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Unforced Variations: March 2012

Filed under: — group @ 1 March 2012

This month’s open thread – for appetizers we have: William Nordhaus’s extremely impressive debunking in the NY Review of Books of the WSJ 16 letter and public polling on the issue of climate change. Over to you…

617 Responses to “Unforced Variations: March 2012”

  1. 51
    Isotopious says:

    “Mr. Isotopius seems to be suggesting that the 100+ years of good temperature data that we have is insufficient to define a change in climate”

    No. I just meant that a thousand year period of stable temperature which happens to have a rapid warming trend at the end of the series is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary with regards to ‘other’ thousand years periods in the Holocene.

    That’s why scientists use statistics, to show that they are wrong, rather than right. The IPCC bent over backwards to try and argue just the opposite, that recent warming is an outlier. They are wrong, unless of course they can prove that 1000 years is somehow significantly defined as some type of climatic cycle within a parallel universe /blackhole? Let me know when you find the data!

  2. 52
    Dan says:

    re: 50.

    You are completely ignoring the causes in effect in the time scales you are referring to. In other words, we know the natural causes that affected global temperatures over the 1000 years. What you are not considering are the additional forcings from man-made greenhouse gases over the past 30+ years. Warming since then can not be explained simply by natural causes. Read the science. And the “start here” at the top of the page here.

  3. 53
    Steve Jones says:

    I’d really like to understand why we can’t plug in the forcings (both natural and GHG’s) for 2006 -2011 into the models quoted by Nordhaus

    and then see what temperatures they would have predicted and then compare those predictions with the actual temperatures measured.


  4. 54
    Phil Clarke says:

    Mosher – Plus some people tried humor with an attachment in the climategate emails. That got them in a little trouble. Actually, Steve, some might say it got you into trouble. In this piece still online, you publically accused Phil Jones of malfeasance:-

    One scientist, Phil Jones, even suggested changing the dates on papers to hide the misdeed.

    Turns out this was a private joke about a misprint. Which you now know as you attempted to repeat the libel here at RC and Gavin corrected it for you. In other words, you used a private joke in an illicitly-obtained internal mail to falsely smear a scientist. The smear is still online, yet you feel able to lecture others about the inappropriate use of humour. Post-modern irony?

    PS While we’re on the subject of climate humour, the assertion ‘I am requesting this information as part of my academic research’ that you attached to the CRU FOI spam never fails to make me smile….. ;-)

  5. 55
    J Bowers says:

    50 Isotopious — “No. I just meant that a thousand year period of stable temperature which happens to have a rapid warming trend at the end of the series is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary with regards to ‘other’ thousand years periods in the Holocene.”

    It does if you take the forcings into account, i.e. the science, not just the numbers. As Judith Curry’s student said of Climate Audit in 2006, “Some people hang onto statistics like a drunken man hangs onto lampposts for support.”

  6. 56

    #50–“The IPCC…are wrong.”

    Why don’t you publish that, Isotopius?

    Of course, it might need a little fleshing out.

  7. 57

    #47–“Read it and weep”

    I laughed instead. “Reptars,” indeed!

  8. 58
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Isotopious would rather we forget about such inconveniences as Conservation of Energy–e.g. where the energy causing the current warming is coming from. Instead, he wants us to focus on all the squiggles in the Holocene temperature reconstructions. The current warming epoch has seen about 0.6 degrees C of rise during 30 years–~0.2 degrees per decade. Now let’s look at the Holocene. Let’s be charitable and assume that the reconstruction that shows the most extreme swing of the most extreme reconstruction is correct–this shows only about 0.05 degrees of warming per decade. Not remember that is the most extreme variation from the most extreme reconstruction. If instead we look at the average of the reconstructions, we get at most a factor of 10 smaller than this!

    I find that when Isotopious makes a claim, it is usually a good idea for me to do the math myself. Likewise, if he tells me it is raining, I know that I can leave my umbrella in its place on the shelf.

  9. 59
    dhogaza says:

    The community of climate modelers is relatively small. I wonder how many were actually interviewed in the process of creating a startling list of boldly definite prognostications on the current state, future evolution and applicability of GCMs

    Zero, I’d say.

    The whole argument about formal verification and validation has been put forward in the past by a handful of self-proclaimed software engineering experts and, of course, is just silly. It’s meant to cast doubt on the abilities of people writing research code while elevating the supposed expertise of those making the argument. I’m sure Curry got it from people in McIntyre’s crowd.

    Formal verification and validation is performed for an incredibly small percentage of software, such as those used for fly-by-wire and another aviation systems, military systems, etc.

    Commercial software is rarely formally verified or validated, and no open source software has been, to my knowledge, yet is happily used by those complaining that people who write GCMs are really horrible at their job.

    Windows isn’t formally V&V’d.

    Mac OS/X isn’t.

    Linux isn’t.

    I could write a list that would fill the disk storage of whatever server is running the Real Climate site.

    This doesn’t mean that such software isn’t subjected to a quality assurance process. It’s just that the expense of formal V&V measured against the results of other kinds of Q/A is deemed not worth it, not to mention that there are those who argue that V&V doesn’t bring nearly as much value to the table as V&V proponents claim.

    Anyway, the whole argument is just a smear against those who work on models like NASA GISS Model E. It’s a form of ad hom dressed up in the cloak of authority.

    The odds of a earth sciences prof coming up with the formal validation and verification theme on her own is quite literally zero percent. She’s parroting about something she knows nothing about (software engineering), using authoritative-sounding word salad.

    What is she doing on that advisory committee? That’s my question. Hopefully its influence on actual research policy is miniscule.

  10. 60
    caerbannog says:

    Here’s another breathtaking example of Heartland’s dishonesty (and this is not from the “leaked” documents):

    From the Heartland-sponsored web-site:

    Massive Data Fraud in NOAA and NASA: Segment 4 of Global Warming, The Other Side. The data used by NOAA and NASA is shown to have excluded temperature data from northern latitudes and high elevations since 1980 which automatically shows greatly increased temperatures that supposedly shows great man-caused global warming. Also discusses Britain’s Climate Research Unit’s (CRU) massive data manipulation called Climategate.

    This is the old, easily debunked (and many-times debunked) “dropped stations” claim pushed by Anthony Watts, John Coleman, etc. The fact that Heartland wants to serve this s**t to students tells all we need to know about what kind of outfit it is.

    Something else to think about — In spite of all the nonsense/provocations that so many climate-scientists have had to deal with over the past decade or two, only one has “stepped over the line” in response to those provocations. That says a lot about the integrity of the scientific community.

  11. 61
    John E. Pearson says:

    23 Titus sez: “Many folks know from history that Arctic Ice was as low if not lower than it is today in the early part of the 19th century. …
    How do I know? … I was around at the time. … Perhaps it’s because these facts are not widley discuused that folks get a little nervous about trusting the current alarmism when all they have experienced is a cyclic pattern.

    Just an observation from actual experience.”


  12. 62
    Radge Havers says:

    steven mosher @ 20

    “But you’re not funny. Being pathetic, doesn’t count. Plus some people tried humor with an attachment in the climategate emails.
    That got them in a little trouble. Humor is a tool of “outsider.” If you are in power the only humor that works is self deprecation.
    Ask Reagan. Now, on occasion you can say funny things, but you cannot use humor as a primary tool. I’m not saying that you are incapable
    of being funny. You do many things people laugh at. But, you can’t use it as a communication tool to effectively attack skeptics.
    Trying Co-opting a few key ones.”

    A bit surly. And humorless, but at least consistent in that respect. Nor does it recognize the range and usages of humor. In this context that it can be used as a fetching supplement to cogent argument. I don’t think it was suggested otherwise.

    Which is not to say we should forget the dictum; Dying is easy, comedy is hard. It’s an art. If you’re artless, by all means stick to the science.


  13. 63
    Chris Crawford says:

    Isotopious (#50) argues that the hockey stick (a thousand years of stable temperatures followed by a rapid rise) does not constitute evidence of climate change, that it is in fact ‘absolutely nothing out of the ordinary’. He does not offer us any other cases of hockey sticks, so it’s rather difficult to establish the meaning of “ordinary” for a single case. His vague mention of the Holocene does not jibe with the evidence available. I challenge Mr. Isotopious to present us with the temperature graph for any period in the Holocene showing a temperature rise of similar abruptness.

    Perhaps you are confused over the difference between the rapid warmings that occasionally took place in the midst of the Ice Ages and the current rapid warming. These two phenomena are in no wise comparable. In the first place, the evidence suggests that the Ice Age warmings were local, not global, and were counterbalanced by cooling in the other hemisphere. In the second place, the absolute temperatures at which the warmings took place are quite different. An increase in global average temperature from 12ºC to 13ºC takes place under very different climate dynamics than an increase from 5ºC to 6ºC.

    By the way, I’d like to compliment you for having the integrity to return; many of our deniers are drive-by commentators. They pop in, drop their load, and disappear. At the other extreme, of course, are those who stubbornly repeat the same old stuff parrot-like. I hope you can find the golden mean.

  14. 64

    Contrarians, particularly scientist anti AGW contrarians, have lost their marbles. In this case they can afford to do so, they have a plushy cushion to fall on…. I would avoid placing any credence to Curry’s latest attack as part and parcel of the same repetition of nothing. Claiming models incapable of perfection is already known. A growing number of scientists disagreeing with IPCC flies in the face of a noticeably growing body of evidence absolutely negating all this talk with literally unprecedented Arctic sea ice melting along with any Arctic glaciers or permafrost you can pick. Talk is cheap, I want Judith to explain why Arctic sea ice is going down, she was here, she should have some insight, Facts have a price if neglected, its not scientific when doing so, is more like politics.

    Great to read you Alastair, most meteorologists I know are OK with AGW, some are extremely knowledgeable about it, as they should be. I must point out that the practice of meteorology can completely neglect AGW calculations ( except for models), it is something they are aware about especially with the warming planet. Most geologists don’t dare predict earthquakes, although they should try, climatologists have predicted this latest warming period, geologists are more paleo-climate experts than AGW.. You are right about the presenters. I’d like to see them point out the obvious, known by millions, for instance when tulips grow in January and bees are flying during mid-winter. THey purposely disconnect themselves with reality, just showing lows and highs flying about here and there…..

  15. 65
    Hank Roberts says:

    Steve Jones above asked at response #6
    > if we told the model that produced that graph the forcings
    > from 2005 – 2012 and let it calculate the temperatures
    and asked again at #53

    > why we can’t plug in the forcings (both natural
    > and GHG’s) for 2006-2011 …and then see what
    > temperatures they would have predicted …

    and asked the same again at response 53.

    Steve, look at #3 where someone else asked the same question.
    Gavin came by later and answered that inline (the green text right below #3).

    Watch the right sidebar list of inline responses — it may take several days before one of the Contributors comes by and they may not notice every place that a question has been asked.

    Your question is asked a lot. I think it’s because people hear “model” and think “clockwork” as though it runs the same way every time unless you go in and adjust something.

    Read Gavin’s inline explanation, see if that helps.

    You’re asking why stuff doesn’t always come out exactly the same way — why you can’t go into the internals and make precise changes that alter the output in predictable ways.

    Does this help?
    — if you run this simulator once, you can only roughly say about where the balls end up.
    — if you run this over and over, you get about the same result each time, more or less.
    — if you wanted to make the result slightly different in a predictable way, what would you change in the internals of it?

    And that’s a very simple ‘model’ you can see the innards of.

  16. 66
    Dan H. says:

    You are averaging the entire 10C warming as if it occurred over a 2000 year period. Research shows that the warming occurred in two much more rapid bursts. Some research indicates that the warming during the Bolling-Allerod period and the end of the younger dryas may have been as high as 10C over the course of 50 years or less. Much higher than the average value 0.05/decade.

    [Response: These are not global numbers. But you know that. – gavin]

  17. 67
    Ron Manley says:

    Further to the comments above on Arctic Sea Ice. A recent paper from Georgia Tech suggests that reduced sea ice is linked to increased snow cover in parts of the northern United States, North-western and central Europe, and northern and central China. The data (back to 1979) suggest that snow cover has not been declining at the rate of sea ice and this study could be an explanation of that. Typically sea ice varies through the year from around 5 to 15 million km2 and snow from 2.5 to 40 million km2. The critical thing is the impact on albedo and hence the energy balance. I’ve done a quick analysis, taking account of seasonality, sun angle and latitude. This appears to show the extra snow has done little or nothing to compensate for the loss sea ice as far effective albedo is concerned.

  18. 68
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Anti-science site wins another ‘Best Science or Technology Weblog’ award

    In a tiresome repeat of past years, climate-science denialist site, Watts Up With That? has again won a “best science blog” award. Also notable is Climate Audit, which was deeply involved in provoking the manufactured “Climategate” affair, as “Best Canadian Weblog”.

  19. 69
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Va. Supreme Court tosses Cuccinelli’s case against former U-Va. climate change researcher

    The Virginia Supreme Court said Friday that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II does not have the authority to demand records related to a former University of Virginia climate researcher’s work.

    In 2010, Cuccinelli (R), a global warming skeptic, issued a civil investigative demand, essentially a subpoena, for documents from the state’s flagship university.

    He sought five grant applications prepared by former professor Michael Mann and all e-mails between Mann and his research assistants, secretaries and 39 other scientists from across the country.

    The University & Mike Mann fought back and won a round.

  20. 70

    #63–Chris, “Isotopius” comes and goes–rather like ENSO fluctuations, except he only ‘cools.’

  21. 71

    On another topic, seems Cuccinelli lost again, albeit on slightly less embarrassing grounds this time:

  22. 72
    dbostrom says:

    Virginia court rejects sceptic’s bid for climate science emails

    “The two-year legal pursuit of the climate scientist, Michael Mann, by Virginia’s climate-sceptic attorney general ran into a dead end at the state supreme court on Friday.

    The court rejected Ken Cuccinelli’s demand for Mann’s email, research notes, and even handwritten memos from his time at the University of Virginia, ruling that the official did not have the legal authority to demand such records.

    The decision was seen as a victory for academic freedom, and a personal embarrassment for Cuccinelli, who had hoped to use his high-profile campaign against the climate scientist to raise his political profile ahead of a run for governorship.”

    A chance for Cuccinelli to distinguish himself as sufficiently inadequate to be chosen for a current GOP candidacy. When you’re making up your own narrative and don’t have to worry about facts there’s no such thing as failure so this “embarrassment” shouldn’t really be a problem; Cuccinelli can simply reweave his story to include “activist judges” and other plot devices.

  23. 73
    Fred Moolten says:

    Judy Curry’s blog posted an item on a Richard Lindzen presentation that included the claim that aerosol forcing is adjusted to make climate projections match observed temperature trends. A number of us referred to Gavin’s 2010 collide-a-scape exchange with Judy as a refutation of that claim, but the argument kept going. If it’s not too late before the weekend to catch Gavin’s attention, perhaps he would want to comment further or even venture into the Lindzen thread on Judy’s blog to reaffirm the points we have been attributing to him

    [Response: sorry, but I’m in workshops for today and next week. Time for repeating myself for people who don’t want to listen is therefore limited. If it helps the idea that any of the CMIP3/5 modellers have directly changed their aerosols based on their 20th century trend is nonsense – both for scientific and practical reasons. if they had, the trends would be much closer to obs. – gavin]

  24. 74
    dbostrom says:

    Renewable energy: The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund

    CSLDF just pulled a grade, time to recharge it…

  25. 75
    Rattus Norvegicus says:

    Kevin, to the contrary, I think that Cucinelli lost of very embarrassing grounds. This time the VA Supreme Court told him that he could not bring a CID against UVa because the statue did not cover and was not intended to cover actions by his office against state agencies. The fact that it was dismissed “with prejudice” says “go, and never darken our doors with this nonsense again”.

  26. 76
    bjchip says:

    The Wall Street Journal (rhymes with) is not exactly the best place for reasoned discussion. One can understand it best by examining its important sponsors (the corporations) …

    “In The Corporation, the corporation is compared against the WHO’s psychopathic diagnostic checklist. Corporations meet the criteria.”

    These are the “people” who control not just the WSJ but also the USA…

    Which is why the Journal (rhymes with) is such a pesthole of denialist fantasies. It isn’t bad enough that they do this, but they have so manipulated the conversation as to make THEIR experiment on OUR climate THEIR right to do unless we prove it is unsafe.

    Morally and ethically and in most countries LEGALLY, it is the responsibility of the person making changes to prove that they do not pose an undue risk to their neighbors.

    They need to prove that what they are doing ( in terms of the re-release of as much CO2 as was sequestered in the last 3 million years in the last 150, at rates 50 times faster than we see in any of the Ice records ) is safe. They don’t think they have to do this because they DO in general meet the clinical definition for a Psychopath. Want the rights of a person, take the responsibilities.

    If there is doubt, it has to be laid at their door and be measured against THEIR arguments. Not the scientists.

    We all live in Bhopal now. The plant operators are still not listening to our complaints about their safety procedures. We cannot move away. What are our rights compared to theirs?


  27. 77

    #75–Perhaps you are right; I certainly hope so! (To me, on a quick reading, the result sounded like more of a technical one than a substantive one, as opposed to the lower court’s ruling that C. had failed to make an understandable case that any infraction had occurred, or might have occurred.)

    Glad it was dismissed with prejudice, as you say. ‘Without merit’ doesn’t even begin to cover it, in my opinion–FWIW.

  28. 78
    Snapple says:

    Rattus is correct. This is a great day!

  29. 79
    steven mosher says:

    WRT 54:

    Phil. If you were to follow my comments you would see that

    1. I acknowledge that error repeatedly.
    2. I credit Gavin with pointing it out.
    3. I made another mistake with respect to Briffa. I acknowledged that, produced private emails, and took my well deserved lumps.

    So, yes, for the record I got that wrong. Gavin was right. I thank him for the correction. WIth respect to the Briffa error I got that wrong, Arthur Smith was right, I thank him for the correction.

    It’s not that hard to understand

  30. 80
    steven mosher says:

    62. get back to me when you have a cogent argument. If you search the records here you will find that we have had this discussion about the uses of humor before. I’ll repeat my advice: I don’t think humor is your best tool.
    Fell free to explain why you think differently. Pointing out that I am not funny does not count as an argument. Pointing out what kind of humor you think will work is a start. Pointing out examples of it actually working to change peoples minds is what you are looking for.

  31. 81
    dbostrom says:

    The memo must have developed a durable crust, leaving idle sponging mouthparts to find other amusement.

  32. 82
    Anthony C says:

    I have a question about Richard Lindzen’s online lecture at

    Lindzen says that the Faint Young sun paradox can be resolved by adding clouds to the Earth and that this is evidence of a negative feedback. Can someone explain how this works? He also mentioned that climate sensitivity is determined by a equation (change in Temp)/(1-f). I’d like to know where that came from since I found it interesting. How does one determine what f is and I found his point interesting that if f becomes too large the system blows up, and this would have happened sometime in 4 billion years if there was strong positive feedback?

  33. 83
    jyyh says:

    A well written personal account on gardening in Oklahoma in recent years.

    On comments there was a question about the temperature where photosynthesis stops.
    references of where to start looking.

    Rubisco is the enzyme that binds CO2 to plant material, on higher temperatures all the energy received goes into regenerating the photosynthesis complex of which rubisco is one part. I know there’s a good summary article on the deactivation of photosynthesis through heat stress of various plant types, but I’d prefer if someone had a link to it.
    I remember it had the temperature response measured from 0C to 60C (a bit useless for the highest part of the range, but some C3s and algae begin to photosynth at 1-3 degrees), it checked the three plant types C3, C4 and some desert CAM-plant. There was also some discussion on the effect of water balance on the photosynthesis of the studied plants.

    My bad for not saving the link, but as I’m not doing science for living, why should I?

  34. 84
    Radge Havers says:

    steven mosher @ 79

    Heh. Well setting aside the various other ironies of your comment, I think it an exercise in futility to proffer samples of humor to the humorless.

    Whether it changes minds… hard for me to say. Do you catch more flies with honey? Does a spoonful of sugar help the medicine go down? Perhaps getting closer to your point, do the commentaries of, say, John Stewart influence people? Conversely would poking someone in the eye with a sharp stick make them more adverse to your position on a given topic? I think you’d agree that it would, even though there are probably not many sharp stick studies quantifying changes of opinion on climate change v. pokes in the eye. Some things you just figure out as you grow up.

    Anyway this is an area of art more than of science. If you want to get technical, humor spans the gamut from subtle tone to outright hilarity. You can be good humored (and consequently attractive, i.e., not a sourpuss) without being outright funny. “Funny”, if it comes to that, involves a delivery system for a surprise that is at some level thought provoking. Sort of a rocket propelled humor nugget. Carl Sagan could do both on occasion.

    All of which leaves me wondering why you’re so threatened by humor that you want everyone to dispense with it as a tool — leaving humiliation of the two tools actually mentioned in Mike Roddy’s original comment @7.

  35. 85
    Florrie says:

    Current theory says there will steady increase in average global temperatures over the longer term (30+ years). In the short term though (10+ years) there has been a levelling off. What is the maximum number of years of no increase that still does not challenge the theory or prompt a rethink ?

  36. 86
    CM says:

    Mike Mann, congratulations on a tinpot inquisitor quashed.

    On a more lasting and positive note, congratulations on a very good book that not only sets the record straight on the hockey stick, but also provides a handy and authoritative guide to several other manufactured controversies, and generally tells it like it is about the campaign to defame scientists. For my own part, I was particularly delighted to find the comparison to Gould’s takedown of Spearman’s g in the discussion of PC#1 reification. Your book will be joining his on my shelf of writers who put the “science” back in “conscience”.

    [Response: Thank you so much CM for these most kind comments. Means a lot. -mike]

  37. 87
    Rob Dekker says:

    I have a question about the relation between global average sea level and ENSO that has bothered me for a while.

    We know that during El Niño years sea level rises in the eastern Pacific and falls in the western Pacific, whereas in La Niña years the opposite is true.

    So why is it that overall during El Nino events global average sea level goes up and during La Nina event sea level goes down ?

    If ENSO is just redistributing heat in the ocean, why is sea level affected at all ?

  38. 88
    Martin Smith says:

    I read a post on one of the lists that I haunt, in which the poster touts the idea that earth will be getting colder for the next few decades, because the sun will be off the barycenter by the maximum amount for some of that time (a little over 2 solar radii). That would be about 1% of the distance from the sun to earth, but I can’t find anything about how that wobble affects the distance from the sun to earth. How much does this change the maximum distance from the sun to earth?

  39. 89
    Martin Smith says:

    I read a post on one of the lists that I haunt, in which the poster touts the idea that earth will be cooling for a few decades now, because the sun is wobbling off the barycenter and will be off by the maximum amount (about 2 solar radii) for some of that time. That would be about 1% of the distance from sun to earth, but I can’t find something that explains how this wobble affects the maximum distance from sun to earth.

  40. 90
    Phil Mattheis says:

    Re: humor and humiliation; good humor and bad humor (s mosher et al, esp @83)

    Talking about humor can take all the fun out of it. But, is important to distinguish goals, when humor is the tool.
    Successful humor binds the joker and the audience, strengthening the group. The goal may be to keep the target(s) in the group, allow them to join. Or humor may be used to exclude the target(s) as “not us”, which can bind more tightly those who stay behind to enjoy the joke.

    In the complicated world of climate change, opinions require expertise, experience, showing your work. Questions are welcome here, and misguided notions are gently corrected in newcomers (with acres of supporting resources to catch you up, and lots of folks willing, for those who want help).
    It helps if you are nice, and have a good sense of humor.

    People who post challenges on this list out of ignorance, get offered education. Those who can’t or won’t learn the science, or the need to “show their work”, may be teased a bit at first. But not for long. After all, we got a hockey stick with a longish blade, and if you look like a puck, there is still a little ice out there…

    recaptcha – certainly nhotni

  41. 91
    Chris Crawford says:

    Martin Smith (#87), I don’t think that there’s much significance to the solar motion around the solar system’s barycenter. The trick here is that the sun’s motion is much slower than the earth’s. So we can make a reasonable simplification by assuming a stationary sun relative to a moving earth. The earth circles the barycenter. Half the time, the earth is closer to the sun than the barycenter, and half the time the earth is farther away. This doesn’t precisely balance out because of the inverse square law. When the earth is 1% closer to the sun, it receives 102.010% of the radiation that it receives at normal distance; when it is 1% farther away, it receives 98.010% of the radiation. The difference is +0.02%, which means that the net insolation the earth gets INCREASES when the sun is far from the barycenter, which in turn means that the earth will get warmer. Your denier poster got it backwards (although perhaps there might be something I’m missing here). However, the net effect in terms of forcing is only about 0.27 W/m^2 — much less than greenhouse gas forcing.

  42. 92
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Rob #85, good question. You’re probably referring this.

    Note that the variation in sea level due to ENSO is only a few mm, really small compared to both the longer-term anthropogenic trend and to the local variations in sea level in the Pacific which can be even decimetres in places.

    Two causes come to mind:

    1) storage of water on land (this seems to be behind the recent dip)
    2) Water is a special sort of stuff: its coefficient of expansion depends highly nonlinearly on temperature. This means that, e.g., if heat moves from the tropical surface water (temp about 25C) to surface waters at lower temps, the net effect is a subsidence of sea level — even without any change in total heat content. One should not expect a precise cancellation.

    Note also that when you do a PCA decomposition of the total sea level field (as done, e.g., in Church and White), the ENSO effect goes mostly into the next-in-line PCA (their number 1) and its EOF, which indeed looks like an ENSO type pattern (their figure 2 top right). Compared to this, the effect of ENSO on global mean sea level (their PCA number 0) is second-order really.

  43. 93

    #87–I offer this diffidently, as I haven’t looked into the matter in detail, but:

    The guy’s a frickin’ loon.

  44. 94
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Martin Smith #87:

    …but I can’t find something that explains how this wobble affects the maximum distance from sun to earth.

    No, I’m sure you cannot :-)

    Really, the Earth orbits the Sun, not the barycentre… all this is very well understood.

  45. 95
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Florrie says: 3 Mar 2012 at 1:09 AM
    > Current theory says there will steady increase

    Not quite correct; ups and downs are expected

    > in average global temperatures over the longer term (30+ years).
    > In the short term though (10+ years) there has been a levelling

    Nope, wrong in several ways, see below

    > off. What is the maximum number of years of
    > no increase

    Same mistake there, ‘no increase’ is wrong

    > that still does not challenge the theory or prompt a rethink ?

    You’ve missed a basic concept about how statistics is used to look at something that varies and say whether there’s a slow change over time, or just variation around some constant amount. (Where did you get those ideas?)

    The link below is to a blog written at high school math level.
    That linked page explains how your question can be answered — the answer depends on which data set you want to evaluate.

    It’s basic ‘Statistics 101’ arithmetic. He gives examples of how to decide:

  46. 96
    Susan Anderson says:

    re humor:

    I was looking for an old favorite by Marc Roberts of Throbgoblins on the “trick”. Found it, and a whole lot of other good points, made through humor (when stating the obvious fails, cartoons sometimes get through) at Climatesight:

    It covers a lot of important points where verbal exposition doesn’t get through the fog, ad nauseam.

    For example, at the movies: an inconvenient truth vs. a reassuring lie

    Here’s a link for the “trick” one which all too often gets pasted without attribution:

    Seems clear the dislike of humor is partly the dislike of its ability to get over the footlights with the message.

  47. 97
    Jim Eager says:

    Florrie @ 84: “Current theory says there will [be] steady increase in average global temperatures over the longer term”

    Except current theory does not say that there will steady increase in average global temperatures.

    What is the maximum number of times this must be pointed out that still does not prompt a rethink of the question?

  48. 98
    Chris Crawford says:

    Martin Vermeer #92, unless age has addled my brains overmuch, I believe that you are incorrect in stating that the earth orbits the sun. I believe that it orbits the barycenter of the solar system, as do all other objects in the solar system, including the sun. If the earth did not orbit the barycenter of the solar system, how would we account for the gravitational perturbations of Jupiter, Saturn, and the other objects in the solar system?

  49. 99
    Phil Clarke says:

    Mosh Phil. If you were to follow my comments you would see that … I acknowledge that error repeatedly.

    Steve – if you want to be known as a reliable witness then the place to acknowledge that you misinterpreted a private joke is in the same place that you did so. People should not have to read every one of your subsequent emissions to discover that Jones was joking, not dissembling.

    As for climate humour, I also liked this …

    The issue of “the world is warming” is not one that climate skeptics question, it is the magnitude and causes. by Mr Watts. However someone of the same name also apparently believes that

    leading meteorological institutions in the USA and around the world have so systematically tampered with instrumental temperature data that it cannot be safely said that there has been any significant net “global warming” in the 20th century.

    Will the real Anthony Watts please stand up? ROFL.

  50. 100
    Phil Clarke says:

    Or, if you prefer one-liners…

    I actually don’t believe men of honour publish correspondence without permission.

    Tom Fuller