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More bubkes

Filed under: — group @ 1 July 2009 - (Chinese (simplified))

Roger Pielke Sr. has raised very strong allegations against RealClimate in a recent blog post. Since they come from a scientific colleague, we consider it worthwhile responding directly.

The statement Pielke considers “misinformation” is a single sentence from a recent posting:

Some aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago – such as rising sea levels, the increase of heat stored in the ocean and the shrinking Arctic sea ice.

First of all, we are surprised that Pielke levelled such strong allegations against RealClimate, since the statement above merely summarises some key findings of the Synthesis Report of the Copenhagen Climate Congress, which we discussed last month. This is a peer-reviewed document authored by 12 leading scientists and “based on the 16 plenary talks given at the Congress as well as input of over 80 chairs and co-chairs of the 58 parallel sessions held at the Congress.” If Pielke disagrees with the findings of these scientists, you’d have thought he’d take it up with them rather than aiming shrill accusations at us. But in any case let us look at the three items of alleged misinformation:

1. Sea level. The Synthesis Report shows the graph below and concludes:

Since 2007, reports comparing the IPCC projections of 1990 with observations show that some climate indicators are changing near the upper end of the range indicated by the projections or, as in the case of sea level rise (Figure 1), at even greater rates than indicated by IPCC projections.

sea level graph

This graph is an update of Rahmstorf et al., Science 2007, with data through to the end of 2008. (Note the comparison is with IPCC TAR projections, but since AR4 projections are within 10% of the TAR models this makes little difference.)

Pielke claims this is “NOT TRUE” (capitals and bold font are his), stating “sea level has actually flattened since 2006” and pointing to this graph. This graph shows a sea level trend over the full satellite period (starting 1993) of 3.2 +/- 0.4 mm/year and is very similar to an independent French analysis of those very same satellite data shown in the Synthesis Report (blue lines above). The best estimate of the IPCC models for the same time period is 1.9 mm/year (coloured dashed lines in the middle of the grey uncertainty range). Hence the conclusion of the Synthesis Report is entirely correct.

The “flattening of sea level since 2006” that Pielke refers to is beside the point and deceptive for several reasons (note too that Anthony Watts has extended this even further to declare that sea level from 2006 to present is actually “flat”!). First of all, trends over such a short sub-interval of a few years vary greatly due to short-term natural variations, and one could get any result one likes by cherry-picking a suitable interval (as Pielke and Lomborg both have). The absurdity of this approach is see by picking an even more recent trend, say starting in June 2007, which gives 5.3+/-2.2 mm/yr! Secondly, this short-term trend (1.6 +/- 0.9 mm/yr) is not even robust across data sets – the French analysis shown above has a trend since the beginning of 2006 of 2.9 mm/year, very similar to the long-term trend. Third, the image Pielke links to shows the data without the inverted barometer correction – the brief marked peak in late 2005, which makes the visual trend (always a poor choice of statistical methodology) almost flat since then, disappears when this effect is accounted for. This means the 2005 peak was simply due to air pressure fluctuations and has nothing to do with climatic ocean volume changes. The trend from 2006 in the data with the inverse barometer adjustment is 2.1 +/- 0.8 mm/yr.

2. Ocean heat content. The Synthesis Report states:

Current estimates indicate that ocean warming is about 50% greater than had been previously reported by the IPCC.

This is a conclusion of a revised analysis of ocean heat content data by Domingues et al., Nature 2008, and it applies to the period 1961-2003 also analysed in the IPCC report. Pielke claims this is “NOT TRUE” and counters with the claim: “There has been no statistically significant warming of the upper ocean since 2003.” But again this is not relevant to the point the Synthesis Report actually makes and again, Pielke is referring to a 5-year period which is too short to obtain statistically robust trends in the presence of short-term variability and data accuracy problems (the interannual variability for instance differs greatly between different ocean heat content data sets):

Levitus et al comparison of Ocean heat content data

For good reasons, the Synthesis Report discusses a time span that is sufficiently long to allow meaningful comparisons. But in any case, the trend in from 2003 to 2008 in the Levitus data (the Domingues et al data does not extend past 2003), is still positive but with an uncertainty (both in the trend calculation and systematically) that makes it impossible to state whether there has been a significant change.

3. Arctic Sea Ice. The Synthesis Report states:

One of the most dramatic developments since the last IPCC Report is the rapid reduction in the area of Arctic sea ice in summer. In 2007, the minimum area covered decreased by about 2 million square kilometres as compared to previous years. In 2008, the decrease was almost as dramatic.

This decline is clearly faster than expected by models, as the following graph indicates.

sea ice extent time series

Pielke’s claim that this is “NOT TRUE” is merely based on the statement that “since 2008, the anomalies have actually decreased.”

Yes, same thing again: Pielke’s argument is beside the point, since the Synthesis Report is explicitly talking about the summer sea ice minimum reached each September in the Arctic, and we don’t even know yet what its value will be for 2009. And Pielke is again referring to a time span (“since 2008”!) that is far too short to have much to do with climatic trends.

We thus have to conclude that there are no grounds whatsoever for Pielke’s wild allegations against us and implicitly the Synthesis Report authors. The final sentence of his post ironically speaks for itself:

Media and policymakers who blindly accept these claims are either naive or are deliberately slanting the science to promote their particular advocacy position.


345 Responses to “More bubkes”

  1. 201
    Hank Roberts says:

    Anne T Cyclone — you point to a site with temperature data, but you seem to think there that the IPCC 1990 curve was based on some data source. That’s wrong.

    You can look that up: “Gerald North explains it was hand-drawn for the 1990 report”…/about_that_arctic_sea_ice.php

    about 10 minutes into this video:

    I’m curious if you’re one of the climate scientists with peer-revieweed work who is a sponsor of that site? They don’t seem to be named anywhere so it’s hard to look up their work.

  2. 202
    Hank Roberts says:

    Also for Anne T Cyclone, this conclusion on your temperature page lacks a cite, where did you get this?

    “It generally accepted that the first warming period was natural and the second was a result of CO2 and other anthropogenic greenhouse gases. If this is the case then it appears that anthropogenic warming affects land in different way to the oceans whereas natural warming does not. Another possible explanation is that despite the efforts of meteorologists to minimise heat island effects the higher land temperatures are caused by extra heat sources around and based temperature measurements.”

  3. 203
    L. David Cooke says:

    RE: 175

    Hey Ike,

    Just for starters I will suggest growing up on the East Coast of Florida prior to widespread Air Conditioning and the humidity making swamp coolers ineffective trying to find a cool place was important.

    In the region there are several small fresh water ponds and lakes and during the 60’s, when the gators were in decline, the fear of swimming in these bodies of water was much lower, as the wild gators realized their future was related to keeping their distance from humans.

    Hence, the young would seek out these ponds when ever they could convince one of the neighbor hood mothers to “carry them to the lake”. As would be expected and can be noticed in public pools in summer heating of the water was not an issue, most felt like a public heated bath rather then a cool plunge into refreshing water. That is except for those ponds with either a significant density of tannic acid or especially turbidity from either algae or stirred up sediments. Interestingly these ponds had exceptionally cool water just a few feet below the surface.

    The point, is if the sea ice is melting there is no conflict with that or the heat countered by the melt. However, as to the depth of penetration of this heat that can be similar to a discussion on atmospheric optical depth, with the Sea Wiffs package offering a small insight as to regions where there may be lower temperatures in the ocean water column.

    Here is a small sample of papers discussing models derived from spot observations: (corrected version)

    Here is an interesting sample (see charts at the bottom) that seems to run contrary to the theory of optical depth reduction results in lower water column temperatures.

    Here is an example of using the plankton signature from remote sensing as a signal as to the water temperature and fishing clues.

    Here is a nice bit of information regarding some rough approximations or documents large scale phenomena as it pertains to global heat flow:

    This is just for starters, I am sure there are significant other papers and studies that could be referenced however, I wanted to simply demonstrate that what I am suggesting is not unique…, and provide a little simple material for others, less technical, if they are interested.

    Dave Cooke

  4. 204
    chris says:

    re #188

    Alex , Yes one can be fooled by “easily understand”(able) points. A simple misrepresentation, asserted with confidence, can be rather convincing if one lacks the knowledge/expertise to address the particular issue properly. Have a look at this easily understandable point of Pielke’s and see what category (“misinformation” or “disinformation”) you consider it falls within:

    Click on Pielke’s current blog page under discussion:

    As part of Pielke’s denunciation of the upper ocean heat content part of the “trilogy” of aspects of the climate science that he is disputing (1. Sea level; 2. ocean heat; 3. arctic sea ice), Pielke refers us to a previous page of his blog in which he attempts to portray a major disconnect between predicted and measured accumulated upper ocean heat content:

    you’ll see on that page that Pielke lists an estimate of accumulated upper ocean heat content thus:

    OBSERVED BEST ESTIMATE OF ACCUMULATION Of JOULES [assuming a baseline of zero at the end of 2002].

    2003 ~0 Joules
    2004 ~0 Joules
    2005 ~0 Joules
    2006 ~0 Joules
    2007 ~0 Joules
    2008 ~0 Joules
    2009 ——
    2010 ——
    2011 ——
    2012 ——

    However if we look at the recent published data, estimates of upper ocean heat content are in fact similar to those predicted by modelling based on the radiative imbalance due to an enhanced greenhouse effect. You can see from the Levitus data [*] graphed in the top article of this thread, for example, that this group (correcting for some known biases and other errors in the ocean heat measuring instruments) have measured substantial increases in upper ocean heat; around 5.8 x 10^22 J in the period end 2002 to end 2008. This is a very large amount of accumulated heat – it’s clearly much greater than the “~0 Joules” that Pielke is attempting to pursuade us with. Likewise recent papers by Cazenave et al [**] and Leuliette and Miller [***] find heat content increases in the period 2003/4-2007/8 (a steric- heat uptake portion of 15% and 40-50%, respectively, of the sea level rise during these periods).

    How do you classify that, Alex? misinformation or disinformation? Clearly the readers of Pielke’s site are being misinformed about the science on recent upper ocean heat content, and since Pielke allows no comments on his site, this is unchallengable misinformation. Is Pielke deliberately disinforming his readers? Or might he be unaware of the recent work on this subject? That seems unlikely given his apparently authoritative pronouncements. Does he consider the recent work flawed in some manner, such that it doesn’t override his assertions of “0 Joules“ of accumulated upper ocean heat in every single year since end 2002? It’s difficult to say, since Pielke allows no comments/corrections on his blog….

    What do you think, – mis- or dis-information?

    [*] S. Levitus et al. (2009) Global ocean heat content 1955–2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L07608

    [**] Cazenave A et al. (2009) Sea level budget over 2003-2008: A reevaluation from GRACE space gravimetry, satellite altimetry and Argo Glob. Planet. Change 65, 83-88

    [***] Leuliette EW and Miller L.(2009) Closing the sea level rise budget with altimetry, Argo, and GRACE Geophys Res. Lett. 36, art # L0406

  5. 205
    isotopious says:

    I understand your point. However, looking at climate trends over 30 year periods: If you cannot explain the change in long-term behavior by using short-term data, I fail to see how you would be able to predict long-term behavior.

    For example, stating “sea level has actually flattened since 2006”
    is just as risky as saying “look at the long-term linear trend”.

    [Response: Think about it. It’s the difference between today being cooler than yesterday and still expecting August to be warmer than June. – gavin]

  6. 206
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Isotopious, OK, let’s think about another system with a lot of short-term noise–the stock market. I cannot tell you what the market will do on Monday or a week from now. I cannot tell you with certainty whether a particular stock will rise or fall in the next six months. I can tell you that if you invest over the long haul, you are likely to make money. I don’t have to understand what drives the market on a given day. Now, if I did, I could make a lot of money a whole lot faster. However, most such schemes are wrong and fail spectacularly.

    Another one: Go to Vegas. You will win some and lose some. I can’t tell you whether you’ll be up or down after an hour or two or three. Over the long term, though, the house will win. They know that, too, and that is why they will comp you a hotel room if you get lucky.

    Some systems with very complicated short-term dynamics look a lot more simple over longer timescales.

    ReCAPTCHA likes cricket! sikhs pitches

  7. 207
    isotopious says:


    So greenhouse gases are as fundamental to sea level rise, as axis tilt is to the seasons?

    I would say yes. But sea level rise is not something we invented, therefore greenhouse must have changed in the past as well….Even comparing post-industrial to pre-industrial (ignoring instrumentation limitations) maybe be a waste of time?

  8. 208
    dhogaza says:

    Another one: Go to Vegas. You will win some and lose some. I can’t tell you whether you’ll be up or down after an hour or two or three. Over the long term, though, the house will win.

    Except for Blackjack, the only game where if you play in ways that demonstrate statistical/probalistic knowledge is illegal :)

    I won’t touch Iso … to ignorant for words. Sotty, Iso.

  9. 209
    AZ Climate Watcher says:

    Gavin or others,

    I have a fundamental question that I have not seen raised or answered. Why don’t the measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere (re: Mauna Loa, others) increase at the same rate that man is increasing CO2 releases? It appears that CO2 is increasing linearly while the release of CO2 in the atmosphere by man is increasing exponentially. Perhaps there have been posts in the past or elsewhere on the internet, but I have not seen it. Thanks!

  10. 210
    Hank Roberts says:

    Iso — there are many forcings and many feedbacks. You’re making it too simple.

    Don’t imagine just one cart, one horse, and cart before or after horse.

    What’s different now is that we’re pumping fossil carbon into the air faster than has ever happened– first by burning coal and oil, and now by warming up permafrost and such. In the past the fossil carbon went into the air more slowly as permafrost and such warmed up, but the warming was caused by other things not human action. But those are not the only 2 things happening.

    This (just one example picked by an amateur reader, moi) may help you get more of an idea of past warmings:

    “… We conducted the first synchronously coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model simulation of the transient evolution of global climate from the Last Glacial Maximum 21,000 years ago to the abrupt BA warming 14,500 years ago. Our model reproduces the major features of the evolution of deglacial climate change, including the magnitude of the climate response, suggesting good agreement between
    observed and model climate sensitivity. The model simulates the BA warming as a transient response of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) to the termination of imposed freshwater discharge associated with Heinrich event 1 (H1).
    In the ramped forcing scenario, the freshwater forcing is slowing down gradually in the north Atlantic ocean, but an abrupt warming event occurs before the freshwater forcing zeros out: in four decades, the surface air temperature in GIN Sea shoots up from
    -10oC to above freezing. This abrupt warming is triggered by the sudden switch–on of the GIN convection and the rapid opening the sea ice in the GIN sea….

  11. 211
    Chris Colose says:

    AZ Climate Watcher (208)–

    CO2 is not rising linearly, even though eyeballing many of the graphs does make it look that way.

  12. 212
    jyyh says:

    AZ Climate Watcher: As humanity’s emissions mix in the natural carbon cycle, it is harder to verify the exponential fit to the Keeling (or any) CO2 curve. Were the nature’s carbon sinks cease to funtion, the fit would likely become clear, and show more direct connection to the emissions, but this is not what I like to think about. If I remember correctly, this question has been asked on Tamino’s site somewhere (discussion of C13/C12 ?). Applying exponential fit to positive feedbacks in models very easily leads to scenarios that are catastrophic and incalculable due the many unknowns associated with life on earth in very high temperatures, and I don’t know if it is even necessary to try to predict such scenarios.

    ReCaptcha: cyanide 1,000

  13. 213
  14. 214
    chris says:

    Perusal of Pielke’s recent blog page (that we’re discussing) highlights another disconcerting statement that is likely to mislead the causal reader. Apols for the long account which follows!

    Pielke’s entire rejection of the Copenhagen report statement specifically with respect to ocean heat content is (pasted from his site):


    2. “the increase of heat stored in the ocean”

    NOT TRUE; see:

    Update On A Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions.

    Their has been no statistically significant warming of the upper ocean since 2003.

    We’ve seen that the link to his previous account (“NOT TRUE; see:”) takes the unwitting reader to a spurious analysis that is contradicted by recent science (see my post #204 just above).

    The curious statement is the last one concerning “statistical significance”. This is interesting for two reasons:

    ONE: While Pielke is attempting to pursue the notion that the accumulated upper ocean heat was “~0 Joules” for every year since 2002, he makes no mention of “statistical significance”. He just asserts that these were the “Observed best estimate(s)”. Now that recent data indicates that the upper ocean heat content seems to have increased after all, Pielke wants the issue of “statistical significance” to be brought into the mix. Let’s look at this:

    TWO: Surely a request for statistical significance is admirable! Unfortunately, things are not so straightforward in many aspects of climate science (this would be a worthy discussion point for RealClimate IMHO), and particularly so in this instance. Analysis of statistical significance requires that the nature of random variation is understood and can be assessed. In measuring ocean heat content, one might take a large number of daily measurements, calculate the expected steric sea level rise, and compare these to tide guage or satellite altimeter measurements to assess the inherent variability in the measure of interest. However, while that might allow statistical significance at such and such a confidence level to be assessed with respect to that particular criterion, the analysis might be scuppered by unknown biases in the data (due to malfunctioning in the measurement instruments, or incorrect calibration, or other as yet unknown confounding elements of the system under study).

    Problems of this sort (confounding variables whose influence is unknown or can’t easily be quantitated) are part of the reason that the IPCC reports assign degrees of likelihood to their specific conclusions/interpretations, rather than statistical significance. Statistical significance may either not be readily attainable, or may be calculated only for peripheral elements of the question at hand (often the technical aspects of the measuring methodologies). This applies to lots of “historical” data where the “population” within which statistical analysis can be made is “one” (history has only occurred once). An example would be measuring CO2 levels in ice cores. We can easily determine the statistical significance of the “measures” of CO2 in ice cores (by making multiple measures of samples to generate a population that can be analysed statistically in comparison with samples of air with known CO2 content), but while this allows us to assess the accuracy and precision of the measure of CO2 with respect to random error in measuring CO2, it tells us little about the accuracy of the CO2 measures with respect to the true atmospheric CO2 concentrations at the time the ice was formed, even if information on this might be attainable by other means which can increase our confidence in assigning high likelihoods to the relevance of variability in the cores..

    Let’s go back to Pielke. For Pielke’s assignment of “~ 0 Joules” to the accumulated upper ocean heat content for every year since 2002 (see my post #204 above), he uses the data from Willis et al (2008) [abstract below [***]]. Willis et al (2008) present their data with admirable “error bars”. However Willis et al are careful to make it clear that these error bars only refer to the inherent precision in the measures and can’t be taken to imply statistical significance to the question of whether the upper ocean heat content has changed (or not). They say (my italics):

    The error bars for this curve represent one standard error and were computed by combining the random error in a 60-d average with the overall accuracy of MSL for a single 10-d cycle of the altimeter (~5 mm), determined by comparison with tide gauges [Leuliette et al., 2004]. This gives a standard error of approximately 2 mm for an individual 60-d average. As with all of the error estimates presented here, these errors reflect only random errors that have been quantified in some way, and unknown systematic errors may remain.

    In fact there is a “systematic error” somewhere in the Willis et al analysis, although this isn’t necessarily in the heat content measure. That’s clear from the abstract of their paper (see below [***]; my italics).

    The recent data [Levitus et al (2009); Cazenave et al (2009) Leuliette and Miller (2009) cited in my post #204 above] addresses the problem of the systematic long term errors that preclude “closing” of the “sea level budget” and come to the conclusion that the accumulated upper heat content is a significant contribution to recent sea level rise (and the “sea level budget” can now be closed).

    So one needs to be careful in assertions about the “statistical significance”. Personally, I would consider that the data in the three 2009 papers on ocean heat content constitute a significant advance in recent years in our understanding of upper ocean heat content and reinforce the Copenhagen Synthesis Report statement that “..Some aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago..”. In Pielke’s terminology, these are now the “observed best estimate” of accumulated upper ocean heat. Are they “statistically significant”? No…(it depends what one means by statistical significance, but no more or no less than Pielke’s now outdated “measures” of upper heat content). Has our confidence risen in the likelihood that the upper ocean heat content has increased in recent years? Yes. Is everything sorted now? No. There is still uncertainty – we need longer term assessment of the oceans.

    Basically, one shouldn’t jump on short term data at the “fuzzy” leading edge of scientific advance and pretend that the ambiguities clearly described by the scientists don’t exist, in order to assert apparently simple conclusions about the entire edifice of the subject at had (“global warming”!).

    [***] Josh K. Willis et al. (2008) Assessing the globally averaged sea level budget on seasonal to interannual timescales J. Geophys. Res. 113, C06015.


    [1] Analysis of ocean temperature and salinity data from profiling floats along with satellite measurements of sea surface height and the time variable gravity field are used to investigate the causes of global mean sea level rise between mid-2003 and mid-2007. The observed interannual and seasonal fluctuations in sea level can be explained as the sum of a mass component and a steric (or density related) component to within the error bounds of each observing system. During most of 2005, seasonally adjusted sea level was approximately 5 mm higher than in 2004 owing primarily to a sudden increase in ocean mass in late 2004 and early 2005, with a negligible contribution from steric variability. Despite excellent agreement of seasonal and interannual sea level variability, the 4-year trends do not agree, suggesting that systematic long-period errors remain in one or more of these observing systems.

  15. 215
    Martin Vermeer says:

    #208 AZ Climate Watcher:

    I have a fundamental question that I have not seen raised or answered. Why don’t the measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere (re: Mauna Loa, others) increase at the same rate that man is increasing CO2 releases? It appears that CO2 is increasing linearly while the release of CO2 in the atmosphere by man is increasing exponentially.

    Actually the measurements at Mauna Loa do increase at the same rate as anthropogenic CO2 releases, after taking into account that roughly half of the stuff is drawn down again by the ocean and biosphere.

    If you look at the whole Keeling curve from Mauna Loa, you see that it is most certainly not linear: it is the sum of a pre-industrial background (280 ppmv) and the cumulative antropogenic contribution, which is well approximated by an exponential. If you look at a small part of the curve, for a short span of years e.g., it will indeed look linear, as with any smooth curve as can be demonstrated by a Taylor expansion.


    BTW I like the new format. Only, ‘recent comments’ is poorer now. Can we have back the subcategorization by post title?

  16. 216
    curious says:

    Curious at 23 – please could you use a different name? Two of us using the same name could lead to confusion. Thanks

  17. 217
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Isotopious, You’re jumping from “A causes B” to “If A causes B, it must be the only cause of B”. Just for fun, google Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).

  18. 218
    Mark says:

    “The point you’d get if you took a look at the literature is, contrails or that is to say the –contents– of contrails appear to nucleate clouds that can become far larger than the original contrail.”

    And do you get a lot of stratocumulous from this?

  19. 219
    Anne van der Bom says:

    Alex Harvey,
    4 July 2009 at 9:48 AM

    when we come here and find hundreds of commenters attacking Pielke’s character, calling him names, and mocking him.

    Hundreds? Let’s not make this too difficult for you. I challenge you to find more than 5.

  20. 220
    G. Karst says:

    Re: 189 Anne T Cyclone 4 July 2009 at 10:26 AM

    Thank you so much for the site link @ climate data. I found it refreshing to see the same old data reformatted. I agree that this site seems to be genuinely interested in the science of climate change. Makes me want to hear more of your interesting perspectives. Please continue to rise above the conformist pressure.

  21. 221
    L. David Cooke says:

    RE: 208

    Hey AZ Climate Watcher,

    I too have observed that if you look at the apparent rise in the spot CO2 measurements since 1850 there is significant rise in CO2 that does not match the global average temperature. This would suggest that there had to be a delay and that temperature follows CO2.

    However, we have an issue in that the anthropogenic contribution of CO2 at the time was small enough to not have contributed to the increase. It is likely the natural CO2 respiration would easily have encompassed the contribution from human emissions.

    This would have a tendency to suggest that there had to be another process that was the root cause of the initial noted rise in CO2. If we look at the other anthropogenic activities at the time it was likely that the the conversion of land area from natural old growth to farm and rangeland may have been playing a part. However, it is unlikely that there was enough change due to human activities to prompt the rise in CO2 until late in the 19th Century.

    However, the most recent change since about 1952 does indeed seem to demonstrate a linkage between human emissions and the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. So where there may not be supporting evidence of a human source prior to the middle of the 20th Century does not invalidate the current push to reduce the emissions.

    That there could have been a natural process such as an increase in sunspot effects or changes in ocean biota or even aerosol changes resulting in cloud cover as a result of volcanic activity or drought, may explain the earlier deviation. However, the exponential change since 1970 has the clear footprint of man.

    So though there may have been a natural condition suggesting the original rise, even if it were simply related to the change in human presence up until 1890. The current phenomena and concern are based on clear scientific principles related to emissions.

    This may be one of those cases in which there maybe multiple CO2 emission participants… Hopefully, there will be future funding to allow the deeper analysis to see if the breadth of the CO2 and temperature mean range (indications of multiple peaks) in the derived data set between 1750 and 1950 indicates multiple participants. In the meantime the scientific analysis to date, indicates that since 1950, the clear primary participant in the CO2 and temperature rise are related.

    Dave Cooke

  22. 222
    steve says:

    chris #204: are dis-information or mis-information our only choices? There seems to be a lot of factors that go into sea level attribution and measurement. We can be so confident in this analysis of sea levels to tell someone they are wrong because they are relying on direct temperature measurements of the oceans since there are problems with this form of measurement? We know they should instead be relying on an attribution of sea levels with it’s own inherent problems and if they aren’t they are misinformed or disingenuous? I think you have made a leap of faith in your assessment. My assessment is that a fair statement would be to say the sea level attributions and the ocean temperature measurements do not agree.

  23. 223
    ccpo says:

    A true citizen of the planet:

    Gary North: Global Warming Is Fake. What Matters Is Why This Fakery Is Being Promoted

    How does it feel to be called liars outright, RealClimate?

    Socialism’s Last Stand

    The global warming movement is not about global warming. It is about the creation of an international political control arrangement by which bureaucrats who favor socialism can gain control over the international economy.

    Pretty scary stuff for a patriotic 4th of July!

    [Response: Busted! That’s exactly what we discuss at those ‘international’ meetings… -gavin]

  24. 224
    EL says:

    Looks good on firefox 3

    Looks a little funky on internet explorer 6. The banner isn’t displayed correctly on the browser.

    You can delete this post =)

  25. 225
    Grand Moff Texan says:

    when we come here and find hundreds of commenters attacking Pielke’s character

    That’s because Pielke is still citing information he knows to be wrong. Therefore, he has no character.

    If you had actually read the criticism you’re whining about, you’d know that.

  26. 226
    EL says:

    Example of Header:
    1 July 2009
    More bubkes
    Filed under:

    * Climate Science

    — group @ 9:09 PM

    The date may look better at the bottom alongside the time. [delete me]

  27. 227
    Doug Bostrom says:

    #222 Steve:

    “My assessment is that a fair statement would be to say the sea level attributions and the ocean temperature measurements do not agree.”

    You’re right, but acknowledging that should not become another rationale for evasion from dealing with AGW.

    The fundamental properties of water are not in question. At bottom we know what will happen if the temperature of the sea rises. The water will expand, and ultimately finding no other place to go will take the only available path for relief, that is to say up and out.

    Here we have water in a complex system with undoubtedly some ambiguous or even completely unknown mechanisms at play, but at the end of the day as the water warms it’s going to expand. Is the expansion going to override the “noise” of unattributed changes in sea level? It’s fair to answer “yes” if the water is a sink for eye-popping amounts of heat, which seems to be the case.

    Attempting to use sea level measurements to show that climate change is not happening is to use a poor proxy in attacking AGW; if we accept that water expands when it warms the argument ultimately hinges on denying a source for increased heat in the water.

    Not that I’m saying that’s what you’re doing, but sea level seems to another area where folks who’re having a hard time with intellectually grasping AGW are lost in a forest measurement minutia, forgetting that the underlying drivers of AGW as well as some of it’s more gross physical effects are not really disputable.

  28. 228
    Hank Roberts says:

    I’d like to know more about
    The names of the people associated with the site aren’t available.
    It seems to be a feedback tool for blog opinions, that multiplies them.

    It’s terribly poorly proofread.

    They seem to rely on a lot of uncited claims from blogs, without distinguishing scientists’ writing from commenters’ writing.

    They rely a lot on 2008’s web-poll” #1 science site” for info.

    Their search tool searches selected blogs, not scientific papers.

  29. 229
    Hank Roberts says:

    Well, one thing might be useful for is a quick guide to the currently popular notions that blog-commenters think might explain away the science.

    Take this, from the climatedata site–no sources given, they’re just ‘teaching the controversy’ — their Temperatures page.

    They start off with the Wegman error, taking the hand-drawn curve from the early IPCC and claiming it’s based on data that supports European Medieval warming, although North corrected that mistake in the same hearings and subsequently.

    Then they show a lot of pictures of graphs. Oooh, pictures.

    They end that page with “… During the second warming period land temperatures increased rapidly compared to sea temperatures and have continued to do so even though the rate of temperature increase has levelled off since the start of this century. It generally accepted that the first warming period was natural and the second was a result of CO2 and other anthropogenic greenhouse gases. If this is the case then it appears that anthropogenic warming affects land in different way to the oceans whereas natural warming does not. Another possible explanation is that despite the efforts of meteorologists to minimise heat island effects the higher land temperatures are caused by extra heat sources around and based temperature measurements.”
    (All errors of spelling and grammar are in the original)

    Try their search tool for, say,

    land sea temperature warming

    Get it? They’ll show you blog comments about it. Overwhelmingly WTF

    Compare the above to the science that Google Scholar finds, e.g.:

    Land/sea warming ratio in response to climate change: IPCC AR4
    model results and comparison with observations

    “… Climate model simulations consistently show that in
    response to greenhouse gas forcing surface temperatures
    over land increase more rapidly than over sea. The
    enhanced warming over land is not simply a transient
    effect, since it is also present in equilibrium conditions. We
    examine 20 models from the IPCC AR4 database. The
    global land/sea warming ratio varies in the range 1.36–1.84,
    independent of global mean temperature change. In the
    presence of increasing radiative forcing, the warming ratio
    for a single model is fairly constant in time, implying that
    the land/sea temperature difference increases with time. The
    warming ratio varies with latitude, with a minimum in
    equatorial latitudes, and maxima in the subtropics. A simple
    explanation for these findings is provided, and comparisons
    are made with observations….”

  30. 230
    Brian Dodge says:

    I debated whether to clutter up the thread with a followup to my earlier inaccurate analysis of the IJIS Arctic ice area. For reasons which are made obvious at the end of my post, I decided to sally forth. Sekerob 4 July 2009 at 8:31 AM noted that 2008 was a leap year(nice catch!-thanks), for which I lazily failed to account. This led me to compare 2009 with 2008 ice extent on a day by day basis, from January 1 through July 2, the last day of the data I downloaded, using spreadsheet statistical functions of which I have a rudimentary understanding. On average, 2009 ice extent for the first 181 days is 0.084% higher than 2008. The standard deviation is 1.317%, the minimum is -2.844% below 2008, the maximum is 2.636% above 2008, the average absolute daily change is 0.332%, and the maximum daily change is 1.381%. Although it is true that on June 30, when Dr Pielke said that “Since 2008, the anomalies have actually decreased.” 2009 ice extent was 0.285% above the same day(181) of 2008, by July 2 it was -0.257%, below 2008. It’s my opinion that statistically speaking,
    Dr. Pielke is

    (Wait for it)

    on thin ice. &;>)

    (rimshot from the band; groans from the audience: Sorry, guys, but I couldn’t resist)

  31. 231
    Anne van der Bom says:

    Grand Moff Texan
    5 July 2009 at 11:19 AM

    If you examine the comments, you’ll see that the vast majority, if not all, are attacking his work, not his character.

  32. 232
    Martin Vermeer says:

    If you examine the comments, you’ll see that the vast majority, if not all, are attacking his work, not his character.

    Not even his work (scientific career, which is impressive) but rather this particular hack job.

    The two juxtaposed are puzzling. There is more here than meets the eye.

  33. 233
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Gary North

    Quoting a posting by “LewRockwell” — likely a reference to “paleolibertarian’ strategist Lew Rockwell” — description from:

    These people don’t understand irony.

  34. 234
    Theo Hopkins says:

    @true citizen of this planet, #223

    I write as a UK citizen.

    I quite enjoyed Gary North’s diatribe on soc-ial-ism (hyphens because anti-spam sees the name of a well known drug here), Oregon Petition and Global Freezing in Newsweek.

    I often wonder how many Yanks who rant against soc-ila-ism have ever left the US and actually visited such a country. And why when I lived in the US I never met these ranters.

    On the Oregon Petition.

    I have read up the petition and a criticism of it as it is often quoted (usually just as 10,000 scientists say…..) in the UK press. However, US critics of the petition seem to only address the science and shenanigans around the science. Maybe as an outsider what is blindingly obvious to me is that it is a political document first of all – the first of the two paragraphs is political. It is quite reasonable for lots of people to reject Kyoto for any number of reasons, and to sign up to the petition because of that and their own politics; the second papa can be seen as just supplementary to the first. It is _not_ a scientific petition, it is a political petition.

    On Global Cooling (circa 1975).

    I am probably one of the very few people on this website who actually read the Newsweek global cooling article at the time it was published. (Good chance even Gavin didn’t?).

    At the time I was working in the Sultanate of Oman setting up a furniture factory and working on the shop floor. The factory was un-air-conditioned. Indeed, at that time most places in Oman were un-air-conditioned. That I was reading Newsweek was that, then, the only two English language news publications available were this and Time. No other newspapers of any sort from any other country, unless you had a friend at the air-strip who would pick up discarded newspapers left by passengers. So that’s why I read it.

    Global cooling seemed a Very Good Idea! (Conditions then were so hard in Oman then that the US embassy staff were awarded three years service for each two years actually served).

    Now, in 1975 I was a campaigning environmentalist (if the word “environmentalist” had then been actually minted?). When I got back home in 1976, with my wedge in my back pocket, the local Friends of the Earth group I worked with had never ever heard of global cooling. They were still doing things like getting lead out of petrol (impossible, said the industry) and mad ideas like local councils collecting recycled stuff, of all crazy things, from outside your house.

    Point is. I can tell you that the environmental movement in the UK were never campaigning to stop global cooling, for by not reading Newsweek, they had never heard about it. Environmentalists being worried about cooling is a fiction, at least in the UK.

  35. 235

    ccpo wrote in 223:

    A true citizen of the planet:

    Gary North: Global Warming Is Fake. What Matters Is Why This Fakery Is Being Promoted

    How does it feel to be called liars outright, RealClimate?

    Gary North is a “libertarian” that makes other libertarians nervous.

    Please see:

    Mainstream outlets like the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post are finally starting to take note of the influence Rushdoony and his followers have exerted for years in American conservative circles. But a second part of the story, of particular interest to readers of this magazine, is the degree to which Reconstructionists have gained prominence in libertarian causes, ranging from hard-money economics to the defense of home schooling. “Christian economist” Gary North, Rushdoony’s son-in-law and star polemicist of the Reconstructionist movement, is widely cited as a spokesman for free markets, if not exactly free minds; he even served for a brief time on the House staff of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 1988, when Paul was a member of Congress in the ’70s. For his part, Rushdoony has blandly described himself to the press as a critic of “statism” and even as a “Christian libertarian.” Say what?

    Invitation to a Stoning
    Getting cozy with theocrats
    Walter Olson | November 1998 Print Edition

    If you are wondering what the reference to a “stoning” means, as a member of the Reconstructionist/Dominionist movement, he believes that society should be reconstructed in accordance with all Old Testament law which has not specifically been rescinded by later revelation:

    Theonomy (Greek for “God’s Law”) includes the concept that “God’s revealed standing laws are a reflection of His immutable moral character and, as such, are absolute in the sense of being nonarbitrary, objective, universal, and established in advance of particular circumstances (thus applicable to general types of moral situations).” 6,7 Thus, each of the 613 laws given to Moses and recorded in the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Hebrew Scriptures) are binding on people of all nations, cultures, and religions forever, except for those laws which have been specifically rescinded or modified by further revelation.


    I would guess that dealing with global warming isn’t that high on the list of priorities for those that believe the end of the world is nigh.

  36. 236

    In 228 Hank Roberts gave us the following link:

    Land/sea warming ratio in response to climate change: IPCC AR4
    model results and comparison with observations

    I had been wondering why it would be the case that, even after equilibriation, land will have warmed more than water. Then I thought, “Deserts.” (No, not, “Desserts.”)

    Much of the heat that is lost by the surface is lost due to latent heat — heat lost due to evaporation. This will be more of a factor over water than over land, and therefore water will cool more efficiently just as moister climates cool more efficiently than deserts. And this is the solution they hit on — although it is expressed more rigorously and backed up by empirical evidence.

    And now I finally know. Sweet.

  37. 237
    sidd says:

    steve writes:

    “My assessment is that a fair statement would be to say the sea level attributions and the ocean temperature measurements do not agree.”

    In addition to the papers cited by chris, I would like to add Meier’s work on continental(not including Greenland or Antarctica) ice loss. Steve may discover that we are much closer to reconciling the oceanic heat content/ice mass wasting/sea level rise measurements than we were two years ago. And the twin blades of global and local analysis (see e.g. Luthcke and Velicogna calculations) are closing in on good estimates of the isostatic rebound corrections to the GRACE data on polar ice mass loss. The GOCE statellite will add to that data in the near future.

  38. 238
    Deech56 says:

    RE: #223 ccpo says (quoting Gary North):
    5 July 2009 at 11:00 AM
    “Socialism’s Last Stand

    “The global warming movement is not about global warming. It is about the creation of an international political control arrangement by which bureaucrats who favor socialism can gain control over the international economy!”

    So will the International Climate Police fly in on green, solar-powered helicopters? Gavin, we want to know! (Also just finishing up Schmidt and Wolfe – excellent book.)

    Captcha: morphine Colombo

    [Response: I like that- the green helicopter brigade! – gavin]

  39. 239
    Scott says:

    #280 The funny thing about using numbers like this is that due to the inherent uncertainty when computing the ice edge you have the possibility of a large error, from IJIS web site

    In principle, SIC data could have errors of 10% at most, particularly for the area of thin sea ice seen around the edge of sea-ice cover and melted sea ice seen in summer. Also, SIC along coastal lines could also have errors due to sub-pixel contamination of land cover in an instantaneous field of view of AMSR-E data.

    I don’t think the differences between 2008-2009 approach meaningful at this point.

  40. 240
    John Mashey says:

    re: #229 Hank =

    Ronald E Manley, a hydrologist and Director of Water Resource Associates


    Dr Patrick Reynolds, whose climate change page is here.

    By and large, the quick sample of material that I saw looked fairly rational, with occasional opinions or fuzziness that might come from someone who wasn’t quite up to speed on some details (like UHI corrections). But, it not a bad compendium of information. They clearly did some work. They usefully identified some denialist sites I hadn’t seen.

    Reading waterstress, it “feels” like this is a way to:

    a) Provide a website that might draw traffic, including from companies.

    b) Get people to look at water issues, in which they do consulting, and that are certainly related to climate change. More places ought to be worried about climate change issues and water.

    That seems like a legitimate marketing approach for water consultancy services, if the basic website is reasonable.

    My temptation would be to politely point out errors or fuzzinesses and see what happens.

  41. 241
    James says:

    Theo Hopkins says (5 July 2009 at 3:00 PM):

    “I quite enjoyed Gary North’s diatribe on soc-ial-ism (hyphens because anti-spam sees the name of a well known drug here)…”

    Which I suppose says something about me, because I didn’t see it, and still have no idea what it is.

    “I often wonder how many Yanks who rant against soc-ila-ism have ever left the US and actually visited such a country.”

    While I don’t like to think I rant, you’d certainly have to count me among the opponents, and I have spent a good bit of time in the UK. While there are a great many things I liked about the place, from the Ridgeway Path to the Great Glen, the social system was not one. Especially having to guard my bike & pack from freelance so-cial-ists :-)

    “And why when I lived in the US I never met these ranters.”

    Limited circle of acquaintance?

  42. 242
    Hank Roberts says:

    Thanks John, I’d be very curious what experts think about their choice of data sets — of which they say:

    “All supplementary data presented on this site were obtained form perr [sic] reviewed sources …. Data sets from all climate change proxies (e.g. tree rings, ice core) have been added to the site in order to allow the user to compare with each other and against a variety of recorded climate events.

    All data sets are downloadable and are presented in an immediately useable form for both policy makers, scientists and general interested persons alike….”

    Well, if they have everything and keep their copies updated, ok.

    Good to know who’s behind it, I’ll look them up.
    I’ll give the new site’s contact link a try if I notice more oddities.
    And I’ll mail them the info about the 1990 IPCC curve that they missed.

  43. 243
    L. David Cooke says:

    RE: 236

    Hey Timothy Chase,

    I just wanted to comment that there is little doubt that as Hank suggests, based on large scale observations and models, the surface of the land would be much more likely to increase in temperature as it appears land retains IR more readily then the ocean. (Yes, radiative versus convective transport likely plays a part.)

    On a small scale there is supporting evidence related to insolation and the zone where incoming UV converts to IR. Generally, UV reaching the oceans surface penetrates deeper into the liquid translucent mass of the ocean. As opposed to the UV being stopped quite quickly by the denser solid Terra Firma.

    The primary difference is related to heat content versus depth of penetration. Heat energy with less penetration would appear to result in a higher temperature on a surface. Meaning the daily penetration of insolation in, say soft dry sand is generally lower then ocean water. (At the same time it is useful to keep in mind an additional principle, that a mass with a greater albedo will be slower in releasing added energy.

    (A nice empirical experiment would be to take a trip to the nearest sea coast. For instance, a small ocean inlet on the East Coast of FL has a monthly flood tidal pool that is surrounded by a wide band of soft beach sand. During the summer, during the monthly full or new moon, you can do a simple experiment simply measuring the temperature of the surface of the sand versus the surface of the tidal pool and taking a separate measure of say both mediums at say 6 inches depth.)

    (For me, as a young child chasing Fiddler Crabs around the tidal pool, it quickly became apparent the water was cooler then the sand. What made it even more interesting was that you could shuffle your feet through the sand and actually keep them cool. The problem was the stinging red band around your ankles where after a hour of plowing through the sand you would have 1st degree burns…)

    Dave Cooke

  44. 244
    isotopious says:

    Ray, my point is:

    How do you know 100 years (20cm sea level rise) is a long-term trend (in the context of planetary temp).

    Very powerful adding another zero. Maybe we should add another one?

    p.s. if the temp keeps rising can you throw me a Life raft?

  45. 245
    Hank Roberts says:

    isotopious — “know” from the published science.


    Are you reading the science? If you want proof, how would you find it?

  46. 246
    Eli Rabett says:

    #241, James, it is the free market in stolen bikes that lead to theft not the right to bike soc-ial-ists. The solution is quite simple, own the crummiest bike in town. Works for me, and the bike gets me where I want to go. Sort of the same principle as driving. who’s gonna get the right of way, the $100,000 Porsche, or the $100 Ford?

  47. 247
    Ron Broberg says:

    @iso:244 re sea level

    Here is a reconstruction for the US NE coast for the last 7000 years – the rate decreases from 2.4mm/year 7000 years ago to about 1mm/year 1000 years ago.

    Here is another for Eastern Chuckhi Sea (NW Alaska)
    The rate is about 0.27mm/year for the last 6000 years

    And a composite from several sources:
    (Scroll down to get the citations)

    So long term trends on the scale of thousands of years, iso, have been very much lower than today’s sea level rise. A life raft won’t keep you from drowning in a sea of smugness. But by all means, keep sneering and blindly throwing up straw men. It’s like shooting clay pigeons. It gets easier the more I practice and the less cogent your arguments. :-)

  48. 248
    Ron Broberg says:

    Oops. Typing too fast. Re my previous post:

    NE US should read 2.5 mm/yr 7000 years ago to 1.3 mm/yr 1000 years ago.

    And the correct spelling is Chukchi Sea.

  49. 249
    isotopious says:

    from Wiki:
    “It should be noted that some authors propose the existence of significant short-term fluctuations in sea level such that the sea level curve might oscillate up and down about this ~1 kyr mean state. Others dispute this and argue that sea level change has been a smooth and gradual process for essentially the entire length of the Holocene..”

    Wow. Short-term = ~1 kyr mean state?

  50. 250
    Dean says:

    I suppose that those of you who responded technically to Pielke Sr’s post have seen that he has responded on his blog, to criticisms based on papers from Levitus, Cazenave, and Leuliette.