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Unforced Varations: Aug 2012

Filed under: — group @ 2 August 2012

Once more with feeling…

571 Responses to “Unforced Varations: Aug 2012”

  1. 251
  2. 252
    SecularAnimist says:

    John E. Pearson wrote: “I am compiling a list of links to climate change position statements of various relevant scientific professional societies.”

    Have you seen this:

  3. 253
    SecularAnimist says:

    Chris Korda wrote: “Saving the biosphere is a laudable goal, but the question stands: what are we saving the biosphere for?”

    The mentality that can even ask that question is the fundamental cause of the problem we face.

  4. 254
  5. 255
    John E. Pearson says:

    252 SA: Thanks! I’d forgotten about the wikipedia page. It’s a big help.

    I am mainly concerned with helping Americans understand what the science is saying. I’ve been writing responses wherever I see misinformation being spread in on-line newspapers etc. I encourage RC folk to do similarly (and I know many do). I would also suggest that a non-confrontational tone is best. If you see someone spreading nonsense you don’t need to engage with them. You simply need to refute them but I believe that the refutation needs to be verifiable so that you don’t get into an “is too, is not” pissing contest. Ridicule is counterproductive.
    I converse with almost no one in this campaign. I simply post verifiable statements of fact with supporting links, usually cut and paste statements from some organization or journal article. I expect that it is effective. I think that as the drought worsens people are going to start thinking there is something to this after all and that perhaps the scientists have been correct in the assessments all along. Perhaps the political headwinds will decrease and the US will begin to address the issue.

    I have tried unsuccessfully to find an SEG position statement. Does one exist?

    This was sort of interesting:

  6. 256
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    > If you see someone spreading nonsense you don’t need to engage with them. You simply need to refute them but I believe that the refutation needs to be verifiable so that you don’t get into an “is too, is not” pissing contest. Ridicule is counterproductive.

    Indeed, it is probably worse to engage them and the misinformation being spread than to not even reply at all. One has to be careful about correcting misinformation so as to not spread it further. One reason deniers are so successful is that by addressing their misinformation we assist in disseminating it.

    When Corrections Fail was an interesting study on this effect in the political sphere published a couple years ago.

    When someone is misinformed, correcting them may not only fail to correct their belief but actually strengthen their incorrect belief. It may be impossible to correct the misconceptions of people who have strong ideologies. So our targets should probably be those who are uninformed, rather than misinformed. Rather than refute misinformation, it may be best to just provide correct information.

    In the end, we may need to leave behind the deniers and simply not address them at all. Those who wish to deny science (be it climate, health, evolution or the big bang) simply remove their ability to participate in the expansion of human knowledge. That’s something the did to themselves, so I don’t feel bad leaving them out of the discussion.

  7. 257
    J Bowers says:

    @ John E. Pearson

    Somewhat related, and demonstrates how the only survey on scientific opinion isn’t Doran or Oreskes:

    Surveys of scientists’ views on climate change

  8. 258
    Chris Korda says:

    SecularAnimist @253

    “The mentality that can even ask that question is the fundamental cause of the problem we face.”

    Besmirching my mentality is not a reasoned argument. Your allegation that my views are somehow causing climate change is totally unsupported. Whatever your case may be, this isn’t helping it.

  9. 259
    Jim Larsen says:

    253 SA, “Chris Korda wrote: “Saving the biosphere is a laudable goal, but the question stands: what are we saving the biosphere for?”

    The mentality that can even ask that question is the fundamental cause of the problem we face.”

    Playing out in left field is low carbon and sometimes trips over something useful.

  10. 260
    John E. Pearson says:

    256: Unsettled said: …

    I agree. Perhaps “refute” was a poor choice of words. I see nonsense. I post a counter statement that is related but true. I don’t refer the original statement although I will sometimes use the “reply” mode (that most op-ed sites have) rather than starting a new comment. I like NAS as a supporting site. Muller’s op-ed piece is fairly useful no matter what one thinks of Muller. The best voice in my opinion is totally impersonal.

    If someone says “it’s the sun”, I’ll copy paste Muller’s “it’s not the sun” and provide a link. It’s a tricky business as you need authority but you need to try not to be overly technical. If you lash out they win.

  11. 261
    Patrick 027 says:

    (re 258 – I believe 253 was refering to ‘The’ mentality, not really your mentality – ie not intended as ad hom. But we were told this is OT so…)

  12. 262
    Patrick 027 says:

    cont. from

    Non internet resources, in order of relevance:

    (1) Vernon Barger, Martin Olsson. “Classical Mechanics: A Modern Perspective”. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, Inc, St. Louis, 1995.

    (2) William F. Ruddiman. “Earth’s Climate – Past and Future”. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 2001.

    (3) Gabrielle Walker. “Snowball Earth – The Story of the Great Global Catastrophe that Spawned Life as We Know It”. Crown Publishers, New York, 2003.

    (4) Shun-ichiro Karato. “The Dynamic Structure of the Deep Earth – An Interdisciplinary Approach”. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2003.

    (5) James Stewart. “Calculus – Early Transcendentals”. Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, Detroit, 1995.
    (Transcendentals? I didn’t know Henry David Thoreau did calculus!)

    (6) Hans J. Weber, George B. Arfken. “Essential Mathematical Methods for Physicists”. Elsevier Academic Press, New York, 2004.
    (this is the second book where I’ve seen with an infinity symbol next to the ‘printed on acid-free paper’ statement. Makes sense.)

    (7) C. Henry Edwards, David E. Penney. “Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems – Computing and Modeling”. 2nd ed. Prentice Hall, Inc, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 2000.

    (PS this is probably a lot of build up for what isn’t really going to be all-that involved, so please don’t be too dissappointed…

    (PS I went through most derivations myself so I’m not actually going to be citing these sources a whole lot, but they were helpful sometimes for guidance; same for some internet sources – especially:'s_ellipsoid – but generally I’ll probably be giving internet links within the body of this.)

  13. 263
    sidd says:

    Unsettled Scientist writes on the 13th of August, 2012, at 1:15 PM:

    “In the end, we may need to leave behind the deniers and simply not address them at all. Those who wish to deny science (be it climate, health, evolution or the big bang) simply remove their ability to participate in the expansion of human knowledge. That’s something the did to themselves, so I don’t feel bad leaving them out of the discussion.”


    Addressing deniers is a distraction. There are far more important and difficult issues to engage. Needs must when the devil drives, educating the wilfully ignorant is not the best use of our time.


  14. 264
    John E. Pearson says:

    This was kind of interesting. The video half way down the page had some British guy (heh) some people who don’t care about climate change that perhaps they ought to?

  15. 265
    Chris Korda says:

    SecularAnimist @183 said:

    The pathologically anthropocentric view that the world consists of (1) human beings and (2) “resources” for human consumption is really the root of all of our “environmental” problems (and indeed the very word “environment” embodies that view). I don’t think that “solutions” based on that view can solve the problems created by that view.

    To be accused of anthropocentrism on a science blog is unexpected and almost comical. Nonetheless the charge is a serious one, and demands a response. The implication is that humanity should be less concerned with its own welfare, and should make sacrifices for the long-term health of the biosphere. This position is not without justification, but also faces several problems.

    1) Any sacrifices we make will ultimately be futile, because the biosphere isn’t savable in the long term, due to astronomical factors entirely beyond our control. The biosphere is also totally indifferent to our fate, and would recover with astonishing rapidity were we to exit, voluntarily or otherwise. This scenario has been analyzed in detail, for example by Alan Weisman in “The World Without Us.”

    2) If humanity was primarily devoted to the welfare of non-humans, we would long since have abandoned sedentary agriculture, civilization and industrialization, and returned to our tribal hunter-gatherer roots. Our treatment of non-humans thus far is instructive: the lucky ones have been domesticated, marginalized, genetically modified, imprisoned and enslaved, while less fortune species have been starved or hunted to extinction, or willfully exterminated, in some cases for no rational reason. Many subgroups of humanity have received similar treatment, and the trend is uncertain at best. Most ethical problems weren’t seriously addressed or even identified until very recently, and we’re currently struggling to define and consistently implement universal rights and values for humans, never mind for non-humans or the biosphere.

    3) Humanity’s anthropocentrism can only be meaningfully debated within the context of our civilization, which is unmistakably anthropocentric in origin. Without civilization there would be no science blogs, and no science to discuss. Science coevolved with civil society, through many phases, including antiquity, scholasticism, and the Enlightenment. The humanistic traditions of rational inquiry, reasoned debate, literacy and democracy are often taken for granted, but without them there’s little worth saving. Science not only requires explanations to be testable, but also expects them to improve over time. Science is thus fundamentally progressive, and inextricably bound to the progressivism of civil society.

    If people can be persuaded to make sacrifices at all, it will be because they correctly perceive that the welfare of their own descendents–not to mention civilization–depends on such sacrifices. Even this is apparently a long shot, particularly in the United States, where the current leadership seems determined to maximize irrationality, and inflict privation and despair on all but the wealthiest. If civilization survives its current challenges, it may in the distant future attempt to extend civil rights to include the entire biosphere, but in the meantime we should concentrate on more urgent problems, of which there’s obviously no shortage.

  16. 266
    Steve Fish says:

    The importance of responding to the denialist crew is not to try and convince them, it is to help those who don’t understand the “debate” (note quotes) to see that there is reasonable, thoughtful, and documented reasons to doubt the doubters and accept science. We should craft public responses carefully for those on the sidelines. Steve

  17. 267
    Stranger says:

    James Hansen said in 2007 – “Averaged over all land and ocean surfaces, temperatures have warmed roughly 1.33°F (0.74ºC) over the last century” turned out to be close? It seems that I’ve read different levels of warming over a century in different in AGW articles. I’m a little confused is an understatement. I read just the other day that Richard Muller says it’s warmed more than that, if I remember right. I’ve also been a bit confused over all the Hansen predictions that have been analyzed here and other climate blogs. I seem to get the impression that his predictions are pretty much on. Some articles stating strongly and others being much more nebulous. It sure would be nice to get as simple of an explanation as possible. Please somebody, suffer a fool!

  18. 268
    Susan Anderson says:

    Tamino@~249 re Olympics:

    I thought of that even as I was writing. It wasn’t the competition and coming together of nations (I shed a few tears of joy myself at times) but the closing ceremony, representative of our common celebrations which are always bigger and more consumptive each time, producing pure pollution in ever greater quantities. And the wish that that kind of energy could be used differently.

    I was impressed by the way people normally unable to cooperate came together.

    It’s the constant escalation and the cultivation scream-inducing artificial and ever more transient pleasures rather than the more lasting kind.

    And while I’m a child of my time, I can’t help thinking it won’t be easy to slow down, let alone reverse course. We have come to take these things for granted, and to go along to get along. I’m as human as the next chappie.

  19. 269
    mmghosh says:

    Real Climate might have a real problem if Mr Paul Ryan becomes the Vice-President. This is his opinion about Climategate.

    To the detriment of the American people, environmental issues have fallen victim to the hyper-politicization of science. The Journal Times editorial board sensibly cautioned both sides of the political divide against this unfortunate trend (“Science must trump spin,” The Journal Times, 12/3/09). At issue in the Journal Times’ recent editorial and on the minds of many Copenhagen observers are published e-mail exchanges from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU). These e-mails from leading climatologists make clear efforts to use statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.

    The CRU e-mail scandal reveals a perversion of the scientific method, where data were manipulated to support a predetermined conclusion. The e-mail scandal has not only forced the resignation of a number of discredited scientists, but it also marks a major step back on the need to preserve the integrity of the scientific community. While interests on both sides of the issue will debate the relevance of the manipulated or otherwise omitted data, these revelations undermine confidence in the scientific data driving the climate change debates.

    [Response: He would not be the first vice-presidential candidate in recent history to not have a clue. – gavin]

  20. 270
    sidd says:

    Mr. Korda asks, “What are we saving the biosphere for ?”

    I do not like the question as framed.

    1)What is “the biosphere ?” Does it constitute that volume of the planet that is outside human skins ? What of human pets ? human gardens ? What of all the species that we have engineered and bred into being that did not exist before ?

    2)”Saving” is such a strong word, presupposing a certain arrogance that we can “save” anything. We are having a hard time saving ourselves.

    3)The word “for” implies a result for which we would “save” the “biosphere”. Of itself, the “biosphere” obeys natural selection, with no particular result as a goal. And for good or ill, we are part of the “biosphere” as subject to its law as any other species. We are both product and cause of evolution, and in the large, evolution is not goal-directed.

    4)Given these caveats, my answer would be: We save the biosphere to save ourselves. We have co-evolved in the biosphere all these long millennia. The myriad, myriad species we share the planet with are as adapted to the Holocene as we. Now we are forcing the planetary environment far beyond bounds that have existed for a few million years or more. If we succeed in restoring the CO2 balance to anywhere near the 180-300ppm range that has existed over the last few glacial cycles, I should be overjoyed, for we would be preserving an environment that all the little live things, including humanity, have evolved in and find congenial. It is not humans vs the biosphere, it is for both that we attempt to mitigate fossil carbon loading of the air.

    5)I am not thinking in terms of economics. I do not think that conventional economics holds the answer, weighing as it does the value of a green meadow entirely in terms of the net present value of a discounted stream of future benefit in ‘ecosystem services’ and not take account of the joy a dog or a child has running through it, or all the creatures that are born and live and die around it, for these contribute nothing to human society that economists can measure. They measure all to a nicety in the scales of human avarice, yet are blind to many things that some of us hold dear for themselves and in themselves, although their passing would trouble our wallets not at all.

    6)I do not expect to live to see preindustrial carbon balance restored. Every feedback we discover is to the worse and not the better. But though we cannot save everything and perhaps not even ourselves, I will do all I can to slow the tide, though I cannot stem it, give our precious world a cushion of time to buffer the shock. As was said in another war, ‘It is not necessary to hope, in order to persevere.’


  21. 271
    Dan H. says:

    Since 1880, global (land and ocean) temperatures have risen ~0.8C, a rate of 0.6C/century. Sometimes, you need to be careful about the timeframe involved (132 vs. 100 years). Muller is quoting land only temperatures, which have risen more than ocean, hence his numbers are higher. It helps to compare apples to apples. Currently, temperatures are following Hansen’s prediction “C”, which is CO2 levels held constant at 2000 values, but CO2 concentrations are rising closer to his scenario “A”, business as usual.

  22. 272
    Edward Greisch says:

    265 Chris Korda: 1) If the environment goes, so do humans. We have to protect our ecology/old climate because BAU results in agriculture and civilization collapsing in the 2050s. All culture would collapse as well. Any sacrifices we make will ultimately help ourselves.

    Astronomical factors entirely within our control:
    a. We now have the fire power to destroy comets larger than Haley’s, should one be on a collision path with Earth.
    b. We will “soon,” if we survive GW, be able to seed exo-planets with Earth life. NASA is searching for them now.

    2) “[H]unted to extinction”: The dinosaurs hunted almost all of the proto-mammals, alias synapsids, to extinction except for the small ones, the “mice.” That was about 250 million years ago. Mammals remained small until the dinosaurs went extinct 65 Million years ago. If mammals as big as humans, including humans, had existed during the reign of the dinosaurs, they would have been hunted to extinction.

    3) If you want to save civilization, you had better be an extremist in favor of stopping GW. That does not necessarily mean sacrifices. It could mean profits.

  23. 273
    Marco says:

    Dan H., since you supposedly know so much about Hansen’s scenarios A, B, and C, I am sure you can also tell us about the forcings other than CO2 included in those scenarios, and how those have developed over the last 24 years?

    After you’ve told us, perhaps you can then inform “Stranger” how utterly deceptive you were in your answer in #271.

  24. 274
    Chris Korda says:

    Edward Greisch @ 272:

    Its remorselessness aside, your justification for the ongoing Holocene extinction assumes the equivalence of dinosaurs and humans, without accounting for the absence of dinosaur cultural artifacts in the fossil record. Or you are suggesting that our culture is just noise and that we’re merely “robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes” à la Dawkins?

  25. 275
    MARodger says:

    Stranger @267
    You provide the Hansen quote. Here is the Muller quote:-
    Berkeley Earth has just released analysis of land-surface temperature records going back 250 years, about 100 years further than previous studies. The analysis shows that the rise in average world land temperature globe is approximately 1.5 degrees C in the past 250 years, and about 0.9 degrees in the past 50 years.” Note my emphasis. This is not in any way contrary to Hansen.
    As can be illustrated graphically, land-surface temperatures are rising (as would be expected) faster than sea surface temperatures (Usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’). It should also be mentioned that Muller’s 250 year analysis is subject to very broad error-bars. The authors of the analysis Rohdes et al (Submitted) describe their eighteenth/nineteenth century temperature wobbles as having “rather uncertain ampitude.” Indeed, this early part of their analysis is based solely on European & a bit of North American data.

  26. 276
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Chris Korda,
    Might I suggest reading what Stephen J. Gould had to say about environmentalism.

    To wit: Earth will survive. Life will persist. Our handwringing over what we are doing to the planet matters only to us, becuase we are ultimately the ones who will suffer for it. It is a matter of complete indifference to nature.

  27. 277
  28. 278
    SecularAnimist says:

    Ray Ladbury wrote: “Our handwringing over what we are doing to the planet matters only to us, becuase we are ultimately the ones who will suffer for it. It is a matter of complete indifference to nature.”

    Many other species, comprising billions of non-human sentient beings, will also suffer from what we are doing to the planet.

    I assume that you are speaking metaphorically and not literally when you attribute subjective states like “indifference” to “nature”.

    Whether mass extinctions of species, the collapse of ecosystems, the acidification of the oceans, the death of forests, etc. is “a matter of complete indifference to nature” depends on what you mean by “nature”. If you mean something like “the laws of physics”, then certainly they will continue as usual.

    But if by “nature” you mean the Earth’s biosphere, it’s hard to imagine that “nature” will be “indifferent” to the destruction of the rich, diverse, robust, resilient biosphere of the Holocene, the product of millions of years of evolution, and its replacement by a biologically impoverished wasteland, the product of a couple of centuries of human ignorance and greed.

  29. 279
    SecularAnimist says:

    Chris Korda wrote: “Any sacrifices we make will ultimately be futile, because the biosphere isn’t savable in the long term, due to astronomical factors entirely beyond our control.”

    You will inevitably die, perhaps decades from now. Therefore, taking even one more breath is futile.

    Is that your position?

  30. 280

    Since 1880, global (land and ocean) temperatures have risen ~0.8C, a rate of 0.6C/century.

    Dan, can you tell us why you keep repeating that tired old uninformative meme on a sophisticated science blog followed by scientists that for some reason you think are as sophisticated as kindergartners? Thanks in advance.

  31. 281
    Mal Adapted says:

    Quoth Ray@276:

    Might I suggest reading what Stephen J. Gould had to say about environmentalism.

    Don’t forget the great 20th Century American philosopher Carlin:

    The planet is fine. The people are f*cked!

  32. 282
    SecularAnimist says:

    Chris Korda wrote: “Besmirching my mentality is not a reasoned argument. Your allegation that my views are somehow causing climate change is totally unsupported.”

    I regret giving offense. I was not speaking of “your” personal “mentality”.

    I was speaking of the anthropocentric mentality that is capable of asking what the Earth’s biosphere is “for”, that can ask “what are we saving the Earth’s biosphere for?” — as though the biosphere must serve some human purpose to be worth “saving”.

    The Earth’s biosphere is greater than us humans — it is deeper, richer, older and vaster than us. In spite of our science, it is more complex and subtle than we can even imagine, let alone comprehend. It does not exist to serve any human purpose. Indeed it does not exist for any purpose. It is what it is.

    And though it seems likely that life is abundant and pervasive in the universe, planets capable of supporting rich, diverse, complex, ever-evolving biospheres that give rise to numerous sentient species may be quite rare, and each one unique in its evolution. Indeed, at present the Earth’s biosphere remains the only one known to science in the observed universe.

    How is it possible to ask “what we should save it for”?

  33. 283
    Chris Korda says:

    Ray Ladbury @276:

    “…we are ultimately the ones who will suffer for it.”

    I agree 100% with this statement, though I also think the suffering is all too often underestimated, particularly by those who imagine that it will only be inflicted on people they don’t care about.

    Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man” is occupying the on-deck position of my reading stack, followed by “Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution.” I’m currently just starting David W. Orr’s “Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse.”

    [Response: At the risk of some gratuitous self-promotion, fans of Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man” will enjoy my book “The Hockey Stick & The Climate Wars”. Chapter 9 (“When you get your picture on the cover of…”) contains an extensive discussion of story of Spearman, Burt, and the fallacy of “Spearman’s g” in support of theories of a racial basis of human intelligence. See particularly the section “Of Tribes & Trees”. Bit of a spoiler alert: it turns out that McIntyre & McKitrick’s original criticisms of the “Hockey Stick” suffered from the same basic statistical error as “Spearman’s g”. Its one of the more technical parts of my book, and it takes a bit of work for those w/out any statistical or mathematical background, but I think there is a reward in it that justifies the effort :) -mike]

  34. 284
    Radge Havers says:

    Re: Olympics
    I think I get where Susan is coming from. My two cents though, in addition to what else has been said, is that there’s a time and a place for everything. If the staging may not have been to everyone’s taste (and who the hell came up with that logo anyway?), the shots of the faces of young athletes during the ceremonies says it all. It’s hard to begrudge them a celebration for all they sacrifice in training and competition. And I have to say that for a few minutes I felt vicariously a little less like the crusty old fart that I am. Life is short, excellence rare. Cherish these.

    Now if only scientists got the same respect.

    Re: The science of crazy ass Earthling philosophy
    OK. so I’m watching a certain furry friend of mine play “Game for Cats” on my iPad and wondering about all this talk about who the earth is for.

    In a nutshell, my friend enlightened me thusly; that humans have the potential to solve complex optimization problems. So, combining logic and compassion, that’s what they should do. As already pointed out note that suffering is not unique to people, that there is beauty in nature and messing it up is ugly (especially so if truth=beauty), that humans are by and large faulty apes who like to sit around philosophizing and are generally so chock full of crap that they can’t distinguish fair play from a hole in the ground.

    Gotta go now. My tablet’s taking a beating.

  35. 285
    Dan H. says:

    When someone asks a basic question, it sometimes requires a basic answer. To the rest of us, the news is uninformative, because we already knew that. However, it may be quite important to the person who asked. Referring to the questioner as a kindergartener, seems a bit condescending, don’t you think?

  36. 286
    prokaryotes says:

    Global Warming and the Meaning of Doom

    Planetary Boundaries in light of actions from the Human Population:
    Human life isn’t set apart from life on earth.
    We must live in balance with Nature.
    Consumerism isn’t unlimited and doesn’t lead to happiness.
    Toxic pollution harms life and cannot be justified.
    As a conscious species, humans must be stewards of the ecology.

    The US Congress is not considering the environmental constants in decision making. But ought to do this because of actions we already are committed to ecocide, dubbed the Anthropocene. We threaten the very survival of our Civilization/Species with not reacting to the warnings from the overwhelming majority of Scientist (Climate Consensus).

    If we do not act today, it will be to late to preserve a viable/habitable climate state for generations to come.

  37. 287
    derek says:

    One thing that has confused me that confused me is how long it takes for weather to become climate. It seems like 15 years is needed for global temperatures to show climactic trends based on plots of avg. temperature; but can someone explain why it is this value? In other words, why not 10 years, or 20 years? Thanks, I hope you will forgive my naive question.

  38. 288

    Stranger didn’t actually ask a a specific question, Dan, but it’s so nice of you to fill in the standard foolish answer anyways, at a level that is more or less condescending to fools.

  39. 289
    SecularAnimist says:

    prokaryotes wrote: “As a conscious species, humans must be stewards of the ecology.”

    Uh oh. Here comes “consciousness” again.

    The “ecology” doesn’t need humans to “steward” it, any more than the human liver needs an alcoholic to “steward” it.

    The very idea that human beings, who are demonstrably unable to control our own most destructive behaviors, are going to be “stewards of the ecology”, or “manage ecosystems”, is absurd. It’s proposing that the bull should become the “steward” of the china shop.

    I mean, really. We cannot even limit our own prodigious output of CO2 pollution in the face of clear and compelling evidence that it’s causing catastrophic damage to the ecosystems on which we absolutely depend — and we are going to be “stewards” of the entire Earth’s biosphere?


  40. 290
    prokaryotes says:

    SecularAlarmist, therefore i quoted “balance with nature” from said article. In this regard we can/could become a steward kind of type. Yes, our current situation is bad, very bad and i guess climate setups affect swarm intelligence for the worse as well. So if we do not aim for this balance we will go down.

    Provocative New Study Warns
    of Crossing Planetary Boundaries
    The Earth has nine biophysical thresholds beyond which it cannot be pushed without disastrous consequences, the authors of a new paper in the journal Nature report. Ominously, these scientists say, we have already moved past three of these tipping points.

  41. 291
    deconvoluter says:

    Re inline comment following #283.

    Yes, that was a most interesting observation.
    If condensed matter theorists can take up paleoclimatology, then perhaps in the future some psychologists might be inspired to follow their example. When I get some time I shall have to look out for the books by Gould.

    Incidentally I couldn’t put down my birthday present until I got to the Notes which I have reserved till later.

    [Response: Thanks, looking forward to hearing more :-) -mike]

  42. 292
    Charles says:

    Whether Stranger asked a direct question or inplied one is irrelevant, as he was clearly asking for a clarification between the Hanson and Muller statements. The response was appropriate, even though most of us already knew the answer. At this point, maybe a little self-reflection may be needed.

  43. 293
    David B. Benson says:

    derek @287 — WMO (World Meteorological Organization) states that climate is 30 or more years of weather data. This is due to what is somethimes called natural variability. To ‘average’ through this variability requires about 45 years of data for high precision statistical analysis, but 30 years is ok.

    In general 15 years isn’t long enough to be what is called statistiaclly significant. However, given the tremendous excess forcing due to the release of extra CO2, recently maybe 15 years is enough to reliably see the trend and surely 20 years is.

  44. 294
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Derek @287

    The short answer to your question (how long does it take to determine climate from weather) is “because that’s the nature of the data”. A different data set will yield different results. You need to look at how the data varies over time to be able to decide when you have enough data to adequately define its statistical characteristics.

    Bob Grumbine has a good explanation/illustration regarding trends over on his blog:

    Results on deciding trends

  45. 295
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    derek, i replied to you post in the Arctic Ice thread, but for completeness in this thread for other readers who may not see that post, you can find the answer at Tamino’s blog, especially his recent posting: Fifteen. Apologies for double posting, but wanted to get the link in on each thread for those who may only be reading one of them.

  46. 296
    John E. Pearson says:

    287 Derek asked how long it takes weather to become climate:

    THe traditional answer is 30 years or thereabouts. Someone on RC once directed me to a pretty old paper, 1920’s-40’s I think that gave some sort of definition of climate along those lines. Obviously there are longer time scales in climate but for people I would argue that 30 year time scales are relevant. You can get something on the order of 30 years from a back of the envelope calculation. I don’t have time to dig up the numbers for you but I’ll give the idea and maybe somebody will chime in with some correct numbers. How long does a change dF in radiative forcing that will result in a temperature change dT take to equilibrate? The change in energy occurs in time tau. Radiative forcing is usually given in watts/m^2 so the net change in energy, dE = dF A tau where A is the surface area of the earth and tau is the time we want to know. Balance that against the heat needed to warm up the atmosphere and top couple of meters of ocean by dT and you’ll get tau ~=1 year. If you balance against the time needed to warm the atmosphere + top 200 meters of ocean by dT you’ll get several decades. Equilibration of the deep ocean takes much longer. This is a crude but intuitively palatable picture.

  47. 297
    Edward Greisch says:

    274 Chris Korda: There is no “justification for the ongoing Holocene extinction.”
    “dinosaur cultural artifacts” OK, that one is so far out it makes no sense whatever. Lions hunt. Wolves hunt. Sharks hunt. Some dinosaurs hunted.

    All organisms affect other organisms. Some have had disastrous effects, like the blue-green algae made oxygen that killed a lot of anaerobic bacteria. But the oxygen makes us possible. That isn’t a justification of anything. It just is. Do blue-green algae need cultural artifacts?
    If Homo Sapiens is an intelligent species, we will quit creating an extinction event.

    Having culture is no excuse for destroying something that you need to survive, like a climate in which food for humans will grow. Chris Korda: Spend some time on a farm. Corn does not grow in a desert. Climate change is turning the farm belt into a desert.
    If Homo Sapiens is an intelligent species, we will quit changing the climate and put it back the way it was, then keep it as was.

    Science is not “fundamentally progressive, ” meaning politically to the left. Chris Korda, science has nothing to do with politics. Politics had nothing to do with science until some rich person decided to obstruct progress.

    “[H]umanistic traditions of rational inquiry” is another one that makes no sense. Science is not a humanities.

    I give up on communicating with Chris Korda.

  48. 298
    Ron R. says:

    Saw a bumper sticker: Stop Global Whining.

    You see we simply need to adapt to climate change. No problemo.

  49. 299
    simon abingdon says:

    @Susan Anderson

    Susan, your anguished hand-wringing makes me weep for you. Instead of standing on the sidelines like a scientist, watching the unrolling of events with boundless disinterested fascination as nature works out her destiny, you choose to follow a path of endlessly painful frustration. Remember Newton the boy playing on the seashore. Why not be like him? Why not divert yourself? Why not be happy?

  50. 300
    PeteB says:

    I was reading Tamsin’s blog and was reading this

    ….Suppose that you were one of a group of climate scientists, interested in playing an active role in climate policy, and able to meet the three strictures outlined in section 4. You have all embraced subjective uncertainty, and have been summoned, willingly, to a carefully facilitated expert elicitation session. After two intense but interesting days your 95% equi-tailed credible interval for the maximum height of water in the Thames Estuary in 2100 is 0.5m to 2.75m higher than today. This is wider than your initial interval, as you came to realise, during the elicitation process, that there were uncertainties hich you had not taken into account.Suppose that this has recently happened, and you are reflecting on the process, and wondering what information might have made a large difference to your uncertainty assessment, and that of your fellow experts. In particular, you imagine being summoned back in the year 2020, to re-assess your uncertainties in the light of eight years of climate science progress. Would you be saying to yourself, “Yes, what I really need is an ad hoc ensemble of about 30 high-resolution simulator runs, slightly higher than today’s resolution.” Let’s hope so, because right now, that’s what you are going to get. But we think you’d be saying, “What I need is a designed ensemble, constructed to explore the range of possible climate outcomes, through systematically varying those features of the climate simulator that are currently ill-constrained, such as the simulator parameters, and by trying out alternative modules with qualitatively different characteristics. ”Obviously, you’d prefer higher resolution to the current resolution, but you don’t see squeezing another 0.25 out of the solver as worth sacrificing all the potential for exploring uncertainty inherent in our limited knowledge of the earth system’s dynamics, and its critical ecosystems. We’d like to see at least one of the large climate modelling centres commit to providing this information by 2020, on their current simulator, operating at a resolution that permits hundreds of simulator runs per scenario (a resolution of about 2 , we hazard). Research funders have the power to make this happen, but for some reason they have not yet perceived the need….
    what do you think ?