I’m interested to know what the current state of the science is regarding the possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect if we burn the unconventional fossil fuels (tar sands, shale gas etc.) in addition to the remaining coal, oil and gas reserves.

    In his book “Storms of my Grandchildren”, James Hansen says he thinks it’s a dead certainty, but David Archer in “Global Warming Understanding the Forecast” reckons there’s not enough fossil fuel carbon on Earth (although it’s not clear if he’s considered the unconventional fossil fuels).

    Has any modelling been done on this scenario?

  22. Joe Cushley:

    Here’s one for the hall of mirrors from Roy Spencer… yeah, really “ironic” Roy…

    UAH Global Temperature Update July, 2011: +0.37 deg. C
    August 1st, 2011

    How ironic..a “global warming denier” reporting on warmer temperatures ;)

    The global average lower tropospheric temperature anomaly for July, 2011

  23. Jon P:

    Gavin,

    Please discuss Lake Powell and how wrong you were about it.

    [Response: Sure. Please link to the quote where I said something wrong. – gavin]

  24. Mike Pollard:

    @20. Chris, Kharecha and Hansen published on peak oil in 2008 http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/kh02000x.html

    But I’m not sure if anyone has done a thorough analysis of conventional and unconventional fuels. But it would be nice to see what the predictions might be.

  25. Meow:

    @20: Chris Colose wrote a short note on the runaway greenhouse effect at Skeptical Science with some cites. His understanding is that TSI at earth’s orbit is too small for a runaway to take hold. This reasoning rests on the idea that an earth with much more atmospheric water vapor would have a larger albedo than today’s earth.

    CAPTCHA: front onionese. Hmm, time for dinner!

  26. Hank Roberts:

    For Chris Snow: see the previous question and answer here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=6371#comment-199095

    (found by putting the following string into the search box at the top right of this RC page, with the “site search” button selected; I skimmed the first few hits and gave you the one most concisely asking and answering that question)

    “james+hansen”+”storms+of+my+grandchildren”+”dead+certainty”

    The ReCaptcha AI oracle, in response, gave me these words:
    fringes isideal

  27. Patrick 027:

    Re 25 Meow – I don’t think that’s the reason why. I remember the point was made that we don’t know exactly how cloud feedbacks behave when we get near a runaway water vapor situation.

    I think the thing about a runaway water vapor situation is that CO2 wouldn’t have so much effect then (?). Of course it should take less TSI if you have more CO2 to get to the same temperature, but … well Chris Colose had some graphs that show how it would work (clouds excluded, as I recall) – maybe this was in hiw WordPress blog; I don’t remember.

    PS a runaway water vapor situation doesn’t imply permanence. Turn the TSI down past some threshold and you have runaway water vapor feedback in the cooling direction. As opposed to (if I recall correctly – and I never read a whole lot about this) what had been thought about a snowball Earth with dry ice clouds in some conditions (but it turns out that dry ice clouds are effective greenhouse agents). But there isn’t a hysteresis in equilibria with runaway water vapor feedback, whereas there is (or is supposed to be) hysteresis in a the Snowball Earth – nonsnowball cycle, involving runaway ice albedo.

    PS runaway feedback doesn’t take you to infinity – it just means that there is some range of conditions for which the climate has no stable equilibrium – it can’t come to rest there – climate sensitivity has to go past infinity at some point and could become negative (along an unstable equilbrium).

    (Technically/hypothetically, you could have a climate sensitivity of x K/(W/m2) that is an average over tiny steps where the climate passes a bunch of tiny tipping points. For example, what if there were a set global temperature at which a given sufficiently small pocket of methane hydrate/clathrate destabilizes. You could then have little tiny runaways that wouldn’t be perceptible. But internal variability and the time it takes for each pocket to be released after the temperature threshold is crossed (?) may blur that out (PS on the small scale there are runaways all the time – I think cumulus convection has some of that).)

  28. Patrick 027:

    … that example of methane feedback is of course a non-Charney feedback.

  29. Thomas:

    I have read that grasses were a kind of productivity miracle. So I can easily imagine that the amount of soil carbon is higher with grasses than without. But I really doubt that is was sequestered in a time frame shorter than the silicate cycle equilibrium time, so I wouldn’t think it would be a factor.

    Fred @18. Assuming measurements are made consistently over time, I wouldn’t expect much day/night variation on lake water temps. It is possible that changes in rivers, and shoreline vegetation along rivers might have a substantial impact. I don’t know what happen to water temp if a lake Eutropifies and gains a layer of floating lakeweed. My guess, lower evaporation, but possibly higher albedo.

  30. barry:

    Kevin@12

    I speculate that finding nothing wrong with the 2005 observational note on polar bears, the investigators combed through the records (hard files, computers) they took from Monnett and found a new line of inquiry – impropriety of management on a project about polar bears. The likeliest explanation for the changing allegations is that the Department of the Interior is trying to suppress certain research into polar bears. There is precedent.

    http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net/emails/USAdministrationPolarBearMemo.pdf

  31. Patrick 027:

    … no hysteresis with runaway water vapor – of course that excludes things like biological feedbacks and abiotic CO2 feedback (if it got hot enough to decompose carbonate rocks, for example (?) (but then, upon cooling you’d presumably have some very rapid chemical weathering, so maybe …)), and H escape, etc.

  32. ccpo:

    Since the sea ice is getting a little long in the tooth, hope you don’t mind if I link my sea ice predictions here: http://aperfectstormcometh.blogspot.com/2011/08/current-state-of-arctic-sea-ice-arctic.html

  33. Chris Colose:

    Chris Snow, for a simple discussion of your question, see:

    J.F. Kasting, T.P. Ackerman. “Climatic Consequences of Very High C02 Levels in Earth’s Early Atmosphere” Science 234: 1,383-1385 (1986)

    Even at several tens of bars of CO2 you cannot generate a true runaway greenhouse, although you can surpass the modern day boiling point of 373 K. Even at constant 30% albedo this is true.

    Meow,

    The increase in albedo is a fundamental consequence of increased Rayleigh scattering in a moist atmosphere, and this acts as a negative feedback over the course of the moist greenhouse or runaway evolution (but as I said, CO2 does not generate a runaway greenhouse regardless, unless the net solar insolation is sufficiently high to prevent the planet from ever reaching radiative equilibrium over the timeframe of the oceans existence). The scattering is a bit less important around lower temperature stars, because their spectrums are red-shifted and thus the Rayeligh scattering is reduced (Rayleigh scattering favors shorter wavelengths, being inversely related to the fourth power of the wavelength).

    The negative feedback is important though because another fate a planet can have, rather than transitioning into a true runaway, is to have a large quantity of ocean water lost by hydrogen escape even prior to a runaway. This occurs in a warm moist greenhouse even without a true runaway. If the albedo is fixed at 0.3, then the runaway can happen well before a significant fraction of the ocean is lost; however, if the albedo is free to increase with higher solar luminosity, then the oceans might slowly be lost to space, and enough time may pass to become depleted before a true runaway happens (see Abe et al 2011, Astrobiology).

  34. Ron R.:

    Ed Davies Aug 2011 at 5:01 PM:

    He does say, though, that the reduction of CO₂ in the atmosphere since the Eocene was due to the evolution and proliferation of grasses which I hadn’t heard before. Does this idea have any scientific basis?

    My understanding is that grasses did not become abundant until between 8 and 5.5 mya. Before 15 mya there is very little fossil evidence. Course, as with many things paleontological and archeological these dates often get pushed back with new discoveries. Thus grass phytoliths (or what appears to be) have been found in dinosaur coprolites. But at present I doubt that grasses were abundant enough pre middle to late Miocene to affect CO2.

    Caroline Stromberg is the relevant expert.

  35. bigcitylib:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/29/transcript-jeffrey-gleason

    This investigators’ interview with Monnett co-author J. Gleason is even more thuggish than the one with Monnett. It sounds as though they actually think Gleason and Monnett faked their observations. One, Eric May, talks of some anonymous math guy that has told him that Monnett and Gleason have made egregious errors. Quite McCarthyist.

    Be warned: very long transcript

  36. J Bowers:

    Call the cops, someone’s impersonating Lysenko! Are Gleason and Monnett being hounded for thought crime, or for not having supernatural powers to foresee how others use and cite their work? That transcript’s unbelievable.

  37. grypo:

    Professor Salby questions human v natural emission fingerprints. Seems to base this on measurements during Pinatubo and 98 el nino. ie warming causes soil emissions, isotope ratios are inconclusive?

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/04/carbon-cycle-questions

    [Response: Not yet listened to it, but there is nothing controversial in saying that ENSO and volcanoes cause responses in the carbon cycle – soil respiration, solubility etc. This is the biggest effect in the interannual variability of the CO2 rise (though it is irrelevant for the trend). – gavin]

  38. Alistair Connor:

    Here’s some light relief from the social sciences (sorry if it’s already been discussed)

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095937801100104X

    Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States

    ► Conservative white males are more likely than other Americans to report climate change denial.
    ► Conservative white males who self-report understanding global warming very well are even more likely.
    ► Climate change denial is an example of identity-protective cognition.
    ► System-justifying tendencies lead to climate change denial.
    ► Climate change denial increased from 2001 to 2010.

  39. Ray Ladbury:

    Alistair@38: ” Climate change denial increased from 2001 to 2010.”

    Even as evidence mounted rapidly. Ladies and gentlemen, it is inescapable: Conservative white males have a negatively-sloped learning curve.

  40. grypo:

    Gavin,

    Yeah, that’s why I thought I might have missed something. He seems to think he’s found something new, frequently saying the IPCC doesn’t know it, but without seeing what he is doing, I can’t make anything out of it.

  41. Kevin McKinney:

    #30–

    What a great link! Thanks. I guess it’s not shocking anymore, but it should be.

  42. Robert Murphy:

    Salby is claiming that most of the rise in CO2 is due to natural causes, not human emissions of fossil fuels. Uh huh.

    [Response: If he is really claiming that, he is very wrong. I’ll try and listen to the podcast. – gavin]

  43. Kevin McKinney:

    #33–Chris, I think it might be useful to remind us what the criteria are for a “true runaway.”

    Some of the scenarios that don’t qualify–significant loss of H2O, or T actually exceeding the boiling point, for example–are sufficiently dire in themselves, to say the least. Are any of these significantly more probable than the “true runaway” you tell us is impossible?

    (I don’t want to overstress these–the threats to our food security and political stability under BAU are bad enough, and seem all too probable to be realized at this point. But I’m also a curious chap.)

  44. wili:

    On the grasses issue, the important question to me is whether they could, even theoretically, play an important role in carbon sequestration.

  45. Robert Murphy:

    Listening some more to Salby’s address. He was asked about future temperature increases and projections of 4 degrees warming; if natural processes are driving temps, what was his projections – he said he didn’t do projections then said the following:

    “Let me make one comment. What you’re really talking about is a 4 degree simulation, right? And that’s based on model runs that were done oh, in the late 90’s and early 2000’s for the last IPCC report. Now the conclusion of that was that the increased temperature that was observed, global temperature, in the 80’s and the 90’s was due to CO2. And that appears to have been a sucker-punch that the IPCC went for because no sooner – the ink hadn’t even dried on the report – that Mother Nature intervened and CO2 after the turn of the century continued to increase, in fact if anything, slightly faster, but global temperature didn’t. If anything, it decreased in the first decade of the 21st century. Now I’m confident the IPCC will come up with any explanation, in fact its already come up with several, but your extrapolation of 4 degrees presumes that you essentially have these model projections and that’s what they’re relying on and those model projections rely on “we know what CO2 is” since we’re responsible for CO2, since the human source is essentially what causes atmospheric CO2 to change, quote unquote, that we can extrapolate that. Well, doesn’t look like that works.”

    It’s worse than I thought. No wonder Curry loves it, “If Salby’s analysis holds up, this could revolutionize AGW science.”

    [Response: It’s on a par with “If I was a bird, I could fly!”. Both propositions are true but neither has any relevance to the real world. – gavin]

  46. Paul S:

    On Professor Salby,

    His talk moves on from annual cycle and ENSO/volcano-induced fluctuations to extrapolations of temperature-CO2 connections back over the whole surface temperature record, concluding that temperature is driving CO2 changes:

    “The correspondence to observed changes in CO2 on timescales of a couple of years, over the satellite era and, to the degree seen, even over the 20th Century makes it difficult not to conclude that sources involved in changes of CO2 on short timescales are also involved in its change on long timescales.”

    “…future atmpospheric CO2 is only marginally predictable and in significant part not controllable. That means changes in human emission will not be tracked by changes of atmospheric CO2. They never have been.”

    Though I think the main thing he’s excited about is his finding that changes in carbon isotopic ratios (12c/13c) correlate with natural fluctuations. He suggests this means the ratio changes cannot be used as a fingerprint for detecting changes in atmospheric CO2 by human emissions.

  47. M:

    “Salby is claiming that most of the rise in CO2 is due to natural causes, not human emissions of fossil fuels. Uh huh.”

    And Judith Curry is doing her best, “oh, this is a good talk, it sounds like it might be plausible, but I won’t make any statements that can be used against me when it turns out this is just ridiculous” impression (as far as I can tell, the only skeptic arguments she has been willing to disown is the “sky dragon” book).

    I often use “the rise of CO2 might be natural” meme as a way to determine when someone lacks all ability to determine reality from fiction. Judith Curry has really jumped the shark…

    -M

    My attempt to quote Salby: “the popularized view is that CO2 is driving the bus… the reality is the opposite, climate is at the wheel and CO2 is at the back of the bus … the observed behavior reveals that much as we might like it … we can’t predict CO2″ “emission from natural sources is integral to observed changes in CO2, but its contribution has not been recognized… therefore, future atmospheric CO2 is only marginally predictable and not controllable… future concentrations will not be tracked by changes in emissions of CO2, and they never have been”

    He also drops random stuff about the medieval warm period and recent warming just being a rebound from the little ice age. Talk of “the science” stimulates his gag reflex, because “discourse gets to the truth”. “Excluding discourse isn’t science, its advocacy – so pick up your phone and call Canberra! … anyone who think the science of this complex system is settled, is in fantasia”.

    I have to say that his talk stimulates my own gag reflex…

  48. M:

    Salby: “I don’t believe that the CO2 in the ice cores is 50,000 year old CO2″

    [Response: He’s right. Some of it is 800,000 years old. – gavin]

  49. Robert Murphy:

    More Salby:

    “The correspondence to observed changes of Co2 on timescales of a couple of years over the satellite era and to the degree seen even over the 20th century, makes it difficult not to conclude that sources involved in changes of Co2 on short timescales are also involved in its change on long timescales. The popularized view has been that CO2 is driving the bus and climate is along for the ride. The observed behavior reveals just the reverse. Climate is at the wheel, and to a significant degree, CO2 is at the back of the bus. Climate projections rely on an ability to predict CO2; it’s the one thing believed to be known, because of the presumption we control it. Namely, future atmospheric CO2 is determined entirely by human emission. That’s what is specified in climate models which then predict how climate will respond, in so-called climate scenarios.

    The observed behavior reveals that, much as we might like it, the real world doesn’t work that way. Net emission includes a substantial contribution from natural sources; if you don’t control CO2, you can’t predict it, and if you can’t predict CO2, you can hardly predict how climate will respond.”

  50. Mike Pollard:

    Does Salby mention any interaction with Colin Prentice in the podcast? They are at the same institution and Prentice seems to have solid credentials regarding CO2 (his bio states ”I was chief author of the chapter “Carbon cycle and atmospheric carbon dioxide” in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”) If I was Salby I’d want to run what I had past Prentice who would seem to be ideal for a critical appraisal of work on the atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    http://web.science.mq.edu.au/intranet/directory/listing/person.htm?id=cprentic

  51. Snapple:

    [edit – way too far OT, sorry]

  52. Snapple:

    Sorry–it’s back up. Lucky I didn’t get nasty!

  53. Hank Roberts:

    > Salby
    Oy.
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/new_research_warmth_produces_these_carbon_dioxide_concentrations#87593

  54. Paul S:

    From Robert Murphy’s post 45:

    “Mother Nature intervened and CO2 after the turn of the century continued to increase, in fact if anything, slightly faster, but global temperature didn’t. If anything, it decreased in the first decade of the 21st century.”

    Er, doesn’t this contradict his proposition that observed CO2 increases have been driven by temperature increases?

  55. grypo:

    This seems to be the crux of Salby’s argument:

    “The trend in CO2 derives from a hysteresis in its
    annual cycle: More is emitted during half of the
    year than is absorbed during the other half. The
    residual, which accumulates to fo rm the trend,
    provides a record of net emission. It is shown
    to track the satellite record of global -mean
    temperature, which fl uctuates b etween years.
    Temperature changes of 0.5 – 1.0 K are attended
    by modulations o f C O2 emission as large as
    100%. Much the same dependence is exhibited
    by isotopic composition. The temperature
    dependence o f CO2 parallels that of water vapor,
    the dominant greenhouse gas. Such dependence
    governs CO2 emission for temperature changes
    that are clearly of different origin, including the
    eruption of Pinatubo and the 1997-1998 El Nino.”

    http://www.aip.org.au/Congress2010/Abstracts/Monday%206%20Dec%20-%20Orals/Session_2F/Salby_Changes_of_Ozone.pdf

    [Response: Yes. Having now listened to the podcast, I thnk he has done a regression of growth rate to temperature (and soil moisture) over the recent period. The sensitivity he then derives is projected back using the 0.8 deg C warming over the 20th C. However, this is ludicrous – the sensitivity in the recent period can’t be more than say, 1 ppmv per 0.1 deg C. Projected back you would have say a 10 ppmv (max) change over the 20th C. Paleo-climate constraints demonstrate that CC feedback even on really long time scales is not more than 100 ppmv/6 deg C (i.e. 16 ppmv/deg C), and over shorter time periods (i.e. Frank et al, 2010) it is more like 10 ppmv/deg C. Salby’s sensitivity appears to be 10 times too large. Someone might want to have a look at the data and redo the regressions, but the physics is screwy. – gavin]

  56. rustneversleeps:

    Curry highlight’s Salby’s Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics as “a popular introductory graduate text”. Don’t know if that’s true, but it’s interesting to see who the “Senior Editor” is. One Roger Pielke Sr.

    She also points to a synopsis of some talk Salby was to deliver. With nothing more than that, it’s hard to say what his points are, but there do appear to be some howlers. For instance, in the concluding paragraph he states:
    “The satellite record of global temperature, in tandem with the instrumental record of CO2, provides a population of climate perturbations. Of natural origin, they establish the climate sensitivity of CO2 with respect to changes of temperature. The climate sensitivity enables the natural component of CO2 to be evaluated.”

    So, in his definition, “climate sensitivity” is a measure of the response of CO2 to temperature. That, he implies, is determined using just the satellite temperature record and corresponding atmospheric CO2 record. And then you use that derived “climate sensitivity” to determine the natural contribution of CO2????? Wha???

  57. J:

    On her own blog, Judy writes: Gavin’s argument makes the fallacy that all temperature change is externally forced. If the temperature change is caused by natural internal variability, then this argument is not useful.

    That seems inexplicably wrong to me. Salby (and Gavin) are discussing a model under which the observed variation in atmospheric CO2 is primarily determined by temperature change. Why would it matter if that temperature change was from internal variability vs external forcing? I don’t get it.

    [Response: You are correct. This has nothing whatsoever to do with attribution of the temperature rise. The response of the CC to temperature is a specific thing – and it doesn’t matter if it is originally driven by Milankovitch and ice sheets (over the ice age cycle), solar and volcanic activity over the pre-industrial, or by human activity/martian fairies/the PDO or whatever today. ENSO is an internal source of temperature changes on short time scales, and Pinatubo is an external source of temperature change over a short time period – both are included in any modern period regression such as Salby must have used. And the sensitivity of the carbon cycle to such changes is noticeable, but small and nothing like enough to explain the 20th C change. But even without thinking about this that deeply at all, it is obvious that Salby is wrong – we have put more than twice as much CO2 into the air as has actually accumulated over the last 100 years. To posit that the rise is not anthropogenic implies finding sinks that have totally taken up the anthropogenic CO2 *and* new sources that have put half of it back again. Meanwhile, all the actual reservoirs have more carbon than they had previously. Furthermore, the 13C and 14C data (up until the bomb peak) support a predominantly fossil fuel source. And the O2/N2 levels are dropping at the rate expected (given that we are burning C, and taking O2 from the air). The idea that a poorly performed regression undermines all this is ludicrous. – gavin]

  58. SecularAnimist:

    J wrote: “I don’t get it.”

    That seems to be a very common reaction to Curry’s pronouncements, many of which, as far as I can tell not being a climate scientist myself, make little sense.

    Not to mention that her accusation that Gavin has asserted that “all temperature change is externally forced” is clearly not true.

  59. M:

    “But even without thinking about this that deeply at all, it is obvious that Salby is wrong – we have put more than twice as much CO2 into the air as has actually accumulated over the last 100 years.”

    I think – and they are obviously wrong about it – that the mental argument some of these people make is that CO2 is like water vapor, eg, that it very rapidly comes into equilibrium with the global temperature. With water, if we dug up the Ogallala aquifer and boiled it into the atmosphere, and then we measured an increase in global atmospheric water vapor that was half the size of the quantity we boiled, we could still conclude that the water vapor increase was _not_ due to having boiled the aquifer. That’s because the amount of water vapor in the global atmosphere is roughly determined by global temperatures, and any excess that’s added will quickly rain out and add to the oceans.

    Of course, CO2 is not water vapor, and we knew this 50 years ago with Bolin & Erikkson’s seminal paper.

    If I had a few weeks of free time, and some better programming chops, I’d be really tempted to build a bare-bones web-version of a carbon cycle model, with the minimum complexity necessary to do a reasonable job of matching C12/C13/C14 ratios, the annual cycle, and some of the interannual variability due to temperature wiggles. It would have to include oceanic carbonate chemistry at a minimum, of course (something that all these out-of-field modelers seem to ignore). Then, whenever anyone tried to argue that their analysis of isotope ratios showed that the CO2 rise was natural, we could point them at the simple model and say, “use your method and analyze this model. If your analysis determines that the CO2 rise in the model is completely natural, then perhaps you should rethink your methodology”.

    (effectively the same approach to take for people who claim that a simple analysis shows that CS is small based on global temperature data, but if they were to apply the same analysis to a model in the CMIP archive, their method would also come up with a CS that is much smaller than the CS we know that the model has)

  60. tamino:

    … or by human activity/martian fairies/the PDO or whatever today …

    You forgot the Leprechauns! I’m sick to death of people ignoring the Atlantic Multidecadal Leprechauns.

  61. Meow:

    What does Salby say happens to the carbon from the ~6 GT coal, the ~26 Gbbl oil, and the ~130 T ft^3 natural gas that we mine each year?

    CAPTCHA: fficts JUSTICE

  62. ozajh:

    Hank Roberts #53,

    Andrew Bolt has long been VoldeMurdoch’s most strident attack dog here in Australia. His recent spate of Climate Denial articles/blogs is IMHO a direct result of the recently introduced Carbon Tax.

  63. John Mashey:

    People may find the kerfuffle @ Chronicle of Higher Education to be of interest, see this by me and Rob Coleman.
    Rob is a very good guy:
    Professor of Chemistry @ Ohio State and chairs OSU academic misconduct committee

    He was one of the 3 academic misconduct experts that Dan Vergano asked about the Wegman plagiarism,
    here.

    Folks like Tom Fuller have already showed up, but if anyone posts over there, please be polite, even if it seems hard.

  64. One Anonymous Bloke:

    A 10,000-Year Record of Arctic Ocean Sea-Ice Variability—View from the Beach being quoted by the BBC. The BBC article explains:

    The idea of an Arctic tipping point has been highlighted by many scientists in recent years. They have argued that when enough ice is lost it could cause a runaway effect with disastrous consequences. “I don’t say that our current worries are not justified, but I think that there are factors which will work to delay the action in relation to some of the models that have been in the media. I think the effect of temperature and global warming may cause a change in the general wind systems which maybe will delay the effects of the rapidly rising temperatures a little bit.”

    Dr Svend Funder

    The quote at the same seems vague. Is there anything at all in the paper or elsewhere to support it?

    [Response: Actually, I think the ‘runaway affect with dire consequences’ is a strawman. There have been lots of papers showing that there isn’t any such thing – and indeed, you wouldn’t expect it based on the ~5 yr timescales in the sea ice pack – there isn’t enough memory in the ice to kick you into a new state. There is lots of interesting non-linearity, and nothing related to this means that sea ice is going to recover any time soon (it certainly won’t). The status of the summer sea ice in the Early Holocene is very interesting though, since there are indications that it was less than today (raised beaches in N. Greenland that are still frozen solid). But that occurred with substantially more insolation than we have today too. – gavin]

  65. Thomas:

    A couple of potentially interesting papaers:
    Breeding Crops With Deeper Roots Could ‘Slash CO2 Levels

    Ancient Tides Quite Different from Today — Some Dramatically Higher, Some Lower
    Sorry they are just sciencedaily, I don’t have accounts so probably couldn’t see the originals.

    The first one proposes that we breed crops to have deeper roots, as this could significantly increase soil carbon content over a period of time.

    The second one shows evidence that regional tidal ranges have changed significantly over the past few thousand years. If the little bit of sea level rise we’ve had over this period can perturn tidal ranges this strongly, I can only imagine what sort of changes we may see this (and next) century.

  66. barry:

    After reading the interview of Jeff Gleason provided upthread, (as well as the Monnett interview and the 2005 observational note) it is painfully obvious that the investigators were trying to discredit the 2005 polar bear paper earlier this year, and that when that failed they shifted to another line of inquiry to discredit Monnett.

    Monnett is still suspended. PEER seems to be on the case, but is there anything else that can be done? The evidence of political interference is so clear that the Dep. of the Interior should be investigated. If I were a US citizen I would start a petition or something. Monnett’s life has been turned upside down and his reputation muddied because work interferes with policy objectives.

    Here are all the relevant docs I know of:

    2005 observational note

    Transcript of Jeffrey Gleason’s interview in January 2011

    Transcript of Charles Monnett’s interview

    July 29 2011 letter from investigating agent Eric May finally stating the allegations – which are completely different to the allegations they made in the interviews. The only common link is polar bears

    Memos from the Department of the Interior in 2007 ordering scientists traveling abroad not to talk about polar bears, sea ice, or climate change

  67. Edward Greisch:

    38 Alistair Connor: Thanks. Google scholar for “identity-protective cognition” gets about 60 articles, a lot. One of them, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13669877.2010.511246

    has an abstract that includes “The ‘cultural cognition of risk’ refers to the tendency of individuals to form risk perceptions that are congenial to their values.”

    As scientists, we do it the other way around. Truth as revealed by experiment is our basic value. But we do form risk perceptions that are mathematically related to the numbers that we get from experimental measurements. AH HA! The difference is in where the values come from. And whether those values are instinctive or numerical. So all we have to do is convince them that our values are better than their values.

    39 Ray Ladbury: Is “negatively-sloped learning curve” the same as a negative IQ? I have noticed that sort of thing.

  68. One Anonymous Bloke:

    Re: Prof. Schmidt’s response to my #64. Thank you. I was also impressed by “may cause a change in the general wind systems which maybe will delay the effects…” My wild guess is that those “mays” and “maybes” aren’t constrained by very much either. Perhaps some ice dragons will breathe our way or something.

  69. Ron R.:

    Grolar bears, a sign of the coming genetic dilution and/or eventual extinction of the polar bear.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/hybrid-grizzly-polar-bears-a-worrisome-sign-of-the-norths-changing-climate/article2119020/

    Sad. Besides being beautiful animals, polar bears are a wonderful evidence for evolution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent#Polar_bear

    Oh well, I suppose that at least the Creationists will be pleased.

  70. Kees van der Leun:

    Ecofys/IEA GHG report on bio-CCS: Large global potential for negative CO2 emissions through biomass linked with carbon dioxide capture and storage http://bit.ly/CCSbio

  71. Didactylos:

    How stupid of me to think the scientific witch-hunts would be over with the departure of Bush. He left plenty of oil-minded anti-science morons behind when he went.

    It’s rather regrettable that Monnett was so forthright at the end of his previous (hilarious!) interview. I’ve seen this sort of thing before, when someone becomes an embarrassment (or, worst of all, is embarrassing the bosses with the inconvenient truth). The Powers That Be just sit there and make life intolerable for their victim, until they can come up with a petty excuse to use as a pretext to boot their victim out.

    Frankly, I’m surprised it took them so long.

  72. Didactylos:

    With respect to “an Arctic tipping point”….

    My understanding was that the tipping point in question is a phenomenon observed in individual model runs where sea ice collapses suddenly and does not recover. I’m not aware of any significant impact of this beyond the Arctic. Obviously it will alter albedo slightly. But this tipping point isn’t something that shows up in the ensemble mean – the timing of it isn’t predictable.

    But… these results must have been derived from the old sea ice models that are already underestimating sea ice loss. We must have better models now. Am I out of date (or just plain wrong)?

  73. Kevin C:

    Some econometrics professors take on the problem of calculating the relative contribution of GHG warming and aerosol cooling to recent temperature trends, here.

    The statistics are way over my head. As a lay person there are a couple of points about the climate science that bother me. However if they are right, or if any problems with the method can be fixed, this could be a very significant contribution.

  74. J:

    I’ve just attempted to post this very lengthy comment in the “Salby” thread over at Judith Curry’s blog.

    It doesn’t seem to have shown up. My first guess is that due to the length and the presence of external links it was flagged for moderation. If that’s not the case, my second guess is that there was some glitch in the posting process and it vanished into the ether.

    In any case, if you don’t mind I’d like to copy it here, since it may either not show up at Judy’s, or might be missed there in the flurry of comments. Feedback is welcome, and I hope I haven’t misstated anything or misrepresented Gavin’s remarks.

    ==========================================================

    The possibility that natural variability explains the century-scale observed rise in atmospheric CO2 can easily be dismissed based on simple accounting (anthropogenic emissions are larger than the rise itself, and thus account for over 100% of the observed rise).

    Aside from that, however, Gavin Schmidt makes what seems to be a very good point. As I understand it, Salby’s claim is that the observed rise in CO2 is primarily the result of a natural flux that is dependent on global temperature; a warming ocean/biosphere would give off CO2 to the atmosphere, while cooling would produce the opposite effect.

    It’s not news to anyone who studies the carbon cycle that the flux of CO2 between the atmosphere and the ocean/biosphere is affected by ENSO-style short term variations in temperature (see, e.g., Bacastow and Keeling 1981, or AR4 WG1 Section 7.3.2.4). But the magnitude of these variations are small compared to the century-scale rise in atmospheric CO2.

    This brings us to Gavin Schmidt’s comment, written at RealClimate and quoted by Chris Colose earlier in this thread. Gavin points out that if Salby’s model truly explained most or all of the 100 ppm observed rise in CO2 based on the 0.8 C rise in global temperature over the past century, that would imply a massive sensitivity of the CO2 flux to global temperatures. Looking at the Keeling curve, or any of the other long-term atmospheric CO2 data sets, we see that interannual variability in temperature only produces relatively small fluctuations in the rate of increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, as discussed in IPCC AR4. The increase itself does not flip to a decrease during cool years. Perhaps more problematically, such a model would imply that the large temperature changes associated with the glacial/interglacial cycle would produce immense swings in CO2 (on the order of 500 – 1000 ppm). That is an order of magnitude larger than the observed CO2 fluctuations in the ice cores.

    Dr Curry, who I’m sure is very busy and may not have had time to dive into this in detail, responded to Gavin’s comment with the following:

    Gavin’s argument makes the fallacy that all temperature change is externally forced. If the temperature change is caused by natural internal variability, then this argument is not useful.

    With all due respect, I don’t think that’s correct. Recall the directionality of Salby’s model: temperature change drives the CO2 flux, not vice versa. It does not matter whether the temperature change was externally forced or not — the CO2 flux is a direct response to the temperature change. How would the atmospheric CO2 flux know that it is supposed to respond very strongly to temperature changes that are caused by the “right” forcings (century-scale internal variability) but respond an order of magnitude less strongly to temperature changes that are caused by the “wrong” forcings (ENSO, Milankovich cycles, etc).

    I’ve asked Gavin about this, and he appears to confirm my understanding. I’m guessing that Dr Curry’s response quoted above was written in haste (I know she’s very busy!) but if she still believes that differences in the source of a temperature forcing would rescue Salby’s model from this apparent contradiction, I’d very much appreciate hearing more about it.

    This comment has already gotten too long, but I’d like to point out that based on what we know so far, it looks very much as if Salby is making the same mistake that McLean made (in attributing the temperature rise to ENSO) and, even more similarly, that Mr Lon Hocker made in a post at WUWT in which he made virtually the identical argument to this one (temperature changes explain the atmospheric CO2 trend). That error consists of [1] detrending the dependent variable (global temperature, in McLean’s case; CO2 for Salby and Hocker); [2] discovering that the annual rate of change in that dependent variable is closely correlated with some independent variable (ENSO for McLean; global temperatures for Salby and Hocker); and then [3] mistakenly asserting that the independent variable explains the observed trend, when it actually explains small fluctuations around that trend.

    Salby’s idea here really does appear to be following more or less exactly in the footsteps of Lon Hocker’s post at WUWT. That post was discussed in a great deal of detail over at Skeptical Science, and I’d strongly encourage anyone who thinks Salby might be onto something to go read John Cook’s dissection of Hocker’s post.

    To sum up, the evidence that the observed rise in CO2 is anthropogenic is really overwhelming. For those who are determined to maintain a contrarian position on AGW, there are other much better grounds on which to base that position (maybe climate sensitivity is low, or maybe the impacts of GW will be on balance positive, or maybe the impacts will be negative but the costs of mitigation would be higher than the benefits). Enthusiastically grasping at claims that the observed CO2 rise might not be anthropogenic in origin drastically reduces one’s credibility.

    Once again, apologies for the length of this comment.

  75. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Deciphering J’s report from planet Inverth, that planet is being heated by heat demons and the heat provokes the inhabitants to burn more fossil fuels. The coincidence of these two things leads some confused inhabitants to make the wrong inference, but they are easily shouted down by the air conditioning loving majority.

  76. TimTheToolMan:

    It seems to me that if our warming earth meant that CO2 levels should be rising to follow (as has been seen historically from ice cores) then the atmosphere could be out of equilibrium with CO2. We could be redressing that imbalance “immediately” by putting it there ourselves hence giving the appearance of much higher sensitivity.

    [Response: Huh?]

  77. J:

    My long comment (see above) has now appeared at Judith’s site. I’m glad it was just held up in moderation, and not lost.

    TimTheToolMan, keep in mind that the past century’s CO2 increase (on the order of 100 ppmv) is roughly equivalent to the range of variation associated with the full glacial/interglacial cycle (also on the order of 100 ppmv).

    If the CO2 rise were entirely natural, and a function of temperature, why would a temperature rise of 8C produce the same response as a rise of 0.8C?

  78. J:

    tamino wrote: You forgot the Leprechauns! I’m sick to death of people ignoring the Atlantic Multidecadal Leprechauns.

    Modesty apparently keeps Tamino from linking back to his own site, but that discussion (the Atlantic Multidecadal Leprechaun Oscillation thread) was one of the most hilarious things I’ve read in the past year. Check it out. Really.

  79. caerbannog:

    Didactylos 5 Aug 2011 @ 6:10 AM:

    It’s rather regrettable that Monnett was so forthright at the end of his previous (hilarious!) interview.

    Special Agent Eric May’s interrogation of Dr. Monnett brings back fond memories of Inspector Clouseau busting that organ-grinder and his minkey for operating without a “lisconse”.

  80. SecularAnimist:

    Salby’s lecture is already being proclaimed by Ditto-Head deniers on blogs everywhere as the latest “refutation” of the anthropogenic global warming “hoax”.

  81. Agnostic:

    Having followed the global warming/climate change debate and science for quite a while, I’m always interested to see how the two sides of the debate treat information that is potentially harmful to their position.

    I listenened to Salby’s talk as well, and at one point he says that if the IPCC had this information prior to their last report, they could not have reached the conclusions they did (among the other quotes ably reposted in this thread).

    To a lay person with an open mind, that’s a powerful statement coming from someone who is (by all accounts) a respected scientist. And all the cheering happening on the skeptic’s blogs right now is mirrored by the out of hand dismissals (even from Gavin!) on this site.

    For rationality to prevail, all those involved in a debate must ask the question ‘what new information might cause me to change my position?’ At this point all we have is a podcast from a talk, with a couple of papers forthcoming. But I’ve heard no one on this thread say “well, if he’s right, I guess that changes things.”

    I could be wrong (and I’d be the first to admit it), but something tells me unless Salby made some kind of fundamental error (and he says he sat on his results for a year in order to prevent that) and his results are in error, that this is a big deal. If science has inverted the relationship between CO2 and temp, then we’re going to have to re-think a number of things.

    I’ll be interested to see how this plays out in the hard science journals in the coming years.

    [Response: To a large degree being a scientist is all about correctly judging (most of the time) what is and what is not a fruitful line of research. Statistical reworkings of data has been available for years and which are well explained by our standard understanding, do not fall into the category of something that is going radically going to change our understanding. It is far more likely that someone a little out of their ifield, who isn’t up to date, and has made the (very common) mistake of over-interpreting their statistics. The question to be asked in such circumstances is what would be implied if the conclusion was correct? In this case, it would imply radically bigger changes of co2 during the ice ages, some completely unknown source of carbon that dominatea all others. This would be extraordinary, and would require far more than a few correlations to demonstrate to anyone else’s satisfaction. I very much doubt you will see this ‘play out’ in the literature over the next few years. – gavin]

  82. John N-G:

    I was lucky enough to attend Murray Salby’s talk at the IUGG conference in Melbourne. The thesis is not quite so simple as a correlation between CO2 rise and short-term temperature variations, because he found corroborating evidence in the change of CO2 slope over time. This made the argument not so easy to dismiss out of hand, although Salby was extremely careful not to draw any conclusions in his public presentation.

    It was quite good sport to play “spot the flaw” in real time. Fortunately, the talk was the last of the session, and both Alan Plumb and myself chatted with him right afterwards. Aside from whether a statistical argument makes physical sense, it also must hold water statistically by being applicable beyond the time frame of model development. In discussing what his model would mean for past variations of temperature and CO2, it eventually became clear that he believed all paleoclimate data that supported his statistical analysis and disregarded all paleoclimate data that countered his statistical analysis, even though the latter collection was much larger than the former.

    Eventually I realized that if 0.8 C of warming is sufficient to produce an increase of 120ppb CO2, as Salby asserted, then the converse would also have to be true. During the last glacial maximum, when global temperatures were indisputably several degrees cooler than today, the atmospheric CO2 concentration must have been negative.

    That was enough for me.

    ReCaptcha oracle: tierra deporte (spanish for “Earth sport”)

  83. Chris Colose:

    John N-G,

    I think you are right. The CO2 feedback sensitivity to temperature is O(10 ppm/ C) and there is a multitude of paleoclimatic events in the past that would pick up on something off by a factor of 10. Just as importantly, the oceans and biosphere are acting as a sink for the CO2, in collaboration for isotopic and O2 decline signatures that provide a robust framework for the origin of the excess CO2.

  84. S. Molnar:

    I can’t help noticing a pattern of commenters here and elsewhere who claim to be long-time followers of the climate science global warming debate apparently failing to realize that there are many climate science global warming debates, non of which are what they appear to think is “the” debate. I generally stop reading after the first sentence these days (which, of course, makes me close-minded).

  85. chris:

    Agnostic – 5 Aug 2011 @ 12:56 PM

    There’s something a little sad about your post. Someone in a supposed position of knowledge (Selby) says some astonishingly ignorant things: statements that are demonstrably incompatible with what we know. He insinuates that the warming of the last ~130 years (0.8 oC) is responsible for the rise in atmospheric CO2 (118 ppm) even ‘though it’s obvious that the [CO2] response to surface temperature change must be an order of magnitude smaller than this (the 5000 year transition from glacial to current (Holocene) interglacial produced around 90 ppm of [CO2] from an ~ 6 oC of global temperature rise, indicating that even allowing for [CO2] to come to equilibrium with surface temperature the [CO2] response can’t be greater than around 16 ppm per oC of surface warming).

    Selby states that he doesn’t believe the ice core [CO2] data. Brilliant! If you categorically dismiss what we know out of hand then any old rubbish can be pursued.

    It’s obvious that increased [CO2] can’t be coming out of the oceans in response to surface warming. The ocean pH is decreasing – so CO2 has to be going into the oceans. The astonishingly rapid rise in [CO2] of the last 50 years is very clearly associated with a very easily measured reduction in 13C/12C ratio indicating a dominant source in 13C-depleted CO2 (i.e. biogenic; aka fossil fuel).

    This is so obvious to be a no-brainer. Informed individuals would be remiss not to point this out…….and yet those that benefit from cheating Joe Public have learned that any old garbage will do since quite a lot of people will find it useful and will likely spread it all over the internet. And even though this junk is spread in order to support agendas that are likely to diminish Joe Public’s qualiy of life, they’ve managed to sucker a good few Joe Publics into accepting the rubbish – just as they did when the science on smoking/respiratory disease and lung cancer was misrepresented…and aspirin taking in children/Reyes syndrome and so on…and on..

  86. TimTheToolMan:

    Gavin writes “Paleo-climate constraints demonstrate that CC feedback even on really long time scales is not more than 100 ppmv/6 deg C (i.e. 16 ppmv/deg C), and over shorter time periods (i.e. Frank et al, 2010) it is more like 10 ppmv/deg C. Salby’s sensitivity appears to be 10 times too large.”

    You’re comparing a cooling phase with a warming one. There are also considerations on what life does (with CO2) during these times. Its entirely possible that large amounts of CO2 are released (and sequestered) during cooling phases.

    So in a nutshell, the planet cools, life declines and releases the carbon as CO2 which is sequestered into the ocean. The planet warms and the ocean releases large amounts of CO2 which life grabs.

    Hence more CO2 is potentially sequestered than your simple “look at what is in the atmosphere and assume thats what gets sequestered” point of view.

    The same argument goes in reverse except in our case by emitting CO2 ourselves we’re ensuring that the earth is always in equilibrium with its Temp/Life balance/Atmospheric CO2 level. And then some probably.

    Its all about thinking through the implications of CO2 levels being driven by the climate rather than the other way around. If you cant do that or aren’t willing to properly explore that, then as Salby also says, you’re no longer acting like a scientist. You’ve become an advocate for AGW.

    So far many people in this thread have written off this research without even having seen it!

    [Response: Yup. Just as I have written off research demonstrating the non-existence of gravity, the validity of astrology, evidence that consuming plutonium is good for you, or the discovery of the fabled ‘counterEarth’ on the other side of the sun, I have not bothered to look any farther than Salby’s podcast, which provided enough information to tell me not to look further. Being a scientist means, among other things, not wasting one’s time reading every random bit of ‘research’ that pops up in the blogosphere making claims to have overturned well established facts. I could be wrong of course, but until I hear something at least vaguely believable, I’ll not be paying much attention to this one. –eric]

  87. Steve Metzler:

    Chris C at #83 puts it all so succinctly, as did Gavin a few times before in this thread. Salby seems to have ‘gone emeritus’ a few years before his time, if the press photo is anything to go by (that is, if it’s current). This will be the denier’s “nail in the coffin for AGW” this month, anyway. Cynically looking forward to what will come along to top it next month, when Salby’s physically baseless claims fizzle out like the damp squib that they inevitably are.

    The tragedy of the commons will be mankind’s downfall. Meh. Had more to say, but best leave it there.

  88. Russell:

    Just as it took but a handful of reliable spokespersons to sustain the ” 1 dissenter means a TV debate” paradigm of the formative period of climate counter-advertising in America, Sydney and Perth’s coal-fired 21st century PR firms may be counseling their clients (very much the Down Under counterparts of the Calgary and Tulsa crowd) to subsidize the creation of a new generation of scientific point men, to deploy as the present generation of polemicists and arguments fades away.

    What could be more natural than for them to focus their mentoring efforts on current loci of recruitment success- the same university departments that gave us such solons as Plimer.

    The ideal candidate is a tenured academic of some administrative gravitas little creative potential, less to lose by way of current scientific fame, and much to gain in terms of nest-feathering from future consulting op-ed writing and book deals, especially in a market where political distribution can equal instant best-sellerdom even for pseudoscience pot boilers.

    We are after all talking about Murdochland, where many former vestiges of intelligent conservatism, e.g. Quadrant, have been co-opted by Cuppateapartistas like Windschuttle, who, having given carte blanche to the likes of Plimer and Carter , will welcome the new cohort of mining-approved boffins aboard. Note that the prospective tax on two shiploads of coal equals ten Soon-years of grantsmanship. It’s too bad that Australia’s literally golden age of mining geophysics has fallen into a more lucrative black hole.

  89. J:

    Agnostic, I don’t see the need for all that agonizing.

    I don’t know whether or not there will be anything of interest in Salby’s as-yet unseen paper, but I’m pretty confident it’s not going to suddenly reveal that we’ve “inverted the relationship between CO2 and temperature”.

    Nobody goes through life constantly thinking “What if Maxwell’s work on electromagnetism turns out to be wrong and all our electrical appliances suddenly stop working?”

    In principle, one could be wrong about all kinds of stuff. In practice, it’s highly unlikely that the railway station you’re passing on your way to work will suddenly turn out to be a giant octopus that was merely disguised as a railway station. You’re much better off using your mental energy for more important problems.

    For stuff that’s uncertain, debatable, or poorly known, you should of course always consider the possibility that you’re wrong. But it’s not always easy for an outsider to know what parts of a scientific field fall into the category of “stuff I should be continually questioning myself about” versus the category of “stuff I can safely assume is true until smacked in the head by evidence otherwise”.

    So, Agnostic, is there a lesson that should be drawn from this Salby episode? I’d say that the most obvious one is how many “contrarians” — people who probably like to think of themselves as hardnosed “skeptics” — have unskeptically jumped on the bandwagon being driven by Salby’s popularizers (Jo Nova, Andrew Bolt, etc.) Nobody’s seen this paper yet. Most papers that are promoted as dramatically overturning a huge body of existing knowledge turn out to be flawed. Any real skeptic would be extremely dubious about the claims for Salby’s paper.

  90. Susan Anderson:

    Found on Tenney Naumer’s blog – really shocking that some of the best reporters around were attacked. Hope this goes viral, and I don’t apologize this time:
    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/08/05/288405/alec-security-attacks-thinkprogress/

  91. Pete Dunkelberg:

    J wins the night!

  92. Tom Keen:

    Has anyone read this recent article by James Hansen? It’s certainly a conversation starter.

    Baby Lauren and the Kool-Aid

    An interesting quote that goes to the heart of the essay:

    The merchants [of doubt] play a role, to be sure, a sordid one, but they are not the main obstacle to solution of human-made climate change. The bigger problem is that people who accept the reality of climate change are not proposing actions that would work.

    I’d be interested in reading people’s reactions to it.

  93. john byatt:

    Was the Salby lecture just a hoax?

    http://www.cambridge.org/aus/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521767187

  94. Chris G:

    Some thoughts:

    Have to agree with Gavin that the debate over the possibility of a Venus-like runaway is a bit of a distraction. Somewhat interesting, but that argument is kind of moot if a ‘minor’ runaway that pushes the planet even 8 K is enough to end modern civilization.

    All runaways would plateau off eventually; I don’t think there is any physical process that would not be overcome by the fourth power factor of energy emitted in Stefan-Boltzmann. Heck, even stars, which undergo an astronomical positive feedback once fusion is triggered, level off in temperature at some point.

    Runaways and tipping points go hand in hand. There is more than one threshold or tipping point. Arctic ice has it’s own, permafrost another, the WAIS another. I think the biggest ‘if’ is the question of how many of these dominoes can push the planet to another one. Does losing the PIG mean that we also lose Thwaites, and thence most of the WAIS in time? Would losing summer Arctic ice help push us past a major clathrate release, or merely reinforce permafrost methane release? Would an increase in methane release from not-so permafrost subsequently trigger some clathrate releases? It is a multi-headed beast we are poking.

    I would be surprised if there were not attraction points in the earth climate system. If you add non-linear functions together, you are bound to get local minima and/or relatively level plateaus.

  95. Edward Greisch:

    81 Agnostic: There is no real debate. It is an entirely phony debate. What you need is enough education or training in science to be able to detect nonsense. The thing for a lay person with an open mind to do is go back to school. I know that that is difficult. It takes money, time and hard work. Your high school should have taught you a lot more than it did, but you should have taken more science and math in high school. The same goes for college if you went to college. And yes, everybody should learn enough science to know that the debate is phony. Salby isn’t fooling any scientists.

    For rationality to prevail, fossil fuel companies have to quit sponsoring propaganda or you have to ignore the propaganda. The real debate has been over since 1988 at the latest. Read “Climate Cover-Up” by James Hoggan and “Merchants of Doubt” by Oreskes and Conway. You should have picked those 2 books up from my previous post on this topic.

    For rationality to prevail, people have to be more rational. See previous posts. There are psychological barriers you may have to overcome to become a scientist. At the least, you have to understand that truth comes from doing scientific experiments, not from debate, ancient books, voting, consensus, organizations, people, authority or other unscientific sources. So you must take laboratory courses. You must learn to never believe any person, including yourself. A “powerful statement coming from someone” is something that you have to view as wrong until proven right. Physics majors in college never believe anything their professors say until there is no other possibility. That is the attitude you must have.

  96. wayne davidson:

    There is a possible visual proof about the effects of CO2, if I recall well, Raypierre estimated that the largest CO2 heat signature on a temperature Upper profile
    would be at the mid to lower atmosphere. If so there would be a larger temperature inversion there which would technically generate a lower stronger near surface one. In the Arctic this is seen as greater brightness during twilight, since sunlight from the South is carried much further North, particularly at about the winter solstice. On my webpage I call this effect the Y-V ulluq Q. Given a warming planet there should be a period of time when the high arctic experiences unusual brightness carried by temperature interfaces during long night twilights, or highly unusual sunrise location shifts mainly in January February, when the sun is still very low on the horizon. When the sun gets higher in the sky during spring the opposite occurs because warmer sun rays essentially demolish surface inversions. This effect has been observed throughout the high Arctic by independent witnesses, especially by highly sensitive to twilight brightness hunters. And so the Curry’s and the like would have to explain why twilight is brighter because CO2 has very little impact on temperature. There is something affecting twilight, and they of course offer no plausible alternative given that they discard CO2. The intuitive explanation, as a pre-emption to a possible rebuttal would be that the sea ice is thinner with more leads, generating stronger inversions, that is correct, its been filmed and observed, but something is melting the ice at a very fast and steady pace, it took decades to melt multi-year ice, so the effect is not linear… I wonder if something else, present for decades may have affected Arctic sea ice. Lets be clear, there is no other replacing element offered by the contrarians, aside from innuendos readily not observed…

  97. Icarus:

    I see a lot of articles and papers and blog discussions on positive feedbacks from ice albedo reduction, permafrost melt, the ocean turning from sink to source, forest die-off and others. It seems that each individually has the potential to contribute a substantial proportion of the anthropogenic climate forcing, or of anthropogenic carbon emissions.

    Are there any studies from real climate scientists which attempt to bring together all of this into one big picture? Will there come a point where the combined effect of all these positive feedbacks is larger than the anthropogenic forcing, meaning that it’s out of our hands regardless of what we do? Have we already reached that point?

    I don’t want to be a ‘doomer’ but I think it’s important to be realistic. My understanding is that the combined anthropogenic greenhouse forcing is already about 2.6W/m², which is enough for 2°C of warming just from fast feedbacks alone, and we can’t rely on aerosols to offset that forcing forever.

    I’m concerned that we may have studies saying that there is no ‘tipping point’ for Arctic sea ice and that permafrost melt will only contribute (say) 1 billion tons of carbon per year, so that we could be complacent about each effect individually, when in reality the combined effect of all these positive feedbacks is more than enough to take the warming completely out of our hands. What do real climate scientists (as opposed to bloggers etc.) think about this ‘big picture’?

  98. Geoff Wexler:

    Re: #81

    I listenened to Salby’s talk as well, and at one point he says that if the IPCC had this information prior to their last report, they could not have reached the conclusions they did..

    Sure; and not just the IPCC’s conclusions; Salby has also overthrown the conservation of mass and the acid ocean effect. Just, think of all those conclusions. That talk will go down in history

  99. Steve Metzler:

    #91 john byatt:

    Was the Salby lecture just a hoax?

    Hmm. Now that you mention it, is there any possibility that this is a social experiment being conducted by Salby to prove that the AGW contrarians will uncritically latch onto anything that supports their anti-scientific, ideological world view?

    If he goes through with it, be interesting to see what journal he manages to get published in.

  100. Hunt Janin:

    Re 95 above:

    Anyone have any thoughts on possible “black swan” events re Arctic sea ice?

  101. Hank Roberts:

    It’s from a series.

    This appears to be the first edition, which might be interesting to compare once the 2nd comes out.
    http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Atmospheric-Physics-International-Geophysics/dp/0126151601
    Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics, Volume 61 …
    Murry L. Salby (Author)
    Roger A. Pielke Sr. (Series Editor)

    Search inside the book:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0126151601/ref=sib_dp_ptu#reader-link

    Try “sensitivity” — which takes you to p. 252.
    I hope someone will try working the sample questions that follow and comment on them.

    His citations for the chapter start at p. 252 and include
    Liou (1980), Lebedev (1972) on exponential functions (not to be confused with the contemporary climate denier Lebedev); a very early Ramanathan piece, and the 1990 IPCC (Houghton et al.).

    So I guess the current (older, first) edition is really, really old.

    Looking forward to someone getting the $$$ new one and checking what’s changed against the first edition. Or perhaps the series editor will blog it.
    ———-

    ReCaptcha Oracle offers: “ediers (footnote”

  102. Fred Moolten:

    I find the debate about the Salby talk intriguing, because it raises questions that I’d like to see answered (although the published paper may answer them, but in the meantime, I’m curious).

    To me, there are two separate questions:
    (1) Are Salby’s conclusions wrong? Given the wealth of evidence for anthropogenic contributions as the dominant or even exclusive contributor to the past century’s CO2 rise, I would have to say Salby is wrong, but question (2) is more interesting to me.

    (2) If he is wrong, what is wrong with his argument? I infer (speculatively) that he has taken detrended CO2 data, regressed annual CO2 changes against temperature, and concluded that rather small temperature changes are associated with rather large changes in the rate of net CO2 flux. By “rather”, I mean that if he takes the slope of the curve he derives and applies it to the past century, it tells him that 0.74 C would deliver most of the 110 ppm increase in CO2 levels that have been recorded. In other words, his argument is a quantitative one, and can’t be dismissed by claiming that temperature fluctuations cause only “slight” CO2 changes if the data appear to show the opposite.

    Perhaps his data are inaccurate or the correlations too poor to be meaningful, but I suspect not. What then is wrong with the conclusions he draws? Merely to say that the other evidence contradicts them is insufficient to fully put the matter to rest. I have some ideas as to the errors in his logic, but before posting them, I’d be interested in the views of others.

  103. Edward Greisch:

    90 Tom Keen: “Baby Lauren and the Kool-Aid” at http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110729_BabyLauren.pdf

    Yes. James Hansen is correct and still the boss of NASA-GISS. I especially liked “The Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy” part. The article was repeated at: http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/08/05/hansen-energy-kool-aid/

    I expect that fossil fueled power plants will be shut down by rulemaking by the EPA rather than by a carbon fee. The reason is that the rulemaking is partially insulated from politicians and propaganda. The EPA can continue to do its job as long as the Tea Party [Koch Oil Company] can be blocked from shutting down the EPA.

  104. Edward Greisch:

    90 Tom Keen: “The bigger problem is that people who accept the reality of climate change are not proposing actions that would work.” True. That is a psychological problem and a general knowledge problem.
    See:
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/video/need-to-know-july-15-2011-california-nuclear-safety-population-control-gloria-steinem/10410/#disqus_thread

    Some Japanese are trying to reduce their exposure to radiation to LESS THAN THE NATURAL BACKGROUND! They didn’t have geiger counters before the tsunami, so they didn’t know that there has always been natural background radiation. They also do not know about the radiation that they are getting from coal. The problem is the lack of general education in the sciences.

  105. Hank Roberts:

    Uh, oh: http://io9.com/5825270/blame-sheep-for-screwing-up-tree+ring-dating
    “New research published in Functional Ecology

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2435.2011.01877.x/abstract;jsessionid=9545E0D824803A73B9D0E07BA4B86B1C.d03t04

    has shown that sheep have more of an impact on tree rings than the climate….”

  106. Edward Greisch:

    From: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney

    POLITICS

    The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science

    How our brains fool us on climate, creationism, and the vaccine-autism link.
    —By Chris Mooney

    “Conservatives are more likely to embrace climate science if it comes to them via a business or religious leader, who can set the issue in the context of different values than those from which environmentalists or scientists often argue. Doing so is, effectively, to signal a détente in what Kahan has called a “culture war of fact.” In other words, paradoxically, you don’t lead with the facts in order to convince. You lead with the values—so as to give the facts a fighting chance.”

  107. Geoff Wexler:

    RE #98 (old edition)

    [Notes (can’t copy/paste)from p. 23].

    .. interaction w. oceans & biosph.make CO2 budget complex but human activity is strongly suggested in recent measurements..

  108. Patrick 027:

    Correction re my 27 a runaway water vapor situation doesn’t imply permanence.As opposed to (if I recall correctly – and I never read a whole lot about this) what had been thought about a snowball Earth with dry ice clouds in some conditions (but it turns out that dry ice clouds are effective greenhouse agents)

    Actually, even if dry ice clouds had no greenhouse effect and just increased the albedo to the point that it is harder to warm up the planet to reduce the dry ice clouds (if that’s how it was supposed to have worked?), albedo still presumably is below 100 % and a strong enough dose of energy could do something; or perhaps an asteroid impact could fill the air with a darker aerosol, etc.

  109. Chris G:

    Icarus #95,
    I think there are too many uncertainties = not enough data. Probably the best estimates of what is to come are paleoclimate studies of what has happened in the past. There’s a problem with that though; we are off the map. I’m not aware of any record of such a rapid increase in GHG concentrations. Probably we won’t really know what we have caused until it is behind us, but this has been understood for decades.

    All, thanks for the discussion on Salby. What I’m walking away with is that, yes, temperature increases can cause CO2 increases, but this has been understood for a long time, Salby’s position falls into the “it’s happening, but it’s not our fault” category, and that his argument has some major flaws, as described in previous comments.

    dashed ronverm

  110. Radge Havers:

    “culture war of fact”

    I’d go further and say that in this case words (generated by the “debaters”) aren’t proxies for reality in a scientific sense, rather they are proxies for social dominance which is perceived as the only reality of any importance.

    The availability heuristic bias was mentioned on another thread (i.e., if you can think of it, it must be important). That along with a primate obsession for dominance, the Dunning-Kruger effect and no doubt quite a number of other human design flaws, makes for some miserable company on any issue of importance.

    It’s why I think it’s really important for scientists to design simple, condensed statements that summarize the science in easily available form. Else is there really any way to inject into the public sphere the kind of rigorous training that would ordinarily be required to undo the massive skeins of interconnected malware sitting in so many people’s heads?

    For cheerful optimists, Wikipedia has a quick and compact list of cognitive biases that will probably fix your little red wagon for the rest of the day.

  111. Meow:

    @99: See message 82. Among other things, Salby’s got to account for the > 350 GT C we’ve added to the atmosphere since 1751, the oceans’ falling pH and rising pCO2, and the fact that ~6K changes during glacial cycles are associated with only ~100 ppmv changes in CO2. Also, he’s got to identify a source for his CO2 that explains not just the quantity accumulated since the industrial revolution, but also its isotopic composition. While he’s at it, he’s also got to explain how that CO2 “hasn’t” worked to heat the earth as its physics would predict, and where the heat came from to liberate the CO2 that he says was liberated.

    Anyone can find all sorts of correlations in climate data, and can use them to hypothesize virtually anything. The question, as always, is whether the hypothesis holds water. To do so, it has — at a bare minimum — to account for observations.

  112. Ron R.:

    Hank Roberts @ 12:22 PM

    A few thoughts. We have a horse and note that when the green grass she grazes on is gone (around the end of April) she becomes more of a mixed grazer/browser and stays that way until the grass is back in the rainy season, Maybe six months later. Then she reverts wholly to eating grass again, much her preferred diet. This is not representative of what would be found in the wild because even in the dry months she still continues to eat the brown grass down to the ground where as in the much larger wild grazers will have more grass available, even though dry, and thus would probably browse less.

    As to the study, I only read the abstract, but if everything is as intimated it would seem that browsing could lead one to assume a cooler local environ in the past than was actual. I wonder though about the unnatural effects of concentrating sheep around certain trees (though maybe they made allowances for estimations of browser populations in the past?). This study is valuable in establishing that browsers have an impact on tree ring growth but would those trees have been that heavily grazed without the fence that was erected around them? And what time of year were they putting them in those enclosures? Summers, when they would be browsing more. They even say, “This shows that the density of herbivores affects the tree ring record, at least in places with slow-growing trees.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110726213447.htm

    Also at higher elevations I believe that evergreens are much more abundant thus it would seem that the susceptibility of any one tree to heavy browsing (and the chances of accidentally choosing those particular browsed trees for ring growth study is doubtful). IOW, many more evergreen trees used for proxy data would be unbrowsed than browsed giving a truer reading would it not?

    The author says “in lowland regions tree rings are less likely to have been affected by herbivores because they can grow out of reach faster“. Maybe I’m wrong but I suspect that the kind of trees subject to this test would make a difference as I have doubts that evergreens are browsed as much as deciduous when available, first because evergreen leaves are hard, narrow and bitter and second because they generally tend to be found at higher elevations while browsers and grazers are generally found lower down.

    In the study looks like they used Birch trees which are deciduous. But don’t most tree rings used for proxy data come from evergreens and wouldn’t that for the reasons stated above make the data coming from them more reliable?

    http://www.bgc-jena.mpg.de/bgc-organisms/pmwiki.php/Research/INTAS

    I also wonder how this study comports with this one which seems to indicate an anomoly with regard to birches and responses to temperatures.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/9503750760373r78/

  113. Paul S:

    Fred Moolten – ‘(2) If he is wrong, what is wrong with his argument?’

    He actually makes a few arguments: Firstly, that year-to-year growth rate of CO2 is highly variable and this variability is almost entirely due to changes in natural sources and sinks, driven by temperature changes, rather than human emissions. This part is already well accepted and widely known. Strangely he presents the information as if it’s groundbreaking but perhaps that’s because he is speaking to a layman audience.

    Secondly, he infers from this that the long term trend in CO2 could likewise be explained mostly by temperature change rather than human emissions. I’m not sure your description of his methods is correct so here’s my interpretation:

    Salby takes a satellite MSU LT temperature record and compares it to the Mauna Loa CO2 trend over the satellite-era. He finds a strong correlation and calculates a sensitivity (the natural source/sink change in CO2 for a given temperature change). He then builds a simple model which ‘predicts’ atmospheric CO2 further back in time, using his inferred sensitivity and a surface temperature record (probably Gistemp based on 1880 being his ‘end’ point). A comparison is then made between his model and the Law Dome ice core CO2 record*. He finds that his model result for 1880 agrees well with the Law Dome record.

    There are a few problems I can see here. a) CO2 is known to increase global temperature so a good correlation between them is hardly surprising. b) Salby’s chosen study period – 1880 to near-present – exhibits mainly warming which makes it difficult to discern if the model is telling us something significant or if a reasonable correlation is obtained only for the reason stated in a). A real test of the model would look at a period where human emissons have increased but temperatures haven’t. Luckily such a period exists in the middle of the 20th Century. Salby reports that there is a considerable discrepancy between his model and CO2 measurements over this period so essentially the model doesn’t do well for its only real test (he strongly suggests this is down to problems with the surface temperature record). c) as Jon Nils-Gammin says, if Salby’s model were pushed further back to the deglaciation period you would quite quickly get negative CO2 concentrations. Not sure this one is necessarily a fundamental problem though – an empirical model could be correct in one set of conditions (Holocene) and not for another (Deglaciation).

    I think the fundamental problem is that the 20th Century is a wholly unsuitable period for Salby’s methods because of the (plausible) major contamination from human CO2 emissions. Since he’s trying to discern the sensitivity of natural CO2 sources/sinks to temperature changes he really needs to apply the method to a period in which there isn’t a large ‘external’ source of CO2 emissions.

    Thirdly, the 13/12 ratios. But this post is already too long. Maybe later.

    *As an aside, Salby repeatedly refers to the ice core records as “proxy data”. I believe this is erroneous. Ice cores can be proxies for temperature but gas measurements are direct, just on air that has been previously trapped and stored rather than ‘realtime’.

  114. arch stanton:

    As mentioned above by Geoff Wexler (104) Salby’s statements concerning anthropogenic CO2 contributions on page 23 of the ‘96 edition of Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics are very “conventional” and are at odds with his recent talk.

    (Hank’s link):
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0126151601/ref=sib_dp_ptu#reader-link

    Maybe Byant (91) and Metzler (97) are on to something with the hoax/experiment thing?

  115. Kooiti Masuda:

    It seems that the argument raised by Salby (except technical details) is similar to what a group of Japanese AGW deniers advocates for several years. Atsushi Tsuchida is a retired physicist and I think his contribution in the 1970s to the non-equilibrium steady-state thermodynamic thinking about environment and resources is positive and remarkable even though both mainstream economists and physicists regard him as a heretic. Kuniaki Kondo is an engineer and maintains a web site http://www.env01.net/ which advocates Tsuchida’s and his own views. They are self-convinced anti-nuclear-power activists, and they claim themselves as grass-roots environmentalists rather than supporters of the capitalist regime. Note that, in Japan perhaps like in France, promotion of nuclear power, rather than of fossil fuel, is associated with the establishment, so that AGW skepticism tends to align with left-wing rather than right-wing criticisms. (Incidentally, Kondo also advocates against development of wind power facilities, ironically very much like Lovelock does.)

    They found a picture, originally made by Keeling in the 1980s, of band-pass filtered records of CO2 concentration and temperature, which shows that changes of CO2 concentration lag those of temperature. So they consider that the temperature is the cause and CO2 concentration is the effect. They did some data analysis. They found good correlation between annual increase of CO2 concentration and temperature. They wrote a paper (in Japanese) and submitted to the bulletin of the Meteorological Society of Japan. MSJ rejected it as a result of peer reviews. Tsuchida sued the MSJ claiming that MSJ rejected their paper on political grounds. The courts ruled against him, but he tries again.

    Apparently Tsuchida does not forget the conservation of mass, but he believes that fossil-fuel CO2 can easily be absorbed somewhere, and that the CO2 flux between the ocean and the atmosphere is determined by the surface temperature. We cannot convince him that his theory does not hold, while he cannot convince the judge.

    Tsuchida also claims that since the mean residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is around 3 years, the effect of fossil-fuel CO2 should damp with this time constant after emission. I have not directly discussed with him about that, but I encountered several people entrenched in that view. They take hold on such expression in standard texts as “nearly half of fossil-fuel CO2 remains in the atmosphere” and say that it contradicts the established knowledge about the residence time. I needed many rounds to realize the problem. Tracking a piece of material (e.g. a carbon atom) and evaluating mass balance are different things. Even if an “anthropogenic” CO2 molecule go to the ocean, a “natural” CO2 molecule can fill the place, then the anthropogenic effect to the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere does not change.

    I think that AGW deniers are likely tempted to take their position, but it likely makes self-contradiction in their arguments.

    First, Tsuchida and Kondo take the surface temperature records compiled by NOAA or Japan Meteorological Agency for granted. They just deny anthropogenic global warming as a mechanism. This argument is not compatible with denial of global warming as a phenomenon.

    Second, if they adopt the theory that “temperature causes CO2 flux”, and if they consider that it was globally warm in the “medieval warm period”, then CO2 concentration in that period must have been as high as present. They may consider that compilation by E.-G. Beck is more reliable than Antarctic ice core records. But then they cannot use the lag between CO2 concentration and temperature (actually isotope ratio) in the Antarctic ice core during the glacial cycles as a reliable support to their theory.

  116. Edward Greisch:

    99 Fred Moolten: Salby: First you need a mechanism to make the temperature go up. Salby just assumes that the temperature goes up by itself. That doesn’t work. There has to be a reason for the warming. Science isn’t about correlations. Remember Newton’s clockwork universe? We want to know what got adjusted in the clock to make the temperature go up first. Or, what made the natural CO2 emission go up? We know about the infrared optical properties of gasses. Oxygen and nitrogen are transparent in the infrared. CO2 is opaque to infrared. So CO2 can prevent infrared from escaping from the Earth.

    Look up the Keeling curve, such as http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/24/your-piece-of-the-keeling-curve/
    Salby spouts nonsense on the Keeling curve. The Keeling curve is an annual sine wave added to a long term rise.

    If Salby has a new measurement of natural emission or absorbtion of CO2, he should have made the speech about that measurement. Salby just states that CO2 goes up with temperature. No mechanics. And then he says that he fooled you and used financial graphs instead of CO2 and temperature.

    Managers like self-confidence. Salby sounds too self-confident. Too much self-confidence is a bad sign in science because scientists are shy. Salby sounds tense, as he would be if he were lying. There is software for testing truthfulness from a recording.

    See Gavin’s response to 55, 57, 81.

    110 arch stanton: Page 23 of Salby’s book does indeed contradict Salby’s speech. And yes, I think Salby’s speech was a lie and Salby knows it.

  117. Eli Rabett:

    Besides the conservation of CO2 arguments it seems to Eli that Salby is assuming an instantaneous response of the sinks to the emissions. Since the turnover time is ~ 7 years and the sinks are temperature sensitive on a faster time scale, this is not going to work

  118. Geoff Wexler:

    Re : #110.
    True. The contents of the old edition look impressive. But if I had to choose between it and Raypierre’s book, I would not follow Judith Curry’s advice on this occasion, but go for the latter book, because of its Chapter 8 alone, “Evolution of the Atmosphere” which includes a good discussion in section 8.4 “Partitioning of Constituents between atmosphere and ocean”.

    In contrast Salby’s early book does not appear to have covered this. I have so far failed to find any references to Bolin and Ericsson (and perhaps Revelle and Suess) ,who I thought, had so much influence on current understanding (see e.g. also Spencer Weart web pages on discovery of GW). They came out a few decades before the old edition of his book.

    The same applies to the words acid,carbonic,carbonate,bicarbonate, pH, etc.

    [Needs checking:am I wrong to emphasise this?]

  119. Larry Gilman:

    Jim Hansen is a climate-change god, and I revere him for that, but he has a big, shiny, Phillips-head screw lose on the subject of renewable energy sources and Amory Lovins, whom he has repeatedly, and falsely, accused of making a false “projection” about the rise of renewables back in the 70s. I deal with this false claim by Hansen in detail at http://nolongerbythinking.blogspot.com/2009/05/letter-to-jim-hansen.html . Short form: what Hansen calls a now-falsified “projection” by Lovins was in fact labeled by Lovins from the get-go as an “Alternate Illustrative Future,” i.e., a claim about what would or could happen if certain energy policies were adopted. But those policies were not adopted, so how can the figure fairly be characterized as a failed prophecy? How can a conditional prediction be accused of failure if its conditions are not met? Hansen himself, as I show at the foregoing link, has published similar illustrative projections of different variables. Yet he stubbornly and unfairly continues to insist that Lovins made an erroneous _forecast_.

    Two major points:

    (1) Supplying electricity and other forms of energy is something that engineers and other applied physicists do and that energy experts study — not climatologists. And Hansen is a climatologist. He is therefore opining out of his field when he talks energy supply technologies and their global adequacy, yet does not, that I have seen, acknowledge this. Nor does he cite any significant literature to back up his assertion that renewables are intrinsically, hilariously unable to undergird our energy economy. Instead, he heaps scorn on Lovins 30-year-old “illustrative” graph, which he misrepresents as a failed forecast. This is not, to put it mildly, meaningful technical discourse. Many persons with actual expertise in energy have a different view, and have had the grace to show us their numbers: see, for example, the rather conservative peer-reviewed analysis at “Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power”
    (from _Energy Policy_: Parts I and II at http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/JDEnPolicyPt1.pdf and http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/DJEnPolicyPt2.pdf). The IPCC, citing extensive technical literature and making no mention of fairies or bunnies, just released a report in May 2011 ( http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/report ) showing that renewables can, in fact, power the world. But Hansen, apparently writing two months after the IPCC report came out, does not even reference it, much less rebut it. He has anecdotal evidence about solar panels on his daughter’s house that he’d rather talk about. This is a sad performance indeed for a world-class scientist.

    (2) Contra Hansen, there is no fundamental scale mismatch between our needs and the basic renewable resources and no fundamental technological or economic obstacle to harvesting those resources in sufficient quantities, especially if we use what we harvest with even moderate efficiency (and efficiency will be increasingly necessary and/or profitable no matter what source of energy we tap). Hansen calls these elementary physical facts an “Easter Bunny fable,” and fervently believes that nuclear power — which remains spectacularly and stubbornly beached on the golden sandbar of its awful per-kWh costs despite the astonishing volume of subsidy offers pumped under it of late, whose global output remains stagnant after a decade of “renaissance,” with its multibillion-dollar power cathedrals, decade-long lead times, and retirement-bound global reactor fleet — Hansen fervently believes that nuclear is an affordable, large-scale energy jackrabbit that can push Old Man Coal out of the picture and save us from climate change. It’s surreal: Hansen accuses numerous experts of Easter Bunny belief while parading around in a giant “I Believe in Santa Claus” signboard. In reality, wind is now much cheaper per kWh at the margin than nuclear and is going to remain so.

    Lovins reviews, with extensive references, the “terminal attack of market forces” that long since crippled nuclear power at http://www.rmi.org/cms/Download.aspx?id=2585&file=E08-01_NuclearIllusion+(1).pdf&title=The+Nuclear+Illusion . But Hansen does not address any of this material: he’d rather misrepresent a 35-year-old chart and rant about how it didn’t come true after all . . .

    Jim, you can do better than this!

  120. Vendicar Decarian:

    Republicans in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives have put a provision in the foreign aid spending bill that would eliminate U.S. funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

  121. Aaron Lewis:

    Looking at http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/08/05/288347/warming-shrink-russian-permafrost/ and related going back to http://www.plant.siu.edu/faculty/vitt/pdf/183-2002.PDF , http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100304142240.htm , http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071025174618.htm , & http://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/jbubier/pdf/Liblik97GBC11.PDF , I was surprised that the 2010 State of Climate did not address methane releases from permafrost and clathrates in more detail.

    I find methane from permafrost and clathrates to be a much higher risk than CO2, because they are not in our climate models, and thus we know less about how they will affect out climate. And, less knowledge suggests greater risk.

  122. DeWitt Payne:

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, there’s a new ‘paper’ out by someone touted to be a qualified astrophysicist although he lists his degree as Msc in the title: The Model Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect. It’s being highly touted in what even I would have to call the denialist fringe blogs like Climate Realists.

    It’s awful. It makes Gerlich and Tscheuschner look almost reasonable by comparison. It’s not quite to the level of ridiculousness of Nasif Nahle, but it’s close.

  123. John Mashey:

    re: #122
    See PSI, whichsays:
    “FOUNDING MEMBERS

    The ‘Slayers’ book project and PSI were both conceived by legal analyst and science writer, John O’Sullivan. The British former teacher and lecturer correctly identified that the formation of a large body of experts uniting to address the perceived corruption within government-funded science would succeed where lone voices have failed.”

  124. ccpo:

    @Larry 119: (2) Contra Hansen, there is no fundamental scale mismatch between our needs and the basic renewable resources and no fundamental technological or economic obstacle to harvesting those resources in sufficient quantities, especially if we use what we harvest with even moderate efficiency (and efficiency will be increasingly necessary and/or profitable no matter what source of energy we tap). Hansen calls these elementary physical facts an “Easter Bunny fable,”

    Hansen is correct. The analysis lacking is on your end, and Lovins’. What virtually all who attempt to address future energy consumption fail to understand are a few simple things such as the Law of the Minimum + resource limits + ecological services limits + population (exponents) + Jevons Paradox and more. If energy were the only issue, you might be right and Hansen wrong, but it is energy and …. everything else. I repeat everything else. This is why people get caught up in nearly-pointless, essentially semantic non-distinctions like the one you have raised.

    Hansen is right: we can’t use renewables to continue growth. Hansen is wrong: We can’t use nuclear to continue growth.

    1.5 Earth’s ecological services and counting. Efficiency cannot make up the difference, and that’s not including the additional 2 – 5 billion people on the way.

    The error is assuming growth at all.

    If this isn’t self-explanatory, let me know what you’d like to explore.

    Quick hits:

    Renewable are made using fossil fuels.

    Renewables at a scale well below, lower tech, massively distributed, etc., are very doable. Just not at 9 or 12 billion and sucking up lots of other resources to deliver that electricity.

    Diminishing returns.

    Water.

    Locations.

    Time. (most people don’t realize things such as typical turnover of the US auto fleet would take something on the order of 17 years. Imagine the scale of what we must do…)

    Scale. (On the order of 10,000 nuclear reactors globally. Good luck with that.)

    Time. We can massively reduce consumption now. We cannot keep up increasing consumption much longer.

    The strains on the system are everywhere. If you don’t think we’re well into a series of bifurcations globally…

  125. MattB:

    Larry in 119: Hansen is perfectly qualified enough to make an assessment of the energy options available to us. To me his prime concern is the climate and he wants a solution that works. Lovins, whom I do think is good value for the most part, seems more interested in having a world that is shaped according to some cozy anti-energy ideal.

    Could you please show me some genuine savvy applied physicists and engineers who think that Lovins is right as I can’t find them… to me the world is full of applied physicists and engineers who are astounded by the zealous pursuit of the renewable dream in the face of the harsh realities of energy supply.

  126. MapleLeaf:

    More BS from Spencer that should probably be addressed, well that is if anyone cares anymore what he believes.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/08/is-gores-missing-heat-really-hiding-in-the-deep-ocean/

  127. chris colose:

    DeWitt Payne,

    I just skimmed through this. I don’t have time to check all the equations but there are several issues:

    1) The author seems to have a huge issue with the factor of “4” used in the radiative balance equation S(1-a)=4sigma*T^4 in deriving the emission temperature. This is indeed problematic for an airless body with low thermal inertia, like Mercury or the moon, where it is more appropriate to factor along a hemisphere or even a point. The diurnal temperature range is relatively smooth over Earth, and especially Venus.

    2) The author implies that the atmospheric emissivity must exceed one in order to determine the surface temperature of Venus, which he then claims is an obvious absurdity; it is, but in this case he attempts to use a single-layer atmosphere in order to derive this result, which itself is absurd. Even for realistic radiative transfer modeling on Earth you need to break up the atmosphere into many layers of varying temperature and emissivity. For a single layer atmosphere, the surface temperature is constrained to be no greater than (2^0.25)*Te, where Te is ~255 K on Earth (see his equation 8); this is because the atmosphere also emits energy upon absorption. If the planet had a high albedo in the infrared spectrum, and the floating plane were instead a good infrared reflector, you could substantially heat the surface well in excess of this value.

    3) You can poke a lot of holes in the simple textbook explanations, but it is well known to the academic community that the real world is not a single pane of glass with some constant emissivity hovering over the surface. In that sense, most of this paper is attacking an artificial issue. More complex models than back of the envelope learning tools employ the Planck function at a large number of points, and must solve the problem with the temperature and absorber distribution at each point.

    4) The author seems to imply that a constant lapse rate fixed over defined depth of the atmosphere forbids “back radiation” to increase the temperature differential between the top and bottom of the atmosphere. This is an obvious misunderstanding. There is no justification for using a fixed depth, since the greenhouse effect increases the mean emission level to space, allowing you to extrapolate along a greater distance from the emission level to the surface, reaching a higher surface temperature. The infrared opacity determines the height of emission! And on a planet like Venus, a high optical depth implies a much higher tropopause as well. On Earth, the higher tropopause (in the tropics for example) is instead largely a result of the lower lapse rate.

    Those are some of the more noticeable issues, but I’m sure others can have fun poking jabs at some more.

  128. Edward Greisch:

    Dear Moderator: Are you going to delete 119 Larry Gilman’s comment branching into discussing nuclear vs renewables, or do I have to answer it?

    James Hansen “was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of Dr. James Van Allen at the University of Iowa, receiving his bachelor’s degree with highest distinction in physics and mathematics, master’s degree in astronomy, and Ph. D. in physics in 1967.” That is from his CV at http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/hansencv_201106.pdf

    Dr. Hansen is therefore qualified in all of physics, including nuclear physics and energy in general. Larry Gilman’s questions have already been answered in a previous post, so I hope I do not have to answer them again.

  129. Didactylos:

    Larry Gilman:

    I haven’t read every single word Hansen has ever written, but I’m still very sure that Hansen isn’t proposing nuclear power to the exclusion of other renewable sources.

    His points that renewables (including nuclear) have failed to live up to expectations in many ways, and that some regions are not ideally placed to go the 100% wind/solar route, are perfectly valid.

    You make a few errors in your assumptions. First, nuclear isn’t as expensive as you think it is. Most countries that get a significant fraction of their energy from nuclear get it at a price that is comparable or better than coal. Second, some regions of the world are too densely populated and too short of wind and sun to get 100% of their energy needs from these sources. I do have to note, however, that the continental US in general is not one of these regions – they have plenty of sun, wind, and open space. That’s not to say that nuclear doesn’t have a role in US energy, but for other countries it is much more vital.

    And you make a big error in your reading of SSREN. It states quite clearly that global renewables can meed global demand (something we all know, and few people argue about) but that some regions have “relatively low levels of technical potential”. It further makes the point that even these regions don’t yet fully exploit the potential available, which is perfectly true. We still need increased take-up of renewables everywhere, even when they can’t ultimately provide 100% of our needs.

    In summary, then: please do everything you can to boost renewables, but don’t do it at the expense of other non-fossil options that will be needed.

  130. deconvoluter:

    Re #122

    [You might think that this is waste of space but I think that some of it is amusing]

    Hosted by the modestly entitled Principia Scientifica in the UK, previously devoted to repeating 100 year old work on small glass greenhouses.

    Is this, its first weighty article, from the Lyndon la Rouche School of Theoretical physics?

    The back-radiative GH model is boot-strapped into existence (i.e., pulling oneself out of quick-sand by pulling up on your own bootstraps…a basic violation of mechanics) via paradigmatic illogic, which must obviously be congruent and inherently systemic.

    This, as opposed to the illogical direct comparison of said physically unique (i.e., different) metrics without qualification and the consequent arrangement of tautologies built up to superficially sustain and promote that original deception. Thus, there is absolutely no allowance nor justification for a back-radiative GHE whatsoever, in the reference frame of logic and Natural Philosophy.

    That puts one automatically into the contention that, if you explain that there is no radiative GHE in the atmosphere, then people will respond with the confusion over the greenhouse effect in a real greenhouse which everyone knows really does exist, but without actually knowing why it exists.

  131. Jesús R.:

    There’s a new paper on the tropical tropospheric trend saga:

    While satellite MSU/AMSU observations generally support GCM results with tropical deep-layer tropospheric warming faster than surface, it is evident that the AR4 GCMs exaggerate the increase in static stability between tropical middle and upper troposphere during the last three decades.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL048101.shtml.

    [Response: For those without access to the full paper, an important caveat in the conclusions (italics mine):

    “One of the striking features in GCM‐predicted climate change due to the increase of greenhouse gases is the much enhanced warming in the tropical upper troposphere. Here we examine this feature by using satellite MSU/AMSU‐ derived deep‐layer temperatures in the tropical upper‐ (T24) and lower‐ (T2LT) middle troposphere for 1979–2010. It is shown that T24‐T2LT trends from both RSS and UAH are significantly smaller than those from AR4 GCMs. This indicates possible common errors among GCMs although we cannot exclude the possibility that the discrepancy between models and observations is partly caused by biases in satellite data.” -eric]

  132. Dan Lufkin:

    But top climatologist Joe Postma bases his analysis on a theory of cognition by noted American Patriot and polymath Lyndon LaRouche. How can you find fault with that?

  133. meteor:

    In the context of Compo et al 2008, which concerns the influence of SST on the recent land warming, how do you understand the difference between the two warming periods in the 20th century 1910-1945 and 1975-2010?

    In 1910-1945 the increases are for SST 0.41°C and for land 0.30°C
    In 1975-2010 the increases are for SST 0.39°C and for land 0.73°C.

    Thus for the same increase of SST there are very different increases of land?

    How is it possible if the temperature land is the slave of ocean temperatures as Compo and al and others claim it?

  134. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Shorter # 128: word salad, heavy on the nuts.

    People who think that throwing together a bunch of words like that means they are on to something are defective. What is a good explanation of the defect?

  135. Marcus:

    Re #128

    Sounds like physicists having an evening with a lot of fun (and a couple of beers)

  136. flxible:

    Hansen is right: we can’t use renewables to continue growth. Hansen is wrong: We can’t use nuclear to continue growth.

    Why most intelligent folks continue to ignore this most central aspect of the unsustainable nature of human behavior on the planet is baffling. The only possible future is one with massively fewer humans, and I think the herd is going to insure that outcome.

    reCAPTCHA: objectio isthere

  137. Kevin McKinney:

    #129–

    Compare and contrast what William Charles Wells did with a few thermometers, props, handkerchiefs, and bits of paper back in 1811–oh, and he needed access to a good grassy lawn, too. His “An Essay Upon Dew” can be accessed free at Google books, and is an illuminating read for anyone interested in the issue of atmospheric radiation.

  138. John W:

    flxible says
    “The only possible future is one with massively fewer humans”

    That will only ensure the extinction of all known life. Without the pressure of over population and resource competition why would we spread to other planets? Then what happens when something really bad happens to this one. GAME OVER.

  139. Kevin McKinney:

    #120–Yes. They also voted to defund a potential NOAA climate unit, and forbade the Dept. of Agriculture and the US Army Corps of Engineers to consider anything to do with climate change in planning for the future.

    And no, I’m not joking; my local Representative introduced one of these measures.

  140. Hank Roberts:

    Nukeeeeeeees—> Barry Brook has quit entertaining climate deniers.

    He now accepts posts only from people who understand climate change is happening.

    Want a focused thread in which to discuss nuclear/climate?

    http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/08/05/hansen-energy-kool-aid/

    This ain’t it.

  141. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Re: #131, Fu, Q, Syukuro Manabe, and C M Johanson, August 2011: On the warming in the tropical upper troposphere: Models versus observations. Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L15704, doi:10.1029/2011GL048101.
    is probably an excellent paper. By luck there are some probably related papers in Ari Jokimäki’s Papers of the Week.

  142. Marcus:

    Sorry Edward Greisch, this was an answer to #130 deconvoluter

  143. ccpo:

    @flxible says (Comment by John W — 8 Aug 2011 @ 10:39 AM)
    “The only possible future is one with massively fewer humans”

    That will only ensure the extinction of all known life. Without the pressure of over population and resource competition why would we spread to other planets? Then what happens when something really bad happens to this one. GAME OVER.

    The population things is very debatable. We can, in fact, grow enough food to feed even 12 billion (but not how we do it now), so survival really isn’t an issue unless the planet gets too hot, which it seems likely to do (because growth is a veritable religion and/or appears tied to the size of our egos) and growing food differently goes a long ways towards keeping the planet from getting too hot, so… grow enough food the right way and you save the world. But let us set this aside for human being are largely not rational about growth, and even more so about population growth.

    What I find truly striking is the idea that if we aren’t all about to die because we have learned to live within the ecological footprint of the planet, we all die because we suddenly become stupid and unmotivated.

    Poppycock.

    ;)

    First, living within the ecological services of the planet will require far more cooperation, planning, organization and inventiveness than suicide does.

    But, really, the longest-lived species haven’t lasted more than some millions of years (stromatolites are darned impressive in their – what? Billions? – years of existence, but they don’t throw much of a party and their engineering is pretty limited.

    I think sun-driven shake-n-bake is a bit too far long-term than even I am willing to bother with. Besides, a dinosaur-killer class asteroid or the Yellowstone Caldera or another Ice Ball Earth will come along well before then. A number of times, in fact.

    Oh, and did you know they’ve already figured out most of how to terraform Mars? We’re fine: Move to Mars, mine the Moon, the Earth and those crazy kids, the Asteroids, and it’s all good. (That’s why we should save the fossil fuels for later.)

  144. Pete Dunkelberg:

    ccpo, stromatolites are a type of ecosystem not a species. But more to the point, I think your space hope leaves the reality oriented community behind.

  145. Edward Greisch:

    116 myself: That software for lie detection is at http://www.truster.com/
    Requires a PC.

  146. flxible:

    Wikipedia: Stromatolites are a major constituent of the fossil record for about the first 3.5 billion years of life on earth, with their abundance peaking about 1.25 billion years ago. They subsequently declined in abundance and diversity, which by the start of the Cambrian had fallen to 20% of their peak

    About what needs to happen with the human species if the planet is to survive us. Sustainability has limits, we have already exceeded them. They may have figured out how to terraform Mars, they just haven’t figured out how to afford getting a viable sized cohort there and established – or how to mine the moon. You may have figured out how to feed 12 billion humans, but you haven’t figured out how to make that happen. Currently the species is unable to properly feed even half that, and we’re rapidly slipping on that.

    Today I heard a youngster [15-17?] who went on a Polar Year expedition say it woke him to climate change, and he wanted to do something so HIS grandchildren would have a livable planet too. So now we’re talking of ‘the storms’ of Hansens great grandchildren – or maybe great-great . . . do we have 3 or 4 more generations of fossil fuels and water and minerals and rare earth elements to fritter away?

    The species and the planet do not have decades of further over-exploitation of resources in order to salvage the mess we’ve made of society and the planet. Overpopulation is the root of most every human problem. and I think as with the Stromatolites, “nature” will prune those roots.

  147. Edward Greisch:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/on-arctic-sea-ice-and-warmth-past-and-future/

    “The paper, combining evidence of driftwood accumulation and beach formation in northern Greenland with evidence of past sea-ice extent in parts of Canada, concludes that Arctic sea ice appears to have retreated far more in some spans since the end of the last ice age than it has in recent years.”

    Is it true that arctic sea ice extent was less 6000 years ago than at present? If so, this is something that needs your attention because denialists are having a field day with it.

    [Response: Yes, this is probably true. But I don’t see what the concern is. 6000 years ago we had a very different orbital configuration – with much more sunlight during the summer. NH summers were noticeably warmer, and tropical rain bands had moved significantly further north (the ‘Green Sahara’). NH winters had less sunshine and so there was a countervailing effect which makes the net response different from what we are seeing today. This period provides a good test case for the models. – gavin]

  148. Edward Greisch:

    140 Hank Roberts: That should apply equally to windeeeeees and suneeeees, which is my point.

  149. Hunt Janin:

    What kind of now-unexpected events, if any, might speed up the melting of the polar ice?

  150. deconvoluter:

    Re #135 and #142
    I find your ‘answer’ to be unfalsifiable.

  151. Ray Ladbury:

    John W.,
    Given that it costs ~$10000 to launch a 12 oz soda into low earth orbit and that there are no other habitable bodies in the solar system, and that there are no habitable solar systems we could reach before galactic cosmic rays cooked our DNA, just how do you suppose we will reach for the stars?

    ccpo, I dispute that we could sustainably grow enough food to feed 12 billion people. We are wrecking the planet just trying to feed 7 billion now, and we wouldn’t even be able to do that had we not learned to turn petroleum into food in the form of corn and soy beans. And when the petroleum is gone? and the aquifers? and the oceans are one big dead zone? Carrying capacity of Earth is probably 1-2 billion people, and that presumes we don’t screw things up so badly that it will only support 10 to 100 million.

  152. Anne van der Bom:

    ccpo,

    7 Aug 2011 at 10:32 PM

    Although I don’t want to flare up the nuclear-vs-renewables debate, you make one point that I can not let pass by without a comment:

    Renewable are made using fossil fuels.

    That is because the energy system TODAY is still mostly based on fossil fuels. While the discussed switch to renewables takes place, the wind turbines/solar panels that have been installed will increasingly add to a greener mix. Production of renewable energy generators will therefore cause increasingly less CO2 emissions. It is just a transitional issue.

    There is no law that dictates that renewable energy generators must always and forever be produced solely by means of fossil fuels.

    —————————————————————–
    I must say was unpleasantly surprised by Hansen’s decision to use derogative language towards his opponents to ‘support’ his viewpoint. Many detailed studies have shown that it is certainly technically and economically possible. It is intellectual laziness to dismiss proponents of renewable energy in this manner.

    What I think is a form of cherry pick is Hansen completely ignoring countries that have more successfully rolled out renewables, like Germany, Spain and Denmark. He uses just 1 country (the US) to support his claim that ‘soft’ renewables have let us down. But the consistent policies in those other countries have resulted in each of them generating 10x as much of their electricity from ‘soft’ renewables. The perceived failure has more to do with US politics than any intrinsic shortcoming of renewable energy technology.

    Consequently, this becomes just an analysis of US politics and proves nothing about the perceived shortcomings of renewables:

    This Easter Bunny fable is the basis of ‘policy’ thinking of many liberal politicians. Yet when such people are elected to the executive branch and must make real world decisions, they end up approving expanded off-shore drilling and allowing continued mountaintop removal, long-wall coal mining, hydro-fracking, etc. – maybe even a tar sands pipeline.

    Finally I would like to post a link to the Ecofys/WWF energy report. It is a blueprint for switching to 95% renewables by 2050, based on technology available today. I’d rather see Hansen dissect that report.

    I look forward to Hansen setting the record straight with one or more peer reviewed studies. If he’s right, he should not have no problem with that.

    [Response: This is now OT. There are plenty of places on the web to discuss energy technologies – this is not one of them. – gavin]

  153. Anne van der Bom:

    Oops the link to the Ecofys/WWF report

  154. Hank Roberts:

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1108.1047
    The contribution of cosmic rays to global warming
    Terry Sloan, Arnold Wolfendale

    “… changes in cosmic ray intensity are compared to those of the mean global surface temperature to attempt to quantify any link between the two. It is shown that, if such a link exists, the changing cosmic ray intensity contributes less than 8% to the increase in the mean global surface temperature observed since 1900.”

  155. Kees van der Leun:

    Arctic sea ice area now 1/3 less than what it should be on August 9; still roughly on course of disaster year 2007; http://bit.ly/SAarea

  156. Kevin McKinney:

    #155–

    Yes, and of course WUWT and all the rest are talking it up, wringing their hands, and questioning whether this means that the recovery of sea ice that they had long promised is delayed or even endangered. . .

    Oh, sorry–wrong Universe.

  157. Edward Greisch:

    147 Gavin: Thank you. The problem is that the opposition is using the sea ice extent 6000 years ago as a proof that GW is of no concern. It is a huge propaganda victory for them. But 6000 years ago there were fewer than 1 million humans. So is it OK to quote to dotearth: “6000 years ago we had a very different orbital configuration – with much more sunlight during the summer. NH summers were noticeably warmer, and tropical rain bands had moved significantly further north (the ‘Green Sahara’). NH winters had less sunshine and so there was a countervailing effect which makes the net response different from what we are seeing today.”?

  158. steve from brisbane:

    One point I saw raised somewhere in response to the less Arctic ice during the Holocene maximum story was this: if the Arctic regions were significantly warmer then, and it didn’t result in large scale methane release from northern sea bed clathrate, should we really be concerned about that happening under current warming?

    Any thoughts?

    [Response: This is a reasonable argument, and much the same can be said for the last interglacial (120kyrs ago). There are differences though. Warming now is year round as opposed to warmer in summer and colder in winter, this would likely be important in retaining permafrost for instance. It underlines however that there are no analogies for what is going to happen. – gavin]

  159. Pete Dunkelberg:

    “It underlines however that there are no analogies for what is going to happen. – gavin]”

    A very good way to put it, except that I read somewhere that it is already happening.

  160. John Mashey:

    re: #157
    For a simpler example: I’ll be that somewhere in TX, the temperature at noon 3 months ago was warmer than at sunrise tomorrow … therefore since it was once hotter, one need not worry about tomorrow being hot. :-)

    Recall that one of the arguments around Ruddiman’s early anthropogenic warming hypotheses is that orbital effects would have produced a long, slow cooling (with as usual, the arguments over how long, and proper alignment of dates compared to to past interglacials. See the last article in the August 2011 issue of the Holocene for discussion.

  161. David B. Benson:

    Edward Greisch @157 — There is nothing private here and so long as proper citation/quotation is used, there is nothing illegal or even unehtical about making such quotations.

  162. ccpo:

    Note: I wrote this hours ago, got distracted and forgot to send.

    @Pete: Read with tongue firmly in cheek/bemusement, and note who mentioned fleeing the planet.

    @flxible: We aren’t enemies. You may have figured out how to feed 12 billion humans, but you haven’t figured out how to make that happen.

    Actually, it’s really, really simple to do.

    @ Hunt Janin: What kind of now-unexpected events, if any, might speed up the melting of the polar ice?

    I think we’ve hit all the tipping points we need to. it will be (80%) gone soon regardless of any additional forcings. I doubt the thermokarst lakes have stopped expanding beyond the 300% they had as of several years ago, e.g. River dishcarge should continue. The increased melt – record ice area minimum dead ahead – will enhance that cold layer 200m down. More methane clathrates are sure to blow.

    Just be patient.

    @ Ray Ladbury: Have you read none of my posts on regenerative/sustainable agriculture? Followed none of the links? Does the simple fact that we grew 40% of our veggies in backyard gardens during WWII not impact your thinking?

    We can get into this, but we already have and it’s not something the guys here really want us doing long talks on. Suffice to say, the whole FF things is a mirage and bad joke. I do not encourage having to feed 12 billion, I am simply saying we can. For your own edification see what you get when you multiply 60,000 lbs of produce by arable acres, then do the same for total acreage currently lawn (I’ve seen numbers of as much as 3x that planted in corn here in the US). Then add in that it’s a simple thing to rebuild soils, though it can take some time, so we can actually expand tillable acreage by reclaiming tired land. Etc.

    12 billion is almost easy. The only real constraint is whacky, post-bifurcation weather.

    @Anne: That is because the energy system TODAY is still mostly based on fossil fuels. While the discussed switch to renewables takes place, the wind turbines/solar panels that have been installed will increasingly add to a greener mix. Production of renewable energy generators will therefore cause increasingly less CO2 emissions. It is just a transitional issue.

    All understood when I made my comments. (I heard you, Gavin. Done.

    @Kees: Actually, that graph shows sea ice area tracking at a level it didn’t reach till late August in either of the two preceding years. Rough eyeball estimate says 500,000 sq km ahead of schedule!

  163. ccpo:

    @158 steve from brisbane — 9 Aug 2011 @ 6:40 PM
    One point I saw raised somewhere in response to the less Arctic ice during the Holocene maximum story was this: if the Arctic regions were significantly warmer then, and it didn’t result in large scale methane release from northern sea bed clathrate, should we really be concerned about that happening under current warming?

    Any thoughts?

    [Response: This is a reasonable argument, and much the same can be said for the last interglacial (120kyrs ago). There are differences though. Warming now is year round as opposed to warmer in summer and colder in winter, this would likely be important in retaining permafrost for instance. It underlines however that there are no analogies for what is going to happen. – gavin]

    A number of sources point out that the clathrates in the shallow seas of the Arctic are at least partly from the period when there was a land bridge, e.g., and those prairie areas would have been covered by rising waters.

    It seems possible that the seas might not have been that warm 6k ya? If there was a rough balance between cold winters and summers of high insolation, what was the mean temp of the ocean? Also, it takes time for heat to propagate through the sediments.

    Seems reasonable that the newest clathrates in the shallowest seas (Bering Strait, Siberia) might only now be coming under the conditions for dangerous change. The very old ones, more so.

    I guess the questions would be: 1. What were sea temps at 50m 6k ya? 2. Were they warm enough long enough to destabilize enough clathrates to dislodge the bulk? (There are a lot of them down there.) 3. Did the cooling trend since avoid the blow-off?

  164. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Hunt Janin: “unexpected events”
    Unexpected by whom? in what time frame? how high will CO2 be?

    Say CO2 goes up to 500 ppm. This is enough to give us multiple meters more ocean. What will cause “unexpected” (by slowmos) seal level rise? Prior sea level rise. It will destabilize more ice as the sea rises. At some point we will get a quick meter (quick = in ten years). This ought to destabilize another meter at the other pole. Think of it. The great cities of the world can not all be rebuilt inland in just ten years. There are not that many construction crews. Vast numbers of people will be living in tents, and there are not even that many tents. There is also no infrastructure to get food and water to them all. If heat-wave summers (which will have been the new normal for some time) without much food, water or sanitation don’t reduce the population, an Arctic ice sheet collapse may unleash a flotilla of icebergs and bring on sudden harsh winters. It’s enough to make a man wonder if we should keep on burning carbon.

  165. Pete Dunkelberg:

    ccpo @ 163: “3. Did the cooling trend since avoid the blow-off?”
    Evidently.

  166. R. Gates:

    @ 163 et. al.,

    I think the clathrate discussion is an interesting one and brings up many interesting issues. First of course is the nature of the warming and sea ice retreat during the Holocene Optimum. If this period was primarily driven by Milankovitch forcing, and this was a NH summer effect, then winters could have been as cold or colder. Plus, CO2 levels never rose above 280 ppm. Additionally, glaciers were not in retreat to the same degree. Finally, it seem that the permafrost, frozen since at least the Younger Dryas, which we know has been frozen since then because of the plants and animals being revealed, did not thaw during the Holocene Optimum.
    What this tells us is that our modern Arctic warming is probably more pervasive and likely to have a stronger affect on clathrates as it continues. In this regard, it seems more useful to see what clathrates may have done during a period of time in which both Milankovitch forcing and CO2 levels were similar to our modern era. This once more leads us back much further into the past, probably back to the Pliocene of 2-3 mya.

  167. Ray Ladbury:

    ccpo: “12 billion is almost easy.”

    Did it occur to you that if you feed 12 billion, you must also clothe them, shelter them, take care of their waste, educate them (or you wind up with 24 billion), provide health care and provide them with sufficient entertainment that they don’t trash the place.

    When it comes to dealing with large concentrations of humanity, nothing is easy. The fact remains that in our attempts to feed 7 billion, we are irreparably damaging the planet’s carrying capacity.

    I know about gardening–my wife and I produce probably 10-15% of the food we eat in a year. I’ve also seen what agriculture is like in the tropics and seen what now passes for food on store shelves. In your blithe dismissal of the difficulties of feeding global population, you remind me of the University of Chicago Econ prof who said, “That’s great in practice, but how does it work in theory.”

  168. Larry Gilman:

    Dear Gavin —

    After laboring over my latest post I found where (in 152) you declare the topic OT. Arg! But OT how? The IPCC on one side, Hansen on the other, both declaring that a correct grasp of renewable energy’s potential is key to thinking about climate mitigation? The quality of Hansen’s arguments on this subject are surely as On T as it gets . . . Let the Variations be Unforced!

    Sincerely,

    Larry

    [Response: The problem is that the very frequent discussions on these topics here never go anywhere and just end up as the repetition of talking points from advocates of various solutions. In the end it just drives out other, more relevant, topics from the RC threads. If you want to discuss mitigation technologies and paths go to Barry Brook’s site, or Climate Progress, or RealClimateEconomics etc. where there is a critical mass of interest and the potential for informed moderation. It is just a distraction here. Sorry. – gavin]

  169. R. Gates:

    It would be research like this:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/44/18443.short

    That would lead me to believe that there is an entirely different character to the Arctic warming going on now versus what we saw during the Holocene Climate Optimum.

  170. ccpo:

    @166 R. Gates says:

    I agree with you. Sorry I wasn’t more clear in indicating at least some of the upper level clathrates were actually formed by the sea level rise after the glacial maximum.

    @ 167 Ray Ladbury says:
    ccpo: “12 billion is almost easy.”

    Did it occur to you that if you feed 12 billion, you must also clothe them, shelter them, take care of their waste, educate them (or you wind up with 24 billion), provide health care and provide them with sufficient entertainment that they don’t trash the place.

    Ray, save snippy for someone who disagrees with you. While I don’t expect you to remember everything I post, I’m befuddled you think I think unending growth is a good idea.

    I.e., if I had meant to say “take care of,” I would have. I merely said “feed.” I also said I didn’t think it was a good idea to need to.

    reCAPTCHA hits the bull’s eye: major rupsion

  171. Ray Ladbury:

    ccpo, The thing is that even “feeding” is not trivial. Nutrients and water have to come from somewhere. Of late, they’ve been coming from aquifers–a one-time, never-to-be replenished resource once they are depleted.

    Food insecurity was the lot of humanity until we learned to eat petroleum in the form of soybeans and corn–and that was with fewer than a billion people. Once the petroleum is gone, what kind of chances do you give us?

  172. John W:

    Ray Ladbury says:
    aquifers–a one-time, never-to-be replenished resource

    While that may be true for all practical purposes for some aquifers that essentially won’t be significantly recharged until the next ice age; its hardly a characteristic of aquifers in general.

    “Precipitation eventually adds water (recharge) into the porous rock of the aquifer. The rate of recharge is not the same for all aquifers, though, and that must be considered when pumping water from a well.”
    http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthgwaquifer.html

    All you ever wanted to know about aquifers:
    http://water.usgs.gov/ogw/aquiferbasics/index.html

  173. John W:

    Ray Ladbury says:
    just how do you suppose we will reach for the stars?

    One step at a time over the next few thousand years.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4bW_CTVbD8

    “our only chance for long term survival” ….. “is to spread out into space” -Stephen Hawkings
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZkyRl5IreM

  174. John W:

    Ray Ladbury says:
    I dispute that we could sustainably grow enough food to feed 12 billion people.

    Well, according to the USDA, global land “carrying capacity” is between 6 and 20 billion depending on impact level of agricultural practices. Your challenge to 12 billion is certainly in the range, but, as the USDA points out “land resources provide about 96% of world food, and the remaining food comes from rivers, lakes, and seas (Pimental and Hall, 1989)” Aquaculture is indeed in its infancy and is likely to increase world food production as it matures. Even without such shifts in food production the USDA notes: “From a global land-productivity point of view the spectre of Malthusian scenarios seems unwarranted” , although regions may face famines due to food distribution inequities.
    http://soils.usda.gov/use/worldsoils/papers/pop-support-paper.html

  175. ccpo:

    @ 171 Ray Ladbury says:
    ccpo, The thing is that even “feeding” is not trivial. Nutrients and water have to come from somewhere. Of late, they’ve been coming from aquifers–a one-time, never-to-be replenished resource once they are depleted.

    Shoot the hostage. I.e., don’t overuse the aquifers. E.g., water (energy) capture and storage is one of the very first things you consider in regenerative design. Look into the work of Brad Lancaster on this for just how well one can do with limited amounts of water. The problem is, almost all the water we use is wasted. Change that, there is no issue with aquifers. We know how to change that. Every building should have a water capture and storage system.

    Food insecurity was the lot of humanity until we learned to eat petroleum in the form of soybeans and corn–and that was with fewer than a billion people. Once the petroleum is gone, what kind of chances do you give us?

    Excellent, if we follow regenerative practices. Just as even now there is no food crisis that is not political and economic, there need not be at even higher levels of population. Had we an ounce of wisdom, we’d eliminate the problems that are fixable off the bat so we can concentrate on the ones that do not currently have solutions.

    I’ve posted it before, but just in case you missed it: http://tinyurl.com/3hnrpsf (pdf)

    Hansen is correct in that he posits natural solutions to CO2sequestration exist. It is just plain stupid to talk about storing carbon underground where it can create water problems (fracking) when all we have to do is farm, garden (including terra preta) and manage forests differently. If Hansen’s numbers on just growing forests are correct, these three together would be able to not only cover current emissions, but start turning the dial back to <300 literally within a few years. The only limit is how quickly you can teach people regenerative practices. Given a global, unified effort, it would take literally no more than 5 – 10 years for carbon levels to be falling significantly – and without changing **anything else.** Let's see the economists model that.

    @John W: We have to manage water. No choice. But we can, and, again, pretty simply. Water use is even bigger a problem than food because the lifestyle changes are broader and deeper. I LOVE a long, hot shower, e.g., and would dearly miss them. Starting a garden is far less traumatic for me.

    At the end of the day, despite what I said above about not having to change much else, Ray has been trying to make the point that there are large, complex systems involved and changing them will be hard because it means changing everything in the end. (Not something he needs to school me on: I am certified in, design using, and teach, permaculture.) Resource scarcity is coming on multiple fronts and for a variety of reasons.

    Enough. Gavin will likely be boxing our ears. But another place for such discussions is needed.

  176. ccpo:

    I should say, Malthus is still very much with us. Again, Ray has been sort of making the point of complexity without using the term. The system is massive, it is massively complex, it is massively interconnected at very unhealthy levels of efficiency vs. resilience.

    If you attempt to change only food, you will not have solved anything in the end and something else will get you, then cause some other problem and eventually food will also be affected. But there absolutely is an upper limit to what the planet can produce for food and have its ecosystem services remain balanced enough. Right now, we are past that point because we are not allocating resources to food in an effective way, i.e., sustainably.

    At minimum, if you attempt to fix food without fixing water, a lot of people lose. That has knock on effects on jobs and business in shutting down or reducing grocery stores… but increasing open air markets… it’s simple, but not easy.

    Ignoring Malthus is very unwise.

  177. Edward Greisch:

    173 John W: “One step at a time over the next few thousand years” requires that we get past the GW bottleneck. I agree with you and with Hawking, but I have abandoned the Space Elevator project temporarily, until we solve GW. GW is an immediate problem. It will take too long to make Mars habitable for Mars to make any difference in whether or not we survive GW.

    174 John W: USDA is counting on the climate remaining as was. That is a really bad assumption because the climate is not staying as was. Every farm on Earth may need to be irrigated with de-salted sea water by 2050. PRESENT carrying capacity isn’t the whole issue. But read W. Rees on carrying capacity for the present.

  178. Jim Eaton:

    John W selectively quotes from the USDA report, “From a global land-productivity point of view the spectre of Malthusian scenarios seems unwarranted.”

    He vaguely alludes to the following sentence, “Sadly, however, local and regional food shortages, particularly in Asia, are likely to continue to occur and the population succumb to Malthus’ nightmare.”

    Fishing in the oceans currently is not sustainable, and clearing of wildlands to farm (or produce fuel) is adding additional CO2 to the atmosphere (while devastating our fellow travelers on Planet Earth). Along with eliminating the burning of fossil fuels, the reduction of human population on this planet is essential to any descent future for the human race.

    Malthus was ahead of his time.

  179. Ray Ladbury:

    John W., Ah, a technological optimist.

    First, when an aquifer runs dry, it compacts and loses its porosity and will not be able to carry water again. We are nearing that state with the Ogalala and several others. Once they are gone, they are gone for good.

    And the oceans? We’re killing them just with the harvests we’re already taking. How do you think they’ll do under intensive aquaculture, with a lower pH and higher temperatures (e.g. lower O2)?

    On space travel–one step at a time? OK, what is the first step? The moon? To what end? It has no advantages other than a shallower gravity well. Mars? First the atmosphere is too thin to support life–and this also means that the neutron radiation peaks at the surface. Second, even if you could increase atmospheric thickness, it would be temporary. There is no Martian magnetic field to prevent the stripping away of the atmosphere by the Solar Wind. There is also no attenuation of Solar particle events.

    And even if you could somehow terraform Mars, what is the next step? The asteroids? OK, I grant that you could get a significant amount of platinum group minerals from some of the asteroids. Water, however, is lacking. Moreover, you have no protection from solar particles and especially from galactic cosmic rays. They would kill you within a few years–or one good solar particle event.

    And next? No other planetary system is even remotely habitable. Jupiter’s radiation belts would kill you very quickly; same with Saturn. And Neptune, Uranus, the Kuiper belt? Nope. No energy or other resources.

    And the Solar System is the easy part. Once you get outside the heliosphere, galactic cosmic ray fluxes increase by a factor of 3-4. You’re dead in less than a year, and you can’t shield against them due to the high energy, unless you want to voyage to the stars inside a planet-sized spacecraft.

    Sorry, John, Star Trek is fiction. We ain’t going anywhere. And if we don’t learn to live within our planetary means, we won’t be here much longer, either.

  180. John W:

    Ray Ladbury
    We ain’t going anywhere.

    If man were meant to fly….

    You’ll never go faster than sound…

    Close the patent office, everything useful has been invented…

    Yes, I’m a technological optimist. History is full of those that underestimated technological advancement. Look how far we’ve come in the last hundred years, there’s no telling what we’ll be doing in another thousand.

  181. John W:

    “Jim Eaton says:
    John W selectively quotes from the USDA report”
    Of course my quote is selective, everyone (I hope) quotes seletively as opposed to randomly, that’s the point of quoting. I provide the link for anyone interested to check context.

  182. Hunt Janin:

    Re sea level rise: in the 20 July 2011 version of their article, “Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change,” Hansen and Sato speak of “the possibility of multi-meter sea level rise this century.”

    Isn’t this estimate a bit on the high side?

  183. Jim Eager:

    History is also full of those who made wild-eyed predictions about future technologies that never came even close to coming true.

    And then there are the unintended consequences of technology. Why, just look at those of the rather primitive technological advancement of the burning of fossil carbon fuels.

    To put it otherwise, people laughed at Galileo; they also laughed at Bozo the clown.

  184. flxible:

    Hunt Janin, a “possibility” is not an “estimate”. ;)

  185. Ray Ladbury:

    John W.,
    Yes, it is much easier to respond to substantive arguments with visionary statements than it is to confront scientific reality, isn’t it?

    I do not see how you get around the radiation issue. Galactic cosmic rays are highly penetrating. You won’t shield against them unless you put half a meter of steel between you and the environment around you. That’ll slow your progress a bit. I will guarantee you this. If we ever do make progress on interstellar spaceflight, it will not be because of visionary pronouncements.

    John W.: :… there’s no telling what we’ll be doing in another thousand.”

    We will be dust, John. And our progeny could well be bands of hunter-gatherers barely surviving in a dramatically more hostile world. Humanity is not immune to extinction.

  186. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Hunt Janin # 182: My opinion is
    1. As mentioned, possibility is not estimate.
    2. You need the full scenario, including How much CO2?
    3. If we follow BAU all the way to the year 2100 [CO2 at 900 or 1000 ppm] (very likely impossible to do because of climate disruption before 2100) then multiple meters is certainly possible, indeed probable *sometime* based on Paleo data. The planet would be hatter than it has been in a very long time.

    4. Prediction? The difficulty is the time frame. No scientist is currently *predicting* this much sea level rise in a specific time frame. The cutoff (Time ends in the year 2100) is another block to prediction. Multiple meters may happen before 2100, or after (still assuming max CO2) but a *prediction of it at the 95% level *before 2100* is not possible. It just might not happen until after 2100. Then again with max CO2 it might happen in 2070. It can’t be ruled in or out at the 95% level. When CO2 gets lots higher than it has been in millions of years, the timing of consequences is not predictable.

  187. SecularAnimist:

    Ray Ladbury wrote: “Sorry, John, Star Trek is fiction. We ain’t going anywhere.”

    Well, of course interstellar travel as portrayed in Star Trek depended on “warp drive”, otherwise known as “technology indistinguishable from magic”.

    A few years back, physics professor Lawrence Krauss wrote a book entitled “The Physics of Star Trek”. I heard a radio interview with him in which he mentioned that one problem with Trekkie-style space travel was that even using sub-lightspeed “impulse power” as portrayed on the show, the Enterprise would have to attain accelerations such that the crew would be crushed into jelly by the resulting G-forces. On the “Next Generation” series, famous for its “techno-babble” dialog, this was prevented by the use of “inertial dampers”.

    When Krauss had an opportunity to talk with the show’s writers, he asked exactly how the “inertial dampers” worked.

    The answer was, “They work very well, thank you.”

  188. vendicar decarian:

    Global Warming Link to Drowned Polar Bears Melts Under Searing Fed Probe

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=45447

    Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said that the government is expected to “spend trillions of dollars to save the world from global warming on the basis of what a few scientists say.”

    “There needs to be due diligence, and we need to challenge and investigate every single claim. The public expects that,” Ebell said. “But we find over and over that shoddy science has been put forward, and in some cases, dishonest and manipulated science, and they say, ‘Trust us,’ ” Ebell said.

    “It’s extremely irresponsible.”

  189. Daniel Bailey:

    Hunt:

    Hansen and Sato are looking at non-linear ice sheet decomposition, primarily from the WAIS, in response to a warming world.

    As the warming persists/continues to increase, ice sheet decomposition (which isn’t the same thing as in situ melt) increases. Over time, this trend diverges from a linear trend into a decidedly nonlinear trend. The ice sheet contribution to SLR will mirror that trend, per Hansen & Sato.

    Remember, the WAIS is essentially a marine-terminating glacier with grounding points and base well-below sea level. A warming Circumpolar Current and an enhanced Zwally Effect will increase calving rates and ice stream flow, which then propagates upglacier.

    Also remember that the GIS has a coastal fringe of terrain retarding ice sheet decomposition. The WAIS, not so much. With the WAIS, it’s all downhill.

  190. John W:

    Ray: “I do not see how you get around the radiation issue.”

    Honestly, I don’t know either. But as you point out “Humanity is not immune to extinction”, therefore, the best course of action is to spread ourselves and as many ecosystems as possible as widely as possible. I’m sure there were many (if not all) before 1903 who didn’t see how you get around the gravity issue, but we did. BTW, I was using we as in Humanity not us personally, yes, you and I will be dust in 1000 years. How are we ever going to bring this back on topic? Ok, since I’m the techno optimist; I’ll just say it. Technology will save us from GW, there, back on topic. (I’ll play geo-engineering advocate if I must (am I the only techno optimist?), but IMHO it’s not the right course of action unless it comes down to survival, too many variables, too many potential unintended consequences, too much at stake, etc.)

  191. Hank Roberts:

    > vendicar
    Why just rebunk trolling stuff without noting it has already been debunked by the agency a week ago? You risk promoting their misstatements — surely not your intention.

    If you must rebunk, why not also include the widely available debunking, e.g.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=14209382
    Polar Bear Scientist Suspended for Management, Not Quality of Research

    Yes, it’s a mess. No, the crap you linked to was bullshit, known as such.

  192. Paul S:

    Taking things in a completely different direction, I was just looking at the RSS MSU/AMSU maps for July and was struck by how closely the TLT and TLS anomalies are inversions of each other. The Northern Hemisphere in particular demonstrates quite a simplistic one-to-one relationship: where the lower troposphere is anomalously warm, the lower stratosphere is anomalously cold. The Southern Hemisphere follows similar patterns but appears to be subject to more dynamical complexity.

    A couple of questions: Is this short-term inversion related in any way to the physical reasons why the stratosphere cools with greenhouse warming?

    What could be the cause of the more complex relationship in the Southern Hemisphere?

  193. Kees van der Leun:

    July was 3rd hottest ever globally on land+sea (+0.60C, http://bit.ly/GISlandoc), 4th hottest on land only (+0.73C, http://bit.ly/GISland)

  194. simon abingdon:

    Joseph E Postma asserts that “Greenhouse theorists treat the entire Earth as a fully-illuminated disk (with no night-time) with -180C worth of solar heating in their models”.

    Please reassure me that the GCMs suffer from no such obvious oversight.

    [Response: Guess who is wrong, Postma or the National Academy of Sciences? (Yes, GCMs know about this. Some prominent ‘skeptics’ do not, however — see the amusing take on this: here (search on “le Monde”).–eric]

  195. SecularAnimist:

    Re #188 (Vendicar) and #191 (Hank):

    Last weekend I had the opportunity to talk about global warming with a 20-something young man (a friend of my friend’s son).

    The very first thing he said was that he had heard a local talk radio host saying that the claim that polar bears are endangered by Arctic warming had been proved to be a lie, based on one scientist’s fraudulent study, which was then used by Al Gore to promote his global warming hoax, which is all about making Gore rich.

    So the attack on Charles Monnett is already being trumpeted far and wide by the deniers — coincidentally just as Shell Oil gets approval for offshore oil drilling in the Arctic, in spite of statements by the head of the Coast Guard that an oil spill there would be catastrophic and the Coast Guard has no resources that could deal with it.

    I told my friend’s son’s friend that what he had heard was an inaccurate account of the Monnett matter, and that he should be aware that fossil fuel interests are paying people to lie to him.

    His response was that “both sides” pay people to lie, so who knows what to believe?

  196. Hank Roberts:

    > friend’s son’s friend … had heard a local talk radio host

    http://www.npr.org/programs/wesat/000205.stevenson.html
    A supporter once called out, “Governor Stevenson, all thinking people are for you!” And Adlai Stevenson answered, “That’s not enough. I need a majority.”

  197. Hank Roberts:

    Oh, yeah
    >“both sides” pay people to lie, so who knows what to believe

    Sounds like this is a young man who doesn’t know how to use the public library.

    Does he know that it’s available on his computer nowadays?

    http://www.google.com/search?q=“public+library”+”reference+desk”

    Librarians are paid _not_ to lie.

  198. Ray Ladbury:

    John W., The physics behind flight was 250 years old by the time the Wright brothers’ plane lifted off at Kitty Hawk. YOU are talking about unknown science…undreamed of science. See the difference? There is no suggestion that the science YOU would require to realize your dream even exists–and plenty (including the Fermi paradox) to make one doubt that it does.

    To simply assert the technology will save us–be it from climate change, overpopulation or simply our own stupidity–demonstrates an ignorance of what technology can in fact do. Nothing can save us ’til we listen to what science is telling us, and most people seem to be in full retreat from the truth.

  199. sidd:

    Over at skepticalscience, Mr. Chris G. pointed to a paper by Katz and Worster at
    http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/466/2118/1597.full.pdf+html

    which I found fascinating. They do a 3-D calculation of the effect of a narrow retrograde valley embedded in a prograde slope under an ice sheet debouching to the ocean, and they find that such valleys can destabilize the entire ice sheet ! Also they find that PIG is melting faster than their model indicates…

    sidd

  200. Chris Colose:

    simon- I have written up a 2-part comment on the Postma paper at SkepticalScience. It isn’t up yet, but hopefully any day now (I’m not in charge of that; we go through a “peer review” at SkS before publishing and then the mods make sure all the articles don’t go out at the same time, and some others may have higher priority. I know someone else is writing on the Murry Salby stuff).

    Needless to say, it isn’t good. Most of the first 6 pages are pretty good; it falls apart very quickly and none of his conclusions have implications for the community. At best, the complaints would have implications for basic textbook explanations of simple zero-dimensional energy balance models, but he doesn’t even understand those right.

  201. Pete Dunkelberg:

    199 sidd, most ice is melting faster than models indicate. Some ice like the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is melting lots faster than had been expected.

    btw I don’t think everyone automatically knows these details, but there is no island and there are no pines there, just a big glacier named after a ship that was named after something far away.

    [Response: Actually, a glacier named after a bay (Pine Island Bay) named after a ship named after something far away. Note that Pine Island Glacier is melting from below, not above. See Mauri Pelto’s excellent history: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/is-pine-island-glacier-the-weak-underbelly-of-the-west-antarctic-ice-sheet –eric]

  202. simon abingdon:

    #200 Chris Colose

    Thanks. Postma just raised the question for me of whether GCMs adequately model the succession of day and night on a 24-hour cycle. A simple yes or no would suffice. A year or so ago I was shouted down for saying that (unless warm air blows in) from sunset to sunrise the surface experiences a relentless fall in temperature regardless of any insulating effect of GHGs. No reasonable person could deny that this is true.

  203. Vendicar Decarian:

    “Why just rebunk trolling stuff without noting it has already been debunked by the agency a week ago?” – Hank Roberts

    Possibly because the debunking doesn’t appear to have worked.

    You know… Debunking only works when the debunking is widely distributed and common knowledge.

    Perhaps a re-debunking is in order.

  204. Hunt Janin:

    Re 201 above: what happens if the Pine Island Glacier DOES melt/

  205. grypo:

    According to Roger Pielke Jr, 72% of IPCC findings “statements about the actual climatic future” will be realized!

    I can’t think of any better headline for immediate global climate action and mitigation. This seems critically important considering 1) we don’t which ones will be realized and 2) most predictions are based on a priori facts.

    ;)

  206. Kevin McKinney:

    #192, Paul S.–

    Hadn’t seen this page before, so thanks! Very interesting.

    I don’t quite see it the same way you do, though; I can see the ‘inversion’ pattern for the NH, but that’s not what I see in the SH at all; instead, there’s a pattern where you see the warmest stratospheric temps (ie., TLS 4) in the mid-latitudes.

    But if you look at the maps for January–NH mid-winter instead of mid-summer–you’ll see a pattern for the NH similar to the July pattern for the SH. That seems to say that it’s a seasonal, not hemispheric thing.

    I’d love to hear something on the physical processes involved in that upper-air temp distribution!

  207. Kevin McKinney:

    For interested readers, I’ve just put up a new article on the history of climate science:

    http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Fire-From-Heaven-Climate-Science-And-The-Element-Of-Life-Part-One-Fire-By-Day

    This one touches upon some of the high points in the hunt for the ‘solar constant’, and sets up a forthcoming article dealing with the more vexed question of what happens (radiatively speaking) after that.

    As always, comments and corrections are solicited! (And the indulgent moderators here thanked.)

  208. Paul S:

    #206, Kevin McKinney – Ah, good point. In my cusory look through I was only really selecting NH Summer months.

  209. Kevin McKinney:

    Ta, Paul. I hope we hear more about this.

  210. Don:

    First off, sorry for the off topic post.

    F. Singer is giving a talk in the next while at an institute close to me.
    I may attend. Does anyone know what his latest shtick is ? Is he still on about the tropical hot spot or is he still raving about 1500 yr cycles ?

  211. David B. Benson:

    Hunt Janin @204 — My amateur understanding is that a goodly portin of WAIS then soon follows, leading to quite noticable SLR.

  212. gator:

    Al Gore’s organization is planning a big communication event for Sept 14.
    http://climaterealityproject.org/

    This looks like an interesting way of trying to get across the reality of climate change.

  213. DeWitt Payne:

    Chris Colose,

    I’m looking forward to your article on the Postma piece. I first heard of it at Science of Doom from someone who thinks Gerlich and Tscheuschner can do no wrong. I haven’t heard from him since I pointed out that G&T disagree with Postma on how to calculate the temperature of a half illuminated sphere.

  214. gator:

    grypo @205. I can’t be arsed to create an account somewhere so that I can comment on Pilke Jr’s blog… But that paper seems like transparent silliness.

    He clearly knows he is talking about probabilities since he says 33% of “likely” findings will later be discovered to be wrong. But then he tries to paint this as an absolute. What’re his error bars? Is this paper “likely”? By his standards, I’d wager his findings are “wrong” because it is more than 50/50 that not exactly 28% of the findings will be wrong at some later date… Though I’m sure he can weasel out of anything by saying the later date is not late enough…

    [Response: For more examples of Roger weaseling out of predictions, see this thread… – gavin]

  215. flxible:

    Don@210 – do you need to know more than this ‘overview’?
    Singer: “We have to ask, what is the impact of a warmer climate? It’s not the warming itself that we should be concerned about. It is the impact. So we have to then ask: What is the impact on agriculture? The answer is: It’s positive. It’s good. What’s the impact on forests of greater levels of CO2 and greater temperatures? It’s good. What is the impact on water supplies? It’s neutral. What is the impact on sea level? It will produce a reduction in sea-level rise. It will not raise sea levels. What is the impact on recreation? It’s mixed. You get, on the one hand, perhaps less skiing; on the other hand, you get more sunshine and maybe better beach weather.

    Let’s face it. People like warmer climates. There’s a good reason why much of the U.S. population is moving into the Sun Belt, and not just people who are retiring.”

  216. Don:

    Fixible@215

    Wow..head vice time (amoungst other howlers, how the #ell does Singer think sea levels will not go up ?). Do you know where this quote comes from ?

    Anyways, at this talk I expect he will present his latest analysis and I wanted to be a bit prepared as to what he may go on about. The abstract I read (if memory serves) mentioned

    1) Examining the “fingerprint of AGW”
    2) A new method for evaluating GCM output that copes with their `chaotic’ nature

    and

    3) The `reality’ of the temperature record or something like that.

    Point 1 made me think of the work he was involved in regarding the `missing’ tropical hot spot. Point 3 looks like it could be another recycled attack on the surface record. Point 2 has me stumped though…..

  217. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Don, is it just possible that Singer doesn’t really think so? He has been a science denier for fun and profit for decades.

  218. Pete Dunkelberg:

    google Fred Singer tobacco, Wikipedia Fred Singer, …
    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2008/01/20/202297/unstoppable-disinformation-every-15-minutes-from-fred-singer/
    etc etc

  219. flxible:

    Singer quote from a PBS interview here – as Pete points out, disinformation dressed up as objectivity. “He points out that the scenarios are alarmist, computer models reflect real gaps in climate knowledge, and future warming will be inconsequential or modest at most.

  220. jyyh:

    4th warmest july at GISS.

  221. Don:

    Pete@218 and fixble@219

    Thanks ! In the meantime I have found the older articles on this site concerning upper tropical trop temperature trends.

  222. Hunt Janin:

    Re 204 and 211, if there are any WAIS experts reading this blog, I’d value their opinions.

  223. ccpo:

    Updates to ASI conditions 8/13/11.

    *Current State of the Arctic Sea Ice: Arctic Sea Ice Predictions
    On track for record lows in ASI Volume and ASI Area. http://tinyurl.com/3ly9ybv

    * Current State of the Arctic Sea Ice: Northwest Passage OPEN
    The westernmost of the larger channels is wide open. (Is this becoming so passe it’s not news anymore?) http://tinyurl.com/3qxnmed

    With your indulgence.

    Also, on the issue of scientists as advocates, Paul Erlich isn’t pulling any punches:

    Paul Ehrlich summed it up this way: “You often hear people say scientists should not be advocates. I think that is bull.”
    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/august/ehrlich-scientist-advocates-081111.html

    He was speaking specifically of ecologists. Don’t know if he’d extend that to climate, but logically you’d think so.

  224. David B. Benson:

    Hunt Janin @222 — You can use the search feature here to find the older articles on WAIS. However, it probably suffices to consider the articles regaing the Pliocene and Miocene, as CO2 concentrations are now up to the levels pertaining then; the local of continents and so that influence of climate hasn’t changed that much since even that long ago.

  225. sidd:

    Re: WAIS

    Please see the Andrill reconstructions of WAIS glaciation/deglaciation cycles, in particular Pollard and DeConto and Naish et al. papers from (2009?, Nature ?) for a timescale. The collapses seem to have taken 1Kyr-10Kyr, although I seem to recall that Bindschadler commented that 1Kyr should be taken as an upper limit. Hansen makes a similar point, that historical deglaciations are paced by the relatively slow orbital forcings, and do not reflect the internal time scales of the ice sheets; that the internal time scale for collapse is shorter than the timescale of the orbital forcings, and a stronger forcing as we are applying now result in faster collapse.

    sidd

  226. prokaryotes:

    Draft paper from David Wasdell on Earth System Sensitivity

    Climate Shift impact Risk Assessment revisited http://climateforce.net/2011/08/13/climate-shift-impact-risk-assessment-revisited/

  227. David B. Benson:

    Moderators — Head in a Cloud, listed on the sidebar, appears to be a dead link.

  228. Edward Greisch:

    223 ccpo: Thanks and Bravo for Paul Erlich. But “For the first time in human history, a complex global society is at risk of environmental collapse.” is wrong if you cross out “global.” Dozens of previous civilizations have fallen, many because of minor climate changes.

    Paul Erlich’s Millenium Alliance for Humanity & the Biosphere [MAHB] is a great idea but http://mahb.stanford.edu/contact/ crashes every time you click a “select” while trying to contact them. It partly crashes my browser.

    MAHB says: “Understanding the biosphere that sustains all life without understanding culture, institutions, and drivers of human behavior is insufficient. MAHB aspires to foster a dialogue that will involve individuals and organizations around the world and change the social infrastructure that threatens humanity’s survival.

    See: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/08/13/271676/whats-the-best-strategy-for-dealing-with-deniers
    where David Roberts says: “intensity wins in politics.” No matter how much you dislike politics, hold your nose and take political action.

    MAHB is correct but does not go far enough. The RealClimate.org contributors should be running for the US senate. I am trying to run for the US house. Why? Because the US congress is where action on GW will get done, if it ever does get done. So far, nothing has gotten done. RealClimate.org is great, but the laws enacted are zero. David Roberts says: “giving CWM still more facts and arguments is not going to achieve anything.” True.

  229. JimCA:

    Can anyone comment on the recent report from NCAR that the loss of arctic sea ice might temporarily abate for the next few years?

    This seems surprising, given the relentless loss lately.

    Is that credible? And if so, is there a simple explanation for why loss would suddenly slow now?

    [My apologies if this duplicates, but the captcha nonsense seems to be eating my posts]

    [Response: This is mostly about a quantification of the size of internal variability. By looking at multiple runs with the same forcing and looking at the variability in short trends, you can make a statement about the range. The current trend is at the edge of what the NCAR runs show, and so it is conceivable that what we are seeing has been a weaker forced trend, combined with a (stochastic) increase to the trend because of internal variability. With that assumption, one can look at the other simulations and calculate the likelihood of the stochastic component going the opposite way and slowing down the observed trend. But these likelihoods rely on the NCAR model’s estimates of both the forced trend and the internal variability being correct. The former is less likely than the latter. – gavin]

  230. Hank Roberts:

    This site looks at least amusing, and possibly interesting.
    Look up someone you know something about and see.

    http://www.takeonit.com/expert/856.aspx

    “Comparisons with Other Experts and Influencers

    The similarity between Qing-Bin Lu and each expert and influencer is calculated by looking at how the same questions were answered. These figures are used to calculate conforming, nonconforming, and projected opinions. The accuracy of the analysis depends on Qing-Bin Lu’s coverage, which grows with the number of their opinions entered into TakeOnIt.”

    Agree
    Patrick Michaels
    Climatology Professor
    100% agreement / 1 opinions

    Denis Rancourt
    Physics Professor
    100% agreement / 1 opinions

    ———-
    Mostly Agree
    Gerhard Gerlich
    Physics Professor
    75% agreement / 1 opinions

    S. Fred Singer
    Head of NIPCC, Astrophysics Professor
    75% agreement / 1 opinions

    Syun-Ichi Akasofu
    Geophysics Professor
    75% agreement / 1 opinions
    ——
    Mostly Disagree
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    (IPCC) Scientific Body formed by U.N.
    25% agreement / 1 opinions

    Paul Crutzen
    Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    25% agreement / 1 opinions

    Svante Arrhenius
    Scientist, First Modeled Greenhouse Effect
    25% agreement / 1 opinions
    ———

    Disagree
    Gavin Schmidt
    Climatologist
    12% agreement / 2 opinions

    James Hansen
    Climatology Professor
    0% agreement / 1 opinions

    [Response: How the heck can Svante Arrhenius have an opinion on ozone depletion? –eric]

  231. Hank Roberts:

    Belatedly noted:

    “The North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted unanimously to close industrial fishing in the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska. That’s nearly 200,000 square miles of Arctic waters sealed off from fishermen in order to protect the fragile ecosystem at the top of the world.

    Oddly enough, this is not a region where much fishing has ever taken place. That’s because, in the past, the area was covered with ice. Now, though, because of climate change, the ice has retreated. In fact, it has disappeared much more quickly than had been predicted. A phenomenon that was expected to take 50 to 100 years – the complete disappearance of Arctic ice in the summer months – will be a fact of life in just 10 years.

    Climate change seems to be racing on at a 21st century pace. Meanwhile, too many politicians continue to plod along as if we have all the time in the world.”

    Posted by David Horsey on February 5, 2009 at
    http://blog.seattlepi.com/davidhorsey/2009/02/05/the-politics-of-planetary-peril/ (click the link for his cartoon associated with that blog post)

  232. prokaryotes:

    @ Edward Greisch
    please get in touch with me when you need a professional campaign website! Never to early for setting it up!

  233. Robert Murphy:

    eric @230:
    “How the heck can Svante Arrhenius have an opinion on ozone depletion? –eric”

    The opinion they disagreed on was “Does atmospheric CO2 cause significant global warming?”. They obviously didn’t have an opinion from Arrhenius on ozone depletion. :)

  234. Louise:

    Could this be partly responsible for the supposed ‘lack of recent warming’?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14476389

    “Scientists say that there has been a mysterious decline in the growth of methane in the atmosphere in the last decades of the 20th Century.”

  235. Kees van der Leun:

    2011 Arctic sea-ice collapse in full swing: ice area now 37% less than average for this date: http://bit.ly/SAarea

  236. JimCA:

    Gavin — thank you for the clarification about the NCAR result, but one followup:

    Do they use a (for lack of a better word) conventional forced trend, or is there something unusual about the one they chose?

    For that matter, do they have a single forcing model, or do they use an ensemble of runs over many alternatives?

    Thanks!

    [Response: Not sure, but I think they are reporting on one of the middle RCP scenarios. This is not particularly relevant for current behaviour though. More important is how good the aerosol forcing is, or the indirect impacts of black carbon etc. – but we don’t know the real answer. – gavin]

  237. David B. Benson:

    Louise @234 — There has been no lack of warming in recent decades. You’ll find well stated details in threads on
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/

    The period of flatness in the CH4 level is not mysterious, being attributed largely to the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

  238. chris colose:

    This is random, but maybe useful

    Why does climate change? Causes and Timescales

  239. David B. Benson:

    chris colose @237 — Tis indeed most useful.

  240. Leo G:

    was just over at Dr. Bart’s site. Great video of Dr. Dennings’ talk @ Heartland. Highly recommend it!

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/

  241. prokaryotes:

    Earth’s 2 Moons? It’s Not Lunacy, But New Theory http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/03/earth-two-moons-theory_n_917464.html

    There is also a high impact theory about mars, which caused a similar geological phenomena and is believed to caused the degenerated gravitational field of mars.

  242. sidd:

    Here is another nice paper, (or at least i think so,) which I was led to by Mr. Ari Jokimaki at agwobserver.wordpress.com, arguing that the agw signal is most evident at low latitudes, although the warming is most pronounced at high latitudes, because larger variance at high latitudes masks the agw signal.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/3/034009

  243. Pete Dunkelberg:

    JimCA @ 235, note that Rampal et al. 2011 is in press at the same time.

    abstract:

    IPCC climate models underestimate the decrease of the Arctic sea ice extent. The recent Arctic sea ice decline is also characterized by a rapid thinning and by an increase of sea ice kinematics (velocities and deformation rates), with both processes being coupled through positive feedbacks. In this study we show that IPCC climate models underestimate the observed thinning trend by a factor of almost 4 on average and fail to capture the associated accelerated motion. The coupling between the ice state (thickness and concentration) and ice velocity is unexpectedly weak in most models. In particular, sea ice drifts faster during the months when it is thick and packed than when it is thin, contrary to what is observed; also models with larger long-term thinning trends do not show higher drift acceleration. This weak coupling behavior (i) suggests that the positive feedbacks mentioned above are underestimated, and (ii) can partly explain for the models underestimation of the recent sea ice area, thickness and velocity trends. Due partly to this weak coupling, ice export does not play an important role in the simulated negative balance of Arctic sea ice mass between 1950 and 2050. If we assume a positive trend on ice speeds at straits equivalent to the one observed since 1979 within the Arctic basin, first-order estimations give shrinking and thinning trends that become significantly closer to the observations.

  244. Radge Havers:

    Grassroots science? Sounds old but has a slightly different angle: The Status of Science: We Have No-one to Blame but Ourselves.

    I don’t know about this part:

    “f you ask them to provide a general-audience description of what their research is about, that’s also treated as an unreasonable imposition. But hiring people to do that is out of the question, because the money could be spent on “real” science rather than PR flacks.”

    Probably only scientists are capable of “getting it right”, although PR flacks could probably help with appropriate emphasis for a moody, shifting audience. Maybe simple statements should carry a rating of GA for General Audiences with the acknowledgment that a statement may be correct in its broad outlines but weak in the details, and that a more nuanced understanding for active thinkers will require some exploring.

    In any case, I’m really fed up with the sea of memes that treats climate scientists as a bunch of fatuous goober-heads who spend their days holding hands and skipping around the daisy patch. A little honesty and so little effort is required to see that this is false. It’s a vile situation and time for more heavy weights to grab their thunderbolts and come down off mount Olympus for some hard assed, heavy-duty smiting against the forces of darkness.

    Sez here anyhoo…

  245. deconvoluter:

    Re #230

    Hank. I am not advocating censorship just common sense. You usually make useful comments, but for the life of me I cannot see the point of using RC to publicise that web site especially in the manner of that comment. There are enough busy scientists excellent in their field, who think that the debate and misinformation is evenly divided between two ‘sides’.The busy ones won’t have time to find out why Gerlich for example is ‘amusing’.

  246. deconvoluter:

    Re #241

    Interesting counter-intuitive effect. Warming by latitude. Weaker signals easier to detect because less masked by climate produced noise.

    It may also be a metaphor for the educational problem. When the signal rises, will the artificial propagandist noise rise at an even faster rate? Recent evidence is not reassuring.

  247. Pete Dunkelberg:

    “WE APOLOGIZE FOR THIS INCONVENIENCE.”

  248. Kevin McKinney:

    #245–

    It may, but I think its characteristics may also brand it more obviously as noise.

    (One may hope, at least.)

    [I don’t usually like to report Captcha’s quasi-oracular pronouncements, but this one is too good: “choke forkem.”]

  249. SteveF:

    Just seen this upcoming paper in GRL, may be of some interest:

    “Climatic trends in major U.S. urban areas, 1950–2009″

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL048255.shtml

    [Response: Thanks, hadn’t been aware of that, even though the co-author is at UW where I am. Of course, the fact that he’s at the same institution as me, and I once published a paper with Mike means you can’t trust a word of it. ;) -eric]

  250. SteveF:

    Just noticed another interesting new paper in GRL, from Gabi Hegerl and colleagues:

    “Detectable Regional Changes in the Number of Warm Nights”

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/pip/2011GL048531.shtml

    Incidentally, the paper I mentioned in my post above is already being discussed at WUWT. Didn’t bother reading their take.

  251. Hank Roberts:

    > 230, 233, 244 and
    > “How the heck can Svante Arrhenius have an opinion on ozone depletion? –eric”
    Agreed; that site’s promoting “both sides” = “teach the controversy” stuff, and confusing expertise with blog-prominence.
    The deeper you look into it, the shallower it gets.

  252. Susan Anderson:

    A little light heavy relief:

    http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/images/si/science-idol-2011/web-UCScalendar-Nuez-attack_not-full-res.jpg

    How many of you feel this is the story of your life? (no don’t answer, I don’t want to waste your valuable time, I mean it, valuable and then some!

  253. Hank Roberts:

    http://the-scientist.com/2011/08/01/the-root-of-the-problem/
    August 2011 » Cover Story
    New research suggests that the flow of carbon through plants to underground ecosystems may be crucial to how the environment responds to climate change.
    By Richard D. Bardgett | August 1, 2011

    — excerpt follows —

    the impact of human-induced disturbances on the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems is often indirect: they tend to operate via changes aboveground that cascade belowground to the hugely complex and diverse, soil-bound biological community, driving biogeochemical processes and feeding back to the whole Earth-system.

    And these studies may be overturning a commonly held view of how plants help mitigate the impacts of global warming. Indeed, it is widely thought that vegetation, especially trees, will respond to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations by growing more vigorously, and thus help to moderate climate change by locking up more carbon in their leaves, branches, and trunks. But research into the intricate dynamics occurring just below the soil surface, where carbon, nitrogen, and other elements flow through plant roots into the soil and react with the microbial and animal communities living there—including bacteria, fungi and a host of fauna—is complicating this simplistic view. In fact, some work suggests that as plant growth increases because of elevated CO2, more carbon not only flows into the plants themselves, but also exits their roots to impact the growth and activity of soil microbes. This causes a net increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gases escaping from the soil and entering the atmosphere, thus adding to anthropogenic levels.

  254. prokaryotes:

    Plant and microbial respiration may yield other disturbing implications as well

    Soil carbon and climate change: from the Jenkinson effect to the compost-bomb instability http://climateforce.net/2011/07/14/soil-carbon-and-climate-change-from-the-jenkinson-effect-to-the-compost-bomb-instability/

    When do we start with large scale biochar development/deployment?

  255. prokaryotes:

    If wind power is going to meet 20% of our predicted energy needs in 2100, millions of wind turbines must be installed around the globe. Modelling performed by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, has shown that these vast wind farms, if installed in offshore regions, could reduce the temperature of the lower atmosphere above the site by 1 °C.
    http://globalchange.mit.edu/news/news-item.php?id=127

  256. Hunt Janin:

    Anyone know who is in charge of the sea level rise section of the next IPCC Assessment?

  257. SteveF:

    Hunt,

    John Church and Peter Clark are on sea level duty. Full list here:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/press-releases/ipcc-wg1-ar5-authors.pdf

  258. Hunt Janin:

    I’m still looking for possible “black swan events” that could unexpectedly increase sea level rise in the future, but I don’t have any bright ideas on this front. Perhaps this idea is a non-starter. What do you think?

  259. Russell:

    To further widen the weather-climate gap , the three year old journal that has accepted the latest reprise of Lindzen & Choi appears on closer inspection to be the Journal of the Korean Meteorological Society

    Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences (2008 – )
    Journal of the Korean Meteorological Society (1964 – 2007)

  260. David B. Benson:

    Hunt Janin @257 — First of all, a reviw of that blcak swan book in the Notices of the American Mthematical Society for the book to be remarkably bad; stay way from that confusion. Second, the prospect of a rather rapid melt of a substantial portion of WAIS in a fairly short time (say one century) is alarming enough: think 8 meters SLR when Greenland melt is included. That interval might be improbably short, but some new simulation tend to suggest it is not impossible.

  261. ccpo:

    @Janin: Black Swans, by definition are things one cannot anticipate. By being able to identify them before they occur, they cannot be classified as Black Swans.

    Perhaps you are asking what improbable or merely theoretical events might occur.

  262. ccpo:

    @ 252Hank Roberts says:
    16 Aug 2011 at 9:11 PM

    http://the-scientist.com/2011/08/01/the-root-of-the-problem/
    August 2011 » Cover Story
    New research suggests that the flow of carbon through plants to underground ecosystems may be crucial to how the environment responds to climate change.
    By Richard D. Bardgett | August 1, 2011

    Takes the Stating the Obvious Award for the century so far. The root systems of plants tends to mirror the above ground system. When you cut down a plant, for example, an equivalent proportion of root dies off, also. This carbon is the sequestered in the soil. This is a significant rationale for no-till agriculture.

    This is why Hansen is supporting the regrowth of forest ecosystems.

    The same process is used to fix nitrogen in the soil by growing nitrogen fixing plants. The nitrogen is made available to the soil biota and other plants when the root dies back leaving nodules of nitrogen to be used.

    This is why organic/regenerative farmers and gardeners use cover crops.

    This is nature’s slow form of terra preta.

    This has been known for a very long time.

  263. ccpo:

    @ 253 prokaryotes says:
    16 Aug 2011 at 10:22 PM

    Plant and microbial respiration may yield other disturbing implications as well

    Soil carbon and climate change: from the Jenkinson effect to the compost-bomb instability http://climateforce.net/2011/07/14/soil-carbon-and-climate-change-from-the-jenkinson-effect-to-the-compost-bomb-instability/

    When do we start with large scale biochar development/deployment?

    It would seem to me this issue would be self-balancing globally. Seasonal changes, etc., would lead to a cycle. Climate shifts would affect this, of course, as your post states. However, applying the principle of speeding up succession, we can build carbon into the soil much faster than it can escape except for anomalous events. Biochar is less efficient than simply growing root systems and leaving them there instead of pulling them up. Also, using hugulkulture rather than biochar would also be more efficient.

    I do think there are uses for biochar, but it comes up against several principles of sustainable design in comparison to some of the other choices.

    * Least change, maximum effect. Simply leaving stuff alone is more efficient than building a kiln, cutting stuff, moving stuff, getting it out of the kiln, spreading it out.

    * Maximize inputs and outputs. Biochar isn’t as useful to soil and biota as decaying roots.

    * Work with nature/biological solutions before technical solutions.

    Systemic planning is needed. Simple solutions are very good, but simple designing is not.

    2c

  264. David Weisman:

    I’ve heard talk about using past deposits of driftwood on arctic shores as a proxy for ice coverage of the ocean, apparently ice blocks some locations more than others.

    Has anyone heard about potential problems with this proxy, or exceptions, or limitations?

  265. ozajh:

    Some time ago I pointed out on another blog a further problem with biochar, namely that in the 3rd World tropics (and especially in Africa) it’s a valuable material AS CHARCOAL.

    You’re going to need some serious incentives, and equally serious anti-diversion mechanisms, to get the local population to bury the stuff.

  266. prokaryotes:

    Hello ccpo, the crucial difference between plant roots and biochar is that bicohar captures carbon over millenia timescales, where roots rot rather quickly. Further studies confirm that biochar has the potential to sequester enough carbon to make a difference. The royal society calls for biochar production to prevent worst case scenarios.

    Actually there aren’t much alternatives, beside planting forests and hoping they grow intact. Sulfur spreading is making things worse and can only be considered as an emergency measure.
    And then you have the many by products and synergetic outcomes from biochar deployment, such as increased crop yields, less need for petrol fertilizer, helps to prevent soil erosion, helps to clean water and much more.

    The negative emissions that can be produced by BECCS has been estimated by the Royal Society to be equivalent to a 50 to 150 ppm decrease in global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations[2] and according to the International Energy Agency, the BLUE map climate change mitigation scenario calls for more than 2 gigatonnes of negative CO2 emissions per year with BECCS in 2050. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar

  267. Edward Greisch:

    Has anybody else noticed that Texas governor Perry thinks we are in it for the gold? Since he is a potential candidate for President, it is time to trot out the articles explaining why grant money does not wind up in the scientists’ pockets.

  268. Edward Greisch:

    See: http://www.e3network.org/social_cost_carbon.html
    Climate Risks and Carbon Prices: Revising the Social Cost of Carbon
    CO2 is a pretty slippery thing to put a price on, it seems to me.
    What do you think?

    Also, Harpers has an article on our subject at:
    http://harpers.org/archive/2008/05/0082022
    and Mother Jones:
    http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/08/carbon-dioxide-emissions-cost-economy-underestimated

  269. deconvoluter:

    Re : #260.

    Terminology

    By being able to identify them before they occur, they cannot be classified as Black Swans.

    Black swans according to Taleb
    highly improbable and unpredictable events that might have massive impacts.

    Here’s one:

    Judith Curry persuades Lindzen,Choi and Spencer to submit a joint paper to Science concluding that their critics from Realclimate are right.

    This is not a prediction, but perhaps Taleb is skeptical about the worth of predictions anyway?

  270. Hunt Janin:

    I’m now finishing up my coauthored book on “Rising Sea Levels.” My research over the past year strongly suggests that only the Netherlands and (to a much lesser extent)the United Kingdom are doing anything at the national level to deal with sea level rise.

    If you know of any other countries which are doing something at national levels, too, please tell me what they are.

  271. Kevin McKinney:

    #263–You’re probably thinking of Funder et al. (2011). It just came out a couple of weeks ago.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6043/747.abstract

  272. Kevin McKinney:

    Further response to #263–

    The press release (“PR” hereinafter) around the paper presented a very different picture:

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2011/08/arctic-tipping-point-may-not-be-reached.html

    I haven’t read the paper itself, but the contents of the abstract (I’ll call it “AB”), linked above, seem difficult to relate to the PR. Specifically, AB says that the study specifically dealt with northern Greenland. OK, they can tell by species of driftwood whether it came from Siberia or from North America (PR), but can that really give an accurate picture of pan-Arctic extent over the time frame? Particularly interesting is the statement that Ellesmere Island ice increased at the time that northern Greenland ice hit its maximum (AB.)

    (Seems to connect with Kaufman et al (2009), which found evidence (Eastern Canadian Arctic, IIRC) of a temperature minimum ca. 2K years ago, just when Milankovich forcing said there should be one.))

    But what about trends around the rest of the Arctic rim? How well can this NA/Asia species dichotomy really constrain regional trends? It seems a pretty low-resolution ‘probe.’

  273. Kevin McKinney:

    Yet more in response to #263–

    The online supporting material for Funder et al. is here:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2011/08/03/333.6043.747.DC1/Funder.SOM.pdf

    It helps to answer some of the question I had about press release versus abstract: the abstract doesn’t make it very clear that the paper in fact included a substantial modeling effort. It is that part of the study that led to the claim that Arctic sea ice extent probably got below 50% of the 2007 record minimum–not the driftwood record/beach geology part.

    (As an aside, I was a bit put off to notice that the very first reference cited Nils-Axel Morner, who has become known as probably the primary ‘sea-level rise denier’ out there. But the paper was from 1990, before the latter-day weirdness kicked in, I suppose.)

  274. prokaryotes:

    Hunt Janin, a recent PIK study came to following conclusion

    “A partial collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet for example could be equivalent to an additional 1.5 meters sea level rise, prior research showed. Most dykes in Europe may be elevated by only one meter. Beyond this region-specific threshold significant rebuilding would be necessary. However, the disintegration of this ice sheet might take hundreds of years. Nonetheless the effects could be significant. ”
    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/kipp-elemente-im-klimasystem-forscher-verfeinern-ihre-einschaetzung

    Notice that we face 1-5 meters sea level rise by the end of the century. And germany is investing into dykes, but land loss seems a given. So rebuilding is the way to go. But tell that the people who live near the dykes and drive fossil fuels :)

  275. jyyh:

    #269 Finland has done some plans as to how to respond to floods of +3meters, though the climate connection isn’t clear. The Baltic easily may have sea level fluctuations of +2 meters normally so these are not very extreme floods they’re planning to. I myself have though planned a bit of a LARP in which the physically impossible sudden +20 ASL happens overnight. I guess it wouldn’t sell very well so, it is in a dormant state for now.

  276. Hank Roberts:

    Hunt, you need to start doing real research, not just computer queries from home. I’ve pointed this out before.

    Again: go to your local library and spend the time with your reference librarian, a much better approach than asking strangers on the Internet — and do what they suggest to search on these questions.

    Many other countries, cities, and geographic regional associations are doing things appropriate to the possibility, whether or not explicit, of sea level rise. Have you done the obvious Google searches, and then done the same searches in Scholar? Get a list from your reference librarian of government organizations of all sizes and types near sea level and search using those.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=sea+level+rise+“north+carolina”
    http://www.google.com/search?q=sea+level+rise+“puget+sound”
    http://www.google.com/search?q=sea+level+rise+“coastal+canada”
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=sea+level+rise+planning+%22coastal+canada%22

    Go to your local library.

    Spend the time with your local reference librarians — a much better approach than asking strangers on the Internet — and do what they suggest to search on these questions.

    A tsunami wall is not a longterm sea rise plan — but land used for a tsunami wall would be available and appropriate for later upgrading as sea level rise becomes apparent. No regrets there.

    Leaky underground storage tank removal: not a sea level rise plan necessarily, these are done as a groundwater protection plan. Those programs to find and remove buried oil and gasoline tanks would also be ‘no-regrets’ parts of anticipating sea level rise.

    —> You’re not getting info that’s available. Leave your chair. <—

  277. Hank Roberts:

    Repeat: I’m not a librarian. I’m pointing out that you can get better help from a librarian than you’re getting online. I give _examples_ of stuff you can find with help and guidance from someone who knows how to do this better.
    Example: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=%2B%22sea+level%22+%2Bplan+%2Bgovernment+%2Bregion&btnG=Search&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_ylo=2011&as_vis=0

  278. ccpo:

    @265 Hello ccpo, the crucial difference between plant roots and biochar is that bicohar captures carbon over millenia timescales, where roots rot rather quickly.

    So do plant roots. Thinking of things in isolation is the problem with the comparison. Plant roots + continual mulching = that carbon goes deeper and deeper, thus stays there. The real advantage comes in terms of extreme events/periods where the biochar will stay there as long as it is not blown away, whereas humus can be decomposed even as it lays well below the surface.

    Also consider the black carbon and emissions from creating biochar in the first place. Biochar also requires the growth of feedstocks, taking more space both for the feedstocks and the area to work in. Neither of these are the case with simply regenerating forests (remember much of the forest will be edible, and specific food forests around settlements would be part of the process) which then also directly, without extra steps, feeds, fixes climate, provides work and economy…. etc.

    Further studies confirm that biochar has the potential to sequester enough carbon to make a difference.

    So do rebuilding ecosystems and regenerative farming techniques. Don’t forget the Rodale multi-decade, longitudinal study indicating 40% of current emissions can be offset by merely farming/gardening intelligently.

    The royal society calls for biochar production to prevent worst case scenarios.

    There is a role for biochar, but if we are talking regenerative systems, it is not a primary choice, but a secondary or tertiary one because the connections between it and other elements in the system are too limited and not all outputs have inputs to be matched to.

    Actually there aren’t much alternatives, beside planting forests and hoping they grow intact.

    Your conception is a little off. First, they don’t necessarily have to grow “intact.” As long as they become stable, that is enough. Second, none of the forests should be left untended. We have learned our ancient forests were all actually the result of human and non-human influences. There is no such thing as a forest that wasn’t shaped by human habitation except on some very small scales. Even then, the movement of winds and biota between “pristine” and non-pristine environments means even those are not truly without human impact.

    There are many alternatives, but the one never discussed except by us “fringe” folk is a complete makeover of the social and economic structure.

    We can’t do this with anything less than that.

    such as increased crop yields

    Biochar is not the only process that can raise crop yields.

    less need for petrol fertilizer

    Localized regenerative can equal zero need for fertilizer.

    helps to prevent soil erosion

    Ditto other processes.

    helps to clean water and much more.

    Ditto.

    The negative emissions that can be produced by BECCS has been estimated by the Royal Society to be equivalent to a 50 to 150 ppm decrease in global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations[2]

    At what scale and over what time frame? What are the energy costs? Net energy? Net energy will be higher with biological processes. The only way biochar could compete with biological processes would be if the heat and emissions were captured and used within the same system, and even that would require more outside raw materials for machines, etc.

    Biological approaches are far better choices overall: 1. No additional infrastructure needed. 2. No outside source feedstock creation required. 3. All inputs and outputs localized. 4. No black soot and CO2 emissions are part of the natural cycle. 5. Edible forests provide 30 – 50 years of food, or more, from one growth cycle for literally 150 days of labor, and likely much less. I’m exaggerating the work needed in the first five years. 100 of those days come from 50 years of picking and chop-and-drop forest management.

    and according to the International Energy Agency, the BLUE map climate change mitigation scenario calls for more than 2 gigatonnes of negative CO2 emissions per year with BECCS in 2050. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar

    Irrelevant. Their call for it tells us nothing about it. Does the same scenario include forest regrowth and regenerative agriculture? If not, there’s a huge degree of ignorance extant on their part, and they would naturally over-rely on those methods they are familiar with at the expense of those they are not aware of or do not understand.

    Finally, complex solutions to issues of complexity are a relatively sure trip to collapse, per Joseph Tainter.

    Biochar has some use, but I cannot see it as the first line of defense.

    @268 Re : #260.

    Terminology

    By being able to identify them before they occur, they cannot be classified as Black Swans.

    Black swans according to Taleb
    highly improbable and unpredictable events that might have massive impacts.

    Key here is the use of “and” vs. “or” and whether it is significant. The highly improbable is just the far end of the tail which any good risk analysis is going to account for. What that ends up as at policy levels is a different question.

    Here’s one:

    Judith Curry persuades Lindzen,Choi and Spencer to submit a joint paper to Science concluding that their critics from Realclimate are right.

    This is not a prediction, but perhaps Taleb is skeptical about the worth of predictions anyway?

    I’d accept that as a black swan as it is not offered as actually lying under the Bell Curve. Even though we can imagine it, the event would have the same net effect of a Black Swan since nobody actually believes it has *any* possibility of happening. Kind of like saying, I bought a lottery ticket but it will never win, and believing it, then it does.

  279. Doug Bostrom:

    Edward Greisch says:
    18 Aug 2011 at 4:17 AM
    Has anybody else noticed that Texas governor Perry thinks we are in it for the gold?

    Having preemptively accused Ben Bernanke of treason, Perry claimed that as of yesterday he was chastened and was going to dial it down. Perry went on to dismiss vast swathes of scientific research results as erroneous, saying of anthropogenic global warming that it is a “scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question.” He’s also referred to the scientific establishment as “all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight.”

    From “his perspective,” that is to say the viewpoint of one fellow having extremely limited familiarity with practically any of the myriad research topics he encompasses in his remarks.

    What are we to conclude from this? If Perry believes these are the words of a man who has successfully been reminded to moderate his words, he’s got some serious calibration problems, major backlash in his mental gear train. If he were not a candidate his thoughts would be dismissed as those of a victim of delusional paranoid psychosis.

    Well, perhaps he’s not actually a deluded psychotic: “A delusion is a false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence.[1] Unlike hallucinations, delusions are always pathological (the result of an illness or illness process).[1] As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, dogma, stupidity, poor memory, illusion, or other effects of perception.

    So more charitably, Perry is likely just uninformed, stupid, dogmatic, the victim of illusions. Presidential material, right?

  280. SecularAnimist:

    Last night (Wednesday 8/17) at 9PM Eastern US time, National Public Radio reported, as NEWS, Texas governor Rick Perry’s statements that anthropogenic global warming is “a scientific theory that has not been proven”, that is “being put more and more into question”, and his accusation that “a substantial number of scientists have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects”.

    Perry’s unequivocal accusation of deliberate scientific fraud committed for money is a direct attack on each and every one of the scientists who maintain RealClimate.

    The “liberal” NPR did not present Perry’s remarks in a talk-radio discussion program, in the context of “debate”. His remarks were presented AS NEWS, during NPR’s hourly update of the day’s NEWS headlines.

    After dwelling on Perry’s accusations of scientific fraud by “a substantial number” of scientists AS NEWS, the announcer briefly and meekly noted that “a majority of scientists believe” that CO2 emissions are heating the Earth.

    This is how one of the USA’s supposedly highest quality “news” organizations is choosing to report “news” about the global warming issue.

    NPR’s hourly NEWS update was immediately followed by a commercial for one of the network’s corporate underwriters, Shell Oil, which promoted Shell’s new website devoted to “educating” the public about the benefits of extracting natural gas with hydraulic fracturing.

  281. Thomas Lee Elifritz:

    Go to your local library.

    Spend the time with your local reference librarians — a much better approach

    Better than say … the peer reviewed, conferences and gray literature, readily available at your local world class university research libraries, generally accessible via the internet from the comfort of your own home within a month or so of publication, and also available for free personal use directly via email from the author(s) by a simple polite email request?

    People don’t have the pound the pavement anymore like we did in the 20th century. This is now the second decade of the 21st century. This stuff is easily available by a simple judicious combinatorial selection of keywords.

    I’m already looking at fall GSA abstracts on Google Scholar.

  282. Doug Bostrom:

    Further to Perry:

    “Perry, long publicly skeptical about manmade climate change, leveled his accusation about climate scientists fudging their findings to attract research funding at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Wednesday. He made the statement after being challenged by a former Republican legislator to defend the charge in his 2010 book that the science of global warming is a “contrived, phony mess.””

    Perry seems to be fudging his data in order to attract campaign finance dollars. His manipulation of scientific results has so far been extraordinarily successful, with Perry receiving some $11 million in grants from the fossil fuels industry to date. Contriving a phony mess is indeed lucrative.

    Members of the scientific community particularly in Texas are upset with Perry’s academic misbehavior:

    http://texasclimatenews.org/wp/?p=2439

    (Tip of the ol’ Resistol to the fabulous comment preview feature, by the way!)

  283. Steve Fish:

    Secular Animist. This morning NPR reported on Perry answering a question about evolutionary theory, from a kid, with a statement that in Texas schools evolution and creation science are presented side by side. In straight reporting it is expected that only the facts of what is observed or recorded should be presented. To do otherwise is unethical. When presenting opinions, or factual investigative reporting, the piece should be represented as such and identified with an author. Steve

  284. SecularAnimist:

    Steve Fish wrote: “In straight reporting it is expected that only the facts of what is observed or recorded should be presented.”

    Rick Perry’s statement that anthropogenic global warming is an “unproven theory” and his accusation that it is a “hoax” perpetrated by a “substantial number” of climate scientists who have committed deliberate scientific fraud for money are blatant lies.

    In “straight reporting” they should be identified as such.

    To present such blatant lies as a legitimate “point of view” — and worse, to offer them as “news” without any opportunity for rebuttal by the scientists whom Perry slanders with his demonstrably FALSE accusations of deliberate scientific fraud — is not “straight reporting”.

    It is, in fact, gross deception by the purported “news” organization, whether that deception is deliberate or “merely” the result of reckless and irresponsible disregard for the facts.

    Steve Fish wrote: “This morning NPR reported on Perry answering a question about evolutionary theory, from a kid, with a statement that in Texas schools evolution and creation science are presented side by side.”

    First of all, there is no such thing as “creation science”. Creationism is religion, period.

    Secondly, NPR again fails its responsibility as a news organization if it does not fact-check that statement by Perry as well, because Perry’s claim about what is taught in Texas schools is apparently also false.

    Simply repeating the claims of politicians — without fact-checking and reporting whether those claims are, in fact, true — is not “straight reporting” and it is not “presenting the facts”. It is, rather, acting as a propaganda office for the politician in question.

  285. Septic Matthew:

    Here is another hint that civilization might survive global warming:

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/revisiting-climate-and-the-food-supply/

    [Response: Did you read the paper that your link refers to? If so, how does it support your statement above?–Jim]

  286. Steve Fish:

    SecularAnimist. I agree with your opinions regarding climate and evolutionary science. I taught courses on evolutionary topics at the Ph.D. level. However, you really haven’t thought through the ethics and practicalities of news reporting. NPR, in both Perry stories, accurately reported what was said. That is what accurate reporting is about. You seem to want NPR to fact check everything that politicians (in this instance) say. This is not realistic. Otherwise, please explain how your local newspaper, NPR, or the New York Times for that matter, could fact check the content of every statement, of every person on whom they report.

    Save your complaints for instances in which straight reporting offers opinion, or for signed and supposedly factual reporting that is in error.

    Captcha= allytag fact. Steve

  287. David B. Benson:

    Maybe this is drifting too far from climatology and ought to be taken up elsewhere, maybe deSmog Blog?

  288. wayne davidson:

    News, straight from above Montreal air… I have been measuring abnormal upper air cooling during this very warm North American summer, it fits quite well with current numerous cumulonimbus observations, predominantly huge and especially high. But its the cold upper air bit which fascinates, at a point when there was a single CB cloud giving thousands of soundless “heat” lightnings causing a stir along with the sightings of turkey vultures, equally unheard of in Montreal, birds with huge wing spans flying about looking for carrion is a sign of the times. All these were never seen before revealing events.

    World wide its the same story, from Texas to the North Pole, the climate has literally changed, for the warming..

    ……. And then we have contrarians with TV megaphones:

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201108170030

    Mediamatters does a good job contrasting the great contradiction between contrarian failings and reality,such as done by meteorologist Bastardi, but that is not a perfect way to expose them. If a contrarian,regardless of credentials, commits to predict some future climate event, based on their understanding of everything, including greenhouse gases, if they fail in their predictions, they fail the test,
    and should be seen as such, incompetent in this domain, due to lack of understanding on how nature works, persons with higher credentials also must past this test, its the understanding which is key, if they remove Greenhouse gases effects, their predictions are doomed to forecast the wrong scenario.

    Lobbyists “phony crisis syndrome” failing with predictions regularly is not talked about nearly enough,
    luckily this piece gets close to the point:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610#p/a/u/0/YVh7z-0oo6o

    I add Bastardi predicted Arctic sea ice to regain a good chunk of its formal extent this year, as we know he was dead wrong, he along with all others who fail but also decry AGW as fraud should be exposed regularly, with their prediction flunking baggage in their PR resume, they will fade.

    I like to see more of this on RC, more exposing each contrarian failure repeated as long as they bark up the wrong tree. Especially a list of those who foresaw this years Arctic sea melt to be “normal”. Correct future projections is a competence score card. Learning never ends, also remarkably bad learning equally persists, exposing those who fail the test of their own predictions is crucial in establishing a clear avenue onto a better informed populace.

  289. Hunt Janin:

    Re 280: Thanks. Your point is very well taken. Sitting at home with my computer here in rural France, I’ve accessed, printed out, and filed nearly 500 entries re sea level rise.

  290. ccpo:

    284 Septic Matthew says:
    18 Aug 2011 at 9:06 PM

    Here is another hint that civilization might survive global warming:

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/revisiting-climate-and-the-food-supply/

    – There is a 99% probability neither of those authors has ever gardened.

    – Parsing the question as the survival of humanity has little meaning. S a few hundred thousand survive, start over, and make the same mistakes. Is this meaningful? No. That 7 billion survive in a form and manner that is very different, but closely related to the present is the framing we need.

    [Response: Whether the authors have ever gardened is immaterial to their analysis of the future effects of heat vs drought on European wheat yields in the coming decades. But your second statement is the more important one and is right on IMO.–Jim

  291. Kevin McKinney:

    The NPR/Perry issue is a frustrating one. One the one hand, Steve Fish is right; every potentially false statement made by a public figure can’t be fact-checked and commented on in every single news story. And I heard the same story, or perhaps an earlier version of it on NPR, and didn’t feel that NPR was wrong to cover what Perry said.

    On the other hand, I very much sympathize with SA; the constant drumbeat of such [insert noun of choice here], effectively orchestrated by right wing ideologues in politics and media, amounts to the Goebbels “Big LIe” technique in a modern iteration: say it often enough, and people tend to assume that it’s true, or at least could well be true.

    A non-climate instance is the oft-repeated claim that “Under Obama, federal spending has exploded. . .” (McConnell) and numerous variants of the meme; but according to CBO figures–reported, among other places, in that left-wing rag “The Economist,”–federal spending actually peaked in 2009. I think, despite the reporting, that not too many folks are aware of that.

    I’m sure there are other instances. But it really does seem to me that our public discourse is epistemologically broken–we are, as a culture, extremely inefficient at arriving at accurate assessments of the teeming data that surround us. “He who has the money, makes the memes”–to a considerable degree, at least.

    I wish I had a better answer than stubbornly saying, over and over again, in the public fora that I have chosen, what I evaluate as correct and true. But that’s pretty much what I know to do. I know it has some effect. But with time running so short, it’s often hard to believe that it’s effective enough.

    Still, you gotta do what you gotta do.

    [Response:As Mr. Dylan once said in his inimitable way “All you can do, is do what you must”. The consistent repeating of what is honestly known on the issue(s), by you–and numerous others here and elsewhere–is not ever to be under-estimated or taken for granted, and I guarantee you that we are all very appreciative of it. It would probably be good if we said this a little more often–Jim]

  292. Jeffrey Davis:

    re: 288

    Wayne Davidson, you have a touch of the poet about you. (I suspect that many scientists are frustrated poets.) The image of the vultures flying around a huge thunderhead crackling with lightning is ripe enough to be the cover art for a heavy metal album. Or an icon for our demise. But I repeat myself.

  293. Walter Pearce:

    Having been in the publishing biz for 30-odd years, I tend to support SA on this point. It really doesn’t require much more fact checking to note how ludicrously out of step Perry is on evolution or AGW than if he had, say, mentioned that the moon is made of cheese.

    Context is vital and in this case — and many others — simply reporting the he said, she said omits vital information.

  294. Ray Ladbury:

    Steve Fish,
    I’m sorry, but I have to come down more on SA’s side here. There are some opinions that are so provably and risibly false that they, by themselves, should be grounds for ridiculing a public figure off of the public stage. Perry has passed way beyond that to slandering the entire scientific community.

  295. Radge Havers:

    There’s more to journalism than the ethics of stenography. Journalists make a big noise about “balance.” But we know all too well about ‘false balance’. There’s also a failure to examine the biases embedded in the conventional wisdom that guides the editing process. SA got it.

  296. J Bowers:

    Septic Matthew — “Here is another hint that civilization might survive global warming:”

    “Might”?! “…might survive”! Is that in the same vein of “possibly”, or “perhaps” by any chance?

    Thanks, mate, I think I’ll go and celebrate tonight because we might survive global warming. The sambucas are on me! let’s dance!

  297. jamesc:

    As the Earths Atmosphere warms up does it expand?

  298. SecularAnimist:

    Well, somehow The Washington Post managed to fact-check Rick Perry’s “made-up ‘facts’ about climate change and his baseless accusations of fraud against climate scientists — which NPR chose to “report” as “news”.

    The Post fact-checkers scored Perry’s remarks with “Four Pinocchios” — which, according to their rating system, means Perry was telling “whoppers” — and conclude (emphasis added):

    Perry’s statement suggests that, on the climate change issue, the governor is willfully ignoring the facts and making false accusations based on little evidence. He has every right to be a skeptic — all scientific theories should be carefully scrutinized — but that does not give him carte blanche to simply make things up.

    Again, for NPR to simply “report” Perry’s outrageously false statements as “news” during their hourly “news” headlines, with NO fact checking, NO discussion, and NO opportunity for rebuttal from the “substantial number of scientists” that Perry accused of fraud, is reckless, irresponsible, and a gross violation of basic journalistic standards.

    [Response: Truly ironic considering that NPR is often viewed as some sort of partisan left-biased media. It turns out that scientific illiteracy is truly non-partisan.–eric]

  299. Walter Pearce:

    Re: 297. And, following the who, what, when, where and why of the story…Why no mention in the NPR story of the massive financial support Perry’s received from fossil fuel interests, putting his allegations within a larger context?

    Shoddy.

  300. Hank Roberts:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=137115982
    NPR is now carrying the AP story
    Perry Expresses Doubts On Manmade Global Warming
    by The Associated Press
    BEDFORD, N.H. August 18, 2011, 04:30 am ET

    That includes “Perry’s opinion runs counter to the view held by an overwhelming majority of scientists …”

  301. prokaryotes:

    jamesc asked
    As the Earths Atmosphere warms up does it expand?

    Interesting, and i wonder if in case of large methane release we face a severe oxygen lose. So far oxygen content in the atmosphere is on steady decline, because Co2/Ch4 breaks down eats up oxygen in the process.

    [Response: No, 6 to 7 orders of magnitude difference in quantities, not to mention the oxygen contributed by the terrestrial land sink (which is insignificant in comparison).–Jim]

  302. prokaryotes:

    Another view on media and facts reporting and how people respond.

    Why Facts No Longer Matter In The Media Discourse http://www.disinfo.com/2011/05/why-facts-no-longer-matter-in-the-media-discourse/

    The only solution can mean total transparency, for example release of interview transcripts a let science speak not PR people. As long this doesn’t change you will mislead and create propaganda.

  303. J Bowers:

    Hank Roberts — “NPR is now carrying the AP story”

    Check out how they describe anthropogenic GHGs: “But Perry’s opinion runs counter to the view held by an overwhelming majority of scientists that pollution released from the burning of fossil fuels is heating up the planet.”

    EPA rocks.

  304. wayne davidson:

    #292 Jeffrey, Most people are stunned:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFiHGEEYmUw go figure, Vultures in Montreal….

    Also Jeff Masters points out http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1886

    what I am observing through vertical sun disk measurements, expansive very cold upper air throughout this summer, enough to contrast with the very hot surface air. Atmospheric refraction contributions are 60% near surface and 40% in the Upper Air, and the 40% contribution overwhelmed the over all image, suggesting deep cooling. This may interest RC modelers here.

  305. Septic Matthew:

    296, J. Bowers: “Might”?! “…might survive”! Is that in the same vein of “possibly”, or “perhaps” by any chance?

    I think the probability would be increased if the study and its result were to be replicated.

  306. Septic Matthew:

    285, Jim inline: [Response: Did you read the paper that your link refers to? If so, how does it support your statement above?–Jim]

    Barton Paul Levenson’s modeling forecast a certainty that global warming will devastate agriculture so severely as to put an end to civilization by about 2050. The cited study, if replicated with the same result, shows that BPL has severely overestimated the effect of the predicted global warming on wheat yields. The civilizations where wheat is a major foodstuff may be able to survive global warming.

    [Response: What Barton has modeled has nothing to do with it. I asked whether *you* had read the paper and how it supports your previous statement. Have you, and does it?–Jim]

  307. Kevin McKinney:

    Jim, thanks for your encouragement in the inline response to my #291.

    Further to that–in a slightly tangential way–I promised last week that I’d have Part Two of my semi-popular treatment of the history of the study of atmospheric radiation out this week. . . and with the week ebbing fast away, I made it!

    IMO, Part Two is apt to be a bit more compelling for most of us because it touches upon the vexed matter of backradiation and the measurement thereof, and because it unearths a couple of things that I think are still relatively little known–like climate-related science back in 1814, or the answer to a certain great climate science trivia question.

    As always, comments, corrections and reactions are particularly invited–hey, I’m a musician writing about science after all! I could use the help.

    Link here:

    http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Fire-From-Heaven-Climate-Science-And-The-Element-Of-Life-Part-Two-The-Cloud-By-Night

    Oh, and thanks to everybody who read Part One!

    (If you missed it, it’s only a single click away from Part Two, literally. Just scroll way, way down. . .)

  308. Kevin McKinney:

    #297–I *think* the short answer is ‘yes.’

    But as Dr. Weart has repeatedly reminded us, the atmosphere is not a single slab, and if we try to think of it that way, we’ll go badly wrong.

    In the troposphere–the part of the atmosphere we (mostly) inhabit, there’s a robust warming trend. We all know about that. I believe that work has been done which shows the troposphere expanding slightly. IIRC, Dr. Ben Santer was involved.

    In the stratosphere, there is a cooling trend–in part, a ‘fingerprint’ of greenhouse warming, in part due to ozone loss. Not sure if that’s showing up as a contraction or not.

    Above that–well, a link is probably indicated:

    http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7b.html

    I like the way this displays the temperature trends semi-schematically–although the graph doesn’t show the hottest extremes of the thermosphere.

  309. prokaryotes:

    Record Ice loss for Greenland’s Mittivakkat Glacier

    Greenland’s longest-observed glacier, Mittivakkat, showed two consecutive record losses in mass during recent melt seasons. In 2010 around 7 feet of water were lost 2.16 meters, 2 percent of the total glacier volume and in 2011 about 8 feet 2.45 m melted away.

    The researchers didn’t directly determine the cause of the mass loss, but most agree increased melting from higher surface temperatures, caused by climate change, is to blame. The water lost from the glaciers ends up in the sea, raising the sea level.Other glaciers in Greenland show comparable glacier-edge retreats from melting, and these glaciers are similar to the Mittivakkat in size and elevation range.

    Therefore, the researchers believe these mass losses would be representative of the broader region, which includes many hundreds of local glaciers.

    “The retreat of these small glaciers also makes the nearby Greenland Ice Sheet more vulnerable to further summer warming,” Hanna said. “There could also be an effect on North Atlantic Ocean circulation and weather patterns through melting so much extra ice.”

    The melting of glaciers has been found, for instance, to have an impact on the gravity above the area. http://climatesignals.org/2011/08/record-ice-loss-for-greenlands-mittivakkat-glacier/

    It would not surprise me if we get glacier sea slides, underwater land slides and potentially resulting tsunamis in the european area too. This high impact scenario outlook with methane spikes.

  310. Doug Bostrom:

    Small Government, GOP-style:

    “Without money to build a new satellite, the federal government will no longer be able to forecast severe weather events far enough in advance for communities to take life-saving action five years from now. That was the message that Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, delivered on Wednesday at a town-hall-style meeting in Denver.

    Speaking at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on a day when the weather forecast warned of possible tornadoes and golf-ball-size hail east of the city, Dr. Lubchenco said there would be a gap of at least a year and a half, and possibly much longer, during which NOAA has no operational satellite circling the planet on a north-south orbit.”

    Oh, sure, right. NOAA’s just trying to plump up its budget with luxuries such as a single satellite to provide weather warnings for 300 million people. Any fool knows if we just hold enough stadium events featuring prayerful governors we’ll be just fine.

    More problematic facts:

    “In the first half of August, [Lubchenko] said, 5,000 heat records were broken across the United States. About 2,000 of those were for the highest maximum temperature on a given day, and 3,000 were for the highest minimum temperature. This means nights as well as days have been getting hotter.”

    Sounds like a familiar signature there, all too convenient. Better have investigators go after those meteorologists, see what kind of message they’re trying to push with their observations. How do they communicate, exactly how do they alter the records of their instruments? How does Al Gore pass along his instructions? Nobody knows. The Mafia has nothing on these guys when it comes to keeping a vow of silence, eh?

    Circling back to GOP candidate Perry et al for whom we lack sufficient data to confidently assign as dogmatic, stupid or uninformed:

    Responding to a question by the event’s moderator, Clayton Sandell, an ABC News correspondent in Denver, about how she felt on a personal level about seeing some members of Congress and other political leaders ignore climate science, the NOAA administrator uttered a word that she used repeatedly throughout her remarks: frustrating.

    “I think that the consequences of not acting are huge,” Dr. Lubchenco said. “It is very, very frustrating to have evidence and present evidence and have it not be believed, essentially.”

    Asked about what NOAA’s future might look like if a Republican candidate who disputes global warming wins the 2012 presidential election, Dr. Lubchenco pointed out that the agency’s climate research was mandated by congressional legislation.

    The rest of the sad story:

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/17/weather-alerts-are-imperiled-noaa-warns/?scp=2&sq=weather&st=cse

  311. SecularAnimist:

    Doug Bostrom quoted:

    “I think that the consequences of not acting are huge,” Dr. Lubchenco said.

    I have a question for Dr. Lubchenco.

    If President Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil to the Gulf of Mexico, the consequences for anthropogenic global warming will be huge. Indeed, climatologist James Hansen has said that the massive carbon emissions from extracting and burning the tar sands oil would mean “game over” as far as preventing catastrophic climate change.

    So my question is, if President Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline, will Dr. Lubchenco resign in protest?

    [Response: I sure hope not; you don’t easily replace someone of that caliber in that type of position. This isn’t an “I’ll take my ball and go home” level of operation. But enough of the off topic stuff.–Jim]

  312. Radge Havers:

    eric in-line @ 298

    “Truly ironic considering that NPR is often viewed as some sort of partisan left-biased media. It turns out that scientific illiteracy is truly non-partisan.”

    To their credit PBS, at least, has had some good programming on AGW. But might as well point out that criticism of public broadcasting for generally leaning to the right is long standing.

    FAIR’s take on NPR in 2004:

    “Looking at partisan sources—including government officials, party officials, campaign workers and consultants—Republicans outnumbered Democrats by more than 3 to 2 (61 percent to 38 percent).”

    At FAIR more recently:

    “The right calls for budget cuts because it says NPR and PBS are too left-wing. Liberal defenders weigh in to defend the CPB budget, making few or no demands on public broadcasters. This all but guarantees that public broadcasting will continue to be pushed to the right, and further away from its intended mission.”

    reCAPTCHA: sidedie symptoms

  313. Ray Ladbury:

    I think that NPR and the other mainstream media have gone all post-modernist on us. They treat matters of scientific fact just like differences of religious opinion. Not all opinions are worthy of respect. Some are worthy only of ridicule–Perry’s is a case in point. It used to be that scientists and journalists could be viewed as allies because both were dedicated to discovering and exposing the truth. Journalists today squirm at the very mintion of the word “truth”.

  314. Doug Bostrom:

    I can easily imagine no NOAA administrator at all (or that is to say, an acting administrator only) for the rest of this presidential term, if Dr. Lubchenco should resign.

    Putting aside my global thoughts and pondering locally, I ask myself, “Am I ready to go to jail or in any way seriously inconvenience myself or my family over the XL pipeline?” My answer at this moment is “no,” so I certainly am in no position to look askance at Dr. Lubchenco, who is arguably more useful to the future in her present situation than am I in mine.

  315. Septic Matthew:

    306: Jim again: What Barton has modeled has nothing to do with it.

    Of what “it” are you writing? The study provides model evidence contradicting one of his claims, which was the reason that I posted the link to it. You wrote that if I had read the paper then I should justify my linking to the newspaper article. So I did.

    [Response: Well then I’d suggest that stating your points directly rather than make vague and sweeping one liners would help all concerned.–Jim]

  316. Thomas Lee Elifritz:

    So … does anyone want to discuss the Younger Dryas yet? It’s gonna be a great show. In fact, this is shaping up to be a regular ‘showdown’.

    Is anyone following this besides the ‘usual suspects’?

  317. prokaryotes:

    Obama administration moves against Alaska oil drilling http://www.grist.org/oil/2011-08-18-obama-administration-moves-against-alaska-oil-drilling

  318. Kevin McKinney:

    Poor NPR. They can (and have) had lengthy and accurate stories on climate change–for instance, Morning Edition has been running a multiday series on how disappearing sea ice is affecting the Arctic, running to ca. 10 minutes per segment, and featuring a reporter that they sent there to cover the story. Not hearing any praise for that.

    But let them fail to refute Perry’s foolishness in a news update that covers multiple stories in two 2 minutes flat and they’re pilloried. (Yes, that segment is two minutes–many stations run a second two-minute segment as. You can hear the break between the two which allows a clean cutaway, if yours is one of these.)

    Can we order a sense of proportion for this table?

  319. Kevin McKinney:

    “. . . two-minute segment as well.

    Sorry.

  320. John W:

    Ray Ladbury says:
    “It used to be that scientists and journalists could be viewed as allies because both were dedicated to discovering and exposing the truth.”

    But what exactly is “Truth”? IMO, the Truth is more than a collection of facts designed to sell newspapers or convince someone to vote for this or contribute to that; it is the whole truth. For example: it is true that exposure to dihydrogen monoxide can kill but if I’m trying to convince you to vote for more regulation on dihydrogen monoxide I’m less likely to reveal that it’s water. When scientists/journalists become advocates IMO they have a heightened responsibility of complete disclosure of all information. (i.e.: We expect spin from politicians but not pediatricians.)

  321. ozajh:

    #304 Wayne,

    Every time I click over to Jeff Masters’ blog, I am stunned at the difference in commentary rate between there and here. Over 3000 responses to a thirteen HOUR old thread . . .

  322. Edward Greisch:

    288 wayne davidson: “But its the cold upper air bit which fascinates, at a point when there was a single CB cloud giving thousands of soundless “heat” lightnings causing a stir along with the sightings of turkey vultures”

    Phenomenon noted circa 1970: Operating a simulator for the electromagnetic effects of a nuclear weapon high altitude “burst” also attracts vultures.

    What can we learn about climate by watching vultures?

  323. Ernst K:

    @311:

    “If President Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil to the Gulf of Mexico, the consequences for anthropogenic global warming will be huge. Indeed, climatologist James Hansen has said that the massive carbon emissions from extracting and burning the tar sands oil would mean “game over” as far as preventing catastrophic climate change.”

    It’s only “game over” if all (or at least a very large fraction) of the tar sands are developed over the next century or so. As it stands, plans are to expand production to the point where 10% of the resource will be developed over the next century (increasing production from 1 million to 4 or 5 million barrels/day).

    James Hansen’s numbers assume that every last morsel of tar sand will be turned into oil over a relatively short time scale. That’s at least 1.7 trillion barrels, from a single jurisdiction that has no plans to develop the resource that quickly (you need to produce at a rate of about 40+ million barrels per day to get to 1.7 trillion barrels in 100 years).

    The Keystone pipeline is not going to make or break that kind of level of development. ~1,000,000 barrels/day does not have “huge consequences” for AGW because it will take 4000+ years to produce all the tar sands at that rate. To put it another way, you will need 40+ Keystone Pipelines to produce 40+ million barrels per day.

  324. Septic Matthew:

    315, Jim: [Response: Well then I’d suggest that stating your points directly rather than make vague and sweeping one liners would help all concerned.–Jim]

    Is there really anybody here who is unfamiliar with BPL’s prediction? He’s a regular contributor who is pretty sophisticated and respected on the whole.

  325. J Bowers:

    Septic Matthew — “I think the probability would be increased if the study and its result were to be replicated.”

    Think? If? The Neolithic Revolution wasn’t a waste of time after all.

  326. Didactylos:

    Shorter Ernst K: US oil consumption is so huge that a few million barrels more or less don’t matter.

    It’s not rocket science. Increasing oil consumption is exactly the opposite of reducing consumption. And choosing the most environmentally harmful extraction methods is irresponsible. Choosing the most expensive options: well, that’s just stupid. Choosing expensive and damaging? There are no words….

  327. Ernst K:

    @326

    You’re missing my point entirely.

    I’m not saying that developing tar sands doesn’t matter. I’m saying it doesn’t necessarily have “huge implications for AGW”. Although it does have huge implications for Alberta.

    Tar sands development is the direct result of US oil demand, and it’s US oil demand that gas huge implications for AGW.

  328. Ernst K:

    @326

    You’re missing my point entirely.

    I’m not saying that tar sands development doesn’t matter. I’m saying that it doesn’t have “huge implications for AGW” or that it means that it’s “game over” for any hope of keeping CO2 at acceptable levels.

    What does gave huge implications for AGW is US oil consumption and it’s US oil consumption that is driving tar sands development.

  329. Radge Havers:

    Kevin McKinney @ 318

    Point taken. Some of the ire, mine at any rate, is based on the sheer viral perniciousness of the sound bite. I nearly boked my biscuits when I heard it. (Luckily for me, Joe Romm had the antidote for Perry’s emetic elsewhere: “Denier Rick Perry Takes $11 Million from Big Oil, Then Claims Climate Scientists ‘Manipulated Data’ For Money.”)

    The issue is denialists getting treated with kid gloves, effectively a boost to their message, when they’re powerful. Politicians use sound bites for a reason.

  330. Hank Roberts:

    I notice this year’s Arctic Sea Ice thread
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/07/arctic-sea-ice-discussions/comment-page-6/#comments
    appears to have choked on digressions and died before the minimum is reached.

    Here’s one for that subject:

    This is a model study but adds some hope for recovery:

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 38, L16705, 5 PP., 2011
    doi:10.1029/2011GL048739
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL048739.shtml
    The reversibility of sea ice loss in a state-of-the-art climate model
    Key Points

    Sea ice loss is reversible within a state-of-the-art global climate model
    We find no evidence of threshold behavior in summer or winter sea ice cover
    Rapid sea ice retreat does not imply irreversibility

  331. Walter Pearce:

    Credit for good reporting — including the absence of false balance — where it”s due:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/08/20/139754902/trying-to-unravel-the-mysteries-of-arctic-warming

  332. SecularAnimist:

    Kevin McKinney wrote: “But let them fail to refute Perry’s foolishness in a news update that covers multiple stories in two 2 minutes flat and they’re pilloried.”

    But that is exactly my complaint: that NPR reported Perry’s blatantly false claims and sweeping accusations of scientific fraud AS NEWS, with NO fact-checking and with NO opportunity for rebuttal.

    A great many people listen to NPR’s hourly news updates who do not necessarily listen to extended, multi-part reports. And NPR’s listeners have every right to expect that the hourly NEWS updates will provide accurate statements of fact — not some politician’s blatant lies and baseless accusations of far-reaching fraud presented as NEWS, without a word from NPR pointing out that the politician is flat-out LYING. (And no, a few meek words noting that some scientists have a different “belief” doesn’t count.)

    If Perry’s remarks had been included in a longer report or series of reports on politics of anthropogenic global warming, as an example of dishonesty on the subject by a presidential candidate who has received millions of dollars from the fossil fuel corporations, with fact-checking to demonstrate his falsehoods, and with rebuttal from the scientists whom Perry accuses of committing fraud for money, that would be another matter. Depending on how such a report handled Perry’s remarks, I might or might not be concerned about “false balance”, but it would certainly be legitimate to report on them in that context.

    But it is wholly inappropriate to present them as NEWS, in the course of an extremely abbreviated NEWS report from which listeners expect straightforward, concise presentation of FACTS — without any of the context, fact-checking or rebuttal that a longer format would provide.

  333. Doug Bostrom:

    There’s been a bit of a splash (sorry!) in what remains of the popular scientific press about the irreversibility paper Hank mentions. From my gnat-like perspective it seems like a useful confirmation of occasionally correct intuition: when the Arctic is allowed to cool to more traditional temperatures, sea ice will expand. The paper does not seem to claim that ice will defy its thermal regime by reappearing even as temperature remains at supra-cryogenic(??) levels:

    “We test sea ice reversibility within a state-of-the-art atmosphere–ocean global climate model by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide until the Arctic Ocean becomes ice-free throughout the year and subsequently decreasing it until the initial ice cover returns. “

    “Irreversible” seems a shoal word, one on which it’s easy to run aground, akin to the phrase “greenhouse effect.” Or am I missing something?

  334. SecularAnimist:

    Hank Roberts: The abstract of the Armour et al study says:

    “We test sea ice reversibility within a state-of-the-art atmosphere–ocean global climate model by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide until the Arctic Ocean becomes ice-free throughout the year and subsequently decreasing it until the initial ice cover returns.”

    That’s good news.

    All we have to do is to start decreasing atmospheric CO2, and keep decreasing it until the Earth system cools off enough for Arctic sea ice cover to return to pre-AGW levels.

    Of course, first we have to stop the accelerating growth of CO2 emissions and the corresponding ongoing increase in atmospheric CO2, and then we can perhaps figure out how to draw down the higher level of CO2 that will have built up by that time to lower levels than it’s at now, where the Arctic sea ice is already melting, and if methane, albedo and other warming feedbacks don’t thwart that effort, perhaps the ice will begin to recover from whatever much lower levels it will have reached by then.

  335. prokaryotes:

    Climate Progress Wiki

    Im currently setting up a climate wiki, based on the wikipedia. Everybody is welcome to join and contribute :)
    So far the wiki pages are somehwat 90% compatible. For example you can copy the wiki page in question and start then with edits…
    http://climateprogress.net/

  336. wayne davidson:

    321 Ozajh, yes but the comments here are more focused, I think due to moderation.

    322 Edward.. ” Phenomenon noted circa 1970: Operating a simulator for the electromagnetic effects of a nuclear weapon high altitude “burst” also attracts vultures.

    What can we learn about climate by watching vultures?”

    In this Montreal case, they were never seen here aside from in cages,. I think that they are migrating in a climatically more favorable zone. The electromagnetic aspect is really cool, but is largely part of the same process, the “heat lightning” observed really close up stunning thousands of people not use to seeing this which was also not heard, thousands of lightnings with perhaps one thunder heard very near or under the cloud, all of which came during likely the warmest day in Montreal’s history (+35.2 Max and +25.8 C daily minimum). And so I am sure each city and villages all across the world are having similar sightings. Scientists have to be more active by simply going outside and observing, especially for those who are skeptical about AGW. We don’t have to wait for the flood before we accept solid science, we should try to understand its implications and realize the inescapable reality which engulfs us all. I am sure most contrarians have blinders , may be we should help remove them.

  337. Septic Matthew:

    This map displays international shipping:

    http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shiplocations.phtml

    If you click on an area it enlarges and names the ships in that area. You can follow the shipping through the Northwest Passage if you’ve a mind to. There isn’t much commercial shipping in the Arctic right now, but you can follow the predicted increase in coming years.

  338. flxible:

    Ice movement tracking in Antartica – should prove interesting over time.

  339. Hank Roberts:

    For John Burgeson, in reply to your inquiry in the CMIP5 thread
    Lately I like this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Global-Climate-Change-Orrin-Pilkey/dp/0822351099
    Global Climate Change: A Primer [Paperback]
    160 pages. Duke University Press Books (June 9, 2011)

  340. Lawrence Coleman:

    I recently watched a english doco whose name eludes me unfortunately disussing amongst other things the misinformation campaign re climate change. The narrator saw NASA’s latest computer model of global water vapour dynamics in real time vs satellite imagery smultaneousy. I was very impressed indeed by the close correlation of both. That simple demonstration told me that climate scientists understand over 90% the actual dynamics at work and that they understand absolutely the macro factors involved. That gave my a lot of confidence in the state of current climate modelling algorithms.
    As tipping points are breached they will be incorportaed into the variable set of those models.
    Tipping points such as runaway arctic ice albedo, exponential methane release in the arctic and antarctic, more frequent sudden collapses of vast ice sheves accelerating glacial velocity, the retardation of the North Atlantic thermohaline circultion etc.
    Full marks to Gavin Schmitt et-al or thier tireless research and climate modelling prowess.
    Looking through uni-bremen ice extent and satellite imagery it looks as though it may exdeed the summer of 2007 record as it is virtually tracking it at present and don’t forget that there will probaby be a few more days of melt into mid september than in 2007 as the melt season is getting longer.
    The NE and NW passage are open to shipping and has been foe a number of weeks.

  341. Pete Dunkelberg:

    For John Burgeson, in reply to your inquiry in the CMIP5 thread about a book on, I infer, what’s happening to the climate in human terms and why

    This is certainly good and it has a website with frequent updates:
    http://www.amazon.com/Storms-My-Grandchildren-Catastrophe-Humanity/dp/1608195023/

    Website http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/

    and of course this one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Global-Warming-Political-Intimidation-Politicians/dp/1558498699/

    Look here too: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/our-books/

  342. Kevin McKinney:

    #331–

    SA, we’re going in circles. I get your point. I still differ, though, because 1) the story is what the candidate said, not its truthfulness or otherwise, and 2) a news update does not allow for much fact-checking and context-setting.

    Could they have done better? Probably; a ‘few meek words’ would suffice. But when they are doing more to give real attention and context than any other American news organization–which they are, according to my informal observations–then that needs to be part of the context, too.

  343. Radge Havers:

    Kevin McKinney @ 341

    Perhaps the question could be asked if there are statements that NPR would have hesitated to broadcast without context, and just left hanging to ring in people’s heads. The answer, I think, is yes. probably lots; no doubt you can come up with your own list of incitements and weirdness. So it’s a matter of editorial policy where the line is drawn.

    Politicians design propaganda bombs specifically for insertion into news segments. Journalists should be savvy enough defuse these IEDs before presenting them to the public, lest they, for instance, unwittingly undo in five seconds the work of hours of solid programming. It’s good to keep in mind that the public does not think like trained scientists, and that there is a habit in the media, even NPR, of kowtowing to power. This may not be a proximal issue of science, but it certainly has implications for how science is treated if it comes into the hands of unfriendly government leadership. Please think about this when you’re wondering about how it is that public opinion slumps so sadly despite the best efforts of so many well intentioned, smart and knowledgeable people.

  344. Pete Dunkelberg:

    John Burgeson, here’s another:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Climate-Change-Denial-book.html
    update
    http://skepticalscience.com/Another-two-reviews-Climate-Change-Denial.html

  345. Septic Matthew:

    331, Secular Animist: But that is exactly my complaint: that NPR reported Perry’s blatantly false claims and sweeping accusations of scientific fraud AS NEWS, with NO fact-checking and with NO opportunity for rebuttal.

    It was NEWS about Perry, not NEWS about climate.

  346. Kees van der Leun:

    Republican pres candidate Jon Huntsman accepts climate science, but thinks climate scientists are meteorologists: http://t.co/DOFh9qz

    [Response: One step at a time… – gavin]

  347. Septic Matthew:

    I have a question. when GHG molecules absorb radiant energy, they transmit this energy elsewhere via two mechanisms: (a) they re-radiate it at their absorption/emission wavelengths; (b) they collide with lower energy molecules.

    What is the fraction, in the atmosphere, of the energy transmitted via each mechanism and how does that fraction vary across altitude, latitude, and pressure?

  348. Doug Bostrom:

    Regarding Perry and NPR, perhaps thinking in terms of a continuum might help.

    If Perry had said 2+2=5, NPR would be quite safe in reporting those words with no explanation. Most listeners would safely conclude he’s crazy; useful information (news) about Perry would successfully have been conveyed without further elaboration.

    If Perry had said that Pi is equal to 3, NPR would still be largely justified in allowing listeners to complete the circle.

    In the case of Perry and his strange remarks about functional, prosaic science, NPR may yet have a working sense of what will fly in the public mind. Taking John Huntsman as a test subject, his own conclusion was that Perry is “crazy.”

    What’s interesting to me about the Perry remarks is how they’ve stimulated consolidation around a tacit consensus and even quite a bit of explicit acknowledgement in the press and the punderati to the effect that Perry and most of his self-styled GOP presidential candidate colleagues are deep in the weeds. Perry’s own words made this possible, unadorned.

  349. Hank Roberts:

    > NEWS

    Because an accusation of fraud is NEWS.
    But a fraudulent accusation isn’t NEWS.

    SM, you’re making it clear how you keep yourself ‘skeptical’.
    Ya sure you want to do that?

  350. Martin Vermeer:

    Septic Matthew #346, one of the secrets of successful science, and of successfully studying science, is asking the right questions. This is a textbook example of a non-right question.

    (a) they re-radiate it at their absorption/emission wavelengths;
    (b) they collide with lower energy molecules.

    Eh,

    (b2) … sometimes with higher-energy molecules too

    (c ) they radiate (not: re-radiate) energy they received by collision.

    But all this is uninteresting… it’s like asking how much of your earnings came in as banknotes and how much as coins, and which denominations. The interesting thing is the sum total, right?

    There is such a thing as local thermodynamical equilibrium. You don’t even want to know all this micro detail… just one macro number, the temperature. And then with Planck’s function and emissivity/absorbtivity as functions of wavelength, that’s all you need to know.

    Please, please find a good course on thermodynamics. Given the questions you’re asking, it’s worth it.

  351. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Hunt Janin, your work in never done.
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/focus/warm-ice-sheets/index.html

  352. Septic Matthew:

    349, Martin Vermeer: But all this is uninteresting… it’s like asking how much of your earnings came in as banknotes and how much as coins, and which denominations. The interesting thing is the sum total, right?

    As to monetary income, it might make a difference to somebody if your money came in bundles of $100 bills, and if some of your money came in bundles of lower denominations. So it’s a bad analogy.

    I have excellent texts on thermodynamics, but they do not address the question I asked. “radiate” vs. “re-radiate”, ok if you insist; collisions with molecules that have a distribution of energies, ok again, though presumably the energized GHG molecules do not warm the N2 and O2 molecules that have even higher energies. The question (reframed as you wish) is a question about how complete and detailed is the knowledge about heat flows. With the earth spinning on its axis and revolving around the sun, and with the consequent rising and falling of temperature and with local transients like winds, clouds, hailstorms and dust devils, local thermodynamic equilibrium is seldom present.

  353. Hank Roberts:

    > presumably the energized GHG molecules do not warm the
    > N2 and O2 molecules that have even higher energies.

    Why would you presume not?
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/07/yes-virginia-cooler-objects-can-make-warmer-objects-even-warmer-still/

  354. prokaryotes:

    Are there plans to upgrade the RC wiki? The export functionality in recent releases has been greatly improved. Are there recommendations of “must have” RC wiki entries?

    So far the Climate Progress wiki contains over 500 content pages! :)
    http://climateprogress.net

    There are certain wikis which could be greatly improved. The project is still in the making so expect more updates within the next days/weeks.

    Bottom line, im not aware of any other wiki which focus on climate science and quality. The original Wikipedia i consider medium “ok” with many articles lacking a lot. Feedback is welcome.

  355. Pete Dunkelberg:

    SM @ 351“With the earth spinning on its axis and revolving around the sun, and with the consequent rising and falling of temperature and with local transients like winds, clouds, hailstorms and dust devils, local thermodynamic equilibrium is seldom present.”

    Non sequitur. How is it possible for snowflakes to grow symmetrically? What is the scale of the molecular interactions you were asking about? And why are you disturbing me at this time of night? Or are you on the late coast?

  356. Septic Matthew:

    352, Hank Roberts: Why would you presume not?

    There can’t be a net energy flow from a low energy source to a high energy source. If the CO2 molecule has a lower energy than the O2 molecule with which it collides , then any net energy transfer is from the O2 to the CO2 molecule.

    The relevance of your example requires the existence of another heat source already heating the O2 and N2 molecules (advection from the earth surface, perhaps.) In that case, it is the other heat source that makes the O2 and N2 molecules more energetic, not their collisions with lower energy CO2 molecules.

    I am guessing that you do not know the answer, or a citation for the answer, to the question that I asked.

  357. ccpo:

    Arctic Sea Ice Prediction Update:
    http://aperfectstormcometh.blogspot.com/2011/08/current-state-of-arctic-sea-ice-arctic_22.html

  358. sidd:

    Mr. Sceptic Matthew asks:

    “when GHG molecules absorb radiant energy, they transmit this energy elsewhere via two mechanisms: (a) they re-radiate it at their absorption/emission wavelengths; (b) they collide with lower energy molecules.

    What is the fraction, in the atmosphere, of the energy transmitted via each mechanism and how does that fraction vary across altitude, latitude, and pressure?”

    I seem to recall that at NTP CO2 rotationally excited states have radiative lifetimes far larger than collisional lifetime. I would expect that collisional lifetimes become longer than radiative lifetimes at just about the upper radiative ‘surface’ of the atmosphere…but i am probably rong in detail, if not in large…

    sidd

  359. sidd:

    In further reply to Mr. Sceptic Matthew, re radiative/collisional lifetime: I erred by implication at least once in my previous: I believe CO2 is vibrationally excited by IR and rotationally by microwave. But i still think that at NTP the vibrational state also has far higher radiative lifetime than collisional lifetime at NTP in earth atmosphere. so a typical IR excited CO2 molecule at sea level ought to decay by collision far quicker than by radiative emission.

    please, corrections are welcome.

    sidd

  360. Martin Vermeer:

    I have excellent texts on thermodynamics, but they do not address the question I asked.

    There’s a reason for that ;-)

    You may want to peruse astrophysics texts, where you find LTE violating regimes where this becomes meaningful.

    With the earth spinning on its axis and revolving around the sun, and with the consequent rising and falling of temperature and with local transients like winds, clouds, hailstorms and dust devils, local thermodynamic equilibrium is seldom present.

    Oh really? You may want to read those “excellent texts”, they do no good just sitting on your shelf… LTE has a very specific meaning.

  361. Edward Greisch:

    Rick Perry’s statements are a joke without explanation for most of us. They should be jokes for all of us. Since everybody should know that Rick Perry’s statements are wrong, NPR can get away with playing straight man. NPR is only guilty of putting a joke on the news. Makes you wonder why he didn’t wait until April First to say that.

    The public schools are guilty of not teaching enough science so that everybody would get the joke instantly.

  362. Martin Vermeer:

    There can’t be a net energy flow from a low energy source to a high energy source. If the CO2 molecule has a lower energy than the O2 molecule with which it collides , then any net energy transfer is from the O2 to the CO2 molecule.

    On the molecular level, simply not true. Think about it.

    heating the O2 and N2 molecules

    Ehm, you don’t heat molecules, you heat gas.

  363. Kevin McKinney:

    SM, numerous comments–

    It may be an obvious–or naive?–point, but at the bulk level, the radiative forcing is constantly raising the energy level of the GHGs but not the O2 and N2. Since everything else we can think of affects all species pretty much equally, you’d think there would be a sort of ‘energy gradient’ established thereby. . .

  364. Hank Roberts:

    > I am guessing that you do not know the answer, or a citation
    > for the answer, to the question that I asked.

    It’s true, I have no answer or citation for the question you asked.
    The question you asked can be improved, but not answered as asked.

    SM, you could name the books on your shelf — then others who have them can talk about why you aren’t finding the answers to your question in them.

    Or perhaps the hyperphysics site might be helpful as a common/shared source?
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/kinetic/eqpar.html

    “… the definition of kinetic temperature … involves just the translational degrees of freedom, but it fails to predict the specific heats of polyatomic gases because the increase in internal energy associated with heating such gases adds energy to rotational and perhaps vibrational degrees of freedom.

  365. Doug Bostrom:

    More data is in on Governor Perry.

    Q: What makes Rick Perry’s approach to politics different from that of other candidates?

    Mr. Issenberg: No candidate has ever presided over a political operation so skeptical about the effectiveness of basic campaign tools and so committed to using social-science methods to rigorously test them.

    As the 2006 election season approached, the governor’s top strategist, Dave Carney, invited four political scientists into Perry’s war room and asked them to impose experimental controls on any aspect of the campaign budget that they could randomize and measure. Over the course of that year, the eggheads, as they were known within the campaign, ran experiments testing the effectiveness of all the things that political consultants do reflexively and we take for granted: candidate appearances, TV ads, robocalls, direct mail. These were basically the political world’s version of randomized drug trials, which had been used by academics but never from within a large-scale partisan campaign.

    The eggheads controlled Perry’s schedule for three days and randomly assigned his travel across Texas. During that time, they conducted a massive volume of polling calls — large enough to discern significant movement in each city — and tracked contributions and volunteer activity. They found that Perry’s presence in a city had an impact: his approval ratings went up, and contributions and volunteer signups increased after he did a public event.

    Because they had randomized the schedule, the eggheads were able with confidence to attribute the changes to Perry’s presence. It wasn’t a novel conclusion — candidates have been doing whistle-stop tours and rallies and visits to businesses forever under the impression that they would be helped locally — but no one ever had the tools to isolate the effect of the visit on these different variables.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/rick-perrys-scientific-campaign-method/?hp

    Now this article does not say if Perry was aware of these activities. If not, the question of whether he actually believes the things he says about the scientific community is still open. On the other hand, if Perry was working directly with Carney on these social science experiments, this suggests that Perry’s remarks on science are expedient, tuned to his audience, behavior that in some circumstances would be termed “lying.”

    As to the application of Perry’s social science findings, I thought that conservatives loathed “social engiineering.” Yet here we see forces and processes applied to raw human material– based on scientifically derived predictions– in order to shape that human material (electoral ore) into something useful to Governor Perry. Sounds like engineers at work.

  366. Pete Dunkelberg:

    ummm sundry comments getting fuzzy (not including Martin).

    Longwave radiation excites GHG molecule, then the energy quickly spreads to other molecules, mostly diatomic. Every so often (on the molecular time scale, ie many times per second) a GHG molecule gets kicked to a high energy state (perhaps stepwise, perhaps all at once) and stays there long enough to radiate. So any increase in thermal radiation is constantly heating all the gas.

    In case there is any book that would help orient better questions it is raypierre’s.

  367. Doug Bostrom:

    One other thought about Perry’s social science experiments occurs to me.

    In an academic setting Perry’s researchers would likely have been required to put this experiment in front of an IRB, for a dispassionate review of the experiment’s ethics and the impacts of the experiment on the human subjects involved. Informed consent on the part of the subjects would also likely be required. It’s not probable that such procedures were followed in the case of the experimental subjects touched by Carney’s investigation.

    So here we have whole towns and cities full of human subjects, enlisted in a grand social science experiment without their knowledge or consent. I’m left wondering what would happen if this sort of practice was uncovered at NSF’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences.

    The style of freelance, methodical, goal-oriented, morally dubious activity of the sort Perry is practicing is often termed “hacking” of the black hat variety. Perry’s campaign is to harvest ballots from voters, obtain something of value, and here we see methods employed for that purpose which seem to include a form of deception. Hacking the electorate is not new, but Perry seems to be ahead of the rest of the pack.

  368. Marcus:

    Septic matthew:


    There can’t be a net energy flow from a low energy source to a high energy source. If the CO2 molecule has a lower energy than the O2 molecule with which it collides , then any net energy transfer is from the O2 to the CO2 molecule.

    No. Consider a billard ball on x=0, and a second ball with identical mass approaching it with velocity vx along the x axis. The second ball will come to rest and exchange all momentum to the first one.

    Now repeat the thought experiment with the first ball going through the origin at collision time still at rest resp. X axis, but with arbitrary velocity resp. Y axis vy. Set vy > vx, arbitrarily.

    At the collision event energy is transferred from the ball with lower energy to that with higher energy, both energy and momentum of the system conserved.

    The entropy law and the whole of thermodynamics accounts for *ensembles*, not singular particles

    Cheers, Marcus

  369. Septic Matthew:

    365, Pete Dunkelburg: So any increase in thermal radiation is constantly heating all the gas.

    That is beyond dispute, or at least I think it is beyond dispute.

    For a mole of CO2 (or other GHG) molecules in a well-defined region, say in a rectangular horizontal layer with a side of 1 square meter, how much of the absorbed radiant energy is transferred to the N2 and O2 molecules via collisions, and how much is radiated? Is the answer the same for a mole of CO2 molecules in a 1 meter tall cylinder? How about for the CO2 molecules in a really thin layer (which might be made arbitrarily thin in a limit)?

    361, Martin Vermeer: Ehm, you don’t heat molecules, you heat gas.

    363, Hank Roberts: It’s true, I have no answer or citation for the question you asked. The question you asked can be improved, but not answered as asked.

  370. t_p_hamilton:

    Septic Matthew needs to KISS:”If the CO2 molecule has a lower energy than the O2 molecule with which it collides , then any net energy transfer is from the O2 to the CO2 molecule.”

    If this was true, then a gas at equilibrium would have all molecules going the same velocity. Contrast this with the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.

  371. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Pretty much all transferred and pretty much all radiated. Over and over.

  372. Joseph O'Sullivan:

    I recently read this news release from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute:
    “News Release : Newly Discovered Icelandic Current Could Change North Atlantic Climate Picture”
    http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=282&cid=110069&ct=162

    The paper is in Nature Geoscience:
    “Significant role of the North Icelandic Jet in the formation of Denmark Strait overflow water”
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1234.html

    How important is the findings of this study? If the results of hold up under wider scientific scrutiny, what are the implications for anthropogenic global warming?

    I re-read the posts on RealClimate on the Atlantic circulation and I recently read Peter Ward’s “Under a Green Sky” where he writes that in some of the past mass extinctions changes in ocean circulation was a key factor.

    I was wondering what is the up-to-date state of knowledge of ocean circulation and AGW is, particularly in the Atlantic. Maybe a new post from RealClimate can be written or someone can direct me to a recent review paper on the topic.

  373. David B. Benson:

    An a more ideal world, this would be off-topic:
    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/08/22/300821/nsf-inspector-general-investigation-michael-mann/
    but I do hope this brings these unpleasant (to say the least) episodes to an end.

  374. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Joseph O’Sullivan @ 371, That’s a neat paper. Ocean currents are important redistributors of heat. Learning about currents like that one and this one will help us to have sharper models in a couple years. As you say it would be nice to have an up to date review of ocean circulation, yet as these papers show, up to date is hard to get except by reading new research all the time. Meanwhile global warming will continue.

  375. Pete Dunkelberg:

    David Benson, in a perfect world … yes and at least a few people are working on it.

  376. Hank Roberts:

    SM, you started from mistaken assumptions; you haven’t said where you got those.

    What do you know about the wavelengths and intensity of the incoming radiation; material of the container; temperatures; time span; gases; pressure; mean free path for photons involved; time between collisions. Just handwaving from my amateur reading, which leads me to think you’re missing some information needed to ask a meaningful question.

    What are you reading? Name your reference shelf books, the ones you said are right there next to you, eh?

    For those following along who like me are just amateurs trying to figure out what people are talking about, these are useful:

    U4735 – Lecture 4. Greenhouse Effect
    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/edu/dees/U4735/lectures/20/
    How is energy transferred from radiant energy to matter …

    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/PhysTodayRT2011.pdf
    Infrared radiation and planetary temperature

  377. David B. Benson:

    john burgeson — Even shorter is “Why does climate change? Causes and Timescales” by Chris Colose
    http://blog.timesunion.com/weather/why-does-climate-change-causes-and-timescales/1261/

  378. Radge Havers:

    Doug Bostrom @364

    “…this suggests that Perry’s remarks on science are expedient…”

    That’s politics. Part manipulation, part pandering. Part representing, part testifying. Part art, part science. You can be sure that a lot of effort goes into crafting the message, polishing the performance and, well, gaming the system–just as you’d expect designers to fuss over logos, lawyers to hone their arguments, copywriters to sell the brand, and good old boys to crunch the numbers and gerrymander their districts.

    What does Perry really think about science? Does it matter? Any way you look at it he’s full of baloney.

  379. Ray Ladbury:

    Septic Matthew,
    There is a reason why statistical mechanics (and the atmospheric science you are trying to understand, which is based on stat mech) deals with numbers of particles that are–to use a technical term–freakin’ huge. Huge numbers simplify things tremendously. Rather than talking about energy transfer between A CO2 molecule and A O2 molecule, you are looking at net transfer between many, many of said molecules–it is the average that matters. If you have CO2 and O2 starting out at the same temperature, and CO2 molecules absorb a bunch of IR, then the CO2 molecules will be shifted to higher energy than the equilibrium distribution associated with that temperature. By equipartition they will shed some of that extra energy in collisions with other molecules and transfer some of the energy to O2 and N2 molecules. Equipartition is a strong tool for figuring out which way energy will flow.

  380. John W:

    OH NO! I find myself in agreement with Ray Ladbury @ 378.

    Although, I would note that unlike the CO2 molecules being able to absorb, store, emit energy with extra-translational motion (without affecting temperature); the O2 and N2 molecules that through collision receive energy from potentially IR excited CO2 molecules must do so through translational motion (by temperature increase). Also, those collisions can also transfer translational energy from O2 and N2 to CO2 molecules that could lose this energy by emitting IR thus having a local cooling effect.

    Equipartition Theorem

  381. Septic Matthew:

    375, Hank Roberts: incoming radiation; material of the container; temperatures; time span; gases; pressure;

    I was referring to the atmosphere of earth, and I asked about effects of altitude and pressure. I selected CO2, N2 and O2 as some constituents: CO2 because it is the focus of discussion of AGW; N2 and O2 because they are the most prevalent of the gases in the atmosphere. The answer isn’t necessarily the same for the CO2 and H2O in a region just above the earth’s surface at local temperature and pressure, or in every geographic region.

    You might just as well admit that you neither know nor care what the answer is.

  382. Edward Greisch:

    364 Doug Bostrom: “experiments testing the effectiveness of all the things that political consultants do reflexively”

    That actually makes sense out of Rick Perry’s getting elementary school science wrong. Like the other Republican candidates, he was gesturing hypnotically to the religious right. See Altemeyer’s book. “The Authoritarians” by Bob Altemeyer. Free download from:
    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

  383. One Anonymous Bloke:

    Septic Matthew #380 you have been advised that your question is essentially meaningless. How much time have you devoted to understanding why anyone would know or care about the answer to a meaningless question? I think you need to read Ray Ladbury’s response at #378, and then think about it. “We need better septics.”

  384. Craig Nazor:

    Having lived in Texas for a number of years, and having watched Governor Perry up close and personal for that time, here is what I think about his attitude on anthropogenic global warming:

    He doesn’t really care if it is happening or not, because he doesn’t feel that it is likely that humans can (or will) do anything about it. It really doesn’t matter to him if humans are responsible, or that they could do something about it if they tried. Action to address AGW is just not likely to happen, and he is fine with this – in fact, he doesn’t really see this as any of his responsibility. It is simply beyond his control.

    But as a tactic to win an election, he sees denying AGW as an excellent way to appeal to those whose support he needs. IT IS A TACTIC, nothing more and nothing less. And if public opinion changed so that it would benefit him to acknowledge AGW and even support political action to address it, he would suddenly find a way to “change his mind,” just like he did to overcome his strong denials that he would never run for president.

    In other words, to Rick Perry, it is first and foremost about winning. It is not about changing society for the better, except at the margins (that is, after he has done what he needed to do to win).

    That is apparently what he sees as “leadership” – you have to “win” to “lead.” Truth, or justice, or integrity all become a distant second to WINNING.

    I have watched Perry for a long time on this and other issues, and that is the pattern that emerges. And remember – HE NAS NEVER LOST AN ELECTION.

    If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

  385. Marcus:

    I would not be harsh on SM because he wants to dig his way to understanding through “microphysics”, because I would regard this a decent approach in principle even if not *necessary*. Though I am not sure what he is about with the consideration of the volume element geometry.

    One maybe could consider a back of the envelope calculation to achieve orders of magnitude, for a column element at high altitude that is cold and has low pressure. One could pick some wavelengths/state transitions of interest, work out their average lifetime from lifetime broadening or look them up, and compare those to collision frequency. The latter could be worked out from kinetic gas theory quite simply.

    Would You be happy with that, Septical Matthew?

    I would recon that everywhere where line broadening is dominated by pressure, energy transfer by collision overpowers spontaneous re-radiation, almost per definition.

    Cheers,
    Marcus

  386. Martin Vermeer:

    I would not be harsh on SM because he wants to dig his way to understanding through “microphysics”, because I would regard this a decent approach in principle even if not *necessary*.

    Yeah, sure… actually what he wants is not impossible, and should just be done as you outline. Collision frequency follows directly from mean free path (tabulated here) and temperature –) mean velocity by kT = mv^2.

    Excitation state lifetimes are harder to come by; is this relevant?
    The important lifetimes in the CO2 laser are practically all determined by collisional phenomena. The radiative lifetimes vary from a few milliseconds to a few seconds, whereas the mean free time between molecular collision is of the order 10 to 100 nanoseconds.

    And as you say, the shape of the air element just doesn’t enter into it.

  387. Martin Vermeer:

    I would recon that everywhere where line broadening is dominated by pressure, energy transfer by collision overpowers spontaneous re-radiation, almost per definition.

    Marcus that’s another way of saying “LTE”…

  388. Septic Matthew:

    384, Marcus: One maybe could consider a back of the envelope calculation to achieve orders of magnitude, for a column element at high altitude that is cold and has low pressure. One could pick some wavelengths/state transitions of interest, work out their average lifetime from lifetime broadening or look them up, and compare those to collision frequency. The latter could be worked out from kinetic gas theory quite simply.

    That would be a good start. Then I’d hope for some confirming/testing experiments. Then differences between low, medium and high altitudes, and over water vs. over land of different types such as desert and forest. At the highest level of the atmosphere the atmosphere is sparse, as we all know, and all energy transmitted out to space is via radiation.

    378, Ray Ladbury: numbers of particles that are–to use a technical term–freakin’ huge.

    That’s why in one of my formulations of the question I proposed a volume, of different shapes, containing a mole of GHG molecules: say a region containing at least 1 mole each of CO2, H2O and CH4, which would have many times more moles of O2 and N2.

  389. Septic Matthew:

    385, Martin Vermeer: Excitation state lifetimes are harder to come by; is this relevant?
    “The important lifetimes in the CO2 laser are practically all determined by collisional phenomena. The radiative lifetimes vary from a few milliseconds to a few seconds, whereas the mean free time between molecular collision is of the order 10 to 100 nanoseconds.”

    So collisions dominate at low altitudes and are rare at high altitudes. What’s the variation in between?

    For a large volume of air, say 125 cubic miles, it matters whether the region is nearly flat near the ocean surface, or a narrow column above a rain forest.

    Have I mentioned that I am a statistician? Statistics is about variation, especially about modeling deterministic variation in the presence of random variation. I think that quantitative answers to my question have deterministic (altitude above a small part of the Pacific Ocean) and random (across parts of the Pacific Ocean) components.

  390. Septic Matthew:

    We should eagerly anticipate the publications that result from this voyage:

    http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/detail/item/rv_polarstern_reaches_north_pole/?tx_list_pi1mode=6&cHash=e4f4e0a501e31c702c3e9f2195b7ceb5

  391. J Bowers:

    SM — “Have I mentioned that I am a statistician?”

    Big deal. “Doing the maths without doing the physics is not doing the physics.” You should’ve listened to Wegman.

  392. deconvoluter:

    RE: #308 (the link therein)

    Nice graphic, but I think that it may be the second source mentioned in this particular thread, which seriously over-simplifies the action of clouds i.e. that they necessarily create a negative feedback.

  393. deconvoluter:

    RE: #390

    Wegman.
    When it comes to statistical physics (SP), I doubt whether a typical statistician would be familiar with much of the statistics,let alone the maths or the physics, and of course some of the problems discussed above have been concerned with SP.

  394. Hank Roberts:

    > some confirming/testing experiments.

    http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1432047
    http://laserstars.org/history/co2.gif
    “The R(8) transition at 10.33 microns in the infrared is produced from one vibrational quanta of asymmetric stretching to one quantum of symmetric stretching with a change of one quantum of rotational energy from J=8 to J=7″

  395. Doug Bostrom:

    Australian PR firm Jackson Wells handles publicity not only for Cambridge University Press and the University of West Sydney but also Australia’s anti-science “Galileo Movement.”

    Jackson Wells is in position of conflicted interest. To the extent Galileo Movement succeeds, Cambridge University Press and UWS fail:

    Galileo Movement:

    Humans did not cause global warming. It’s part of Nature’s ongoing changing of climate. Climate alarm though, is caused by humans – academics spreading falsehoods and even lies and grabbing Government grants, politicians telling lies and using fear and guilt to push taxation and regulations. Unlike human production of carbon dioxide though which has many benefits, these moral issues are entirely destructive.

    UWS Climate Change and Energy Research Facility:

    Generation of reliable data about the impacts of climate change on Australia’s land, water and alternative energy sources is crucial for our economy, environment and society.

    The Climate Change and Energy Research (CCER) facility will provide empirical data to assess the impact of climate change on Australia’s land and water resources and assist the nation to adapt to a carbon-constrained economy.

    The CCER facility will establish Australia’s most comprehensive climate change research projects.

    Cambridge University Press:

    Cambridge University Press advances learning, knowledge and research worldwide

    Time to drop a dime?

    University of West Sydney contact information

    Contact information for Cambridge University Press

  396. Hunt Janin:

    Re my coauthored book on sea level rise, the manuscript must be in the hands of the publisher by the summer of 2012, i.e., long before the next IPCC assessment report will be available.

    My guess is that the IPCC report will not contain any brand-new or block-busting information on sea level rise, but will essentially be a restatement and a summation of the current state of knowledge on this subject.

    If I’m mistaken in this belief, please let me know. Thanks very much.

  397. deconvoluter:

    Re : #394

    CUP?

    Raypierre’s book, and many others, excellent.

    Lomborg’s book(s). If they employed reviewers, they chose ones who didn’t do their job properly, especially for the chapter consisting of a review of climate science in the first book.

  398. ozajh:

    Is my untutored eye missing something, or does the Cryosphere Today graphic show the Main NorthWest Passage completely open?

    [Response: If you mean Lacanster Sound/Viscount Melville Sound, then yes. This is not however the ‘Main Northwest Passage’ – traditionally the NWP was always the southern route through the McLintock Channel and south of Victoria Island. This full passage opened up around the same time in Aug 2007 and Aug 2010. – gavin]

  399. Hank Roberts:

    For Hunt Janin: I’m sure you’ve already seen this — it’s by now rather old, but just in case — you’ll certainly recognize the authors’ names:

    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/downloads/797655_16br01_slr_080911.pdf
    Briefing: a post-IPCC AR4 update on sea-level rise

    “There is increasing concern about the potential instability of both the Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Sheets leading to a more rapid rate of sea-level rise than the current model projections. While our understanding of the relevant processes is limited, it is important to recognize that the uncertainties are essentially one-sided: the processes can only lead to
    a higher rate of sea-level rise than current model projections ….”

  400. Hunt Janin:

    Re: 398, Hank Roberts.

    Many thanks for the good suggestion.

  401. ccpo:

    Is my untutored eye missing something, or does the Cryosphere Today graphic show the Main NorthWest Passage completely open?

    [Response: If you mean Lacanster Sound/Viscount Melville Sound, then yes. This is not however the ‘Main Northwest Passage’ – traditionally the NWP was always the southern route through the McLintock Channel and south of Victoria Island. This full passage opened up around the same time in Aug 2007 and Aug 2010. – gavin]

    Comment by ozajh — 24 Aug 2011 @ 9:18 AM

    It’s not quite completely open. The Cryosphere images are model-based, if I’m not mistaken, but it is and has been clear enough for commerce for a while now, the southern route for over a month. MODIS shows ice still in the Parry Channel, so one would go with caution, but should be able to easily pass through.

    This image is from the 22nd: http://www.arctic.io/observations/8/2011-08-22/8-N73.418757-W107.040702/Canada-Kitikmeot-Region

    My Sea Ice Update is here: http://aperfectstormcometh.blogspot.com/2011/08/current-state-of-arctic-sea-ice-arctic_22.html

  402. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Hunt,
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/aug/21/vietnam-rice-bowl-threatened-rising-seas

  403. ozajh:

    gavin/ccpo,

    Thank you for the responses.

    Yes, I did mean ‘Lancaster Sound/Viscount Melville Sound’ when I wrote ‘Main NorthWest Passage’.

    (In my defence, I suggest that that will be the common usage if (or should that be ‘when’?) the open season becomes long enough and reliable enough for the NWP to get significant usage as a trade route.)

  404. Hunt Janin:

    Re sea level rise:

    I need a dramatic illustration of sea level rise for the front cover of my coauthored book on this subject. If a photo, it must be of extremely good quality: a photo already published in a textbook would be the best solution. I would of course get written permission to use it.

    Any suggestions?

  405. Septic Matthew:

    361, Martin Vermeer: Ehm, you don’t heat molecules, you heat gas.

    Have you given more thought to how you can transfer energy into gas without transferring energy into its molecules?

  406. Septic Matthew:

    Here is another pothole on the road to civilizational collapse:
    http://newnostradamusofthenorth.blogspot.com/2011/08/tremendous-recovery-in-world-wheat.html

  407. Patrick 027:

    Re 404 Septic Matthew – on the level of individual molecules, the flow of heat actually looks like work. Work is done by one molecule on another, in emission or absorption of a photon, etc. It is the organization – or lack thereof (except in the form of statistical distributions) – that make this heat (with corresponding entropy) – and actually, if I’m not mistaken, it’s really internal energy, which when combined with work done by expansion at pressure, gives you enthalpy, which is lost or gained as a flux of heat (at constant pressure, or internal energy is lost and gained by a flux of heat if at constant volume, etc.).

  408. Patrick 027:

    … I mixed up two different things there; the microscopic work done adds up to a flux of heat in aggregate except for that portion which is back-and-forth (no net flux on the larger scale); the energy possessed is internal energy or enthalpy, etc.

  409. ccpo:

    @405 Septic Matthew says:
    Here is another pothole on the road to civilizational collapse:
    http://newnostradamusofthenorth.blogspot.com/2011/08/tremendous-recovery-in-world-wheat.html

    Septic, really, if you’re going to do your reasoning like the do at WUWT, why bother posting at all? You are seriously touting grain production from one year as the savior of humanity? Year-to-year variation in crop production of all kinds is as variable as the weather. I guess last year, when Russia lost 30% of it’s grain crop, was just a mirage.

    Bore hole material: nothing but propaganda (not the data, the post) and ignorant of scientific process.

  410. Hank Roberts:

    For SM: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument-part-ii/
    You can find the ‘single molecule temperature heat energy’ confusion thoroughly thrashed out in the comments. It’ll save much retyping.

  411. Chris Colose:

    For those interested, Kerry Emanuel has a good article on chaos theory/weather forecasting with some mention of Hurricane Irene now coming up the East Coast.

  412. Septic Matthew:

    ccpo: Septic, really, if you’re going to do your reasoning like the do at WUWT, why bother posting at all?

    I am interested in reading your responses. If Barton Paul Levenson is right, then this single year record really is just a “pothole” (what a climate scientist said about the recent decline in sea surface level.) However, it might be a harbinger of future increases in wheat yields — an expectation expressed in another link that I posted a few days ago that AGW might produce a net increase in wheat yields.

    One attitude I feel at RC and at WUWT is a dislike of the idea that the future is not known right now. To me, there is not enough information for a reliable forecast of wheat yields through 2050.

    Patrick 027. Martin Vermeer and Hank Roberts are objecting to my use of language. A molecule, no matter how energized, can’t be “hot”, so you can not say “heat a molecule”, even as an abbreviation for “transfer energy to a molecule”. They are dwelling on this terminological detail because they can not answer the questions that I asked, even after the prompt from Marcus (the prompt helped some.) Apparently, it’s approximately as I wrote: near the surface, nearly all of the radiant energy abosrbed by GHGs are transferred by collisions, and very little is radiated; near the top of the atmosphere, nearly all of the energy in excited (but not “hot”) molecules is radiated, and very little is transferred by collisions. How/where does the balance change as you rise in the atmosphere?

  413. Pete Dunkelberg:

    SM @ 408, not to worry. It’s smooth sailing through the Arctic. ;(

  414. ccpo:

    Further to @405
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-24/drought-baked-fields-curb-2012-u-s-wheat-outlook-as-prices-gain.html

    A yearlong drought from Kansas to Texas has created the driest conditions on record for farmers preparing to plant winter wheat, dimming crop prospects for a second straight year in the U.S., the world’s largest exporter.

    Dry weather already has cut output of hard, red winter wheat, the most common U.S. variety, by 22 percent from 2010, government data show. If drought persists into the planting months of September and October, next year’s harvest will be even smaller, and prices on the Kansas City Board of Trade may jump 50 percent to $13 a bushel

  415. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Tar Sands Action: another pothole?

  416. Pete Dunkelberg:

    SM @ 408, it’s remarkable that you mention this on almost exactly the 40th anniversary of the road plan.

  417. ccpo:

    I always have a problem with pejorative comments not backed by rational thought and infused with ideology.

    Your original post had several errors despite being but one sentence and a link.

    1. It is dismissive of a phenomenon that is well known to history.

    2. It implies a cherry-picked number in a long series of numbers is meaningful, which, you having been on this site for some time, is simply inexcusable.

    3. To come to the conclusion you do, despite the pseudo-caveat, shows a willingness or ignorance of systems theory. A. CO2 is balanced by temps. B. CO2 is balanced by weather/disasters. C. A recent study found CO2 gains were already being overridden by heat affects. D. Collapses of societies do not happen, generally, because a single cause is present, though they certainly can have primary causes. E. Collapse is a geo-socio-political failure, not just wheat. It is systemic failure typically aggravated by decreasing returns on increasing complexity.

    As the primary writers on collapse have shown, collapse is essentially a choice. Geenland Norse adopting First People’s methods of survival might well have led to their long-term survival, e.g. Rome not overreaching, ditto. The Maya choosing to simplify and change food production to deal with long-term drought might have had a different result.

    Take a look here and see if you can spot your basic error: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_wheat_production_statistics

  418. ccpo:

    @411 ccpo: Septic, really, if you’re going to do your reasoning like the do at WUWT, why bother posting at all?

    I am interested in reading your responses. If Barton Paul Levenson is right, then this single year record really is just a “pothole” (what a climate scientist said about the recent decline in sea surface level.) However, it might be a harbinger of future increases in wheat yields
    Comment by Septic Matthew — 25 Aug 2011 @ 4:13 PM

    Well, any year *could* be an inflection point on a trend line, but it’s a bit unscientific and a bit lazy to tout a year’s production of one grain as proving wrong an entire area of study.

    Your post, IMO, was stated dismissively, as if collapse scenarios are an ideological phenomenon rather than derived from history. And what of complexity, which is core principle in collapse scenarios? one grain is indicative of collapse or non-collapse?

    Besides the simple logic of the above, what of the report in recent months that temps were already overcoming the benefit of CO2 with a concomitant reduction of 3% in yields/vegetation, e.g? Collapse is about complexity and choices made in response to that and other factors. Even discussing complexity in terms of one grain is fairly absurd.

    Maybe it wasn’t your intent, but I felt you were posting your ideology not a relevant observation on collapse theory.

    @413 Tar Sands Action: another pothole? Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 25 Aug 2011 @ 5:17 PM

    This is a better example. The amount of carbon we release from whatever confines obviously is directly relevant to potential collapse scenarios. A bit of perspective, though. The tar sands can only be a long-term major driver because it is very difficult to process the stuff. Energy extraction is most aptly considered in terms of flow rates, not reserves. They’ve been working on the tar sands for decades and still process well south of 2mb/d. If will take massive ramp up for them to be a major player – though they are a bit like methane in their nasty effects on CO2 and the environment in that it is out of proportion to their total.

    They are going to have a very hard time getting tar sands above 5mb/d, water being perhaps their greatest limiting factor.

    Essentially, Hansen is right about them, but he gives them too much weight in the short term. On the time scales we are talking about, there wont be time to exploit them before everything is already falling apart (assuming that is the case.)

    The positive about hydrocarbons is that if we’d leave them there and use them sparingly we could lubricate and power the core needs of society for a very, very long time. Probably their best use would be to judiciously turn the knob on CO2e to keep the climate stable over periods measured in glacial cycles and to power the transition to non-fossil fuels.

    Yes, if we reduce the production of tar sands and other hydrocarbons we stand a fair chance of pulling out of the “death spiral.” For a little longer.

  419. Septic Matthew:

    415, ccpo: Your post, IMO, was stated dismissively, as if collapse scenarios are an ideological phenomenon rather than derived from history.

    I disagree with that. My contention is that the collapse scenarios are insufficiently supported by evidence to date. If I were dismissive, I’d never read RC.

    412, Pete Dunkelberg: SM @ 408, not to worry. It’s smooth sailing through the Arctic. ;(

    well said. A palpable hit. Indeed, I linked a while ago to a site that listed ships in the Arctic, though I did not specifically address the Arctic.

  420. Hank Roberts:

    > they cannot answer the question that I asked

    The answer to that kind of question traditionally is:
    “The higher the fewer.” [collisions, in this case]

    > How/where does the balance change as you rise in the atmosphere?

    C’mon. You’re showing off now. Presuming you mean Earth’s atmosphere and not one of the others, you need to specify enough detail — as with your previous unanswerable question. E.g., what geographic location.

    Boring, SM. Ask smarter questions, and you’ll get some of the people took the class (or taught it) to respond.

  421. Kevin McKinney:

    “A palpable hit. . .”

    All this, and Shakespeare, too!

    Smooth sailing through the Arctic is right–the 60- or 70-thousand tonner that just completed the NEP run–the second such of this season, with a transit by a 120-thousand tonner upcoming, btw–averaged 14.6 knots/hour, if memory serves!

  422. Martin Vermeer:

    SM:

    They are dwelling on this terminological detail because they can not answer the questions that I asked

    Pardon my French but based on your commenting history in the chain I had to assume you were ignorant of this point. If you’re on top of things, by all means use sloppy jargon ;-)

    A beginning of an answer: LTE breaks down in the thermosphere, from 80 km up. This is also where generally radiative emission/absorption events become dominant over collisions. Perhaps already in the underlying mesosphere, starting at 50 km.

    This is not simple, and the subject of active research. Enjoy.

  423. Hunt Janin:

    For Martin Vermeer (419):

    I’d like to raise the faint possibility, in my book on sea level rise, that a black swan event affecting the WAIS might somehow lead to a quicker and higher degree of sea level than is now thought likely.

    Alas, I’ve found NO expert who has expressed any interest in this possibility. If you are the sole exception, please let me know.

    Best,

    Hunt

  424. Septic Matthew:

    419, Martin Vermeer: Pardon my French but based on your commenting history in the chain I had to assume you were ignorant of this point. If you’re on top of things, by all means use sloppy jargon ;-)

    Sometimes brevity is the soul of confusion. I painted a target on me that time, I suppose.

    Thank you for the link.

  425. Martin Vermeer:

    Hunt, interested, certainly; competent, not so much.

    I read about the possibility of a WAIS collapse — and that it could happen quickly enough to be relevant within my lifetime — first in the 1970’s. (I wrote even an amateur sci-fi story based on it for a local competition :-) ) This article from 2002 gives a nice historical overview of these early ideas, and of trying to estimate the risks involved, but may be dated. Here a more recent paper.

    I don’t think it’s true that there are no experts interested in this general possibility; e.g., this article suggests that Jerry Mitrovica and colleagues are definitely interested. BTW you often hear mentioned that a complete collapse of WAIS would produce 5 m of sea level rise on average; but according to another recent paper it would be only 3.3 m.

    Only this is clear to me: the estimates on how likely or even possible this is, vary, and it seems that the science is not able to give a hard answer at present. But you might find it useful to approach a real expert, like Dr Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey.

  426. Marcus:

    SM I think people have troubles to find out what You are really about, and I am no exception especially when you point out that the shape of the volume element is of importance for You, or what You mean with “over land, over sea” etc.(distinct wavelengths?).

    I also hesitate to play with numbers where some collision lifetimes in a simple model could exceed state lifetimes (or LTE is achieved as martin vermeer says) if I don’t know the purpose.

    It must be somewhere “in between”, obviously.

    I suppose You have some issue with physical fundamentals of global warming. You should state this very clearly so it can be downcast to formal physics, so one of the professionals in the field here can help out

    Cheers
    Marcus

  427. ccpo:

    @416 ccpo: Your post, IMO, was stated dismissively, as if collapse scenarios are an ideological phenomenon rather than derived from history.

    I disagree with that. My contention is that the collapse scenarios are insufficiently supported by evidence to date.

    Just more skeptic mush. You have repeated the error. To say collapse scenarios are not well-supported doesn’t make sense. As with climate, we are talking about scenarios, not predictions, so they are completely supported. Whether they are likely or not is another matter. Again, your comments do not reflect rigorous thought on the topic, or bias. It’s hard to see what you precondition yourself not to see.

    When we have changes, some rapid, some massive, some both, occurring planet-wide and you can say with a straight face collapse scenarios are not well-supported, one is left with both eyebrows raised.

    What you and other “skeptics” often fail at is to understand the processes are one thing, the risk assessment another, and it is the latter you seem to have no grasp of. I’ve seen quotes from climate scientists that the risk of 4C – 6C is on the order of 5 – 20%. That 20 is a huge, huge number in terms of risk assessment. It is far and away much greater than virtually any insurance policy calls for; we insure against much slimmer odds, but not with regard to climate and systemic collapse? Seriously?

    To say collapse scenarios, which have tracked reality quite well, are not sell-supported is an untenable position.

    Some fine examples of complex systems interacting: Climate > drought > crop loss > higher food/energy prices; drought > energy generation loss potential in Texas due to water shortage> higher energy prices; water-intensive energy generation > climate > water shortage > reduced drought mitigation > crop loss… and on and on.

    If you’re not concerned about collapse scenarios when we are in overshoot of ecosystem services and watching them be further debilitated literally by the day, nobody will be able to convince you otherwise.

    Climate leads the way and the Arctic is the canary. That canary is twitching on the floor of it’s cave. Regardless, using one year of wheat production to make a point about long-term trends isn’t well-supported.

    How do you come away from the climate report so sanguine?

  428. ccpo:

    @ Comment by Hunt Janin

    For Martin Vermeer (419):

    I’d like to raise the faint possibility, in my book on sea level rise, that a black swan event affecting the WAIS might somehow lead to a quicker and higher degree of sea level than is now thought likely.
    Hunt, I once read an article or a paper about a breakdown of one of the, I believe, Western European ice sheets on human or near-human time scales. I have not been able to find that for years, likely because either 1. it was shown to be incorrect by subsequent research or 2. I cannot recall the name of the ice sheet.

    As for a “Blcak Swan,” I think we understand how the ice sheet will deteriorate. If there is a “Black Swan” it likely lies in the realm of speed of change, not some mechanism we don’t understand yet – though there may well be those.

    Personally (which means exactly nothing to anyone but myself), I am sure the WAIS will see major melt this century and have considered 1m rise as a lower limit since 2006.

    The thing about the climate is that we are doing so many different things that didn’t happen during past climate changes. We are making changes that are positive feedbacks that simply didn’t happen before. It is impossible to quantify them all, but is’t it obvious that the 40% loss of phytoplankton affects ocean chemistry and air chemistry which affects everything else? Isn’t it obvious that tearing down forests faster than they would naturally decline in a warming period must have knock-on affects? What of the black carbon helping melt the ice? Etc., etc?

    Logically, the harder you push a complex system and the more ways you push it the more likely it is to collapse. We do not have to be able to quantify all elements to understand the system is unpredictable, thus our assumptions have large error bars. We don’t have the ability to model this. We have to, at the end of the day, rely on a bit of intuition and logic and not just the science. It’s not the fault of scientists or their skill levels, it’s an issue of complexity that we simply cannot quantify.

    But we already know about sub-glacial lakes, the effects of warm water creeping under the ice tongues, etc. I don’t think we need anything else for a rapid collapse.

    An impact, btw, would do it. I’ll try to find that reference to the ice sheet that disintegrated rapidly.

  429. ccpo:

    @Hunt, this might be related:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2002/2002GC000351.shtml

  430. Hank Roberts:

    For Hunt J. — I think you’re confusing short term with long term and the ‘black swan’ notion is just dramatizing what we know will happen longterm as though it would be an unexpected short term event.

    Losing the Greenland ice cap, for example. See the article in _EOS_ (v92 no. 31, 2 Aug. 2011) titled “Glaciologist Studies Greenland Snow Conditions and Helps Calibrate CryoSat Instrument.” That story quotes Elizabeth Morris (Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge) as she begins a traverse across the ice cap:

    “There’s no way out of it. We are probably going to lose the Greenland ice cap.”

    No black swan there.

    I recommend you make the trip to a library if that isn’t something you already have down. Asking in public for help online — even at a site like RC where your inquiry may be noticed by real experts — isn’t sufficient as research. If someone says you can do research from home, Google his name and see how that works out; what’s online isn’t necessarily consensus science.

    For libraries near you, this may help:
    http://lists.webjunction.org/libweb/France.html

  431. Septic Matthew:

    more progress in reducing the cost of electricity from wind turbines:

    http://www.winddaily.com/reports/Wind_Power_Now_Less_Expensive_Than_Natural_Gas_In_Brazil_999.html

    It’s a niche, or another step on a journey of a thousand miles.

  432. Susan Anderson:

    Please comment at NY Times and anywhere else you can think of:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/27/business/energy-environment/us-state-department-to-allow-canadian-pipeline.html

    A good number of Times readers seem to think Keystone XL pipeline is safe, which as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, is simply not true. The smaller pipeline, though not splitting the US in two and transporting thick awful stuff 1700 miles, has not even come close to meeting its safety record. Now they want a gigantic repeat. Why, exactly, does this stuff have to be transported from Canada to Texas to be refined? Weird!

    Tar sands via unsafe pipeline inches moves towards reality via top-down legislation without proper review. Though I’m willing to admit I’m seeing chimeras, it seems to me like Irene is quite a smokescreen. It’s hard not to be paranoid these days.

    Please forgive me, I will be pasting most of the above into the NYTimes asap.

  433. Susan Anderson:

    Well, I get it, the refineries are already up and running in Texas. Just exactly how does building a pipeline from Canada to Texas trump building refineries in Canada? Lack of toxicity?

  434. Brian Dodge:

    @ Septic Matthew — 25 Aug 2011 @ 1:30 PM
    “…the global increase in crop yields per ha across 1961 – 1999 were accompanied by a 97% increase in irrigated acreage and 638 %, 203 %, and 854 % increases in use of nitrogen fertilizer, phosphorus fertilizer, and production of pesticides…” http://people.oregonstate.edu/~muirp/agtrends.htm
    Crop yields increased from ~1.2 to ~2.5 Mt/ha in that interval. Wheat yields grew from 2.3 to 2.9 Mt/ha from 1990 to 2010, a much slower rate.
    Figures from http://www.earth-policy.org/data_center/C24 show that a 4.25 fold increase in fertilizer use from the 1961-1966 average to the 2004-2009 average was accompanied by only a 2.6 fold increase in wheat yield(5 yr avgs to reduce noise). If you download http://www.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/circulars/production.pdf, you will find that World wheat harvest fell 5.1%, from 683 Mmt in 2009/2010 to a preliminary estimated 648 Mmt in 2010/2011 (which is just noise, and as meaningless as the rise from 648 Mmt to 672 Mmt estimated for 2010/2011 touted by your link).

    @ Hunt Janin — 26 Aug 2011 @ 8:24 AM
    Your question about Black Swan ice sheet events is sorta like asking “what events do you predict which you can’t predict?” The speed of WAIS collapse, or large nonlinearities in Greenland melt are Grey Swans, seen through a glass darkly.

    I don’t care what reCaptcha says, my pattern recognition is better than any damn computer – and I’m a font junkie as well. What’s the deal with a duplicate comment, when it’s been rejected?

  435. Brian Dodge:

    “Just exactly how does building a pipeline from Canada to Texas trump building refineries in Canada?” Susan Anderson — 26 Aug 2011 @ 8:24 PM

    1e6 bbl/day through the Keystone pipeline X $85.30/bbl West Texas Intermediate + $16.25 premium over WTI X 365days = $3.7e10/year. Which means it pays back the 13 billion investment in 4 months – not bad, eh? Not to mention that at the same profit margin, processing Syncrude at $101.55/bbl into $4.35/gal gasoline is better than the current $85.30/bbl yielding $3.65/gal gasoline.
    Plus it allows for future political arm twisting, e.g., “but we have this 13 billion dollar investment that if we abandon because of hypothetical unproven impacts of global warming will result in economic disaster. We’d have to lay off tens of thousands of workers, who will suck our unemployment coffers dry, raise the deficit, and, by the way, vote any politician who supported such a rash action out of office.”
    And you don’t have to build a refinery in Canada, plus a gasoline pipeline(which would probably cost about the same as a crude pipeline), and have to find some other source to keep your refineries in Texas running.

  436. RichardC:

    432 Susan asks, “Well, I get it, the refineries are already up and running in Texas. Just exactly how does building a pipeline from Canada to Texas trump building refineries in Canada? Lack of toxicity?”

    If a refinery were built at the source, then wouldn’t a pipeline (or perhaps three or four) still have to be built to transport the finished products?

  437. Septic Matthew:

    426, ccpo: As with climate, we are talking about scenarios, not predictions, so they are completely supported.

    I can live with that: scenarios are not predictions. Predictions based on scenarios are not well-supported.

  438. ccpo:

    @426 ccpo: As with climate, we are talking about scenarios, not predictions, so they are completely supported.

    I can live with that: scenarios are not predictions. Predictions based on scenarios are not well-supported.

    Comment by Septic Matthew

    Exactly who are you claiming is making predictions? If you don’t understand risk…

  439. Edward Greisch:

    411 Septic Matthew: We may not know the future of wheat, but for food in general the prospect is for collapse in the 2050s. It has happened before, a couple of dozen times. Actually read these books: “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan and “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. More reading and less writing would be good.

    And try being a farmer for a while. If the rain moves, can you instantly move to the rain’s new location? Or rather, can you move in negative time, since you won’t know about the move until it is too late? Will farming work at all in the new location? Will the methods you know work there? What if the new location is in badlands or the ocean? Can you learn how to grow a new crop in real time? Can we irrigate the entire world with de-salted ocean water in the next 40 years without knowing ahead of time exactly where the desert will be by then? [Clearly not if you don’t believe it will happen.] Can we refill all of the aquifers that are running dry?

    Unless experienced farmers can answer “Yes” to a large number of this type of question, agriculture will collapse if the climate changes too much in any direction. They can’t.

    We know that genetic engineers have way too much self-confidence. They can’t make food grow fast enough in a desert to feed us. They can’t engineer new crops without knowing what to expect. We don’t know well enough what to expect. That makes changing the climate just too risky.

  440. Septic Matthew:

    Edward Greisch: “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.

    That book is ok but not good.

  441. ccpo:

    @439 Edward Greisch:
    “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.

    That book is ok but not good.

    Comment by Septic Matthew

    Incorrect, imo. What makes it excellent, if for no other reason, is his insight that collapse is a choice. Simplify/adjust and survive, or don’t and face full collapse.

    Tainter’s big addition, imo, is the his work with complexity and negative returns helping us understand that at some point tech fails to keep up no matter what.

    Neither fully gets into the deep ecology, so then you turn to Catton and Club of Rome.

    Then you talk to someone like me, a sustainable systems type.

    Then we save the world.

    ;-)

  442. Hunt Janin:

    If global warming simultaneously generates more sea level rise and more hurricanes (I realize the jury is still out on this latter point), aren’t storm surges likely to become more frequent and more destructive?

  443. J Bowers:

    FOX News, August 27, 2011: Do We Really Need a National Weather Service?

    The truth is that the National Hurricane Center and its parent agency, the National Weather Service, are relics from America’s past that have actually outlived their usefulness.

    Comedy timing.

  444. Robert Murphy:

    According to “Steven Goddard” (who Drudge called a *scientist* lol), there *was* no hurricane; it landed in NC with winds of only 33 mph. He says it was barely a tropical storm. All that damage you saw on TV? That could have happened any day of the week, storm or no storm!
    His comedy site keeps getting funnier and funnier:
    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/noaas-phony-hurricane-coming-on-shore-with-33-mph-winds/#comment-83830

  445. Doug Bostrom:

    J Bowers says:
    28 Aug 2011 at 7:14 AM

    A cut and paste job from The Onion, right? Surely? Please say yes.

    Extreme ideology has an ugly face…

  446. prokaryotes:

    Check out my new collection, including “Climate Change” styles. In case people like to use their clothes to bring awareness to the topic of climate change.

    http://galaxymachine.de

    more to come!

  447. J Bowers:

    @ Doug Bostrom. ‘Fraid not. Written by CEI’s Vice President, Iain Murray, no less.

    [Response: The influence on the ‘competitive’ markets will definitely be interesting if weather forecasting becomes unavailable to all but those with their own in-house weather forecasters.–eric]

  448. Steve Fish:

    Prokaryotes, a version of this image would work better- http://www.toilette-humor.com/global_warming.html -. This is especially good up-to-date information based on previous scientific research. Steve

  449. Septic Matthew:

    437, ccpo: Exactly who are you claiming is making predictions? If you don’t understand risk…

    It’s “risks”, not “risk”. Humans in the 20th century produced increasing wheat yields (except in places like Egypt where yields were static or hardly increased at all), despite warming temperatures and changes in rainfall patters. The risks to future increases in crop yields include continuing temperature increases and changes in rainfall patterns; they also include decreased agricultural research and decreased investment in water control. It isn’t hard to think of other risks to increasing crop yields.

  450. Septic Matthew:

    A recent reduction in African malaria:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14685612

    It’s probably transient, as the scientist says. But it would be nice if it were a consequence of AGW. An increase would be alarming, had it occurred, or were it to occur in future.

  451. prokaryotes:

    Steve Fish, maybe, maybe not. The difference is that you have a cartoon vs a brand look. I think people wear both, but branded wear, more often. The scope is not to deliver science or conclusions, instead to bring the topic up, to attention. Maybe a later model will contain a cartoon (probably with earth) but for now i think the writing “climate change” is cool. Im not aware of any Tshirt with a branding look which features “climate change”, this is hot :) Get em while you can :)

  452. ccpo:

    It’s “risks”, not “risk”.

    Afraid not. You’d need an article to use the plural. Note the lack of the article and read again.

  453. Steve Fish:

    Prokaryotes, I just thought the cartoon was funny and I think humor is often effective in popular culture. This is not my art but I could redraw the idea in vector format in any style you like. Pro bono. Steve

  454. Marcus:

    Steve Fish: I’d like to have a longer time series to see the hockey stick

  455. prokaryotes:

    Steve, i think that sounds great! Creating this in vector would be a very cool motive and there are 3 big TShirt shop systems to market your own concepts, http://tiny.cc/tdwxz . What climate cartoons concerns i really like this cartoon here from Toles: http://tiny.cc/wsemd

  456. J Bowers:

    @ prokaryotes. Don’t be timid.

    On the front: ‘!!EPA rocks!!’
    On the back: ‘Founded by Republicans’

    ;)

  457. Steve Fish:

    Marcus. It is unfortunate that this proxy has run out of dynamic range. Steve

  458. Septic Matthew:

    450, ccpo: You’d need an article to use the plural.

    That’s a good note on which to end the month.

  459. john byatt:

    .

    Curry’s latest, she argues that comments on her blog should have as much weight as the IPCC, see her acknowledgments, after “conclusion”

    at skeptical science

  460. prokaryotes:

    The Inquisition of Climate Science: A Scientist Exposes the Business of Denial http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/08/29/306517/the-inquisition-of-climate-science-2/

  461. ccpo:

    @456 450, ccpo: You’d need an article to use the plural.

    That’s a good note on which to end the month.

    Comment by Septic Matthew

    Assuming you now understand what I wrote, I’ll agree! But more fun with ice coming in the next few weeks. Think I may update tonight.

  462. prokaryotes:

    Btw this is the place to upload public domain vector art or cartoons :)

    http://www.openclipart.org/

  463. john byatt:

    As we in Australia approach the carbon price in a few weeks time, the far right and the Murdoch press are going ape, with The Australian accusing the prime minister of fraud, latter retracted but still not over yet.

    hopefully we get the carbon price legislation passed by the 14th Sept.

    We also have the nutter shock jocks calling for her head, “dump her in the ocean” not pretty here at the moment

  464. J Bowers:

    US eco-activist Tim DeChristopher speaks out from prison

    No good deed goes unpunished.

  465. flxible:

    For a little more positive political news, the Govt of British Columbia seems to be getting it right > Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions

  466. Adam R.:

    A startling graph from Climate Abyss,
    the blog of Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist:

    http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/files/2011/08/txsum11.gif

  467. Doug Bostrom:

    Adam R. says:
    30 Aug 2011 at 1:25 PM

    A startling graph from Climate Abyss…

    Eye-popping, truly.

    Roger Pielke Sr. weighs in there about dry bulb temperature not taking into account enthalpy including water vapor. Peter Thorne of NCSU adds a comment containing another remarkable insight:

    I would just point out for the record that ‘moist enthalpy’ has been increasing globally for over thirty years. Globally the contributions of the moist and dry static terms over land to total energy changes are approximately equal over this period. There are interesting regional, latitudinal and seasonal changes that cast interesting insights onto observed temperature changes, understandable through Bowen Ratio changes. The energy change is large – enough in terms of gravitational potential energy for a cylinder of air 100m in diameter to lift an SUV 700m / decade or a bicycle to the outer atmosphere – but dwarfed by changes in ocean heat content.

    Thorne suggests a paper to read: Observed changes in surface atmospheric energy over land

  468. Kevin McKinney:

    #466–Wow.

  469. Edward Greisch:

    See George Monbiot on paywalls at
    http://www.monbiot.com/2011/08/29/the-lairds-of-learning/

    prokaryotes: I can’t find your email address on your web site.

  470. Hank Roberts:

    So is it just warming? Or is there among the many hundreds of synthetic chemicals being added to the atmosphere something that’s messing with rainfall?

  471. Hunt Janin:

    Correction to the above: It should read:

    If the deniers agree that sea levels are rising, to what do they attribute this rise?

  472. Paul S:

    #464, J Bowers – I don’t buy the guy’s argument. He’s protesting that the harshness of his sentence is politically motivated but it seems to me like the normal course of justice: If you commit any offense and state “I was right to do it, I’m glad I did it and I’d do it again in an instant!” you’re going to get a tougher sentence than if you show regret for your actions. That’s how it works, and why you should be prepared for the consequences of breaking the law through civil disobedience.

  473. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Hansen arrested! It happened this past Monday morning at the Keystone pipeline protest at the White House.

    See Tar Sands Action and Climate Progress as you should every day.

  474. Kevin McKinney:

    Of potential interest to some here–an article on Dr. Amy Seidl’s second book, “Finding Higher Ground: Adaptation In The Age Of Warming.” (Her first, “Early Spring,” made a bit of a splash.)

    http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Finding-Higher-Ground-A-Summary-Review

  475. CM:

    Hunt #471:

    > If the deniers agree that sea levels are rising, to what do they
    > attribute this rise?

    In a recent (Aug 19) exchange at WUWT, one commenter attributed it to

    ocean floor volcanic activity,(lava displacement) human effluent discharge from treatment plants, giant cargo ship water displacement, ships sinking, space debris re-entering, meteorite dust, and lastly… more beach goers as the world population increases.

    It was probably tongue in cheek, but over there it’s hard to tell.
    :)