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Unforced variations, July 2011

Filed under: — group @ 2 July 2011

The RC open thread.
With a reminder that this is not a dumping ground for anything under the sun, but is rather for discussing climate science topics that don’t fit neatly into ongoing discussions.

366 Responses to “Unforced variations, July 2011”

  1. 201

    #194 Brian; “Given the widely noted slow warming from 1998 to 2008, it has been unclear why arctic sea ice melt accelerated during that period. I propose that the transient increase in energy going into the oceans as a result of ENSO/PDO and other mechanisms* slowed the increase in air temperatures but increased ice melt from below.”

    If that were true Montreal summer sun disk diameters would be repeatable at the same size and show no expansion trends, there would be no frequent incursions of cyclones from to South penetrating all the way to the North Pole during darkness, and the oceans, particularly Atlantic SST’s wouldn’t be at all time high temperatures. There is a lull if sun disks remain the same size year after year, the ocean temps remain stable and the Arctic Sea ice trends average melts.

  2. 202
    Sekerob says:

    Brian Dodge: 9 Jul 2011 at 7:48 PM

    There’s a new study out which in the essence identifies that increased FYI melt [with higher salt content] causes it to sink and push up the warmer layers below, which amplifies the melt again. A few guys did a long distance track from Ellesmere to Baffin and measured water temps at 200 meters depth and found it was colder than before, so they went to look for a mechanism that could have caused this.

  3. 203
    Didactylos says:

    Gwinnevere, further to what David Miller said, here are no less than ELEVEN completely different climate indicators that all show a strong trend signalling global warming.

    They are:

    Land Surface Air Temperature
    Sea-surface Temperature
    Marine Air Temperature
    Sea Level
    NH (March-April) Snow Cover
    Tropospheric Temperature
    Ocean Heat Content (0-700m)
    Specific Humidity
    Stratospheric Temperature
    September Arctic Sea-Ice Extent
    Glacier Mass Balance

    NOAA have supported these trend assessments with 55 datasets. NASA’s GISS is just one out of these 55 datasets.

    These 11 indicators aren’t even the limit of what we have, they are just the most unequivocal, unarguable records, going back decades (and in many cases centuries).

  4. 204
    Didactylos says:

    Oh, and Gwinnevere – I don’t want to pile on, but you have made a couple of errors:

    1) The NASA and CRU temperature products are not the same. You seem to attribute your “curve” to both.

    2) Your “simple AGW math” is wrong. Your model is actually rather complicated, and you have fallen into the common trap of over-fitting. Over-fitting is a problem distinct from the issue already explained (at length) about the lack of predictive power from curve fitting.

    I wish you luck in your future exploration of statistics.

    PS: You twice reference as a secondary source. You should be aware that they are not reliable. Go to the primary sources.

  5. 205
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Oh, I agree that corporate policy can increase incentives for journalists, but there is something to be said for “doing the right thing” simply because it is the right thing–independent of incentive or cost.

    The Gruniad has been utterly AWOL when it comes to reporting on the smear campaign against science. Indeed, they’ve piled on when the opportunity arose. Likewise the BBC, NPR and on and on.

    The News of the Weird incident merely shows that they COULD actually find their tuckus with both hands and a GPS on the most important issue of our time if trivialities like avoiding massive human suffering mattered to them.

  6. 206
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Yeah, that’s what I love about denialists–they live in such a simple world. They think all they have to do is find a single error–or even a single perceived error–in a single data set and the entirety of reality will come tumbling down. One wonders if stupidity and tunnel vision come so naturally to them or if they work at it.

  7. 207
    Thomas says:

    Leo@170. I think your erosion example isn’t a good one. For the most part erosion rates are controlled by the extreme events, not the steady trickle. This is a consequence of the fact that the instantaneous erosion rate rapidly increases with flow volume.

    172 There is a good argument to be made that long term climate sensitivity depends on the strength of feedbacks in a given regime. During times when the planet had little snow/ice i.e. most of the time before the iceages, the ice/albedo feedback mechanism was unimportant. There are probably also feedbacks based upon vegetation versus albedo as well, but these are harder to understand.

  8. 208
    Leo G says:

    Got it I think. Certain things like solar and Co2 are primary causes, whilst others like water vapour is a secondary cause.

    If this is right, then in places like the Arctic or the Sahara, where the atmosphere is quite dry, is there a lesser effect from CO2 forcing? i.e. is the sensitivity less?

    [Response: Well the small increase of water vapour in dry situations can actual give a bigger temperature response than an increase in already wet situations, but the nature of the regional response is not generally easily broken down like this – there are circulation issues, albedo changes, clouds and water vapour to worry about (at least). – gavin]

  9. 209
    John E. Pearson says:

    183: dhogaza said: “Curve-fitting is descriptive, not explanatory.”

    As usual I am out of context, but this is a sticky wicket with which I largely disagree. I would probably agree with a statement that curve fitting with no prior constraints on the “interpolating functions” is not explanatory, but there is huge difference between fitting with the “wrong” functions and the “right” ones.

    Here’s an example.

    What if careful consideration of physics dictates that a given function ought to be a rational function of x, f(x), with f(0)=0, and f(infinity)=1?

    Let’s say you don’t give the physics just consideration and fit with exponentials:

    f(x) = 1 + b1 exp(-.1 x) + b2 exp(-.2 x) + … + b_N exp(-N .1 x)

    The resulting fit will not shed much light on the object of study even though the discovered function f(x) might do a bang up job of fitting the data.

    Fitting with

    f(x) = Poly(x) /(1 + Poly(x))

    where Poly is an arbitrary order polynomial in x (with Poly(0)=0) might well yield insight.

    Both functions have the same general shape. Let’s say that fitting to data yields Poly(x) = x^2 to a high degree of accuracy. I would argue that uncovering the simple functional form f(x) = x^2/(1 + x^2) would be considered “explanatory” by a reasonable person, whereas the curve generated by the exponential fit might look arbitrarily close to the rational function, but provides no illumination. In particular it hides the simple functional form.

    Here is a snippet of mathematica code that illustrates.

    a = 0.1;
    data = Table[ {a i, (a i)^2/(1 + (a i)^2)}, {i, 1, 1000}];
    b = .1;
    Nfunc = 25;
    funcs = Table[Exp[- b x]^i, {i, 0, Nfunc}];
    line = Fit[data, funcs, x];
    LogLinearPlot[{x^2/(1 + x^2), line}, {x, .01, 10}, PlotStyle -> {{Thick, Black}, {Thick, Dotted, Red}}]

    The two curves are virtually indistinguishable. One is simple and low dimensional and the other is complicated.

    To summarize: in a given circumstance, physics can force the proper functional form used in fits and the resulting fits probably qualify as “explanatory” in that they illuminate mechanisms involved in the process being studied.

  10. 210
    Gwinnevere says:

    Thank you, all of you, for showing such an enthusiastic interest in posting (so many) arguments to my posts. I really appreciate your calls, and I will try to meet them, one by one, and by the time and ability I have. Please be patient.
    To be continued.


  11. 211
    wili says:

    So no one wants to make a prediction about when we will hit 400 ppm? Responding endlessly to curve-fitters appears to be more fun. Oh well.

  12. 212
    Gwinnevere says:

    no193 David Miller:
    Oh David. You are absolutely correct.
    — Of course the items you mention are the most central besides »dry mathematical curves». I apologize for being such a clumsy functional nerd. However, the mission is to kill the denialist side and get to the point of a cure by strict mathematical physics (as I see it — energy for a cure). Thank you for reminding me.


  13. 213
    Gwinnevere says:

    no185 Pete Dunkelberg:
    Hello Pete.
    — Your post addresses me by a quote that belongs to a post from no148-149 Meow (and a suggested link with no further contextual description).
    — Excuse me Peter Dunkelberg. But if you have something on mind to be drafted, you would have to be more specific as to the onset of your subject. I can already say here, I will not travel around different links without described context. Please give a context in a readable sentence, so that I (and others) can follow your intention and argument. Thank you for sharing.


  14. 214
    Gwinnevere says:

    no192 dhogaza:
    — I would agree with you ONLY if the AGW-values were »arbitrary».
    But how is it, dhogaza?
    — I would not say that a 98% match of measured and calculated is an »arbitrary» — the integral part of the industrial fossil carbon emission giving the CO2-concentration, certifying for the rest (utilized energy on the level of T22 J, T for 10^+, ocean heat content ca 0.85 M/M²) that the three-functional set of curvatures (Sea, Industry, CO2), with the Industry curve as the central component to and in the NASA-measure, is genuine and trustworthy. Please.
    — Please try again, dhogaza. Only if you can show that observations do not match calculations, I will convert to your position. AGW holds. You are absolutely welcome on my account to try to convince me otherwise. Thank you very much.


  15. 215
    Gwinnevere says:

    no189 ccpo:
    Hello ccpo.
    ”… you seem to be saying …”.

    — No. Please excuse me, ccpo. As I said before to Susan Anderson:
    — I’m just reading the thermometer. Doubt the dotted, doubt the measured.
    IF I am wrong, so is the dotted — and, at least, the part 1860 to now 2011, also »wrong».
    — I am just defending what I see (trying, possibly, to show the others).

    ”based on current math”:
    — No. Based on current measure. Doubt the dotted, doubt the measured.

    ”solar minimum”:
    Please, ccpo:
    — Solar — natural — variations has nothing to do with AGW-math. Variations in the Sun distributing energy lies besides the AGW-complex as a separate complex. It, the Sun by variation, has got nothing to do with the driving industry fossil carbon emissivity, which apparently is the only one genuine energy driving cause to the measured global warming, the NASA-curve.

    I would anyway say that your argumentation, nevertheless, to some extent, is plausible:
    — All variations give contributions, no doubt. But as you also might have observed (no direct link here), calculations in general show that the variation from or Sun, including its potential in generating influence from cosmic radiation, as such are to small by contribution to have any significance. These Solar variations do appear, of course, but they are minor compared to the general global warming effect. For this reason, the Sun is left out completely in the basic AGW-math. There is only the industry part — and a constant irradiative net power from the Sun roughly about 250 W/M² — that is the active, causing, agent in AGW. No Sun variation.

    Again, ccpo:
    — The only foundation I have to make a reference on and to in accord with my posting descriptions, is the NASA-curve measure, and without it, nothing. There is no »model» or »theory» in that. I see it just as a physical appearing phenomena, an ongoing process, that has to be explained, described, expressed as to cause and extension. Thank you for your interest. I am constantly looking for flaws in my own apprehension — you help. Thanks again (and for any further contribution).


  16. 216
    Gwinnevere says:

    no190 wayne davidson:
    ”Gwinnevere, a flaw in you logic …”.
    I heard that, wayne davidson. Thank you.

    I see what you mean.
    — But you also see, at least, a part of the already established ocean research (D’Aleo, 2008 and further):
    — Natural ocean average temperature is periodically changing (with about ±0.1 °C) within periods of (partly) a rough 20 year cycle and (partly) a 60-80 year cycle (with minor variations due to the average surface periods of roughly 5-10 years).
    — This is interesting, wayne davidson — very interesting, and only you will have the credit for exposing such an excellent spot of the matter, absolutely:
    ”The seas can’t go down in temperature while the Arctic goes up.”,
    ”That is impossible”.
    — You are absolute right, wayne davidson. Absolutely.

    What does it mean? Let us try this one:

    WHILE the general (average) global oceanic volume is on the falling edge of its NATURAL — as it was before the AGW-age — temperature trough, that is the down period (now 2000-2040, as mentioned by reference in post140) — the global warming, the actual AGW temperature-energy functionality from industry fossil carbon emissions, adds its contribution, of course. Then, again of course:
    — A general, all global continental oceanic warming appears, not only in the Arctic, and all together with a net averaging temperature readout of this type: same. No change. No average net changing temperature will bee seen 2000-2040, according to the Doubt the dotted, doubt the measured NASA-curve match.
    — AGW EATS the (falling edge of the) natural down sea period.
    — The down going natural oceanic cooling period is erased (precisely) by the up going global warming — warming all the oceanic content, not only the Arctic.

    Plainly, and hence, a minor misapprehension was seen flawing the computer circuits, wayne davidson:

    ”To your claim: Warmer Arctic, colder oceans”.
    — No, wayne davidson. Here is the clear misinterpretation, please. The measure shows:
    »Warmer Arctic, warmer oceans in general». There is no difference.
    — The average includes all areas, all volumes.
    — As the Arctic warms, so does the entire average oceanic volumes, of course.
    And you are perfectly right:
    — »The seas can’t go down in temperature while the Arctic goes up».
    — All of them changes simultaneously. Of course.


  17. 217
    Gwinnevere says:

    no195 Patrick 027:
    Hello Patrick 027.
    — And what if all of your — our — claims had no meaning?
    The philosophy of TRUTH is beyond this web page, if I am not misinformed, and too the way mathematics and physics connects to truth, its provability and the quests in concern of certainty and identity.
    — I hope you will understand that, Patrick, and that I am in no position of arguing with you on the part on your suggestion. I would like to though, but am not allowed to. Thank you.


  18. 218
    Gwinnevere says:

    no196 Susan Anderson:
    Thank you for the observation — I am not a troll, and I neither wear a camouflage for evil intentions, or a deniers or a skeptics dress. That type never attended to my nature.
    — On the other hand, Susan:
    — Information on »banned» and »rumors» and the like connected to PERSON, neither this web page is intended for, nor I will discuss with anyone. It has no connection to science, but belongs to journalistic gossip.

    As to the BANNED assumption and this WebSite Real Climate, and others, if appropriate:
    — There are alternative arguments in and of science, not necessarily from so called deniers and skeptics.
    But there are some web sites that does not allow certain »inconvenient opinions». While the general scientific community throws out denialists on their (repeated) arguments, the denialists camp do the same with type Gwinnevere who has set up the goal to kill all global denial — by knowledge. Until we have found out the status of this camp, Real Climate, the IF clause will stay put.
    — I understand (to some extent) your carefulness, and accept whatever excuses you have, if any. My interest is only of a pure scientific nature: erase denialist camp, solve for energy, great technology (fine art).


    [Response: With all due respect, I cannot make head nor tail of your postings, nor fathom what you are referring too. Regardless, please stick to at least moderate scientific issues and leave the rumours and conspiracies and the denialists out of the picture. – gavin]

  19. 219
    Radge Havers says:

    Journalist culture as a whole seems to have declined to the point where it is adverse to dealing with the kinds of pressures from above combined with the campaigns of naked hostility and threats of violence that the climate community has had to put up with. They’ll do a story to the point that it stirs up controversy, but not to the point where they have to actually fight back against a significant portion of their well-armed customer base. It’s not like the old days when taking on all comers if necessary was part of the ethos. That was crushed in the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate.

    No doubt there are journalists who are willing do the right thing; That’s in contrast to the profession as a whole which is now embedded in a culture that is part of the problem. It’s the profession that needs to move and it simply won’t step up until there are either structural changes or until society provides it the cover it feels it needs to treat these stories with the vigor they deserve. IMO.

    Won’t stop me from berating the bastards though. Eventually the message may seep in.

  20. 220
    Chris R says:


    Download Mauna Loa data:
    Take the average of the differences between annual amounts from 2000 to 2010.
    (389.78-369.4)/2.038 ~ 5.
    i.e. about 2015.

  21. 221
    Chris R says:

    Wili #209.

    …about 2015 based on last decade’s increases.

  22. 222
    Prokaryotes says:

    What about adding memristive functions to climate models, in order to model nonlinearities?

  23. 223
    dhogaza says:

    To summarize: in a given circumstance, physics can force the proper functional form used in fits …

    It’s explanatory because it’s modeling (and is constrained by) the physics. Note that you’re saying the exercise “illuminate[s] mechanisms involved in the process being studied”, i.e helps with understanding of the explanatory *physics*.

    What “Gwinnevere” is not that …

  24. 224
    Septic Matthew says:

    183, dhogaza: Curve-fitting is descriptive, not explanatory.

    Yet it can be useful, as in the calibration of measuring instruments. And it can be predictive, as in predicting the results of a long period of radioactive decay, or the proportional hazards modeling in accelerated life testing.

  25. 225
    Phillip Shaw says:

    Wili @ 209 – I’ll make a prediction on when CO2 levels reach 400 ppm. Doing some back of the envelope projections from the Mauna Loa data I predict that the monthly mean CO2 value will reach 400 ppm in March 2014, and the seasonally adjusted CO2 value will reach 40 ppm in September 2015. Both those predictions are plus or minus a month.

    But you understand, don’t you, that whether I’m right or wrong, nobody is a winner when we reach 400 ppm. This is like being in a leaky liferaft and predicting when all of the air will have escaped.

  26. 226
    Leo G says:

    Dr. Gavin @ 208,

    What I am getting from your response is that as I understand a bit more, I understand that I understand a hell of a lot less!

    So some ares of the earth can have a higher water vapour content then the Arctic, but the small increase of water vapour content in the Arctic, brought about by the rise in CO2 can have a stronger effect on the Arctic then say the tropics, where the water vapour content could be significantly higher then the Arctic???

    WOW! I won’t be quitting my day job to try to learn your day job!

    [Response: It’s not that hard… ;-) The impact from water vapour is roughly logarithmic (so each % change has the same effect). – gavin]

  27. 227

    #219 Radge, of all people, Hugh Grant set the example, if the medias are so irresponsible about AGW we must find a way to break their grasp on stupid reporting, its not done in one day, we must work at it, like this actor did, till we find something that sticks. I am amazed that 1 mile in diameter tornados didn’t frighten the willies out of the press, and especially didn’t draw much research as to how they have become much more lethal. Incompetent press reports always carry the scoop that not nothing can be proven as caused by AGW., which is correct, but fail to report that AGW enhances, adds higher octane to high energy weather. Most are stuck in a loop of defending the conclusion but adding the missive, looking like dotters, adding the dot on the i, instead of saying like Stephen Hawkins that the Earth may become a second Venus., as alarming as it sounds, who are we to call Hawkins incapable of seeing this happen? Then the contrarians use an inversion technique, calling AGW talk as alarmist, scare mongering, in order for proponents to use other words, this technique works. Somewhere down the PR effort for public minds, something will resonate and further the cause to fight AGW. My bet is the weather itself, 2 mile wide tornados, wide open seas at the North Pole, bees looking for flowers in January . When these events happen as they certainly will, what will we say? Will we be cautious and wait for the contrarian spin? Or will we be more direct, like Bill Mayer without the swearing.

  28. 228

    Yes, incredible news not reported but here:

    The NE passage is about to open, The NW passage will open again, Barrow strait never been so open in June.

    I say without hesitation as a result of well foreseen AGW effects.

    Now the interesting bit:

    In 2007 the Kara sea had a Multi year ice barrier, this blocked the Arctic Dipole from clearing the ice at the Pole. This year this barrier seems gone. Compare 2007 with 2011, there is a strong potential for 2011 having much less ice than 2007.

    Hurray for RC, me thinks the media would miss the end of the world for a good sexy piece of gossip about a rich undeserving actor.

  29. 229
    John E. Pearson says:

    223 dhogoza said:

    “It’s explanatory because it’s modeling …
    What “Gwinnevere” is not that …”

    I certainly wasn’t referring to anything that Gwinnevere said since I can’t understand a word Gwinnevere says.

    I do think the distinction between “curve fitting” and “modeling” is fairly subtle. Ptolemy was a dirty “curve fitter” and Copernicus (or perhaps Kepler) was a modeler? Kepler tried a lot of really crazy stuff (using nested platonic solids as “interpolating functions”, etc) before settling on elliptical orbits. I don’t think there was much physics to constrain his curve fitting at the time. Deriving Kepler’s laws from first principals must have made Newton sing from the roof tops. If Kepler’s results hadn’t been sitting there waiting for an explanation I suppose it would have taken longer for Newton to convince the world he was on to something.

  30. 230
    Gwinnevere says:

    no203 Didactylos:
    Hello Didactylos. Yes. Thank you. I appreciate the fullness of your care.
    — As in the post from/to David Miller (no193), I apologize for leaving out these important indicators. However, my aim was, and is, just to underline the formulation of the process by mathematical physics. You are absolute right. Thank you so very much for the contribution.

    no204 Didactylos:
    — Seems the deniers will win this game, if we take it your way. Okay.

    1. The NASA-curve has SEVERAL (slightly different) versions: you are absolutely right.
    The NASA-curve (basic) I use is the first that appeared in my reference (2008-2009). It is no longer onSite, it has been replaced by other(s) [during two occasions].
    — However. The differences between the different versions all follow the same regular variation (check by transparently overlaying the different versions), and which I have accepted as an underlying theme of AGW due to different measuring data with different averaging intervals, and which I assumed also would be understood by persons familiar with the subject. That these curves vary (slightly) intermutually, makes nothing to the general picture; The central industry fossil carbon energy driving function DEFINES all variants (the remaining sea periods) by subtraction: you will, any way you see it, get a precise picture of the sea periods through any of the versions by subtracting the industrial fossil carbon part (as mentioned in post no140). No regrets.

    2. ”Your ”simple AGW-math” is wrong”.
    ”… lack of predictive power …”.
    — I am sorry to hear that, Didactylos. Such a stand-alone statement however is not sufficient in science.
    — As far as I know, measured values from CO2-concentration matching a 98% hit has no premise for a ”wrong”. And neither has a sentence like ”… lack of predictive power …”.
    — You are obviously misinformed as to the outcome of »the simple AGW-math». Also, basically, because it includes the presently adopted results from different research groups as (very) good approximations, as already mentioned by reference in the post no140.
    — It apparently means you are in a (quantitative, scientific) minority, any way you want it.
    — Perhaps you are going to fast, Didactylos (anxious to underline the presence of ignorance, I agree).
    — Measured values matching calculated within 98% is, normally, declared a (direct) hit.
    — But please, don’t let me interrupt. Show me what you mean by direct quantity.

    Your PS.
    If you have a reference, please let it show. If you have a link, please write it out so we can see what you mean by comparing references. (Otherwise it is useless).


  31. 231
    Gwinnevere says:

    no209 wili:
    Hello wili.
    ”So no one wants to make a prediction about when we will hit 400 ppm?”.
    — I’m on. (I mean, AGW’s on):
    400 ppm(v) [the additional (v) for ByVolume] will be reached (raw AGW-values)

    year CO2 ppmv
    2018 399.38
    2019 401.78

    The Mauna Loa values lie (at present) typically 8 ppmv higher than the raw AGW-values
    (partly due to possibly additional components, gradually on the increase, now adding more and more, we must eventually count on that, but as you already know, debates run high on what is and what is not accountable on that part).
    — Taking the +8ppm into account yields

    2015 392.43+8=400.43

    That would be the answer you are looking for, as far as the AGW-math is concerned:
    — 400 ppm(v) is reached year 2015.
    (CO2-function, AGW-values above, described by link in post no140).
    — I see other contributors reach about the same result
    (no221 Chris R @year 2015, no225 Phillip Shaw @year 2014 in March).


  32. 232
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 208 Leo G – the distribution of forcings and feedbacks is uneven over space and time; adding CO2 (or any greenhouse gas in general, forcing or feedback) reduces the net upward LW flux at the tropopause by blocking radiation from below (replacing it with a smaller flux emitted by the more opaque colder atmosphere, or more opaque even colder upper atmosphere, depending on what the intial opacity was) while ‘blocking’ the cold black of space from above (increasing stratospheric opacity, thus, up to point, increasing the downward emitted flux). The effect is modulated by the vertical temperature profile and the preexisting amount of CO2 among other things – for example, when the atmosphere has more humidity or there are clouds, particularly high cold clouds that are not too thin, then there is less effect that CO2 can have on the upward LW flux.

    But the effects of radiative forcing become more apparent when they accumulate over time (it is a very large diurnal cycle in forcing that causes the diurnal temperature range, which isn’t found everywhere in the same amount vertically or horizontally). And over time, the accumulated additional heat is transported around while clouds and water vapor fluctuate with the weather. So the regional variations in temperature response will be spread out in some way relative to the regional variations in forcings. (There is a general tendency for vertical spreading of the temperature response as well, especially in the troposphere by convection (though not as much in some regions with stable air masses).)

    On the other hand, some feedbacks have particularly seasonal and regional patterns/behaviors, such that some aspects of the structure of climate responses to forcings, to some extent, will be similar even to forcings which have different regional/seasonal patterns – unless those variations are sufficiently strong, such as the orbital cycle forcing patterns. (Vertically, the difference in response to CO2 verses solar forcing is quite important in the stratosphere, whereas both should tend to have polar amplification at the surface (with seasonal dependence) and a ‘hot spot’ within the mid-or-upper troposphere at low latitudes. Orbital forcings are able to (when the Earth system is set up to respond to it) cause glaciations and deglaciations with relatively small global average forcings, but this is a much more idiosyncratic forcing and involves some long-term climate feedbacks including CO2 itself as well ice sheets. You could also mechanically force the climate by rearranging the continents and mountain ranges to affect ocean currents and wind patterns, etc.).

  33. 233
    Patrick 027 says:

    The effect is modulated by the vertical temperature profile and the preexisting amount of CO2 among other things
    lest this be construed otherwise, yes, with sufficient CO2 the effect reaches saturation at least at vertical levels within the atmosphere, as the fluxes upward and downward approach the same value when the opacity gets sufficiently large. However, the spectrum of CO2 is such that when part is saturated, there is an interval where the effect is unsaturated but still significant. As CO2 is added this interval becomes saturated while another interval outside of that starts having a greater effect. The shape is such that each doubling of CO2 tends to widen the portion of the spectrum exceeding some level of opacity by roughly the same amount. Thus (for a range of CO2 amounts wherein the band center at ~ 15 microns is nearly saturated while other bands are too weak to have significance) each doubling of CO2 has, to a first approximation, the same radiative forcing (but if you start making really large changes, the variation of the Planck function over the spectrum can become more important, as could changing overlaps with other gases; also it becomes important to specify whether you are allowing the climate to adjust between doublings or making all the doublings at once, and whether you are making doublings or halvings, etc, because the forcing for a given compositional change depends on the climate itself, and feedbacks also depend on climate – the same change and it’s opposite will, absent hysteresis, go between the same two equilibrium climates, but the amount of radiative forcing and temperature response to forcing and the feedbacks will differ in compensating ways). Whereas at a given frequency, the approach to saturation will tend to be hyperbolic (each doubling would have half the effect of the previous doubling); while when sufficiently far from saturation or with sufficiently small changes, a linear approximation can be made (the same forcing per each increment in ppm).

  34. 234
    Ron R. says:

    With all due respect, I cannot make head nor tail of your postings, nor fathom what you are referring too.

    Sounds like someone writing via Google Translate or Babelfish…

  35. 235
    Meow says:

    @John E. Pearson (228):

    I do think the distinction between “curve fitting” and “modeling” is fairly subtle. Ptolemy was a dirty “curve fitter” and Copernicus (or perhaps Kepler) was a modeler? Kepler tried a lot of really crazy stuff (using nested platonic solids as “interpolating functions”, etc) before settling on elliptical orbits. I don’t think there was much physics to constrain his curve fitting at the time.

    The distinction can be subtle, but Gwinnevere’s formula is not an example of that subtlety. We are not in Kepler’s position, since we know much of the physics that drives earth’s climate. Of course we can always know more, particularly about some of the important variables and systems like ocean heat transport, what it takes to destabilize clathrates, and so on. But fiddling with nonphysical variables like the number of years elapsed since 1815 doesn’t get us that knowledge. Such techniques can net, at most, an intimation that earth’s temperature might have some periodic drivers. But we already know that from observing the sun, Milankovich cycles, and so forth. And if all we want is intimations of periodicity, we’d do far better to FFT the data.

    CAPTCHA: tiationg escapes

  36. 236
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Wayne Davidson@227,
    Unfortunately, the press has settled into its new role of reinforcing the prejudices and wishful thinking of the public–particularly the privileged. While I don’t know if climate change will result in human extinction or even the end of human civilization, we are, I think, seeing the way this will happen. People simply will not accurately asses risk and take action to address existential threats. We will waste trillions fighting wars that make us no more secure, but when confronted with true existential threats, humans will not have the courage to overcome their fears and face reality. There will always be the 10% who get it and do have courage, but their efforts will be nullified by the sheer overwhelming mass of stupidity that constitutes the bulk of humanity.

  37. 237
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Gwinnevere, What you are saying makes no sense–quite apart from any difficulties of translation or languabe. There is no “AGW-math”. Hell, there is no “AGW Theory”. There is a theory of Earth’s climate, and anthropogenic warming is an unescapable consequence thereof. You seem to be taking issue with entities that do not exist. If you have an issue with the consensus theory of Earth’s climate–as accepted by 97-98% of publishing climate scientists–then state your differences clearly. Innuendo and insinuation are not conducive to science.

  38. 238
    Leo G says:

    Ray L @ 236,

    Me thinks that the events are unfolding too slowly to keep ones attention. Also, humans, for better or worse, can be quite optimistic even in the face of unspeakable horrors.

  39. 239
    JCH says:


    In the graph at the bottom of your link there is a period, the lull, from 2000 to 2040 with a note that 2008 is the 10th warmest year on record.

    Do you think it odd the coldest year in the warmest decade on record is a year from the warmest decade on record?

    Anyway, reconcile these with your “lull” (ALL of which appear to show your lull is off to a lullabyebye start):




  40. 240
    dhogaza says:


    Kepler tried a lot of really crazy stuff (using nested platonic solids as “interpolating functions”, etc) before settling on elliptical orbits. I don’t think there was much physics to constrain his curve fitting at the time.

    Actually, it appears he made a pretty good intuitive guess about the physics, i.e. that the sun’s the source of the motive force that leads to planets orbiting around it and that it diminishes with distance from the sun. While there was no true understanding of gravity at the time, he would’ve known common stuff such as the fact that a the illumination from a point source like a candle falls off with distance, maybe even knew the inverse square rule regarding such phenomena, and extrapolation to the sun’s “motive force” or whatever he called it was reasonable.

    In fact Kepler moved on to this model after his purely curve-fitting efforts failed. The explanatory aspect of his successful effort lies in his intution regarding what was later learned to be the sun’s gravitational field. If wikipedia’s right, he didn’t work backwards using the fit of an elliptical orbit as an explanatory tool.

    This is nothing at all like Gwinnevere is doing, and while you’re ignoring this person, my five word response was directed at that poster. It’s short, understandable, and points out why what he’s doing is not, as he claims, explanatory and I’m surely not claiming that my curt response covers every shade of grey in the spectrum. Nowhere did I say that curve-fitters are “dirty”, and face it – Ptolemy’s machinations had no explanatory value regardless of his personal cleanliness.

    As Meow says, “The distinction can be subtle, but Gwinnevere’s formula is not an example of that subtlety.” Gwinnevere’s off the rails, and there’s no reason to be subtle with someone who’s so far off track.

  41. 241
    ccpo says:

    @228 wayne davidson says:
    10 Jul 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Yes, incredible news not reported but here:

    The NE passage is about to open, The NW passage will open again, Barrow strait never been so open in June.

    I say without hesitation as a result of well foreseen AGW effects.

    Now the interesting bit:

    …Compare 2007 with 2011, there is a strong potential for 2011 having much less ice than 2007.

    Here’s my updated take.

    I’m going to be very surprised if both aren’t at least passable for Arctic-going vessels – in this case actually meaning able to remain in open water which may have enough ice to be dangerous within a week, maybe two, and perhaps open to any ship with a careful crew in the same time frame. If both passages are not clearly navigable by Aug. 1, I’ll be very, very surprised – allowing for the wind and currents simply pushing the ice to one side or the other.

    This is written simply for an audience who doesn’t know, nor care about, the math and the theories, so don’t give me any grief unless I have written something boneheaded technically. I want to add a companion on how the ice melts and why it matters… we’ll see.

    I rely on this site for most images:

    reCAPTCHA suggests nose bling? intranasal ringsiod

  42. 242
    Rich Creager says:

    Gwinnevere- After reading your comments, and considering the Turing test, I have to ask: are you a text generator?

  43. 243

    #241 by all means ccpo indulge in the math!

    #236 Ray the Bulk of Humanity simply wont listen to scientists the same way as nuclear war issue because the bombs are made by scientists who know how deal with Government leaders who have no choice but to listen and act to avoid catastrophes. In the case of AGW, the Governments don’t control Climate and so like everything they cant control they leave the issue alone. The bulk of humanity will be shaken by what is in store for them. I am astounded that 1 mile wide tornados didn’t make them think. Perhaps something bigger will, the huge floods in Pakistan shocked, the latest Mississippi flooding barely scratched a fright, Australians seem more incline to act after their recent great floods (cheers to them), but overall, natures ugliest hits are making people who would act, yawn, the Arctic is so badly misunderstood that even the North Pole free of ice will not seem a disaster. So we wait all while warning about further troubles ahead, not getting through very well, helpless until the next mega disaster. However Nature created icebergs, they are not scary until they are about to strike astern.

  44. 244
    Consumer says:

    Re: response to my question in #139.

    Here is the link to the NSIDC Arctic sea ice news page. Every month, they give the air temperature anomaly, but they never tell you what the “0” temperature is. I have no idea what Arctic air temperatures are in summer.

  45. 245
    Susan Anderson says:

    I don’t know if this wonderful nothern hemisphere water vapor animation might be of interest to anyone, but can’t help thinking it ties a lot of things together visually, and is gorgeous to boot. Other satellite imagery is readily found; the site has a nice collection. I’d love to slow it down.

    voices of advice? classes atainall

  46. 246
    Brian Dodge says:

    re the prediction of when 400PPMV atmospheric CO2 will be passed.

    I downloaded the monthly CO2 data from Woodfortrees. I took the linear trend and superimposed the annual cycle by averaging each month from all years. The peak predicted by this method just breaks 400, by half a standard deviation of the peak values, at the annual maximum in May 2014. By April 2015, this predicts the value rising above 400ppmv CO2 by more than one std dev, graph here –

    This assumes we don’t do anything to change our anthropogenic CO2 emissions, (like the US defaulting on its debt, causing a worldwide depression and large decline in FF consumption), and that there aren’t any big natural changes(like the release of CO2 from thawing tundra).

    “I do think the distinction between ‘curve fitting’ and ‘modeling’ is fairly subtle.”
    One could make a bunch of measurements of the intensity of radiation of a black body versus its temperature, and note that the relationship appears nonlinear.
    On the other hand you could fit a curve to the results. Depending on your measurement errors, you could say “the emission of a black body varies with the 4th power of the temperature, plus or minus xx experimental error,” and if you were a bold, bright, and very good scientist, you might go out on a limb and say it’s probably the 4th integer power.
    On the third hand, you might, if you were very very bright, and had a deep understanding of how energy and temperature are related, you could derive an integer 4th power relationship from first principles.
    John Tyndall did the first.
    Josef Stefan did the second.
    Ludwig Boltzmann did the third.
    Max Planck analyzed how the spectrum of black body should vary with temperature. If you integrate the spectral curves he derived, to get the total output, you come up with T^4, not something close, so science is pretty damned sure that it’s T^4, not T^(PI()+(PI()*(LN(6)/6.666))), even though the difference is only 0.00007 between 273 and 288 Kelvin.'s_law_of_black_body_radiation

  47. 247
    Susan Anderson says:

    Ray Ladbury comment reminds me that I have observed that all three of the 6:30 pm network news weekday anchors “get it” about climate change and given half a chance would be able to do a much better job of it. Too bad they have no political ambitions!

  48. 248
    john byatt says:

    The Gwinnevere flies WordPress, has a blog consisting of one post that has only one phrase. June start date

  49. 249
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Consumer
    > … they never tell you ….

    Right. You have to _ask_ to find out.

    Here’s how. Look in the upper right hand corner of the NSIDC page you linked.
    See the rectangle with the words “Search NSIDC” inside it?
    Type the word “anomaly” (without the quotes) inside that rectangle.
    Then take your mousie thing and click in the oval just to the right of that place you typed, on the thing with the word “Search” in it
    This is the result:

    If you can’t take it from there, ask again.

  50. 250
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Consumer @ 244, shows the temperature and allows comparison of different years. The Arctic Ocean surface temperature in summer stays close to the melting temperature of water. Any incoming heat goes into the internal energy that is needed to change the state of water from solid to liquid, and which that liquid retains as part of its state until it happens to freeze again. In winter the temperature varies with cloudiness, which in turn depends on clouds blowing in from elsewhere. When the sky is clear and cold there is not much water vapor in the air and infrared radiation from ice escapes into space. Clouds on the other hand intercept this radiation and re-radiate in all directions, including right back down.