Open Thread

I’ve just returned from a conference in California … so I should be able better to keep up with moderation.

Meanwhile, here’s another open thread.

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224 responses to “Open Thread

  1. I am actually curious to hear from Tamino and others what their best estimate or prediction based upon data to date the global temp will be in about 50 years and how sea level rise in specific areas might be based upon your line of thinking and all of this data we have been looking at and discussing. I know there is an approximate clustering of 3 degrees at 2* C02 or so and 50 years may not lead to a doubling but I am curious what the more informed and mathematically/scientifically literate here think about this. This means quite a few people but Ray Ladbury is another one I would like to hear from if he has time:)

    • It depends :->

      OK. We can probably assume that drastic reductions in emissions are not going to happen; although conventional oil and gas will not last another 50 years, there are some non-conventional sources (Shale gas, tar sands) which will allow plenty more consumption. So – if we use 2.5ppm/year for the increase, we add 125ppm by 2060 to get about 515ppm CO2.

      I’d think that by then, clean air legislation will have come through in China amongst others, so Aerosols will have less of a contribution.

      So, if we take 3K/doubling, this puts us in the 2.5K region by 2060 – some of which we have already had, some of which would still be in the pipeline. The interesting bit would be if some version of the Clean Air act was enacted over Asia, with a sharp reduction in aerosol emissions.

      What happens to sea level is extremely uncertain; we can put a lower bound of perhaps 20cm, but as a geologist I would not be shocked at anything under 3m; there is paleogeographic evidence of sea level change up to that speed. But scientifically speaking, we do not know.

      It goes without saying that the cost of decarbonising the economy (circa 50% of current global GDP, spread over 2-3 decades) is much less than the cost of dealing with the higher end sea level rises. And we’ll have to move away from fossil fuels when they run out, anyway.

      There are many wildcards. There is an outside chance that once the climate move outside the glacial-interglacial range, we’ll trigger the release of methane that has been stored for several million years; this would put all bets off. Economic failure due to peak oil and gas could hit with little warning and sharply reduce emissions. The WAIS could unground – it mostly rests on ground below sea level – with an instant hike in sea level. These are big uncertainties; and it’s worth noting that pretty much all of them take the form of unlikely nasty surprises instead of unlikely good surprises.

      • One detail – it’s 3K per CO2 equivalent doubling. We get to a CO2 equivalent doubling before actual CO2 doubling because of the more dramatic increase in methane, and non-trivial quantities of entirely man-made GHGs (various refrigerants and industrial chemicals).

  2. Oh and for those who do not know me… I have read much of the peer review and textbooks and of course there are ranges of predictions–projections and continuing analyses of variables. I am more looking for your educated take on the literature than 100 quotes though quotes and links are of course appropriate being any take is based upon data and numbers.

  3. Gavin's Pussycat

    We need the old posts back from 404 land…

  4. David B. Benson

    What Gavin’s Pussycat wrote @| September 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm.

  5. In the “box model” posts, forcings up to 2003 were taken from http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/RadF.txt I recall.

    Does anyone know of similar time series of global radiative forcings? Say, more up-to-date or with monthly resolution.

    @Gavin’s Pussycat: yep :’(

  6. I believe this was mentioned on another thread, but I think it apt for this one. Over at John Cook’s place, RPSr. had this nugget to share:

    “There does not need to be years of record to obtain statistically significant measures of upper ocean heat content. This is the point of using heat. We just need time slices with sufficient spatial data. A trend is unnecessary, and indeed can be misleading when the signal is substantially nonlinear. Moreover, if global annual average cooling occurs, such as from a major volcanic eruption, the global warming “clock” is reset regardless of the long term trend.”

    Others have commented there to point out the folly, but perhaps a more lengthy explanation could be had here?

  7. Friends of Gin & Tonic replicate and extend the observations-vs-models conflict found by McKitrick, McIntyre & Herman using a novel climatological innovation: the Weather Model.

    Discuss.

  8. yyl – definitely agree with both you and Gavin’s Pussycat.

    If we can’t get them all back there are some posts which have been duplicated by others. One post in particular which I think is great and actually could do with the graphs being updated is “riddle me this”. I was wondering if Tamino would mind if I copied the copy for my own website? – I would do appropriate attribution.

  9. Certain corners of the denialosphere are chortling about a new JPL/TU Delft paper in Nature Geoscience claiming that the GRACE numbers on Greenland/West Antarctic ice loss need to be cut in half because glacial isostatic adjustment isn’t being taken into account (10.1038/ngeo938).

    I don’t understand why Greenland ice loss of “only” 115gt/yr rather than 230gt/yr shows that AGW is a hoax and that scientists are incompetent fools, but apparently that is the case. I would have thought that this was just science in action, but, as a committed socialist Nazi envirowhacko, my opinion is of no value.

    But I haven’t seen much (OK, any) comment on this from more rational people. Would any sciency folk here like to say something about it? Does this seem reasonable? Is it really likely that the estimates from GRACE are twice what they should be?

    • You’ve gotten the core of the issue right. I’ve done a bit of digging and commented this
      here and here.

      Basically the denialosphere picked it up because TU Delft used a bit of a sensational headline. You know how the media picks up and reports such stuff…so people hear about it in the media and think “See, they exaggerated again!”. But they do not understand all the preconditions needed to use that headline, because the media doesn’t report them and the press release isn’t very specific about it either.

  10. Forgive me if I’m being stupid, but…
    If an ice sheet that is grounded below sea level comes free, wouldn’t the immediate effect be a reduction in sea level, rather than a rise? Because wouldn’t some portion of the volume of the ice suddenly be up out of the water?

    • Arguably. But for the WAIS to become ungrounded, it would have to collapse in spectacular style. There is no scenario where it will float away. The collapse would involve a lot of ice above sea level falling into the sea, raising sea level suddenly.

      I’m also fairly certain that the reason it is grounded is simply because the ice is so thick. Therefore, ungrounding would presuppose some serious thinning – which would involve melt “off the top” (even if the actual melting is basal).

      Significant collapses around the edges are very likely. We have already seen many ice sheets disintegrate. A complete collapse of the entire WAIS? Very, very unlikely. This century, anyway.

      • Unlikely, yes..

        But remember that it’s not just melting in situ you have to think about here. As the grounding line moves, you would expect significant calving and hence mass transport of bits of the ice sheet; this will remove support from the grounded bit of the ice sheet, which will then rapidly undergo gravitational collapse/sliding, thus becoming thinner until it floats as well. This process would be a consequence of the grounding line progressively moving into deeper water, and thus requiring a progressively thicker layer of ice to stay grounded.

        Thinning from melting only starts the process at the edge, the ongoing mechanism for an ice sheet collapse would be gravitational flow, calving and transport of the resulting ice to lower latitudes.

        Had I the time, it would be interesting to model, as a mass-action only event with no melting. I suspect that as the water gets deeper and the ice sheet thicker, collapse actually speeds up.

      • Andrew, so long as there is significant sea ice in the winter, broken up ice sheets don’t move anywhere very fast. This tends to prevent an all-out retreat.

        I don’t think you should underestimate the role of basal melting further inland. There is a lot of liquid water moving around under Antarctica, and its effects and behaviours are hard to predict or explain.

    • Kevin,
      Don’t think of grounding as being held down – it’s held up. Now if the sea very gently rose and floated the grounded sheet off its moorings, there would be no instantaneous change at all (just the slow rise already stipulated). But if there has already been basal melt (good bet) such that the average center of gravity of the sheet is above sea level, with the weight resting on a few grounding points, and then the grounding points collapse when the supported weight becomes too great (as the basal melt continues, and the grounding points grow smaller) you get a step function increase in sea level.

  11. Well, we have planty of natural gas left far beyond 50 years and oil will last more than 50 years, but it will most likely be past its peak.

  12. ChrisD: Deniers never seem to think things through… The news about lower melt rates from the ice sheets means that SLR is caused more by thermal expansion than ice sheet melt, and this will help close the planetary energy balance. Currently there is a significant amount of heat that should be showing up in in the planetary system, that can’t be accounted for. The deniers don’t seem to understand that lower rates of ice sheet melt shifts the attribution for SLR to thermal expansion, which in turn means the oceans are heating faster than previously calculated. Since the oceans are absorbing 80 times more thermal energy from AGW than the atmosphere, this confirms AGW.

    • Very interesting take. It would be interesting to examine the thermal expansion angle in the context of the discussion over at Skeptical Science. Somehow, I think we should work in the word “travesty”. ;-)

    • With thermal expansion being more responsible for sea level rise than ice melt, what are the chances that this could account for the missing heat?

  13. It isn’t saying glacial isostatic adjustments weren’t taken into account, it is saying that the glacial isostatic adjustments used were wrong – an altogether more bold and interesting claim.

    Once again, the results are the output of a computer model. Amazing how those hypocritical deniers loooove the models when they agree with them, isn’t it? But as you say, ChrisD – nothing here changes the fact of massive ice loss. On the contrary, it is yet another study that confirms ice loss.

    Whether they are right about the degree of isostatic rebound remains to be seen. I imagine it will be hotly debated, but honestly it’s not a subject that interests me.

  14. My impression with respect to the Grace estimates is that there was already considerable uncertainty with the estimates. The paper you are referring to does show half the losses for Greenland and Antarctica compared to previous studies but I think there are some aspects which I find a little bit interesting about the paper. Firstly, the paper still concludes that the EAIS is losing ice at somewhere near 25-30 Gt per year. This to me is a very pertinent conclusion as previous studies were lambasted at WUWT for showing those losses (and subsequently responded to by me over at Skeptical science)
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Part-One-Why-do-glaciers-lose-ice.html
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Part-2-How-do-we-measure-Antarctic-ice-changes.html
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Part-Three-Response-to-Goddard.html

    So even with the uncertainties lowered it is still clear that the submarine portions of EAIS are losing more ice than the center part is gaining in snowfall. Another interesting conclusion is how the WAIS is seen to be losing half of previous estimates with Grace, Radar Interferometry and some Altimetry methods. I think that this result is likely missing some of the dynamicness of a lot of these regions grounded below sea level such as Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier. There has been numerous studies (most recently Rignot et al. 2008b) which have quantified very accurately the contribution of the WAIS to sea level rise and I find it a bit presumptuous to make assumptions that we can half the previous estimates with other techniques. This could go the same for the Greenland losses in dynamic regions also. Lets remember too that some studies used GRACE to just detect accelerations in loss which would not be affected by GIA.

    We all must remember the lesson from radar altimetry studies such as Wingham et al. 2006. At the time it was a paradigm shifter which gave the impression that Greenland was not losing as much ice and that Antarctica was likely gaining. Now after the fact we know from studies like Thomas et al. 2008 that this method completely overestimated gains and underestimated losses in dynamic regions. With time we will know whether the new study validates but I do find it a bit suspicious when a study seems to show that the only areas significantly losing ice are Antarctica, Greenland and Alaska… What about the canadian high arctic, svalbard, himilayas, switzerland, patagonia….

  15. This is a ‘repost’ as in I already asked this question over at Eli’s place, but as Nick Dearth asked a question about it I thought I’d ask here too. So….

    Maybe some of the more mathematically and physically competent (by which I don’t mean ability to do countless sit-ups) can explain something to me? Or maybe it’s just I don’t understand science-ese.

    Following Professor Pielke’s analogy (on his pages, I think) of heating a pan of water, he seems to be saying that you don’t need multiple measurements to understand a trend as long as you have enough spacial resolution, and that somehow ‘heat’ is more important than ‘temperature’.

    Does this mean that if I place say 400 (or even an infinite number of) thermocouple devices at various positions within his heating pan of water and take measurements to determine ‘heat’ at say 3 time points a couple of picoseconds apart, I will understand the trend regardless of the timing of my experiment (i.e. at what point after application of the heat source I took my first measurement) and regardless of the intensity of the heat source?

    Would such an experiment indicate that the pan of water would reach boiling point, again, regardless of the heat source and the timing of my ‘very, very, very, spacially-resolved’ measurements?

    Is this really what he is saying? Or am I missing something?

    I understand the difference between ‘temperature’ and ‘heat’, but aren’t we talking about global ‘warming’ (i.e. an increase in temperature) as opposed to global ‘delta-heat’?

    I thought I was keeping up with this topic, but this is making me feel quite inadequate!

  16. Cross posted from “survey says” as it’s not OT here.

    I’d be interested in an expert analysis of the OHC data and whether the noise in the data allows Pielke senior to legitimately claim on Skeptical Science that taking “snapshots” from the data allows definitive statements on short term heat balance.

    Pielke has now clarified that a “snapshot” means a month’s data, but surely the data is far too noisy for that ?

  17. VeryTallGuy it is far too noisy, you have it right.

  18. I laughed when Pielke did the Texas two-step sidestep: acknowledging the global warming that has “stopped” could restart. You gotta have sturdy ankles to do the Texas two-step sidestep.

  19. Thanks to all who commented on the JPL/TU Delft study. This is quite helpful.

    In addition to the sciency stuff, there were a couple of notes about hypocrisy and lack-of-thinking-things-through in the denierverse. To those I would add a third: The new paper is seen to add to the proof that the whole thing is a hoax. This one is particularly hard to fathom. Not only are we still losing ice in prodigious amounts even if the paper is right, but, if the sceintists are in fact perpetrating a hoax, why was this paper published? Will heads will be rolling at Nature Geoscience?

    Sometime the only thing one can do is shake one’s head in confusion.

    • “. . .if the scientists are in fact perpetrating a hoax, why was this paper published?”

      Presumably its just an unusually exuberant manifestation of confirmation bias–logic is certainly lacking.

    • Expect it to be added to Poptart’s list of “papers skeptical of global warming”…

  20. Ummm, yeah, I have an open thread question:

    When the “Climategate” scandal erupted, there were of course a lot of cries that raw data was being deliberately concealed. Since then, an awful lot of information has been released, and in particular, links have been provided to the raw data and source code used in many instances.

    Sceptics were going to then take this data and the code and show everyone exactly how it had been manipulated to fudge the temperature anomalies produced in the climate science world, and what the real anomalies (if any) were.

    Does anyone know how that project is going? Bueller? Bueller?

    • Mike, not only has Nick and Zeke provided their own methods with the data and have gotten a good fit to the profeesionals, but so too have some very outspoken skeptics, i.e., Jeffid, and Steve Mosher.

      The interesting thing for me about these four is that they all developed their own methods for crunching the data, and still came up with graphs that were very similiar. The other interesting thing is that Jeffid’s method actually says that the pro’s have been underestimating the temps for the last few years!

      I think for most of us LW’ers, who are really trying to see the truth, there is no more argument about the warming climate.

  21. Mike,


    Sceptics were going to then take this data and the code and show everyone exactly how it had been manipulated to fudge the temperature anomalies produced in the climate science world, and what the real anomalies (if any) were.

    Does anyone know how that project is going? Bueller? Bueller?

    Someone posted a link to this over at Deltoid recently:

    http://data-n-demagogues.blogspot.com/

    It appears they’re still playing with their hardware 9 months into the project.

    • Installing that new mobo must’ve been a bitch, eh?

    • Priceless! Especially the way the thread degenerated into a bunch of spam links.

    • The data-n-demagogues project was about getting a climate model running, not reanalyzing obs data. I asked ESR about it, but he hasn’t said anything.

      I believe Nick Barnes and the Clear Climate Code project have put the deniers’ non-insane arguments to rest regarding the obs. That isn’t to say that the idiot arguments (the obs data is manipulated by NOAA/CRU/the Pope/Masons before it gets used by anybody) won’t linger, but CCC has shown that it’s very possible to replicate the GISS analysis without whining about getting the code.

      Of course, Watts hasn’t done a thing with his surfacestations.org project except smear and slur, and crap on Menne et.al. for doing their work after he decided to quit talking to them.

  22. Not directly relevant to climate, but an example of how statistics can be fudged by industry here, and how regulation for public health can be done: http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2010/09/chromium_industry_failed_to_no.php

  23. Question. If there were no computers and no models, how far could we get toward a quantitative understanding of the effects of a doubling of CO2 using nothing but physics equations and a calculator?

    [Response: Pretty close -- just as Arrhenius did in 1896.]

    • “Pretty close–just as Arrhenius did in 1896.”

      True–plus, we have the advantages of relevant data orders of magnitude more abundant and accurate, plus a fully-developed understanding of the mechanics of absorption/emissivity (courtesy quantum theory), plus vastly improved paleo data.

      Of course, we wouldn’t have all that with computers and modeling. It’s pretty hard to make this a “clean” thought experiment.

    • Thank you. That’s what I thought.

      By the way, do we know what kind of calculator Arrhenius had? TI or HP would be my guess. Me, I’m an HP man, but I’ve always suspected that scientists probably lean more toward TI.

    • David B. Benson

      ChrisD — Here is a highly simplified climate model for which using a computer is convenient, but is simple enough you could (with great patience) do the calculations required on a hand-held:
      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530
      I did calculations almost this laboreous using a Marchant electromechanical calculator as an undergraduate.

      • Have you considered ever putting together something from this model for any sort of publication… it seems very interesting and it is certainly something which perhaps you should post somewhere. Ive gone through the exercise myself of looking over it and it seems to be quite good…

  24. We don’t primarily use models to estimate climate sensitivity – we use observations

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-6.html

  25. Petermann Ice Island – Now There Are Two
    http://www.science20.com/chatter_box/petermann_ice_island_now_there_are_two

    “Petermann Ice Island (2010) has now broken into two parts.
    [...]
    The importance of the Petermann Glacier calving to climate science is not so much that it happened, but that it was predicted to happen. Quite a few predictions were made by people working independently as individuals or groups and using different techniques for prediction.
    [...]
    The incontestable fact that the calving was predicted using the scientific method – and that it happened – is a public demonstration of the power of science to predict the future. This evidence of the validity of the scientific method should be enough to convince any rational person that when climate scientists from the world’s nations agree that the world’s climate is changing, then it is changing.”

  26. > if there were no computers

    “If anyone had put forth these simple arguments in the 1950s, they would not have convinced other scientists unless they were backed up by a specific, numerical calculation. The structure of the H2O and CO2 absorption bands at a given pressure and temperature did need to be considered in figuring just how much radiation is absorbed in any given layer. Every detail had to be taken into account in order to calculate whether adding a greenhouse gas would warm the atmosphere neglibly or by many degrees.”

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Radmath.htm

  27. Love this blog. I’m a layman that is trying to learn as best I can about the issues associated with AGW. I have a question about changes in albedo associated with sea ice shrinking. Is there a good discussion someone can point me too about how big the effect is to the earths heat budget of the loss of sea ice? Thanks!

  28. Wegman report update, part 2: GMU dissertation review

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/01/06/wegman-and-rapp-on-proxies-a-divergence-problem-part-2/

    More questionable scholarship from team Wegman …

    Wegman Report co-author Yasmin Said’s 2005 dissertation on the “ecology” of alcohol consumption appears to presage some of the questionable scholarship techniques employed in the Wegman Report. And later dissertations from two other Wegman proteges, Walid Sharabati (2008) and Hadi Rezazad (2009), both have extensive passages that follow closely Wegman Report’s social networks background section, which in turn is based on unattributed material from Wikipedia and two widely used text books. Thus, as in the case of Donald Rapp, there appears to be serial propagation of unattributed, “striking similar” material. Astonishingly, all three Wegman acolytes were honored with an annual GMU award for outstanding dissertations in statistics and computational science. However, a closer look betrays not only scholarship problems in the work, but clear failure in the PhD supervision process itself.

    It may also be that some heat is being felt behind the scenes. For one thing, Said’s 2005 dissertation was recently deleted from the George Mason University website. And around the same time, most traces of Said’s eye-opening presentation on the Wegman panel process were also deliberately removed. That appears to be a clumsy attempt to cover up embarrassing details about the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee 2005-2006 climate investigation, including the key role of Republican staffer Peter Spencer, Representative “Smoky” Joe Barton’s long time point man on climate change issues.

  29. I’m moving this to somewhere it might actually be seen. Apologies for reposting:

    On an earlier subject, I’m trying to find a definition for “well mixed gas”. It’s not really nailed down anywhere.

    Clearly, “well mixed gas” does not imply exactly homogeneous concentrations in a dynamic atmosphere. Taking CO2, there are massive carbon sources and sinks constantly altering surface concentration, which is then diffused gradually and transported by air movements.

    Also fairly clear – the definition cannot apply above the turbopause. No mixing makes “well mixed” meaningless.

    So that leaves us with a constant vertical (relative) concentration, assuming that the gases have mixed fully.

    Is this explained somewhere?

  30. The AGGI index has just been updated [Sep.10] and the forcing is up by 1% over last year, 27.5% since Kyoto, for CO2 alone to be 36% since the treaty, and a citing that the CFC decline has helped to moderate the increase.

    See: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/

    v.v. CFC’s, the Ozone Depletion Gas Index ODGI was also updated at same time. The depletion is still considered to be near it’s peak.
    [quote]Because ozone depletion is still near its peak, continued monitoring of ozone and ozone depleting gases is critical for ensuring that the recovery proceeds as expected through the 21st century. [/quote]

    See http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/odgi/

  31. Daniel "The Yooper" Bailey

    It’s the beginning of the end for two of the most popular denialist memes:
    1. The Oceans aren’t warming (missing heat/OHC argument)
    2. Sea level rise is flattening out

    At least some of the missing heat is found:
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100920_oceanwarming.html

    Next we’ll hear some pap about how heat can’t go into the deep oceans because that would violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (I can actually imagine this as a headline on WTFIUWT)…

    …or sea levels aren’t rising, the land is sinking!

    The Yooper

  32. http://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/strategy-for-azimuth/
    —-excerpt—–
    …. I do think it’s important to make reliable and well-presented information about environmental issues more easily available. But I don’t think making it ‘hard for cranks to criticize’ should be a major goal. That strategy is too purely defensive. And cranks will criticize anything.

    Of course you can try to provide information that’s so clear that ordinary citizens will see it makes much more sense than what the cranks are saying. And this is a good idea — though at least in the US, it would be quite hard to change a lot of minds that are already made up.

    But I’m starting to lean towards something more like this: try to provide information that’s so clear that scientists and engineers will see it makes much more sense than what the cranks are saying.

    And, simultaneously, provide these scientists and engineers with ideas about what they can do now. There are lots of projects to work on. Lots of scientists are already doing them — but where can you look to see all these projects, in a nicely organized way? Where can you see people with many different approaches discussing their relative merits? I think there might be a hole here.

    Ideas are welcome! That’s one thing the Azimuth Forum will be about: what to do…..
    —-end excerpt—-

  33. A report from Ben Goldacre on medical papers ghostwritten for Wyeth who then found academics to put their name to them: http://www.badscience.net/2010/09/ghostwriters/

    “DesignWrite wrote the first drafts, and sent them to Wyeth, who then advised on the creation of a second draft. Only then did the paper get sent to the academic who would appear as the “author”. Review articles cost Wyeth $20,000. Abstracts are $4,000. The academics weren’t paid cash, but they did get an easy publication in an academic journal for their CV. And once the publication process was in train, the chap from Wyeth’s marketing department helpfully provided comments and suggestions for the authors to use in response to peer reviewers’ comments.”

    Should we wonder whether this practice has already spread into other fields? Or will it give the likes of CEI ideas, if they hadn’t thought of it already?

  34. I have a recollection of reading that NOAA (?) has a specially selected subset of monitoring stations that are known to be well-sited, i.e., away from contaminating heat sources, etc.

    Now I can’t seem to find it. Did I dream this, or what? If not, what is it called? A link, maybe?

  35. Well, there’s USCRN, here:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/

    Or conceivably you could be thinking of USHCN-M, here:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/hcnm/

  36. I just finished installing my 3rd very high effeciency heating system in the last six weeks. What have you been doing to help the planet?

    • Pointing out the ridiculousness of the deniers’ claims, as Tamino consistently does, in the long run will do far more for the planet than installing a few high efficiency heating systems. No real action is going to be taken until the public demands it, and that is not going to happen until enough people grasp both the extent of the problem and the extent of the disinformation campaign. Tamino is a soldier in that war, and a damned good one.

      • I’m fairly sure we can do both, Chris.

      • So instead of helping my customers understand that by spending a few extra dollars now, not only will they save money in the long run, but they will also be using less of a finite resource, and help the enviroment, you want me to do what Chris? Sit at home and watch TV, until Tamino becomes President?

        Sorry Chris, but I do really take to heart the not so new saying, “think globally, but act locally”. Maybe instead of waiting for others to do your battles, it may be time for you to do something good for the planet yourself.

      • No, I’m not saying that installing higher efficiency equipment is bad or that people should not do what they can in their own lives. I am simply pointing out that what Tamino does is of great value. Your question, “What have you been doing to save the planet?” ignores this fact and belittles his contribution. The information he provides here does help the planet.

      • Ahhh, I think I get it now Chris. You thought that I was challenging Tamino directly as to what he does for the planet? Nope. Just wondering what others that spend time at these blogs are doing personally. I just felt very good that in the last 6 weeks I was able to install 3 systems. A record for me. Guess i was thumping my chest and letting loose some exurbarance.

        As for Mr. T, I’ll let his words speak for himself.

  37. The Republicans are looking to restart the Climate War should they regain control of the House in November. From the NY Times with link below:

    Rep. Issa Would Lead ‘Climategate’ Probe if House Goes to GOP
    By ROBIN BRAVENDER of ClimateWire

    The House’s top Republican watchdog is planning to launch an investigation into international climate data if he takes the helm of the chamber’s oversight panel next year.

    Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said a probe of the “Climategate” scandal will top his environmental agenda if the Republicans take over the House next year and he gets the chairmanship.

    Top his environmental agenda. It seems there is no limit to their insanity.

    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/09/23/23climatewire-rep-issa-would-lead-climategate-probe-if-hou-44766.html

    • One thing that does occur..

      What would happen if US disclosure laws forced absolutely everything around this into the open? If the emails include McIntyre, for example, we need context – and that means Mr McIntyre’s inbox. Perhaps – and exposure to too much hollywood and homebrew probably influences this – there could be a complete turnaround in this. See what declines (sanity? credibility?) have been hidden on ‘the other side’.

  38. “As for Mr. T, I’ll let his words speak for himself.”

    Ah pity the fool! Who don’t accept the scientific consensus on the validity of global warming!

  39. Daniel "The Yooper" Bailey

    FYI:

    Someone going by the moniker “gallopingcamel” over at Skeptical Science is talking smack about about our respected host Tamino:

    “My problem with MBH 08 & 09 plus the hundreds of subsequent papers and commentaries including those by my ex-colleagues such as Gabby Hegerl or distinguished statisticians such as Tamino is their ignorance of the historical record.

    The first test of any paleo-climate reconstruction should be whether it portrays past climate in a plausible way. Any set of proxies that disagrees with history should immediately be discarded.”

    and over here he adds this:

    “Tamino is to CAGW folks as McIntyre is to skeptics. No doubt they are good at what they do but one needs to recognize that they both operate with blinkers on.

    My doubts about Tamino are based on his support for papers that deny the historical record.”

    Other besmirching here.

    I realize that such nonesuch as this is probably beneath your attention, Tamino. But I thought you should be aware of it.

    The Yooper

    • Did they explain where we get a “historical record” from? Oh yes! Trees.

      No doubt the idiot thinks that when Shakespeare wrote “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day”, it meant that summers were really warm when he wrote Sonnet 18.

      *rolls eyes*

      • That’s the question isn’t it? “Any set of proxies that disagrees with history should immediately be discarded” sounds wonderfully sensible–if we but had a reliable, independent “historical record” including quantifiable climate data.

        Last I heard, though, constructing such was rather the point of working with proxies in the first place.

    • David B. Benson

      gallopingcamel also has poked in on
      http://bravenewclimate.com/
      where he amply demonstrated he was commenting outside his (narrow) area of expertise.

      A Motl wannabee?

  40. “As for Mr. T, I’ll let his words speak for himself.”

    “I ain’t gettin’ on no plane.”

    (Thus also answering DeN’s original question)

  41. Cross post:

    New Statesman has listed McIntyre in their list of Top Ten People of 2010, and his admirers are out in droves defending and lauding him. If you fancy making corrections to some of the comments, the link is:
    http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2010/09/climate-mcintyre-keeper#reader-comments

    No need to sign up, just make a post like you do here.

  42. Rattus Norvegicus

    Note that they say something like “not to say that his influence was positive…”.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Not wishing to invoke Godwin, but wasn’t Mr Hitler Man of the Year sometime back as well?

      • He was indeed (1938). However, it is well to remember that the Man of the Year isn’t necessarily, well, the man of the year in a good way. It’s supposed to be the person who had the most influence on the news of the year. Stalin and Ayatollah Khomeini also received the “honor,” and Nixon got it twice in a row (same number as Winston Churchill, for God’s sake), so there ya have it.

  43. Not sure if you’ve answered the question elsewhere, Tamino, but where did all your posts from before March this year go? I see that Watts is promoting a bogus analysis that you thoroughly refuted well over two years ago – I was looking for the posts about it and found only a whole lot of 404s.

  44. Andrew Dodds

    Oh, and in case anyone on the sane side of this debate wonders why they suddenly have a great big (virtual) smoking gunshot wound in both feet:

    http://www.1010global.org/no-pressure

    Don’t watch unless you have a very strong stomach.

    • Video removed already. I’ve seen a couple of other people talking about this, too.

      What did it say?

  45. The video is here:

    How to Cut Carbon Emissions
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSTLDel-G9k

    Here is a bit of writeup in response to people’s reactions:

    With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain’s leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis – writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others – agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.

    No Pressure
    http://www.1010global.org/no-pressure

    Reminds me a bit of the following Monty Python skit:

    [edit]

    [Response: Please let's not embed videos.]

    • I think that the video was a in principle a good idea, BUT blowing up dissenters? WTF were they thinking. That tactic just plays right into the WUWT’s hands. A very poor decision IMHO, as if scientists did not have enough flack to deal with they will get this thrown in their faces.

      How about this. Show people not agreeing to participate. Fine, no pressure. Then cut to some footage of heat waves, fires, flooding, clip of loss of Arctic sea ice.

      But they have to use footage of events that are already known to be on the increase b/c of warming (e.g., no footage of the Asian Tsunami)!

      The message there is clear, no pressure, but if we do not act then we all pay.

      Maybe I’ll email them…

    • Yeah, I saw this earlier. These dumbasses at 1010.org need a barbwire enima. I am lived wit these asshole jerk-offs. I now feel that it is incumbent upon me, should I ever meet Mr. Curtis, to kick him in the nuts.

  46. Tamino wrote, “Please let’s not embed videos.”

    Didn’t mean to. I was simply pasting the link as far as I knew. However, this should work without embedding the video:

    Monty Python: How not to be seen (at Youtube)
    http://bit.ly/LFJ8n

    And as I find some of the parallels between “No Pressure” and “How not to be seen” rather striking, especially with what happens to the individual responsible for the voice over at the end, it may be of some value in understanding where they were coming from.

    What they did was in considerable bad taste. It has given the Moranos of the world some ammunition, but it isn’t exactly without precedent in British humor and it was written by a British comic writer. Such context may help. I believe that what they did was simply meant to be over the top humor.

    • Andrew Dodds

      Yes, but ‘How not to be seen’ was a satire, based on Government information videos. To take ‘No Pressure’ in the same context would make it a satire on those promoting measures to alleviate global warming.. which is pretty much the opposite of what was been aimed for.

  47. I can’t decide whether it’s genius or too much. One thing’s for sure: the comments on YouTube are spectacularly dumb. Nothing new there, then.

  48. It appears that Virginia States Attorney Ken the Cooch has renewed his witchhunt, er, I mean subpoena of all emails Mike Mann ever sent. The only new wrinkle is that now the doofus feels competent to pass judgment on matters of science.

  49. Tamino, also wondering about your posts prior to March this year – there are a number of classic pieces which I often use in rebutting deniers. Are you planning to restore them?

  50. Igor Samoylenko

    Some good satire by Martin Robbins from the Guardian in the UK on the current state of scientific reporting in popular press:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2010/sep/24/1

  51. What do you people think of this? Very interesting find, if true.

    Nature News: Declining solar activity linked to recent warming
    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101006/full/news.2010.519.html

    An influence of solar spectral variations on radiative forcing of climate, Haigh, J. D. , Winning, A. R. , Toumi, R. & Harder, J. W. Nature 467, 696-699 (2010)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7316/full/nature09426.html

    • Way too short a time period to draw such a radical conclusion. Moreover, the previous Solar min was hardly typical. I don’t see a credible mechanism, either.

    • Very interesting. The comment by Giles Ranyl Rhydwen is worth reading at the Nature News page.

    • They actually *say* that it’s impossible to extrapolate the results, but that didn’t stop everyone extrapolating anyway, and saying all sorts of ridiculous things.

      Amusingly, it’s the complete opposite of the silly claims by the denialatii. However, I imagine that once climatologists have finished working though the implications, it will once again turn out to be of very minor interest.

      One thing that I see as important is that if it is impossible to even determine accurately the sign of the solar forcing, then the magnitude of solar forcing must be very very small – and consequently, the stupid headline claim of “as much warming as carbon dioxide over three years” is just fabricated crap. It is conspicuous absent from the abstract, and looks a lot like “lies from editors”. Can anyone with access to the full paper find what basis this claim in the press release has?

      • Didactylos,

        I have just searched the PDF and only found reference to CO2 in the references. It is not referred to anywhere in the body text. So I have no idea where they sourced that quote.

        I also searched a piece in Nature written by Garcia on the Haigh et al. paper, and he does not reference CO2 either.

        They seem to have latched onto this statement made by Haigh in an interview (?), but note her important caveat:

        “Over the three-year study period, the observed variations in the solar spectrum have caused roughly as much warming of Earth’s surface as have increases in carbon dioxide emissions, says Haigh. But because solar activity is cyclic it should have no long-term impact on climate, regardless of whether similar spectral changes have occurred during previous solar cycles.”

        I am too scared to go and see how Tony et al. have spun/distorted this….

      • There’s now a post by Gavin up at RC regarding this paper. His guess essentially seems to be that it’s likely to prove an artifact of the relatively short sampling period–and that is a point about which the abstract issues a caveat. It’s an interesting, if somewhat brief, discussion, and there’s a couple of good links.

        Utilizing one of them, I had some fun playing about with the SORCE data, plotting irradiance at different wavelengths. It’s interesting to observe how much the curve can differ over 25 nm; I wouldn’t have expected that. (But then, I don’t know enough about solar astrophysics even to have naive expectations.)

      • The paper is focussed on the variability of ozone concentrations as a function of solar irradiance, and the subsequent affect that has on transmission of particular wavelengths into the troposphere. Nowhere in the journal article is the claim that “Over the three-year study period, the observed variations in the solar spectrum have caused roughly as much warming of Earth’s surface as have increases in carbon dioxide emissions” – that claim is attributed (but not as a quote) to the lead author of the paper in an article in NatureNews written by Quirin Schiermeier.

        I found the journal article interesting, but I like reading journal articles, so take that recommendation for what it’s worth. I think a plot of the author’s model results compared to measured ozone concentrations rather than % ozone anomalies would be a better gauge of how well their model does in reproducing photochemical processes in the atmosphere.

  52. I can think of a mechanism, but it is likely crap, so I don’t write it down here… And I agree with Didactylos that a couple of changes in some bands of total radiation are very NOT likely amplified by the physics on earth.

  53. Hello,

    Sorry for my bad english, I am french.
    Tamino, could you give us a good link for the broken link of this page :
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/dangerous-curves/

    Thank you very much.

  54. I get to deal frequently with a denialist who’s hung up on the “trace gas” meme: you know, “390 ppm is just too small to have any effect, etc., etc.”

    I get tired of reiterating the same responses, so came up with this comparison:

    According to T. Mao, 2005, the liquid water density in a medium fog is .05 mg/m3. The mass of a cubic meter of air at STP is 1.2754 kg/m3, according to Wikipedia. So, that should mean that a “medium fog” has less than .05 ppm suspended H2O droplets–clearly much less than the 390 ppm CO2 currently existing in our atmosphere.

    So, by my “friend’s” logic, next time I’m out driving in a medium fog, slowing down should be quite unnecessary, right? “Clearly,” water concentrations are too small to affect visibility!

    • Ask him to see what the fatal concentrations are for arsenic/cyanide in the bloodstream. Much less than 390 ppm, IIRC.

      • I think you’re right, but this comparison has been done with the guy, probably more than once. That’s why I needed a different tack to take.

      • I’ve tried the cyanide thing many, many times (botulinum toxin, too, which is fatal in unbelievably small amounts). It almost never works, usually because they fixate on “You think carbon dioxide is like cyanide???? ROFLMAO Now I’ve heard everything. What a moron! LOL LOL LOL”

        The logic is apparently too subtle for them.

    • Kevin,
      I find that one way to shut up this type o BS is to simply walk through a calculation of how many CO2 molecules a 15 micron will encounter (e.g. pass within 15 microns of) on it’s way out of the atmosphere. It is a formidable number.

      • For the full-bore version, Ray, I’d need your help–but the dumbed-down version I did was already too much for him. (Mine was just 390 ppm multiplied out by Avogadro’s number to get the an approximate figure for the number of CO2 molecules in a mole of air–which, IIRC, is about 22 litres.)

    • At a 100% risk of repeating myself…

      I would remind him that we know what the absorption spectra of the various greenhouse gases are, we are able to measure the spectra of incoming and outgoing radiation, identify what absorption is due to what gas at different wavelengths.

      Please see:

      http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Transmission_png
      *
      Likewise we are able to perform experiments in the lab which show that as you add carbon dioxide to a tube you reduce the amount of thermal radiation that makes it from point A to point B.

      Please see:

      CO2 experiment: Iain Stewart demonstrates infrared radiation absorption by CO2
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeYfl45X1wo
      *
      In the above experiment the concentration of carbon dioxide in the tube is no doubt unrealistic compared to the atmosphere. However, what matters isn’t so much the concentration as the amount of carbon dioxide that light will run into on its way from the surface to space.

      According to Barton Paul Levenson’s calculations (I tried doing my own but something wasn’t adding up so I will fix my calculations later) it would appear that at 385 ppm you are talking about 5.9 kg of atmospheric carbon dioxide per square meter of atmospheric column, up from 4.26.

      Please see:

      Why Roy Spencer is Wrong
      http://bartonpaullevenson.com/Spencer.html

      However much carbon dioxide Stewart put into the tube it is no doubt a great deal less than the 1.64 kg/m^2 anthropogenic carbon dioxide you would find in 80 km of atmospheric column of the same cross-section.
      *
      Furthermore, we are able to satellite image atmospheric carbon dioxide over time.

      Please see:

      Aqua/AIRS Carbon Dioxide with Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Overlaid (Sept 2002 – July 2008)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-bhzGvB8Lo
      http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003600/a003685/index.html

      With this we can see small variations in its distribution and how its concentration increases from one year to the next as well as varies with plant growth and decay. But the reason why we are able to image carbon dioxide in this way is that what the satellite is measuring is the infrared radiation being emitted by carbon dioxide where the radiation finally escapes to space.

      The higher the concentrations of carbon dioxide the more absorption takes place even at higher altitudes, thus the higher the layer of atmosphere where thermal radiation is emitted without being reabsorbed. As a consequence the layer of atmosphere will be cooler, and being cooler it won’t be as bright as a lower, warmer layer of atmosphere would be at lower concentrations of carbon dioxide.

      This translates into a reduction in the rate at which energy leaves the climate system. Meanwhile the rate at which energy enters the climate system remains roughly constant. As such there is an radiation imbalance, with thermal energy being accumulated by the climate system. And thermal energy (or “heat”) will continue to be accumulated by the climate system until it warms sufficiently for thermal radiation to be radiated at a rate where the rate at which outgoing radiation leaves the atmosphere balances the rate at which incoming radiation enters the atmosphere.

      Anyway, my apologies if the above wasn’t particularly snappy. Long day — but I thought I would get it out anyway before hitting the sack.

      • PS

        I would ask your friend who and what he is going trust? Someone with no background in physics relying solely upon his poor intuition and judgment (namely himself) or the hundreds and perhaps thousands of scientists who have spent nearly a studying radiation transfer related physics even before they graduate, with their laboratories where they are able to measure the spectral absorption at different wavelengths, temperatures and pressures, their fancy satellites, supercomputers for calculation.

        The quantum physics that explains the orbitals of atoms, structure of molecules, electron tunneling in tunneling diodes, lasers and photoelectric cells, and detailed absorption spectra. The nearly two hundred years of accumulated scientific knowledge? All of this experimentation and knowledge forms a coherent whole where physical theory gets tested in many different ways, with the same physical principles explaining a vast body of observations and making possible a large array of technologies.
        *
        I certainly don’t mean to be insulting him. Every individual has limitations on what they know and has to rely upon experts in different areas. Thats part of living in a modern society. But it really isn’t like physicists are making this up as they go along. Or that the greenhouse effect is all based on a hunch.

        Its physics, the same physics that has been tested in many different areas, physics that even gets tested in your computers, your phone conversations — assuming there is fiber optics between you and the other end of the line. It gets tested by the solar arrays that generate the electricity that light many homes, and the sensors that are used in fighter jets. It even the nuclear magnetic resonance scans that you might get at a hospital.

        If the physics underlying our understanding the greenhouse effect turned out to be wrong there would be a whole lot of explaining to (re-)do.

  55. Bonjour, M. Curves. Vote Anglais est meilleure que mon Francais!

  56. Sans doute. Votre…;-)

  57. @Kevin McKinney: What your friend suffers from is acute simplicity. The lack of background scientific knowledge makes him try to extrapolate issues to elemental number problems. It’s common with deniers. But he puts you on the defensive, while it should be the other way round. Turn the table around.

    Is 390ppm CO2 (part per million) too little? Ask him how thick the troposphere is. Ask him how tall a column of atmospheric air would be to have 1 million parts of molecules. Ask him if a photon/wave makes it through the troposphere, what are the chances it hits CO2.

  58. That was a typo, for Christ’s sake. I know it’s “votre.”

  59. Went over to WUWT to catch up on all of the latest idiocy over there, and I see Hal Lewis has gotten in touch with his inner drama queen and has resigned from the APS. The whole letter is printed there, and of course the inmates think Dr. Lewis is the bestest, most awesomest scientist ever. I loved his take on the first numbered point. The incident he’s describing is one where he got a hold of the APS email list, sent out an anti-AGW diatribe to a “select” number on that list (I was one of the lucky ones), and made no effort to distinguish it from an official APS email. The APS then informed its membership that this was an inappropriate use of the email list, and asked Dr. Lewis how he got it. And who’s the real victim in all of this? He is, of course.

    • It gets better. Some twit columnist at the SF Chronicle got hold of this and wrote a column titled “Physicists with pitchforks”, the essential logic of which is as follows:

      “37% of scientists think that AGW is a crock, but Gore says that 98% agree with AGW, therefore those morons can’t even poll themselves correctly, and why should we trust climate models from scientists who can’t even poll themselves correctly?”

      Never mind that:

      - The respondents were self-selected, so this is about as reliable as American Idol voting,
      - “I don’t much like your statement” isn’t the same as “AGW is a crock”,
      - and 37% of ~200 emails is a grand total of 74 emails–out of ~50,000 members.

      Logic is herein not merely tortured but quick-marched into the prison yard and shot dead by firing squad.

      Then, of course, Steve Goddard gets hold of the column and re-babbles it on his new blog.

      We’re witnessing the birth of a myth in real time. Coming soon to a blog near you: “37% of scientists think AGW is a hoax.”

  60. Thanks for the comments, all! Freddy, I’m not on the defensive with this guy. It’s just that we tend to be re-enacting a certain Monty Python sketch, with him insisting that “It’s just a flesh wound!”

    Timothy, thanks for the great refs. The answer for my antagonist on the “who do you trust” question is:

    (wait for it!)

    1) G & T, and
    2) Roy Spencer.

    You’re not shocked, are you?

    Anyway, the alternates I’ve been offered reassure me that at least I’ve not blundered horribly in my “fog” analogy, or someone would have said so.

    • I really like the fog analogy. I have used in myself, although what fog actually involves is scattering — also known as diffuse reflection. With scattering the scattered light will be directly proportional to the incident light and independent of the temperature.

      With greenhouse gases you have absorption of radiation and the emission of radiation. Unlike the scattered light of diffuse reflection, the emission of radiation by greenhouse gases at a given wavelength is not a function of incident light — at least not under local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) conditions.

      Under LTE, incident energy is more or less fully thermalized through collisions before the molecules that absorbed the photons would have a chance for the quantized state of molecular excitation to undergo spontaneous decay. LTE conditions are more or less insured at an air pressure of 20 mb or above — where 1000 mb is roughly one standard atmospheric pressure.

      Under LTE conditions a molecule will typically undergo roughly a million or more collisions during the half-life of a given state of excitation — thoroughly “mixing” the incident energy with the neighboring molecules and different states of molecular excitation. As such emission is simply a function of temperature and emissivity — where spectral emissivity is the ratio of spectral emission over the spectral emission of a black body at the same temperature.

      But in both cases transmission decays as an exponential function of distance, or alternatively the dimensionless optical depth. And this is what the analogy with fog is particularly good at getting across.

      • I appreciate the detailed comments, Timothy–they are informative for me. I carefully wasn’t trying to argue by analogy; although I didn’t know some of the points you made, it was quite clear to me that suspended droplets of liquid H2O can’t be directly compared with CO2, either.

        But the implicit assumption of “gee, it’s a tiny proportion” is that none of the details matter, anyway, and I think the comparison does answer that. What I like about the comparison is that it gives us a visible image, something that can directly be “seen” in the mind’s eye. I think that the argument I was trying to answer is in part a failure of imagination, hence I’m trying to help that faculty out a bit.

        And of course, I’m never going to convince this guy; the best plausible outcome, IMO, would be that he gets tired of the non-conversation and just goes away. The main point is to be more convincing to the third-party onlooker.

      • Kevin wrote:

        I appreciate the detailed comments, Timothy–they are informative for me. I carefully wasn’t trying to argue by analogy; although I didn’t know some of the points you made, it was quite clear to me that suspended droplets of liquid H2O can’t be directly compared with CO2, either.

        But the implicit assumption of “gee, it’s a tiny proportion” is that none of the details matter, anyway, and I think the comparison does answer that. What I like about the comparison is that it gives us a visible image, something that can directly be “seen” in the mind’s eye. I think that the argument I was trying to answer is in part a failure of imagination, hence I’m trying to help that faculty out a bit.

        I can certainly see your point — namely that a small amount of water vapor can have a big effect on the transmission of light. And I certainly agree that it is a really good analogy to use because it is easily grasped.

        But I myself at least have argued by means of the analogy there even when I didn’t fully understand the differences between the two. And now that I do understand the difference I still think its a good analogy. I mean either the photons interact and are no longer being transmitted or they aren’t.

        The difference lies in the kind of interaction it is. Were the photons temporarily absorbed by an electron in the outer shell then the energy remitted? That was reflection..

        Were the photons reflected right at the surface? Specular (or “regular”) reflection. Or did some of the photons actually penetrate the surface to different depths? Diffuse reflection. Or was the energy actually thermalized, that is, shared with the surrounding matter, rather than remitted? Absorption.

        When I go into some depth on a topic I may be disagreeing with and trying to correct the person that I am corresponding with. In this case I wasn’t. Or I may be trying to explain things to different members of the audience, the good majority of whom are silent, or I may be trying to clarify things in my own mind or at least work a little on my ability to convey something. And I was doing a little of these.

        Anyway, got to go. This morning is about to get busy.

      • A single drop of ink in a glass of water will illustrate the same point, should fog be unavailable….

      • Didactylos,
        Given the mental clarity of most denialists, I would think fog was ubiquitous.

    • Kevin, you could point out that even Spencer doesn’t buy the trace gas argument–though he has strayed close to it a time or two.

      • Thanks, Ray, that’s a good thought. Incoherencies don’t really change these guys’ opinions, but sometimes do prove sufficiently confusing for them that they take certain topics off the table!

      • Yeah, me, I just like watching the smoke pour from their ears!

  61. Over at WTF they are spinning total BS based on: Forster, P. et al. in IPCC Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (eds Solomon, S. et al.) 129–234 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007).
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/12/peer-reviewed-study-co2-warming-effect-cut-by-65-climate-sensitivity-impossible-to-accurately-determine/

    • Wow. Every so often I dip into WTFWT, thinking that the inanity and utter stupidity of the comments cannot go lower, and I’m proven wrong. Is there some sort of secret contest over there as to who can provide the most ridiculous, ignorant, conspiratorial, stereotypically-denier comment? What’s the prize?

  62. Yeah, they’re missing what Judith Curry has been telling them repeatedly, that uncertainty cuts both ways, the more uncertainty we recognize, the more room for things to get worse.

    • Actually, the blade on the high side is a lot longer and sharper than that on the low side. On the low side, it shaves. On the high side, it decapitates!

  63. Can someone with access to Nature take a quick look at Zahn and von Storch 2010 and let me know where the error bars fall for the number of Arctic storms in 2100? I don’t need exact values; round numbers from eyeballing a chart or whatever would be fine.

    http://bit.ly/9DxxiO

    Certain people are misrepresenting the paper as predicting that there will be 17 storms (exactly) in 2100.

    TIA.

    • ChrisD. I presume you mean fig. 2 with the legend “The left panel shows the average number and standard deviation of polar lows per polar low season. The right panel shows the mean static/vertical stability as given by the vertical temperature difference (vdT) between sea surface and air at 500 hPa (in Kelvin) for the period October to March over 30 years (1960–1989 for IPCC-AR4 scenario C20 and 2070–2099 for scenarios B1, A1B and A2). Vertical stability is calculated over ice-free ocean grid cells in our simulation area. Data are derived from four IPCC scenarios: C20 (diamonds), B1 (triangles), A1B (squares) and A2 (circles).”

      The left panel gives the following (with error range).
      C20 = 36 (27.5-45); B1 = 23 (15-20); A1B = 16 (12-23); A2 = 17 (11-25).

      Note that in the figure legend and in the text Z & VonS refer to these figures as the average number for 2070-2099 NOT the number for 2100.

  64. I actually look foreword to seeing what Watts has to say about Lacis et al (Science). It is ripe with misinterpretations for those that may try.

    Gotta love footnote #1: Lindzen.

    I predict that this paper will be a mainstay in most all further clarifications of the ice age/Milankovitch cycles.

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-10/nsfc-cdc101410.php
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/330/6002/356#R1

    • Too late. Goddard has already been busily misinterpreting it:

      Global Warming BS Taken to a Hew Level

      NASA Proves That CO2 Is Good

      • Dang! Are they predictable or Watt?

        Honestly Chris; I had not seen that – thanks for the link.

      • Now Spencer’s had a go at it, too.

        I love the ending: “I could write a paper refuting this krapola if I felt like it, but I ain’t gonna bother cuz I wouldn’t be able to get it through peer review at Science anyway.”

      • Well, at least Spencer has read the paper. And I actually agree with some of his points. But why does he have to spin as something it is not? The value of the paper is in the understanding of paleoclimatology. A lot of his comments fighting a straw man of what the paper is not about.

        At least that is my hoi polloi perception of what is going on. I would like to hear what G. Pussycat or some of the others here have to say.

      • ChrisD wrote:

        Now Spencer’s had a go at it, too.

        I love the ending: “I could write a paper refuting this krapola if I felt like it, but I ain’t gonna bother cuz I wouldn’t be able to get it through peer review at Science anyway.”

        On that last count Spencer is probably right.

        From Spencer’s article:

        In fact, this is where the authors have made a logical stumble. Everyone agrees that the net effect of clouds is to cool the climate system on average. But the climate models suggest that the cloud feedback response to the addition of CO2 to our current climate system will be just the opposite, with cloud changes acting to amplify the warming.

        What the authors didn’t realize is that when they decided to relegate the role of clouds in the average state of the climate system to one of “feedback”, their model’s positive cloud feedback actually contradicts the known negative “feedback” effect of clouds on the climate’s normal state.

        Oops.

        Does CO2 Drive the Earth’s Climate System? Comments on the Latest NASA GISS Paper
        October 16th, 2010 by Roy W. Spencer

        Spencer wrote, “In fact, this is where the authors have made a logical stumble. Everyone agrees that the net effect of clouds is to cool the climate system on average.”

        The albedo effect of clouds cool. However, everyone (well, with the exception of the “skeptics” and those people who simply aren’t aware of it) knows that the greenhouse effect of clouds warms the surface. High altitude clouds will tend to be cooler and absorb more radiation from the surface than they emit, and thus their greenhouse effect will tend to have a stronger warming effect than the cooling effect due to their albedo. Low altitude clouds will tend to be at nearly the same temperature as the surface and thus will radiate thermal radiation from the surface nearly as well as they absorb it. Thus the albedo effect matters more for clouds near the surface.

        Spencer wrote, “But the climate models suggest that the cloud feedback response to the addition of CO2 to our current climate system will be just the opposite, with cloud changes acting to amplify the warming.”

        Spencer seems to be forgetting the greenhouse effect due to clouds. Spencer is likewise confusing the net effect with the feedback due to forcing. Looking at just the albedo effect, if increasing temperatures reduce cloud cover then the feedback due to clouds will be a positive feedback — precisely because the albedo effect cools but there is less cloud cover. However, looking at both the greenhouse effect and the albedo effect, if increased temperatures reduce low-level clouds or increase high level clouds or both then clouds are a positive feedback. But if it reduces high-level clouds and increases low -level clouds then clouds will be a negative feedback. However, if the effect of higher temperatures upon clouds is not to increase cloud cover per se but to increase cloud depth then positive feedback to due an enhanced cloud greenhouse effect will dominate.

        And guess what? Studies suggest a reduction in high-level and low-level clouds with the reduction in low-level having a stronger effect:

        Several independent cloud and ERB datasets suggest that there might have been a decrease in high-level cloud cover during the past several decades that has reduced LWCRF over time. ERBS, ISCCP fl ux dataset, and ocean heat content measurements indicate that this slight cooling effect has recently been Trends in Observed Cloudiness and Earth’s Radiation Budget opposed by a stronger warming effect caused by a weakening of SWCRF. Considering all the corrections that have been applied to the data, can we confi dently conclude that these trends are real? If they truly exist, are they related to anthropogenic climate change or are they merely produced by some natural decadal cycle? What implications do the cloud and ERB trends have on our understanding of climate sensitivity?

        pp. 32-3, Joel R. Norris and Anthony Slingo, Trends in Observed Cloudiness and Earth’s Radiation Budget, from Strungmann Forum Report: Cluuds in the Perturbed Climate System: Their Relationship to Energy Balance, Atmospheric Dynamics, and Precipitation, Edited by Jost Heintzenberg and Rober J. Charlson (2009) MIT Press ISBN 978-0-262-01287-4

        See for example:

        Clement, Amy C. et al (2009) Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback, Science, Volume 325, Issue 5939, pp. 460-464
        http://bit.ly/bP7P4L (pdf)

        But perhaps he was thinking of how everyone had come to accept Richard Lindzen’s “Iris Effect”?

        Actually the literature was weighing against that quite some time ago:

        The current study uses recent CERES TRMM satellite observations to test the iris hypothesis of Lindzen et al. (2001). We find that their study is too low in albedo by 0.161 and moderately low in the top-of-atmosphere longwave flux by 17 W m^-2 for tropical cloudy-moist area (Tb , 260 K). When combined, these two effects change the strong negative feedback in Lindzen et al. to a weaker positive feedback in this study. Thus, if there were an IR iris, the earth would also have an anti-IR iris or shortwave iris that would counterbalance the IR iris for the earth’s radiation. Future studies should examine the use of infrared sounder cloud heights as opposed to a simple brightness temperature threshold to improve the analysis.

        pg. 7, Bing Lin et al (1 Jan 2002) The Iris Hypothesis: A Negative or Positive Cloud Feedback, Journal of Climate, Vol. 15, pp. 3-7

        Spencer wrote, “What the authors didn’t realize is that when they decided to relegate the role of clouds in the average state of the climate system to one of ‘feedback’, their model’s positive cloud feedback actually contradicts the known negative ‘feedback’ effect of clouds on the climate’s normal state.”

        Actually it would seem to reflect our current knowledge. However, this particular construction seems odd: “the known negative ‘feedback’ effect of clouds on the climate’s normal state.”

        Once again it seems he is confusing the cooling albedo effect of clouds with their positive or negative feedback to a forcing. The albedo effect of clouds cool. However, if in response to warmer temperatures you see a reduction in low level cloud cover this will have a warming effect that amplifies warming — and is therefore a positive feedback. And there does seem to be just such a positive feedback — that is stronger than a negative feedback due to the reduction in high-level clouds and their corresponding greenhouse effect.

        Spencer wrote, “Oops.”

        You could say that.

      • I was looking over my above comment, thinking about whether I should get into Spencer’s half-baked theory regarding clouds forcing the climate system, but it didn’t make any sense to do so since the basis for his argument — at least in the section that I was quoting — was what “everybody knows”. And as Plato knows, knowledge is justified true belief, and since just about no one believes his half-baked theory except for himself, whether it is true or not (and we could certainly grant him for the sake of argument that it is true — particularly if we were to do some sort of reductio ad absurdum), it clearly isn’t something that everyone knows since it isn’t something that anyone believes, except himself — and possibly a few other benighted souls.

        Realizing there wasn’t any point in discussing his beliefs I found something a bit more interesting to discuss: reality. Earlier I had stated:

        High altitude clouds will tend to be cooler and absorb more radiation from the surface than they emit, and thus their greenhouse effect will tend to have a stronger warming effect than the cooling effect due to their albedo.

        Now the logic of this argument may escape those (including myself — for a while) who tend to think of the greenhouse effect primarily in terms of backradiation. If someone is thinking in terms of backradiation they will think of either greenhouse gases or clouds warming the surface as the result of being warm and emitting radiation that warms the surface. Therefore when one speaks of higher altitude clouds being “cooler” and absorbing more but emitting less the idea that this will result in the surface becoming warmer is counterintuitive.

        But it is counterintuitive because the individual who is thinking primarily in terms of backradiation is thinking of the additional warming as being something that is taking place now. And what we are actually talking about is a process, and what really matters is radiation balance at the top of the atmosphere.

        If warming increases high-level clouds this will reduce the rate at which thermal energy is radiated to space, and assuming that energy enters the climate system at the same rate as before the heat content of the climate system must rise. This will gradually raise the temperature of the upper level clouds until they warm sufficiently for the rate at which energy escapes the climate system to balance the rate at which energy enters the climate system. Then given a roughly constant lapse rate the warming of the high-level clouds (which I will presently assume are still at the same altitude) will imply a warmer surface.
        *
        It is worth comparing this to the forcing due to carbon dioxide itself. Raising the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide raises the effective radiating altitude from which radiation escape to space. The higher altitude will be colder. The layer at that higher altitude has to warm if the rate at which radiation escapes to space is to increase so that the rate at which energy leaves the system balances the rate at which energy enters the system.

        In both cases the “initial” cause is a reduction in the rate at which radiant energy escapes to space. The top of the atmosphere has to warm if the rate at which radiation escapes is to balance the rate at which radiation enters the climate system. A warmer top implies a warmer surface.

        But in the case of higher concentrations of carbon dioxide we are raising the effective radiating layer to a higher altitude. Prior to the increase in carbon dioxide concentrations the effective radiating layer is at the original altitude and at the effective radiating temperature. Higher concentrations shift the effective radiating layer to a higher, cooler altitude. That altitude has to warm to the effective radiating temperature. Then given a roughly constant lapse rate and the increased distance to the effective radiating layer this implies a warmer surface.

        In the case of increased higher level cloud cover? The clouds presumably remain at the same altitude, but since there are more of them this reduces the rate at which radiation escapes to space. Balance can only be achieved by warming the clouds, and given the same distance but increased temperature of the clouds this will imply a warmer surface. But of course even if we add all of the carbon dioxide at the same instant the warming due to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide and the warming due to increased high-level cloud cover would be taking place at the same time — both over decades.
        *
        Both increased CO2 concentrations and increased upper-level clouds will result in more backradiation reaching the surface — but not in quite the way that one might have first thought. For example, the backradiation from increased upper-level clouds won’t make it more than a few meters — at least directly. Instead the photons will be absorbed after only a few meters. And then photons will be emitted and absorbed. And each time photons are emitted they will have a roughly equal chance of being emitted in either direction as upwelling radiation in the direction of space or as downwelling backradiation.

        So the backradiation that is making it to the surface isn’t coming directly from the clouds. Almost all of it is coming from the last few meters of atmosphere just before the surface. But given the increased CO2 concentrations or increased upper-level cloud cover and nearly constant lapse rate this will imply that those last few meters are warmer than before. Therefore more backradiation will be reaching the surface.
        *
        However, what actually seems to take place is a reduction in high-level cloud cover along with a reduction in low-level cloud cover where the reduction in low-level cloud cover has a warming effect (due to the reduction in albedo) that more than makes up for the cooling effect that would result from a decrease in upper level cloud cover. Reducing the albedo reduces the visible light that is diffusely reflected into space — and for the rate at which energy escapes to balance the rate at which energy enters the system more thermal radiation has to be emitted.

      • Timothy Chase-

        Thank you again for your insight. As always it is well put. You’d think the Spencer would lay off the “never get it published” whine since he actually was published recently, but I guess then he’d loose part of his shtick.

        I particularly appreciated your discussion of the role of high clouds. You addressed one of the many areas where my knowledge is deficient. I will need to read your discussion over a couple times to fully grasp it, but as always I appreciate your precise use of terminology and methodicalness.

        I have one question though that I have wondered about and since you kind of side stepped it with: “(which I will presently assume are still at the same altitude)”. Wouldn’t warming the cloud layer lead to raising it, and subsequently also increasing the height that the latent heat of H2O is carried and thus at least partly compensating?

        Respectfully, when you have a chance, I would appreciate it if you could briefly address this.

        Thanks again

      • arch stanton wrote:

        I have one question though that I have wondered about and since you kind of side stepped it with: “(which I will presently assume are still at the same altitude)”. Wouldn’t warming the cloud layer lead to raising it, and subsequently also increasing the height that the latent heat of H2O is carried and thus at least partly compensating?

        That thought had occured to me as well: raising the temperature will raise the high level cloud layer, resulting in cooler clouds which then have to warm up if they are to radiate thermal radiation as they had before. In this respect it is similar to increased CO2 concentration — and given a roughly constant lapse rate and increased distance to the ground will increase surface temperatures as the system approaches equilibrium.

        However, what I specifically wanted to focus on was simply the role of a presumed increase in high-level cloud cover under an enhanced greenhouse effect in amplifying the effect — so I omitted it. And this gave me the chance to make a starker contrast between the mechanism involved in an enhanced greenhouse effect due to higher CO2 concentrations and that due to increased high-level cloud cover.

        At the same time I should emphasize that an increase in high-level cloud cover appears to be only hypothetical and that both high-level and low-level cloud cover appears to be reduced under an enhanced greenhouse effect. The former is a negative feedback, the latter a positive feedback and the net a positive feedback.

        Anyway, thank you for catching that. To be honest I was wondering if someone would — and I am grateful that you did.

      • Hi Timothy Chase.

        Let’s see if I’ve got it. Comparing the effects of lower level clouds (LLC) with upper level clouds (ULC):

        LLCs are warmer so they tend to reradiate absorbed IR relatively quickly and they don’t warm as much as ULCs. Since their reemission spectra is the same as water vapor (and there is more of that down lower) the fact that they slightly increase the “random walk” of “escaping” IR photons is not as significant as the fact that the ULCs (being colder) absorb more IR and are slower to readmit it thus raising T (relatively) more at the upper layer. This effect of increasing the upper layer T tends to reduce the transfer of heat upwards: thus warming the upper atmosphere and in the longer term the planet.

        If that is essentially right then I have further questions.

        If you have better things to do than spoon feeding me this stuff I understand completely. I only hope that it is also of benefit to someone else here.

        Once again I thank you for your patience and your effort.

      • Timothy Chase

        Arch Stanton wrote:

        LLCs are warmer so they tend to reradiate absorbed IR relatively quickly and they don’t warm as much as ULCs.

        Basically. Given their low altitude and the lapse rate, the lower level clouds are already at roughly the same temperature as the surface so they can’t warm that much. Afterall, they can’t get any warmer than the surface. So if warming increases lower level clouds their albedo effect will dominate leading to a negative feedback given the fact that they will reflect sunlight back to space before it gets a chance to be absorbed by and heat up the surface.

        However, with higher level clouds, the temperature of the higher level clouds will be much cooler than the thermal radiation being emitted by the surface, and as radiation is proportional to the absolute temperature to the fourth power they will be absorbing a high proportion of the radiation without emitting emitting the radiation at the same rate.

        Thus the greenhouse effect of high level clouds dominates over the albedo effect of these clouds and increasing the cloud cover of high level clouds will increase their associated greenhouse effect. They have to warm up if they are to compensate for the greater cloud cover. And given a higher temperature at their altitude and a roughly constant lapse rate this will imply a warmer surface.
        *
        Arch Stanton wrote:

        Since their reemission spectra is the same as water vapor (and there is more of that down lower) the fact that they slightly increase the “random walk” of “escaping” IR photons is not as significant as the fact that the ULCs (being colder) absorb more IR and are slower to readmit it thus raising T (relatively) more at the upper layer.

        For the most part. Strictly speaking, though, photons don’t take a random walk. Instead a photon has a beginning when it is first emitted then ends when it is absorbed. Then basically the collisions that a molecule undergoes before it would have the chance to emit the energy of the photon takes the energy and puts it through a blender so that the energy becomes distributed among a large number of molecules.

        And when a quantized state of excitation of a given molecule undergoes spontaneous decay, the energy that goes into the photon is energy that the molecule acquired through a vast number of collisions. It is energy that the molecule has in virtue of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of molecular energy,that is, kinetic energy and distribution of energy among the different modes in accordance with the equipartion theorem.
        *
        Arch Stanton wrote:

        This effect of increasing the upper layer T tends to reduce the transfer of heat upwards: thus warming the upper atmosphere and in the longer term the planet.

        The way I view it is that increasing the temperature of the upper layer increases the rate at which the upper layer radiates thermal radiation, and so in this sense actually increases the rate at which heat is radiated by the upper layer and by the Earth’s climate system as a whole. But I take it that by “reducing the transfer of heat upwards” you mean that the higher temperature of the upper level clouds will imply that their temperatur is closer to that of the surface, reducing the rate at which heat is transferred to upper level clouds and thereby warming the surface.

        However, I would prefer to look at the specific mechanisms. Where the thermal energy transported by moist air convection is used to perform work as a rising parcel of air expands, thereby imposing a lapse rate upon the atmosphere. And where with radiative transfer energy is transferred in both directions with the radiation being radiated at higher and lower levels is simply as a function of emissivity and temperature. As the temperature of the higher level increases towards that of the lower level the net rate of energy transfer takes place between the upper and lower levels tends towards zero, but with visible light warms the surface, this implies a net accumulation of thermal energy and therefore the warming of the lower level.
        *
        Arch Stanton wrote:

        If that is essentially right then I have further questions.

        I will try to answer them as I have time — but remember, you are dealing with a philosophy major not a physics major. Honestly there are people here that know a great deal more than I do — and there are probably better sources to pick up the physics just on the web — than someone who is simply groping around in the dark as I am, volunteering answers where I feel comfortable but not necessarily knowing all that much beyond this.

        And things will probably be most productive try to learn from each other as with normal discussion — but also learn as they can from more authoritative sources. Approaching things as equals. In dialogue, each of us can be both student and teacher. Sharing our insights.

      • Thanks again Timothy Chase. I won’t ask anything else of you. I do spend a lot more time reading discussions than commenting. The “high clouds warm more than low clouds” statement had long been a mystery for me for exactly the reason you mentioned; I was thinking in terms of back radiation. Thanks for helping me clarify it.

        I’ll read up on the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of molecular energy a bit on my own now.

        “As the temperature of the higher level increases towards that of the lower level the net rate of energy transfer takes place between the upper and lower levels tends towards zero, but with visible light warms the surface, this implies a net accumulation of thermal energy and therefore the warming of the lower level.”

        That was the concept I had in mind but you put it much more clearly.

      • arch stanton wrote:

        Thanks again Timothy Chase. I won’t ask anything else of you. I do spend a lot more time reading discussions than commenting.

        Not asking that you not ask me questions on occasion, but tend to view conversations as a give and take. Everybody that was participating over at Real Climate in the discussion of the greenhouse effect (back in 2007 I believe) was learning and in insights of each person and what they brought to the table contributed.

        Of course we had one guy pushing his own theory who was disagreeing with everyone else and trying to push his own theory, but even that was a contribution of sorts. Seemed less of a contribution though when he tried to suggest that the author of the post was being dishonest — and attacking his integrity. But at this point thats ancient history.

        arch stanton wrote:

        The “high clouds warm more than low clouds” statement had long been a mystery for me for exactly the reason you mentioned; I was thinking in terms of back radiation. Thanks for helping me clarify it.As I said, it was something I was having problems with at one point — and I figure its a common difficulty.

        arch stanton wrote:

        “As the temperature of the higher level increases towards that of the lower level the net rate of energy transfer takes place between the upper and lower levels tends towards zero, but with visible light warms the surface, this implies a net accumulation of thermal energy and therefore the warming of the lower level.”

        That was the concept I had in mind but you put it much more clearly.

        I thought so — and I thank you.

    • Of course, that is “New Level”, not “Hew Level”. My kingdom for a Preview button.

      • It rarely helps… You are looking at the same text presented in a slightly different way but with the same pair of eyes and state of mind. And if it weren’t for the spelling or the grammar there would be something else — that crucial piece of argument — or maybe you would check everything then add something at the very last moment. Or perhaps you are writing and then you think of an earlier passage that doesn’t say things quite the way you would like and you go back to fix it without finishing your

      • All this is true, but for some reason I very often find mistakes in preview that I don’t see in the edit box. I have no explanation for this.

        And there’s one thing that preview shows that the edit doesn’t: Screwups in the HTML tags. I find lots of those. :)

      • I was thinking the same thing Chris. My success rate with HTML tags is abysmal. Without a preview feature I don’t bother.

        Timothy Chase’s truncated humor was

  65. Clarification to ^ above post:

    It is clear that the Lacias et al authors went out of their way to avoid misinterpretation and they have done a good job. However nothing will stop the folks at Watts’ from isolating and repeating and twisting lines like: “By this accounting, carbon dioxide is responsible for 80 percent of the radiative forcing that sustains the Earth’s greenhouse effect.”

    My hat is off to all the folks involved in the 2 links I provided above. I don’t mean to imply otherwise.

    No good deed will go unpunished.

  66. Yay! Environmentalists once again create their own misery. They have successfully opposed the Severn Barrage, a tidal project that could have generated 5% of the UK’s electricity. Instead, they will get nuclear power.

    I’ve said it before, and no doubt it will need saying again: environmentalists need to get their *&%$ together, and decide what is most important, and accept that trade-offs must be made.

    • Didactylos,
      I am afraid we will see a lot of this–you may even see some environmentalists splinter off to the denialist camp when they fully comprehend what will be needed to preserve civilization. The problem is that we have already delayed so long that we have no good options left and are forced to look for the least bad. I contend that most humans know the difference between right and wrong. The disagreements begin when we must choose between wrong and wronger.

  67. Von Karman did not use analogies…

  68. Civilization is not in that much danger from greenhouse gases. We dio not need to overdo things.

  69. Jacob, I am wondering upon what your sanguinity is based. Already, to feed 6.5 billion people, we are killing off the oceans, destroying the aquifers and poisoning the planet. By 2050, we will have to feed 10 billion people in an environment degraded by a warmer climate. And we do not know whether the planet will be warmer by 1 degree (probably manageabe) or 2.5 degrees (pretty serious). Given that I cannot bound the risk, I cannot share your optimism.

    • And the public climate (no pun intended) for discussion–I first wrote “debate,” but that in a way just illustrates the problem–is so warped and polarized that it’s hard to even address the issues effectively. (Understatement!)

      The FUDsters will have a lot to answer for, I’m afraid. . . essentially, they’ve created a terrible din, then blamed folks for shouting.

  70. arch stanton | October 20, 2010 at 12:37 am |
    Let’s see if I’ve got it. Comparing the effects of lower level clouds (LLC) with upper level clouds (ULC):

    LLCs are warmer so they tend to reradiate absorbed IR relatively quickly and they don’t warm as much as ULCs. Since their reemission spectra is the same as water vapor

    No the water droplets will emit as black bodies, not the same spectrum as water vapor.

    • Thanks for straightening me out Phil. From what Timothy says below I would guess that water clouds are not limited to the same absorption bands as water vapor either but also absorb across the IR spectrum(?) How about ice crystals? I would imagine they emit as black bodies also(?)

      Thanks for your time.

      • I honestly don’t know about ice crystals, but paradoxically they may actually have identifiable lines given the order that is imposed by the crystalline structure. Similar to certain alloys. But if I had to guess I would say probably not — except possibly where the vapor pressure due to sublimation is especially low — and vapor pressure is roughly cut in half for every 10 °C below zero until about -40 °C where I believe it is quite negligible beyond that.

        And there is one point Phil and I should have been clear about: water acts as a fairly good approximation of a black body in infrared, but obviously it is do quite so well in the visible spectra. ;- )

        Molecular states of excitation (due to stretching, bending, rotation in dipolar molecules) aren’t energetic enough for visible light. The absorption bands associated with visible light are due to electron jumps from one orbital to a more energetic orbital and the emission due to the spontaneous decay of the more energetic to the less energetic orbital.

  71. Timothy Chase, in responding to arch stanton you wrote at one point “given a roughly constant lapse rate,” but at another about a decreasing difference between higher and lower levels of the atmosphere, which would of course be a decreasing lapse rate.

    I’m not arguing, but am curious–what are your views on lapse rate variability? Goddard seemed to go seriously wrong in a WUWT post discussed at length here by reifying lapse rate, IIRC. So it’s not an absolute. (And of course, it’s not really just one thing, either, as a brief glance at the Wikipedia article will show.)

    So–an invitation to you and the peanut gallery (or the luxury boxes, for that matter; I’m not picky) to pontificate, reflect or question! I know this is a topic I don’t understand very well, and would welcome comments.

  72. Arch Stanton wrote:

    Let’s see if I’ve got it. Comparing the effects of lower level clouds (LLC) with upper level clouds (ULC):

    Phil wrote:

    No the water droplets will emit as black bodies, not the same spectrum as water vapor.

    Phil,Thank you for catching that. I saw it but then somehow skipped over it. My only excuse was that I was falling asleep at the keyboard at the time. 2:30 AM my time. Probably should have waited until morning.
    *
    Arch, the reason why water droplets have a different spectra is that we are talking about a liquid where there is a great deal of molecular interaction — which involves a great deal of collisions. So water droplets including clouds emit in a way that is comparable to that of an idealized black body — with what is essentially a continuous spectra.

    However, some alloys have such a crystalline structure that you will see something approaching the absorption/emission lines of a greenhouse gas. Likewise some fine dusts will show lines. However, for the most part, where there is a great deal of interaction — with liquids and solids — the spectra becomes a smeared continuum where you can’t make out individual lines — although the spectral emissivity varies as a function of wavelength.

    But in the case of water — given the intermolecular forces — you get something that is especially close to the spectra of a true black body. Not only do you have the collisions resulting in combined forms of excitation within individual molecules, similar to the quantized ro(tational-)vibrational states, but given that the water molecule is so strongly dipolar you have chains of molecules forming and breaking apart. And while such chains exist they should be subject to large numbers of quantized states excitation similar to those found in larger molecules.

    All of this interaction results in a kind of combinatorial complexity in terms of the quantized states that the water molecules that results in it far closer to a pure black body than most substances.

  73. Ray, in general overpopulation is not an issue in the US nor will it be in the forseeable future. China is doing some good stuff with green tech but they are terrible to their people and they are a threat to the US so I do not wish them too much success anyways. India is doing better and they are our allies so I am sure we can adapt together.

    Current engineering has increased the globe’s carrying capacity significantly contrary to the claims of some ecologists.

    • Jacob,
      My concern is that while engineering has increased the number of people we can feed, they may not be doing so sustainably. Just one example–dry land farming relies on water from deep aquifers. This is an nonrenewable resource–at least on a timescale of thousands of years, and if the aquifer ever dries up, it is gone forever. It will never carry water again. Similar unsustainable practices are taking place in the Punjab, in Central and South America and in Australia.

      Add to that the health of the oceans, and I think it’s a real question whether we’re increasing capacity or just eating our seed corn.

  74. Kevin McKinney wrote:

    Timothy Chase, in responding to arch stanton you wrote at one point “given a roughly constant lapse rate,” but at another about a decreasing difference between higher and lower levels of the atmosphere, which would of course be a decreasing lapse rate.

    I will get to the “decreasing difference” comment in a moment.

    Regarding lapse rates, the lapse rate(s) will remain roughly constant — with a dry adiabat of about 9 °C per kilometer in the lower troposphere then a most adiabat of 6 °C per kilometer in the upper troposphere. The dry adiabat is where a rising parcel of air expands without water vapor condensing. The expansion of the rising parcel of air does work on the surround air. The heat energy is the energy which performs this work and as a consequence the parcel cools as it expands. The moist adiabat is where due to the drop in temperature water vapor condenses giving up its latent heat as it rises. This is what is responsible for cloud formation. Both warm air and moist air tend to rise — and since temperature drops with altitude in the troposphere this results in the sort of turnover that gives us the two respective stable, linear lapse rates.
    *
    However, there is also the lapse rate of the lower stratosphere beyond the tropopause. Temperature rises with increasing altitude and as such turnover no longer occurs. In the lower stratosphere the lapse rate is due to ozone. The ultraviolet light in sunlight tends to be absorbed by the upper layers of ozone first and less penetrates to the lower layers.

    As I understand it, the higher rate of absorption of ultraviolet radiation by the upper layers is the reason for their being warmer than the layers below them. As for the temperature profile above this — I honestly don’t know the mechanisms that are involved.
    *
    Now with regard to the “decreasing difference” comment…

    What I had stated was:

    But I take it that by “reducing the transfer of heat upwards” you mean that the higher temperature of the upper level clouds will imply that their temperature is closer to that of the surface, reducing the rate at which heat is transferred to upper level clouds and thereby warming the surface.

    Essentially what both Arch Stanton (if I understood him correctly) and I were thinking is that enhanced global warming warms the atmosphere from the effective radiating layer down. You still have the mechanisms in place that lead to the roughly constant moist and dry adiabats. Likewise you have the radiation transfer. So when increased concentrations of carbon dioxide shift the effective radiating altitude to a higher, colder altitude the new effective radiating layer must warm if radiation balance and equilibrium are to be achieved.

    But more specifically, the temperature of the effective radiating layer will itself be warmed as the result of it absorbing radiation similar to the earlier effective radiating layer prior to the increase in CO2 concentration but radiating less than the earlier effective radiating layer due to it being cooler and thermal radiation being proportional to the absolute temperature to the fourth power.

    Thus the effective radiating layer warms first, and this would result in a reduction in the lapse rate — if it weren’t for the heat transfer mechanisms that maintain a roughly constant lapse rate — causing the lower layers to warm as the result of the warming of the effective radiating layer. The warming of the new effective radiating layer results in a reduction in heat transfer from the layer below it which results in that lower layer warming, reducing the heat transfer from the layer below it resulting in that still lower layer warming and so on. Dominos, basically.

    As lower layers warm the rate of heat transfer rises back to roughly what it was before and a new equilibrium is established. But of course all of the processes are occurring gradually and thus simultaneously, so the layers all warm pretty much simultaneously. Or at least that is how I assume it works. I would most certainly be interested if anyone knows any better.
    *
    Finally, according to the climate models the tropical upper troposphere is suppose to warm more quickly than the lower troposphere. This will presumably occur due to any global warming, whether it happens to be due to an enhanced greenhouse effect or increased solar radiation. Earlier at least the evidence suggested that this wasn’t occuring. More recent evidence suggests that it is. But in either case, this is the so-called missing “hot spot” which is actually cool — cooler than the troposphere below it, but as it warms more than the troposphere below it the lapse rate should drop somewhat in the tropics.

    Chris Colose points out that this is actually a form of negative feedback, and when “skeptics” still argue that the “hot spot” as they call it is missing what they are implying is the absence of such a negative feedback and consequently that global warming will be a little more severe than it would otherwise be.
    *
    Anyway, as Hank might remind us, this is “all poetry” without the actual mathematical equations behind it. But I figure its useful nevertheless.

  75. ps 2 CORRECTIONS to my above comment….

    I intended to check the numbers before I posted the comment but forgot to do so. The dry adiabat lapse rate is about 9.8°C, not the 9 that I had given. Moist adiabat lapse rate varies, but a typical value is 5 °C. What I had given was 6. Finally, the environmental lapse rate for an international standard atmosphere is 6.49 °C.

    Please see:

    Lapse Rate
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapse_rate

  76. “Current engineering has increased the globe’s carrying capacity significantly contrary to the claims of some ecologists.”

    This must be why one in twelve people worldwide is malnourished, and many more do not have enough to eat?

    Theory is all very well, but while our planet has severe inequalities from region to region, complacency is the wrong response entirely.

    Also, the claim that current engineering has increased the planet’s carrying capacity is a simple fallacy: population can be regarded as a simple function of resource availability. Technology allows us to use resources faster, but at the cost of future resources.

    Don’t get me wrong: technology can help us. But not if we’re stupid about it. Not if we continue burning all the fossil fuels we can extract.

    We can already feed the world if we really want to. Reducing fossil fuel use won’t change that.

    Don’t take my word for it. Ask the experts. “contrary to the claims of some ecologists” – oh right. You know more than the experts. Oooookay then. Moving on.

  77. Formatting (and wording) Fixed

    arch stanton wrote:

    Thanks again Timothy Chase. I won’t ask anything else of you. I do spend a lot more time reading discussions than commenting.

    Not asking that you not ask me questions on occasion, but I am really not an expert — and I tend to view conversations as a give and take. Everybody that was participating over at Real Climate in the discussion of the greenhouse effect (back in 2007 I believe) was learning and the insights of each person and what they brought to the table contributed.

    Of course we had one guy who was disagreeing with everyone else and trying to push his own theory, but even that was a contribution of sorts. Seemed less of a contribution though when he tried to suggest that the author of the post was being dishonest — and attacking his integrity. But at this point thats ancient history.

    arch stanton wrote:

    The “high clouds warm more than low clouds” statement had long been a mystery for me for exactly the reason you mentioned; I was thinking in terms of back radiation. Thanks for helping me clarify it.

    As I said, it was something I was having problems with at one point — and I figure its a common difficulty.

    arch stanton wrote:

    “As the temperature of the higher level increases towards that of the lower level the net rate of energy transfer takes place between the upper and lower levels tends towards zero, but with visible light warms the surface, this implies a net accumulation of thermal energy and therefore the warming of the lower level.”

    That was the concept I had in mind but you put it much more clearly.

    I thought so — and I thank you.

  78. Ray,
    I will respond to your post:
    ofcourse all you say makes valid poiints in that context. I think we have more to do to help those poor continents. I do think we can irrigate water pretty well nowadays and as desalinization comes down in price we will have more viable options. GM foods still have more to go before widescale safety issues are fully addressed.
    Still with the way construction techniques have evolved and the ability to generate so much electricty so efficiently is incredible as are newer farming techniques.
    Kep in mind that other energy sources being proposed are horribly inefficient too. Now, even if we reduce GHG’s drastically there are still plenty of adverse weather and climate disruptions both natural andf artificially forced to contend with. Therefore i think adaptation is a good idea but I do not think that GHG’s will contribute to as much warming as predicted though weather is currently quite volatile as a result of GHG’s. Thermodynamics predicts this but such high warming is only possible if caloric theory is correct which it is not.

  79. Jacob, last I saw, the GCMs did not presume the caloric theory. They presumed that equilibrium is reached when energy-out is again equal to energy-in. This necessitates a temperature rise of a certain given amount–namely about 3 degrees per doubling of CO2. I really don’t see a way around this without mountains of data being wrong.

    I also don’t see how we will feed 10 billion people without seriously degrading Earth’s carrying capacity.

  80. Ray, global heating is a more accurate term I think than global warming. In the current situation,the increased greenhouse gases trapping in more radiation leads to both warming and cooling processes which is unavoidable. The globe may be warmer than it was prior to such GHG forcings, but for how long will this be and when will the models fail? Also the planet is far too large to possibly get meaningful data from every source, sink and micro-climate as well. How can we be so confident that the planet is in fact warming by as much as it is with all the recent calibration issues, errors in the satellite data and the several errors in the IPCC report?

    I am not suggesting do not reduce new GHG emissions either for those who are quick to label others.
    What I am saying is we have to adapt to a future full of uncertainties. No one has a crystal ball but I will say this the future warming cannot be higher or much higher for longs than 3 degrees which is not nearly catastrophic at all. We do not feed 6 billion now so why are we worried about 10 billion? Seems to be very hypocritcal.

    • *sigh*

      Just….

      *sigh*

      What do you think real scientists are working out while you pontificate in a sea of ignorance?

  81. Jacob,
    I am surprised that you haven’t looked into this more. Uncertainties on global temperature are on the order of a tenth of a degree. Satellites have some larger systematic errors. However, since what matters is are the trends, and the trends in all temperature products are consistent, the existence of the current warming trend is beyond doubt.

    Jacob, have you considered the potential consequences of the unrest that will result when we cannot feed half the globe’s population? Do you expect them to starve quietly? Do you think perhaps they might try to emigrate, or undertake desperate actions to survive that might further degrade the carrying capacity of the planet. I do not wish to offend, but I don’t think you are thinking about this crisis clearly. And clear thought is essential if we are to preserve human civilization through the crisis–not to mention minimize human suffering.

  82. Ray if we really wanted to we could feed the entire planet now. I do not see farmers and peasants destroying tanks with pitch forks.

    • Jacob,
      I’m afraid you are not understanding the threat. It is not merely that food shortages will cause unrest, it is that people who are desperate will do anything–including destroy the environment–to feed themselves. The Indian state of Rajastan used to be forested. Now there are areas where there are no trees for miles. Imagine this on a global scale–in the Congo, in Indonesia, in the Amazon… and of course on the oceans.

      People will do what they need to to survive, regardless of the consequences to the environment.

      I think you have basically taken the same tack as Dyson. You don’t want to think about this because it presents a tremendous obstacle to visions of technological progress. I take the opposite view: we’d better consider this now or progress will end.

  83. “No one has a crystal ball but I will say this the future warming cannot be higher or much higher for longs than 3 degrees which is not nearly catastrophic at all.”

    Four words:

    Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum

    6C, for ca. 20,000 years. That long enough and serious enough for you?

    As to biological consequences:

    “At nearly the same time, many deep-sea benthic foraminifera went extinct, and mammalian life on land experienced a major turnover, which marks the emergence of numerous modern mammalian orders.”

    As to the seriousness of 3 degrees of warming, I’d like to know what you base your assessment on. Here’s a result from about 10 seconds of Google searching:

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/new-study-charts-effects-of-each-degree-of-warming.html

    “For each single degree Celsius (1.8 degree Fahrenheit) of additional warming, 5 to 10 percent less rain falls in the U.S. Southwest, the Mediterranean and southern Africa; 5 to 10 percent less streamflow occurs in some river basins, including the Arkansas and Rio Grande; and 5 to 15 percent crop-yield declines occur in corn in the United States and Africa, and wheat in India.”

    So, 15-45% drop in US and African corn, ditto for Indian wheat. Serious water problems. Is that “catastrophic?”

  84. David B. Benson

    Jacob Mack | October 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm — To understand just some of the bad effects of global warming, p0lease do read Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”:
    http://www.marklynas.org/2007/4/23/six-steps-to-hell-summary-of-six-degrees-as-published-in-the-guardian

  85. Ray, I am afraid that you miss how many trees there are in NYC alone; around 400,000 trees in total. My wife and I just drove cross country from California to New York and we saw such vast biodiversity and biomass even with all the modernization in the 21st century in the US. Most of the windmills were not turning in Iowa and Wyoming. This is our 9th cross country trip with a hybrid rental.

    As some areas become dryer others become wetter so there will be some shifting in the commodities and agricultural market over time due to natural climate change and some weather changes from the greenhouse gas effect. I doubt we can even see 3 degrees changes based upon the cooling effects predicted by thermodynamics. GIA is an important measurement for sea level rizse making sea rise analysis from thermal expnasion very very very difficult /impossible to really distinguish in the real world.

    In NY Point lookout beaches and Jones Beach are being better prserved with sand and rocks so that the shore line continues to exist in both a practical and aesthetically pleasing manner.

  86. David read it.

  87. oh, hat tip to Metafilter where I found the terrytao link

  88. David B. Benson

    Jacob Mack | October 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm — According to the latest issue of Sierra, the USA lost 6% of its forests in the last decade. The freeways don’t take you past the clearcuts and the pine bettle destroyed forests.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      I don’t know about that. Travel I90 or I15 in Montana and you’ll see plenty.

      The real problem is that you might see a lot of changes in the ecosystems that you see in traversing the US — that is to be expected. What you don’t see is the species loss which simplifies the ecosystems making them more prone to massive disruption. Something which Jacob Mack does not seem to appreciate.

      Note to Jacob: monocultures in the midwest are not functioning ecosystems.

  89. Jacob, Denial of the consequences of climate change is still denial, and I respect you too much not to call you on it. The predominance of studies show these consequences will be negative–mainly because our complex, interconnected economy is highly adapted to the sort of stability we’ve seen in climate for 10000 years. Couple this with the increase of human population to 10 billion, and I do not see how you can justify sanguinity or complacency. The fact that the problems are daunting is not justification for ignoring them.

  90. The “400,000 trees in NYC” brings up something that I’ve never been able to get a good handle on.

    Many deniers just love to point & laugh at this alleged prediction from Jim Hansen, given to author Rob Reiss and reported in a Salon interview with Reiss:

    I went over to the window with [Hansen] and looked out on Broadway in New York City and said, “If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true, is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?” He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.” I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”

    Hansen allegedly said this 1998 or 1999.

    I have enormous difficulty believing that Hansen actually expected that the West Side Highway would be flooded and all the trees and birds replaced in just twenty years. Twenty years ain’t much time for existing trees to die off and be replaced by new ones, and it doesn’t seem to comport with his own predictions of temperature and sea level rise.

    It just doesn’t make sense, but I’ve never found anyplace where Hansen either confirms or denies the story. I emailed him about it once, but no response (about which I am not miffed; he’s got much bigger fish to fry).

    So, does anyone know what really happened?

    • Timothy Chase

      I had heard about it too. Tried to dig into it as one point but didn’t get very far. Does seem absurd given everything else he’s said.

      Only occasion I ever wrote him was to offer support when things seemed a bit tough. Got back a response. Brief. As I preferred it.

  91. Chris, since the alleged Hansen remarks don’t fit with anything that he’s written, I assume that something got lost in translation as the story was retold twice by others on its way to publication.

    I recently did an interview with a conscientious reporter who wrote a good article, but of course not every word I said made it into print. The article included this sentence:
    “For instance, he added, very few people even know that two types of sea ice exist—one type melts every summer while another has endured for eons.”

    Some people, knowing that Arctic sea ice does not melt every summer, and can be years old but not eons, might read that sentence and think “Huh? This guy sounds confused.”

    But there was a key word that the reporter’s notes, written quickly as I talked, apparently missed: Antarctic. If the article had captured this word…
    “For instance, he added, very few people even know that two types of Antarctic sea ice exist—one type melts every summer while another has endured for eons.”

    …Then knowledgeable readers might have thought “Aha!” instead of “Huh?”, and guessed that I was talking about Antarctica’s ice shelves and seasonal sea ice.

    News accounts have always been inexact representations of science, which seems inevitable to some degree even with sharp and well-intentioned reporters (as in my example). What’s new might be bloggers’ eagerness to attack scientists based on what reporters say that they said.

    • News accounts have always been inexact representations of science

      No question about that. But this seems so far off the mark that something has to be radically wrong.

  92. Kevin Stanley

    According to Watts’ recounting of the anecdote ChrisD mentions, that conversation between Hansen and Reiss happened in ’88 or ’89 (and the interview with Reiss was in 2001).

    My 2 cents:
    A) Try to remember the details of a conversation you had 12 or 13 years ago. And if you think you’re remembering specific wording correctly, try asking the other person involved for their recollection and compare. Given how malleable and subject to a variety of errors human memory is (pick up any undergrad Cognitive Psych textbook and scan the chapters on memory for a good overview), I wouldn’t bet big bucks that the conversation really went down exactly as reported.
    B) But even if it did, there may be another explanation; the predictions sound like they might be consistent with what Hansen expects now at longer timescales…maybe a century or so? I haven’t read “Storms of My Grandchildren,” but I would imagine you could get a pretty good idea from there regarding what he actually expects and on what sort of a timeline.
    C) But even if the conversation went down exactly as reported, and even if Hansen heard the question as intended and was making a 20 year prediction…he was clearly wrong, and so what? The predictions he made in his congressional testimony around the same time have held up much better (despite what you may hear from Pat Michaels…isn’t that the one who removed Hansen’s “most likely” scenario from his graph before testifying that Hansen’s prediction was wrong?). If he gets it right when it counts but sometimes entertains unlikely notions in the context of informal conversations, that makes him…well, just like the rest of us I think.
    D) And his expectations have probably been updated since the late 80s anyway, don’t you think?

    • Everything you say is sensible, but the problem is that Reiss claimed in the 2001 Salon interview that he had spoken with Hansen again a few months earlier, and that he, Hansen, stood by his predictions–which at this point make even less sense. Now the WSH has to flood and all the trees and birds have to get replaced in just eight years. It’s nonsensical.

      There are only four possibilities that I can see:

      1. Reiss is lying.
      2. Reiss misunderstood what Hansen said, twice.
      3. Hansen misunderstood what Reiss asked, twice.
      4. Hansen really did predict in ~1988 and again in 2001 that all this was going to happen by ~2008.

      I find #4 to be not credible, and I don’t understand how either #2 or #3 could happen twice. That leaves only #1, in which case I don’t understand why Hansen has never said anything (that I can find).

      It’s all very mysterious. I wish someone who knows Hansen could straighten it out. Hint hint.

      PS: In my original post I said that Hansen’s original remarks were in 1998 or 1999. I meant 1988 or 1989.

      • Ask Gavin Schmidt?

      • That’s who the “hint hint” was for. :)

        I bug Gavin with more serious questions from time to time and don’t like to overdo it.

      • Kevin Stanley

        Not that it makes a huge difference, but I think there’s a fifth possibility (which is actually a variant on your #2 or #3):

        5) There was a misunderstanding the first time, and the second time the conversation didn’t involve enough details to reveal and correct it. E.g. Reiss asks “do you stand by what you said” and Hansen says “yes,” and since they were talking about different things originally, they’re still talking about different things now.

        I propose 3 possibilities, related to your list but simplified:
        1) Hansen is being insane about this
        2) Reiss is lying about this
        3) there is some other explanation, probably much less exciting

        I’d guess #3.

      • Kevin, yes, that’s a good point and certainly a possibility. One would hope that the reporter would be smart enough to repeat the gist of the original question and answer from several years earlier, but it’s not necessarily true that he did.

        I still wish that anybody here who knew Hansen would just ask him at the water cooler some day (“Hey, Jim, WTF?”) . :)

  93. You guys been over to Judy Curry’s blog recently? Not nice reading. Worth a visit.

    • Just read the last thread in her blog, and perused the comments. The blog does attract an interesting crowd, and her posting in one place is better than her dropping posts throughout the blogosphere.

      Adelady, who continues to impress this reader with her comments, may have the best take here (scroll to her October 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm comment).

      Climate, etc. is a place where one can politely call scientists “frauds” and nobody bats an eyelash.

  94. I’ve not read Curry’s blog, just some excerpts and commentary over at Keith Kloor’s, but it’s clear that she has totally jumped the shark.

    Looks like she’s in the process of burning whatever remnants of bridges remained between herself and the mainstream climate science community.

  95. I’ve been trying to locate historical data on global aerosol levels. I’ve found some stuff, but only back to ~1980. Does anyone know of anything that goes back any further? From the 40s would be ideal, but 60s would do the job.

  96. Anyone seen this before?

    R-Bloggers – Global Temperature Proxy Reconstructions ~ now with CO2 forcing August 26, 2010 By apeescape

    http://www.r-bloggers.com/global-temperature-proxy-reconstructions-now-with-co2-forcing/

    • This shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The most important point is that if you take out the last 30 years of the instrumental data for calibration, the McShane and Wyner (2010) reconstruction changes mightily. The inclusion of forcings is logical incoherent, and it’s done as a preamble for a BHM in a future post.

      BTW, looks like BHMs could be the next thing in terms of modeling the uncertainty of paleoclimate reconstructions. For more, Lee, Zwiers and Tsao (2008), Li, Nychka and Ammann (2008) and its comments, Tingley et al. (2010) and Li et al. (2010) are all worth a read.

  97. Steve Metzler

    There’s (yet) another infuriating post over at WUWT. This time it’s a claim that the arctic may have been totally ice-free in summer in the early Holocene, just when we came out of the last ice age, about 9,000 years ago:

    New peer reviewed paper says…

    It claims that the paper which provides details is peer-reviewed, and indeed it is hiding behind a paywall. But it looks like the authors have leaked their most important diagramme to wikipedia, one that averages data from very diverse proxies. Having said that… whatever concerns there may be about just averaging data from the proxies (as several commenters have already pointed out), I have a more immediate concern about the interpretation of the graph. On Wikipedia it says:

    The records are plotted with respect to the mid 20th century average temperature, and the global average temperature in 2004 is indicated

    OK. But the mid 20th century average turns out to be a full 0.5C *lower* than the global average temp in 2004. And IIRC, the arctic was not ice-free in summer during 2004. The average temps in the Holocene shown by the black line in the graph peak at about 0.2C above the mid 20th century average, and are thus *lower than in 2004*. So, how do they conclude that the arctic may have been ice-free in this period then? What am I missing? It might be this, from the abstract:

    The combined sea ice data suggest that the seasonal Arctic sea ice cover was strongly reduced during most of the early Holocene and there appear to have been periods of ice free summers in the central Arctic Ocean.

    (my emphasis added)

    The combined sea ice data (or rather, any useful reference to it) is hidden behind the paywall. Does anyone here know of a reliable resource for arctic sea ice extent that goes back to the early Holocene?

    • Nothing “infuriating” there. I haven’t read the paper yet, but do remember that there is a consensus that at the height of the holocene, temperatures were higher than the 20th century average for several millenia. That’s a LOT of time for the ice to melt.

      Of course, what is hilarious is that the paper used numerical modeling, and yet the Wattsians swallow it hook, line, and sinker…

    • There’s (yet) another infuriating post over at WUWT.

      Ha. If you WUWT infuriates you, do not look at Goddard’s new blog (“Real Science” – irony taken to dizzying new heights). It makes WUWT look like a haven of refined, civilized debate. I haven’t seen that many drooling imbeciles in one place since, well, since foxnation.com. And their leader is the droolingest of them all…

    • This should worry us more, not less. If ice is sensitive to such a small change in temperature, then we are in big trouble, given what is coming.

      Steve, the graph isn’t from the paper, it’s from Global Warming Art, via Wikipedia.

      And Watts remains an absolute moron. No surprise there.

    • The abstract of the paper touted by Watts can be found here
      http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.08.016
      I checked all the author’s homepages for a PDF, no luck.

    • “Considering these different lines of evidence, a picture begins to
      evolve suggesting that Arctic sea ice cover was strongly reduced
      during most of the early Holocene; there appears even to have been
      periods of ice free summers in large parts of the central Arctic
      Ocean
      (Fig. 2). The trend of declining sea ice, which clearly is seen
      since satellite images became available from 1979 (Stroeve et al.,
      2007), makes the early Holocene a particularly interesting period
      to study. Are we presently heading towards a time period with
      similarly low sea ice concentration as during the early Holocene? If
      so, what are the causes for this? Are there specific climatic analo-
      gies between the early Holocene and present conditions that are
      critical for Arctic Ocean perennial sea ice cover? One main differ-
      ence is in the amount of solar radiation, which during the early
      Holocene peaked at 9 ka with about 8% more solar radiation to the
      Northern Hemisphere in summer (Fig. 2). The question of seasonal
      Arctic Ocean sea ice extent through the Holocene also has impli-
      cations for marine mammals depending on sea ice for their
      survival. It has been suggested that if sea ice concentrations
      continue to decrease, it could seriously threaten the survival of the
      Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) (Derocher et al., 2004). Recent studies
      by Ingólfsson and Wiig (2009) and Lindqvist et al. (2010) show that
      polar bears survived the Eemian interglacial and the early Holo-
      cene, suggesting they have under natural conditions the ability to
      survive periods of low sea ice concentrations.”

      This is the relevant paragraph from the paper. WTF omits ‘in large parts of’ in his summary. The map of the paper is not what WTF shows on his blog.

      Oh, what’s the previous paragraph to the above? What does ‘Considering these different lines of evidence’ refer to?

      “Driftwood stranded on Arctic beaches have been used previ-
      ously as an indicator of past sea ice conditions (e.g. Häggblom,
      1992). This is based on two main assumptions; 1) the near shore
      area must be ice free to allow the driftwood to strand, and 2) the
      driftwood floats for about 1e2 years, implying that longer time
      journeys over an open ocean require sea ice as the transport
      mechanism. The type of tree can be used to track the source region
      of the driftwood (Larix dominates in Siberia; Picea dominates in
      North America). Bennike (2004) found that driftwood older than
      7.4 cal ka BP is rare on Northern Greenland beaches and suggests
      that this indicates more severe sea ice conditions than at present
      while between 6.8 and 5.5 cal ka BP the driftwood record from
      northeast Greenland suggests more open water conditions.
      However, at the APEX conference in Copenhagen 2009, Funder et al.
      (2009) proposed that the lack of driftwood findings in the area of
      Northern Greenland where beach ridges are mapped indicate
      summer sea ice free conditions in the central Arctic Ocean during
      the early Holocene (Fig. 2). Westward of northern Greenland
      driftwood has been found inside the multiyear land-fast sea ice that
      presently exists on the northern coast of Ellesmere Island. Dating of
      this driftwood indicates that there were no ice shelves in this
      region prior to 5.5 cal ka BP (England et al., 2008) (Fig. 2).”

  98. Hi Steve,

    I think the Wiki graph is simply a Watts addition to confuse the topic. Without having seen the paper it is hard to comment on it (but that doesn’t seem to have stopped Mr. Watts as all his extrapolated comments seem to be based on the abstract). Overall the paper doesn’t really seem to be a big deal since we know that other issues such as albedo change secondary to dust (loess) that could have been very significant immediately after the ice sheets retreated, possible regional wind shifts, and more conducive Milankovitch cycles were all significant possibilities for this period. Overall the climate has cooled over the last 10,000 years (slightly). The paper doesn’t seem to be incompatible with this paper that came out earlier this summer:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VBC-4YKFMY0-2&_user=10&_origUdi=B6VBC-51509K7-1&_fmt=high&_coverDate=07%2F31%2F2010&_rdoc=1&_orig=article&_origin=article&_zone=related_art&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=510153052715541cc97f1ee29ca64509

    Perhaps Dr Pelto would care to make a comment? (It would be better informed than mine.)

  99. Didactylos, arch stanton, hi,

    Phew, thanks, my sanity restored. I tried responding to a few posts over on WUWT about 2 weeks ago, and gave up rather quickly in abject frustration once I realised I was dealing with… well, you know. I vowed to never again engage with those ijeets over there, and I’m going to stick by it. But there are so many outright lies promulgated there that it just makes you *fume*.

    Why would Watts try to confuse the issue by leading us to believe that first graphic was part of the paper in question? No, please don’t attempt to answer that. Just a rhetorical question *sigh*

  100. I was looking again at the 1975 Newsweek article that supposedly contained hysteria from scientists about a looming ice age (but, of course, did not). It includes a chart of global temps since ~1885 attributed to NCAR.

    The graph is labeled “Average temperature change” and the Y axis ranges from zero (which is the 1885 temp) to 1.0degF.

    Does anyone know exactly what this is? Is is just the difference between the average annual temp and the 1885 temp, or something else? Aside from having a different baseline from what we mostly see now, is it different from temp anomaly?

  101. Igor Samoylenko

    “BRITAIN TRAPPED UNDER TWO FEET OF GLOBAL WARMING BULLSHIT”:

    BRITAIN ground to a standstill today after the heaviest November global warming bullshit in more than a decade.

    Across the country thousands of people found themselves trapped in pubs by a relentless blizzard of tedious, predictable observations by the sort of people who post comments on the Daily Mail website.

    “It started with a flurry of statistics that simply aren’t true and then the really heavy stuff came down – ‘so why is it so cold?’ and ‘it’s all a Marxist conspiracy’ which was, of course, followed immediately by ‘that Al Gore is a billionaire, you know’.

    “”So, over the next couple of days, if someone says to you ‘I suppose this is so-called climate change?’ just say ‘yes, it fucking is actually’.””

    Enjoy! :-)