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So how did that global cooling bet work out?

Filed under: — group @ 22 November 2010

Two and a half years ago, a paper was published in Nature purporting to be a real prediction of how global temperatures would develop, based on a method for initialising the ocean state using temperature observations (Keenlyside et al, 2008) (K08). In the subsequent period, this paper has been highly cited, very often in a misleading way by contrarians (for instance, Lindzen misrepresents it on a regular basis). But what of the paper’s actual claims, how are they holding up?

At the time K08 was published, we wrote two posts on the topic pointing out that a) the methodology was not very mature (and in our opinion, not likely to work), and b) that the temperature predictions being made (for the 10 year overlapping periods Nov 2000-Oct 2010, Nov 2005-Oct 2015 etc.), were very unlikely to come true. These critiques were framed as a bet to see whether the authors were serious about their predictions, similar in conception to other bets that have been offered on climate related matters. This offer was studiously ignored by the scientists involved, who may have thought the whole exercise was beneath them. Oh well.

However, with the publication of the October 2010 temperatures from HadCRUT, the first prediction period has now ended, and so the predictions can be assessed. Looking first at the global mean temperatures…

we can see clearly that while K08 projected 0.06ºC cooling, the temperature record from HadCRUT (which was the basis of the bet) shows 0.07ºC warming (using GISTEMP, it is 0.11ºC). As in K08 this refers to T(Nov 2000:Oct 2010) as compared to T(Nov 1994:Oct 2004). For reference, the IPCC AR4 ensemble gives 0.129±0.075ºC (1\sigma) (and a range of -0.07 to 0.30ºC related to internal variability in the simulations) (using full annual means).

More interestingly, we can look at the regional pattern. The K08 supplemental data showed their predicted anomaly along with anomalies from a free-running version of their model the standard IPCC results for the 2005-2015 period (which is half over), rather than the 2000-2010 period, but the patterns might be expected to be similar:

The anomalies are with respect to the average of all the decadal periods they looked at, which is roughly (though not exactly equal to) a 1955-2004 baseline. The actual temperature changes for 2000-2010, using GISTEMP for convenience, look like this:

It is striking to what extent they resemble the spatial pattern seen in the AR4 ensemble free-running version rather than the initiallised forecast, though there are also some correlations there too (for instance, west of the Antarctic peninsula, related to the ozone-hole and GHG related increase in the Southern Annular Mode).

It is worth emphasising that the RC bet offer was not frivolously made, but reflected some very clear indications in the paper that the predictions would not come true (as explained in our second post). Specifically, their ‘free’ model run, without data assimilation, performed better in hindcasts when compared to observed data, i.e. the new assimilation technique degraded the model performance. Both previous hindcasts showing cooling of the model were wrong. Since global warming took off in the 1970s, the observed data have never shown a cooling in their chosen metric (ten-year means spaced 5 years apart). Other climate models run for standard global warming scenarios only rarely show this level of cooling. On the other hand, there is a simple explanation for such a temporary cooling in a model: an artifact known as ‘coupling shock’ (e.g. Rahmstorf 1995), which arises when the ocean is switched over from a forced to a coupled mode of operation, something that has no counterpart in the real world.

The basic issue is that nudging surface temperatures in the North Atlantic closer to observed data would probably nudge the Atlantic overturning circulation in the wrong direction since changing the temperature without changing the salinity will give the opposite buoyancy forcing to what would be needed. The model indeed shows negative skill in the critical regions of the North Atlantic which are most affected by the overturning circulation. All this can be seen from the paper. Last but not least, by the time the paper was published three quarters of the 2000-2010 forecast period were over with no sign of the predicted cooling – barring an unprecedented massive temperature drop, the prediction was always very unlikely.

Was this then an “improved climate prediction“? The answer is clearly no.

So what can we conclude? First off, the basic idea of short term predictions using initialised ocean data is a priori a good one. Many groups around the world are exploring to what extent this is possible, and what techniques will be the most successful. However, before claiming that a new methodology is an improvement on other efforts and that it predicts a very counter-intuitive result, a lot of effort is required to demonstrate that even theoretically or in ideal circumstances that it will work. This can involve ‘perfect model’ experiments (where you test to see whether you can predict the evolution of a model simulation given only what we know about the real world), or hindcasts (as used by K08), and only where there is demonstrated skill is there any point in making a prediction for the real world. It is nonetheless important to try new methods, and even when they fail, lessons can be learned about how to improve things going forward.

It is perhaps inevitable that novel prediction methods that appear to ‘go against the mainstream’ are going to be higher profile than they warrant in retrospect – such is the way of the world. But scientists need to appreciate that these high profile statements will be taken and spread far more widely than they possibly anticipate. Thus it behoves them to be scrupulous in explaining the context, giving the caveats and making clear the experimental nature of any new result. This is undoubtedly hard, especially where there are people ready to twist anything to fit an anti-AGW agenda, but we should at least try.

Note, we asked Noel Keenlyside if he wanted to comment on our assessment of their prediction, and he declined to do so. We would be still be happy to post any of his or his co-authors comments in response though.

Update Dec 2: The Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper (in German) followed up on this and got the following comments from the authors:


“The forecast for global mean temperature which we published highlights the ability of natural variability to cause climate fluctuations on decadal scale, even on a global scale. I am still completely convinced that this is correct.”


“I do not want to comment on this.”

Then an indirect quote: the fact that warming for 2000-2010 was greater than predicted in their study does in itself not speak against their study, and then

“You have to look at this long-term. I would not weigh a few years earlier or later too much.” But if the forecast turns out to be wrong by 2015, “I will be the last one to deny it”.

252 Responses to “So how did that global cooling bet work out?”

  1. 51
    Bradley says:

    Why are you using a ten year mean? I assume the forecast numbers are not 10 year means, so what is the basis for that choice? I’m not saying Keenlyside et al got anything right, they obviously didn’t. However, I think if you plotted their forecasts against a two or three year running average they wouldn’t look nearly as bad. I’m not sure about this, and the fact that people on both sides of the debate tend to carefully choose a y-axis scale that makes graphs look a particular way doesn’t help. I do seem to remember that the HadCRUT3 linear annual global temperature trend for the last 10 years was almost flat, though that may be an outdated recollection that doesn’t include the recent record months that 2010 contained. Regardless, I just thought the choice of showing 10 year means every five years was a bit unusual and wondered if there was a reason for it. Thanks.

    [Response: All of the averaging choices are the ones used in K08. – gavin]

  2. 52
    Brian Dodge says:

    I noted a few things reading through “Cosmic rays linked to rapid mid-latitude cloud changes” (the OT paper).

    “….the differential cloud change (dcc) of each day is equal to daily average cloud change (x), minus an averaging period of three days which begins five days prior to each date,… ”
    “The VIS anomalies are slightly smaller than their IR-detected counterparts; such differences between the IR/VIS channels are likely attributable to the limited observing periodicity of VIS detections, which are restricted to the circle of illumination, and are therefore unable to consider cloud amount during night-time periods. Consequently, this produces differences in the daily averaged cloud amounts observed between IR/VIS channels.”

    Looking at their figure 3, the IR(day-night average) anomalies are ~3-5 times larger than the VIS(daytime). In the case where there is, for example, a 3% VIS(daytime) anomaly, and a correlated 9% IR(day-night average) anomaly, there must be a 15% nighttime anomaly – (3% +15%)/2 = 18%/2 = 9% average. This is true for negative (blue) and positive(red) “first order derivative” changes in cloud cover anomalies – note the areas northeast of the coast of Brazil and north of Australia. Nighttime increases in cloud cover will contribute to global warming – only daytime changes and the concurrent increase in albedo would give negative forcing.

    “…a second-order relationship may be more likely (i.e. that cloud changes only occur with GCR changes if atmospheric conditions are suitable). Indeed, evidence of second order relationships between GCR and cloud variations has been implied by the results of Harrison and Ambaum (2009).”

    IMHO, another second order relationship may be acting. The suitable atmospheric conditions for cloud formation are moisture, dew point temperatures, and cloud condensation nuclei. GCRs are posited to increase the availability of CCN. The physics underlying the lapse rate will insure dew point temperatures at some level in the atmospheric column, although the level will increase with global warming (the resulting high(er) clouds may give a positive feedback). Warmer surface temperatures will result in more moisture available for cloud formation (see the work of Richard Lindzen). This paper shows that GCR changes which increase cloudiness result in bigger nighttime changes, which should be warming: why wouldn’t increases in water vapor due to global warming, with suitable GCRs/CCN and temperature conditions, do the same thing?

    This paper is another nail in the Lindzen Iris Effect coffin.

  3. 53
    Edward Greisch says:

    1 Todd Albert and 17 Vendicar Decarian: Humans continue to believe wrong theories despite not only contradictory evidence but also severe punishment.
    Reference”Merchants of Doubt” by Oreskes and Conway pages 237 and 238: “This is the common thread that ties these diverse issues together: they were all market failures. They are instances where serious damage was done and the free market seemed unable to account for it, much less prevent it. Government intervention was required. This is why free market ideologues and Cold Warriors joined together to fight them. Accepting that by-products of industrial civilization were irreparably damaging the global environment was to accept the reality of market failure. It was to acknowledge the limits of free market capitalism.

    Orwell understood that those in power will always seek to control history, because whoever controls the past controls the present. So our Cold Warriors—Fred Seitz and Fred Singer, Robert Jastrow and Bill Nierenberg, and later Dixy Lee Ray, too, who had dedicated their lives to fighting Soviet Communism, joined forces with the self-appointed defenders of the free market to blame the messenger, to undermine science, to deny the truth, and to market doubt. People who began their careers as fact finders ended them as fact fighters. Evidently accepting that their ends justified their means , they embraced the tactics of their enemy, the very things they had hated Soviet Communism for: its lies, its deceits, its denial of the very realities it had created.”

    Formerly great scientists had apparently taken economic theory as a religion rather than as a theory with limits of applicability like any other theory. Somehow economics became more important or more of a religion than science. Adam Smith was born in 1723 and died in 1790. His theories worked well in the 18th Century. The problems appeared in the 20th Century.

    Humans can falter by believing other ideas ahead of science as well. Those other ideas do not get tested and so may be called religions. Those ideas that are fenced off from testing are our problem. Suggestions are welcome on how to unlock those minds so that the fenced-off ideas may be tested.

  4. 54
    wilt says:

    Re: 50. The authors of the article on cosmic rays and cloud changes clearly indicate (both in the abstract and in their Fig. 5) that a decrease in cloudiness (linked to a decrease in cosmic rays) is associated with an INCREASE of surface level air temperature, in other words clouds give negative feedback. I think it is not fair to spin these findings in a way that suggests that overall there would be positive feedback in such a situation, as proposed by Brian Dodge (“high clouds may give a positive feedback”). Even when some warming would result during nighttime, this is clearly more than compensated by the cooling effect during daytime.
    Also, I would prefer if you discuss the contents of the article and its implications, rather than avoid this discussion by applying stereotypic labels about nails in someone’s coffin.

  5. 55
    GlenFergus says:

    Not quite OT: Kjell Aleklett

    Heard the self-styled “inconvenient swede” speak last night. I’d be interested in realer’s take on his group’s paper on peaking and the IPCC Emission Scenarios (here). Rather contradicts Kharecha and Hanson.

    I have my own view (that the “peak coal” analysis is deeply flawed), but what do RC (and others here) think?


  6. 56

    AK: SEE OH TOO lags temperature.

    BPL: Not always, and even when it does it warms the surface. Please read:

  7. 57
    Clippo says:

    re: 46 – the right hand drop down panel saying ‘land ice’

    I haven’t investigated whether the other drop down panel’s information is up to date.


    [Response: They are referencing the GRACE results from the Velicogna group. I’m not sure that they provide updates in real time… – gavin]

  8. 58
    Roger Albin says:

    Re: #53 – “Adam Smith was born in 1723 and died in 1790. His theories worked well in the 18th Century. The problems appeared in the 20th Century.”

    Actually not. The Wealth of Nations isn’t a description of 18th century economic life, its a polemic attacking contemporary British society. Smith’s Britain was a mercantilist society with a strongly interventionist government, the second highest tax rates in Europe, and the largest per capita bureaucracy in Europe. The 18th century society that most closely approximated Smith’s economic model was Qing China. The latter came to grief, partly from over-population and environmental degradation, in the early 19th century. The former gestated the Industrial Revolution.

    [Response: This is OT. No responses please. – gavin]

  9. 59
    Rod B says:

    Edward Greisch (53), I’m not sure I get your point, but if it is that free market enterprise is short of a perfect panacea there is no objection by even barely reasonable people. Pure free market enterprise is pure laissez faire which provides near zero effectiveness. It is simple to find any number of situations where free market enterprise falls short; there are prima facie deficiencies in Adam Smith’s system. But on the other hand free market enterprise and Smith’s capitalism, appropriately systematized, has proven far more effective than any other (which doesn’t say other systems don’t have any good points). That is true and applicable for today. Because it require some governmental control, guidelines, and tweaking does not justify lambasting free market enterprise in the least, if that is your point.

    The fact that some might elevate free market enterprise to near absolute religion detracts from those people but not from the system; just as some who drive AGW to a religious status doesn’t detract from the science itself.

  10. 60
    Clippo says:

    re: #57
    Thank you Gavin.

    But the problem still remains. For example, in the NASA website, they quote 24 cu miles Greenland ice sheet loss, presumably for 2002.

    Yet in good ‘ole wiki, from peer-reviewed literature I think, the loss rate in 2006 was approx 57 cu mile and in 2007 was 142 cu mile.

    As an ‘amateur’ in Climate Science, I like to keep up with developments. I use a number of favourite websites/sources, such as RC, Wiki NASA / NOAA etc. and many scienblogs, so I find it confusing with so much variable data.

    Please stay on the case. (smile)

  11. 61
    Edward Greisch says:

    59 Rod B: No. The point is that what we are fighting are deeply held beliefs such as economic theories that people learned before they learned science. Where did that global cooling bet come from? It came from an inability to question some deeply held belief, such as a religious belief in free markets.

    MY comment 53 is about human psychology, not about economics. It is human psychology that things like global cooling bets come from. Of course global cooling bets also come from money paid by rich people who want to stay rich without innovating. I thought that the quote from “Merchants of Doubt” expressed the problem rather well, but it seems that I was wrong about that.

    When I was an undergraduate student, I did a great deal of “philosophical work” along with my homework. I discarded and replaced nonsensical beliefs and “common sense” that my parents gave me. It seems that there are other beliefs in other people that can escape scrutiny during the undergraduate years.

    In order to prevent future global cooling bets, we need to attack the source of the global cooling bets. Attacking the global cooling bets themselves does not prevent more global cooling bets from being generated. Attacking the source is very difficult for cultural reasons. Is this clear enough now?

  12. 62
    William Jackson says:

    We haven’t warmed like the 20+ IPCC models predicted 10 years ago so why are you picking nits with a single paper that didn’t get it right for the last 2 years? People who live in glass houses…

    [Response: Wrong. – gavin]

  13. 63
    Brian Dodge says:

    @ wilt — 26 November 2010 @ 2:54 AM “a decrease in cloudiness (linked to a decrease in cosmic rays) is associated with an INCREASE of surface level air temperature, in other words clouds give negative feedback.”

    Actually, a transient detrended decrease in cloudiness(e.g. “….the differential cloud change (dcc) of each day is equal to daily average cloud change (x), minus an averaging period of three days which begins five days prior to each date,… “), linked to a transient decrease in cosmic rays, is associated with a transient increase of surface level air temperature. “the units of GCR changes used here are given as “GU”, defined as a change of 1% of the 11-year solar cycle amplitude in four days. All other units given in this work are similarly defined, where temperature change is denoted “KU” (a change of 1K in four days) and cloud change is denoted “CU” (a change of 1% cloud cover in four days) etc.).”

    We’ve seen claims about global warming trends based on detrended data before – McLean, de Freitas and Carter, dissected at

    Higher clouds are an expected effect of warming, and to first order, independent of GCRs – see Note the increase in high clouds (Fig2b3) and decrease in low clouds (Fig2e1) downwind of S America in the equatorial trade winds..The second order effect of increasing cloudiness caused by more GCRs when “atmospheric conditions are suitable” for the formation of high clouds due to the other effects of global warming should be warming.

    If one takes the long term (not detrended) GCR data from Oulu, and HadCRUT global temperature, and compares them, more GCRs correlates with higher, not lower temperatures. see and

    for spin and “stereotypic labels” one need not look any further than Lindzen pandering to the folks[1] at the Heartland Institute –

    “…this is indicative of the extent to which climate science has been
    corrupted over a period of more than twenty years.”

    “The second might be called opportunism of the weak. Here, scientists whose work would
    normally be regarded as weak and unimpressive, gain note by molding their results to the needs
    of the alarmists in the environmental movement.

    “They also artificially swell the numbers of scientists who endorse the alarmist view.”

    “…the fact that the global mean temperature anomaly ceased increasing by the mid nineties…” Does he think we’re stupid?
    Well, yes. “The (IPCC) argument makes arguments in support of intelligent design sound rigorous by comparison.”
    “Perhaps most important, these results will of necessity ‘offend the sensibilities of the of the educated classes and the entire East and West Coasts,’ and who would want to do that.”

    [1] by “folks”, I mean proudly and willfully ignorant denialists.

  14. 64
    wilt says:

    @ Brian Dodge (#63). Just two remarks: you keep on saying that the effect of increased cloudiness ‘should be warming’, whereas the data shown in the article clearly show the opposite (more clouds cause lower surface level air temperatures). And the use of detrended data apparently was not a problem for the referees of the journal where the article was published (which by the way has the highest impact factor in the field of meteorology and atmospheric sciences).
    And without going into all remarks made by Lindzen: when he concludes that global mean temperature anomaly ceased increasing by the mid nineties he appears to be in good company (Phil Jones in the BBC interview, Susan Solomon in her Nature article earlier this year).

  15. 65
    Didactylos says:

    wilt: if you are going to lie about what Phil Jones said, then I really don’t see any reason to take anything else you say seriously. Brian has more patience than I do. Perhaps you should stop abusing his patience and go and get your facts straight?

  16. 66
    flxible says:

    Yes Wilt, the “global mean temperature anomaly ceased increasing” (in) the mid nineties, just as it did in the mid-every-decade since 1900, but “ceased increasing BY…” implies that it never resumed increasing, maybe you need a longer term view – or maybe we’ll be fine because we can assume from the trend a “ceasation of increase” by the middle of the current decade?

  17. 67
    CM says:

    re #64, 65, Phil Jones and warming since 1995
    (almost on topic, since it’s about the “global cooling” meme):

    As we all remember, an interviewer early this year finagled out of Phil Jones a statement that the warming since 1995 (a carefully chosen year) is just shy of statistically significant. This has been misrepresented ever since as a statement that there’s been no global warming since 1995. As we all know (wilt excepted), that’s not the case.

    But out of idle curiosity: Nine pretty warm months down the road from the BBC interview, would the warming in HadCRUT since 1995 happen to be statistically significant yet?

  18. 68


    You hear what you want to believe, you say what you hear, you believe what you say.

    Infinite loop.

  19. 69
    wilt says:

    To CM (#67) and others commenting on significance or insignificance of global warming since 1995: one can have different views here. To me, if there is no statistically significant increase over a period of 15 years, then the forcing effect seems to be rather weak. But this remark on temperature increase (or lack of it) was only a sideline in a previous comment that actually was dealing with a publication on cosmic rays and cloudiness that yields an important new perspective in my view. See my earlier comment # 42 and the link

  20. 70

    wilt, the paper you cite describes what in their view is a ‘small but statistically significant effect of cosmic rays on cloud formation, which in no way invalidates the large and significant effects of human emissions on the current anthropogenic radiative forcing budget of the atmosphere.

    “The climatic forcings resulting from such solar – terrestrial links may have
    had a significant impact on climate prior to the onset of anthropogenic

    For you to think or state otherwise is disingenuous.

  21. 71
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Wilt says, “…one can have different views here. To me, if there is no statistically significant increase over a period of 15 years, then the forcing effect seems to be rather weak.”

    Uh, actually, no. One cannot have different views. First 15 years is way to short to assess significance. Second, I think it is rather perverse to state that there has been no siginificant warming when the past decade was the warmest on record, and when the past year is on track to be close to the warmest on record. One can have different views on this only if one is willing to distort the facts.

  22. 72
    Hugh Laue says:

    Lindzen mis-representing the science again.
    I guess we’ll see a take-down of this soon?

  23. 73

    wilt 69: on significance or insignificance of global warming since 1995: one can have different views here.

    BPL: No, one cannot. “Significance” to a scientist is a particular number, a measurement based on data. It’s not an opinion about how important something is. You need to crack an introductory statistics book.

    To get a good climate trend you need 30 years of data. Got that? 30 years. Or more.

    1995 to the present is 16 years. No, the trend isn’t significant. Yes, the trend if you use enough data IS signifiant, extremely so. And we have data going back 160 years. Why do you only want to use the last 15 years of data?

    wilt: To me, if there is no statistically significant increase over a period of 15 years, then the forcing effect seems to be rather weak.

    BPL: Again, it’s not up to your subjective judgment.

  24. 74
    wili says:

    wilt has clearly shown himself, here and in earlier threads, to be a troll. Trolls like nothing more than to become the center of attention, derailing serious conversation and getting people frustrated. The best solution (short of moderators banning or censoring them) is to ignore them. I plan to do so. I invite others to do the same.

  25. 75
    Ryan T says:

    I seem to recall reading (maybe @ Tamino?) that some level of statistical significance can be achieved for periods shorter than 30 years, but not 15 years because fluctuations in things like solar + ocean-atmosphere heat exchange make it hard to say with high confidence what’s signal and what’s noise. I get the impression it was pretty well expected that at this point the overall trend should still subject to significant modulation over short periods by natural variability.

  26. 76
    wilt says:

    Thomas Lee Elifritz (#70), you quote the authors: “The climatic forcings resulting from such solar – terrestrial links may have
    had a significant impact on climate prior to the onset of anthropogenic warming”. Do you (or anyone with some common sense) really believe that if this phenomenon has a significant effect on climate, such an effect would disappear at the moment that CO2 starts to increase?! In my view, what the authors admit here is that in recent decades others factors like increased CO2 will have had an effect on climate as well. I have no problems with that conclusion. And it certainly does not undermine the main conclusion of the article that a link has been established between changes in cosmic rays and changes in cloudiness.

  27. 77
    Mitch Lyle says:

    On significant trends–significance depends on how strong the trend is vs how strong the short term variability is. In other words, it depends on the system one is measuring. Climate is notoriously ‘noisy’, so it typically takes >15 years to make out a trend of the current size of the global warming trend inside the typical interannual variation.

  28. 78
    Hank Roberts says:

    Who is watching the lawsuits against the EPA? The claims being made in the legal papers are right out of the denier fiction, but they’re being asserted to the judges as facts.

    “EPA (really the IPCC) treated the “greenhouse effect” as the sole driver of climate change, CRR Br. 40-42, and so of course its models predict overwhelming effects from greenhouse gases….”
    Case: 10-1131 Document: 1276370 Filed: 11/08/2010 Page: 11

    They switch statistical arguments in mid-paragraph like this:

    “EPA admits essentially no change in temperatures for the last decade, despite increasing GHG concentrations. RTC 2-41. EPA attributes this to a “natural variability” it does not identify or explain, id., which is precisely the point: Warming trends are attributed to increases in GHGs, while cooling trends are attributed to unexplained natural forcings. EPA also dismisses this data with the assertion that “examining trends over five to ten years” may be misleading. EPA Br. 37. But EPA is perfectly willing to rely on five- to ten-year trends when they support its desired conclusion. See, e.g., RTC-1-43 (citing a 2009 Report from the Academies of Science to assert that declines in arctic ice cover ….”
    Case: 10-1131 Document: 1276370 Filed: 11/08/2010 Page: 12

    (well, duh … different data sets; the length of time needed is figured based on the data set. Global annual temp variation needs the longer time span to get a valid statistical trend.)

    For wilful ignorance, selective quotation, and distortion, the blog scientists have nothing on the lawyers who are arguing against the EPA.

    You know how to look this stuff up. Is anyone keeping track of the science as presented through the filter of the lawyers involved? There are many different cases; the judges are slowly merging related ones.

  29. 79
    Hank Roberts says:

    Okay, on detecting trends — here:
    “… there has to be a time span over which our result for describing climate does not depend much on how long a time span we choose. For average climate temperature, we found 20-30 years as the appropriate time span. I didn’t show the figures then, but it’s in the program and output you can pick up from my web site that this is also the appropriate time span for deciding a climate temperature variance ….”

  30. 80
    JiminMpls says:

    #72 My gods, Lindzen even parrots the “climate change –or as it was once referred to: global warming.”

    Question for Lindzen: When was “once”? Certainly before the International Panel on Climate Change was formed.

    And before Plass’s 1956 paper The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climatic Change

    So just when was the ONCE that Lindzen refers to?

  31. 81

    wilt 76: Do you (or anyone with some common sense) really believe that if this phenomenon has a significant effect on climate, such an effect would disappear at the moment that CO2 starts to increase?!

    BPL: Here’s some homework for you, wilt. Find time series data for the effects you’re talking about and FIND OUT what’s happened to them in recent years. And once again–please open an introductory statistics book.

  32. 82
    Edward Greisch says:

    72 Hugh Laue: “Lindzen mis-representing the science again.” YES he is. That is why the new denialist representatives want him there, speaking to congress. I just sent an email about it to my outgoing representative. I think my new representative is a denialist. Thanks for killing my appetite; I needed that.

    What are we going to do now? Lindzen is telling the denialists in the new congress exactly what they want to hear. There will be new global cooling bets, this time betting the planet. Does anybody have a plan?

  33. 83
    Edward Greisch says:

    A plan: See:
    “New psychological research finds that dire messages about the threat of global warming will strengthen people’s acceptance of climate science when combined with solutions, which is the approach taken by leading climate activists. For some people, their response to dire messages is strongly dependent on whether hope is offered.”

  34. 84
    Brian Dodge says:

    “Cloud water content as gauged by the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) reaches a minimum ~7 days after the Forbush minimum
    in cosmic rays…” Svensmark et al, “Cosmic ray decreases affect atmospheric aerosols and clouds”, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS,

    “…the GCR flux undergoes a statistically significant decrease (1.2 GU) centred on the key date of the composite; these changes correspond to widespread statistically significant decreases in cloud change (3.5 CU, 1.9 CU globallyaveraged)…” Laken et al “Cosmic rays linked to rapid mid-latitude cloud changes”, Atmos. Chem. Phys.,

    I wonder why Laken et al don’t see the same lag from GCR(decrease) to cloud formation(decrease) that Svensmark et al did. Out of respect for some of the readers of this blog, I will refrain from snarkily pointing out that they can’t both be right.

    “…the units of GCR changes used here are given as ‘GU’, defined as a change of 1% of the 11-year solar cycle amplitude in four days. All other units
    given in this work are similarly defined, where temperature change is denoted ‘KU’ (a change of 1K in four days) and cloud change is denoted ‘CU’ (a change of 1% cloud cover in four days) etc.). ”

    The 1.2 GU decrease in GCR (presumably) causes a 1.9 CU decrease in clouds; according to their figure 5A, a 5 CU change in clouds (~+1 to -4) results in a 0.15 degree K change in temperature. This would cause a change of 4.75 degrees K for the 100% reference change in GCR over the 11 year solar cycle (and a non physical decrease of more than 100% in cloud cover – are negative high clouds cooling and negative low clouds warming? &;>). Since this isn’t the case (see my previous post), the effect must be nonlinear, decreasing for larger changes in GCR, or transient, fading away over time.

  35. 85
    wilt says:

    Barton Paul Levenson (#81) suggests that I find out what happened to the cosmic rays/ cloudiness effect in recent years. I am not sure I understand what he means. The data in the Atmos.Chem.Phys. article were all derived from the 1986-2006 period, I would call that pretty recent. As for statistics, it seems to me that the important thing here is whether the statistics used in the article is robust. It seems OK to me, and more importantly it seemed OK to the referees of this high-impact journal.

  36. 86
    Eric Swanson says:

    #72, Ref: Lindzen’s congressional testimony.

    Dr. Lindzen surely is missing the point. According to him, the feedback from clouds is negative. He points to the early faint sun paradox, claiming that the negative feedback due to clouds is the reason that the oceans did not freeze in that epoch. But, the last comment he offers refers to the probable return of Ice Age conditions in a few thousand years. Does it seem odd to anyone else that his theory would also have prevented the formation of the great ice sheets called Ice Ages, which have dominated the paleoclimate record over the past 3 million years (mol)? Aren’t the Milankovitch orbital parameters rather small to initiate Ice Age conditions in themselves, or is there a positive feedback within the climate system which amplifies any small change in forcing, both toward cooling as well as warming?

    Another point which Lindzen appears to get wrong is from the facts about the warming after the LGM. As I understand it, the sea level record indicates that the melting of the great ice sheets covering parts of the NH began some 16k years ago. Lindzen claims that the warming in the NH lags that of the SH by some 4k years, yet, the sea level data would seem to imply a much smaller lag time. An apparent lag in temperature seen in the Greenland ice cores might be an artifact of the proximity of the large Laurentide Ice Sheet, which would have limited the near surface air temperature to the freezing point, as happens over summer sea-ice now.

    E. S.

  37. 87
    Snapple says:

    There is an article in the Guardian that reports on some new papers on climate hange that will appear tomorrow (Nov 30) in the Royal Society’s publication. Their stuff is free through Nov 30 (UK time).

  38. 88
    john says:

    #85 Are you surprised Dr. Lindzen is still at MIT considering he is so ignorant about the clouds as you point out.

  39. 89
    SteveF says:

    Speaking of predictions, there’s a special issue of Phil Trans A just out, on a 4 degree warmer world. Lots of the papers are free access:

  40. 90
    Susan Anderson says:

    Have a look at this. Lee Fang was very good on Koch brothers and now he’s got another (hat tip to Tenney Naumer who just posted the articles cited below as well as others, including a trenchant “A Climate Whodunit: Science Nails the Blame Game” from Newsweek’s Sharon Begley.

    “Tim Phillips, The Man Behind The ‘Americans For Prosperity’ Corporate Front Group Factory
    “The rate at which the Koch Industries funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) churns out front groups to promote its right-wing corporate agenda sets the organization out among similar conservative “think tanks.” …. a familiar pattern AFP has used for their other front groups: create a new stand alone website, fill it with lines like “We are people just like you” to give the site a grassroots feel, and then use the new group to recruit supporters and run deceptive advertisements attacking reform. This “astroturfing” model has been used by AFP to launch groups pushing distortions against other progressive priorities:
    “– The “Hot Air Tour” promoting global warming skepticism and attacking environmental regulations.
    “– “Free Our Energy,” a group promoting increased domestic drilling.
    “– “No Climate Tax,” a group dedicated to the defeat of Clean Energy Economy legislation.”

    “In 2011, Phillips announced, his organization plans to drive a wedge between Congress and the EPA, to increase attacks on climate science, and to attempt to discredit clean energy jobs, creating the impression that the American people support a pollution agenda (even though polls show the opposite).”
    [lots more, please take a look, this is the more damning of the two]

    Babylonia Insaftso (should, but couldn’t, resist)

  41. 91
    dhogaza says:

    John sez:

    #85 Are you surprised Dr. Lindzen is still at MIT considering he is so ignorant about the clouds as you point out.

    Well, among other things, he’s tenured …

  42. 92
    Snapple says:

    Those Royal Society papers are only free thru Nov 30. That would be UK time.

  43. 93
    SteveF says:

    “Those Royal Society papers are only free thru Nov 30. That would be UK time.”

    Plenty of them are Open Access so they’ll be free to read forever (or until a 4 degree world melts the internet or something). For the others, yes get a move on to download.

  44. 94
    Snapple says:

    Here is what they wrote:

    To celebrate Open Access Week and the 350th Anniversary of the Royal Society we are making our entire digital archive free to access from 18 October to 30 November 2010.

  45. 95
    SteveF says:

    Sorry for going off topic, but wanted to make it clear as it’s an interesting volume – the the blue coloured papers in the Phil Trans volume are Open Access (Or Exis Open Choice in this instance). Which means they are put up for free permanently. A number of other generally paid subscription journals, such as PNAS, also do this. This is distinct from the fact that the Royal Society have opened up their digital content for a month or so. So the blue ones will be readable without subscription beyond the 30th of November. Anyway, carry on with the previously scheduled conversation.

  46. 96
    Edward Greisch says:

    90 Susan Anderson: Thanks. I sent a letter to the editor of my local paper on that.

  47. 97

    OT, but yesterday online I was assured that the Royal Society is an “ultra-elitist environmental organization.”

    Who knew? Here I thought they are one of the world’s premier (and possibly oldest) scientific societies!–and official advisory body to HM’s government.


    Of course, the guy doing the assuring thinks that the point of Cancun is to bankrupt the developed world and reduce it to Third world status. I asked him who the “they” were who intended such a thing and was told–“bankers!”

    A connection I hadn’t made, myself. . . but I suppose we can’t count on MSM to tell us that Cancun is actually swarming with them this week.

    (Sorry, the bemusement gets to be a bit much sometimes.)

    [Response: And note the complete disconnect with the talking point of last month that climate policy was apparently designed to prevent clean water and health care being provided to the poor. – gavin]

  48. 98

    49 (Alex),

    Consider this scenario. There is a stalled car at the (level) peak of a hill. I give it a shove. It starts down the hill and accelerates all the way, until it crashes at the bottom. Who caused the crash, gravity and the inclination of the hill, or my little, almost insignificant shove? I only gave it a tiny little shove, so it’s hard to blame me. But the ground was flat to start with. The inclination of the hill clearly got steeper and steeper as the car moved further down the hill, but inclination clearly lagged velocity, so how can inclination have been a factor in the car’s ultimate demise?

    Does it seem like there must have been some other catalyst?

  49. 99

    I would like to encourage Gavin to create a computer climate model made entirely from dominoes, peanut butter and ants, run it through several iterations, and publish a paper on it, all within the next week.

    That way, we can get a new post on RC, one focused on a scientific achievement of some small merit, and so we can get away from the tireless, meandering ramblings of politics and anti-science, fueled and dominated by the same small crew of five or six hardcore deniers, who simply want to say the same, tired, wrong things over and over and over until I feel like I never want to visit RC again.

    Of course, deniers will immediately recognize that Gavin’s choice of smooth versus chunky peanut butter, and red versus black ants, and odd versus even numbered dominoes, all biased the model towards a preplanned warming trend, as later confirmed by his personal text messages, to be released on WikiLeaks in coming months. DominoPeanutButterAntTextGate will then go on for years.

  50. 100
    Daniel Bailey says:

    Re wilt (currently number 85 @ 29 November 2010 at 2:39 AM)

    This may help you then.

    The Yooper