Technical Note: Sorry for any recent performance issues. We are working on it.
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…
#242 Martin Vermeer. Thank you for your reference to this very moving essay, so very redolent of the related yesterdays of my childhood in the immediate postwar years. But as an exemplar of where we are today it is inapt. Our future Martin, is not yet our past.
#242 Martin Vermeer. Thank you for your reference to this most moving essay, so very redolent of the related stories of my own remembered childhood in the immediate postwar years. As an exemplar of where we are today however, it is inapt. Our own future Martin, is not yet our past.
Craig asked that Dan H view a James Hansen lecture, and then,
“Can you state your disagreement without misquoting the source and by referencing peer-reviewed studies that actually support your opinion?”
Dan made his answer quite clear, again: “nope, I won’t”.
Why should he? Narcissism is so much fun… with all of us feeding his needs. (oops)
If you ask him for more, he’ll give you more. Of the same. Stuff.
I think Dan H. should lend us his insightful thoughts on the Younger Dryas.
If you look at the studies of climate sensitivity, the average value is 2.85. Only 2 studies from the current millennium give a value less than 2, where the average over the same period is 2.8. This is the consensus of the data, not of any particular group. If you find yourself in disagreement with this consensus, I would suggest that your quarrel is with reality.
SecularAnimist #236, responding to Tony Weddle #221, objects that solar and wind are far higher-quality energy sources than current ones, meaning fossil fuels.
Since this is not principally an energy blog, I chime in only occasionally on this, but please SA, your objection is either wrong or meaningless, depending on your definition of high quality. Your own observation that solar energy is effectively limitless makes this clear. Of course it is, in toto, but it’s spread out and hard to gather, which is why we so far use so much less of it than FFs. We will succeed in running an advanced civilization on solar etc only if and when we can build and maintain infrastructure and transportation with FF consumption diminishing toward zero. So far we are not doing this fast enough to stay ahead of the need for investment before FFs run low and/or lay us low via climate changes.
I have pointed several times to The Oil Drum and its many links, which anyone would do well to ponder for several months at least before making glib assumptions in this forum. The newer blog Do The Math, by physicist Tom Murphy, is a wonderful introduction to energy usage and prospects, and will be catnip to readers comfortable reading RealClimate and interested in energy.
your objection is either wrong or meaningless, depending on your definition of high quality.
From an straight out quantitative entropy and/or exergy analysis of fixed infrastructure non mobile applications – solar, wind and hydro are vastly superior to anything out there. Sorry, but that is the definition of quality.
#255 Ray Ladbury. I shall overlook your failure to express climate sensitivity in the appropriate units. But when you say “Only 2 studies from the current millennium give a value less than 2″ I just weep. It’s only 2012 Ray; we haven’t had the other 988 yet.
Now that I think about it, just putting a solar panel on the roof of your car to augment or replace the alternator is a huge step up in quality.
Tom Harris, Heartland and the 2007 Bali open letter to the U.N.
Today I’ll take a close look at the beginning of the Harris-Heartland connection in 2007, based on Heartland’s publicly available 2007 tax declaration and December 2007 press releases, as well as the illuminating full recorded interview of Harris by Suzanne Goldberg of the Guardian. Taken together, these provide compelling evidence that Heartland funded Tom Harris’s Natural Resource Stewardship Project right around the time that Harris was organizing the Bali contrarian petition attacking climate science, part of a broader attempt by Heartland to disrupt the December 2007 UNFCCC conference.
National Post financial editor Terence Corcoran essentially provided Harris the sole (but very powerful) PR channel for the petition, while hiding Harris’s involvement, a fact that the Post has never publicly acknowledged to this day. Now that it turns out that the effort was likely funded by the Heartland Institute, the Post’s credibility has been compromised even further.
Bali 2007 Revisited
“… it is impossible for anyone to
begin to learn that which he
thinks he already knows.”
– Epictetus, Book II, ch. 17
See also Bali 2007 Revisited
simon abindon writes: “It’s only 2012 Ray; we haven’t had the other 988 yet.”
I’m starting to call things like this, “Skeptic Scrabble”. When legitimate discussion of the science doesn’t serve you, make word play instead. Use technical terms with vernacular meanings (“it’s just a theory”), use professional jargon in an out-of-context way (“Mike’s Nature trick”), and focus on a playful turn of phrase instead of the substantive science (as if it wasn’t blatantly obvious that Ray was referring to a substantial body of work from the past decade plus). Skeptic Scrabble.
PS – messed up on recaptcha, sorry if this is a dupe post
Thomas Lee Elifritz @228 — I already mentioned that the evidence for the YD impactor looks quite solid. On Real Climate there have been (at least) two earlier threads on this topic. I’m pleased that what now appears to be solid evidence has been found.
Ric Merritt: “We will succeed in running an advanced civilization on solar etc only if and when we …… ”
accept that growth must end, in “economic” activity, all energy use, and particularly human population.
That depends on how we define growth. Certainly,human population and resource consumption cannot grow indefinitely. Human knowledge (as well as human stupidity) do not seem to be in danger of encountering limits just yet. Electronics have grown exponentially more powerful even as they require fewer resources (Moore’s Law). And every dollar of GDP consumes less energy than it did the year before (Rosenfeld’s law). Growth based on these trends may be sustainable. Let us hope so, as the prospect of developing an economy with no growth is daunting.
Re: YD impact.
I was referring to the Younger Dryas Chronozone. The YD itself was already contentious enough without an impact, so surely you must be aware of the problems a technically verifiable moderate impact presents for a detailed analysis? If you could present something of substance that would be great.
I’ve already commented extensively on this subject, I’m interested in ideas.
Thanks in advance.
“…. the prospect of developing an economy with no growth is daunting.”
Yes indeed, and not facing that challenge is what put us in the pickle we’re in, there is no techno-fix, and shuffling economic paper ala Rosenfelds observations of the results of inflation won’t bail you out.
Ray, you should follow Ric’s pointer to this blog and see if you can counter his figures that it’s “easier said than done”, especially in the posts of the first section “Growth and Sustainability”.
Thomas Lee Elifritz @266 — I have no idea what YD Cronozone is supposed to mean. The evidence for YD is abundant; I know of no substantive contention. The Clovis comet [just the name for the bolide(s)] resolves issues regarding metafaunal extinctions in North America and also the abrupt wnd of Clovis culture for the archaeologists. I’m unsure what problems it creates byond the fact that the understanding could be more complete.
257&9 Thomas Lee Elifritz: Quality is a measure of the standard deviation in the output of a factory. “Quality” has too many definitions to be a useful word without further qualification. What you mean is “Temperature” not “Quality.” Sunlight is photons, which are the “purest” form of energy.
Go ahead and remove the alternator from your car and install a solar panel on your car roof. I double dare you. You won’t get far, but you may learn something about the word “practical.”
Dan, I want to get this right. Your first statement @244 appears to imply that you believe that Hansen is an “alarmist,” and therefore someone you “tend to dismiss.” Is that a correct assumption?
Hansen’s brief presentation on the climate sensitivity (including feedbacks) clearly showed that the consensus value (as stated by the IPCC) is supported by many thousands of years of proxy data. The RealClimate article to which you linked is only for data back to the last glacial maximum (21,000 years), and includes these caveats: “However, there are reasons to think that the result may well be biased low, and stated with rather more confidence than is warranted given the limitations of the study.” Your implication that the slightly lower climate sensitivity estimate was somehow accepted by all as a new consensus is false.
Your disembodied graph that you appear to believe shows that sea level rise has slowed down has been thoroughly debunked at SkepticalScience. This is not peer-reviewed science, at any rate, which is what I requested. In fact, your link includes insufficient information to determine anything about its source or its accuracy. Was that intentional, or merely necessary for some kind of credibility?
I think Hansen was very clear about whom he considered to be “deniers” and what he considered were the very real dangers of their arguments. I believe that he would include you among them.
Your personal opinion about the value of the climate sensitivity is not the consensus, but then you deny the consensus as stated by the IPCC by claiming that the IPCC, which was set up to determine the consensus, somehow is either deluded or lying about how they determined their results. Why would all the scientists who contribute to the IPCC permit that to happen?
The AMS only requires 20 hours of college courses “in atmospheric or related science” and 3 years of “professional experience” in the past 5 years to be a member. Out of over 7,000 members, 26% responded. Are you seriously claiming that to be a better determination of a scientific consensus than the IPCC?
Chronozone – a slice of time beteen two events or junctures. The Younger-Dryas would certainly start with an ‘event’ if it was the result of an asteriod/comet impact.
(Am I detecting a Mexico connection with these asteroid/comet impacts? Lake Cuitzeo, Mexico. Chicxulub crater, Yukatan, Mexico. Spooky.)
To all those who might want to dismiss or ignore Dan H – yes, debunking Dan can sometimes be a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. I have been doing it for 3 years (mostly at another blog, and he was under a different alias). But I actually owe Dan a debt of gratitude – he has shown me the true extent of the time and money amassed across the Web supporting the effort to prevent strong action to address anthropogenic global climate change. There are bloggers in the deniersphere supported by the dirty carbon industry who are being paid full time to disseminate doubt. There are restricted websites where deniers meet to share all these bogus arguments, doctored charts, and denier “studies” that proliferate regularly. If you try to ban these bloggers (or ignore them), they will just come back under a different alias, and you will have to rediscover them all over again. They WILL NOT go away. By making Dan explain and defend himself here and now, we keep him too busy to confuse more gullible posters elsewhere, and force him to at least defend his alias. And you can bet your last dollar that this website, perhaps more than any other, is closely watched by the real Saurons of the denier world. Engaging all comers lets them know that if they want to win this one, they have a real fight on their hands.
There are some incredibly knowledgeable and articulate (not to mention funny) people on this website. And who knows? Maybe someday Dan will come to his senses, before it is too late. I would hope that those here with the time and energy would keep up the great work defending science and debunking ignorance (and worse!). The planet is literally depending on it.
Quality is a measure of the standard deviation in the output of a factory.
We were discussing energy. Epic fail on your part. I apologize that I am not willing to discuss these topics any further with you. When you get up to speed maybe I might reconsider. The definitions and extensive discussion of exergy and entropy are widely available for your perusal. As is the definition and discussion of the YD Chronozone. Thanks for your consideration.
272 Thomas Lee Elifritz: Read the rest of my comment.
Ric Merritt wrote that solar energy is “spread out and hard to gather, which is why we so far use so much less of it than FFs.”
The fact that solar energy is “spread out” — which is to say, ubiquitous, and plentifully and reliably available most places on Earth — is one of the key reasons it is “higher quality” than fossil fuels, which are concentrated in relatively few places, and often have to be transported long distances to be burned.
As for solar energy being “hard to gather” I don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about. Human civilization has depended on our ability to “gather” solar energy through photosynthesis for millennia — this is called “agriculture” — and today’s solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies make it VERY easy to gather solar energy for electricity, water and space heating, etc.
flxible wrote that “running an advanced civilization on solar etc only” can only happen if we “accept that growth must end, in ‘economic’ activity, all energy use, and particularly human population”.
I certainly agree that “growth” defined as “more and more humans consuming more and more physical resources per capita” must end at some point. However, there are certainly forms of “economic activity” that don’t require either human population growth, or increased use of physical resources.
As for “all energy use”, the energy available from the world’s commercially exploitable wind and solar energy resources far exceeds the energy available from fossil fuels. The solar energy that reaches the Earth’s surface in one hour is more than human civilization in its entirety uses in year. There is plenty of solar and wind energy to run an advanced civilization — and even to increase energy use per capita above today’s levels.
More importantly, in my opinion, there are hundreds of millions of human beings on Earth who desperately and urgently need MORE energy — particularly access to electricity, which millions have never had — if they are to have any hope of participating in what readers of this blog like to think of as “advanced civilization”. And by far, the cheapest, fastest, safest and best way to electrify rural areas of the developing world, where this need is greatest, is with cheap, mass-produced, widely distributed solar PV technology.
Re: Lake Cuitzeo
I don’t think the implication is that Cuitzeo is an impact crater, that’s just where they obtained the core samples. The core actually sampled a lot deeper than the YD chronozone. And of course, the contention is not whether the YD chronozone happened or not. It does appear that the existance of an impact at the YD transition is now a lot less contentious than it was, though.
The questions now are of impact type, magnitude, location and effects. There is a crater in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but that appears to be a more or less direct hypersonic impact with a 4 km crater. Now one could argue that an impact of that sort, onto either the open waters of the St. Lawrence or the Laurentide ice sheet, could have vaporized a good deal of water and ice, thus creating a large tsunami that funneled up the St. Lawrence and then broke through to glacial Lake Vermont, and then set off a chain of events that lead to the draining of Lake Vermont and Lake Agassiz, and that could very well satisfy the proxy evidence in the Younger Dryas boundary layer.
One can also hypothesize that the environmental effects of the impact was simply another additive stress to hydrogeologically induced climate change and paleoindian predation as well. There are a lot of things that could have happened, are physically realistic, but that doesn’t mean they did.
Also, the reduction of sample preparation and analysis to the nanoscale level alone here is a relatively useful addition to the state of the art. What I would like to see is another YD transition core analyzed to this level by another group in order to provide some unambiguous confirmation, although one can certainly argue that this result is fairly solid. What is still contentious is what the result implies for the YD climate change and the megafaunal extinctions, incorporating the ideas of both the broad large scale cometary debris impact scenario at low grazing angles, and the direct asteroidal impact into water and ice covered surfaces, and all that implies with the ice sheet disruptions, megatsunamis and the ozone layer and atmospheric effects and disruption that are possible in these events.
Thank you for your time.
Read the rest of my comment.
I did. Your comments are simply not up to my standards of ‘quality’ to motivate me to continue to discuss them with you. Again, my apologies.
Thanks to those who at least took notice of my #256, even those who didn’t like it. I don’t see the point in an unlimited exchange with rapidly diminishing returns of insight, though I am not ducking a specific question if anyone truly thinks this is the right forum and I am the right interlocutor.
It does very much need to be said that the truculent comments of Thomas Lee Elifritz and the earnest determination of SecularAnimist to avoid all the hard questions are far below the sophistication displayed by many of the regulars at The Oil Drum, and by all of Tom Murphy’s posts at Do The Math. Clueless climate opinion spewers are constantly being told here to go quiet for a while and read. The same advice applies to energy matters.
The ubiquity of sun and wind is obvious and undisputed. So is the current unavailability of, for example, PV factories built without fossil fuel involvement. If you can’t think of a half dozen examples of brawny infrastructure components in 60 seconds, you aren’t trying. (How about monster container ships and huge mining equipment. We could go on.) Waving a hand at the sun and wind won’t create these things. All the hardest questions are at the systems level. The systems are world-spanning, and chock full of feedbacks. Some of the feedbacks run through the murky territory of psychology, sociology, and politics.
I try to speak up once in a while when the assumptions and avoidance pile up too high for my tolerance. Most of the time I just shut up and read.
simon abingdon: “But when you say “Only 2 studies from the current millennium give a value less than 2″ I just weep. It’s only 2012 Ray; we haven’t had the other 988 yet.”
OK, that was bizarre. Is it supposed to be news to us that the millennium started in 2001? (And if we’re going to be picky, it would be more nearly accurate to say “the other 11 yet,” since most of 2012 is still ahead.)
Or is simon trying to suggest to the unwary that the publication dates during this millennium imply that data from the last was not used?
Given the progress of the field, summarizing studies of 2001 and later–however this span is labeled–seems reasonable.
“Skeptic Scrabble” indeed–or maybe “Mad-libs.”
My #278–”…the other 11…” Clearly, that should have been “the other 989.”
So annoying to make a dumb petty error when you’re avowedly “being picky.”
Ric Merritt wrote: “Waving a hand at the sun and wind won’t create these things.”
I don’t know what you mean by “waving a hand” at the sun and wind.
I do know that solar and wind are the fastest-growing sources of new electricity generation in the world, growing at record-setting double-digit rates every year.
I do know that the USA alone installed over 1 Gigawatt of new grid-connected PV in the first three quarters of 2011 bringing the USA’s total installed grid-connected PV capacity to 3.1 GW, which is ten times what it was in 2005. I do know that the USA has numerous utility-scale solar PV and solar thermal power plants already approved and/or under construction, in many cases with long-term power purchase agreements already in place.
I do know that India’s grid-connected PV capacity grew from 18 Megawatts in 2010 to nearly 3 Gigawatts in 2011, with another GW due to come online in 2012, while India is already exceeding the goals of its national plan to install 20 GW of solar power within ten years.
I do know that over 40 GW of new wind power capacity was brought online globally in 2011, bringing the cumulative total to over 238 GW.
I do know that last year, investment in renewable electricity generation (wind, solar, wave and biomass) exceeded investment in coal, gas and oil-fired generation for the first time ($187 billion vs. $157 billion), and investment in renewables is expected to double within eight years.
None of this was accomplished by “hand waving”. It was accomplished by human ingenuity, industry and smart investors who see that these technologies are the basis of a new industrial revolution.
I do know that prices for wind turbines and solar PV panels are plummeting which will spur even more rapid deployment. I do know that as powerful as today’s mature solar and wind technologies are, there are new technologies now being commercialized that will be even more powerful.
As for The Oil Drum, with all due respect, I have observed that most commenters there are rather myopically focused on fossil fuels and hold opinions about solar and wind that seem to be not well informed by knowledge of what is actually happening with those industries today.
So is the current unavailability of, for example, PV factories built without fossil fuel involvement. If you can’t think of a half dozen examples of brawny infrastructure components in 60 seconds, you aren’t trying. (How about monster container ships and huge mining equipment. We could go on.) Waving a hand at the sun and wind won’t create these things. All the hardest questions are at the systems level.
Below the systems level is the entropy and exergy level. Don Lancaster style ramblings aside, the goal of humanity with respect to the intrinsically intertwined environment and biosphere that created it, should be the goal to MINIMIZE entropy production where appropriate and possible, rather than maximizing it in the manner that nature does. That takes intelligence and knowledge, whether encoded in DNA or white paper or electronic states. Nobody says that silicon donor acceptor solar energy conversion and the factories that produce it is free of fossil fuels, but they certainly do minimize its use, while producing products that further minimize its use. Neither is donor acceptor semiconductor technology and lead acid batteries the final word on energy conversion technology.
In America, Rik, you are free to cut up a piece of insulating polystyrene foam with a gas powered chain saw, or paint a piece of terra cotta with lead based paint, but I prefer to use a sharp knife and no paint at all.
No amount of lipstick is going to beautify your pig, sorry. More fossil fuel powered civilization if going to solve your fossil fuel powered civilization problem. You need to open your mind and wrap it around that. If you want to continue the path you are taking, you need to move it out into space. I don’t see people like you doing that as well, and carbon based energy conversion technology isn’t going to help you out there anyways. I will certainly help get you there, though. Don’t waste it.
More fossil fuel powered civilization IS NOT going to solve your fossil fuel powered civilization problem. Sorry. Certainly better efficiency will help, but we either need to radically scale back, or leave this planet entirely, if we want anything that even vaguely biologically resembles what it was like when we arrived.
#279 Kevin McKinney. My heartfelt sympathy. #258 was intended as a lighthearted teasing of Ray’s absurd use of a thousand years backdrop for two recent publications (but perhaps Ray’s intention was itself tongue-in-cheek). Whatever, forgive me for having enjoyed unworthy amusement at your own contribution to the exchange.
Something dramatic to argue over:
Ice cover on North America’s Great Lakes has decreased by 71% over the past four decades
[Response:Keep in mind that ice covers were probably on the high side 4 decades ago however, relative to a few decades before that.--Jim]
As we were discussing a few weeks back, Lake Erie has been particularly affected this year. Since posting about this last, I have received some more news from friends and family on the southern shore of Lake Erie near Cleveland, Ohio.
As a child, in the 1950′s, 60′s, and early 70′s, Lake Erie ALWAYS froze to some extent. Some years it only froze out about a half mile or so; other years, it froze out to the horizon. This year, my contacts have told me that Lake Erie has been without ice all winter. There has not even been any ice buildup on the numerous breakwaters on the shoreline. This has surprised everyone, and it is changing the opinion of many local skeptics about anthropogenic global climate change.
[Response:It's not been completely ice free but it has been a very low year, no question about it. The long term trend for the central basin (Vermillion OH to Erie PA) and the lake as a whole, from 1900-2000 is indeed downward, but there is a lot of high freq variability in the data. The western basin (Toledo to Vermillion) does not show the same long term trend, which makes some sense given how shallow it is. However, these trends could be over-estimated because they are based on an ice duration model that does not include the deterrent effect of high winds on open water. Data is here and associated paper is here--Jim]
Further to Craig:
Observed decreases in the Canadian outdoor skating season due to recent winter warming
I remember some years ago waking up during a flight across the country from Montreal to (??), looking out the window and being quite confused to see nothing but ice below, as though doing a transpolar trip. It took a few seconds of coming fully awake to realize this was one of the Great Lakes. Maybe something I’ll not see again?
Pat Michaels ran into a bit of a buzz saw the last few hours when he posted a column at the on-line Forbes site criticizing the Chevy Volt. The article was up to the usual Michaels standard that our Mike Mann and others have come to know so well.
Anyway, ol’ Pat has managed to cheese off a dozen or so Volt owners, who have all chimed in to the comment section to rip his article apart. If you’d like to read what Michaels and the Volt owners have to say, look at
There were a few comments on the Free Speech & Academic Freedom thread about ‘positives v. negatives’ due to AGW.
There’s also been a few comments about Leaf Area Index, with one area listed as having increeasing LAI ( http://www.springerlink.com/content/y214469777l4678k/ ) being the “South Sahara” or the Sahel.
There has also been a lot of talk about the dire scholarship from deniers, including Lindzen who is on the Academic Advisory Council of the GWPF.
Combining GWPF & dire scholarship with the Sahel & alleged ‘positive impacts‘ from AGW, I have a swipe at one of the GWPF’s Briefing Papers over at DeSmogBlog. http://www.desmogblog.com/debunking-gwpf-briefing-paper-no2-sahel-greening
The climate change denialist John O’Sullivan (3-4-12), who claims he is a legal expert, has fabricated a statement and attributed it to Chicago FBI Special Agent Royden Rice. I know this is a fabricated quote because official FBI statements for the media don’t make partisan attacks or speculate about charges. No FBI official would ever say anything so ludicrous. Not only that, Mr. Rice sent me what he states is his most recent statement on March 5, 2012. I posted it on my blog with his permission. That is why I know that Mr. O’Sullivan fabricated the quote he attributes to Mr. Rice in his March 4, 2012 article. Notice that Mr. Sullivan does not provide a link to Mr. Rice’s apocryphal statement.
The lunatic John O’Sullivan (3-4-12) writes:
Other experts share my opinion that there is sufficient probable cause to follow through with a thorough in-depth federal investigation into the Gleick ’Fakegate’ case to see how far the ‘post-normal’ climate cancer has spread. Certainly, Peter Gleick should be offered a plea bargain deal if he rats out the other racketeers.
Apologists for climate criminals will not be curbed until the leaders of this ‘post normal’ academic cult are jailed. But whether the Obama government has the stomach to follow through and permit such prosecutions remains to be seen, as Chicago FBI agent, Ross Rice hinted:
“Whether Gleick, a member of the U.S. intellectual elite and a former student and coauthor with John Holdren, Obama’s Science Adviser, is ever charged is a different issue than whether his acts meet the elements of 18 USC 1343.”
It appears that the Chicago FBI is getting a little taste of what climate scientists have to deal with every day.
Do you disagree that climate sensitivity estimates have improved over time? I merely took 2000/2001 as an appropriate cutoff data. Arbitrary, true. However the mean for the 1990s is the same, and it is little changed even back into the 80s. The fact is that Sensitivity estimates are convergng to about 2.8 degrees per doubling. I don’t expect this to change during the remaining 988 years of the current millennium even in the unlikely event that human civilization persists in a form sufficiently advanced to undertake such efforts. This is a mature field.
#279–It’s OK; my ears only rang for about half an hour.
#285, 286–”…nothing but ice below, as though doing a transpolar trip. It took a few seconds of coming fully awake to realize this was one of the Great Lakes. Maybe something I’ll not see again?”
Maybe; the trends are startling. But though the future will be a warmer one, I’d think that a winter such as we saw in the Balkans this year still wouldn’t be out of the question for the Great Lakes region sometime over the next couple of decades. In that case, I suppose you’d be well-advised to take a flight to go see a frozen Lake Ontario, if you particularly wanted to do so. Further opportunities might be very rare indeed.
“Climate dice.” It’s important to understand that weather is a (loaded) gamble. I suspect those ‘local skeptics’ may not understand that. Will they change once again, should next winter be cold? “We are the world,” perhaps–but our individual backyards are not, though we might feel otherwise in our hearts. Personal experience is important, but can’t replace looking at the big picture with real data and real analysis.
Hmm. Seems “cr@pshoot,” which I’d written for “gamble,” is proscribed by the spam filter. FYI–
#290 Ray Ladbury. “Do you disagree that climate sensitivity estimates have improved over time?” Ray, I am only an interested bystander with very limited knowledge and I am surprised at your pausing to ask me such a question. However I do not think that even the climate cognoscenti have an informed opinion on the subject. Even the sign of cloud feedbacks is not yet determined and the temperature measurements of recent years suggest to me little confidence that sensitivity itself can be closely bounded. And again, what untold secrets will the abyssal depths of the oceans continue to withhold? You say “This is a mature field”. A sad reality seems more likely. As science I’m afraid it may increasingly be seen as a futile and quixotic endeavour.
If you would stop assuming that the scientific commenters herein are interested in verbal jiujitsu, which seems to be your forte, and realize they are actually interested in science, and use your mind to follow the material, you might understand what part of the science is “mature”.
I am probably more of an amateur than you, but with the advantage of a vast acquaintance with science and scientists and a brief foray into science itself (biochemistry). They are honest to a fault.
Please please, try to understand instead of behaving like an incurious or hyperkinetic child with a tower of toy bricks: “see, it’s easy to knock it down, now you build it up for me again.”
Even if the total effect of clouds has not been nailed down yet, it is obviously a small effect compared to the rest of the forcings and feedbacks in the system. The 20th century is pretty well modeled.
Simon: “As science I’m afraid it may increasingly be seen as a futile and quixotic endeavour.”
OK, now I’m sorry, Simon. However, that is just dumb. I cannot figure out whether you are totally unfamiliar with progress in the field or whether your ideology blinds you to progress in the field. I suppose that it doesn’t matter. However, if you have even a tiny vestige of curiosity in your mind, I urge you to actually go to the “START HERE” button and start reading.
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