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Unforced Variations: Jan 2014

Filed under: — group @ 2 January 2014

First open thread of the new year. A time for ‘best of’s of climate science last year and previews for the this year perhaps? We will have an assessment of the updates to annual indices and model/data comparisons later in the month.


662 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Jan 2014”

  1. 551

    #550–Diogenes, yes. And the really bad news is that that is the good news: the EU is consistently out in front of just about everybody else on emissions.

  2. 552
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #551,

    Your observation is well-taken. Let’s summarize the full chain, to see the full context of this event.

    Hansen and many other leading scientists believe that going beyond prior-Holocene temperatures in the transition period away from fossil fuel use would lead to uncharted, perhaps very dangerous, waters. They suggest a temperature ceiling of ~1 C. That ceiling, coupled with the results of CO2 emission cessation computations, means that we have run out of carbon budget TODAY!

    Anderson, who suggests we need to cut emissions by 10% per year starting now to stay within the dangerous 2 C ceiling, is viewed by many as a radical for such high goals (and the attendant economy cuts required to achieve these reductions). And, his emission reduction recommendation computations do not include the major carbon feedbacks in the models, so the real emission reductions required are greater than 10% per annum just to reach the dangerous zone of 2 C.

    The EU has now set a target of 40% reduction over 16 years, or a non-compounded average of about 2.5% per year. That is well below Anderson’s required reductions, and means that their effective target is on the order of 3 C or more. Now, this is a target; what are the penalties for a country that doesn’t meet the emissions reduction target? Are there substantive penalties involved? My understanding is that some of the EU countries were extremely recalcitrant about the 40% target; what will happen to them if they don’t comply. And, if they don’t comply, are the de facto targets closer to 4 C, or even larger?

    So, Kevin, as you note, the EU leaders have set the bar very low on what should have been a very lofty target. What does that mean about what will actually get accomplished, and what does that imply for the rapidly developing countries like China and India who have not come close to setting such targets?

  3. 553
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Chuck Hughes: “old age”
    http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/index2.html

    We’re living in a blip:
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/peak-ff-oil.png
    Seriously.
    Look at that.
    That’s the time span for fossil fuel use.

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1938/1036.abstract

    During that short blip a vast amount of energy got transferred to the living environment. First, it turned into people and stuff.

    Where does that energy and organic material go after that? A lot of it gets consumed by bacteria — more than you’d expect because we’ve killed off most of the larger animals and plants, and pushed bacterial evolution by feeding it vast quantities of novel organic compounds with which to work:

    … transforming complex food webs topped by big animals into simplified, microbially dominated ecosystems with boom and bust cycles of toxic dinoflagellate blooms, jellyfish, and disease. Rates of change are increasingly fast and nonlinear with sudden phase shifts to novel alternative community states. We can only guess at the kinds of organisms that will benefit from this mayhem that is radically altering the selective seascape far beyond the consequences of fishing or warming alone. The prospects are especially bleak for animals and plants compared with metabolically flexible microbes and algae.

    What will the bacteria do with all this free lunch we’ve given them?
    I doubt they will be a comfort to us all in our old age, somehow.

    Our end, if we live right, is to turn all this energy back into sod — soil — and into the other living ecologies with which the world rebuilds from our era.

    I thought Neil Armstrong made a significant choice — burial at sea. Looking for memorial to the first man to walk on the Moon?
    That would be: Earth.

  4. 554
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “Neither of us have offered a credible proposal that would keep the planet out of Hansen’s and Anderson’s danger zone; not even close. You make believe you have, with no backup.”

    You continue to claim that I have said things that I have NEVER SAID. This behavior is really now entering the realm of systematic and apparently deliberate dishonesty, which is what distinguishes a troll from someone who is arguing in good faith.

    I have never “made believe” that there are any guarantees whatsoever of any particular outcome. In fact I have repeatedly, and VERY CLEARLY, said that the planet is self-evidently already in the “danger zone”, and that in fact it is impossible to know whether we have already passed some “zone of no return” such that catastrophic warming is now inevitable even if all GHG emissions ended today.

    What you are doing is demanding that someone “prove” what is in principle unknowable. That is not serious discussion; it is nothing but a pointless rhetorical gambit.

    Diogenes wrote: “I don’t think that any approach that requires severe economic decreases will be acceptable to investors, workers, and politicians, even though that’s what I believe we need.”

    Whether you “believe” that or not, you certainly keep relentlessly repeating it. And you just as relentlessly REFUSE to give any specifics whatsoever as to what those scary-sounding “severe economic decreases” might be and exactly why they will be needed.

    Oddly enough, the claim that rapidly phasing out GHG emissions from fossil fuel use will require “severe economic decreases” is one of the favorite talking points of the fossil fuel propagandists — and oddly enough, every serious economic analysis of the costs of aggressively cutting emissions has shown that claim to be spurious, and has found that the costs of urgent action are tiny compared to the costs of delay and inaction.

    I note that you linked to an article on the EU plan to reduce emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, apparently to support your argument that “severe economic decreases” are necessary and unavoidable. I also note that you were careful to omit this part of the article:

    A major study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, along with 11 other supporting research groups, recently concluded that the 40 percent cut by 2030 would cost a mere 0.7 percent of the European economy. The technologies necessary to make it happen are low-cost and already in the pipeline: further deployment of renewable energy, more energy efficiency, and more nuclear power, for example.

    In short, emissions can be reduced 40 percent below 1990 levels by doing next to nothing.

    Obviously that is insufficient, and obviously a larger transfer of wealth from the fossil fuel sector to other sectors of the economy will be needed to, for example, reduce emissions to near zero by the 2030s — that transfer of wealth being what the fossil fuel industry calls “severe economic decreases”.

    So again, you have utterly failed to support your claims that effective action will require draconian sacrifices. All you have offered is defeatism, despair, and ideological tirades demanding the “end of private property and capitalism” and imposition of a “global collective to run the economy and society” — as though such rhetoric represented a substantive and serious proposal.

  5. 555
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by DIOGENES — 23 Jan 2014 @ 9:59 AM

    In addition to what Secular Animist said in his response, 11:35 AM , your posts match the- “Denial noise 1.) The doomer” description of climate denial tactics posted on “The secret of conclusion and how to spot climate denial” website linked by Prokaryotes above, 5:29 PM.

    Steve

  6. 556
    Hank Roberts says:

    Want to test an idea? Read this

  7. 557
    DIOGENES says:

    SA #554,

    “You continue to claim that I have said things that I have NEVER SAID. This behavior is really now entering the realm of systematic and apparently deliberate dishonesty, which is what distinguishes a troll from someone who is arguing in good faith.”

    You take more steps backward than a Flamenco dancer. Whenever I challenge the spirit and usually the text of your statements, there comes the usual denial. Well, let’s take a look at some of those statements.

    #37. “Fortunately we do have short-term technical fixes available, which, IF THEY ARE APPLIED, can quickly stop, and then begin to reverse, the increase in atmospheric GHG levels within a decade or two at the most. And that’s what we urgently need to do, if we want to buy time to address the more difficult problems (e.g. population growth).”

    #129. ” There is no shortage of visions accompanied by realistic plans that COULD be executed to stop the growth of GHG emissions and begin steep reductions within 5 years, leading to near zero emissions in 10-20 years with most of the reductions occurring up front, followed by a draw-down of the existing anthropogenic excess of atmospheric GHGs towards pre-industrial levels in the second half of the 21st century.

    Unfortunately what CAN be done — what in my view can be VERY EASILY DONE, with enormously beneficial “side effects” for humanity in addition to addressing the GHG crisis — and what WILL be done, are two different questions.”

    #176. ” As I said, contrary to popular belief, getting enough energy to power a technologically advanced civilization in perpetuity (or at least as long as the sun shines and the wind blows) is not a problem. It’s easy……If we can solve the global warming problem quickly — which we certainly can do, IF we choose to do so — then we can buy the time to deal with those problems.”

    #198. ” Yes, it is possible to get to a zero carbon civilization while improving civilization drastically.”

    #287. ” The solution is far easier than most people realize.”

    #375. ” And as a “precursor to potential movement”, it provides evidence that we have at hand the technological and economic means to eliminate all GHG emissions from electricity generation in a much shorter time than most people realize.”

    #475. ” We need to solve that specific problem NOW — within YEARS, not decades — if we are to have any hope of “sustaining” our civilization long enough that we’ll need to worry about the challenges of sustaining a renewable energy / recycling based economy over many millennia.”

    #492. ” We have the ability to eliminate virtually all of those emissions within 10 years, by rapidly deploying today’s renewable energy and efficiency technologies. The explosive and accelerating growth of wind and solar energy that we have already seen in the last few years demonstrates that this is possible. Achieving this will have enormously beneficial environmental, economic and social “side effects” in addition to reducing GHG emissions and has no real downside in any of those respects.”

    #503. ” What I have said is that we have in hand, now, the technologies needed to quickly eliminate a large part of anthropogenic GHG emissions, namely those from fossil-fueled electricity generation — IF we choose to do so. ”

    #525. ” If future generations are to have ANY chance at all, if the Earth’s biosphere is to have ANY chance to heal, then we need to eliminate virtually all anthropogenic GHG emissions in THIS GENERATION. ”

    The impression one gets from reading all your comments above is that it is relatively simple to get to a ‘near zero emissions economy in 10-20 years with most of the reductions occurring up front, followed by a draw-down of the existing anthropogenic excess of atmospheric GHGs towards pre-industrial levels in the second half of the 21st century’, ‘it is possible to get to a zero carbon civilization while improving civilization drastically’, and ‘we can solve the global warming problem quickly — which we certainly can do, IF we choose to do so’. That certainly sounds to me like you are offering a solution to the global warming problem. But, your problem is, you know that your proposed approaches will not lead to a solution of this problem, and therefore you continually refuse to ‘own’ the consequences of your proposals. If they are not going to solve the problem so that we can avoid the Apocalypse, what’s the purpose of offering them? Just to quote Livermore reports, or today’s solar installation numbers?

    I have made very specific statements as to what I believe the problem is, what is needed, and what is possible. I ‘own’ every one of them. I have linked to articles some of which I agree with almost in total, and some of which I agree with in part. I usually point out those sections with which I agree. I ‘own’ what I state; it’s about time you started to do the same!

    “What you are doing is demanding that someone “prove” what is in principle unknowable. That is not serious discussion; it is nothing but a pointless rhetorical gambit.”

    There is nothing unusual about asking a proposer to generate some numbers to back up his statements. We do this in every walk of life; why should we not do it with proposals to improve the probability of survival of our species?

    “And you just as relentlessly REFUSE to give any specifics whatsoever as to what those scary-sounding “severe economic decreases” might be and exactly why they will be needed.”

    As Anderson (who has studied the problem in far more detail than you have) states, changing the supply side alone will not give sufficient emissions reductions to keep us even within a 2 C ceiling (much less the required 1 C ceiling). He states that ‘significant’ cuts in economic activity are required to reduce the emissions NOW, not in a generation when the new supply options become available. Extrapolating to what would be required to stay within the desired ceiling of 1 C, ‘significant’ cuts translate into ‘severe’ cuts.

    “Oddly enough, the claim that rapidly phasing out GHG emissions from fossil fuel use will require “severe economic decreases” is one of the favorite talking points of the fossil fuel propagandists — and oddly enough, every serious economic analysis of the costs of aggressively cutting emissions has shown that claim to be spurious, and has found that the costs of urgent action are tiny compared to the costs of delay and inaction.”

    Ah, this is really the only card you have: guilt by association.

    “I note that you linked to an article on the EU plan to reduce emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, apparently to support your argument that “severe economic decreases” are necessary and unavoidable. ….In short, emissions can be reduced 40 percent below 1990 levels by doing next to nothing.”

    No question about it; as I pointed out, they are proposing emissions reductions on the order of ~2.5% per year. With energy efficiency improvements and some introduction of renewables, should be relatively straight-forward. As I also pointed out, reductions of this magnitude will do little, if anything, in preventing the Apocalypse. So, the EU, the leaders in climate advocacy, at least according to Kevin McKinney, essentially proposed a target that requires little effort beyond where they are presently going, and will do next to nothing to address the real problem. Maybe you should do some reflection on what that means.

    In short, it is clear that you are throwing out bits and pieces of established technologies that, when taken together, will not solve the global warming problem, as you have claimed above. It’s time you started ‘owning’ your proposals if you are going to offer them, and stop the endless weaving, dodging, and name-calling.

  8. 558
    Hank Roberts says:

    A brief excerpt from the comments at the above-linked thread, as an example of why Azimuth is worth reading:

    Recent example: Permaculturists advocate keyline tilling, and recently an extensive study of that technique was performed by a prof from the soil sciences department of a reputable university. The claim by the proponents of the theory is that it markedly increased soil fertility over conventional methods. The site selection and tilling was done by a proponent of the technique, who sells plows in the range of $7,000 to $10,000 each to do this kind of tilling. The study was done over a two and one-half year period, at four separate farms, with thousands of baseline samples, samples taken during the tilling study period, and samples taken after the study period.

    Result: No measurable increase or change in fertility by any criterion was found. The proponent of the method immediately condemned the study – even though he chose the tilling pattern and did the tilling himself. There’s a huge outcry against science being used to evaluate permaculture and especially this method and so forth and so on, and this study will most probably be swept under the rug if at all possible. See: http://onpasture.com/2013/06/24/keyline-plowing-gets-you-522720-worms-for-280/

    Maybe not swept under — the permalculture people, of all those speaking up about climate change, have a fair number of science-educated people involved and some willingness to listen.

    And whatever the issue, there are some scientists everywhere, scattered through the population, maybe more scientists than rhetoricians, maybe enough to speak out.

    That’s an example of one small specialized area of research, where getting comment from scientists would have to come after getting any interested scientists to even read, let alone replicate, cite, and eventually support warnings based on that science.

    Scientists are mostly doing their own work. Campaigning for policy change? They’re busy seeing how the world works and telling that.

    Think about that guy out on the bow of the Titanic assigned to watch for icebergs ahead. He yells out he sees one; he hears the other watch standers echo the warning, he knows it’s been passed up to the pilot house.

    What’s he supposed to do next — he’s the one who actually sees the iceberg. Leave his post and go run up the ladders to take the wheel or slap the captain awake?

    (Oh, wait, there was nobody up at the bow watching for icebergs, that night on the Titanic; maybe we’re a bit better off than they were)

  9. 559
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by DIOGENES — 23 Jan 2014 @ 2:37 PM

    I think some clarification is needed. The problem we are discussing here is greatly reducing CO2 pollution. SecularAnimist, and others, advocate a rapid switch from fossil energy to non-polluting energy sources. If this is accomplished in a timely manner the biggest part of the problem is solved, isn’t it? You can question the possibility of doing this but you give no reasons why. You say that a large cutback in world economy is also necessary, apparently in addition to what might accompany a switch to renewables, but are unable to provide parameters of the amount of this required cutback or how this might be accomplished.

    It is very difficult to find a way forward in the face of powerful sources that deny there actually is a problem and you are accusing many thoughtful folks of the same problems in your own arguments. I, for one, find this annoying.

    Steve

  10. 560
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “Whenever I challenge the spirit and usually the text of your statements, there comes the usual denial.”

    That is even more dishonest than your usual comments. Making things up and pretending that I wrote them is not “challenging” anything. It is simply dishonest. And pointing out your dishonesty is not “denial”.

    Nowhere in ANY of the excerpts from my comments that you just posted did I say anything about “keeping the planet out of Hansen’s and Anderson’s danger zone” which is what you like to “make believe” I have said.

    In fact, I have repeatedly said that the planet is ALREADY in a “danger zone” and that there can be no guarantees of avoiding catastrophe — which should be self-evident to anyone who is paying attention, given that multiple AGW-driven catastrophes are already occurring.

    What those excerpts demonstrate is just how egregious is your repeated misrepresentation of my comments.

    And I note that once again, you have refused to offer any specifics whatsoever about what those “severe economic decreases” you insist upon actually are, how or by whom they would be implemented and enforced, and how they would affect GHG emissions.

    Perhaps it is just a coincidence that your rhetoric is virtually identical to that of the fossil fuel propagandists who promote defeatism, despair and inaction with vacuous claims that phasing out the use of their products will destroy the world’s economy and reduce us all to shivering and starving in caves.

    Indeed, I’m quite sure that scary-sounding claims of “severe economic decreases” similar to those that you post here were deployed during the recent EU negotiations by those who opposed setting tougher GHG reduction targets.

  11. 561
    prokaryotes says:

    Davos: Many have called for a price on carbon Now we must act #Energy #Agenda 2014

    Very encouraging, especially that economic gain was 54% as Barroso points out. A recent NYT also explains how companies are waking up to the threat of climate change.

  12. 562
  13. 563
    DIOGENES says:

    Steve Fish #559,

    “The problem we are discussing here is greatly reducing CO2 pollution. SecularAnimist, and others, advocate a rapid switch from fossil energy to non-polluting energy sources. If this is accomplished in a timely manner the biggest part of the problem is solved, isn’t it?……It is very difficult to find a way forward in the face of powerful sources that deny there actually is a problem and you are accusing many thoughtful folks of the same problems in your own arguments”

    The ‘problem’ I am discussing is how to best avoid the Apocalypse, one component of which is ‘greatly reducing CO2 pollution’. We have known, and have had the technology, for decades that a ‘rapid switch from fossil energy to non-polluting sources’ goes a long way toward addressing the problem. SecularA offers nothing new in quoting solar installation numbers or Livermore reports on increasing energy efficiency; there is nothing ‘thoughtful’ in proposing non-solutions to the problem masquerading as solutions. At this point in time, just switching from fossil to non-fossil technologies will not be adequate; part of the problem will be solved, but not the total problem. Anderson has examined this problem in far more detail than you or me. He concludes that we need to have rapid introduction of renewables and energy efficiency improvement technologies, but because of this late date in getting started, we also need a hefty dose of demand reduction. He specifies the numbers needed that will keep us from exceeding 2 C. As I have shown repeatedly, if one believes Hansen is correct, which I do, then we have essentially run out of carbon budget, and much sharper cuts are required. The greater the cuts, the closer we come to Hansen’s ceiling target. Whatever the global governments would collectively decide are acceptable cuts are what we would have to live with. Keep in mind; the less the cuts, the greater the danger!

  14. 564
    Hank Roberts says:

    Dio, where were you in 1970?

  15. 565
    Ric Merritt says:

    When one or 2 people take over most of the comments for days, that’s a bad sign. When the bulk of the verbiage is spent on how the other cuss is misconstruing your crystal clear thoughts, that’s even worse. Not interesting to the rest of us, and it’s abusive to make us even skim enough to scroll past it. Please give it a rest. The moderators are much more tolerant than I would be, were I in their position.

    If you’ve made your point with longish paragraphs, and clarified in a sentence or two what the main point was in a followup post, that’s enough until you have a different point to make. TIA.

  16. 566
    Dave Peters says:

    This just in …

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

    (Scroll to images on p. 25 & 26); & see that ENSO forecast probabilities, while retaining neutrality bias into early summer, now tip towards El Nino by fall, ’14. Perhaps Gavin will finally get his chance @ topping 2010, & we can all bellow: What’s up w/dat?

    Also in the news:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/synoptic/

    For those paying attention to the US, this discussion of a classic TNH (Tropical/N. Hemisphere) positive index, treats of CA drought & the endless Clipper parade. Damage to California’s eighth of the country now hinges critically upon the next few weeks. If the ridge breaks down, they can still fill low reservoirs. If not, damages could eclipse both Sandy & the dunking of New Orleans. BTY: the last time California was this dry, in the 1976-77 winter, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation flipped its mode.

  17. 567
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by DIOGENES — 24 Jan 2014 @ 6:53 AM

    It is interesting what part of my post you left out when quoting me, so again, what beyond the elimination of the production of fossil greenhouse gasses requires an economic cutback? This is the confusing component of your message. You can argue that cutting fossil pollution can’t happen quickly enough, but because switching to renewables is a necessary component of your argument you should be cheering on SecularAnimist and others while suggesting ways that this can be speeded up. For example, broadcast the very rapidly expanding practice of leasing (no upfront charges) a grid tied PV system at a rate guaranteed to be less than the grid electricity cost.

    Convincing the world’s population to stop consuming (what exactly?) is a very difficult row to hoe. In my own and many neighbors experience with household solar is that it causes one to focus on usage (the Trimetric meter). I think that every home, car, mass transit and airliner seat should have a spendometer for energy usage and pollution.

    Steve

  18. 568
    Hank Roberts says:

    Rule of thumb for California: when it flips, it flips.
    During a drought, prepare for floods.

  19. 569
    Hank Roberts says:

    John N-G has a new post at http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2014/01/introducing-the-climate-change-national-forum/
    ( points to and discusses this new site: http://climatechangenationalforum.org/ )

    … Contributors must be properly credentialed, honest, rational, and engaging. Guest postings from non-contributors will also be accepted from time to time if they meet the appropriate standards.
    … Below each entry, and above the general comment section, will be comments made by other contributors…. contributors are encouraged to question, debate, dispute, expand, and otherwise discuss other contributions. The public rarely gets to see scientists debating each other, outside of the fake debates that are set up by news shows….

    ______
    “covering ssbabl” says ReCaptcha

  20. 570
    DIOGENES says:

    Steve Fish #567,

    “what beyond the elimination of the production of fossil greenhouse gasses requires an economic cutback? This is the confusing component of your message. You can argue that cutting fossil pollution can’t happen quickly enough, but because switching to renewables is a necessary component of your argument you should be cheering on SecularAnimist and others while suggesting ways that this can be speeded up.”

    You’ve got it. That’s exactly the message that I have been sending, and that Anderson and many others have been sending. The key to Anderson’s argument is that switching to renewables or nuclear, or whatever, cannot result in the necessary cuts fast enough (in his case, to stay under the 2 C ceiling). The only way in which this can be achieved is cuts in demand, in addition to energy efficiency improvements and switch to renewables. If you or SA believe these necessary reductions can be achieved without demand cuts, do adequate computations like Anderson and show that he’s wrong. Absent that, the argument is not credible.

  21. 571
    Walter Crain says:

    hank, you said,

    > Walter Crain
    > i DO see a correlation

    No, you don’t. Because you can’t.
    Correlation is not something you can see.
    Correlation is something you can calculate.
    —————————–

    wow… hank…. you can’t see that the patterns match? i understand the difference between correlation and causation. there is clearly a correlation between that PDO pattern and global temp trends. i know the guy who produced that paper is a skeptic or whatever, but if you can’t be honest enough with yourself to acknowledge a correlation, then, well, you’re as much in denial as the denialists. again, i accept the reality of AGW. i’m trying to figure out how to explain the “hiatus” to my denier in-laws and other friends.

    maybe you’re hung up on some technical definition of “correlation”? what if i say “relationship”? “similarity”? “pattern matchiness”?

    heck, a few posts above yours (@534) MARodgers said:
    “There are many other “oscillations” whose impact is analysed by climatologists. The NOAA presentation of data indices you ask of @495 includes many such “oscillations” but the only ones that are significant for the global temperature record are the ones that represent (in some form or other) ENSO. This includes MEI, NINO3.4 & SOI. The PDO is very much interlinked with ENSO. This graph of ENSO(MEI) & PDO shows strong correlation between the two. If you increase the smoothing (see here), the “negative” phase of PDO coincides with a “negative” phase in ENSO. And so does the “positive” phase.
    (https://picasaweb.google.com/108549032882048528949/MARCLIMATEGRAPHS#5971734032035274610 )
    (http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/BP1A-05.jpg )

    Thus when you @495 talk of “when the negative ENSO and the negative PDO and the “negative” solar cycles go positive”, you are trying to having your ESNO cake and PDO eat-it at the same time while also adding for good measure some meagre ‘solar cycle’ crumbs off the plate. Such climatalogical accounting is surely bonkers.”
    —————–

    sooo… he’s saying that the PDO is “very much interlinked” with ENSO, and that ENSO affects global temps. so, maybe i’m using the wrong words here, but to me that’s an acknowledgement of at least a correlation.

    would it be accurate to say the “hiatus” is caused partly by negative cycle phases (ENSO, cake-eating PDO, crumbs of a negative solar cycle), partly by increased deep, medium and upper ocean uptake, and partly by “statistical noise”?

  22. 572
    Hank Roberts says:

    That’s right, Walter, you can’t see that the patterns match.
    You don’t have all the information you’d need to see what’s there.
    Science takes work, and you haven’t done the work.

    Brain Seeks Patterns Where None Exist
    The brain will find patterns or images where none really exist

    some technical definition of “correlation”? what if i say “relationship”? “similarity”? “pattern matchiness”?

    People show up in conversations about science claiming their eyeballs are good at detecting patterns, over and over. The problem is that’s true. Your eyeballs and brain are _excellent_ at detecting patterns.
    Whether there is a pattern actually present, or not, you’ll see one.

    Throw enough stuff at people and they’ll supply whatever pattern they believe is there. It’s why obfuscation is so good at confusing people.

    http://assets.amuniversal.com/e98a2240611a013169a0001dd8b71c47

  23. 573
    wili says:

    To Ric Merritt @ 565–Thank you.
    —-

    http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/01/dc-judge-denies-national-review-and.html

    “DC judge denies National Review and CEI’s motion to dismiss climate scientist’s [M.Mann] defamation complaint – Defendants’ lawyers jump ship”

  24. 574
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by DIOGENES — 24 Jan 2014 @ 1:39 PM

    OK, we are getting somewhere. However, here is your problem. You say- “If you or SA believe these necessary reductions can be achieved without demand cuts, do adequate computations like Anderson and show that he’s wrong. Absent that, the argument is not credible.”

    First, there are no computations that can be made regarding how quickly the reductions can be made because this depends upon effort, not what could be done (e.g. reference WWII).

    Second, aggressively claiming that someone else has got it wrong when you cannot come up with any possible way to actually do what you think is right makes your arguments to not be credible.

    Steve

  25. 575
    DIOGENES says:

    Ric Merritt #565,

    I agree with your perspective on such exchanges, and I plan to respond no further to SA’s endless screeds.

    However, in that pile of admittedly vituperative verbiage, there was a ‘pony’; in fact, there were two ponies. These are the two central technical issues that will determine whether we can avoid the potential climate change Apocalypse, and I am extremely dismayed that hardly anyone else picked up on them, and steered the discussion back towards the technical.

    First is the setting of the target(s). Before a rational strategy can be developed, or actions taken as J. R. suggested, or a plan that can be presented to the general public as a rallying point, the end goals/targets need to be set. Otherwise, we will end up with mindless expenditures of energy and effort, like hamsters on a treadmill, and drift into the Apocalypse. I have selected temperature as a basis for my discussions, and in particular have selected Hansen’s prior-Holocene-based 1.1 C as a target. No one can claim this is a guaranteed ‘safe’ target, but Hansen seems to imply that the closer we are to past Holocene experience, the more confidence we can have in our computations. Anderson has selected 2 C as a basis for his computations, and in the next breath implied that many leading climate scientists agree with the 1 C target. Some technical/policy people have suggested we need to consider adapting to a 4 C increase. It seems to me that far more discussion on these potential targets is merited than we have seen.

    Second is the generation of a strategy that would allow whatever target is selected to be met. It is clear to me that the mix of possible options for any strategy is very dependent on the temperature (and possibly other parameters) target selected. In my view, the central point of disagreement in the exchange was whether strong demand reduction needed to be added to the mix of carbon-lowering technologies in order to meet the target. I, Wili, Tony Weddle, Anderson, and others believe it is required in order to meet the target. Obviously, others disagree.

    So, in order to move the discussion beyond the personal, what is your view on the temperature (or other) target required, and what is your view on whether sharp demand reduction is required to meet your target?

  26. 576
  27. 577
    MARodger says:

    Walter Crain @571.
    Using HadCRUT4, MEI(ENSO), & PDO(Washington Uni), the correlation between MEI & PDO is strong (which is reassuring as I am quoted by you asserting it exists). The correlation between MEI & temperature is statistically significant. The correlation between PDO & temperature is not. This last one is the one you were proposing.

    I think the big thing with the “hiatus” is that it is a phenomenon that evidently stands out beyond the “statistical noise.” The ‘noise’ is of course present in all signals. So listing ‘noise’ as a “cause” of the “hiatus” isn’t helpful. And the “ocean uptake” could be seen as yet more double-counting on your part – a La Nina is a process that sucks energy down into the ocean.

  28. 578
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “If you or SA believe these necessary reductions can be achieved without demand cuts …”

    You continue to misrepresent my comments. I have REPEATEDLY pointed to the Lawrence Livermore Lab report which shows that far more than half of the USA’s primary energy consumption is wasted.

    Therefore it is possible to cut US energy demand by more than half — simply by eliminating waste and implementing well-known efficiency measures — with no reduction whatsoever in the goods and services that we obtain from our energy use.

    Your slight-of-hand is to equate reductions in the demand for energy with “severe economic reductions”. They are not the same thing, as years of steady decreases in the amount of energy inputs required for a given amount of US GDP have demonstrated.

    Of course, reduction in the demand for fossil fuels will certainly lead to “severe economic reductions” for the fossil fuel corporations, which is exactly why their propaganda dishonestly equates the fossil fuel industry with “the economy”.

  29. 579
    SecularAnimist says:

    Ric Merritt wrote: “When one or 2 people take over most of the comments for days, that’s a bad sign. When the bulk of the verbiage is spent on how the other cuss is misconstruing your crystal clear thoughts, that’s even worse.”

    I agree. And I apologize for allowing myself to get sucked into an extended and pointless exchange that was no doubt tedious and annoying to other readers. Having views attributed to me that I do not hold and have never expressed does get my goat. It’s a vulnerability that I should by now have learned to guard against.

    And of course, what’s worse is that this blog is about climate science, not about possible emission reduction solutions, so the whole thing is off-topic anyway.

    I will say this: I believe the whole notion of trying to determine some specific target concentration of atmospheric CO2, or some specific temperature threshhold, that we should aim for as a maximum, is not at all helpful.

    There is no need to know those things.

    What we already know is that we have been going in the wrong direction for a century. We know that we are already in the “danger zone” because dangerous and destructive things are already happening. We know that we need to reverse direction as soon as possible, and then go in the opposite direction as fast as possible.

    And we know that even if we do that — no matter WHAT we do at this point — there can be no guarantee of success.

    We need to get on with it.

  30. 580
    David B. Benson says:

    Rainforests in Far East Shaped by Humans for the Last 11,000 Years
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140124082608.htm

    So there never was a Holocene. It has always been the Anthropocene all along.

  31. 581
    JCH says:

    (1) This discussion focuses on just a short time period – starting 1998 or later – covering at most 11 years. Even under conditions of anthropogenic global warming (which would contribute a temperature rise of about 0.2 ºC over this period) a flat period or even cooling trend over such a short time span is nothing special and has happened repeatedly before (see 1987-1996). That simply is due to the fact that short-term natural variability has a similar magnitude (i.e. ~0.2 ºC) and can thus compensate for the anthropogenic effects. Of course, the warming trend keeps going up whilst natural variability just oscillates irregularly up and down, so over longer periods the warming trend wins and natural variability cancels out.

    (2) It is highly questionable whether this “pause” is even real. It does show up to some extent (no cooling, but reduced 10-year warming trend) in the Hadley Center data, but it does not show in the GISS data, see Figure 1. There, the past ten 10-year trends (i.e. 1990-1999, 1991-2000 and so on) have all been between 0.17 and 0.34 ºC per decade, close to or above the expected anthropogenic trend, with the most recent one (1999-2008) equal to 0.19 ºC per decade – just as predicted by IPCC as response to anthropogenic forcing …

    The cooling phase of the PDO, often characterized as a period of La Nina dominance, is exactly the type of natural variability being discussed above as being reasonably able to cause a pause in global warming.

    I don’t think Walter has to prove correlation to ask for answers or to have a discussion here.

    I believe I watched a press conference the other day where Trenberth actually speculates the PDO caused mid-century cooling.

    I don’t see a single benefit to avoiding talking about the Nature article.

  32. 582

    #578–Strongly agree. No-one at this point can tell what can get us where we need to go, or if anything at all can do so.

    Yet we do know which direction to be moving in. Time–and past time–to get moving. We may ‘waste effort and money’, as Diogenes says. That’s apt to happen when you undertake novel tasks, and what we’re facing is nothing if not novel. But we do have a direction. Do we have the will to start ‘walking?’

  33. 583
    doug says:

    I would just ask that the commenters on here show some respect for the climate scientists that run this website. And by that I mean, getting into these stupid egotistical arguments between yourselves, that more often than not has nothing to do with climate science is waisting the scientists and everybody else’s time. Supposedly, most of the commenters have great respect for Gavin, Mike, Jim and others who contribute here. So why don’t you show that respect by stop posting irrelevant stuff that they have to spend their precious time reading? I would bet you that they dread this chore. If I were them, I’d completely change the blog, so they wouldn’t have to deal with this. Why don’t we all grow up and follow the guidelines they set up for the blog?

  34. 584
    Jim Larsen says:

    Secular said, “It is possible to cut US energy demand by more than half — simply by eliminating waste and implementing well-known efficiency measures — with no reduction whatsoever in the goods and services that we obtain from our energy use.”

    It will require a lot of debt. High efficiency stuff is expensive, and there’s nothing like replacing major systems thirty or more years early.

  35. 585
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #582,

    “We may ‘waste effort and money’, as Diogenes says. That’s apt to happen when you undertake novel tasks, and what we’re facing is nothing if not novel. But we do have a direction.”

    ‘Wasting effort and money’ is an efficiency issue, but that was not the main thrust of my comments. The greater concern is without the appropriate end target(s) and without the proper strategy to achieve those targets, we won’t get over the interim ‘hump’, and will continue directly to the Apocalypse. It’s very true, as you and others have commented, that we don’t have the capability to predict where we are going or where we need to go with ultra-high certainty. But, we need to work with the best information and tools we have now, set appropriate targets, and establish a plan to get there. We need to start ‘walking’, as you say (I would say we need to start running), but make sure we’re not walking off the end of a pier.

  36. 586
    MARodger says:

    JCH @581.

    Absolutely true. If Walter Crain wishes a “discussion here” he is not obliged to prove any convoluted correlation to take part. But so far Walter Crain has not shown discussion to be his intention. Instead he asks questions then converts whatever responses he receives into his ‘preferred answer’ which he had from the start and continually throws it back onto the thread. The upshot is that he appears to be littering this thread with trolling rather than discussion. The discussion may be going over his head or he may be ignoring it (for whatever reason), but Walter Crain is not taking part in the “discussion” which he himself initiated.

    For instance, let us discuss your comment @581.
    I would disagree with you that the ‘reality’ of the “pause” is “questionable.” And surely 2007-13 is not comparable with 1987-96 because we can name the phenomenon that occurred back then – Mount Pinatubo. I would agree with your “11 years” but only in that the symptoms of the “pause” can be seen if you delve deep (ie regionally, seasonally etc). I argue very strongly that the “pause” makes its appearance within the global temperature record only in mid-2007. (See for instance the graph in the RealClimate item you linked to.)
    So what is that cause of the global “pause”? I have yet to see anything that contradicts the findings of Foster & Rahmstorf (2011) and more recently Kosaka & Xia (2013) which point rather convincingly to a run of negative ENSO. But then folk ask ‘Why is ENSO negative’?
    The problem I see with asking such a question and answering “a negative PDO” is because nobody than asks “Why is the PDO negative?” People seem to accept that PDO (in contradiction to its name) must be some multi-decadal oscillation and, of course, entirely natural. So, the logic goes, PDO must therefore be the reason for the big multi-decadal wobble in global temperature that peaked in 1940 and is peaking now. And then every air-head wobblologist from Akasofu to Curry can justify attributing 50% of recent warming to PDO and the rest to the end of the LIA.
    Here is the thing – Climatologists like Kevin Trenberth may have reason for seeing PDO as a phenomenon worthy of multi-decadal status in preference to ENSO but I think they should be mindful of how their words will used by denialists. (This isn’t a normal scientific consideration but AGW isn’t normal within human history.) Whatever that reason is for promoting PDO ahead of ENSO, it is not being described forcefully enough. After all ENSO & PDO are very much both milti-annual & multi-decadal peas in a pod. And I have yet to see rebuttal of Newman et al (2003) who find ENSO drives PDO.

    That is my view of things. But what do I know? You may beg to differ in part or entirely and that would be the stuff of discussion. But Walter Crain rather ignores my comments (@438, 444, 474, 534 & 577) just as he ignored yours @ 481. Walter Crain is presently engaged solely with his own views. His mistake is repeatedly presenting those views on this thread.
    Still, early days maybe.

  37. 587
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Walter Crain,
    The issue is not whether you can see a pattern, but whether the pattern you see is real. Are you familiar with the jibe that economists have predicted 10 out of the last 4 recessions? The human brain has a better than 100% efficiency of spotting patterns, precisely because there is a higher evolutionary cost for not spotting some patterns than there is for spotting some that aren’t there.

    By all means, use your brain to look for possible patterns, but then subject those candidates to rigorous statistical and physical analysis to make sure they are real.

  38. 588
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jim Larsen,
    Actually, a lot of increased efficiency is behavioral. Slight changes in the way you drive can change your gas mileage by 10% or more. Composting food decreases landfill waste and puts badly needed nutrients into the soil, obviating the need for chemical fertilizers, and so on.

    Yes, there is a need for some expensive energy efficient technologies, but there is still a whole helluva lot of low-hanging fruit.

  39. 589
    Hank Roberts says:

    > It will require a lot of debt. High efficiency stuff is expensive

    > Jim Larsen http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/01/unforced-variations-jan-2014/comment-page-12/#comment-452592

    Only if you cook the books. Inefficiency cost us the Earth, already.

    If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
    If you think efficiency is expensive, look around you.

  40. 590
    Hank Roberts says:

    Speaking of efficiency, I treasure this comment found on Slashdot:

    Re:Tesla
    By CohibaVancouver • 2014-Jan-24 22:58 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

    I can’t imagine living in a world where 70 thousand dollars must seem like something obtainable only by the top 1%

    ??!?!

    Unless you live on Mars, you *do* live in that world.

    To BILLIONS of people “in this world” a $70K+ car is something obtainable only by the top 1%. To the deeply impoverished of Africa, India and Asia – And some parts of South America – Spending more money than they will see in their entire lives on a car seems unimaginable, especially when you consider spending $40K on a car and then spreading your ‘leftover’ $30K in an African village on goats, vaccinations, mosquito nets, school supplies and a well will improve their lives dramatically.

    You will literally be saving the lives of children.

    Sure you’ll be driving a Leaf instead of a Tesla, but so what?

    Yeah, yeah, I’m a commie. Whatever. Stop buying stupidly expensive cars and help your fellow man.

  41. 591
    DIOGENES says:

    #588 Ray Ladbury,

    You are so right. Human behavior is number one here. Stop doing the unnecessary energy intensive practices in the first place, and use energy judiciously in those that remain. Anderson’s refusal to travel by airplane for the past x years is one example of many of the former, and cutting your thermostat setting by five or ten degrees in winter and wearing more clothes is one of many examples of the latter. And, it doesn’t take a generation to implement.

  42. 592
    Dave Peters says:

    With the atmosphere, it’s always a case of what Dylan called: “Allright, crash it off!–What else can you SHOW me?”

    No one has seen what California is seeing since before they struck gold. No one has seen this either:

    http://www.theweatherspace.com/2013/12/22/strongest-jet-stream-ever-recorded-to-bring-two-super-storms-to-united-kingdom-region-this-week-with-possible-tornadoes-in-ireland/

    The jet’s britches are sure in a twist.

  43. 593
    SecularAnimist says:

    Diogenes wrote: “what is your view on the temperature (or other) target required”

    My view is that such “targets” are irrelevant and pointless.

    The temperature increase that has ALREADY occurred, as a result of the CO2 that we have ALREADY emitted, from the fossil fuels that we have ALREADY burned, is self-evidently ALREADY causing severe harm and is ALREADY certain to get much worse no matter what we do.

    And it is entirely possible that we have ALREADY passed a point of no return such that an unimaginably horrific global ecological catastrophe is now inevitable no matter what we do. We have no way of knowing whether that is the case or not.

    What we DO know is that we have been going in the wrong direction for over a century.

    What we DO know is that we need to reverse direction NOW.

    What we DO know is that we need to MOVE in the OPPOSITE direction NOW, just as fast as we possibly can.

    What I have been saying is that we have the technological and economic means to virtually eliminate GHG emissions from fossil fuels MUCH more quickly than most people imagine possible, and that doing so is MUCH easier and MUCH less costly than most people realize, and in fact would have far-reaching benefits to humanity in addition to reducing GHG emissions.

    Even if we take the most aggressive action possible, there can be no guarantee of “success”, however “success” is defined.

    If we do nothing there is an absolute guarantee of failure.

  44. 594
    Dave Peters says:

    Gavin mentioned, in his AGU talk, his preference for discussion over noisemaking, and consequent aversion to comment threads at the Journal or Times. I have spent many odd hours this past year on exactly the opposite tact: directly attempting to talk down prominent writers advancing minimalist slights-of-hand. As a matter of year end housekeeping, I would like to share a few highlights.

    Is their anything new to say about cherries and pauses? I happen to have a rather personal take on this, owing to a week-long labor I undertook at the turn of the millennium. When you start to etch sub-micron elements upon a fresh silicon disc at a chip fab, the first thing they do is to laser burn four tiny crosses, or corners, which they call “fiduciaries”. Or Honda, when it designs or builds a new car, establishes the meeting of its three dimensions at the center of the forward tip if the steering shaft. Somewhat haphazardly, the climatically aware have gravitated towards a loose “beginning” of the analysis interval; one within the recent decades, after we had satellites, and after the anthro signal could be teased from noise [via models]. In my writing I was interested in personalizing the combustion problem, and an empirical comparison of consequence with accumulating forcing. Strongly influenced by the seminal Mann, Bradley, Hughes paper, I chanced upon an earlier fiduciary: When did the millennial cooling just attain equipoise with the growing anthro forcing [detection of “signal” via extension of frame to a paleo interval]? So I meticulously calculated a thirty-five year crawling Hadley average, to define its central year as 1907. It has anchored my thinking ever since.

    I will illustrate with numbers in a subsequent comment, but one can readily appreciate that a mid-seventies fiduciary exaggerates the post Mother of All El Ninos inflection, while the full century interval “contains” both the treads and risers of our staircase warming history. As such, it more faithfully captures our real experience, whatever the physics of the multi-decadal fits and starts.

  45. 595
    Hank Roberts says:

    To all:

    If the little voice in your head is chanting
    “You can say that again! You can say that again!”

    Don’t listen to it. Please.
    Just link to where you said the first time.

    If you cite yourself, others may cite you as well.
    If you repeat yourself, people learn to ignore you.

  46. 596
  47. 597
    SecularAnimist says:

    Hank wrote: “If you cite yourself, others may cite you as well. If you repeat yourself, people learn to ignore you.”

    That’s an interesting hypothesis, worth testing empirically to see if it is actually true.

    Because it is also possible that if you “cite yourself” with a link, others may not bother to click on it, and just scroll past it to the next comment, in which someone has taken the trouble to type out what they have to say.

    Whereas if you “repeat yourself”, people who missed seeing your original statement may be more likely to get it when they encounter your repetitive post if you put it out there in plain words right under their nose.

    I’m sure there are social media experts who have studied this sort of thing. Click-throughs are money, you know.

  48. 598
    wili says:

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/01/mckenzie-funk-windfall-interview-business-global-warming

    “‘We Can’t Trust Capitalism to Just Fix This’ Global Warming Mess”

    Interesting interview with McKenzie Funk, the author of a new book “Windfall,” with some points relevant to some of those brought up in this conversation:

    “mitigation is relatively democratic—cutting private emissions helps everybody—but adaptation, which is more and more what we seem to be going toward, is not at all democratic. In fact, it is deeply unfair. I think everybody needs to understand that. We talk about climate change as this tragedy of the commons, which kind of takes some of the moral oomph out of it—like, we’re all doing this, we’re all screwing ourselves. But that’s not a very good frame for what climate change really is. It’s not even at all. It’s not even geographically. It’s not even economically. So for those of us who have the highest historic emissions—in North America and Europe and, increasingly, China—to be able to buy our way out of this problem or to profit off it is systemically dangerous. It really raises the moral stakes. I don’t want to villainize the individuals I met, because by and large they’re good people doing things they believe in. But I think we all need to step back and understand what the stakes are.

    The second thing isn’t a moral point, but sort of a practical point: We can’t trust capitalism to just fix this. We can’t trust self-interest to fix this. If those who have the most to gain from climate change happen to be the ones who are emitting the most carbon—if I’m that person, am I really going to do too much about climate change, just to save myself?”

  49. 599

    #585–Diogenes, fair enough. As long as planning doesn ‘t morph into ‘analysis paralysis.’

  50. 600
    prokaryotes says:

    But beware: Repeating is key in climate messaging. Always assume you write for a first time visitor, first time reader. Ofc, repeating just to win an argument is not helpful.


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