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Unforced variations: Nov 2011

Filed under: — group @ 31 October 2011

Once more unto the open thread…


341 Responses to “Unforced variations: Nov 2011”

  1. 251
    Hank Roberts says:

    Some good news. Ten times better news, in fact:

    “… vertical-axis turbines allow more efficient energy to be produced, in fewer square feet.
    10.17.11
    By Marcus Y. Woo,
    Republished from Engineering & Science
    Volume LXXIV, Number 2, Spring/Summer 2011

    “… a vertical-axis turbine is less efficient than its monolithic cousin. But taken as a group, they can be positioned to squeeze as much power as possible from a given plot of land…. an array of half a dozen turbines has proven that … “… we can increase the power output by an order of magnitude,” … “it’s not just a theoretical prediction.”

    http://climate.nasa.gov/EnergyInnovations/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowEnergy&EiID=555

    And look at the picture
    These are very simple structures.

  2. 252
    Hank Roberts says:

    For other references that may put this in context, I recommend searching for “Ira+Glickstein” “gish+gallop”

  3. 253
    Hank Roberts says:

    By the way, Ira Glickstein is actively rebunking stuff above.
    For one example, see above, then see
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/glickstein-confusion-reasoned-skepticism.html where you can read the same bunk, debunked:

    “Glickstein proceeds to fail to distinguish between local and global temperatures, which he then weaves into a conspiracy theory involving NASA GISS: “The most revealing email from GISS…was from Makiko Sato…”

    Bunk, rebunked. Since he’s just copypasting his own stuff into the thread here, he’s inviting recreational retyping of the debunking.

    Eschew.

  4. 254

    Thanks MARodger (#249, #250) for your reply and links to Lindzen & Choi 2011 and critiques.

    While I am not qualified to judge the latest Lindzen/Choi 2011, I did read parts of it and note that they acknowledge and correct errors pointed out by qualified reviewers and they state:

    “… An earlier study (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) was subject to significant criticisms The present paper is an expansion of the earlier paper where the various criticisms are taken into account. …

    [In the 2011 paper] … we show that simple regression methods used by several existing papers generally exaggerate positive feedbacks and even show positive feedbacks when actual feedbacks are negative. We argue that feedbacks are largely concentrated in the tropics, and the tropical feedbacks can be adjusted to account for their impact on the globe as a whole. Indeed, we show that including all CERES data (not just from the tropics) leads to results similar to what are obtained for the tropics alone – though with more noise. We again find that the outgoing radiation resulting from SST fluctuations exceeds the zerofeedback response thus implying negative feedback. In contrast to this, the calculated TOA outgoing radiation fluxes from 11 atmospheric models forced by the observed SST are less than the zerofeedback response, consistent with the positive feedbacks that characterize these models. The results imply that the models are exaggerating climate sensitivity. [Emphasis added]

    Do you (or any other RC reader) have any comment on my link to the email from Dr. Makiko Sato to Dr. James Hansen where she details several analyses of the mean US temperatures for the very hot years of 1934 vs 1998?

    Hank Roberts (#253) says I “… fail to distinguish between local and global temperatures…”. I have clearly stated that the Sato email refers only to US mean temperatures. If analysis of US temperature data has that much “wiggle room” it would seem global data from places with lower density of thermometers would have even more uncertainty. Hank also says “it has been “…Bunk, rebunked. … Eschew. …” but he gives no details.

    I agree we should eschew obfuscation :^) but I really want to know how that email can be interpreted as other than repeated re-analysis of the same old data to get the right answer.

    [Response: Absolute, and outrageous, nonsense. The fact of the matter is that Sato was simply reviewing what had happened as a function of corrections in USHCN and updates to the GISTEMP analysis method. The 2001 paper clearly demonstrates why the bulk of the differences occurred - the TOBS corrections - and none of that is related to some imagined desire to get a specific answer. Please leave your conspiratorial fantasies and implied slanders behind when you comment here - they are not welcome. - gavin]

  5. 255
    Hank Roberts says:

    Ira Glickstein claims he saw no example of his rebunking; it’s in hypertext:

    “see
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/glickstein-confusion-reasoned-skepticism.html
    where you can read the same bunk, debunked”

    Put your cursor over the line starting with “http”
    Click the mouse.

  6. 256
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Ira, Why is it that you assume the uncertainties will all come down on the right side? This has not been my experience in life. The majority of CO2 sensitivity estimates come down around 3 degrees per doubling. Those that do not are more likely to be above this level than below. It is very hard to get a model to look Earth-like with a sensitivity as low a 2 degrees per doubling.

    I note that you also neglect the warming “in the pipeline”. Good lord, are you as sanguine about your personal investments or your engineering decisions as well?

  7. 257
    MARodger says:

    Ira Glickstein @254. For myself, I couldn’t be less interested in your link to e-mails. It has taken days and far too many iterations to expose the comments you previously presented on this thread as being riven with unsubstantiated contention, nonsense and ill-defined polemics. And strangely, you don’t exhibit the slightest concern by such characterisation.

    You say we should “eschew obfuscation”. Given your record on this thread, perhaps then silence would be your best policy. The process of science is obviously beyond your abilities. Indeed, you now have a website Response accusing you of “conspiratorial fantasies” and I really can say little more on that subject because if I did the shape-shifting lizards would get very very angry.

  8. 258
    Susan Anderson says:

    It is becoming all too common for responses to material to be based on context rather than content.

    The scientific method requires that people do their own thinking. Content is what it is, not what some opinionator claims it is.

    This creates great difficulties in the conversation, as where people stand has come to matter more than what they have to say.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but it stems from the difference between a few recent links I’ve posted in various discussions and the gloss put on that content by those who appear to be speaking to some hidden audience in order to create an impression that contradicts reality. Reality is crowding in on us and we need to pay attention.

    Trying to hide truth with tactics may be successful in the short term, but it is destructive and dishonest.

  9. 259
    J Bowers says:

    Rich nations ‘give up’ on new climate treaty until 2020

    Ahead of critical talks and despite pledge for new treaty by 2012, biggest economies privately admit likelihood of long delay
    [...]
    The UK, European Union, Japan, US and other rich nations are all now united in opting to put off an agreement and the United Nations also appears to accept this.

    Developing countries are furious, and the delay will be fiercely debated at the next round of international climate talks beginning a week on Monday in Durban, South Africa.

    The Alliance of Small Island States, which represents some of the countries most at risk from global warming, called moves to delay a new treaty “reckless and irresponsible”.

  10. 260
    SecularAnimist says:

    I nominate further posts from Ira Glickstein for the Bore Hole.

    As the exegesis of Mr. Glickstein’s work at Skeptical Science makes clear, he is a pseudo-skeptic who has gone so far as to publish a PowerPoint presentation on the best “skeptic strategy for talking about global warming” based on “reasoned views” — which are in fact nothing more than politely and “reasonably” presented regurgitations of the usual, repeatedly debunked and utterly tiresome denier myths, falsehoods, conspiracy theories, pseudoscience and sophistry.

    It seems clear that his visit to RC is purely for the purpose of generating material for his “act” at WUWT.

    “Trolls” are commenters who want to deliberately waste your time, for their own purposes. They are not all rude and boorish. Indeed, those who bait their trolled hooks with “reasonableness” are often more successful.

  11. 261
    Chris R says:

    #255,

    Thanks for the link to SKS on Ira Glickstein, I couldn’t be bothered to read that in detail (same old boring mole-whacking) but scanning over doesn’t look good. The poor reasoning w.r.t. the 800 year lag issue is very bad – a systems engineer should be able to grasp the notion of something being a forcing in one situation and a feedback in another. It’s not hard.

  12. 262
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    J Bowers @ 259:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/20/rich-nations-give-up-climate-treaty, this is very bad news.

    Chris R @ 261, make that 400 years plus or minus a couple hundred. See Wolff’s 2011 paper Greenhouse gases in the Earth system: a palaeoclimate perspective or his presentation or a very good ice core briefing.

    Of course the “lag” is a silly notion. How could CO2 lead orbitally forced warming? Orbital forcing leads by definition. But then feedback sets in and CO2 becomes important.

  13. 263
    J Bowers says:

    @ Pete Dunkelberg 262

    Don’t worry. We’ll lose half of the worldwide crop, or “something”. I’m sure… that’ll… ummm… make them get their skates on…? But I’m sure the denialati will be saying 97% of climate scientists predicted global cooling at the start of the 21st Century.

  14. 264
    Marcus says:

    #260 SecularAnimist:


    It seems clear that his visit to RC is purely for the purpose of generating material for his “act” at WUWT.

    And very obviously these reiterated injections of boring “low sensitivity” and so on arguments hinders people on dealing with the science related questions.
    Somebody spoke about “chasing ones own tail”

    Marcus

  15. 265
    Hunt Janin says:

    Re sea level rise:

    In my coauthored book-in-progress on rising sea levels, I’m saying that the developed world now lacks and will continue to lack the political and therefore the financial will to adapt to sea level rise. In my opinion, it will take one or more sea level rise disasters to generate this will.

    What do you think?

  16. 266
    Ray Ladbury says:

    I don’t see the harm in engaging Ira. Yes, he is inconsistent in his presentations here and at WTFUWT, but 1)we gain nothing if we do not learn to counter the arguments of the denialists, 2)He was at least being civil and 3)He might learn something.

  17. 267
    Joe Cushley says:

    Pretty certain they haven’t been hacked again. It looks like more from the same batch, and again some of them sound damaging without context (and that’s how the deniers will publicise them… they are already).

    There’s some desperate stuff in there too… For example Mann’s quoted as using the phrase ‘the cause’ several times, which of course naturally means he’s completely politically motivated and fraudulent and it has nothing to do with a noble science-based effort to stop the human race messing up our planet…

    However, it’s once more a bit of a PR coup for the deceitful, ignorant, loony toons and their paymasters… Makes you want to weep…

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/11/climategate-2011-foia.html

  18. 268
    Ron R. says:

    Just wondering if anyone else noticed that leaves seem to be hanging onto deciduous trees much longer than normal this year?

  19. 269
    SecularAnimist says:

    Ray Ladbury wrote regarding Ira Glickstein: “He might learn something.”

    That’s true. He might learn to refine his denialist propaganda to make it less blatantly bogus and more “reasonable” sounding, and thereby more effective at deceiving and misleading ill-informed people.

    But this guy is not here to actually learn anything about climate science. He’s here to repeat his phony “lukewarmer” talking points, to reject and ignore any science that contradicts them, and to puff up his cred with the denier cultists at WUWT by telling them exactly what they want to hear about how “unreasonable” the “warmists” at RC are.

  20. 270
    Martin Vermeer says:

    The good news is, there was a strong and immediate response from the University of East Anglia. And the timing is just too transparent — perhaps some lessons were learned by the media after all. One may dream…

  21. 271

    Sorry this post is so long, but I am replying to a few RC readers.

    From Ray Ladbury #226

    Nick,
    Ira is here to be educated–as am I…as are you. Time will tell whether the learning curve of any of us has a positive slope. So far, he at least seems willing to listen.
    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Nov 2011 @ 10:22 AM

    THANKS Ray, I appreciate the efforts by you and MARodger and the Moderators to promote serious cross-discussion here at RC of the issues where science-oriented individuals may differ.

    From SecularAnimist #260

    I nominate further posts from Ira Glickstein for the Bore Hole. …
    Comment by SecularAnimist #260 — 21 Nov 2011 @ 1:02 PM

    Sorry you feel that way, but I’ll continue to try to participate so long as RC Moderators allow.

    From MARodger #257

    Ira Glickstein @254. … comments you previously presented on this thread [are] riven with unsubstantiated contention, nonsense and ill-defined polemics. And strangely, you don’t exhibit the slightest concern by such characterisation. [Emphasis added]

    William Cowper (~1763): “A moral, sensible, and well-bred man, Will not affront me, and no other can.” And, I appreciate RC allowing me to post here and others for responding to my skeptic comments.

    … Indeed, you now have a website Response [by Gavin] accusing you of “conspiratorial fantasies” …
    Comment by MARodger — 20 Nov 2011 @ 8:29 PM

    No conspiracy, no fantasy, just a climate system and temperature data collection system so complex that honest, competent scientists and data analysts can only approximate the truth to a given level of certainty.

    1) CO2 sensitivity may be 2ºC or 4.5ºC more than a factor of two (according to the IPCC and not my skeptic sources).

    2) The US temperature record is uncertain due to corrections, mainly TOBS (Gavin’s Response). OK, I understand that Time of OBServation, site changes, and so on are issues.

    3) GISS has had the 1998 US temperature data in hand since 1999, and has adjusted the anomaly from the initial 0.918ºC up by over 0.3ºC in several steps from 1999 to 2007 (Sato email). Since that date 1998 has gone up further and is now 0.4ºC over the value published by GISS in 1999.

    [Response: You know why, and yet you keep insinuating it is some kind of mystery. Please stop. (For further information, all updates to the GISTEMP analysis - via new data inputs, adjustments to the algorithm, etc. are documented here. All the code is available here. An independent replication is available here). - gavin]

    4) I can understand that 1934 data would be uncertain, but 1998 is only 13 years old and from stations that are mostly still operational, yet it seems to have analytic “wriggle room” of 0.4ºC.

    [Response: The absolute anomaly is irrelevant since it is a function of the baseline (1951-1980) so any adjustments in past affect the more recent periods in the analysis. The '0.0' point is not meaningful. - gavin]

    5) What was it about TOBS or other issues with the 1998 US data that became known between 1999 and 2001 (+0.281ºC)? I read the 2001 paper that Gavin linked and that partially explains TOBS and other areas where adjustments were made, but it is not clear to me why these were still issues after the work done by GISS up to and including the 1999 paper. But, OK, the 2001 paper seems to have nailed down all the necessary adjustments solidly.

    6) It seems to me that after a +0.281ºC adjustment of the 1998 data (re-analysis between 1999 and 2001) the data would be pretty solid. Yet, between 2001 and now a further adjustment was made of +0.121ºC.

    7) If estimated warming since the late 1800′s is about 0.8ºC, and TOBS and other corrections of 1998 data between 1999 and now is 2.81ºC + 1.21ºC which totals over 0.4ºC, there seems to be an uncertainty factor of two. Please note that my posts here at RC are not blaming incompetence or bad motives for these adjustments, merely observing that the climate and temperature data systems seem too complex to get closer than a fairly wide level of uncertainty.

  22. 272
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Ira, I’m rather surprised that someone who was a system engineer could have such an unsophisticated view of how science is done! First, what matters is the trend, not the temperature in any single year–be that year 1934 or 1998.

    Second,you are treating all climate sensitivity values between 2 and 4.5 as equally likely. They are not. They are not. 3 degrees per doubling is the most probable value, and the probability that the value is above 3 is significantly greater than that of a lower value.

    You seem to think that somehow all errors will conspire to fall on the same side and the problem of warming will magically vanish–this despite the fact that we have multiple temperature products constructed from independent measurements that all show consistent trends in warming.

    I would think that as a system engineer, you would want to take a conservative approach when it comes to risk. Instead, you seem to be engaged in a contest with yourself to paint the rosiest picture you can. Rose may be a beautiful color, but perhaps you would understand the issue if you viewed it through lenses with less tint.

  23. 273
    vukcevic says:

    This is all stale stuff and a bit removed from the actual science, so I’ll draw your attention to an item from the
    Santa Fe conference
    Was this taken seriously ?
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SantaFe2011.htm
    I hope not !
    Pal Brekke , H. Abdussamatov, Lockwood any comments ?

  24. 274
    SecularAnimist says:

    By the way, the article about densely-packed arrays of vertical-axis wind turbines that Hank Roberts linked to in comment #251 is really awesome:

    http://climate.nasa.gov/EnergyInnovations/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowEnergy&EiID=555

    For one thing, it is a simple, low-cost technological innovation that can generate ten times the energy per square meter as conventional wind turbine farms, and is safer for birds, and as the article notes, “because they’re quieter and smaller, they can be distributed more widely and can be built closer to population centers.”

    For another, it’s a very interesting story about fortuitous scientific insight: the principles that were applied to develop the vertical turbine arrays were derived from observations of regularly-spaced vortices in the wakes left by schools of fish as they swim.

  25. 275
    J Bowers says:

    Chris Huhne blasts Lord Lawson’s climate sceptic thinktank

    Huhne says influential Global Warming Policy Foundation is ‘misinformed’, ‘wrong’ and ‘perverse’ following GWPF report
    [...]
    The GWPF has repeatedly called for more openness from scientists on research into climate change. But the Guardian has also discovered that Peiser has refused several freedom of information requests himself, leading to accusations against the foundation of double standards and secrecy about the thinktank’s mystery funders.

    Huhne’s letter is a response to a report sent to him by former chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson, who chairs the GWPF, and Lord Andrew Turnbull, a former head of the civil service and a GWPF trustee. The GWPF report “questions blind faith in climate alarmism” and claims there is “huge controversy about the relative contribution of man-made CO2 versus natural forces”.

    But Huhne replies: “Let me say straight away that [I] believe that you have been misinformed and that your conclusions are poorly supported by the underlying science evidence.” He goes on to say: “It would be perverse to ignore this well attested and thoroughly reviewed body of evidence.”

    Huhne tells Lawson and Turnbull: “It is not true to say that UK climate change policy relies on a single source of evidence,” and that “you wrongly assert that the UK is taking unilateral action” in tackling climate change.

    In conclusion, Huhne writes: “The scientific case for action is robust. We would be failing in our duties to pretend otherwise and we must with other countries take the actions necessary to protect our planet from significant climate change.”

  26. 276
    MARodger says:

    Ira Glickstein @270 2nd paragraph. My part in this was never “to promote serious cross-discussion here at RC.” I was only concerned that ‘what happened to you’ was not seen as some underhand act, just as I was concerned by comments passing at WUWT behind the backs of those engaged here in comment at RealClimate. Whether this exchange continued here or not never my concern.
    @270 4th paragraph. If you’re going religious on this one by quoting Cowper, think Matthew 5:39. I see no sign of a turned cheek. Or an offered coat. When challenged to source your 0.5 to 1.0 deg C quote and your replies were dismissed as unsubstantiated contention, you end it by going silent on the matter. I certainly would consider it discourteous to cut off such an exchange just because it gets difficult. You apparently think the opposite.
    And what do I then espy @270 1)? Off you go again talking of “…my skeptical sources.” Ira Glickstein – either name your sources or define your remarks differently.

    I would also chip in @270 7). At WUWT Ira Glickstein PhD is on record as asserting that 0.3 deg C of the 0.8 deg C is due to poor siting of stations & UHI etc. There was not any suggestion in these WUWT statements of uncertanty other than a gross exaggeration of global temperature rise.

  27. 277
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201111220024
    “Media Already Botching Reports On Hacked Climate Emails
    November 22, 2011 4:57 pm ET by Jocelyn Fong

    Earlier today I asked whether American news outlets would do their due diligence in evaluating the content of the newly-released batch of “Climategate” emails hacked from the University of East Anglia two years ago. It didn’t take long for our esteemed print outlets to disappoint…..”

    Hat tip to Barry Bickmore, who gave the pointer to David Appel after DA wrote “these sound worse than I thought at first …” — more at http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2011/11/sorting-through-stolen-uae-emails.html?showComment=1322000419696#c4595979497170950648

  28. 278
    J Bowers says:

    The Top 10 Reasons House Republicans Were Wrong to Kill the NOAA Climate Service

    Summary:

    1. Axing the NCS didn’t save any money.
    2. The NCS would increase government efficiency.
    3. House Republicans based their opposition to the NCS on nothing more than climate denial.
    4. Current services are already falling behind demand.
    5. Not having an NCS keeps benefits from accruing to large industries, small businesses, and farmers.
    6. The NCS would stimulate investment and economic growth.
    7. The NCS would help businesses and communities become more prepared and resilient.
    8. The NCS would help firefighters predict extreme fire and drought seasons.
    9. The NCS would strengthen our national security.
    10. A few House GOP extremists derailed a proposal with widespread support.

  29. 279
    Jeff says:

    I’m an ordinary Jo who travels alot building computer systems for a wide number of uses. I have an Msc so I am not stupid nor am I a world class interlect, but I had an interesting conversation while working in China a few months ago.What it boiled down to was a couple of General’s and some business men toasting western climate sci’s for making them very rich ,they love co’2 taxes as it moves more business to China and less tax rev to the west. Now I don’t have kids and after 40 odd years here I don’t really like people that much, so I don’t give a rats arse if everyone boils the day after I’m dead (sorry).
    My math is pretty good and I can tell you a fact (based on UN figs),global warming does’nt matter as far as your kid’s are concerned ( if you don’t stop China from taking the piss) they won’t have a job,house or kids of their own.They will live in a third world hell hole and hate this generation for the neglect of their fiscal future (unless they moved to China).So don’t use the next generation as a reason until you stop those countries that don’t care about a couple of million dead citizens profiting from your quick fix solutions to a long term problem, cutting your nose off to spite your face still don’t work chaps.

  30. 280

    @ Jeff

    Now I don’t have kids and after 40 odd years here I don’t really like people that much, so I don’t give a rats arse if everyone boils the day after I’m dead (sorry).

    So by your logic we can safely ignore everything you say, then. Right?

    Because if you actually don’t care then you wouldn’t bother coming here to make such an inane statement. But you did. Therefore, you DO care. Since you DO care, then, it must be an underlying ideology that drives you to foment yet more delay on actions being implemented to curb CO2 emissions.

    Shorter Jeff:

    Please don’t take action on curbing CO2 emissions because that will cost me money; I don’t give give a rats arse about anyone other than myself.

    There, fixed.

  31. 281
    Chris S. says:

    May be of interest to London-based readers

    http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/eventssummary/event_10-11-2011-11-10-47

    Data debate: is transparency bad for science?
    A debate to launch the new issue of Index on Censorship’s magazine, ‘Dark Matter: what’s science got to hide?

    06 Dec 2011 Lecture Theatre 220, Mechanical Engineering Building, Imperial College

    Scientific data is more freely available than ever. But does the push for openness help or hinder science? A debate to launch the new issue of Index on Censorship magazine, ‘Dark Matter: what’s science got to hide?’
    Speakers
    • Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust
    • George Monbiot, author and Guardian journalist
    • Baroness Onora O’Neill, House of Lords
    • Chair: Jo Glanville, Editor Index on Censorship

  32. 282
    Nick Gotts says:

    Are you claiming that early homo sapiens, over 100,000 years ago, killed off most of the large animals, and it was not due the cold climate? – Ira Glickstein

    No. You specified “the last few hundred thousand years”, which includes the last 50,000. The extinction of megafauna on an unusual scale is AFAIK confined to the last 50,000 years, during which – until recently – nothing very different happened in climatic terms from what had happened in the preceding few hundred thousand*. Moreover these megafaunal extinctions have happened at different times on different continents, and those times have been shortly after the arrival of anatomically modern humans – first Australia and New Guinea, then northern Eurasia, then the Americas.

    * Of course there were many local extinctions due to climatic change, but by and large the megafaunal species were able to track the climates that suited them, able to do so because the change was slow, relative to what we are now imposing.

  33. 283
    J Bowers says:

    Africa’s great ‘water grab’

    Foreign investors aren’t just after land in Africa. Access to water is essential – which can bring them into direct competition with the needs of local communities
    [...]

    It is no coincidence, observers say, that the most aggressive foreign investors are also those facing water shortages at home. This year, risk analysis firm Maplecroft said the results from its water stress index showed why India, South Korea and China, along with the oil rich Gulf states, are racing to buy land in developing countries and grow crops abroad. The chairman and former CEO of Nestlé, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, has gone so far as to say the global rush for farmland is actually a “great water grab”. He writes in Foreign Policy: “With the land comes the right to withdraw the water linked to it, in most countries essentially a freebie that increasingly could be the most valuable part of the deal.”

    Kenya’s Masai traditions threatened by climate change

    Masai living in Kojiado district, near the Tanzanian border, are finding traditional cattle herding harder because the weather is getting hotter and the rain more unpredictable. Pasture is becoming harder to find, so many are diversifying to grow crops as well or turning to farming full-time. They are also working with traditional farmers to ensure that both lifestyles can share the resources available without encroaching on each other’s survival. Sending children to school is also becoming a priority so that they are better equipped for their changing world

    Disaster in the making.

  34. 284

    from Ray Ladbury #272,

    Ira, I’m rather surprised that someone who was a system engineer could have such an unsophisticated view of how science is done! First, what matters is the trend, not the temperature in any single year–be that year 1934 or 1998.

    Correct, Ray, it is the long-term trend that tells the true story. I picked 1934 and 1998 only because they were the topic of the Sato email, and because they illustrate the level of uncertainty in analysis of the thermometer record, even for a set of data a only a bit over a decade old.

    The TOBS and other adjustments mentioned by Gavin are documented in the 2001 paper he linked. See page 18 for graphs of USHCN Adjustments. Note that years prior to 1960 are reduced in temperature by up to 0.1ºC while those after 1970 are increased by up to 0.2ºC which adjusts the 1900 to 2000 trend by up to 0.3ºC. Further trend adjustments of around 0.1ºC in the same direction have been made to the same old data between 2001 and now.

    I do not claim the adjustments were unjustified, only that competent analysts can get different trends when they re-analyze the same data, and that the level of uncertainty, up to 0.4ºC, is within a factor of two of the total estimated warming.

    Second, you are treating all climate sensitivity values between 2 and 4.5 as equally likely. They are not. They are not. 3 degrees per doubling is the most probable value, and the probability that the value is above 3 is significantly greater than that of a lower value.

    Where I come from, a range of values usually indicates the +/- 1σ (Greek letter sigma, for standard deviation) for that variable. So, 2ºC and 4.5ºC would be equally likely, with, as you say 3ºC the most probable. But, I do not agree that values above 3ºC are more probable than those below. On what basis do you reach that conclusion?

    You seem to think that somehow all errors will conspire to fall on the same side and the problem of warming will magically vanish–this despite the fact that we have multiple temperature products constructed from independent measurements that all show consistent trends in warming.

    I would think that as a system engineer, you would want to take a conservative approach when it comes to risk. Instead, you seem to be engaged in a contest with yourself to paint the rosiest picture you can. Rose may be a beautiful color, but perhaps you would understand the issue if you viewed it through lenses with less tint.
    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Nov 2011 @ 2:25 PM

    When I wrote proposals to get funding for R&D projects I always took the most optimistic, rosy tinted view of the probability of success, without lying. On the other hand, when I reviewed proposals from marketeers trying to sell us products, I took a more pessimistic view.

    Even in engineering, where we were dealing with actual products, such as Doppler and Inertial navigation systems and digital computers and software, it was common to have up to a 2:1 range of uncertainty. I personally made estimates of data rates, storage capacity, and schedules that I thought were conservative that turned out to be optimistic when implemented.

    I suspect analysis and predictions for the climate system and thermometer record for the past century is even more uncertain. We are being asked to take drastic, government-enforced action that may damage our economy. Just today, there were news stories about how the Ethanol mandate (which I favored at the time) has doubled grain prices, making a wide variety of food products less affordable to ordinary people. In engineering, we try to balance cost and benefit in a conservative way. We know that advanced technology will will be our bread and butter in the coming decade, but cannot be sure which specific advances will win out.

    And, for the record, I have a fair amount of experience in decision making in the face of uncertainty. For example, see my Goggle Knols and Excel spreadsheets for Bayesian Analysis, Decision Trade-Offs, and Nash Equilibrium

    From MARodger #276

    Ira Glickstein @270 2nd paragraph. My part in this was never “to promote serious cross-discussion here at RC.” I was only concerned that ‘what happened to you’ was not seen as some underhand act, just as I was concerned by comments passing at WUWT behind the backs of those engaged here in comment at RealClimate. Whether this exchange continued here or not never my concern.

    Had you not been monitoring my topic at WUWT and intervened here at RC, I do not think my re-posting would have been passed, but I could be wrong. In any case, I appreciate your participation in this ongoing serious cross-discussion here at RC.

    @270 4th paragraph. … When challenged to source your 0.5 to 1.0 deg C quote and your replies were dismissed as unsubstantiated contention, you end it by going silent on the matter. I certainly would consider it discourteous to cut off such an exchange just because it gets difficult. …

    I cited Lindzen/Choi (2009 and 2011) and Spenser as sources for CO2 sensitivity of 1ºC or less. I noted that Lindzen/Choi 2011 admitted errors in their earlier paper, said they had corrected them in their 2011 paper, and that their conclusions remained about the same with regard to overestimation of sensitivity. Beyond that, I have nothing to add, except that in all my comments regarding sensitivity, I have consistently noted that the IPCC estimates range from 2ºC to 4.5ºC.

    At WUWT Ira Glickstein PhD is on record as asserting that 0.3 deg C of the 0.8 deg C is due to poor siting of stations & UHI etc. There was not any suggestion in these WUWT statements of uncertanty other than a gross exaggeration of global temperature rise.
    Comment by MARodger — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:47 PM

    Yes, at WUWT I wrote a few postings that allocated the 0.8ºC estimated warming to what I called Natural, Data Bias, and Human-Caused. My original allocation was 0.4ºC, 0.3ºC, and 0.1ºC, respectively. WUWT commenters provided their estimates, and I averaged them, and the estimates were revised to 0.33ºC, 0.28ºC, and 0.18ºC.

  35. 285
    Sou says:

    I’d be interested in any comments on the Schmittner et al paper on climate sensitivity (in yesterday’s ScienceExpress).

    It’s getting some play in the media (and possibly the denialist blogosphere also).

    [Response: We are working on a post. Sorry for the delay! - gavin]

  36. 286
    Sou says:

    Regarding my question on the Schmittner et al paper on climate sensitivity, there is a good interview with one of the authors, Nathan Urban, here on planet3.org.

  37. 287
  38. 288
    Per Wikman-Svahn says:

    Accelerating sea level rise?

    I have some thoughts on accelerating sea level rise and the recently published paper by Stefan Rahmstorf, Mahé Perrette & Martin Vermeer: “Testing the robustness of semi-empirical sea level projections”, Clim Dyn
 (online first).
    (A paper that deserve its own post on Real Climate I think.)

    As many of you probably know, Hansen & Sato’s (2011) proposed that the mass change of the large ice sheets could actually be following an exponential development, with a best fit of a doubling time of 5-6 years for the annual mass loss of ice sheets from Greenland and Antarctica (see figure 8 in Hansen & Sato and their discussion in section “6. Sea level”).

    Now, Rahmstorf, Perrette & Vermeer (2011) discusses the level of acceleration in their paper, and say “a non-linear response of ice sheets could make semi-empirical projections overestimate or underestimate the true future sea level rise.” (Section 10). They then refer to the mass-balance assessments by Rignot et al (2011), which “found that the rate of sea level rise [from the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica] has been increasing approximately linearly from 1992 to 2010 while global temperature has also been increasing linearly.” (Section 10). Rahmstorf et al then draw the conclusion that “at least until 2010 the observed ice sheet mass loss is fully consistent with the semi-empirical projections and shows no sign of an important non-linearity in its response to warming.” (Section 10)

    The problem I have with the statement that it “shows no sign of an important non-linearity” is that the empirical data may ALSO be consistent with an “important non-linearity”. At least Rignot et al. (2011) do not test the hypothesis of a non-linear acceleration of sea level rise. They only fit the empirical data against a linear fit. Hansen & Sato (2011), on the other hand, makes an exponential fit to the data of ice sheet mass balance by Velicogna (2009), which looks at least as plausible to me.

    Now, it may be very hard or even impossible to say if it is a linear or non-linear acceleration based on a such short interval (<20 years), but this means that we cannot draw the conclusion that the empirical data says that it is NOT non-linear acceleration.

    Neither Rignot et al (2011), nor Rahmstorf et al (2011) evaluate the possibility of non-linear acceleration of sea level rise. Given the extremely high impacts of a faster sea level rise, I think it needs to be seriously considered.

    Finally, I think that the fact that modelling community were unable to predict the recent drastic decrease of the Arctic sea ice area and volume should make us humble and warrant precaution for future projections. There is also the question if there could be a connection between the two. For example, where will the energy that has been melting all the Arctic sea ice go when all sea ice is melted? Could it go to the ice sheets? (Wade Smith made this point over at Skeptical Science, who after some back-of-the-envelope calculations arrive at a similar figure of exponential ice sheet mass loss as Hansen & Sato. See the comments at: http://www.skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise-predictions.htm)

    Ok, this is my first post here, and I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

    Best, Per

    References:
    Rahmstorf S, Perrette M, Vermeer S (2011) "Testing the robustness of semi-empirical sea level projections", Clim Dyn
(online first) DOI 10.1007/s00382-011-1226-7 http://www.springerlink.com/content/42822h838776m102/fulltext.pdf

    Hansen, JE, Sato M (2011) "Paleoclimate implications for human-made climate change." In Climate Change at the Eve of the Second Decade of the Century: Inferences from Paleoclimate and Regional Aspects: Proceedings of the Milutin Milankovitch 130th Anniversary Symposium. A. Berger, F. Mesinger, and D. Šijači, Eds. Springer, in press. http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/ha05510d.html

    Rignot E, Velicogna I, van den Brooke MR, Monaghan A, Lenaerts J, (2011) "Acceleration of the contribution of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise", Geophys. Res.. Lett., 38, L05503, doi:10.1029/2011GL046583
    http://ps.uci.edu/scholar/velicogna/files/rignot_etal_grl2011.pdf

  39. 289
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Where I come from, a range of values usually indicates the +/-

    Climate sensitivity numbers don’t.

    Nathan Urban’s and James Annan’s recent blog posts and papers may help.

    Note denial bloggers are suckers for disinformation, avidly rebunking crap. A good empirical test: did a site repost work from notorious fakers? E.g.:

    “World Climate Report doctored our paper’s main figure when reporting on our study. This manipulated version of our figure was copied widely on other blogs. They deleted the data and legends for the land and ocean estimates of climate sensitivity, and presented only our combined land+ocean curve ….”
    http://newscience.planet3.org/2011/11/24/interview-with-nathan-urban-on-his-new-paper-climate-sensitivity-estimated-from-temperature-reconstructions-of-the-last-glacial-maximum/

  40. 290
    Dan says:

    Anyone have any comments on the new Schmittner paper “Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/11/22/science.1203513.abstract

  41. 291
    Dan says:

    Anyone have any quick analysis of the new Schmittner paper “Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/11/22/science.1203513.abstract?sid=471560f2-e394-4540-91f3-f0c70970f6e6

  42. 292
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Dan: SteveF said 25 Nov 2011 at 8:52 AM
    James Annan has a couple of posts on the Schmittner et al work

    Your PageUp key will find it for you, just about where you asked for the info.

  43. 293
    MARodger says:

    To those who feel the presence of Ira Glickstein is inappropriate, I should perhaps apologise for my part in his being here (as alluded to @284, although his invite was not mine).

    Ira Glickstein @284
    I would not use the adjective “serious” to describe these exchanges. You already have my objections @249 to the two (now three) sources you give for “some skeptics” deriving sensitivity as “0.5 to 1.0 deg C.” Re-presenting them afresh @284 changes nothing. And I am not sure what is gained by you ‘consistently noting’ the IPCC have findings (that contradict your “some skeptics”) when you then dismiss the IPCC work regardless.

    As for your “allocations” of the GISS global temperature record, it appears you hold the bizarre notion that science can be democratic. Pure nonsense! 2+2=4. There is no room for fallacious opinion. To believe that 2+2=4.022 is just as wrong as believing 2+2=22. To pillage a common saying, in science it is much more than “two wrongs don’t make a right.” In science “right” can only exist because, as much as is feasible, all the “wrong,” every last bit of it, has been identified and junked.
    The level of evidence that allows the junk to be junked could be the point at issue here However you have provided no sources for your sensitivity assertion. If you had pointed to a source (hypothetically, say Black & White 2012) that said “…and we find global sensitivity to be in the range 0.5 to 1.0 deg C” then judgement could be made. Without such evidence or something amounting to such evidence, your statement is unjudgeable. It is unsubstantiated and thus it is so much junk. This exchange is thus simple time wasting. And that is the reason some folk object to your presence here.

  44. 294
    john byatt says:

    From the Australian ABC story re Schmittner

    Professor Colin Prentice from Macquarie University says he is not surprised by the results. (snip)

    “What it means is we can be a bit more sure about the sort of range of temperature changes that will result from the given change in the amount of fossil fuel and CO2 and other greenhouse gases,” he said.

    “The key point is that there has been ongoing buzz about the possibility that the climate sensitivity may be way, way higher than in mainstream climate models.

    cat, bag, out?

    wondered why this paper got everyone so excited, when it was within IPCC CS range…

    ..

  45. 295
    SecularAnimist says:

    Ira Glickstein wrote: “We are being asked to take drastic, government-enforced action that may damage our economy.”

    In short, you don’t like the solutions that you believe some people have proposed, therefore you deny the existence of the problem.

    To which end, you distort and misrepresent the science, gullibly embrace the pseudo-science of the pseudo-skeptics, ignore anything that contradicts your predetermined conclusions, repeat long-debunked talking points over and over, and of course, cast aspersions on the integrity, honesty and competence of the worlds finest and most dedicated scientists — including the moderators of this site, whose forbearance in permitting your repetitively disingenuous comments you have rewarded by complaining about your imagined mistreatment here in your postings at WUWT.

    That’s the motivation and behavior of a stereotypical, run-of-the-mill denier. There’s nothing the least bit interesting or challenging about any of it.

    Those who are responding to you with substantive comments, as though you had either the interest or the capacity to learn something about the science, have the generous spirits and the patience of saints.

  46. 296
    john byatt says:

    After all the poor science journalism and opinion on Schmittner’s paper he has stated the following.

    “While our statistical analysis calculates that high climate sensitivities have very low probabilities, you can see from the caveats in our paper, and my remarks in this interview, that we have not actually claimed to have disproven high climate sensitivities….Our study comes with a number of important caveats, which highlight simplifying assumptions and possible inconsistencies. These have to be tested further.”

    No comment from captcha

  47. 297
    vukcevic says:

    Dr. Schmidt,
    I noticed that one of your specialities is the ocean-atmosphere coupling. I have looked into the same subject but concentrated on the North Atlantic and came to a surprising result: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO.htm
    I would be interested to here your opinion, either openly (website) or via email.

  48. 298
    Joseph says:

    I know this off-topic and you will probably address this in a future post but does anyone have any initial reactions to this study?

    http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2011/11/new-study-climate-not-as-sensitive-to-carbon-dioxide-as-some-fear/
    New study: Climate not as sensitive to carbon dioxide as some fear
    Let’s see if an intriguing new paper in Science, released this afternoon, can break through your somnolent Turkey Day afternoon.

    Led by Oregon climate scientist Andreas Schmittner the paper suggests the rate of warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be less than the most dire estimates.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/11/22/science.1203513

  49. 299
    Sou says:

    Thank you Gavin – good to know :D

    Thank you SteveF #287. James Annan made a couple of interesting points and it will be interesting to read what others say, especially about the differences between climate sensitivity on land vs ocean, and findings of temps in the last glacial maximum.

    Nathan Urban alluded to some of the uncertainties in his interview.

  50. 300
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Ira, Have you not heard of a lognormal distribution? When a distribution has a positive skew, there will be more probability to the right of the mode than to the left. A negative skew (e.g. a Weibull with shape parameter >3.6) yields more probability to the left of the mode. The probability distribution for climate sensitivity is strongly skewed right. Frankly, that is one thing that is very interesting about the latest estimate from Science–although that conclusion seems to derive from their ocean sensitivity estimates.

    As to actions required to avoid severe consequences due to climate change, I think that you overestimate the cost–particularly since most of those actions (e.g. a sustainable energy infrastructure) are needed in any case to avoid shocks of ever higher fossil fuel prices.

    And on ethanol, that was never a climate or energy program, but rather a disguised agricultural subsidy. Modern agricultural is merely a sophisticated way of turning petroleum into something we can eat (e.g. corn and soy). Now we’re going to turn that back into a fuel and substitute it for petroleum? Show me a system that does that, and we’ll share a Nobel for overturning the 2nd law of thermo.


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