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Friday round-up

Filed under: — rasmus @ 24 April 2009 - (Español)

They knew all along?
A recent story in NYT: ‘Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate‘ has caught our attention.

Update: Marc Roberts’ take:

Latest skeptical song from Singer

This week, the annual European Geophysical Union (EGU)’s general assembly was held in Vienna. Friday afternoon, I went to one of the conference’s last talks to learn about the latest news from the climate skeptics (have to keep an open mind…). It was probably the talk with the smallest audience in the whole conference (see the photo, but note there were a couple of individuals who were not captured by camera), despite an unusually long slot (30 min) allocation.

singer.jpg And not much news, I’m afraid, apart from that SEPP plans to release it’s NIPCC’09 in May. I understand it will be a thick report (800 pages?). The main messages were (a) that GHGs were unimportant – allegedlly supported by Douglass et al. (2007), and (b) solar activity was the main reason for the recent global warming and the mechanism involved galactic cosmic rays (GCR).

I asked Singer how he could explain the most recent warming when there is no trend in the GCR-flux or other indices of solar activity since 1952. He countered by saying he was glad I asked him this question, and announced that he had done his thesis exactly on the topic solar wind and GCRs.

So I had to answer that I had written a book about solar activity and climate, and I repeated my question. He could not answer in the end – other than saying that we have to look at the data. I told him that we already have looked at the data (e.g. Richardsson et al 2002; Benestad, 2005; Lockwood & Frohlich, 2007), so I recommended him to read up on RC.

301 Responses to “Friday round-up”

  1. 1
    Claudius Denk says:

    It’s absurd to suggest that GCR flux would have any such effect. And you demonstrated this yourself by the fact that you had no suggestion for him except to read this propaganda website.

  2. 2
    cer says:

    I went to a talk in one of the earth science sessions earlier in the week where the speaker showed the glaciation cycle graph and remarked that while current CO2 concentration was “completely anomalous”, current temperature was not, and until we can explain this we “cannot claim to understand the climate”. I don’t think he was implying that it isn’t warmer now than at any time over the past 1000 years (he showed the Mann Hockey Stick too), or that CO2 is unimportant, just that (in his opinion) we should have seen more CO2-induced warming if our understanding of the climate system is correct.

    I know relatively little about the ice ages and paleoclimate, but offhand I can think of various reasons why we have not seen more warming yet – mitigation of warming by aerosol emissions (discussed here in recent posts!), time lag in the climate system, etc. Not to mention that climate models show a temperature increase in good agreement with the observed rise, so presumably the physics of this is already well understood. But the fact that a solicited speaker made this statement in a mainstream EGU session surprised me – am I missing something here? Is this acutally a controversial point? Or did the speaker just not do his homework (granted it was an earth not climate science session, but still…)?

    Other than that, there didn’t seem to be any “pseudo-skeptic” presentations that I noticed (except the talk mentioned in the above post). On the contrary, the cryosphere session this afternoon showed recent declines in glaciers and ice shelves that were positively alarming.

    [Response: We do not expect more warming than observed. Anthropogenic radiative forcing is currently at 1.6 Watts per square meter of Earth surface (3 W/m2 from greenhouse gases, minus 1.4 W/m2 aerosol shading and albedo changes). The best estimate of climate sensitivity is 0.8 degrees C warming for each W/m2 forcing. So that gives you an expected 1.3 degrees C warming – but not immediately, since climate sensitivity refers to the warming after equilibrium with the ocean has been established. Based on both models and observed ocean heat uptake numbers, we should currently only see between one half and two thirds of the final warming, given the inertia in the oceans. That is: we expect 0.7 to 0.9 degrees C anthropogenic warming. 0.8 degrees is the observed global warming since the late 19th century.
    The simple analogy with paleo data that you refer to doesn’t work for a number of reasons – you have to look at the forcing and the physics. When you do that properly, you also get the right climate sensitivity value from those paleo data. All this is in the IPCC report. -Stefan]

  3. 3
    SteveF says:

    There was also a poster, on Tuesday I think, that claimed to find a solar explanation for current warming. Some French guys. Can’t remember the details though.

  4. 4
    Steve says:

    An amazing week of climate science talks, and that’s the only thing you decide to blog? What a shame. How about Chris Jones’ analysis of the Trillionth Tonne? Or Thomas Stocker’s talk on whether the earth might be twitchy? Or a whole series of talks on probabilistic predictions? Or the many great talks on the threat to the cryosphere? Or even, for their communication potential, MIT’s wheels of fortune? Let’s not give the delayers any more airtime.

    [Response: True. But now, Singer has been challenged. He cannot now come and say that he is not aware about the GCR-trend issue when he launches NIPCC’09. He said he’d look at the data, and if he then repeats the same argument without coming up with a good response, we can for sure say that he’s either (a) un-scientific, or (b) has such a lousy memory that he should refrain from discussing controversial subjects. -rasmus]

  5. 5

    Someday soon, maybe now, we realize that further discourse with such fools and idiots serves no purpose. Such denialism is now clearly dangerous.

  6. 6
    Steve L says:

    Rasmus, you’re not keeping an open mind if you don’t continue to look at the data and re-examine it until you get the same answer they get.


  7. 7
    Steve Horstmeyer says:

    So the Watergate era “non-denial denial” is alive and well in the contrarian community I take it?

  8. 8
    Patrick 027 says:

    Singer has the capability of conversing with other people? Who’d have thought! :)

  9. 9
    Todd says:

    On my right wing web site I’ve put together a CO2 calculator that considers

    a) the increasing cost of technology due to complexity
    b) transportation co2 and co2 from home use
    c) allows you to select a remediation level and calculates the cost, and the co2 reduction
    d) allows you to also switch your home power for either nuclear or coal, and calculates the cost of that

    then, calculations the net co2 reduction, temperature reduction, the national dollars spent, the amount of money sent to china and europe, and finally the dollars per degree lowered.

  10. 10
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 2 (cer): Could it have been a distinction (or lack thereof) of climate sensitivity on different timescales (Charney sensitivity vs the longer-term sensitivity that includes generally slower-reacting ice sheets? – PS I’d think that longer term sensitivity is greater between ice ages and interglacials than between interglacials and warmer interglacials, etc, because there is less area of ice and it is at higher latitudes…)?

  11. 11
    Hank Roberts says:

    > An amazing week of climate science talks

    Steve is live-blogging the EGU climate talks, with links
    at his site (click on his name).

    Thank you, Steve.

  12. 12

    Does a species THAT stupid deserve to avoid extinction by self-inflicted global warming? If we do avoid extinction by global warming, we will apparently be the first in our galaxy to do so.

  13. 13
    Hank Roberts says:

    Steve Easterbrook (above) has also linked at his site to AGU videos and recommended several including this on ocean acidification.

    It’s stunning; it’s an excerpt from a longer program followed by the AGU’s press conference with the scientists.

    Video: (the hard science, pteropods and fisheries, starts around 00:12:00, after the video develops background)

    The press conference starts around 00:24:00 and is all hard science.
    And they make clear it’s very simple, not hard to understand.

    “There is no question that the models give you the right answer. This is not a nonlinear process. This is highly straightforward.”

    Thank you Steve, again.

  14. 14
    Lawrence Brown says:

    Thank you! I wondered where I would put today’s NYT story,but you were a step ahead of me.
    There are two articles of interest in yesterday’s edition of the Times:

    Looks who’s co-sponsoring the legislation requiring the EPA to conduct a study on the effects of black carbon along with Senator Kerry!

  15. 15
    Hank Roberts says:

    From around 00:35 in that same ocean acidification video, oh sh*t.

    I’ll stop. Go read and view this AGU material. I hope those Contributors here whose work is up there as PDF files can give HTML links and open comments here when they get home.

  16. 16
    Doug Bostrom says:

    RE NYT piece, I notice that industry appears to have accepted that their doubt sowing campaign is reaching end-of-life and is now moving on to the “we can adapt and thrive” lie.

    Walt in previous thread, doing an excellent job of parroting the latest confusion:

    “So we will see sea level rise, for sure, and some of today’s low lying lands will become bad places to live, and there will be mass migrations and certainly heavy loss of life. Again, I say: inevitable. What will emerge from that period?

    For all we know, a more vibrant planet and a more compatible and sustainable human footprint.”

    In the same thread, Matt says:

    “I can understand why Gavin and others are keen to maintain the distinction between their work as scientists and their private views on policy, but as the science becomes more ’settled’ these policy discussions are going to get more and more important. Most people accept the reality of AGW now, and the focus is shifting to how much, over how long, what we should be doing about it and how urgently.”

    Indeed. We’ve reached a point where policy response is absolutely imperative while energy wasted “debating” climate science with lazy thinkers and volunteer flacks attempting to mimick skepticism should be diverted to discussing and promoting remediation efforts. Unfortunately we find that industry is ahead of the game and is already busily sowing confusion in that arena.

    In past times we quickly got past the physics of automobile accidents and agreed that something needed to be done to protect occupants of vehicles. After a relatively short period seatbelts were accepted as a compromise measure that protected passengers to a useful extent. There was little or no trouble with “skeptics” claiming that automotive interiors were special places free of Newtonian principles so it was easy to move discussion to the topic of how best to protect riders. The automotive industry was not nearly as prepared for that fight and thus found themselves forced to concede the remediation battle relatively quickly.

    The situation we face now is not nearly as simple but the basic lesson is and analogizes nicely: finding public consensus on AGW science is key to addressing remediation. Thus industry has wisely focused on delaying consensus as long as possible. Having partially exhausted that avenue, they’re already working on introducing catastrophic friction into our remediation response.

    Meanwhile, the wide range of remediation options makes remediation a far friendlier environment than AGW climate research for encouraging and fostering further policy delay . There’s no actual debate among the cognoscenti regarding the reality of anthropogenic climate change but when it comes to remediation battle lines are already being drawn by technologists. Even worse there will be commercial forces coming into play that are required to protect investor money long after it becomes obvious which methods are blind alleys and which are not.

    Think about the half-baked hydrogen economy fantasy, or even more darkly comical, corn ethanol. Both of these have consumed a lot of policymaking time and much public and private money while producing divided constituencies ill-suited to forming a rapid response to what appears to be an urgent policy challenge. Neither has had the slightest positive impact on remediation. Meanwhile the legacy petroleum industry constituency remains intact and more effective at swaying public perceptions and ultimately formulation of policy even if that formulation equals paralysis.

    Balkanization of remediation is going to look really ugly in the public eye. The legacy hydrocarbon industry can easily style “adaptation” as easier, less expensive and just plain more emotionally appealing than a dismayingly confusing active remediation drama. Thus we’re already hearing comforting fairy stories about happy animals frolicking in warmer times after performing miracles of sudden evolution, coupled with vague references to some possible abstract suffering somewhere unnamed and most importantly where we don’t live. Expect a lot more of this.

  17. 17
    David B. Benson says:

    cer (2) — He hadn’t done is reading before speaking. The effects of CO2 are well studied at the most likely estimate for Charney’s equilibrium sensitivity remains close to 3 K; that inlcudes modern and paleioclimate data.

  18. 18
    cougar_w says:

    @12: Not all the individuals of the species that would be effected by extinction are that stupid, or had anything to do with the problem, or are in an position to solve the problem so created. And sadly, of those few that might survive a population crash during a future AGW crisis, the wealthy who produced the crisis are most likely to survive. Though in fairness, their offspring would not automatically be guilty of the sins of their fathers, so saying that their survival would be “sad” is unfair on my part. I wish them well as they try and save themselves, I just hope they don’t carry forward some latent genetic propensity toward the same self-service and material acquisition at the expense of the entire rest of humanity exhibited by their fore-bearers.

    [the oracle says: sentence himself]


  19. 19
    ccpo says:

    Re: They knew all along?

    Yes, they did. And we have known they did for a long time. The UCS dud a paper on it, if you’ll recall:

    And Naomi Oreskes just eviscerates the denialists’ legitimacy:

    ExxonSecrets is a great resource for background on people, companies and organizations, as I’m sure all of you now.

    As Richard at #5 says, denialism is dangerous. It should be treated so. Why politely framed lies are more acceptable than hard-hitting truth, I will never know.

    Here’s an example:

    Poster Marco has this to say:

    “RE: up top: Ozone Hole Causes Antarctic Sea Ice to Expand, Slows Warming

    Expect to see more exercises in tortured logic to try explain away the recent cooling trends. Here’s another:

    As the endless stream of reports of anomolously cold weather continue to pour in around the world we should expect to see more AGW-denier slapdown articles to silence the poeple who dare question that it doesn’t seem to be warming any more!

    The propaganda behind the AGW movement is absolutely astounding.”

    Note that last line, eh? The sad thing is, poster jokuhl, not a denier, has this to say (in part):

    “You’re fighting fire with fire. I don’t think it’s working.”

    And that was the nice part. Funny thing is, it has. There’s been a stream of denialists come through The Oil Drum using the fake, “I’m an objective seeker… please help me understand!” approach. It’s easy to see through. A little bit of calling them on their sources, pointing out the lies, inconsistencies, etc., and they show their true colors with absolutist pronouncements, etc. In fact, it’s never failed to bring them out. Marco was one who tried it and was forced to acknowledge he’s a denier.

    I blame it primarily on the culture of Political Correctness, and the assumption that one never has to get down in the muck. IMO, PCness has pretty much put us on the brink.

    When someone’s got a gun to your head and is pulling the trigger back, you don’t invite them to tea. Are we not in that situation now?


  20. 20
    EL says:

    There was a column in my local paper today from Anthony Watts @

    1. He was asked about his blog, if it has politicized him or if he’s still a man of science.

    He of course responds yes then adds: We have some people now who should be sticking to science, such as Jim Hansen who is going out and advocating things such as civil disobedience (at coal-fired power plants).

    2. He is asked his position on global warming…
    He say’s he’s a “lukewarmer”. He goes onto say that CO2 is logarithmic and so it’s not a crisis. He goes on to give a soup analogy with it being salty and concludes that more CO2 is not going to make a difference because of the logarithmic response.

    3. Asked about the most harmful “fact” of global warming..
    He responds the idea of a runaway condition where at some point a tipping point would occur and that at that point there is no turning back and then the world would destroy itself.
    He goes on to give a historic account of how the earth at one time had up to 6,000 parts per million, compared to the 380 parts per million we have now. It didn’t burn the oceans, etc…. You get the gist.

    4. Question about the polar ice in the northern hemisphere and is it going to disappear.
    Responded: Has disappeared in the past. He doesn’t think we are going to see that in the immediate future. He believes it is going to rebound and says if you look at the current arctic ice extent from the japanese agency which tracks artic ice, you find that it is very near normal at this point and it is rebounding well from the last couple of years. Antarctic is is above normal.. And the global total amount of sea ice is above normal. So it’s not disappearing any time soon.

    5. What is the most important irrefutable truth about climate change that you wish every school kid and politician knew?
    That climate has always changed. In the past it has seen extremes hotter and colder than what we experience today. So change is normal.

    6. What will we be talking about 10 years from now?
    Global Cooling… Several things are aligning.. like the pacific decadal oscillation and the solar patterns and so forth. To make it appear that we might be in for a period of global cooling. However, I am also prepared to say that I may be complete wrong..

    Sorry for writing so poorly. This was a guest column in my local paper and they didn’t have an online article to link. So I just went through the gist of it.

    The noise level from anti-global warming people have raised quite a bit this week.

  21. 21
    veritas36 says:

    Singer seriously cited his PhD thesis in the early 1940s as relevant?
    His resume lists him as ‘First Director of the National Satellite Weather Center. The NOAA web page lists David Simonds Johnson as the Director of “director of the successor organizations to MSA, which included the Meteorological Satellite Laboratory, National Weather Satellite Center, National Environmental Satellite Center, National Environmental Satellite Service, and finally the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service.” Johnson is one of NOAA’s Top Ten History Makers.
    What a discrepancy!

  22. 22
    Lawrence Brown says:

    The fossil fuel industry like the tobacco business before them are concerned with the bottom line- profit,and more profit. They have their hands on our wallets and aren’t going to let go without a struggle. They can’t charge for Sunlight, or the wind.

    There’s and old song titled ‘The best things in life are free’that goes:
    The moon belongs to ev’ryone
    The best things in life are free
    The stars belong to ev’ryone
    They gleam there for you and me

    The flowers in spring
    The robins that sing
    The sunbeams that shine
    They’re yours, they’re mine

    The sunbeams that shine do not belong to the Exxon Mobils of the world and that scares them witless(or a word that rhymes with witless)

  23. 23
    David B. Benson says:

    “No ‘Burp’ Accelerating Climate Change? Wetlands Likely Source Of Methane From Ancient Warming Event”:
    is, I suppose, good news?

  24. 24

    Rasmus, I wish I was over there this month, I wanted to go to EGU this year. As for Singer, I really wanted to ask him about why he badgered Revelle and misrepresented the facts that he and Revelle wrote the Cosmos piece.

    Revelle clearly believed that near term projections of 1-3C increase were expected ,and Singer and others spent so much effort trying to get the world to believe he thought it would be within natural variation of 0.2C.

    I’m expecting to be at WMO for WCC-3 in Geneva though.

    Maybe S. Fred will show up there?

  25. 25
    Walt Bennett says:

    Re: #16


    Please tell me what else you know with the same certainty that a doubling of CO2 will lead to short term temperature rise of 3*C+/-1.5*C.


  26. 26
    walter crain says:

    you know, this sort of thing would have no resonance with the public if they new there were more scientists named \jim\ who \believe in\ global warming than there are people like singer.

  27. 27

    Hank Roberts wrote in 13:

    Steve is live-blogging the EGU climate talks, with links
    at his site (click on his name).

    Thank you, Steve.

    I checked it out — a very interesting blog — on a number of different levels. A large part of what he is concerned with — in terms of informatics and certain issues in technical philosophy — is what I would consider matters of social epistemology — which deals primarily with issues of how knowledge exists and is shared within a community subject to a cognitive division of labor. Good stuff. I will have to dig into it and the issues that he explores as time permits.

  28. 28
    George Darroch says:

    Kinda off topic, but it relates to Friday, the public communication of climate science, and deserves to be known…

    New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have fired top New Zealand climate scientist, Dr Jim Salinger, for talking to the media.

    His firing comes after NIWA put a blanket ban on their staff speaking to the media with prior authorisation, designed to sanitise their comments in order not to offend the denialist libertarians who now compose a large part of the New Zealand Government. Dr Salinger has been speaking publicly about the science for many years without controversy, and NIWA had an arrangement with TVNZ – Salinger was fired for speaking to a TVNZ journalist. This is entirely about the censorship of science by management, and NIWA deserve a world of hurt for this.

    I know scientists who work with NIWA who are disgusted by this as you would imagine, and they’re very angry. So am I.

  29. 29
    ccpo says:

    Quote: “# David B. Benson Says:
    24 April 2009 at 18:54

    “No ‘Burp’ Accelerating Climate Change? Wetlands Likely Source Of Methane From Ancient Warming Event”:
    is, I suppose, good news?” EndQuote

    Nope. Here’s my response on The Oil Drum:

    The main take aways are:

    * Temps during Younger Dryas were cooler than now, thus, there was little danger of the temp sensitive clathrates or permafrost melting.

    * Both clathrates and permafrost are within 1 – 3 degrees (I believe C) of general melting, but were at least 3 degrees from that point during the Younger Dryas.

    * The thermokarst lakes, e.g., have multiplied and enlarged to a surprising degree according to Katy Walter.

    * Supporting evidence: increased thermokarst lakes, increased methane clathrate releases in Arctic seas, increased atmospheric methane two years running.

    Basically, they chose an inappropriate comparison. I don’t know why. Perhaps they were busy with their research when all the research on permafrost and clathrates came out starting last summer.

    I’m sure their research and results are OK, it’s the conclusion that seems to be way off.


  30. 30

    #26 walter crain

    I highly recommend Jeremy Jackson

    He is welcomingly clear, as Jim has been. What is happening in the oceans is nothing short of… highly illustrative of the various causes and the problem!

  31. 31
    Brian Klappstein says:

    “…no trend since 1952…”

    Is that relevant? It wasn’t warming from 1952 to about 1976. The problem with the neutron count is that it has a 22 year cycle and the first data set starts in 1952. To calculate a trend you need a number of cycles and we only have 2 complete so far. And those don’t cover a period of consistent global warming.

    It does appear to be true that there is a warming step up for every trough in the neutron count (as you would expect from GCR/cloud theory); it’s just not every warming step is coincident with a trough in the count.

    [Response: The mechanism proposed is a direct impact from the total amount of GCR – if there is no trend in that, there is no trend in the response. You can’t start hypothesising that second or third derivative changes are really the issue because your first mechanism doesn’t work. That way lies numerology…. – gavin]

    [Response: The periodicity in GCR is primarily 11 year. THe 22-year time scale involves a reversal of the magnetic field lines, not their strength. See fig below: -rasmus]


  32. 32
    Mark says:

    Just thinking and realised that it seems OK to insult a group of people (like, say “all scietnists are corrupt” but if you insult a single person “Singer is corrupt” then it becomes damaging to your case (by those who agree with Singer) or something You Cannot Do.

    Why is insulting one person bad but insulting thousands OK?

  33. 33

    I posted a couple of detailed replies to posts at JoNova’s Australian climate-denier blog several days ago, and they still haven’t shown up. Waiting…

  34. 34
    John Finn says:

    John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) Says:
    25 April 2009 at 2:30 AM

    A bit off topic, but I’ve just been browsing your OSS Foundation site. Apart from disagreeing on several issues, I also think you may simply be wrong on some points. For example, you appear to be confusing industrial (sulphate) aerosols with aerosol spray cans. I’d check it out if I were you.

  35. 35
    Bruce Tabor says:


    Not much else to say really. Not much else worth saying in fact.

    keep up the good work RC.

  36. 36
    fieldnorth says:


    “I asked Singer how he could explain the most recent warming when there is no trend in the GCR-flux or other indices of solar activity since 1952”

    The trend of GCR has been downwards since 1952 and for most of the 20th Century. Be10, neutron detectors at the Antarctic and balloon instruments tell the same story.

    “It appears that the reason for the constant GCR observed in terrestrial neutron detectors is because they can only observe neutrons above a certain energy, due to absorption of lower energy particles in the atmosphere, unless the detector is situated at the poles and altitude, where absorption is much less.”

    Quote from:

    [Response: The CLIMAX measurements are the data that Svensmark used to back up his hypothesis. The low-energy GCR do not reach the low-latitudes, so it´s difficult to explain how they then can affect clouds there – and as far as I know, nobody has demonstrated any link between low-energy GCR and clouds. If there is such a link, the situation gets interesting. It remains to be demonstrated that the low-energy GCR peneterates to the regions where the clouds are. Furthermore, I´ll love to see an explanation for how such a decrease takes place when other solar indices have not changed. There may also be also some decline in high-energy GCR, but then there is a similar problem that there is no established link between these and clouds. Furthermore, since the flux of high GCR is lower than for moderate energies (CLIMAX), Svensmark must prove that he was wrong in the first place – otherwise high-energy GCR still keep producing clouds since their level has not dropped.]

  37. 37

    #34 John Finn

    I don’t want to clutter up RC with comments about the OSS site. Feel free to clutter up our inbox though with relevant comments.

    Relevant comments with relevant links, thoughts are not sufficient.

    I’m doing my best to keep things in context and always doing touch up work. I have two goals with the OSS resource, simplification for non scientists, and accuracy; so I am interested in anything that is incorrect. The risk of course on my part includes oversimplification. I try to summarize and link the sources as best I can.

    I don’t remember referencing spray cans? Please send me a link to what you are referring to. Also, please understand, ‘relevant’ comments are welcome. Unsupported ‘assertions’, or even ‘facts’ out of context are rarely relevant.

    It is important to have, at the least, reasonable science and evidence. You thinking I am wrong is not helpful, you, reasonably proving things on the site wrong, is very helpful :)

  38. 38
    Brian Klappstein says:

    “…The trend of GCR has been downwards since 1952 and for most of the 20th Century…neutron detectors at the Antarctic and balloon instruments tell the same story”


    There does seem to be a negative trend in Moscow that is not present in Climax. Moscow is at 55N and Climax is at 39. Moscow neutron counts are higher than Climax by about 500. Moscow is also at a much lower elevation than Climax (500 vs 13,000 feet)

    But how much leverage do clouds in the high latitudes have over global temperatures. All the radiative action so to speak is in the tropics.

    [Response: As far as I know, there is no trend in the global low-level cloudiness (IPCC AR4 doesn’t give any indication of that anyway, and other papers give diverging accounts about regional trends). But the fact that the night-time temperatures have increased faster than the day-time temperatures are difficult to explain by any clound-albedo feedback mechanism. There are quite a few hurdles in this story, in addition to the lack of trend in solar indices and CLIMAX GCR, the data which were used to back up the hypothesis. -rasmus]

  39. 39
    Doug Bostrom says:

    #25 Walt: “Please tell me what else you know with the same certainty that a doubling of CO2 will lead to short term temperature rise of 3*C+/-1.5*C.”

    I know with a high degree of confidence that stuffing a 48″ breaker bar into the final reduction drive of a VLCC will cause the final reduction drive to fail, leaving the tanker to perform uncontrolled excursions with a vanishing small probability of improving on the intended track of said vessel. I can’t know with perfect confidence the exact nature of the ensuing upset but I can say with excellent confidence the outcome will be undesirable. The probability of the craft drifting into port as originally intended is effectively nil.

    Just so I don’t have a high degree of confidence that our sudden and randomly chosen perturbance of Earth’s atmospheric composition is going to lead to an improvement in conditions. Instead, I hypothesize that donning a blindfold and then spinning many of the knobs controlling our climate is likely to be unproductive.

    Thus I’d just as soon keep the gear smashing and valve twisting to an absolute minimum and not count on magical probabilities to keep us safe.

    Of course, if you happen to be so lucky as to control dynastic levels of wealth all of this may be less important as you might be able effectively to buy your own climate when things turn really sour. That’s especially true if you can maintain your Midas touch by bamboozling a lot of poor fools into helping you stay rich. Such a strategy requires a sociopathic level of disregard for others but there’s no shortage of such psyches loose on the planet. I’d say the probability of said bamboozlement is higher than the probability of hairless, heat-adapted polar bears emerging in the next 100 years.

  40. 40
    Ike Solem says:

    “I’m amazed and astonished,” Dr. Santer said, “that the Global Climate Coalition had in their possession scientific information that substantiated our cautious findings and then chose to suppress that information.”

    Yes, particularly since Fred Singer and Pat Michaels attacked his integrity rather than look at the science, back in 1995 or so, over Chapter 8 in the IPCC, now in the FAR:

    This was followed up by the GCC itself:

    “In May 1996, three industry associations publicly accused IPCC lead authors Ben Santer and Tom Wigley of secretly altering the IPCC Second Assessment Report to reduce the expression of uncertainties, particularly in chapter 8.”

    That is from this paper, which also notes that

    The GCC placed advertisements in the Washington Times and Energy Daily, stating that “unless the management of the IPCC promptly undertakes to republish the printed versions…the IPCC’s credibility will have been lost”

    And, try this for background, same source:

    The most immediate business response to the perceived threat of greenhouse gas was in the organizational domain. In an effort to form a broad-based coalition representing multiple sectors of US industry, the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was formed in 1989 under the auspices of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and reorganized as an independent entity. The GCC represents about 40 companies and industry associations, primarily major users of fossil fuels such as the oil, automobile, and electric utility sectors, but also including other energy intense sectors such as cement, aluminum, iron and steel, chemicals, and paper. A senior GCC staff member, discussing motivations for the creation of the GCC, expressed the view that industry had been “caught napping” by the ozone depletion issue, and had too little input into the Clean Air Act process.

    Clear evidence of intent to deceive the public, is what I’d call this.

    See also post and discussion:

    “A little digging comes up with another private industry study, this one requested by EPRI, and their conclusion is most interesting:”

    “This study confirmed the importance of considering the physical impacts of climate change in utility planning. However, the study found that CO2 reduction requirements may have much larger financial, resource planning, and operational impacts than those from physical climate change.”

    Meaning that the immediate financial costs of replacing fossil fuels with renewables will cost the major utility investors more money than global warming will – global warming, on the other hand, will lead to more demand for air conditioning and thus, greater profits… What else did EPRI conclude?

    “On the basis of the results of this study, EPRI and CRIEPI have undertaken further studies to investigate the impacts on specific resources, such as coal…. Case study results will help utilities determine how risks associated with global climate change policies may affect the attractiveness of their resource options and whether to include these risks formally in the integrated resource planning process.”

    See other EPRI statements:

    “Wind and biomass, meanwhile, will supply about a quarter of the electricity, while solar power will not play a significant role, the study predicts. “It just doesn’t enter into our equation,” said Revis W. James, the director of the institute’s Energy Technology Assessment Center.”

    Rather than attack individuals and the science itself, EPRI specializes in the distortion of economic models to reach pre-ordered conclusions on the costs of renewable energy vs. fossil fuels – their approach is not supportable, any more than coal carbon sequestration is, but with DOE funding and the backing of the coal-electric lobby, the need to present logical arguments is greatly reduced.

    This also points to some fundamental flaws in modern economic theory, at least with regards to water and energy. There are ecological and physical limits to economic growth. You can pack only so many trees onto an island, and technological advances can only change that so much – unless you’re talking about interstellar travel, or similar sci-fi solutions.

  41. 41
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Re the Salinger firing:

    New Zealand climate scientist fired for unapproved comments

    A top New Zealand climate scientist whose work contributed to a Nobel Peace prize was fired from his job at a state-funded agency Friday for speaking to the media without approval.

    Jim Salinger was let go for breaching a new policy at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research requiring scientists to have prior approval before speaking to media. …

  42. 42
    Ike Solem says:

    This looks worth a mention:

    This is a paper on the relationship between the termination of the Younger Dryas period and the associated rise in methane, recently reviewed:

    This is an extension of previous work, Brooke et. al 2000, on the Younger Dryas and other warm transitions:

    During these events, atmospheric methane concentrations increased by 200-300 ppb over time periods of 100-300 years, significantly more slowly than associated temperature and snow accumulation changes recorded in the ice core record. We suggest that the slower rise in methane concentration may reflect the timescale of terrestrial ecosystem response to rapid climate change. We find no evidence for rapid, massive methane emissions that might be associated with large-scale decomposition of methane hydrates in sediments.

    That tends to rule out one of the positive feedback effects that could have dumped more carbon into the atmosphere. Notice that we are talking about the role of wetlands in increasing warming at the end of the last glacial cycle – not about the role of wetlands in the modern world. Wetlands do generate methane, but they also are also important sites of carbon dioxide burial in the form of peat and organic matter, meaning their influence may be roughly neutral over short time periods (decades). Carbon burial in wetlands is an active research area for many reasons, such as fighting coastal erosion, etc.

    In related glacial cycle / greenhouse gas research, this didn’t get much mention:

    Many scientists think that the end of the last ice age was triggered by a change in Earth’s orbit that caused the northern part of the planet to warm. This partial climate shift was accompanied by rising levels of the greenhouse gas CO2, ice core records show, which could have intensified the warming around the globe. A team of scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory now offers one explanation for the mysterious rise in CO2: the orbital shift triggered a southward displacement in westerly winds, which caused heavy mixing in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, pumping dissolved carbon dioxide from the water into the air.

    This generally reinforces modern understanding of why increases in long-lived greenhouse gases tend to lag a little behind temperature increases in the ice core records: warming leads to new conditions on land and in the oceans. A combination of physical and biological factors then results in a release of carbon that had been stored in deep oceans and frozen soils, in the form of CO2 and methane.

  43. 43
    David B. Benson says:

    ccpo (29) — Thanks, but I don’t see how you could end with “cheers” after posting that.

  44. 44
    Thomas says:

    16 It is somewhat offtopic, but since you brought it up. Regarding seatbelts, it is true that industry reluctance was overcome fairly quickly. However it took a couple of decades before the average driver/passenger would wear them. In this case I blame the entertainment industry, having actors jump out of vehicles just before they go over cliffs or crash and burn etc, for giving John Q. Public, the idea that it was safer not to wear them.

  45. 45
    Bill Hunter says:

    #16 Doug

    Love your analogy of fixing automobiles upon noting injuries to occupants. Thats how we should treat AGW. It would bring an end to the debate of whether warming is good or bad until we see some statistics to justify one view over the other. . . .and in the mean time we could use that time, effort, and money to solve problems we know of already.

  46. 46
    Brian Klappstein says:

    “…[Response: The periodicity in GCR is primarily 11 year. THe 22-year time scale involves a reversal of the magnetic field lines, not their strength. See fig below: -rasmus]…”

    I’m not sure I agree. The area under the curve for the 2 types of 11 year cycles appears different, at least as evidenced in the neutron count. If you are looking for secular trends in GCR then then this observation would mean the start and end points of the 22 year cycle are relevant to the trend analysis.

  47. 47
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Brian Klappstein, Unfortunately, the physics doesn’t agree with you. First, the 11-year cycle is not really a cycle, but rather an example of quasiperiodic self-organized criticality. Second, the only factors that can influence GCR flux (e.g. heliomagnetic field strength (not polarity), solar particle flux, etc.) follow the 11-year cycle, not the 22-year cycle. Why should a galactic/intergalactic flux care about the orientation of the field?

  48. 48
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Bill Hunter says “Thats how we should treat AGW. It would bring an end to the debate of whether warming is good or bad until we see some statistics to justify one view over the other. . . .and in the mean time we could use that time, effort, and money to solve problems we know of already.”

    Spoken like an ignorant food tube who hasn’t bothered to acquaint himself with the negative consequences that are virtual certainties. As Hank says, you know, you can actually look this stuff up.

  49. 49
    Gareth says:

    More detail & discussion of Jim Salinger’s dismissal here.

  50. 50
    Hank Roberts says:

    Aside to Gavin — as people are now posting full scale articles and what amounts to book chapters here about their favorite subjects, no matter what the current topic is, might it be worthwhile creating a spinoff blog and transplanting those that are good information, somewhere the material can actually be found by subject?

    You’ve got a growing volume of material here that’s unique (try Google, these are enthusiastic people who are actually typing de novo, not pasting in stuff from elsewhere!)

    Much of it is good material, or would be if footnoted with cites.
    But it’s all lost or going to be lost because it’s unrelated to the topics.