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Two-year old turkey

Filed under: — gavin @ 22 November 2011

The blogosphere is abuzz with the appearance of a second tranche of the emails stolen from CRU just before thanksgiving in 2009. Our original commentary is still available of course (CRU Hack, CRU Hack: Context, etc.), and very little appears to be new in this batch. Indeed, even the out-of-context quotes aren’t that exciting, and are even less so in-context.

A couple of differences in this go around are worth noting: the hacker was much more careful to cover their tracks in the zip file they produced – all the file dates are artificially set to Jan 1 2011 for instance, and they didn’t bother to hack into the RealClimate server this time either. Hopefully they have left some trails that the police can trace a little more successfully than they’ve been able to thus far from the previous release.

But the timing of this release is strange. Presumably it is related to the upcoming Durban talks, but it really doesn’t look like there is anything worth derailing there at all. Indeed, this might even increase interest! A second release would have been far more effective a few weeks after the first – before the inquiries and while people still had genuine questions. Now, it just seems a little forced, and perhaps a symptom of the hacker’s frustration that nothing much has come of it all and that the media and conversation has moved on.

If anyone has any questions about anything they see that seems interesting, let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can provide some context. We anticipate normal service will be resumed shortly.

666 Responses to “Two-year old turkey”

  1. 301
    Tokodave says:

    #s 281 & 282 and Gavin’s earlier response @ 269 to the “two sides”
    Nice summaries. By profession I’m a geologist and I also have a deep personal and professional interest in climate change issues, which is why I enjoy the RC site. As a geologist I can verify the climate has changed over geologic time…and if you have listened to a Richard Alley presentation, the “control knob” is CO2 (http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml). I can also say the fact that climate has changed over geologic time is largely irrelevant because we live here and now. We don’t live in the Cretaceous.
    Geoscientists use models routinely to predict geochemical reactions and groundwater transport in three dimensions, among other things, but that’s what I’m most familiar with and the statement that all models are wrong but some can be useful is another good summary. However, no model can help you if you don’t understand the fundamental science at work, in the case of geochemistry/transport modeling; mineralogy, geochemistry and geohydrology. It is clear from several of the posts that there is a failure to understand either how science works or the fundamentals involved in climate science. Thanks for all the work RC does to keep focused on the science!

    [Response: Great point. A strong argument could be made that the biggest problem with public understanding of any complex science is the misunderstanding of the various functions and purposes of models. Not everything is readily explainable.–Jim]

  2. 302
    Tokodave says:

    David Wright: “By the way, it’s pretty easy to predict how plane will generally react to control in puts 200 years later…, the plane will perform pretty much as it does today given the same inputs.”
    I think you misunderstood the analogy. One reason that it takes a lot more practice to fly a 747 than a cessna skyhawk is that the control response is very “laggy” in a larger plane. Pilots learn to stay two minutes “ahead of the plane” because the large ones do not turn on a dime. If one were to attempt to fly a 747 like the skyhawk, the plane would be in the ground in short order. In terms of controlling warming by regulating CO2, our climate has a lag time of more than a lifetime, making it physically impossible for any human policymaker to control. Our nation is not as old as the lag time.

    [Response: You are arguing against yourself on that one. The inertia of the climate is a strong reason for not putting it into a harmful state.–Jim]
    Good point…sort of like putting a 747 into a stall at 300 feet and hoping for the best, eh?

  3. 303
    John McManus says:

    There is one thing I don’t understand. If models are driving public policy why is the Canadian government ( I am ashamed don’t worry ) actively raising CO2 levels with the tar sands obsenity.
    The models all say don’t do it.

  4. 304

    #298 David Wright

    The key here is to realize that you are committing the same mistake as many policymakers and I still find your statements convoluted.

    I think scientists should speak up when policymakers make statements that stretch science beyond what it actually says. That’s especially true when their research uses public funding.

    Here you muddle scientists should speak up and ‘true when research uses public funding. Policymakers don’t do the research of course and scientists trying to stretch the truth can’t last too long in the science community as claims are processed through peer response. The cream rises to the top with more eyes on the evidence and that which is unsubstantial often dies on the vine.

    Unfortunately, the experts in this field too often stand in silence and allow folks like Al Gore to persuade the public that “the science” is consistent with their often outragious claims.

    RC did point out errors in the Al Gore movie. At the same time, he did at least generally get it right. And some very knowledgeable scientists that understand the complexity very well do appear in congressional testimonies in order to help correct misunderstandings.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/al-gores-movie/

    Al Gore generally gets the implications right though. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have scientists clarify the lack of scientific founding that come from claims presented by those that don’t get it generally right?

    One reason that it takes a lot more practice to fly a 747 than a cessna skyhawk is that the control response is very “laggy” in a larger plane.

    Re ‘staying ahead of the plane’. I am also a pilot. I was trained to stay 10 minutes ahead of the plane. Your analogy still suffers somewhat from the timing involved.

    In terms of controlling warming by regulating CO2, our climate has a lag time of more than a lifetime, making it physically impossible for any human policymaker to control. Our nation is not as old as the lag time.

    This is a great example of how you yourself misunderstand the science. The response time has attribution within decades based on the total RF increase. Your claiming that it is more than a lifetime is not scientifically substantial. Do you have a citation of a paper that has survived peer review/response to back your assertion? Or, more likely, is it that you heard or read it on some blog that sounded ‘sciency’ to you.

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/radiative-climate-forcing

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/earths-radiation-budget

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/attribution

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/feedbacks

    Either way, there is not a 200 year lag time in control response to a given input in a 747, while in flight; your analogy is just weak. On top of that, you are essentially saying that we must plan ahead for risks, similar to if the 747 you are flying is headed for a collision with a mountain, you have to turn it long before you get there.

    So what you are really saying is that based on the scientific evidence, modeled and real time (thermal limits on crops, droughts, fire, flooding, storm intensity and soil moisture content changes), we need to start mitigating the impact potentials of CO2 now in order to prevent hitting something that predictably will harm us.

    re. #297 Jim.

    Thank you. I wrote both sessions: FYI Don Wuebbles organized bringing in Susan, John and Ed. I organized the security panel. Hope to see you there.

  5. 305

    #301 Tokodave

    I’d like to second Jim’s statement.

    I seriously doubt humans could enjoy the climate of the end-p, while we still hear claims of CO2 has been higher in the past.

    It remains a false argument that people are still willing to ‘believe’ supports the notion that we should do nothing about current emissions.

    Two memes survive to this day. Anything but CO2, and anything that reduces personal cognitive dissonance so we can all feel warm and fuzzy while we fly our 747 into increasing impact potentials.

  6. 306

    re: 300

    Septic Matthew: “That would make more sense if climate scientists did not cite the results of model runs in their Congressional testimony in support of public policies.”

    What policies? Which scientists? What testimony? And (most importantly) why not? We deal with the life around us with the tools we have.

  7. 307
    Number9 says:

    The stimulus is off topic, but your logic makes no sense. Information gained from models in epidemiology, economics, weather forecasting, ENSO forecasting, fisheries, tides, celestial mechanics, population, demography, etc. are used to inform policy decisions at all sorts of levels.

    ….

    Seeing how stimulus is economics in practice, it’s on topic: the problem with basing policy on admittedly incomplete models.

    Look around at how teh ‘stimulus’ worked out. IT’s simliar to Hansen’s 1988 forecasts for the current temperature anamoly.

    We’ve wasted a trillion dollars on a model that gives, as Dr Ladbury notes, some insight into the past but not much to base future policy on. Fortunately, we didn’t wast trillions on incomplete climate models.

    [Response: Since you aren’t getting the point at all, here is a question for you: Please explain how are you so sure that without the stimulus it would not have been much worse? Such a claim must involve some kind of model, no? – gavin]

  8. 308

    re:299
    Davis Wright said, “That’s especially true when their research uses public funding.”

    That makes no sense. What possible significance — beyond the sophistical — does the funding have? The statements are true or false independent of the funds.

  9. 309

    #303–“If models are driving public policy. . .”

    Clearly a counterfactual premise.

    Sadly.

  10. 310

    #298 David Wright

    Interesting that natural variation of climate forcing also contradicts your assertion that:

    In terms of controlling warming by regulating CO2, our climate has a lag time of more than a lifetime, making it physically impossible for any human policymaker to control.

    A great example would be the Maunder Minimum which is indicated to have had significant impacts that affected humans within the span of a single lifetime, and that was a change of only around -0.1 W/m2 RF:

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/maunder-minimum

    Or are you also arguing that natural variation does not impact or alter climate?

  11. 311
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mike Lewis,
    OK. How would you have us tell you that you simply don’t know what the hell you are talking about?

    Last time I looked, the count of Ivan Giaever’s output in climate science was zero. He’s a fricking condensed matter guy. Do you go to a protocologist when you have a heart condition?

    As to your reference–the values for sensitivity are well within the range of possibilities considered by mainstream climate science. The advance here is that they seem to avoid the high-end tail that plagues most estimates. That result is critically dependent on their ocean model, though, so time will tell whether it holds up. A climate sensitivity of 2.6 does not argue for complacency.

    Finally, perhaps you would reap more rewards if you devoted your time to learning some of the science you seek to denigrate. RC is an excellent resource for learning about climate science. If you seek to overturn 150 year-old science, you might be happier elsewhere.

  12. 312
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Number9, OK, let me see if I’ve got this straight. Is it seriously your contention that if the models are wrong, then anthropogenic climate change isn’t occurring? This despite the fact that we have 40 years of warming, trillions of tons of ice melt, warming patterns that look EXACTLY like what we expect from a greenhouse mechanism. This despite the fact that CO2 is a known greenhouse gas and that we have increased CO2 concentration by 40%? This, despite the fact that sea levels are rising and more and more of the planet’s landmass is going into drought–again, just as the models predict?

    Dude, have you really thought this out? Do you really think that if the models are wrong, the problem just goes away? Or, maybe, just maybe, we have no idea how bad the situation is–possibly much worse than the models predict–and we have no way to assess just how hard we must stamp on the brakes to avoid catastrophe?

    Sorry, Punkin, but uncertainty is NOT your friend if you want to do nothing.

  13. 313
    George M says:

    “An anomalous downward heat flux reduces the ocean surface temperature (and hence global surface temperature), which generates an anomalous heat flux into the ocean from the atmosphere (because the flux into the ocean is related to the difference between atmospheric and ocean temperature). And this of course increases total OHC.”

    You might want to rewrite this paragraph. It makes no physical sense. Deep ocean water(~90% of the ocean volume) has a temperature of ~2degC. Heat gets transferred into the deep water in two ways. Primarily, areas where there are upwellings of cold water are exposed to the sun and are heated. The warmed water releases significant amounts of CO2 as it heats up.

    In other areas warm surface waters gradually mix with deeper water. This is a relatively slow process because the warm water perferentially tends to stay on the surface, but storms, wind, and salinity differences all could gradually transfer heat down deeper.

    “an anomalous downward heat flux reduces ocean surface temperature” I presume you are talking about cold air? That could be another avenue of surface mixing. Cold air from thunderstorm downbursts and winds from the arctic areas would cool the water surface relative to warmer areas and tend to cause top-down mixing.

    [Response: You have completely misunderstood the comment. The anomalous flux being referred to is purely within the ocean – between the upper ocean and the deeper ocean. None of your conclusions follow. – gavin]

    This is a good time to point out that once heat has gotten into the deep ocean(raising the temperature from 1.8 deg.C to perhaps 1.82 deg. C) there is no mechanism to “retrieve” the heat once the cold, deep water upwells to the surface. Cold water can’t transfer heat to warmer air. At best the slightly warmer deep water will absorb less heat from the surface air resulting in slightly warmer air temps than otherwise.

  14. 314

    #296 Mike Lewis

    Nothing flip about your question at all. The majority of the information presented has survived peer review as you will see from the source links.

    I know that in one of my ‘Natural Cycle’ video. There is still a debate regarding acceleration. I may be wrong on that point even though the data indicates that there ‘may’ be an acceleration.

    I should probably actually change the video narration, but I’m short on time these days. However, there is a chance there is at least a short term acceleration component. Keep in mind if emissions were reduced the system would likely begin working toward a new thermal equilibrium.

    The frustration level you may be experiencing is likely due to multiple factors.

    – many of the memes presented are old rehashed arguments that have not survived peer review/response
    – both the scientists and the regular RC posters are quite familiar with the false logic arguments presented by others and where the substantial science is that refutes such assertions.

    Having a nobel prize does not guarantee that anything a person says is trustworthy

    When you say that AGW is a hypothesis you are in fact incorrect. A hypothesis, or a tentative hypothesis indicates the very beginning stages of the idea. Climate science has so many eyes on it and is now considered a mature science. Form Fourier in 1824 to Arrhenius in 1896 claiming that adding CO2 to the atmosphere should cause global warming.

    The current status of the science is that multiple lines of evidence from multiple fields indicate we are on a warming trend and there is human attribution in the physics and the observations. Then you can add models to top it all off just to increase confidence. But in fact you do not need models to show the human fingerprint on current warming.

    So don’t feel put off by the direct nature of rebuttal to relatively immature points that you are making, which are largely based on speculation rather than science.

    Imagine you are in a classroom. The teachers job is not to coddle you. The teachers job is to impress correct information upon you.

  15. 315
    J Bowers says:

    Why do I get the impression that (aside from the dismembered bleatings on the internet of a bunch of tinfoilhatters who now look even more like such to the point that Watts has to try and convince everyone it’s spectacular by putting the word ‘spectacular’ in a headline) this story’s dead on its legs already, and everyone’s seen it for the attempt to derail an international summit that it is?

  16. 316
    Isotopious says:

    Only one side to the science, however, there are different branches of thought. In general, there is the positive feedback side that are in the majority, and therefore can be considered the ruling party. Then there is the negative feedback side that are in the minority.

    The positive feedback side has the following attributes:
    =CO2 is the “control knob”
    =Any change in the CO2 concentration, is accompanied by a larger change in condensable water vapour. See Clausius–Clapeyron relation
    =Humans are causing most of the recent global warming
    =Humans will interrupt and overwhelm the interglacial cycles

    The negative feedback side has the following attributes:
    =CO2 only plays a minor role in climate
    =The Clausius–Clapeyron relation does not relate specifically to CO2 forcing, or to the climate system as a whole, it is just a component. In a system, temperature can change as a function of negative feedback
    =That humans are causing most of the recent global warming is not tenable. It is just as likely due to natural variability
    =Humans will not interrupt and overwhelm the interglacial cycles. These cycles are millions of years in the making. They are well constrained and therefore tend to be in a stable state within set orbital points.

    [Response: Unfortunately, your ‘other side’ compounds demonstrably false facts (point 1), truisms (point 2), incorrect logic (point 3) and untenable conclusions (point 4). Apart from that, you’re good. – gavin]

  17. 317
    DrTskoul says:

    @Isotopius

    Exactly right. In the same category as the following

    1) Flat-Earthers vs. Spherists
    2) Creationism/ID vs. Evolution
    3) Geocentrists vs. Heliocentrists
    4) Iron-Core Sun movement vs. everybody else

    In all these categories you have an antithesis between science and anti-science. If that is what you meant, you are right on.

  18. 318
    David Wright says:

    John:
    “Or are you also arguing that natural variation does not impact or alter climate?”

    It’s been said many times by climatologists that the heat is in the pipeline, that even if we cease producing CO2 today, the planet will continue to warm for a couple hundred years or more.

    Whether or not natural variation is the dominant driver today, as it was yesterday, then given the time lag involved you will never know if your attempt at mitigation had any effect at all. You might just as easily do harm. Without something to correlate control and response, there really is no control.

    [Response: Err… hence the need to be conservative with the composition of the atmosphere, no? – gavin]

  19. 319
    Jryan says:

    date: Mon Feb 28 08:58:57 2005
    from: Phil Jones
    subject: Re: CCSP report review period
    to: Ben Santer

    Ben,

    Good to see you if briefly last Wednesday ! The rest of the meeting was rather odd. Some very odd things said by a few people – clearly irked by not having got a couple of proposals recently ! I’m not supposed to be contacting you ! I would urge you to write up what you presented on the day and in the report. It was the most convincing presentation and chapter of the report. You should have less to do than the other chapters. Not yet sure how the summary will fare.
    We didn’t discuss the email evidence (as you put it) nor Pielke’s dissent. We shouldn’t and we won’t if the NRC people have their way.

    I was never really sure what the point of the review was.

    Cheers

    Phil

    This isn’t science. This is collusion.

    [Response: Collusion to improve the quality of the technical literature? Quel horreur! – gavin]

  20. 320
    DrTskoul says:

    @Jryan

    Similar to the way that industrial competitors “colude” to improve safety procedures or maintenance techniques or anything that is good for the whole industry.

    You really do not know how science or any field for what matters progresses and evolves…Trial and lot’s of errors and the corrections and then other errors.. [edit – enough name-calling]

  21. 321
    Ray Ladbury says:

    David Wright, Er, so if I see myself bearing down on a semi at 60 mph on a snowy road, I shouldn’t use the brakes because I won’t know for a few seconds whether they’ll stop me in time? Fricking brilliant logic, that.

  22. 322
    DrTskoul says:

    @Jryan

    You really do not know how progress in any field is achieved, do you? And I am certain you do not care. Therefore enough-said. If you think you see pink elefants and green martiants too, there is not much science can do.

  23. 323
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    There is still something odd about the link to Mann and Jones 2003 back in Response to 11. Did you mean Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia?

  24. 324
    Isotopious says:

    “…They are well constrained and therefore tend to be in a stable state within set orbital points.”

    how is that untenable? It’s completely tenable. It has all the hallmarks of a stable, negative feedback system.

    For the undecided here is a comparison between interglacial cycles:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Vostok_420ky_4curves_insolation.jpg

    …And an ECG:

    http://www.eng.utah.edu/~jnguyen/ecg/bigecg.gif

    The cardiac cycle represents a stable system. I’ll let you decide if you think Earth displays similar characteristics.

  25. 325
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    David Wright, you have made the point that there is no point explaining things to you. You are in denial, and essentially denying that there is such a thing as physics. But whether you think so or not, physics tells that there is a big difference between the climatalogical consequences of burning one trillion tons of carbon and burning two tons.

  26. 326
    Richard Simons says:

    Number9 @307: “Look around at how teh ‘stimulus’ worked out. IT’s simliar to Hansen’s 1988 forecasts for the current temperature anamoly.”
    It seems to me that Hansen’s Scenario B was not that far out. Are you getting your information from denialist sites that concentrate on Scenario A, the one that he thought was unrealistic?

    The extracts of the e-mails I’ve seen so far strike me as being rather banal, especially after the context is explained. I think the e-mails flying back and forth elsewhere a few weeks ago might be far more interesting in a gossip column kind of way, not that they would add to the science.

  27. 327
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    err make that one trillion tons vs two trillion or one trillion vs just one ton or … well you know the point. (even you DW, admit it or not)

  28. 328
    John West says:

    Ray Ladbury says:
    “warming patterns that look EXACTLY like what we expect from a greenhouse mechanism.”

    Actually, stratospheric cooling stopped around ’93. Somehow, ~-0.1 W/m2 forcing is counteracting it (since 2000 ~-0.2 prior). Aerosol climatic cooling has the opposite fingerprint as GHG climatic warming, btw.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/msu/
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6044/866.abstract

    Here’s the problem: CO2 in 2000=~365 and 2010=~390, so, 5.35 x ln(390/365) = ~0.35 W/m2. How does ~-0.1 counter ~0.35?

    Hint: 1) ozone depletion is estimated to be negative though there’s both + and – factors(another net ~-0.15 W/m2), 2) I use “~” for approximately so the values aren’t exacts, 3) there’s a myriad of other forcings both + and -, 4) lags in the system (thermal inertia), and 5) internal variability. (There might be more reasons, I’m not a climatologist.)

    Why bring this up? When you say “it looks exactly like we expect”, someone might actually go look up what you mean by that and then see stratospheric trend flat-lining and think, well, that’s that, GW over. While I don’t agree with “mitigation” at this time, it’s not because I don’t “believe” (lol) in GW but rather am unsure if the cure wouldn’t be worse than the disease.

    [Response: MSU-4 (TLS) is dominated by trends in ozone, not CO2. CO2 effects are much more clearly seen higher up (in the stratospheric sounding unit (SSU) or radiosonde data). See papers by Bill Randall on this topic. With stabilisation of strat ozone levels, MSU4 should be expect to flatten out and with ozone recovery, will start to rise again. There are also volcanic and solar effects of course. – gavin]

  29. 329
    David Wright says:

    “Response: Err… hence the need to be conservative with the composition of the atmosphere, no? – gavin”

    Since there is no control to the experiment, it’s not possible to conclude that the effect of CO2 emission is harmful at all.

    We have the known positive effect (a big one IMHO)of greater life expectancy and quality of life being sustained through the use of fossil fuel, and really no tangible evidence of a detrimental effect due to use of fossil fuel, so the scale tilts toward the known and against the untestable hypothesis when faced with real world decisions.

    Obviously many climatologists strongly believe we are in grave danger. The evidence of this strong belief is in the tone of the emails and in the emotional responses seen in this blog.

    Given that the world has not hastened to respond to the emotional appeal of climatologists, it appears that the real world is choosing to follow the safer, better known path.

    IMHO, even if you are right, there will be plenty of time for the planet to heal once fossil fuels are replaced by more efficient means.

    Thank you for your time and effort.

  30. 330
    David Wright says:

    “320.David Wright, Er, so if I see myself bearing down on a semi at 60 mph on a snowy road, I shouldn’t use the brakes because I won’t know for a few seconds whether they’ll stop me in time? Fricking brilliant logic, that.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury”

    If there is not really a semi there, and it’s only a reflection in your mirror, then yes, it may be dangerous to slam on your brakes.
    Again, you assume a semi, I see an open road. IT’s a state of mind, and we both have beliefs. Your’s are just not as fun or productive.
    Bye now…thanks again.

    [Response: Hm, this analogy has a few problems … but insofar as an analogy goes, there is no question about the semi whatsoever. The debate is how big, how far away, and whether we’re talking head on collision of merely knocking off the mirrors, not whether it is there. As an aside, I once saw a car lose both mirrors at once — on against the car on its left, and the other on the stone bridge wall on the right. Those narrow European bridges are not for the faint of heart. ;) –eric]

  31. 331
    Mike Lewis says:

    @ Mr. Reisman – Thank you for a reasonable answer.

    @ Dr. Ladbury – How have I denigrated the science? By pointing out that not everyone agrees with your viewpoint about it? Should I not believe what Dr. Roy Spencer has to say about the science? He is a climate scientist who would disagree with you. The question remains of how the feedbacks have been affected by our pollutants. Perhaps you’ve published a paper on this matter? No, I didn’t think so.

  32. 332
    Hank Roberts says:

    On a snowy road, you don’t switch from the gas pedal to the brakes — you take your foot off the gas, _maybe_ shift gears, and think about where the other guy will slide to if _he’s an idiot and steps on his brakes.

    If he does, when _he_ spins out, aim straight at where he is. Odds are by the time you’ve reached that spot, one of his wheels will have gotten traction and his vehicle will have lurched off in some random direction, with luck not toward you. If you aim to go either side of where he’s spinning, it’s 50/50 likely he’ll move into your path. If you aim right at that spot, most of the directions he could go take him out of your way.

    Ambulance driver taught me that.

  33. 333
    dhogaza says:

    David Wright:

    Again, you assume a semi, I see an open road.

    Insists that CO2 lasers don’t work, and that a whole bunch of related physics is bunk. Because that’s what the above amounts to.

    Yet … he’ll step into an airplane.

    Kinda odd, don’t you think?

  34. 334
    dhogaza says:

    David Wright:

    Whether or not natural variation is the dominant driver today, as it was yesterday, then given the time lag involved you will never know if your attempt at mitigation had any effect at all. You might just as easily do harm. Without something to correlate control and response, there really is no control.

    That’s crap. That doesn’t even rise to the typical argument one gets from a two year old …

    You can’t do better than this? Really? Having been exposed as having absolutely no knowledge as to how the GCMs you so despise actually work, showing yourself to be ignorant of much else, besides, you fall back on this crap?

    Thank God I’m not drinking coffee at the moment, the splurging through my nostrils onto my keyboard might’ve led me to insisting you replace my laptop if I’d been doing so …

  35. 335

    #318 David Wright

    Yes, the evidence strongly suggests there is more warming in the pipeline.

    You still seem to misunderstand the basic mechanisms at play.

    Natural variation happens.

    Greenhouse gases keep Earth warm, more means more warm while less means less warm.

    Your last paragraph is confused. To analogize it, we are all in the 747 you referred to and there is a lag time to our actions regarding existing CO2 and future emissions. The plane is still flying whether we change the control inputs or not. More CO2 just means more change.

    In this case natural variation is the normal atmospheric turbulence that a typical flight will encounter over many flights. The additional CO2 scenario analogized just means an increase in the turbulence as in change factors.

    There is no data to suggest that reducing emissions will do more harm though? Or are you aware of some paper you can cite that clearly indicates global warming will not do harm? If so, did it survive peer review/response? Please provide a citation.

    You see your just guessing basically. Ironic that you have a problem with science that does not guess, but rather is based on the systematic examination of evidence.

  36. 336
    dhogaza says:

    Mike Lewis:

    Should I not believe what Dr. Roy Spencer has to say about the science?

    Pretty much, yes. He and Christy, 10+ years go, claimed that satellite data showed climate cooling, rather than warming. In fact, they proclaimed it was the “wooden stake through the heart of the global warming hypothesis” and became right-wing darlings as a result, over a decade ago. Of course, they were wong. Others went over their algorithms and discovered errors, including a sign error that would cause a 9th grade algebra student to get marked down on a test. That was just the start of his erroneous efforts.

    When someone’s proven wrong over and over again, smart people stop listening to them.

    Of course the fact that Spencer and Christy both tout their Southern Baptist Evangelical beliefs shouldn’t cause us to immediately reject their scientific work, but given their track record, and Spencer’s endorsement of *creationism* over evolution, and Christy’s stated belief that his evangelical and political beliefs leads him to believe we should help Africans benefit from fossil-fuel exploitation as we’ve done in the developed nations, regardless of global warming concerns, one can ask oneself if their research results are skewed to some extent by their beliefs.

    The track record says “yes”. Prove me wrong …

  37. 337
    dhogaza says:

    David Wright proclaims …

    Since there is no control to the experiment, it’s not possible to conclude that the effect of CO2 emission is harmful at all.

    That since we don’t have a second planet to experiment with, science can’t inform us at all about the effect of CO2 on climate.

    What tosh. What stupidity.

    Wright, you’ve descended into the sub-sub-basement with that comment.

    Of course, the same logic tells us that you can’t guarantee us that raising CO2 in the atmosphere by 10 ppm won’t lead us to Venus next Thursday.

    Are you sure you want to pin your denialism to that? Some might think that the threat you pose might suggest we stop all fossil fuel burning tomorrow, because, you yourself have just said we can’t bound the possible effect.

    Look where anti-science leads you …

  38. 338

    #330 Mike Lewis

    IShould I not believe what Dr. Roy Spencer has to say about the science? He is a climate scientist who would disagree with you. The question remains of how the feedbacks have been affected by our pollutants.

    Roy Spencer is unable to back many assertions he is making; so no, you should not believe Roy Spencer. He makes claims that are not substantiated by the relevant evidence. Spencer often makes claims based on very limited views.

    To believe Spencer is akin analogically to believing a first year medical student that has only read one relevant book vs. a doctor that has much more experience and is not limited in his view to narrowly scoped views based on facts out of context. This has been demonstrated with Spencer on many occasions.

    If you had more knowledge and experience in the science supporting various arguments you would have known that.

    If you really want to present intelligent arguments rather than vague and unsupported claims, you will need to do a lot more reading of the actual science and related debate points with the context of what is and is not supported (that means reading the papers that survive peer response, not just buying into what any scientists says… there has to be supporting evidence). This debate is not one PhD vs another PhD. It’s substantiated evidence vs. unsubstantiated opinion.

    If you choose to believe opinion, then you can not achieve relevant understanding.

  39. 339

    #327 David Wright

    IT’s a state of mind, and we both have beliefs. Your’s are just not as fun or productive. Bye now…thanks again.

    Did David just pull a Dunning/Kruger and walk out of the room?

    As Yoda would say, the Dunning/Kruger is strong with this one.

    But he’s not alone…

  40. 340
    Chombe says:

    #335 dhogaza:

    Speaking as a former Evangelical Christian and therefore as one who has some insights based on experience that most do not have (and as one who has no disrespect for those previously held beliefs and no disrespect for those who hold those beliefs), I share the following since I think that it’s a good idea to understand why people argue the way they do when it is possible to understand why they do, and since I think your implied point is relevant:

    See the Wikipedia article about Roy Spencer:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Spencer_(scientist)

    Quote:

    “Spencer is an advisor to the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation[28] and a signatory to “An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming”.[29]

    The declaration states:

    “We believe Earth and its ecosystems – created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence – are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception.””

    Also see this article:

    http://blog.chron.com/rickperry/2011/09/rick-perry-and-galileo-the-religious-beliefs-behind-global-warming-skepticism/

    Quote:

    “If you have a biblical, Judeo-Christian worldview that sees the earth and its climate system as being designed by an omnipotent God… and sustained by a faithful God who has covenanted to sustain it, then your inclination is to see the climate system as robust, resilient, self-regulating and self-correcting.”

    In other words, we have an insight into why so many – even trained scientists, even trained in the science in question – reject the science in question, whether it is evolutionary science or mainstream climate science. The theology they hold to is so rigid that it has boxed them in such that if either evolutionary science or mainstream climate science is true, then the God they believe in – or at least the type of God they believe in – does not exist.

    What this means is that they can never accept evolutionary science or mainstream climate science – ever.

    And what that means is that it is guaranteed that all arguments they will ever make to try to prove the conclusions they already have will be misapplications of logic and/or mathematics and/or science.

    Because of my aforementioned past experience, it seems clear to me that the vast majority of this rejection of mainstream climate science is merely the taking of the type of logically fallacious thinking that is always there in the arguments against evolutionary science and importing it into mainstream climate science rejection: The underlying logical patterns of the arguments are the same.

    And so whenever I am confronted with someone who rejects mainstream climate science, I always ask the person whether he/she also rejects evolutionary science. That person usually objects to the question, claiming that the answer is irrelevant, but based on my experience, I know that the answer is quite relevant, since it gives insight into whether that person could ever accept mainstream climate science.

  41. 341
    Brian Dodge says:

    “Wing designs are not typically tested with a commercial flight full of passengers.”
    “Medical procedures are carefully tested in a controlled environment. They are not released to the public to be tested.” David Wright — 23 Nov 2011 @ 9:09 PM

    Then why are you comfortable with uncontrolled testing of the effects of CO2 on our ONLY planet, currently carrying seven billion passengers?

  42. 342
    Chris says:

    Further to my comment at #187 and your responses, I have kept looking at sites on both sides of the current “Climategate 2” email issue.

    I made the point that is hard, for a layman, not to have a negative response to some of the excerpts – even though we have accepted that these are taken out of context and we do not know the full background to many of the “highlights”.

    Looking, for instance, at the specific accusation that there appears to be an “inner circle” that have undue influence over the IPCC, politicians, scientific journals, etc, then based on a number of the emails, there looks to me, at least, like there is a case to answer.

    There are a number of excerpts where individuals write to each other and state within the email that they shouldn’t be talking to each other. There are instances where, realistically, the only inference that can be drawn is that one “group” is working to block the publications of people with an alternative point of view. There are examples where individuals express disagreement with another’s work within their group – but don’t question the work publicly – seemingly, solely in order not to provide ammunition to the other side.

    Clearly, none of this means that AGW is happening and isn’t a problem.

    To those who are totally convinced of AGW and the impact on our planet and population, I can see that they would want to do everything to ensure that everyone understood the issues and were totally committed to a clear message being given out – and that, maybe, some ethics may be sacrificed so that the message isn’t diluted.

    I think that this is the problem and is not aided by the comments here on RC. If you read most of the comments from RC contributors (i.e. from those contributors that are natural supporters of RC), I don’t think I have seen one where the conduct of a particular individual is questioned or that the content of any of the emails makes one feel a little uncomfortable.

  43. 343
    James says:

    Re #335 dhogaza

    If, for your own entertainment and to demonstrate your ability to put up a convincing argument on any topic, you were asked to to a “hatchet job” on Michael Mann and his work – similar to the job you did in #335 on Spencer – would it, in reality, be any harder to do?

    The problem with this style of writing is that if you decide the outcome and then only present the supporting evidence – you could make the Pope look pretty bad – but it wouldn’t change the mind of any of his followers.

  44. 344
    Fred Magyar says:

    David Wright @ 328,

    We have the known positive effect (a big one IMHO)of greater life expectancy and quality of life being sustained through the use of fossil fuel, and really no tangible evidence of a detrimental effect due to use of fossil fuel, so the scale tilts toward the known and against the untestable hypothesis when faced with real world decisions

    Oh, I don’t know… I think that maybe basing the entire infinite growth based global economic paradigm on a finte resource may yet produce more than a few tangible detrimental effects. The laws of thermodynamics are rather unforgiving…
    And humans have yet to prove they are much smarter than yeast!

    IMHO, even if you are right, there will be plenty of time for the planet to heal once fossil fuels are replaced by more efficient means.

    No doubt! The solar powered photosynthetic cyanobacteria living in the post anthropocene long after the current sixth mass biological extinction will probably have plenty of time to colonize the shallow seas again… They probably won’t even miss us arrogant apes at all!

    Cheers!

  45. 345
    Tony Rogers says:

    RE: Post 318

    “[Response: Err… hence the need to be conservative with the composition of the atmosphere, no? – gavin]”

    No, not necessarily. If trying to control the composition of the atmosphere by reducing the use of fossil fuels has more harmful effects to people and the planet than not trying to control the composition of the atmosphere. Consideration of this trade-off seems to be completely missing.

    Lower economic output, deforestation to plant palm oil for biofuel, land use for biofuel rather than food, higher food costs, greater reliance on nuclear energy and other low carbon measures could easily be more harmful than the unknown effects of an unknown amount of warming. These measures certainly ARE harmful but policymakers seem to ignore this harm, driven by your advocacy, because the alternative will be catastrophic. In addition, these harms must be suffered, irrespective of whether control of the composition of the atmosphere is achieved AND whether that control leads to control of temperatures.

    That seems to me to be not only illogical but also a tragedy.

    [Response: The tragedy here is that your cost benefit analysis has set the cost of climate change to society at exactly zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. One could certainly discuss what the real number is, and what the uncertainty is, but to a priori assume it is zero and with no uncertainty is to greatly underestimate the risk. And since your ‘logic’ would hold independent of any scientific results, it is clear that even extreme risks would not cause you to change your mind. Thus your framing is guaranteed to give the wrong decision in the face of important consequences of any environmental problem. – gavin]

  46. 346
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Tony Rogers, So, what you are saying is that if we approach mitigation in the most stupid way possible, it could be a bad thing? Great. Thanks for the advice.

    How about if we, oh, I don’t know, approach it, maybe, intelligently instead?

    Do things like increase conservation, develop an energy infrastructure that is actually sustainable, have energy resources reflect their true cost (including environmental degradation, national security…), assist rapidly developing countries to develop a sustainable energy infrastructure as well… How are those bad things–particularly since most of them will be essential as we run out of fossil fuels in any case?

  47. 347
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mike Lewis,
    If you look at what I said about myself above, I was very clear that I am NOT a contributor to the consensus. I am here to be educated. I would suggest that you would do well to do the same. Part of that is understanding that your instructors (e.g. the staff who contribute to this site) might have learnd something about the atmosphere and climate in the DECADES of researching them.

    As to the case of Roy Spencer, I’m afraid that brings me great sadness. I really think Roy has good intentions. I think he is a smart guy. I think he could contribute something of value to understanding the climate. Unfortunately, he seems to have an idee’ fixe’ that anthropogenic CO2 emissions can’t lead to dangerous warming. If you were to force me to speculate why, I would suggest that perhaps his advocacy of Intelligent Design (not his religion!) colors his judgment. ID is not and cannot be science. The fact that Roy doesn’t understand that astounds me.

    Whatever the reason, Roy is an outlier, one of the 3% of climate scientists outside the consensus. There are a similar number of biologists who don’t believe in evolution or doctors who don’t think smoking is a health hazard. Which side you gonna pick?

  48. 348
    Martin Vermeer says:

    james #342:

    if […] you were asked to to a “hatchet job” on Michael Mann and his work – similar to the job you did in #335 on Spencer – would it, in reality, be any harder to do?

    Depends on the audience. I expect you would be an easy mark. Convincing somewhat informed people — including Dhogaza’s own better self — would be a tad harder, which might interfere with the convincingness of the act.

  49. 349
    Tony Rogers says:

    @Gavin

    I didn’t do a cost benefit analysis and I didn’t set the cost of climate change at zero. However, proposing that climate change is catastrophic suggests that the costs of climate change trumps anything else. I merely pointed out that the the costs of the mitigation efforts that are being implemented are available to us and seem very high to me.

    [Response: How does only considering the costs and not the avoided costs make any sense? I have nothing against a real cost-benefit analysis – and when those things have been done it is clear that a) many actions are a net benefit (energy efficiency, better design etc), and b) that even a moderate climate change is worth investing to avoid – estimates of the marginal cost of emitting a ton of CO2 range from $20 to $200 or more (i.e. the price it would be worth adding to carbon emissions to account for the negative externalities not currently included in the price). This has nothing to do with ‘catastrophes’ – though continued unregulated emissions make such things more likely. If using something will cause costs to others, it should be included in the price if you want society to allocate resources effectively – how hard is that to fathom? – gavin]

  50. 350
    DrTskoul says:

    Ray,

    Wait, an epiphany. They actually believe that even with three more billion people (3,000,000,000) fossil fuels are never going to run out. Remember the inorganic pathway to oil deep down the earth? Nature (c.f. God) will provide!! IMHO we are screwed since there is no way on earth that such a large portion of the population can be convinced on time to actually do something that is completely logical and should have been done in the absence of AGW -> rely on sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture, sustainable industry, since clean water, food, energy are going to become scarce in a world with 10B or more people (short of an avian flu pandemic).

    Wow…their logic is skull-crashing.