Open Mind

Hansen’s Bulldog

February 28, 2008 · 251 Comments

After reading Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, Thomas Henry Huxley sent a letter to Darwin including this passage:

I finished your book yesterday… Since I read Von Baer’s Essays nine years ago no work on Natural History Science I have met with has made so great an impression on me & I do most heartily thank you for the great store of new views you have given me… As for your doctrines I am prepared to go to the Stake if requisite… I trust you will not allow yourself to be in any way disgusted or annoyed by the considerable abuse & misrepresentation which unless I greatly mistake is in store for you… And as to the curs which will bark and yelp - you must recollect that some of your friends at any rate are endowed with an amount of combativeness which (though you have often & justly rebuked it) may stand you in good stead - I am sharpening up my claws and beak in readiness.

Huxley championed the cause of evolution, and was instrumental in persuading both the scientific community and the British public of its truth. He later came to be known as “Darwin’s Bulldog.”

His letter is a pretty good expression of my view of the global warming issue. I’ve already witnessed far too much of the abuse & misrepresentation which has been heaped on climate scientists, especially James Hansen and Mike Mann. I too am sharpening my claws.

Therefore I’ve changed my pseudonym to “Hansen’s bulldog.”

Woof.

Categories: Global Warming · climate change

251 responses so far ↓

  • chriscolose // February 28, 2008 at 6:24 am

    sexy…

  • Nexus 6 // February 28, 2008 at 6:37 am

    Nice work, HB….I think both the blogosphere and the public understanding of good science in general will be the better for your claw sharpening. Keep up the good work!

  • Gaudenz Mischol // February 28, 2008 at 7:31 am

    so you wanna say
    hansen = charles darwin
    tamino = huxley

    man you are bold

    [Response: No. I don't put Hansen or myself in the same intellectual stratosphere which is home to Darwin and Huxley; Hansen might belong there (time will tell) but I don't.

    Just lettin' y'all know -- this dog has teeth. And I ain't afraid to use 'em.]

  • Lab Lemming // February 28, 2008 at 7:57 am

    I thought that was Al Gore.

  • Alan Woods // February 28, 2008 at 9:03 am

    So its “My team, right or wrong”from now on? Well at least you’re being honest. But it’s poor mosh that I feel sorry for, looks like he had you all wrong.

    [Response: You're the one who's got me all wrong. Your comment is what I've come to expect from denialists, and have been the target of for some time now -- complete with all the logical argument and relevant evidence that characterizes the entire anti-AGW movement.]

  • P. Lewis // February 28, 2008 at 11:05 am

    NOT (necessarily) FOR PUBLICATION

    With the best possible motives, perhaps you should consider another dog (Doberman, Alsatian, (Yorkshire) terrier, …).

    Why? Bulldog will quickly become corrupted by the pseudo/bad science coprophiles everywhere to I think you can guess what. Although, I suppose, that could be seen as a sort of badge of courage.

    Hansen’s Hound has a nice onomatopoeic ring to it.

  • Ade // February 28, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I think it’s time you changed your “Open Mind” moniker at the top of this site. Perhaps “Hansen’s Bulldog” would be an apt alternative.

    [Response: I considered it, although perhaps not for the same reason as you.]

  • Lazar // February 28, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Tamino, you have great ability as an educator. Thinking back, it’s not in fact the time series stuff which stands out for me, it is your explanation of the GHG effect which is the clearest I have read.
    Please don’t spend too much energy on the dust thrown around by denialists.
    They are making themselves irrelevant by their own efforts.
    Those who will believe such nonsense will continue to do so whatever you say, bar a few extreme cases.
    Those who approach the issue with an Open Mind will probably read the IPCC reports at some point in their journeys.

  • Lazar // February 28, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    But it’s poor mosh that I feel sorry for, looks like he had you all wrong.

    Actually, it seems more like he had ‘Climate Audit’ wrong.

  • kim // February 28, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    It is retractability that keeps claws sharp.
    ============================

  • dhogaza // February 28, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    But it’s poor mosh that I feel sorry for…

    I will never allow myself to feel sympathy or sorrow for a man who has compared Mann’s “hockey stick” paper to be comparable to the Piltdown Man fraud.

    The personal insults he’s flung at me I could forgive, but to accuse Mann of outright fraud in this manner?

    Never.

  • Mike // February 28, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Maybe since you are gathering and collecting information from varied sources (and keeping all of us in line which seems like herding cats at times)

    You should be his sheepdog.

  • John // February 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Hansen’s Bulldog (or Mr. Bulldog): I second Lazar’s comments about your blog being a great source of educational information that, in my opinion, fills in the background to a lot of the issues surrounding global warming.

    While I agree that issues where science is mis-understood should be addressed, I would not want to see your more educational posting decrease. I am very much looking forward to your continued series on PCA.

    Regards,
    John

  • Zeke // February 28, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    While I’m sure Ethon has been a tad lonely, does this debate really need more rhetorical beasts? I’ll echo the above posters that your gift is really in explaining the science. While becoming the P.Z. Myers of the climate wars would certainly boost your readership, it will also attract more of the pointless sniping that has characterized the last few comment threads here.

  • fred // February 28, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Open Mind is most valuable when least personal and most focussed on fact, observation and interpretation. Hansen’s (or anyone else’s) bulldog, or any other kind of dog, isn’t a worthy ambition. Its capable of much better things.

    I too am looking forward to the next in the PCA series and hopefully a cooler and less personal level of comment. Most of us have efforts to make in this respect.

    [Response: I guess I've given the wrong impression. I haven't suddenly decided to change my approach, I'll continue to try to focus on fact, observation, and interpretation. But when a hoarde of hostile commenters comes to my doorstep, they'll have no excuse for not knowing there's a bulldog in residence. I ain't frontin'.

    I too hope for a cooler and less personal level of comment.]

  • Lazar // February 28, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    While I’m sure Ethon has been a tad lonely

    Ethon, meet Work Bird (put on desktop background for those times spent idly gazing at the monitor). (creation of Scott Eric Kaufman).

  • Paul T // February 28, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    It’s retractability that keeps claws sharp.

    That’s true, but dogs don’t have retractable claws. Maybe a cat is a better animal to choose. They sharpen their claws on things like a scratching post. So Taminos scratches here via his great posts seems to be a great analogy to clean and sharpen his claws.

  • Heretic // February 28, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    I’m afraid Zeke could be right. In a way, is it not a point for the denialists that they managed to get you angry enough to change mode? Now they can tag you as extreme, a biased advocate, or any other rethorical trick in their tobacco reeking bag.

    [Response: They don't already?]

  • Gaelan Clark // February 28, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    How about “Hansen’s bitch”? It is a tad bit more fitting, don’t you think?

    [edit]

    [Response: That's the level of commentary I've come to expect from the denialist camp.]

  • David B. Benson // February 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    How about ‘Hansen’s Lynx’?

  • Ade // February 28, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Response: I considered it, although perhaps not for the same reason as you.

    Possibly not… however, I would like to echo some other sentiments here: Your educational posts (such as the one on temperature anomoly) are really clear, concise, and a real bonus for t’Interweb. And I commend them to the house.

    FWIW, I am keeping an open mind on this whole climate change thing. I see stuff on CA & it makes me wonder. I see stuff on RC & it makes me wonder. And I see stuff on here, and it makes me wonder. Repeat for a number of other sites.

    Like climate science itself, trying to extract the signal from the noise (of the blogosphere) is extremely difficult, time consuming, and probably about as accurate…

  • George // February 28, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    There is a difference between “vitriol” (ad hom, whatever you want to call it) and “telling it like it is”.

    A few may actually not be able to tell the difference, but others just pretend not to know the difference because feigned ignorance suits their purposes.

    You can always spot the latter from a mile away because they are so quick to play the victim card — and keep playing it as long as it works: ie, as long as people continue to be taken in (”I feel sorry for him…”) and cowed by their faux complaints.

    “Poor little old me. Here I was just minding my own business, simply “auditing the science” and now all these scientists are conspiring against me. They won’t give me the time of data” [”It could certainly not have anything to do with those few (hundred) times I (or others on my blog) insinuated Michael Mann was playing the “shell game” with the data. No, not a chance.”)

  • John Cross // February 28, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Heretic: I used to follow the line of thinking that if you argued with them you would give them credit. I don’t believe that anymore. They don’t need to be creditable to influence politics.

    However if they are shown to be wrong then there is a political risk in accepting their view.

    John

  • kim // February 28, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    I like that one, Paul T. What dog has a beak and sharp claws, anyway. Meow.
    ====================

  • Martin // February 28, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    I’m a bit disappointed at the lack of editorial policy here, tamino. Some time ago you got our hopes up when you announced that foul language etc. would no longer be condoned here. But, still you’re leaning over backwards in order to maintain some notion, whatever (?), of ‘fairness’. (What makes telling lies any different from foul language anyway, huh?) You will be an ugly bad censor anyway, no matter what you do.

    Hey, this is your blog. We’re visiting. House rules. No, I’m not saying you should delete all contrarian comments. Quite the opposite. The only valid rule is: “does it make the blog better for the readers?” So, the occasional denialist item is okay, if only for the refutation opportunity it offers — as they will continue to orbit in the outside world unrefuted. But when it descends into a shouting match, start pressing that delete key.

    It’s about S/N ratio really. Tamino, be on the side of S. N will take care of itself, as it has so far.

    [Response: Lately, I have been using the delete key (but not often); after all, threats of physical violence against my person don't contribute to our understanding, now do they?

    I suspect you've hit the nail on the head when you state that it's about the S/N ratio. I have no intention of censoring disagreement. But since the last post, the number of comments has soared, and especially the number of repetitions of the SAME arguments has soared. So I've tried to focus on two questions, namely: Does the comment actually have something to say (whether I agree with it or not)? If so, has it already been said, perhaps even repeatedly? Comments without content, and multiple repetitions, are N not S.]

  • Paul T // February 28, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Kim,

    Well the beak was Haxley’s comment. Perhaps he was thinking something like a hawk, with keen senses perhaps.

    Whatever the case, I think Hansen’s Bulldog was pretty clear with his reasoning. Hansen made his case, and with some it resounded more clearly than with others. The connection to what Huxley wrote seems obvious to me. It’s not something unique to this website, as far as having supporters for any idea goes.

  • Paul T // February 28, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Sorry, Huxley’s comment, not Haxley’s :S

  • Ken // February 28, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Just wanted to say that I love your posts. They are very informative and readable. I’ve replicated much of your work on my own to develop my own level of trust in your accuracy. You are a first-rate analyst. Keep up the good work.

    And as for “open mind”, that’s still a great title for your blog. But once the mind has been filled with solid evidence, it’s time to stop pretending that deceptive and misleading data (from others) should be considered. Instead, attack it like a bulldog.

    [Response: Thank you.]

  • aphriza // February 28, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    I think it’s an admirable sentiment - but I’m not sure that the analogy is suitable.

    At the time, Darwin’s voice was in the minority and he needed support against the disbelief, disdain, and disapproval of established scientists. By comparison, climate change today is accepted by the vast majority of scientists and a growing proportion of the world at large. Taking the name “Hansen’s bulldog” is almost offering that there’s an ideological fight that still needs to be won.

    It also moves away from your blog’s idea of open-mindedness and suggests getting in line behind an established set of beliefs - precisely the image that sets denialists to boiling over, shouting, stamping feet, etc.

    Finally, Darwin was the father of evolution, whereas Hansen is simply one of the most recognizable among thousands of climate scientists. I’m not sure he needs a bulldog as much as someone who advances the debate rationally and patiently according to his own strengths and insights - precisely what you’ve been doing all along.

    In any case, keep up the good work.

    [Response: As usual, your insight is impressive. I agree there's not really an analogy with the struggle to establish the truth of evolution. As you say, it's not the minority view, and as I said in an earlier response to a comment, I don't pretend to belong in the intellectual stratosphere along with Darwin and Huxley.]

  • Hank Roberts // February 28, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    > threats of physical violence against my
    > person don’t contribute to our
    > understanding, now do they?

    Don’t discard threats. Those who inflame such behavior always deny it happens or any responsibility. Patterns emerge only after data is collected.

    18 USC Section 875

    (c) Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing … any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

    Keep a file, offline. You probably know what should be in it and who should know where it’s kept. If not your IP, sysadmin or police department certainly does. Every state now has laws comparable to the federal law.

    These laws are responses to events.
    This is not a hypothetical and not a joke.

  • Deech56 // February 28, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Is the position of Zombie Woof still available?

  • Hank Roberts // February 28, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    What’s happened here and on other climate science forums reminds me of what David Brin refers to as “the deliberate fomenting of struggle between professionals and amateurs” — so here’s a link to some good news from his blog, which I commend:

    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/

    Saturday, February 23, 2008

    One of my principal themes is the importance of remembering what we are fighting for. It isn’t only justice, liberty and accountability — although those would be sufficient… and they have been horrendously betrayed. There is also the other side of the Enlightenment… the wondrous things that we do, that only a free and open civilization can do.

    Despite the War on Science and the War against Professionalism — and the deliberate fomenting of struggle between professionals and amateurs — it is still possible to see a civilization forging ahead in countless directions!…

    See link for his page for full text and links integral to the discussion.

  • Jim Arndt // February 29, 2008 at 1:54 am

    Hi,

    So your going to champion Hansen. You are very brave. If it turns out that he is selling snake oil then well are you willing to go down with the ship? If he is loaded with bull what does that make you? Look GISS does not correlate with RSS and UAH. Doesn’t matter if its 1.5 meters or 1500 meters the correlation should be the same. Odd man out… GISS. Post if you will but with the statement from Joanne Simpson I will be Skepical. Deniers are for religion. In the name or Joe Friday… Just the facts mam’.

    [Response: Then you should start getting your facts straight.]

  • Jim Arndt // February 29, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Hi,

    You don’t have to post but thx for the post. I just try give give the other side… even OJ had an option

  • Lazar // February 29, 2008 at 2:41 am

    Jim Arndt’s comment brings to mind Keynes’ response to an idiot.
    Idiot; “But what will you do if your theory is proven to be wrong?”
    Keynes; “Why, then I will change my theory. What would you do?”

    And just maybe in a past life, Gaelan Clark inspired Samuel Beckett…

    my peace is there in the receding mist
    when I may cease from treading these long shifting thresholds
    and live the space of a door
    that opens and shuts

    Dieppe.

    Certainly, Hank Roberts has it right;

    Hobby horse stampede, just like dot.earth.
    I’m outta here til playtime ends and class resumes.

    Byee!

  • Heretic // February 29, 2008 at 3:29 am

    John Cross, you have point; and Hank does too, keep copies of these files Tamino.

  • Dano // February 29, 2008 at 4:10 am

    Heretic wrote: In a way, is it not a point for the denialists that they managed to get you angry enough to change mode? Now they can tag you as extreme, a biased advocate, or any other rethorical trick in their tobacco reeking bag.

    The noise machine doesn’t care what it uses in smear mode. No sense playing nice just because it might enrage the mouth-breathers - they’ll use any excuse. Might as well go for it and be true to yourself.

    The volume and amount of ululation coming from the noise machine, to me, indicates that it is turning up the volume to counter the increasing ignorage. The noise machine has less traction for decision-makers. I was recently at a large function with a good fraction of the attendees either decision-makers or their staff. The conversations I participated in regarding AGW were about ‘what to do’, not ‘is it real’.

    Ship, sailed.

    Best,

    D

  • bouldersolar // February 29, 2008 at 4:47 am

    Tamino,

    When you stick to the math and science, your blog is well worth reading. Can you just do that? I don’t understand why you need to remain anonymous. I am looking forward to your insights on Mann’s hockey stick.

  • cce // February 29, 2008 at 5:59 am

    This shows the difference between GISS vs RSS (1979 to 2007).

    http://cce.890m.com/gissvsrss.jpg

    RSS is subtracted from GISS and then offset to put the average difference at 0. Anything above 0 shows months where GISS was higher than RSS. Anything below 0 shows when RSS was higher than GISS. There is nothing unusual in the so-called “divergence” of recent years.

    The real “odd man out” is UAH, which shows 22% less warming than RSS despite starting with the same raw data. How people can keep repeating that both of these are simultaneously “better” at tracking global temperature anomalies is a tribute to Orwellian double-think.

  • fred // February 29, 2008 at 7:53 am

    “So, the occasional denialist item is okay”

    We always come down to this in the end: those who persist in thinking differently must be banned from our presence.

    I am classed as a denialist here. This is why. I think MBH98 was a wrong application of PCA, that the surface station adjustments recently being itemized are not justifiable. I think its obviously warming, though how much and how fast and how alarmingly by reference to the historical past is not clear. I think CO2 rises will definitely cause warming, a little less than 1 degree for a doubling from 300ppm. Whether this increase will then cause a further increase of a couple more degrees by feedbacks is uncertain. I’m not impressed by the refusal of many climate scientists to reveal data and algorithms and was particularly unimpressed by Jones’ refusal to publish the names of the stations in his Chinese network. I generally read and reflect on references people on this blog who are more convinced of AGW than this supply and often profit from them. I read RC, CA, Watts and Open Mind with varying levels of interest and agreement.

    Well, it doesn’t seem an unreasonable position. To refer to this as denialism means that everyone who feels doubt on any detail qualifies. But by all means ban people with a similar level of lack of conviction if you all feel it will make your debate richer and more ‘open minded’.

    My own conclusion would be that ‘denialism’ is not a useful concept. It is a concept comparable to that of ‘heretic’ or ‘right wing deviationist’. It has no role in debate on a matter of science.

    There are many people like me who have been accustomed all their lives to thinking for themselves and not always agreeing with the consensus, whether it was on Perl versus C for a given application, or the merits of hydrogenated fats in the diet, how close the connection is between cholesterol and heart disease, or whether Google is appropriately priced. Sometimes we are right, sometimes wrong, often we change our minds in the face of evidence. Abuse and name calling is not unusual, but it makes no difference to our views. Maybe it makes you all feel better, though I don’t know why it would. But it does nothing to change our minds or anyone else’s

  • Martin // February 29, 2008 at 8:33 am

    after all, threats of physical violence against my person don’t contribute to our understanding, now do they?

    Agree with Hank… keep this documented.

    …and BTW I don’t quite agree that it doesn’t add to our understanding: it documents how much of a threat the truth is to some folks. Sad, but good to know.

  • Gareth // February 29, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Hansen’s beagle? A superior kind of hound.

    (But I’m biased

  • EW // February 29, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    “deceptive and misleading data (from others) should be considered”

    ???
    I’ve always thought that the data may be either correct or incorrect, but “deceptive and misleading” is for me a whole new category.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // February 29, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    fred writes:

    [[We always come down to this in the end: those who persist in thinking differently must be banned from our presence.

    I am classed as a denialist here.]]

    Then why haven’t you been “banned from our presence?” The fact that you are here is a simple proof that your accusation is wrong.

    [[ This is why. I think MBH98 was a wrong application of PCA, that the surface station adjustments recently being itemized are not justifiable. I think its obviously warming, though how much and how fast and how alarmingly by reference to the historical past is not clear. I think CO2 rises will definitely cause warming, a little less than 1 degree for a doubling from 300ppm.]]

    1.2 K. This is from radiation physics. “Less than a degree” is not possible unless negative feedbacks overwhelm positive ones, and nobody thinks that’s likely.

    [[ Whether this increase will then cause a further increase of a couple more degrees by feedbacks is uncertain.]]

    Did you ever google “Clausius-Clapeyron law” or “Clausius-Clapeyron relation?”

  • Jim Arndt // February 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Hi,

    Well here you go cce. By Anthony Watts because I like is charts.
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/giss-had-uah-rss_global_anomaly_12avg_1979-2008.png

  • Jim Arndt // February 29, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Hi,

    BTW here the GAPI. Maybe it is the sun. Correlation is good then add PDO and AMO.
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/solar-geomagnetic-ap.png

  • J // February 29, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Oh, God. Prompted by Jim Arndt’s posting, I just took a look over at Watts’s blog, and … well … I don’t know how to say this politely …

    Those people are deeply confused.

    I read through Anthony’s post about a comparison of the surface & satellite records. I read through the comments. It was an eye-opening experience.

    These people, who envision themselves as auditors, don’t understand even the most basic concepts. Watts plots histograms of the monthly data from the four data sets without realizing that they’re on different baselines. Various people try to point out, gently, that this is nonsense. Some of the commenters get it, but half or more just keep on blathering about conspiracies and data tampering and whatnot. Other commenters fail to grasp the distinction between a positive anomaly and a positive trend. One moron (sorry, there’s no other way to say this) plots a histogram of one of the satellite data sets, finds that half of the monthly anomalies are negative and half are positive, and concludes that there must be no warming or cooling trend.

    I kid you not.

    Honestly, how can anyone be expected to take Watts or his followers seriously, when that much cr#p piles up in a thread and it mostly goes unchallenged?

  • cce // February 29, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Jim,

    I’m glad that you agree that GISS doesn’t exaggerate warming. Now, if only people will stop repeating something that is demonstrably false.

  • P. Lewis // February 29, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    bouldersolar // February 29, 2008 at 4:47 am

    Let me throw your comment

    I don’t understand why you need to remain anonymous.

    back to you and ask you whether you don’t think there’s more than a touch of …

    What Hansen’s Bulldog (the blogger formerly known as Tamino) decides to call himself (sorry, but I’m sure you’re a him) is surely entirely for him and has no bearing on his blog reports. As you will know if you have read elsewhere hereabouts, he has already had threats of physical violence against the person. That in itself must surely warrant some reason for anonymity. His employer might also have rules about blogging if it somehow crosses his daily employment, which from his own mouth it surely does.

    Who cares whether he’s anonymous? Not me for one.

  • Jim Arndt // February 29, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Hi,

    cce I don’t think it exaggerates the warming but it is consistently higher than the other three. I prefer to use UAH and RSS because of the issues with GISS and HAD. That is why I say GISS is odd man out. At least your a more civil than other poster here.
    Also J if you actually read Anthony’s post he says that is is on different baselines. I don’t take anything for granted, listen and learn and don’t preach. That is what I hear a lot of lately. I still think it is the solar influence as the main climate driver but not as measured in W/m2 but geomagnetic influence and the CRF. I see little or no data showing CO2 as a climate driver simply only model driven data. Simple example is that the hurricane forecasts have drastically missed their mark for the last two years. BTW CA is discussing stations with the opposite adjustments and not the “normal issues”.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // February 29, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Jim Arndt posts:

    [[I see little or no data showing CO2 as a climate driver simply only model driven data.]]

    Have you taken an introductory course in atmosphere physics or radiative transfer?

    If you want to learn about how the evidence developed, I’d recommend reading Spencer Weart’s book, “The Discovery of Global Warming” (2003). Another good one is S. George Philander’s “Is the Temperature Rising?” (1998). If you’re willing to do the math, either John Houghton’s “The Physics of Atmospheres” (3rd ed. 2002), or Grant W. Petty’s “A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation” (2006) are very helpful.

  • cce // February 29, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    If you understand that they are on different baselines, then you understand why the GISS anomalies are numerically higher. In terms of the amount of warming, GISS and HadCRU are virtually identical at about 0.17 degrees per decade of warming. RSS shows the most amount of warming, or about 0.18 degrees per decade. The “odd man out” is UAH, which shows 0.14 degrees per decade of warming. (All of this is lower troposphere, of course.)

    If you want to talk about the inaccuracy of Hurricane forecasts, complain to Bill Gray.

  • dhogaza // February 29, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    If you understand that they are on different baselines, then you understand why the GISS anomalies are numerically higher.

    Can you imagine the noise the folks at Watts’ site would make if they ran across two sets of records, one in degrees kelvin, the other in degrees celsius? :)

  • Jim Arndt // February 29, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Hi,

    Barton, so now I have to have a Physics degree to post. Didn’t think so. I can watch and compare TSI to temperature trends. I can compare geomagnetic indexes to temperature trends. Then there AMO, PDO, SOI, ENSO and many others used to compare trends. With CO2 you only see as it reacts to temperature not temperature reacting to CO2. Most of the data is from models and not observed. I never said that there was no effect on temperature, but it is not driving the climate. For example I will post a graphic of the geomagnetic index and then you can compare it yourself. Don’t need to read the book because there is plenty of literature on CO2 that I have read.
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/solar-geomagnetic-ap.png

    cce, If that is so then why did GISS have a Delta T of -.75 degrees from January 2007 to January 2008 when RSS was -.629, UAH -.588 and HadCRUT -.595. Also when you compare the cool and warm anomalies for each set you get GISS 5% cool to 95% warm, RSS 37% and 63%, UAH 37% and 63% and HadCRUT is 11% and 89%, using the raw data for each since 1979. As for hurricanes it was from the National Hurricane Center not Dr. Gray.

  • cthulhu // March 1, 2008 at 12:25 am

    In a way Watt’s actually does a service by exposing the lack of critical thinking most of the commenters over there have.

  • Ken Feldman // March 1, 2008 at 12:49 am

    [I prefer to use UAH and RSS because of the issues with GISS and HAD. ]

    You need to be careful when making comparisons between the surface and satellite temperature records. Are you aware that the satellites don’t measure the temperatures at the poles (nothing poleward of 82.5 degrees in all channels and nothing poleward of 70S in the TLT)? GISS includes the poles, which is a major reason why it’s showing more warming anamolies than the other surface reconstructions for recent years. And you can check the physical observations, such as the thinning of Arctic ice and record meltback during the summers of 2005 and 2007 to confirm that the Arctic is warming, and the temps are correct. No urban heat islands up there!

    While it’s useful to compare the trends to see whether there are obvious outliers, it seems pretty clear that the trends between all of them are consistent, and they all show consistent warming since the late 1970s.

    I find it amazing that Anthony Watts has been told how his posts comparing the four temperature records are in error, yet he leaves it up uncorrected, with the implication that the GISS results are out of line with the other records unchallenged. It clearly puts him in the denier camp. I don’t see how his followers can claim that he’s a nuetral “auditor” of the science.

  • luminous beauty // March 1, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Jim Arndt,

    You like graphs?

    Compare here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2sk83e

    TSI, CRF, GMI all strongly correlate down for the second half of the 20th century and follow warming through the first half. (according to your reasoning the Earth’s warming must be causing the sun to fluctuate.)

    You can only believe in solar forcing if you really, really, really want to believe, no matter what the evidence.

  • Jim Arndt // March 1, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Hi,

    Tamino, I mean Luminous, I am sorry you must have mis-read something. Since when did I post it was a 100% correlation? If it was there would be “no debate”. What temperature reconstruct are they using? What TSI are they using, Hoyt, Lean, Wang? TSI is only general I was referring to geomagnetic not only TSI.

    Ken, you need to read the whole post or maybe you took out what you only wanted to see.

  • Brian D // March 1, 2008 at 2:13 am

    Jim Arndt:

    “so now I have to have a Physics degree to post. Didn’t think so.”

    Of course you don’t. You should, however, be honest with yourself and show that without the relevant background education there will be things you won’t understand, so you shouldn’t pretend to be an expert. (I have a physics degree and I still consider myself an amateur at this. An early thing every scientist learns is that there will *always* be more to learn than you already know.)

    “With CO2 you only see as it reacts to temperature not temperature reacting to CO2. Most of the data is from models and not observed.”

    Number 8 and number 33 (sorta).

    You want empirical evidence of the greenhouse effect of CO2? It’s easy to design an experiment that does this — or to google for it if you don’t have the background science to know what to control for. I found this one with five minutes of looking, and my (albiet incomplete) understanding of thermodynamics doesn’t send up any red flags about bad design.

    “I will post a graphic of the geomagnetic index and then you can compare it yourself. Don’t need to read the book because there is plenty of literature on CO2 that I have read.”

    First, I know *I* don’t have the relevant expertise to examine the background literature to see if Watts (etc.) did a good job with the graph. ANYONE can make a graph of two things and show a correlation, but that doesn’t mean it’s “sound science” (to borrow a term I despise). Ever seen this old gem?

    Second, and this follows directly from that last one, just because you see a correlation doesn’t mean you can establish a causal relationship. Unless you can provide an explanation for the mechanism that explains why one affects the other, you do not have a causal relationship. Nothing I’ve read suggests the magnetosphere has a serious impact on climate (although I admit that there are areas I do not understand, and that I haven’t read this area comprehensively, so I can’t say they *aren’t* causal either. That’s for people better versed in atmospheric physics to do.) With CO2, we have the correlation — and the mechanism (in layman’s terms, we can quantify how CO2 “traps” heat, and how that heat affects global temperature). This transfers the burden of proof to the skeptic to demonstrate how increased CO2 isn’t causing this warming — something that I haven’t seen anyone put forth (except as crazed “weather control machine” conspiracy theories or similar tripe without evidence).

    Third, and this is the most concerning for me, is that you seem to have no interest in learning more. You leave your thinking to Watts (or whoever he’s citing), claiming you don’t need to read the (excellent) introductions to radiative physics or even the (VERY readable) Discovery of Global Warming, lying content with your head in the metaphorical sand. The fact that you don’t seem to understand basic *science* practices strongly suggests that you don’t have any science background at all, and yet you continue to try to argue science with those who do. I don’t know a thing about engines (except for their thermodynamics, I’m an “engine layperson”) but you don’t see me arguing with my mechanic about what he should be doing, or telling him that he should consider a hacksaw instead of an acetylene cutting torch because it’s been proven for longer.

    At least take the time to become familiar with the basics — the very basics. This can be found in the Discovery of Global Warming book (I highly recommend it) and then by a bit of googling for more specific information. For instance, if you’re curious as to HadCRU methods, you can google up the CRU temperature record and read the paper describing it.

    The ironic part is that I’m telling you this on TAMINO’S (er, Hansen’s Bulldog’s) blog. He routinely mentions little quirks like this whenever he discusses it, and (by and large) sticks exclusively to public data and methods instead of being (understandably, given recent events) snarky. A lot of what I know about climate data came first from reading him, then from checking it out for myself. He really is a wonderful resource for just that reason.

    If that is so then why did GISS have a Delta T of -.75 degrees from January 2007 to January 2008 when RSS was -.629, UAH -.588 and HadCRUT -.595. Also when you compare the cool and warm anomalies for each set you get GISS 5% cool to 95% warm, RSS 37% and 63%, UAH 37% and 63% and HadCRUT is 11% and 89%, using the raw data for each since 1979.

    See, this is exactly what I meant when I said you’re pretending to understand it and calling it being skeptical. This isn’t skeptical — it’s knee-jerk.

    GISS is higher than HadCRU because of a few things, but the biggest one I’m aware of is the lack of stations in the arctic. HadCRU ignores the arctic, while GISS uses a method that lets it integrate over blank areas using stations up to about 1200km away. This gives GISS a more complete picture of the arctic than HadCRU — and anyone who’s looked at maps of temperature anomalies has no doubt seen that the arctic is the most abnormally hot spot on the planet. (Interestingly, this polar amplification was predicted by early CO2 models, both computer-based and analytic, about 40 years ago.)

    This means that, even if you adjust for the different baselines, HadCRU can be expected to show less warming than GISS.

    I’m less aware of the intricacies in the satellite record (UAH/RSS), as the folks I normally argue with don’t think the surface record is corrupt, but I do know there are considerable analysis problems with the satellites — problems that I don’t understand yet. Again, because he does his calculations *practically* transparently, Tamino/Bulldog is an excellent starting point (that’s his recent post on the satellites and their myriad forms of analysis, at a lay level) for this.

    Finally, I don’t know what you’re trying to get at with those anomaly percentages — especially because the explanation (for GISS/HadCRU, at least; I admit I haven’t read on the satellites) was given to you before. It’s the choice of baseline. GISS uses a lower base average as “zero” (1951 to 1980) than HadCRU (1961-1990), meaning that you’d expect its anomalies to be warmer. (I could have arbitrarily picked a baseline of, say, 300 degrees, and all the anomalies become negative, proving… absolutely nothing.)

    The important part would be if there’s a statistically significant difference in the *trends* in the data, not the anomalies. (This is what J was writing about above - not knowing the difference between an anomaly and a trend.) And, if you look, there isn’t a statistically significant difference (since he’s handy and I don’t have my own calculations available at this computer, again, I’ll link this blog’s own surface record comparison.

    In closing, Jim, this blog is aptly titled “Open Mind”. If yours is so closed that you honestly believe your armchair analysis (or those of others that sound good) is so sufficiently rigorous to compete in the scientific domain that you don’t need to learn anything new, then this is probably the wrong place for you. You don’t need a strong background in the material — just an openness and willingness to learn. It’s the *mindset* of science, not its training, that will serve you best here.

    An advocacy group I’m a part of has an apt slogan for this scenario: Get informed, and let it change you. I think that speaks for itself.

  • cce // March 1, 2008 at 3:56 am

    Jim,

    As I and many others have pointed out, GISS is “higher” because of the choice of baseline, which has absolutely no bearing on the amount of warming. The question is why Watts, you and others are still making this mistake. His histograms are totally worthless. It means that 95% of the GISS anomalies since 1979 are warmer than the 1951-1980 average. HadCRU uses a baseline of 1961-1990, and 89% of them since 1979 are warmer (this is just assuming that he did the math correctly). What does this tell you? 1961-1990 WAS WARMER THAN 1951-1980!

    The only thing that matters is the rate of warming. The magnitude of the anomalies are arbitrary. It does not matter what base period is selected, the rate of warming remains the same.

    This is what it looks like if you offset the anomalies to correct for the different base periods:

    http://cce.890m.com/temp-compare.jpg

    This is what it looks like when you subtract RSS from GISS and then center the residuals around 0.

    http://cce.890m.com/gissvsrss.jpg

    Sometimes GISS is higher (like now). Sometimes RSS is higher (actually, most of the time RSS is higher because it shows more warming over this time period). You can see that they are becoming more uniform over time, not less. This is probably due to improvements to the satellite data and the fact that since 2002 we’ve had a run of “boring” weather with no radical El Ninos, La Ninas or volcanoes, and the differences in the methods haven’t really had a chance to show themselves.

    As for Hurricanes, go here to see who predicted what:
    http://scienceblogs.com/intersection/2007/06/atlantic_seasonal_hurricane_fo.php

    And go here to see who did the best job:
    http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/blogs/hurricanes-storms/atlantic-hurricane-season-55112801

    [Response: Well said!]

  • Jim Arndt // March 1, 2008 at 4:03 am

    Hi,

    Brian, WOW I was wrong, Yuo can really put a good effort forward. I will take what you said to heart and I think I will be a totally changed person by the time dinner is over. Thank you.

  • Hansen's Bulldog // March 1, 2008 at 4:29 am

    I was considering doing a post about Watts’ post on temperature anomaly from 4 sources. Well, nobody’s perfect and we *all* make mistakes, but that post isn’t just wrong, it’s *astoundingly* so.

    But I’m glad to see that regular readers here — including excellent comments from Brian D and cce (no slight intended to those I haven’t named) — have summed things up (with graphics linked) quite nicely. My compliments.

    Watts’ update promises 2 more installments on the issue. Can’t wait! The way I see it, he has three options: 1. Just keep going, and he’ll embarrass himself far more thoroughly than anyone else ever could. 2. Delete or alter the post (which I’m sure has already been archived in many places), raising another set of questions. 3. Admit, on his own blog, that it was a total bonehead post, and he might salvage some credibility.

    I’ve decided not to post about it. It’s just too easy when Watts paints a bulls-eye on his own chest and loads the gun.

  • Jim Arndt // March 1, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Hi,

    cce, The Watts graphs show 1998 El Nino almost the same for all but somehow yours is .1 higher? Explain. I have not seen that high of a RSS for that El Nino. Unless you want to count what 1 or 2 hundredths of a degree. Nice scatter graph though.

    Hurricanes
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/pielkeetalBAMS05.pdf
    http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

    CO2
    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/np-m-119.pdf

    No Radical La Nina’s - PDO stands at -1.54

    I never said i wasn’t warming just questioning the data collection. And that sore subject of surface stations.

    [Response: Jim, why ask anyone to "explain" a discrepancy with Watts' graph, when the only thing his graph proves is that he's clueless?

    Or are you not convinced? Am I going to have to post on the topic after all?]

  • Hank Roberts // March 1, 2008 at 5:17 am

    I wonder if there’s a transparent overlay image like a rubber stamp that says “Posted In Error, Disregard!”

    Else the mistakes just keep being cited as truth.

  • cce // March 1, 2008 at 6:30 am

    The Watts graph shows the raw anomalies using whatever base period the original analyses used. After you correct for this, it becomes clear that the satellites greatly enhance the ‘98 El Nino.

    Tamino, I think you should go ahead and do the post. This is obviously a widespread and persistent misunderstanding that needs to be crushed.

  • John Mashey // March 1, 2008 at 6:46 am

    A wish for tamino, er, bulldog:
    I don’t think you’ve done this in one place, lately; I’ve searched, but didn’t see it, although pieces are here.

    Observation:
    When more energy is retained by the Earth a a whole, *as a whole* it gets warmer … but that means nothing in the short term for any particular place.

    According to IPCC AR4, 5.1, “The ocean’s heat capacity is 1,000 times larger than that of the atmosphere, and the ocean’s net heat uptake since 1960 is around 20 times greater than that of the atmosphere.”

    So, given some particular radiative imbalance [lessened by volcanoes like Pinataubo], on the average, more of the extra energy goes into the oceans. Of course, with El Nino / la Nina, and the various other oscillations that transfer heat to/from the atmosphere, surface temperatures jiggle around, and differ from place to place.

    Hence, it might be very nice to take Figure 17 of the “Graphic Evidence” post, the “Seasonable Mean Temperature Change” from GISTEMP (with volcano & El Nino/la Nina icons] and maybe a few others, and see if anything interesting happens.

    Put another way: suppose one believes First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, which seems a good idea. Suppose one believes the 1000X number above is within an order of magnitude of right, i.e., most of the energy of the ocean/atmosphere system is in the ocean.

    Then, one might consider the usefulness of chasing individual weather stations around….

  • fred // March 1, 2008 at 7:15 am

    BPL, you keep repeating two things in a style reminiscent of what you call ‘denialism’

    “Did you ever google “Clausius-Clapeyron law” or “Clausius-Clapeyron relation?”

    The answer is yes. It describes (in this application) the ability of the atmosphere to absorb increased amounts of water vapour as it warms. It does not say that this absorption must take place with increased warming. It describes capacity not events. The law means that it is possible for circumstances to generate increased levels of takeup of water vapor. It does not mean that these levels occur. That is a function of how the atmosphere works as a system.

    If you have a reference that says that doubling of CO2 will produce a warming greater than 1 degree C in itself, ie simply from the absorption of heat radiation by the CO2, and not because of follow on effects from this warming, please let me have it.

    I am not denying that the follow-on effects occur. I am simply not persuaded yet, and think it a different question from the operation of pure CO2 warming.

    Second, you speak of selectivity on data in a wrong and misleading way. You compare the existence of bad stations to the disproportions in the fossil record because of selective finds. They are not the same at all.

    If we have a series of instruments that are out of spec and so misreading in unknown ways, we have a quality control problem. It is entirely reasonable not to use readings from unreliable instruments, especially when there is plenty of data from reliable ones. This is the case where we have a bunch of instruments scattered around the globe in what may or may not be geographically representative patterns, some of which are known to be defective. We should not use data from defective instruments because it is not data.

    This is not at all the same thing as dealing with the problem that too many of ones instruments are found in the US or China for the readings to be representative, but all instruments are accurate. In this case, by all means use all the readings.

    It is a logical error to confuse the two, and to argue that using data from bad stations however distributed is at all similar to using the correct finds in paleo when they are not from sites representative geographically of the entire planet.

  • Brian D // March 1, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Hansen’s Bulldog:
    Don’t mention it. Most of the folk I know would have done the same as cce and I did in that position, although perhaps in fewer words. I tend to be rather verbose.

    (As to Watts, if he’s so out there that only the nutters listen to him, there’s no need to pull the trigger, but given his apparent popularity, if he makes it sound good enough to enthrall the usual suspects while falling prey to the statistical equivalent of a sign error…
    Your PCA/hockey-stick post is likely more important than all of this, though (for obvious reasons), to say little of demands in your life away from the blog!)

    Jim Arndt:
    I had a long response written up, but it boils down to this: Look at the distance between GISS and HadCRU at 1998 in CCE’s graph, and compare it to the size of that difference in Watts’ graph everywhere except 1998. Then calculate the baselines for GISS (its 1951-1980 mean temperature) and HadCRU (its 1961-1990 mean temperature), and subtract the two. You’ll see why the two graphs don’t look the same. (If you don’t, look up the difference between Celsius and Kelvin. They don’t line up for exactly the same reason.)

    Finally, read this, and ask yourself which graph (CCE’s or Watts’) had the error. (You’ll note that Tamino/Bulldog actually did the earlier steps for you here, if you’re astute. I wasn’t lying when I said you’d probably find him an incredible resource if you’d let him.)

    This is stuff that anyone can do on their own time — but unless they’re at least superficially familiar with the information, they won’t know where to look or what to look for. You don’t need advanced science training, just a bit of layman familiarity with the issue. The books mentioned above (esp. The Discovery of Global Warming, in your case), Google, and a few critical thinking skills are all you need to “audit” some of this yourself, at a level you’re comfortable with. Give it a shot, and let the data shape your beliefs (instead of the other way around).

  • ChrisW // March 1, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Thanks Brian D. that was a great post.

  • Martin // March 1, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Hmmm. “Wannabe Climate Scientist Compares Apples, Oranges — Finds Oranges Make Bad Apples” :-)

  • Heretic // March 1, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Fred, I do believe that the levels of relative humidity and abolute humidity are not too hard to measure, that they have been measured and have been found consistent with what would be expected from the higher temps in accordance with CC law. I recall something like that in IPCC, and there was a discussion on RC.

  • Hank Roberts // March 1, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Fred, March 1, 2008 at 7:15 am

    > … It does not say that this
    > absorption must take place with
    > increased warming. It describes
    > capacity not events. The law means
    > that it is possible …. It does not
    > mean that these levels occur.

    Wrong. These physical ‘laws’ are not permissions, they are observations, descriptions of how the world works.

    There are no ‘laws’ that say a molecule ‘may’ decide to take an opportunity to change state when conditions change, or may decide not to. There is nobody hiding behind nature permitting but not requiring things to happen.

    Do this, under these conditions, and that happens.

    That’s not a law requiring, or permitting, what happens. It’s a description of observations of how the world works.

  • Zeke // March 1, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Jim,
    I normalized GISS and HadCRU to the same baseline period and plotted the residuals. You can see them here:
    http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j237/hausfath/GISSHadCRUdifferences.jpg
    Its pretty clear that there is no consistent warm bias in GISS relative to HadCRU.

  • luminous beauty // March 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Fred wants so powerfully to believe there is some magical unknown and unobserved negative feedback that might possibly constrain the laws of physics.

    No matter what the spec in your motor, fred, when you start burning hotter fuel, the fuel burns hotter. Believing it might make the motor run cooler, for no good reason except ‘I dunno’ is a bit of a fancy, don’t you think?

  • Hank Roberts // March 1, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    http://cdbaby.com/mp3lofi/dleatherman2-07.m3u

    [Response: That was interesting. But I'd like to discourage references to songs; I just have a feeling it's a "slippery slope."]

  • Martin // March 1, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    fred:

    The answer is yes. It describes (in this application) the ability of the
    atmosphere to absorb increased amounts of water vapour as it warms. It
    does not say that this absorption must take place with increased
    warming. It describes capacity not events. The law means that it is
    possible for circumstances to generate increased levels of takeup of
    water vapor. It does not mean that these levels occur. That is a
    function of how the atmosphere works as a system.

    Correct. But consider this: air masses that are in direct contact with sea water, will develop a relative humidity close to 100%. Air masses moving over land, cooling and warming as they go, will shed part of their water vapour and be left with a relative humidity under 100%. The resulting humidity depends only on the amount of cooling and warming involved, not the absolute temperature. At the other end of the scale we have deserts, relative humidity close to 0.

    More generally this behaviour means that overall relative humidity patterns will not change if the general circulation does not change. Already Arrhenius accepted this common-sense argument in his prediction that there would be a secondary H2O greenhouse warming roughly equal to the original CO2 one.

    Yes, the assumption may be wrong. If it is (to an extent that makes a difference), it means a profound change in the way the atmosphere functions as a system, like deserts growing, tropical rainforests shrinking, that kind of stuff. Overall circulation patterns will change, dry and wet monsoons — expect currently fertile areas to become arid and vice versa. Try keeping the agricultural production base feeding 9B people from collapsing then.

    Be careful what you wish for. I would rather sign on the dotted line for the standard 3°C. Fortunately that is what most of our knowledge — and the models — point to.

    …and, by the way, what makes you think we’re lucky? If we’re as unlucky as you think we are lucky, we may end up suffering a profound global circulation change, and its nastiness, with a positive feedback on temperature, and its assorted nastiness.

  • Hank Roberts // March 1, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Here’s another prediction from the theory, tested by observations:

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L05101, doi:10.1029/2007GL032809, 2008
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007GL032809.shtml

    Thermospheric global average density trends, 1967–2007, derived from orbits of 5000 near-Earth objects
    —-
    We use orbit data on ∼5000 near-Earth space objects to investigate long-term trends in thermospheric total mass density, which has been predicted to decrease with time due to increasing CO2 concentrations. We refine and extend to 2007 previous density trend estimates .. … in fair quantitative agreement with theoretical predictions.
    —-

    _________________________
    The news they’re telling you is true.

  • nanny_govt_sucks // March 1, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Wrong. These physical ‘laws’ are not permissions, they are observations, descriptions of how the world works.

    We have many physical “laws” that don’t match up to observations. Rather than closing our eyes and saying it is just so, perhaps we should take observations and make sure that the theory matches up, and if it doesn’t find out where the problem is.

  • Hank Roberts // March 1, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    > We have many physical “laws” that
    > don’t match up to observations

    We? Where are you looking?

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39512
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2229/2233310665_ee4aba928c.jpg?v=0

  • nanny_govt_sucks // March 1, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Sorry, Hank. I didn’t know you had the universe all figured out. Perhaps you can tell me where all the missing mass of the universe is and why universal expansion appears to be accelerating?

  • Hank Roberts // March 2, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Phrase it “what in the past were thought to be physical laws have failed to match up to observations” and you’d be right.

    This is where Fred was going off the rails — a physical ‘law’ is a reliable description of what will be observed in specified conditions, and may make predictions of what will be observed in conditions we haven’t yet attained. It’s not a requirement nature follow it.

  • cthulhu // March 2, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Anyone know of a site that gives a global temperature anomoly estimate for the current month so far?

    There’s one for CET which gives fairly close results to the real thing.
    http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=cet;sess=

    I am just getting impatient waiting for each month’s results from GISS n crowd. It’s not until the middle of the following month that they usually release the figures.

    Thanks in advance if anyone knows of such a site

  • Chris O'Neill // March 2, 2008 at 1:47 am

    I am just getting impatient waiting for each month’s results from GISS n crowd.

    Although each month’s figure is interesting, bear in mind that one month’s figure on its own is not particularly significant to global warming. To get something that’s not influenced by El Nino or other short term effects you need to average over at least 14 years.

  • JCH // March 2, 2008 at 2:13 am

    14 years? No problem. Looming ahead of us, a dominant La Nina phase (convenient, huh?) has been predicted to last decades. The cool senorita is gonna be doing a lot of centerfolds in the National Review, once she’s of age.

  • nanny_govt_sucks // March 2, 2008 at 4:37 am

    Phrase it “what in the past were thought to be physical laws have failed to match up to observations” and you’d be right.

    So, all observations match up to our current known physical ‘laws”?

  • Hank Roberts // March 2, 2008 at 5:24 am

    If you say so. You’re clearly trying to get other people to agree with something without being explicit about what it is.

  • fred // March 2, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Luminous, I have several computers in the room in which I work. A while ago I swapped out, with some trepidation, one processor in one of them for another which is known to consume more power and generate more heat. I am not a hardware guy.

    To my surprise and relief, the temperature fell. The reason turns out to be that other things were not equal. More heat is probably being generated by the processor, but the fans and cooling seem to be working a little differently. Someplace in bios there is probably an algorithm which has responded in a way which I did not expect.

    It is a logical question, and it is important to get questions straight. I am not desperately hoping for anything. All these accusations about feelings and motivations strike one as completely unbalanced. We just need to get the questions disentangled.

    It is obviously true that in a simple closed chamber with air and water, increase the temp of the air and the water vapour content will rise. That if you like is physics. It is physics in the same way that if you increase the amount of CO2 in a chamber, at the same heat radiation exposure, the temperature will rise. No one doubts these sorts of thing.

    Whether in the world of the atmosphere, where we have large scale movements of masses of air, rain, storms, planetary climatic events, all of which are temperature related, the effect of a rise in temperature caused by CO2 is to lead to increased humidity which leads to increased temps, that is a question about design. Its not about CC. What CC says in this matter is not that the atmospheric system is designed in a certain way, but that it could be so designed without violating the laws of physics.

    You say “when you start burning hotter fuel, the fuel burns hotter”. Yes of course. Whether the temperature of the car radiator warms as a result might depend on the design of the fan and cooling system.

    Something similar happens in medicine all the time. You test it in vitro. But in the body the effect is overwhelmed or enhanced by other things.

    Finally, I would be very grateful if in future you could refrain from your very tiresome personal aspersions in commenting on my postings.

    I do not either know why Martin makes those remarks about thinking we are lucky. Don’t recall having said anything to that effect. I do not think we are lucky or unlucky, that warming is or is not a good thing. That is a different topic altogether. Right now I am just trying to understand it all.

  • S2 // March 2, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    An interesting paper from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory:
    Ocean Water Vapor and Cloud Burden Trends
    Derived from the Topex Microwave Radiometer

    From the conclusion:

    It is found that the global
    precipitable water vapor trend is positive at 0.9 + 0.06
    mm/decade. Maps of regional water vapor trends are generated
    and it is shown that the correlation between sea surface
    temperature trends and water vapor trends follows a simple
    relationship derived from the Clausius-Clapeyron equation.

  • Hank Roberts // March 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Fred, if your point is that you believe the world was designed, so be it. There’s no point arguing about that here.

  • Martin // March 2, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    fred:

    I do not either know why Martin makes those remarks about thinking we
    are lucky. Don’t recall having said anything to that effect.

    You yourself claimed (”thought”) that we won’t see more than 1�C warming even from a doubling of CO2. Without any further adverse effect, that would be nice for all of us, don’t you think?

    I brought in the word “lucky”, as you seemed to assume that our ignorance on the precise nature of the water vapour feedback makes it like Nature throwing a die for us. A one may come up, meaning a strong negative WV feedback and only 1� of warming; or a six, strong positive feedback pushing 6�. Or somewhere inbetween, as in reality both model studies and, e.g., palaeoclimatology as well as the response to Pinatubo seem to indicate. Of course there is always the possibility that this understanding is wrong; but then, there’s no telling in what direction. Such is the nature of uncertainty, and we’re back to the die. Policy should be based on the best knowledge we have, uncertainty and all: for the die, that would be a throw of 3.5, not of 1 :-)

    But “lucky” is not really lucky, as I also tried to point out: disruptive circulation changes can be as bad as overall warming.

    Also see the post in this thread on the Topex result… something similar was observed by the Onsala group (Elgered) using the Fennoscandian permanent GPS array, but I cannot seem to find a good link. Clausius-Clapeyron really applies, in a rough-and-ready sense, to the Earth atmosphere, as Arrhenius suspected.

    There’s a good write-up here, if [sarcasm warning] you don’t already know that RC are a pack of liars and cheats:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/04/water-vapour-feedback-or-forcing/

    Fred, I really don’t want to be obnoxious. I want to help you learn… or if not you, then other readers. The Internet has made such learning possible and exasperating at the same time.

  • fred // March 2, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    No, that is not what I meant. I am not arguing how much warming there will be. I was making a point about disentangling what exactly it is due to. I did not mean there will only be a 1 degree warming. Rather that only 1 degree of any warming is attributable directly to CO2 heat absorption. Any other is due to consequential effects.

    [Response: The most straightforward calculation I've seen, a direct application of the Stephan-Boltzmann radiation equation, indicates that doubling CO2 with no other changes whatever (no water vapor increase, no albedo change, no warming-induced greenhouse gas release, etc.) would add 1.1 degC to planetary surface temperature.]

  • fred // March 2, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Hank, I do not believe the world was designed. In my previous post I made clear this was a metaphor. Please spare me these stupid insinuations.

  • Hank Roberts // March 2, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Then let’s try to get the right words in use. Metaphor taken from religion leads to misunderstanding.

    What did you mean? Are you saying what was predicted, and has been observed, won’t continue? Why not?

  • luminous beauty // March 2, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    fred,

    The total energy output of a motor and that is burning hotter is going up, no matter how one modifies its design to distribute that energy to it’s various components.

    Unfortunately it is not feasible to swap out the planet’s radiator, beef up it’s water pump or enlarge it’s exhaust ports.

    I will continue to point out your preferential bias as long as you continue to postulate unknown and vaguely unknowable reasons to low ball, round down and minimize well authenticated estimates without any apparent awareness that the opposite tendency is just as likely to be true.

  • Petro // March 2, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Just out of curiosity:
    Are there any testable theories presented by denialists?
    Are there such hypothesis where experiments can be devised to check whether they are correct or not?
    Are such hypothesis possible to present in such a way that they are not ambigious?

    Many times a well-opionated denialist presents his views in such a way that it is impossible to grasp the point.

  • Martin // March 2, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    … doubling CO2 with no other changes whatever (no water vapor increase…

    But tamino, the phrase “no other changes whatever” is interpretable. And for me, the interpretation that makes physical sense is “relative humidity patterns remain unchanged”.

    It is relative humidity that steers everything happening with H2O in the atmosphere: evaporation, precipitation, cloud formation… that should be the baseline (only exception: latent heat transport). I understand fred’s wish to “disentangle” these things… only, we should first agree what the “tangle” really is.

    (It’s a bit like the argument over “ocean acidification”, which some want to call “ocean de-basification” as a pH of 8.1 is basic in lab terms. But of course the proper baseline is the long-term natural ocean water equilibrium pH.)

    [Response: I agree that constant relative humidity makes more sense physically than constant humidity. However, I think what fred was wondering is, what's the temperature change *without* that factor, in which case 1.1 is a pretty solid figure.]

  • Hank Roberts // March 2, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    > 1.1

    That’s consistent with everything I’ve read — I dug for this myself a few years ago when I was first reading about climatology. What’s a bit hard to understand is that this number is a pure hypothetical — it’s the result of an instantaneous doubling of CO2, making heat take longer to leave the planet — with no other or subsequent change.

    People confuse this number with ‘climate sensitivity’ — it’s not; climate happens over time, not instantaneously.

    Now if the string theory physicists could find a way to make half the CO2 molecules instantly disappear, we’d have an interesting tool. Just pull the right string?

  • matt // March 2, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Just out of curiosity:
    Are there any testable theories presented by denialists?
    Are there such hypothesis where experiments can be devised to check whether they are correct or not?

    I’m not speaking for all denialists of course, but in a nutshell the burden falls on the believers to outline how the mechanisms work. Similarly, those that believe the sun is the culprit are busy trying to build their case and explanation too.

    Most denialists are probably in agreement with most scientists and believers on the following:

    1) The earth is warming. We can measure this, and we know it has been warming since the last ice age. Even if man weren’t here, this statement would be true.

    2) The cause is an increase in CO2. Undoubtedly CO2 plays a role here. However there is widespread disagreement, even by believers, of how much impact CO2 has. The range is actually quite large: roughly 1 to 4.5′C per doubling of CO2. Note that there is no rigorous derivation for this doubling. This lack of rigorous derivation is something the the higher profile denialists such as McIntyre want to understand.

    3) How much of the warming due to CO2 is due to man? Disagreement here, even above believers, gets even greater. IPCC has made some estimates, but they likely would not stand up to deep scrutiny due to uncertainties involved.

    Also, keep in mind there are two other items that often get lumped in together. We have a historical record, and a future prediction. Our historical record indeed shows warming, but it’s not at much warming as many predicted in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

    It is our future prediction that is worrying everyone. But the problem with the future prediction is that it’s based on models that still have a lot of unknowns. It’s completely possible that in 10 years those that are prediction the hotter temperatures will see they were very off in their predictions of of 2002, 2003, etc. This already happened for their predictions in the 1990’s in that modelers in some cases dramatically overestimated the amount of warming we’d see. It doesn’t mean they are completey wrong, it just means we don’t know what they don’t know.

    So, unfortunately, there’s not an easy way to know which side will exactly be correct. As with everything, the truth will likely continue to fall between the values claimed by the mouthpieces on both sides.

    Personally, I think we’re warming, it’s probably 30-50% due to man. I also think the warming is modest enough that it can be readily adapted to, and that the adaptations we must prepare for would have to be done anyway in a few hundred years even if we’d never burned a drop of oil. Thus I don’t lose too much sleep over this. But I do find the entire PR effort on both sides to be absolutely fascinating to watch.

    [Response: ALL of the increase in CO2 is due to human activity. In my opinion, those who deny this are either abysmally informed on that particular issue, or nut-jobs.]

  • Greg // March 3, 2008 at 12:07 am

    What fred is trying to say, is that the climate system is an almost infinitely complex control system. You can view it simply as a one block, one input (solar radiation) and one output (global mean temperature) system, but inside that block are probably a million feedback loops and a million variables. Yet AGW proponents try here to claim the effect is just ’simple physics’.

    F=MA is simple physics, but if I put my shoulder against the Empire State Building and push, it won’t move. I’m providing a forcing, why isn’t it accelerating? The ‘building system’ is in a stable equilibrium, it’s designed that way. The physics of global warming themselves aren’t in question, but it is up to proponents to prove that the system as a whole will respond as they predict. I see a lot of hand-waving on this issue, because it is of course nearly impossible to prove for a chaotic system.

    To borrow from the much loved tobacco analogy, they would argue that the physics of the carcinogens causing cancer is proven. No doubt. Tobacco smoke in, cancer out. But the system in that case, the human body, is an infinitely complex biological organism. We know from ‘field testing’ - the billions of people in our sample size who do smoke - that there are those who live to be 100 years old and are fit as a fiddle. So it isn’t just a simple equation in a chaotic control system.

    Now, we only have the one earth. AGW isn’t ‘testable’ in the strictest sense, since we have no way of testing on another world. It’s almost like the planet is the first person ever to take up smoking, and we are asking ourselves what will happen? The answer is that it’s probably (on the balance) a very bad idea, but we can’t say for sure.

    But of course, this comes down to a cost benefit analysis. A smart person weighs a nicotine buzz versus the prospect of lung cancer, and says no thanks. I weigh the prospect of some warming in the climate versus the free and abundant energy that drives Western civilization, and I say maybe. I’m not sold on the problem yet. It’s this energy that drives our wealth, that drives our technology, that drives the solutions to the problems of the future. I feel it’s better to forge on ahead and back ourselves to innovate than it is to hide.

  • TCO // March 3, 2008 at 12:20 am

    Bad move. You should pursue truth. Plus Hansen comes across as a media-whore a bit. I’m a scientist. I know the traits. Find some stuff wrong with Hansen. Pursue truth. Don’t make yourself a bulldog. This issue is interesting and needs investigation and analysis. Not the endless confounding of advocacy with analysis.

    [Response: The pursuit of truth is my chief intention. My explicit intention to defend my beliefs, combatively if necessary, doesn't negate that.

    Belief doesn't mean my mind is closed on the subject. If future evidence creates disproof or even doubt, I'll modify my behavior accordingly. And here's a prediction I'll stand by: Jim Hansen will do the same.]

  • Petro // March 3, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Matt, thanks for answers.

    I think I understood mostly what you wrote. However, I’d like to ask you few clarifications.

    What you mean about following statements:
    On human impact on CO2
    “IPCC has made some estimates, but they likely would not stand up to deep scrutiny due to uncertainties involved.”
    Who has scrutinized IPCC estimates? Can those studies read somewhere?

    “Our historical record indeed shows warming, but it’s not at much warming as many predicted in the 1980’s and 1990’s.”
    Who predicted what? How big was the error? Is there studies on this matter?

    On models: “This already happened for their predictions in the 1990’s in that modelers in some cases dramatically overestimated the amount of warming we’d see.”
    How big were the overestimations? Can you point me to scientific studies showing this?

    “So, unfortunately, there’s not an easy way to know which side will exactly be correct.”
    Is reading what has been written in scientific literature an easy way to know which side is more correct? In science, no one is exactly correct ever.

    So if you could provide references to my questions, preferable to scientific articles, I would understand better the position of the denialists on this topic.

  • nanny_govt_sucks // March 3, 2008 at 12:35 am

    If you say so. You’re clearly trying to get other people to agree with something without being explicit about what it is.

    Here’s what I explicitly said in an earlier post:

    “We have many physical “laws” that don’t match up to observations. Rather than closing our eyes and saying it is just so, perhaps we should take observations and make sure that the theory matches up, and if it doesn’t find out where the problem is.”

    What possible problem could you have with this?

  • Deech56 // March 3, 2008 at 1:56 am

    RE: matt // March 2, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    I do give you credit for posting your summary as a basis of discussion. I would argue that your point #1 raises my eyebrows a bit. If we use the ice age as a starting point, yes, you are correct, but since the post-ice age warming, global temperature has been gradual decreasing . It’s the temperatures over the last 150 years or so that are in contention.

    I often hear conflicting information coming from the “denialist” camp - from “of course everyone agrees that temperatures have been going up recently” to ” you can’t trust the temperature records”. Do you see some measure of agreement in this that I have missed?

  • Martin // March 3, 2008 at 7:30 am

    HB:

    [Response: ALL of the increase in CO2 is due to human activity. In my opinion, those who deny this are either abysmally informed on that particular issue, or nut-jobs.]

    If you want to be pedantic, some 200% of the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to human activity. Roughly -100% is due to nature (mainly the ocean) compensating (and getting more acidy in the process).

    Surprise! Some folks measure these things!

  • fred // March 3, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Oh dear, one starts to despair. I used the expression ‘designed’ because I was attempting to express a distinction between how the laws of physics operate for a given system, and how that system is constituted, made up of functioning parts. I still think its a perfectly reasonable metaphor, and one which has a long historical tradition from the time the laws of planetary motion were first discovered.

    The planet is a sort of machine, its a physical system that runs in accordance with the laws of physics.

    The first time I used the metaphor I did say, not really believing it was necessary, that for the avoidance of doubt, this was a metaphor. My religious and political affiliations are no one else’s business, and it is interesting and disturbing that the topic even comes up. But lets be clear about one thing: I have never asserted or implied in any posts that the universe or the world was designed, either for our benefit or not, by a supreme being or indeed any other kind of being. Nor indeed can I see what difference it would make to the subject in hand even if it had been.

    I am sitting here shaking my head while writing this, wondering what sort of crazy people I am corresponding with. Has this notion of the planet and universe as machine become politically incorrect while I was too immersed in Perl to notice?

    It is very nice finally to have gotten to the facts about CO2 and what Tamino says is the 1.2 degrees. I am very glad that is out of the way and we can move on.

  • fred // March 3, 2008 at 11:00 am

    “I will continue to point out your preferential bias as long as you continue to postulate unknown and vaguely unknowable reasons to low ball, round down and minimize well authenticated estimates”

    Luminous, I am not doing any of these things. I continue to find it extraordinary that when one seeks to clarify exactly how much of forecast warming is due to one factor, namely CO2 heat absorption, and how much to further and different effects, one encounters these tirades. I have never said warming is either greater or less than the IPCC proposes. I have just stated how much of it I believed to be due to one factor. I have not commented on how much may or may not be caused by other factors.

    What on earth is wrong with that? It is perfectly extraordinary, not only do you not want any detail doubted, you do not even want anything clarified. The combination of this tone towards clarification coupled with wild speculation about personalities strikes me as utterly weird. I was actually correct: about 1.1 degrees is attributable to CO2 direct. It took us several pages of weird personal abuse to get to that however.

    Can you not bring yourself to focus on the science?

  • P. Lewis // March 3, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    fred // March 3, 2008 at 11:00 am says

    I continue to find it extraordinary that when one seeks to clarify exactly how much of forecast warming is due to one factor, namely CO2 heat absorption, and how much to further and different effects, one encounters these tirades.

    Can you not bring yourself to focus on the science?

    Well, fred, given the extent of your opining on AGW hereabouts, I’d have thought by now that, at the very least, you might have already “focused on the science” by reading the various IPCC reports. They are, after all, the record of the consensus scientific views on climate change and its various causes. And information such as “how much of forecast warming is due to one factor” is very easily found in them. Have you not tried there before, then? If not, then why not?

    A quick Google with a few choice words, and literally a minute later, brought forth the following information:

    Chapter 6. Radiative Forcing of Climate Change from Climate Change 2001: Working Group I: The Scientific Basis (TAR)

    and the update available in

    Chapter 2. Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing of the AR4 WG1 report.

    Or if you really can’t be bothered to read all that info, then there’s this Radiative Forcing Components (and comments) graphic culled from AR4 data (with similar graphics within the two IPCC reports linked to) and the equally useful NASA site.

  • Petro // March 3, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Fred agonized:

    “I am sitting here shaking my head while writing this, wondering what sort of crazy people I am corresponding with.”

    This is exactly the way the scientists feel when they are discussing with the denialists.

    “I was actually correct: about 1.1 degrees is attributable to CO2 direct.”

    This has been known by scientists and most of the readers here a long time. However, it does not mean that the other 2 C degrees are not caused by human too. The feedback is warming too and it it happeming due to human addition of CO2 into atmosphere. Do you agree?

  • P. Lewis // March 3, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    It was touched on already here by Ade (early on), about changing the blog title Open Mind. In jest (more than anything) I also throw forward the idea of a new blog title, based in no small part on our blogger’s new pseudonym and the OP. What about …

    On The Origin Of Speciousness

    Tsk, tsk!

    (Not quite as catchy as Open Mind, I’d grant.)

  • Martin // March 3, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Fred, you wrote (and appear to have conveniently forgotten in the meantime):

    I think CO2 rises will definitely cause warming, a little less than 1 degree for a doubling from 300ppm. Whether this increase will then cause a further increase of a couple more degrees by feedbacks is uncertain.

    And I never stopped beating my wife.

    Don’t you see how intellectually corrupt such weasel words are? Are you a lawyer or something? (Yes, I would take that as an insult.)

    Want me to translate this to honest language, the language a scientist or honest debater would use?

    … This will probably cause a further increase by various feedbacks, the magnitude of which is uncertain, but likely in the [fill in] range.

    See the difference? Your statement is just one step back from “Climate models contain errors so they’re worthless”. Scientists, or honest lay debaters, don’t play those games. Frankly you had it coming, being suspected of being a ID-ist, they are the same lawyer types. Sheesh.

  • Hansen's Bulldog // March 3, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I think we all agree (!) that the warming from doubling of CO2, due to the direct radiative forcing of the CO2 and NOTHING ELSE, and assuming that all other things remain unchanged, is right around 1.1 deg.C.

    I agree it’s an unrealistic assumption to believe that all other things will remain equal. I agree that in particular, both theory (Clausius-Clapeyron is solid) and observation contradict the idea that absolute humidity will remain unchanged; it’s relative humidity that will probably be roughly constant. I might even add that expecting no albedo change is unrealistic.

    But I don’t get the impression that fred is claiming the bare radiative effect of CO2 alone is any realistic indication of global warming. I get the impression he just wants to know whether we agree on what it is, perhaps as a starting point for further discussion.

    So, since we all seem to agree (!) what it is, it’s probably more productive to move on.

  • matt // March 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Petro, you can indeed read the IPCC studies. They are very, very well written. Unfortunately, I’m on business and not near my regular set of printouts and links. Google and you’ll find them.

    OK, you’ve asked some questions that will turn normal folks into raging madmen. But since you asked…

    “The” big prediction from the 1980’s” is Hansen. In testimony before congress, he showed “scenario A” as the “business as usual scenario” although later he also said scenario B was more plausible. Of course, since the 80’s it has been business as usual, which has really led to the confusion. If he indeed meant “scenario A” as the biz as usual, then he was way off. If he indeed meant “scenario B” as more plausible, then he was pretty close.

    Next up is HadCRU’s prediction in the 1990’s for the amount of warming we’d experience based on a doubling of CO2. At the time, they believed >6′C was the magic number. In the following years it was dramatically downgraded based on their misunderstanding of aerosols.

    Again, I’m away from my machine. But there’s enough on the web to get you started. Climate Audit looked a lot a Hansen’s predictions: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2621

    Note that our current warming stint isnt’ at all unprecidented. You could take Hansen’s prediction and slide it along a timeline of temp anomolies over the last 130 years and find it to fit a fair part of the time.

    You asked if reading the scientific literature is an easy way to know which side is more correct.

    I’ll ask it this way: One person was aware that bacteria caused most ulcers in the early 1980’s. He was pretty much deemed a crackpot by most doctors throughtout the 80’s. So if you read about him in the 80’s you and your family doctor would htink he was a nut. You could find some sympathetic thinkers in the mid 80’s. But the tide wasn’t turning until the early 90’s. And I saw the first TV report on it in the late 90’s. Chances are your family doctor’s opinion changed in the mid 90’s. Thus it took about 25 years for someone to go from crackpot to getting the call to come pick up the Nobel prize in that case. Peer review indeed works, but good grief it is slow.

    The larger point is this: we don’t know waht we dont’ know. The believers will try to convince you we are at the end of the journey, and we know 99% of what there is to know and it’s just a matter of dotting the i’s and crossign the t’s. The deniers will try to convince you we know almost nothing and thus everyone is just guessing.

    Historically, the only way to know who is really right is to wait. If what we know changes very little in the next 20 years, then the believers will have been right. Of course, at that time the historical record will tell us for sure if what we’re experiencing is unprecedented. If what we know changes a lot, then the believers will likely have been wrong and the issue of global warming will get a bit less worrisome every year.

    [Response: Hansen's scenario A was never claimed to be the likely future, it was intended to represent the high side of possibility, just as scenario C the low side. The idea that scenario A was the "prediction" is a real swift-boating. Those who want the truth of this matter should NOT trust the opinion of ClimateAudit.

    I've never heard anybody in the climate science community even come close to claiming that "we know 99% of what there is to know and it's just a matter of dotting the i's and crossign the t's." Go read RealClimate, they post about uncertainties, and what we don't know and need to learn, all the time. The main things that are claimed to be established are: it's getting hotter; we caused it.]

  • matt // March 3, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Deech56: If we use the ice age as a starting point, yes, you are correct, but since the post-ice age warming, global temperature has been gradual decreasing . It’s the temperatures over the last 150 years or so that are in contention.

    Actually, as noted above, our current temp anomolies aren’t at all unprecedented over the last 150 years. Do you believe we’ve never seen anything like this since our instrumental record started?

  • matt // March 3, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    HB said: ALL of the increase in CO2 is due to human activity. In my opinion, those who deny this are either abysmally informed on that particular issue, or nut-jobs

    My statement was ” How much of the warming due to CO2 is due to man?”

    Of course, man can be blamed for all the CO2. Sorry about that. I don’t know of anyone that doubts the excess CO2 is due to our activities. The point of contention, even among believers, is how much warming does that excess CO2 cause?

    Let me re-phrase: “How much of that warming is due to man?”

    Better?

  • Petro // March 3, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Matt, thank you for your answers. Without scientific references, it is impossible to evaluate, if your statements are true or not. The studies I have seen suggest otherwise.

    Climate science community has suggested the global warming due to CO2 since the sixties, where it was seen that the level of CO2 indeed increases in atmosphere annually. Of course, at that time they were ignored, like they were ignored in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. At the time Hansen presented his model, he was considered as that guy who swallowed those bacteria and won Nobel later.

    So my next question is: How you feel, which side of the debate has gathered more scientific evidence during last 45 years, those who advocate human-induced global warming or those who suggest that everything is natural variability?

    During these decades, the number of scientists who accept global warming as a scientific fact has increased from something like 1 in 10 to 100 for 1. What is your explanation, why this has happened for the population, who should know?

    “Historically, the only way to know who is really right is to wait.”
    This is true, if we stick only to the observations? How you feel about math and logic, is is possible to get knowledge faster by applying them to the problem?

    Also, this is certainly off-topic for this discussion, but very relevant for me when I discuss with creationists. Can you tell me a way, how you can convince a person, who has very strong beliefs, which however controverse the observations?

  • Hank Roberts // March 3, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Matt, about 200 percent. The trend since the peak ten or twelve thousand years ago was long slow cooling, til fossil fuel.

    Better?

    Thank natural biogeochemical cycling for some of the reduction and the dirty air for most of the rest.

  • Martin // March 3, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Of course, man can be blamed for all the CO2. Sorry about that. I don’t know of anyone that doubts the excess CO2 is due to our activities. The point of contention, even among believers, is how much warming does that excess CO2 cause?

    Let me re-phrase: “How much of that warming is due to man?”

    Matt… perhaps it is a problem I have with the english language, but how can there be any other answer than 100% to also this question?

    “Man causes X. X causes Y. How much of Y is caused by man?”

    I suspect you mean to ask something different :-)

  • Nylo // March 3, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Has anybody taken into account that the fact of more water vapour concentration being put into the atmosphere means that more sun energy is being used to put water vapour into the atmosphere?

    Are there studies that compare the warming that water vapour causes because of greenhouse effect with the heat that is used to put it into circulation? As I see it, perhaps they cancel each other.

    Regards

  • Hank Roberts // March 3, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Martin, look up “biogeochemical cycling” and you’ll have a better feel for the ratios involved. Nature has long been cycling far more carbon than is added to the atmosphere by fossil fuel, but people are adding carbon much faster than nature has been able to adjust. You can look this up.

  • Hank Roberts // March 3, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Nylo, you’re confusing heat accumulating on Earth with heat going in and out. The water being turned into vapor stays on Earth (mostly below the stratosphere). If it were heated enough to leave the planet, then it would be cancelling out.

    That’s Venus you’re thinking about, a very dry planet.

  • matt // March 3, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Petro, at some point buddy you need to type something into a search box on google and hit the enter key.

    How about I turn the tables and ask you to find the one agreed upon number that shows how much warming you get (including feedbacks) when the amount of CO2 is doubled? Cant’ find it? That’s what I thought

    Your argument about who has gathered more data is a bit weak. For example, who has gathered more information since the 1960’s: UFO-ologists or those that don’t believe in UFOs?

    You need to more precise when you say the number of people that accept global warming as fact. I accept warming as fact. I dont’ know anyone who doesn’t. You gather the temperature data, generate a trend and there’s really no further discussion required (except for starting date). The point of debate is CO2’s influence on temperature. Even the believers have a wide range of figures here. I’m at the low end, you’re likely at the high end.

    I’m an engineer, so I use math and logic daily to ship products that you probably own or have owned at some time. I’ll tell you that climate science eons away from the logic used to build bridges, airplanes and cellphones. That’s not a critical dig. But I fear that most have zero understanding of the differences between science and engineering. When an engineer tells you a plane probably won’t fall out of the sky, they means it wont’ fall out of the sky one in tens of millions of flights. When a climate scientist tells you warming is absolutely due to man’s activitities and that it will certainly warm 3′C over the next 30 years, their prediction is worth slightly more than the toss of a coin.

    Big, big difference.

    If the current models were doing a great job at predicting climate 10 years out, I’d be much, much more inclined to believe. Current models aren’t even close. Remember, a model captures all that we understand. When models are wrong, it means there’s a lot we dont’ understand.

    [Response: First of all, models have been doing a good job of prediction (of temperature and other variables as well) since *at least* Hansen's 1988 prediction. Second, models do *not* capture all that we understand. They capture what we understand *and can compute* given the limits of memory and processor speed. Those limits are, at present, very real; the Japanese built one of the world's fastest supercomputers just to devote exclusively to climate simulations but it *still* takes considerable time to do simulations. The biggest limitation of models that I'm aware of is that they operate with too coarse a "grid size," simply because refining the grid puts too much strain on computer capabilities. And to get large *numbers* of simulations (a standard practice) the best strategy seems to be "distributed processing," tapping into the resources of millions of computers worldwide.

    It's evident that your understanding of the realities of computer climate models isn't even as good as you think those models are.]

  • Matthew // March 4, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Question:

    [Response: ALL of the increase in CO2 is due to human activity. In my opinion, those who deny this are either abysmally informed on that particular issue, or nut-jobs.]

    The ocean warming trend is observed at a rate of +0.38˚K per century since 1850. (Hadley Centre). It seems possible that there could have been an increased “outgassing” of CO2 (or at least limit on the amount of CO2 uptake) from this temperature increase. Now, if ALL warming we are seeing is due to man’s pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, then even an increase from the ocean warming would be due to man. But the ocean warming began well before the time period in which warming was dubbed AGW. I’m certain there is a simple answer, and I apologize if this is OT. I’m new to all this.

    [Response: Data show that in fact the CO2 concentration in the oceans has not decreased (as would be the case if we had significant outgassing), it has *increased*. As far as I'm aware, isotope studies (carbon comes in several different isotopes) of oceanic CO2 establish clearly that the source of additional oceanic CO2 is also from burning fossil fuels. The extra CO2 in the oceans has led to the problem of "ocean acidification," which some consider to be one of the greatest threats from man-made CO2; it interferes with the formation of carbonate shells by marine life forms.

    Then there's the fact that the increase of atmospheric CO2 is only about half of the total human emissions. If the oceans were responsible for the increase we've seen, where did the fossil-fuel CO2 go?

    I wonder whether the "increased since 1850" refers to increase at the same rate over the time interval (I'll have to go look for that data sometime).

    In any case, I didn't say that only nut-jobs doubt that all warming is due to human activity, or even that it is. I said that all the CO2 increase is due to human activity.]

  • TCO // March 4, 2008 at 1:54 am

    Tammie: I thought Hansen’s A, B, C comprised different scenarios in terms of the FORCINGs? Not a high, medium, low of the effect?

    Shouldn’t one be able to take the actual forcings, put them into Hansen’s model…and just see how well it did on truly out of sample performance?

    [Response: You're quite correct, the three scenarios represent different *forcing* scenarios, not different physical models of the climate system.

    As for re-running the model with observed forcings, if I'm not mistaken that's a project which is under way as we speak. But it doesn't represent a "prediction," it's a post-diction.

    One of the difficulties with long-term prediction is that some of the forcings are presently unpredictable. For example, volcanic eruptions are a major player -- but nobody yet knows how to predict precisely when they'll occur. That's why models are better at predicting long-term trends than short-term detail.]

  • Petro // March 4, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Ok, Matt, you have tell a lot of your opinions on climate science and how weak it is in your mind. When I have asked you references, the ones you have given is a link to climateaudit and IPCC studies. climateaudit is not a scientific source. IPCC report do not support any of your allegations regarding:
    a) the role of human in CO2 increase
    b) the effect of CO2 on temperature
    c) the weaknesses of the models

    Your attitude, that climate scientists are somehow inferior to engineers in respect of using logic and math is arrogant for a guy, whose logic was deconstrutured by Martin: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/hansens-bulldog/#comment-13829.

    Similarly arrogant is the claim that the data gathered in climate science is as good as the observations done by UFOlogists. On the contrary, UFOlogists are taking pictures on weather stations.

    Your are entitled to your personal beliefs, how warming is not fully caused by humans and good it will be for the humanity and. As beliefs they are as strong as the belief that there is no evolution, since your beliefs are in controverse to the observations.

    Still, try to respect the work carried out by tens of thousands of scientists in the field every day. Compared to that even your superior enginerring logic is a insignificant noise.

  • TCO // March 4, 2008 at 3:19 am

    The nice thing about post-dictions is that they are truly out of sample tests (vice recutting the data, etc.) Econometrics has proven good practice here and many a stock picking silliness has been proven wrong with the benefit of true out of sample info. P.s. Thanks for agreeing with me. Yerz truly, super-denier.

  • Hank Roberts // March 4, 2008 at 3:54 am

    > find the one agreed upon number
    > that shows how much warming you
    > get (including feedbacks) when the
    > amount of CO2 is doubled?

    Three degrees C.

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2005/07/10c-not-likely.html

    Briefly, the equilibrium climate sensitivity is estimated to be around 3C, not ‘less than 1C’, and could be higher (1.7-4.5 are the current 95% confidence …
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    A Few Things Ill Considered: The Modelers Won’t Tell Us How …
    Well, a recent paper by James Annan et al. has attempted to clarify this question by … Focusing on climate sensitivity …
    illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/04/modelers-wont-tell-us-how-confident.html

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/04/climate_sensitivity_constraine.php
    http://joi.jlc.jst.go.jp/JST.JSTAGE/sola/2005-047?from=Google
    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/105/6/1786

    To do that experiment as specified. you must halt the CO2 rise at 2x preindustrial CO2.

    The number you want is the rise in temperature to equilibrium after a doubling.

    Arrange that, and we’ll have that answer for you in something like two to five hundred years — the length of time it will take for the planet’s temperature to reach equilibrium (that is quit rising).

    You know this. It’s an empirical question.

    It’s a hypothetical question, because nobody expects fossil carbon to halt at 2x CO2. You must know this.

    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr_Rev_png
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Ice_Age_Temperature_Rev_png
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v446/n7135/abs/nature05699.html
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Carbon_Stabilization_Scenarios_png

    Or, of course, we could be wrong:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2007.11.015

  • Martin // March 4, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Matt:

    When an engineer tells you a plane probably won’t fall out of the sky, they
    means it wont’ fall out of the sky one in tens of millions of flights.
    When a climate scientist tells you warming is absolutely due to man’s
    activitities and that it will certainly warm over the next 30 years,
    their prediction is worth slightly more than the toss of a coin.
    Big, big difference.

    Nice analogy.

    When a climate scientist (or the whole lot of them) tells you there’s a 50% chance (or heck, why not 5%) of serious consequences under BAU, that ought to have policy implications. Don’t you think? Just like the knowledge that there is a 50% (or 5%) chance of the airplane you’re boarding will fall out of the sky ought to have personal policy consequences for you.

    Don’t you think?

  • dhogaza // March 4, 2008 at 5:49 am

    When an engineer tells you a plane probably won’t fall out of the sky, they
    means it wont’ fall out of the sky one in tens of millions of flights.

    I’ve left this one alone, but surely one can’t ignore the cases where engineers have been wrong? Like that bridge in Minnesota that collapsed last year? Or Galloping Gertie (the Tacoma Narrows bridge)? Or the Lockheed Electra which taught us so much about metal fatigue?

    Oh, yes, engineers are so much smarter and rigorous than scientists. Which is why after the last two examples I post, scientists had to intervene and figure out what was wrong with the physics used by engineers to assure the world that their designs were sound. In the first example, it’s just been too soon …

  • George // March 4, 2008 at 6:22 am

    matt said

    The” big prediction from the 1980’s” is Hansen. In testimony before congress, he showed “scenario A” as the “business as usual scenario” although later he also said scenario B was more plausible. Of course, since the 80’s it has been business as usual, which has really led to the confusion. If he indeed meant “scenario A” as the biz as usual, then he was way off. If he indeed meant “scenario B” as more plausible, then he was pretty close.

    Technically, it was not a prediction, since Hansen really had no way of knowing how greenhouse gas emissions would actually play out. Hansen’s model “projected” future warming based on 3 scenarios involving 3 different assumptions about emissions.

    And Hansen made it plain as day to anyone who cared to read what he actually said in his 1988 paper that Scenario B was what he considered to be the “most plausible” scenario.

    Hansen was indeed “pretty close” in his projection — both with regard to temperature change and the change in total forcing from greenhouse gases.

    But the confusion on this issue is understandable, with people like Pat Michaels, Michael Chrichton, and most recently, Steve McIntyre, muddying the waters (wittingly or not).

    Not only that, for some, a “climate of confusion” may actually have been the goal.

  • Martin // March 4, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Martin, look up “biogeochemical cycling” and you’ll have a better feel for the ratios involved. Nature has long been cycling far more carbon than is added to the atmosphere by fossil fuel, but people are adding carbon much faster than nature has been able to adjust. You can look this up.

    Hank, I am well aware of this, and of how widely it is misunderstood. It’s like a company making a small loss year over year. It will go bust, no matter how big its turnover is by comparison.

    But a propos of what are you writing this?

  • Hank Roberts // March 4, 2008 at 8:49 am

    > when an engineer tells you a plane
    > probably won’t fall out of the sky

    Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but facts are facts.

    http://www.pprune.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=13
    http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=81428

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 4, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    fred writes:

    [[The answer is yes. It describes (in this application) the ability of the atmosphere to absorb increased amounts of water vapour as it warms. It does not say that this absorption must take place with increased warming. It describes capacity not events. The law means that it is possible for circumstances to generate increased levels of takeup of water vapor. It does not mean that these levels occur. That is a function of how the atmosphere works as a system.]]

    In practice, the atmosphere behaves as if relative humidity were fixed (Manabe and Wetherald 1967), and so an increase in temperature means the absolute humidity does go up. The water vapor feedback is thoroughly established and the Clausius-Clapeyron relation is how you quantify it.

    [[If you have a reference that says that doubling of CO2 will produce a warming greater than 1 degree C in itself, ie simply from the absorption of heat radiation by the CO2, and not because of follow on effects from this warming, please let me have it.]]

    Houghton, John T. 2004. Global Warming: The Complete Briefing.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 4, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    nanny writes:

    [[Perhaps you can tell me where all the missing mass of the universe is and why universal expansion appears to be accelerating?]]

    As far as we can tell at this time, omega consists of about 0.03 normal matter, 0.27 dark matter and 0.7 dark energy. The latter is driving the acceleration of cosmological expansion.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 4, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    greg posts:

    [[Now, we only have the one earth. AGW isn’t ‘testable’ in the strictest sense, since we have no way of testing on another world.]]

    But we do know of two others worlds for which we have fairly good data where the greenhouse effect is mostly due to CO2: Venus and Mars.

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/PlanetTemps.html

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 4, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Nylo writes:

    [[Are there studies that compare the warming that water vapour causes because of greenhouse effect with the heat that is used to put it into circulation? As I see it, perhaps they cancel each other.]]

    Yes. Evaporation of water averages 78 watts per square meter over the Earth’s surface, and cools the surface by that amount. A big increase in water vapor would heat the Earth much more than the solar energy needed to vaporize the water.

  • Hank Roberts // March 4, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Martin, I was responding to
    your March 3, 2008 at 4:35 pm
    > but how can there be any other answer
    > than 100% to also this question?

    But I was being pedantic (grin) as you’d already pointed out, even earlier in the thread:

    “If you want to be pedantic, some 200% of the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to human activity. Roughly -100% is due to nature (mainly the ocean) ….”

  • Lucia // March 4, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    “Which is why after the last two examples I post, scientists had to intervene and figure out what was wrong with the physics used by engineers to assure the world that their designs were sound.”

    Wrong. The oscillating forcing on Galloping Gertie was due to vortex shedding. Flutter can also be due to vortex shedding (or related large scale turbulence structures.)

    Theodore von Kármán, for whom vortex shedding is named, was the one who identified this issue as the underlying cause for Gertie’s Gallops. Von Kármán was an engineer.

    When phenomena are not yet understood, they are not included in models. The models then don’t account for the issue, and predictions are poor.

  • matt // March 4, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Hank:

    Sorry, but the estimates you list below are a barn door. How wide the barn door is open is a function of the level of understanding. Articles you cite clearly show nearly a 2:1 range of mostly likely, and 3:1 range of 95%. Imagine yourself getting teleported back in time to when our estimate of the gravitational constant was “somewhere between 6 and 18 m/s/s.” Or the speed of like was “somewhere between 1 and 4.5 e8 m/s”

    Both of those “barn door estimate” imply a lack of understanding.

    In fact, it might work out that pursuing a single number of CO2 sensitivity is silly. But for now, it’s something that people are seriously pursuing.

    Now, anytime you have a barn door estimate, you can bet that personal bias plays a massive role. It is human nature and scientists are not the least bit immune to it. In fact, what scares the hell out of me is scientists penning missives about how evil oil companies are also being in charge of deciding what the rise will be. That is just as conflicted as letting Exxon tell me that burning oil will cause zero problems.

    Now, Hank, if I could count the number of times I’ve watched you dismiss something as not being peer reviewed…so here we go.

    Sorry, not peer reviewed. Great read though.

    Sorry, not peer reviewed.

    Connolley paper: 2.8′C

    Annan paper: 4.5′C.

    Heck, as long as we’re gettign crazy, dont’ forget mid-90’s Hadley of ~6.

    And let’s not also forget:

    Gregory (2002–also a Hadley guy): ~2

    Shaviv (2005): ~1.5

    Just curious, but why did you ignore these estimates at the lower bound?

    Or are you only collecting papers that confirm what you suspect?

  • cce // March 4, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Hansen also said scenario B was most “plausible” in his 1987 oral and written testimony, and he said in the paper that Crichton cites in his book that Business as Usual is an upper limit and multiple scenarios should be used to cover a range of possibilities.

    Scenario B matched warming over land exactly (the original comparison) and exaggerated warming by 25% over land+ocean. The sensitivity of the model was 4.2 degrees and it didn’t included anthropogenic aerosols. The ocean was highly simplified compared to modern models.

    1987 testimony:
    http://cce.890m.com/hansen-nov87-sen-en-nat-res.pdf

    I have a section dedicated to this topic in my “talk”
    http://cce.890m.com/part11/

  • matt // March 4, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Martin: When a climate scientist (or the whole lot of them) tells you there’s a 50% chance (or heck, why not 5%) of serious consequences under BAU, that ought to have policy implications. Don’t you think?

    The problem we face as a society is that EVERY cause or movement routinely makes stuff up these days to convince everyone their cause is important. The only way to address without emotions tripping you up is cost-benefits analysis. Of course, everyone knows this so to ensure their cause gets attention they are motivated to drive the perceived risk of their cause UP and drive the cost of doing nothing UP too. Everything gets really scary really fast. Yawn.

    The comment “even if the risk is just 5%, we must do something because the cost of doing nothing is too high” is an interesting argument. But my guess is that you didn’t feel that way about Iraq. Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical. But it’s very important because it highlights to BOTH SIDES just how readily they are willing to trade off apparent risk based on personal beliefs.

    Just like the knowledge that there is a 50% (or 5%) chance of the airplane you’re boarding will fall out of the sky ought to have personal policy consequences for you.

    As Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons would say: “Worst. Analogy. Ever.”

    I and a billion+ others can readily live through predicted warming. No problem. Warming will not cause a dire problem for those with resources ($). I cannot live through an airplane crash. Thus, I am willing to let a little more data arrive before making a decision.

  • matt // March 4, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    dhogaza: I’ve left this one alone, but surely one can’t ignore the cases where engineers have been wrong? Like that bridge in Minnesota that collapsed last year?

    There are almost 600,000 bridges in the country. I recall one about every 10 years failing catostrophically. Swagging, that’s roughly one disaster every 6M bridge-years of use. That is 99.99998%, er, uptime. Good grief, almost 7 nines! Your old phone company was 5 nines.

    Do you think climate science comes anywhere close to that level of certainty? Are you kidding me?

  • matt // March 4, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    George: And Hansen made it plain as day to anyone who cared to read what he actually said in his 1988 paper that Scenario B was what he considered to be the “most plausible” scenario.

    No, he didn’t make it plain as day.

    As noted, scenario A was called “business as usual.” Perhaps you can explain to us what we as a world did between Hansens’ testimony in 1988 to avert the distaster implied by “business as usual” scenario?

    Seriously, it has been business as usual and-then-some since 1998.

    To me, Hansen played fast and loose. As is common with folks trying to make their case that are driven by an agenda, they don’t really mind if you take away a scary message. Again, that is the problem with barn door predictions. There are too many outs to be taken seriously.

    And for what it is worth, CO2 sensitivity since Hansen’s prediction has shown to be about 1.3′C. Interesting, eh? Quite a bit lower than everyone predicted and continues to predict.

  • matt // March 4, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Hank Roberts: Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but facts are facts.

    Are you implying that rather than looking at the ratio of unsafe to safe flights we should examine a single flight and extrapolate that to all flights?

    Seriously? Does that mean you are OK looking just at 2007 and calling the warming over?

  • fred // March 4, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    “However, it does not mean that the other 2 C degrees are not caused by human too. The feedback is warming too and it it happeming due to human addition of CO2 into atmosphere. Do you agree?”

    I have not yet made up my mind whether there is going to be a further 2 degree warming, after doubling of CO2 levels. I do look forward to forming a definite and properly thought through view of this.

    I do not regard this as a state of intellectual corruption, and remarks to that effect strike me as as the best indicator one could have of the absence of proper arguments.

  • Martin // March 4, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Nylo writes:

    [[Are there studies that compare the warming that water vapour causes because of greenhouse effect with the heat that is used to put it into circulation? As I see it, perhaps they cancel each other.]]

    BPL answers:

    Yes. Evaporation of water averages 78 watts per square meter over the Earth’s surface, and cools the surface by that amount. A big increase in water vapor would heat the Earth much more than the solar energy needed to vaporize the water.

    Note also that the one is a one-off expenditure of energy, the other a continuous stream.

  • Lazar // March 4, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I thought engineering tolerances were a kind of ‘best practice’ according to what could be achieved, to avoid (careless) sloppy work. What were tolerances in the Middle Ages, what projects would get passed today? Whatever, bridges were built and collapsed then as now. Comparing uncertainties is ‘apples and oranges’. But when it makes some ‘auditors’ sound ‘rigorous’ when they demand ‘engineering standard’ I guess it’s ok.

  • Lee // March 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    matt says:

    “I and a billion+ others can readily live through predicted warming. No problem. Warming will not cause a dire problem for those with resources ($).”

    So matt, are you willing to let those who do not have resources - say, half of Bangladeshis - have a dire problem so that we can continue to use carbon as we have? because that is what your argument says - ‘I’ll be ok, and the consequences of my actions for all those other people aren’t my concern.’

  • George // March 4, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    matt said:

    No, he didn’t make it plain as day.

    To anyone who read his 1988 paper, he did. That’s what I said above.

    Even McIntyre now admits as much after initially making the same mistaken claim that you are making here.

    Apparently YOU need to read that paper.

    That you are confused is not hansen’s fault and you have provided no evidence that hansen was playing “fast and loose” with anything.

    Without proof to back up such a claim, that amounts to libel, my dear Sir.

    But no need to worry on the latter regard. I’m sure Hansen has better things to do with his time than monitor what every tom dick and harry says on blogs. In fact, i’m sure he could not care less because he is a scientist and it makes absolutely no difference to the science.

    Perhaps you are not concerned because Hansen could undoubtedly not be bothered with what some nobody like you or me says on a blog.

  • Petro // March 4, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Matt said:
    “I and a billion+ others can readily live through predicted warming. No problem. ”

    OK Matt, can I come to dump my garbages to your backyard? I can readily live it. No problem.

  • dhogaza // March 4, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    The problem we face as a society is that EVERY cause or movement routinely makes stuff up these days to convince everyone their cause is important.

    If you have proof that climate scientists are “making stuff up” - in other words, guilty of scientific misconduct and fraud - show it.

  • Hank Roberts // March 4, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Matt, matt // March 4, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    No, I’m not. I’m saying look at mistakes reported as a sanity check when someone makes a wild assertion. Have there been there “tens of millions of flights” for each design mistake that went into production and led to a crash? No. The level of accuracy that was being imputed to aeronautical engineers was far above the industry’s numbers.

    As always I’m saying when someone makes a claim, look for any evidence at all — and go further if it seems credible on the surface.

  • matt // March 4, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    #George: To anyone who read his 1988 paper, he did. That’s what I said above.

    Well I can promise you congress didn’t read his paper. Calling scenario A “Business as Usual” implies that if you change nothing, that is what you get. That is what he told congrees. Do you agree?

    Humor me on this so that I can be certain you are intellectually honest when confronted with something you don’t like: IF Hansen told congress that Scenario A was business as usual, and IF congress didn’t read the paper, then does that imply that if we did nothing to avert the disaster then that is what we would get?

    Without proof to back up such a claim, that amounts to libel, my dear Sir.

    There is nothing libelous in my statement. I stated his words, I stated what a rational person would take those to mean. Then I stated, that in my opinion, he played fast and loose. Then I stated a numerical fact about warming sensitivity.

    Which of those is libelous?

  • matt // March 4, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Lee: So matt, are you willing to let those who do not have resources - say, half of Bangladeshis - have a dire problem so that we can continue to use carbon as we have? because that is what your argument says - ‘I’ll be ok, and the consequences of my actions for all those other people aren’t my concern.’

    Lee, I see AGW and an ideal way to thrust forward my own pet cause: nuclear. So I secretly delight in the pressure for us to do something, because I know that alt energy doesn’t have the oomph to satisfy demands, and thus we will be forced to switch to nuclear. And I think nuclear can indeed be used world wide to deliver cheap energy in emerging nations.

    If we have nuclear worldwide, then I believe it is possible for the world to enjoy the standard of living the US enjoys today.

    I also beleive that with battery improvements and another 10 years of computers playing a role in cars we can enjoy even more people on the road than ever before with less congestion and near zero CO2 output.

    And because I believe that cars and mobility go hand in hand with prosperity, I think this is all a very good thing.

  • matt // March 4, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    dhogaza: If you have proof that climate scientists are “making stuff up” - in other words, guilty of scientific misconduct and fraud - show it.

    As I’ve said before, time will be the judge. If we get to 2015 and warming hasn’t really amounted to much, then Newsweek will write an article noting how most that embraced global warming had been anti-oil company, anti-car, anti-growth all along, and were just looking a cause to hang their hat on. At that point, we will indeed realize that those building models were simply building numerical models of pre-concieved notions that validated their personal beliefs. Not surprisingly, it happens all the time in the financial sector, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

    I hope everyone here has indeed read Tamino’s “You Bet” thread. What would it take for you to flip your opinion about AGW?

  • matt // March 4, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    cce: Hansen also said scenario B was most “plausible” in his 1987 oral and written testimony, and he said in the paper that Crichton cites in his book that Business as Usual is an upper limit and multiple scenarios should be used to cover a range of possibilities.

    Hansen also said Scenario A was “business as usual”, meaning if we didn’t change something that is what we would get. So, what have we changed? What corrective action did we take in the early 90’s to avert this worst-case disaster?

    According to your link, Scenario A assumes CO2 will grow 1.5%/year and CFC emissions will grow 3%/year. that’s about what happened.

    Scenario B assumes constant future emissions. and the pdf notes that if population increases, then per-capita emissions must DECREASE.

    Per-capitita emissions have INCREASED. Do you disagree? By Hansen’s own words we have not met Scenario B’s criteria.

    So, walk me through this. If we have not reduced per-capita emissions, how can we be closer to Scenario B? We are much closer to scenario A

    And I note that later Hansen states he believes we’ll be “following a course that will take it somewhere between scenario A and B”. And today we are slightly below B.

    Thus, we have emitted at the Scenario A rate, and yet we are slightly below B which assumed we would reduce. Hansen missed this.

    [sidenote and hint: what Hansen actually missed was the importance of CFCs as greenhouse gases. The data seems to indicate that he overestimated the importance of CO2, and underestimated the importance of CFCs. Output of CH4 and CFC11 dropped to levels well below even Scenario C. Again, it simply underscores to me how little of this is understood, and how confirmation bias can cloud your mind. But alas, that is merely monday morning QB'ing].

    [Response: Bull. What *you* missed is that forcings aren't all man-made. Among other factors, scenario A includes no volcanic eruptions, while reality has seen two big ones since the prediction (el Chicon and Mt. Pinatubo).

    Actual forcing since the 1988 prediction has been well below the scenario A forcing.]

  • mmghosh // March 4, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Mr Matt

    I think your concern about CO2 accumulation and global warming will be answered by 2015 anyway. There will be no decrease in CO2 emissions in the BRIC countries.

    It will be difficult to impossible to enforce the cutting of emissions in those areas, now and in the future. So I think, in a sense, the anti AGW grouping may have lost a battle or two, but have definitely won the war, at least until 2015.

    Well done, sir.

  • dhogaza // March 4, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    As I’ve said before, time will be the judge. If we get to 2015 and warming hasn’t really amounted to much

    No, that wouldn’t show that scientists have been “making stuff up”, guilty of scientific misconduct and fraud.

    That would be evidence that our understanding of climatology is weaker than we suppose, nothing more.

    To back up a charge of “making stuff up”, you need to show evidence that they’re doing so.

    It’s a serious charge. Back it up.

  • cce // March 5, 2008 at 6:33 am

    1) Pinatubo erupted
    2) The Soviet Union collapsed
    3) CFCs were largely banned
    4) Methane concentration leveled off.

    None of these things were part of the “business as usual” assumptions because they are not “business as usual.”

    Actual forcing followed Scenario B
    http://www.realclimate.org/images/Hansen88_forc.jpg

    Some individual forcings were overestimated, and some were underestimated, as can be expected, but the aggregate was correct.

    Hansen gave three scenarios, clearly indicating a range of possibilities. He said that Scenario B was the most plausible, and Scenario B was the only one whose potential effects were discussed in his numerous testimonies.

  • cce // March 5, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Actually, El Chichon erupted in 1982, so it doesn’t factor into the evaluation of the scenarios (which technically begin in 1984).

  • Martin // March 5, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Matt, there is a slight credibility gap between scientists operating within a community of peers, and neocons
    operating in a reality-free zone. I forgot to mention that, of course, only credible probabilities (and
    consequences!) should be basis for policy, not manufactured ones. You asked me not to respond, and it’s OT, but too good an
    opportunity to point this out.

  • matt // March 5, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    dhogaza: No, that wouldn’t show that scientists have been “making stuff up”, guilty of scientific misconduct and fraud.

    That would be evidence that our understanding of climatology is weaker than we suppose, nothing more.

    Please. Seriously. Don’t put words in my mouth. I said “making stuff up”

    When someone creates a hyptothesis, it is an EDUCATED GUESS. The guess come from…making stuff up. Of course it is informed and educated. But at its root, it is a scientist’s opinion of how something might work and thus ripe for testing.

  • matt // March 5, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    mmghosh: Well done, sir

    In my mind, the root of our current woes are the Jane Fonda’s and her pals that continue to pat themselves on the back for scaring the hell out of the world about nuclear energy with movies and scary stories.

    the day they suceeded, the oil company fat cats took the afternoon off and played golf because they knew they just bought themselves another 25 year monopoly.

    Imagine if the US and EU had moved into a position of providing and servicing reactors around the world…Can you imagine the how much CO2 could have been avoided? Can you imagine how much money might have not flowed into the middle east? Can you imagine how, with cheap electricity, the development of the electric car might have been brought forward 10 years?

    So, well done to anti-nuke crowd, and let’s all give them a warm round of applause for ensuring we have an excess of CO2 to contend with today.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 5, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    matt says:

    [[I and a billion+ others can readily live through predicted warming. No problem. Warming will not cause a dire problem for those with resources ($). I cannot live through an airplane crash. Thus, I am willing to let a little more data arrive before making a decision.]]

    The other 5 billion are a bit more concerned.

    But let’s follow your observation a little further. Say Mexico has a huge boom, converts to Wahabi Islam, and fights and takes over the United States. Would you then say, “I and a million others can live through Sharia in the United States. No problem. Foreigners imposing a dictatorship will not cause a dire problem for those with resources ($).” ?

  • matt // March 5, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Tamino: [Response: Bull. What *you* missed is that forcings aren’t all man-made. Among other factors, scenario A includes no volcanic eruptions, while reality has seen two big ones since the prediction (el Chicon and Mt. Pinatubo).

    Actual forcing since the 1988 prediction has been well below the scenario A forcing.]

    The point isn’t how hard this is. Everything is hard once you get into the top 1%. The point is how do you FAIRLY and ACCURATELY inform our public officials.

    Hansen’s words: “We have considered cases ranging from business as usual, which is scenario A, to draconian emission cuts, scenario C, which would totally eliminate net trace gas growth by the year 2000″

    He spoke these words in front of congress in 1988.

    An article from Forbes was included in the session that was labeled “FORECAST FOR DISASTER”.

    In this presention, Hansen said NOTHING about scenario B being most plausible
    Now, assuming you were in the crowd, what would you take away from this presentation? Perhaps that business as usual was goign to be really, really hot?

    Perhaps Mr. Hansen didn’t mind at all of folks assumed the worst? Perhaps we way overstated what would happen?

    Do you seriously feel 100% at peace with the way this info was presented? You don’t think a better, more balanced job could have been done?

    Testimony here: http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/others/Hansen.0623-1988%20oral.pdf

  • George // March 5, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Dearest Matt:

    Hansen indicated quite clearly that scenario B was “most plausible” of the 3 scenarios in his 1988 paper which was included as part of the record of his testimony to Congress.

    That means the paper is evidence just like any oral testimony.

    It is no fault of Hansen if people like Steve McIntyre* do not read the documentation that Hansen provided to Congress as evidence.

    Furthermore, the actual forcing and the temperature followed scenario B most closely of all the 3 scenarios.

    For whatever reason, you 9and others) now choose to key in on the terminology “business as usual”, which is not the same as “most plausible” in the case of what Hansen actually claimed back in 1988.

    Hansen himself made that perfectly clear at the time.

    To claim that Hansen equated “busines as usual’ with “most plausible” is simply a distortion of Hansen’s position at the time of his testimony.

    The fact that you are claiming Hansen ‘played fast and loose” (a false statement with no evidence to back it up) is libel, since you almost certainly have looked at this stuff enough to know what the truth actually is.

    But as i indicated above, if Hansen spent all of his time tracking down lies and mistaken statements made about him, he would have no time for anything else.

    *Steve McIntyre recently got egg on his face when he indicated that Hansen never stated in his 1988 paper that scenario B was ” most plausible” of the 3.

  • Martin // March 5, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    fred:

    I have not yet made up my mind whether there is going to be a further 2 degree warming, after doubling of CO2 levels. I do look forward to forming a definite and properly thought through view of this.

    /me sees a mental image of the comic strip situation, fred hanging for 0.3 s in mid-air above the abyss waiting for gravity to kick in :-)

    matt:

    When someone creates a hyptothesis, it is an EDUCATED GUESS. The guess come from…making stuff up.

    …spake the lawyer. For human beings, “making stuff up” equates with dishonesty. You’re re-inventing the English language in your own image.

  • George // March 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    In my above post, I left out the word “total” “Furthermore, the actual total forcing and the temperature followed scenario B most closely of all the 3 scenarios.”

    Total forcing is the only thing that matters when one is considering whether a projection matched reality.

    Hansen was not out to predict in 1988 how emissions would play out but instead to say that “if we assume total forcing changes by x amount, temperature will change by Y amount.”

  • cce // March 5, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    If I was in that crowd, I would have taken away three scenarios, bracketing warming from high to low. I would not have assumed that the scenarios represented, “expected, low and lower. ” I would have noted Hansen did not overstate scenario A, since he only referred to the effects of scenario B.

    From Hansen’s ‘88 testiomony:
    “My last viewgraph shows global maps of temperature anomalies for a particular month, July, for several different years between 1986 and 2029, as computed with our global climate model for the intermediate trace gas scenario B. [...]” If he was trying to hype scenario A, don’t you think he would have used scenario A?

  • Hank Roberts // March 5, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Matt, if you’re not a copy-paste ‘bot, if you’re a human being, look up the facts behind the stupid fake story you keep pasting in, would you? Make the effort to show you can learn:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=hansen+scenario+B+most+probable
    http://www.fuckinggoogleit.com/

  • luminous beauty // March 5, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Matt,

    From Hansen’s congressional testimony:

    For the future, it is difficult to predict reliably how trace gases will continue to change. In fact, it would be useful to know the climatic consequences of alternative scenarios. So we have considered three scenarios for future trace gas growth, shown on the next viewgraph.

    Scenario A assumes the CO2 emissions will grow 1.5 percent per year and that CFC emissions will grow 3 percent per year. Scenario B assumes constant future emissions. If populations increase, Scenario B requires emissions per capita to decrease.

    Scenario C has drastic cuts in emissions by the year 2000, with CFC emissions eliminated entirely and other trace gas emissions reduced to a level where they just balance their sinks.

    These scenarios are designed specifically to cover a very broad range of cases. If I were forced to choose one of these as most plausible, I would say Scenario B. My guess is that the world is now probably following a course that will take it somewhere between A and B

    Congressional testimony is not limited to a witness’s opening remarks but includes extensive questioning by Congress.

    But you knew that.

  • Heretic // March 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    In a funny way, Matt has just re-established CA as an unreliable source. Can’t even reproduce all the relevant words of a testimony to Congress. And Watts has established his own blog and himself as, well, the other post says it all. All in that oh-so-cold winter. Brilliant.

  • George // March 5, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    In one regard — the most important one — the whole debate about what Hansen considered most plausible is a side-show ( freak-show, even).

    Back in 1988, when Hansen made his projections, he was trying to quantify an effect that was as yet largely untested(indeed, unknown to most scientists): the warming of the earth due to increases of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere.

    Hansen was right on that main point: the earth did warm and by and large by the magnitude (if not precise amount) that he projected.

    It seems that what is actually motivating this whole silly debate about a paper and testimony that is now 20 years old is the idea that “If we can show that Hansen was wrong about anything in his testimony or paper back then (even the dotting of his “i”s or crossing of his “t”s), we can bring the entire climate science house of cards crashing down”.

    In a word, it is absurd. Stupid, really

  • cce // March 5, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    The skeptics focus on the ‘88 Senate testimony because Hansen did not use the word “plausible” in that version, even though it was contained in previous testimony (which luminous beauty quotes, and I linked) and contained in the attached paper.

    To summarize, the skeptics’ view that Hansen was “hyping” scenario A depends entirely on the ‘88 testimony and the “Business as Usual” description (which does not mean what they say it means), and ignores the use of only scenario B to describe potential outcomes, and ignores the attached paper, and ignores previous testimony.

  • Phil. // March 5, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Matt “sidenote and hint: what Hansen actually missed was the importance of CFCs as greenhouse gases. The data seems to indicate that he overestimated the importance of CO2, and underestimated the importance of CFCs. Output of CH4 and CFC11 dropped to levels well below even Scenario C. Again, it simply underscores to me how little of this is understood, and how confirmation bias can cloud your mind. But alas, that is merely monday morning QB’ing”

    Actually what it underscores to me is your total lack of reading comprehension, Hansen’s main focus is on change in CFCs and methane and he hit it about bang on!

  • mmghosh // March 5, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Mr Matt

    I think it is probably incorrect to claim that US statesmen framing energy policy take their lead from Ms Fonda’s statements. It was pretty clear by the 1950s, that the majority of the world’s oil reserves were located in the middle east.

    In 1973, there was an oil crisis, if you recall. There were enough reasons to consider investment in energy sources alternative to fossil fuels in the past 30 years, quite separate from the AGW issue, as there still are today.

    Mr Gore, in his video, made the point that the US, with its immense technological advantage, was well placed to take a lead in this field. AGW skeptics are possibly making it just that little bit more difficult for these steps to be taken.

    But this post is off topic, and I apologise to the blog-owner. It would be preferable to have this discussion in another arena.

    [Response: There's a good deal of off-topic stuff in many threads right now. So I guess it's time to open another "open thread."

    Note to readers: please take off-topic stuff to the new open thread!!! I know it creates a discontinuity in the discussion, but it will also make threads more consistent.]

  • George // March 5, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    The skeptics focus on the ‘88 Senate testimony because Hansen did not use the word “plausible” in that version, ”

    …and, more generally, the “skeptics” focus on whatever suits their fancy/purpose, which means they are not real skeptics at all because a real skeptic does not resort to vacuous word games and cherry picking to support his/her argument.

    I’m sure if Hansen had said in his 1988 testimony that his “mother has green eyes”, some “skeptic” would now claim that “her eyes are not green at all, but actually ‘hazel’” and that “Hansen is now trying to pull the wool over our eyes — and his mother’s too!”

    But most important of all, real skeptics do not engage in silly arguments about 20 year old papers for the sole purpose of discrediting the scientists who wrote them!

    If it were medicine instead of climate science that these people were “critiquing”, we would call them what they are:: “quacks”.

  • matt // March 5, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    cce: If I was in that crowd, I would have taken away three scenarios, bracketing warming from high to low. I would not have assumed that the scenarios represented, “expected, low and lower. ”

    Why would you have taken this away, this isn’t what Hansen said or wrote. He said A was business as usual, B assumed per-capita reductions in CO2 (didnt’ happen), and C was draconian measures (didn’t happen). Business as usual means “expected”, per capita reductions means “low” and “draconian measures” means “lower”, no?

    LB: Congressional testimony is not limited to a witness’s opening remarks but includes extensive questioning by Congress.

    Of course. But there’s a heirarchy to how society presents information to each other. I tell you the most inportant stuff in person, face to face. I provide you back-up reading material that I assume you probably won’t ready, and of course of I have pounds on reasearch back at the office in case you have a questions. My only point in all this is than Hansen failed to accurately state the expected situation in the face to face part.

    Are you telling me that you belive the words used in the oral presenation were crystal clear and left everyone with the correct impression that we’d end up slightly below B? Can you cite the phrases?

    George: Hansen was right on that main point: the earth did warm and by and large by the magnitude (if not precise amount) that he projected

    Alas, what Hansen predicted has happened several times ove the last 150 years. Thus it is not an unprecidented prediction.

    It seems that what is actually motivating this whole silly debate about a paper and testimony that is now 20 years old is the idea that “If we can show that Hansen was wrong about anything…

    Nope. that’s not all all the motivation here. It was to show that forecasts of the past have been overstated and that there are those that don’t seem to mind letting folks assume there is a higher risk than their actually is.

    Phil: Hansen’s main focus is on change in CFCs and methane and he hit it about bang on!

    No, his dramatically missed CFCs and methane. Both of those fell far below scenario C. But of course, we understand how all this works, don’t we?

    George: …and, more generally, the “skeptics” focus on whatever suits their fancy/purpose, which means they are not real skeptics at all because a real skeptic does not resort to vacuous word games and cherry picking to support his/her argument.

    George, please cite the words in the oral presentation that would have made you think we’d end up somewhere below scenario B?

    If it were medicine instead of climate science that these people were “critiquing”, we would call them what they are:: “quacks”.

    You mean the way the medical establishment called Marshall and Warren quacks in the 80’s for stating that a bacteria causes many ulcers?

    Yes, “the establishment” has always been kind to the contrarians.

  • cce // March 6, 2008 at 3:52 am

    “Business as usual” means exponential increase of forcings. It does not mean “expected” no matter how many times people keep saying it.

    The soviet union collapsing was not “business as usual,” nor was the CFC ban, nor was the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, nor was the flatlining of Methane.

    The testimony focussed on scenario B. It did not focus on scenario A.

    I know that three scenarios mean high, medium, and low because I wasn’t born yesterday. Who, other than the incompetent, leaves out the worst case scenario when discussing future dangers?

  • matt // March 6, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    cce: “Business as usual” means exponential increase of forcings. It does not mean “expected” no matter how many times people keep saying it.

    Sorry, but you don’t understand what business as usual means. “Business as usual” means “if we do nothing, then X will happen”

    In the 90’s our CO2 growth was about 1%/year. In the early 2000, it was >2% per year.

    Exponential growth means it grows at or above the same percentage each year. As you can see, our CO2 production has been exponential.

    So, we have produced CO2 and an exponential pace, and we have done nothing to slow our emissions, which is business as usual.

    This is scenario A as Hansen described it.

    Do you disagree with this?

  • George // March 6, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Matt said:

    the motivation here… was to show that forecasts of the past have been overstated and that there are those that don’t seem to mind letting folks assume there is a higher risk than their actually is.

    Your words above belie that claim.

    As I indicated above, what matters most when it comes to assessing performance of models is whether they project the correct temperature change for the total change in radiative forcing (not simply the change in the atmospheric concentration of individual greenhouse gases.

    On the latter count, Scenario B did a good job as shown and discussed here
    Your laser-like focus on the words “Business as usual” (which, as made clear by Hansen’s own words is neither what he thought nor what he said was [in his testimony or paper] was “most probable” ), your claim that Hansen was “playing fast and loose” and “driven by an agenda” and your digs at climate scientists in general demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that assessing the performance of Hansen’s model is hardly your primary motivation.

    Next time, for credibility sake (your own) you just may want to withhold the pure unadulterated opinion before you make your claim of “motivation.” :)

  • Gavin's Pussycat // March 6, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Matt:

    So, we have produced CO2 and an exponential pace, and we have done nothing to slow our emissions, which is business as usual.

    This is scenario A as Hansen described it.

    Do you disagree with this?

    I disagree.

    http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/globalchange/keeling_curve/01.html

    See the “dip” around 1990? That’s the Soviet Union going pop.

    Visually I would say a lasting shortfall of 10 ppmv compared to no dip.

  • Phil. // March 6, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Matt said:
    “So, we have produced CO2 and an exponential pace, and we have done nothing to slow our emissions, which is business as usual.

    This is scenario A as Hansen described it.

    Do you disagree with this?”

    Yes totally, because Scenario A also included the continued growth in CFCs, Methane and trop O3 among others which have been slowed or even stopped. In addition Scenario A assumed no major volcanoes.

    Again despite your trying to change your story Hansen did not “miss(ed was) the importance of CFCs as greenhouse gases. The data seems to indicate that he overestimated the importance of CO2, and underestimated the importance of CFCs.” For you to say this indicates that you haven’t understood the paper, in particular Fig. 2.

  • Hank Roberts // March 6, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Matt — show us you’re learning from people’s attempts to help you find good information. Please.

    Among MUCH else available to you:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20020114/figure1m.gif
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20020114/
    and
    http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/news/2004/story11-11-04b.html
    “The slowdown in the growth rate of the GHGs contribution to global warming from the peak in the 1980s is due mainly to the phase out of CFCs as dictated by the Montreal Protocol.”

  • Hank Roberts // March 6, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Correcting the first link I posted, to see the actual paper with the full sized illustration:
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2001/Hansen_Sato.html

  • Chris O'Neill // March 7, 2008 at 1:51 am

    fred:

    It (Clausius-Clapeyron law) describes (in this application) the ability of the atmosphere to absorb increased amounts of water vapour as it warms. It does not say that this absorption must take place with increased warming. It describes capacity not events. The law means that it is possible for circumstances to generate increased levels of takeup of water vapor. It does not mean that these levels occur.

    If you think that water vapor won’t necessarily increase when the atmosphere becomes warmer then you must also think that water vapour won’t necessarily decrease when the atmosphere becomes cooler. So in places where the relative humidity is now 100%, in your version of a cooler world, the relative humidity would be more than 100%. So if you believe there is no water vapor feedback with the greenhouse effect then you will also believe that relative humidity keeps increasing above 100% as it gets cooler.

  • matt // March 7, 2008 at 4:10 am

    Phil: Yes totally, because Scenario A also included the continued growth in CFCs, Methane and trop O3 among others which have been slowed or even stopped. In addition Scenario A assumed no major volcanoes.

    Bullseye, you are at the heart of the issue. See my “hint” above.

    Hansen should have either

    1) Called Scenario A worst case, because he failed to take into account a major volcano every 10-15 years AND he failed to take into account the Montreal Protocol going into effect the next year

    OR

    2) Called it business as usual, but factored in a volcano and Montreal.

    But as described, he called it business as usual, implying that is what we will likely get, and he also failed to take into account expected activities that were indeed “business as usual”

    He can fairly do one or the other. One might wonder if in fact his goal was to confuse those less skilled in the art into thinking things were worse they they were going to be. [edit]

  • matt // March 7, 2008 at 4:11 am

    Gavin’s Pussycat: I disagree.

    The chart you showed showed CO2 drawing at an exponetial pace. Do you acknowledge that?

  • matt // March 7, 2008 at 4:17 am

    George: On the latter count, Scenario B did a good job as shown and discussed here
    Your laser-like focus on the words “Business as usual” (which, as made clear by Hansen’s own words is neither what he thought nor what he said was [in his testimony or paper] was “most probable” ),

    I don’t know you from Adam, but my guess is that if a CIA analyst said that Iraq was definitely working on WMD in a face-to-face meetign with George Bush in 2001, and delivered a 200 page document to the presidential staff that contradicted that on page 43 then you’d still feel good about Dubya’s decision to invade, eh?

    Or would you feel the CIA analyst didn’t correctly convey the subleties of the issue? And you’d be upset Dubya’s staff didnt’ read page 43?

    You need to be most clear in the face to face meetings, since that is all 95% of people will remember. Hansen’s verbal and written contradicted each other in terms of which scenario would be most plausible.

    If you disagree, please cite the passage in his verbal testimony that gave the impression we’d expect B to be most likely.

  • matt // March 7, 2008 at 4:27 am

    Hank: Matt — show us you’re learning from people’s attempts to help you find good information. Please.

    Hank, there’s not a lack of understanding or information here.

    What is at issue is whether his verbal matched his written. If you want to contribute, please cite from the verbal the phrases in which you feel Hansen made it clear that Scenario B was most likely.

    Remember, bias oft4n isn’t out and out lying. More often that not, it’s simply witholding key pieces of information.

    My argument here is that Hansen verbally empasized scenario A has mostly likely by calling it BaU, and then failed to take into account things that would have been BaU. Now, if he had called it worse case, that would have been fine. Because it did assume that we continued to grow CO2 emissions at exponetial rate. And it did assume that CFCs continued to grow.

    Let’s turn this another way…what would you have called a “worst case” scenario in 1988? Geometric CO2, geometric CFC, no volcano and what else????

  • Hank Roberts // March 7, 2008 at 5:36 am

    I’d have called it a best estimate at the time, and now I’d call it a dusty old fact.

    Matt, you’re doing the “attack the founder” thing with third hand facts. It’s unimpressive, unimaginative, uninventive. Give it up. It doesn’t make any difference in science. Science isn’t ‘founded’ like religion.

    Wanta refight the Unsuccessful War for Southern Independence? Just about as productive.

  • dhogaza // March 7, 2008 at 6:18 am

    Hansen should have either

    1) Called Scenario A worst case, because he failed to take into account a major volcano every 10-15 years AND he failed to take into account the Montreal Protocol going into effect the next year

    OR

    2) Called it business as usual, but factored in a volcano and Montreal.

    I see … you’re condemning him because he wasn’t a seer, astrologist, caster of stones, etc.

    ’nuff said.

  • dhogaza // March 7, 2008 at 6:19 am

    Additionally …

    he failed to take into account the Montreal Protocol going into effect the next year

    The Montreal Protocol going into effect the next year would not be …

    “BUSINESS AS USUAL”

  • matt // March 7, 2008 at 8:07 am

    George: Your laser-like focus on the words “Business as usual” (which, as made clear by Hansen’s own words is neither what he thought nor what he said was [in his testimony or paper] was “most probable” )

    I’ve looked and I’m willing to change my opinion. Please cite the words he spoke that indicated B was most likely. From my reading, his spoken words indicated A was most likely.

    I’ve asked this 6 times now, and not one person has responded with the words backign their claim.

  • Hank Roberts // March 7, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    He was there to talk about the paper.
    He was talking about the paper.
    No one at the time failed to understand.
    No one reading the paper and listening to a transcript fails to understand.
    No one reading the transcript and the paper together fails to understand.
    The guy who’s fooling you didn’t fail to understand, if you read his own followups.

    It’s a made up fuss.

    You’ve fallen for it.

    Get over it.

  • matt // March 7, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Hank: I’d have called it a best estimate at the time, and now I’d call it a dusty old fact.

    Hmm. So you are saying Scenario A was a best guess at what would have happened? Not scenario B or C?

    Dusty old fact? I’m not the cheerleader that has, each decade, pulled this 1988 guess out and held it up as particularly prescient.

    Matt, you’re doing the “attack the founder” thing with third hand facts. It’s unimpressive, unimaginative, uninventive,

    I’m not disputing teh collection of written and spoken facts. I’m attacking how they were presented and what was NOT said.

    And you are doign the “ignore the question that has been asked repeatedly” thing. I’ll ask it for a seventh time:

    Please cite the passage in the verbal testimony that gave the impression we’d expect B to be most likely.

    Wanta refight the Unsuccessful War for Southern Independence? Just about as productive.

    Agree. But think how many responses you could have avoided typing if you just cited the words that indicated B would be most likely.

  • matt // March 7, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    dhogaza: The Montreal Protocol going into effect the next year would not be …

    “BUSINESS AS USUAL”

    Right you are. That’s why it would have been proper to call A “worst case” and B “BaU”

    If you disagree with that, what would you have considered “worst case”?

  • Hank Roberts // March 7, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Matt, this is just sad. No point in it.
    Bye.

  • Frank O'Dwyer // March 7, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    “Briefly, the equilibrium climate sensitivity is estimated to be around 3C, not ‘less than 1C’, and could be higher (1.7-4.5 are the current 95% confidence …”

    Am I right in thinking this is the warming from doubling CO2, plus feedbacks, if other things are equal? So for example could there in principle be another forcing in the opposite direction that could make the ultimate warming from 2xCO2 less than 3C, or equally one in the same direction that would make it more? Or is 3C the warming that is expected to ultimately result from doubling CO2, including everything?

    If the former then are there similar numbers and confidence intervals for the other forcings (solar etc)? Is it valid to plug in the parameters and sum the results to get the overall projected warming for a given scenario (i.e. set of forcing values)?

  • Hank Roberts // March 8, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Frank, what are you asking for that’s not in this illustration?
    http://www.realclimate.org/images/ipcc2007_radforc.jpg

    Are you thinking of something not in the current model, say a cloud of dust coming between Earth and Sun?

    Or of having a bunch of these factors all change to the extreme cooling end?

    (Nothing about radiative forcing will change what’s happening to the oceans. Even if none of the modeled atmospheric changes occur, the ocean pH will change drastically this century.)

  • Frank O'Dwyer // March 8, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Hank,

    “Frank, what are you asking for that’s not in this illustration?
    http://www.realclimate.org/images/ipcc2007_radforc.jpg

    Something I can understand :-)

    When you’re talking about climate sensitivity to 2xCO2 in terms of deg C and a confidence interval, I think I follow that. But what are the equivalent statements for the other forcings? And how does that all get combined to work out an overall figure and CI for the warming that may occur?

    “Are you thinking of something not in the current model, say a cloud of dust coming between Earth and Sun?”

    No, I’m just trying to understand how all the known factors get put together to come up with a projected warming in deg C….i.e if CO2 doubles and ozone is X and albedo is Y (Y what?) and Solar is Z, then what is the method to work out the projected warming (and the associated CI). Or is that just not possible to do simply, and it has to be modelled because of feedbacks.

    The reason I’m asking is partly just curiosity about how it all works, but also I’m wondering what the uncertainty about the other forcings is and how they could affect things. Or put it another way, you’re saying ‘all other things equal’, what if other things weren’t equal? What could they in principle do the projected warming from CO2 (up or down).

  • matt // March 8, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Hank Roberts: Matt, this is just sad. No point in it.

    Nice play, Hank! Rather than answer a single question with a simple sentence you type over 800 words of borderline non-sequiturs across multiple posts, each dancing around the question.

    Why not just type the ONE SENTENCE from his verbal portion that makes your point?

    It’s because you can’t.

    So, with this, I can only assume that you indeed believe the verbal portion of Hansen’s testimony indeed conveyed A as being most likely. Further, I assume from you that honesty is second priority to “the cause”. That’s OK. At least I know where you stand. There are a lot of “at any cost” folks on both sides of the fence.

    Now, that didn’t hurt so bad, did it?

  • P. Lewis // March 8, 2008 at 2:12 am

    Re Frank O’Dwyer // March 8, 2008 at 1:42 am

    What I think you’re after is Chapter 2 of the FAR, wherein all the various bits in the graphic linked to by Hank are discussed, along with the radiative forcing concept.

    Radiative forcing RF is related to the global mean equilibrium temperature change at the surface {Delta}T_{s}) {Delta}T_{s} = {lambda}RF, where {lambda} is the climate sensitivity parameter.

    See my earlier post above for that link and others. HTH.

  • dhogaza // March 8, 2008 at 2:16 am

    So, with this, I can only assume that you indeed believe the verbal portion of Hansen’s testimony indeed conveyed A as being most likely.

    It’s rude and infantile to attribute a view to someone that is directly opposite of what he’s said.

    Now, that didn’t hurt so bad, did it?

    You tell us, as all you’ve done is to sink your knife into your own back.

  • Hank Roberts // March 8, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Matt, that’s rhetoric. No science in it.
    Bye.

  • P. Lewis // March 8, 2008 at 2:48 am

    matt, I’d like to say you’re flogging a dead horse, but I can’t because there never was a horse, dead or alive, to flog in the first place!

    Honestly, I can only think that some people have never made public speeches, because the most obvious reason for the “business as usual” comment in the second speech in front of Congress is likely to be a momentary slip of the tongue (perhaps thinking of something else whilst trying to stay on track or while making sure his viewgraph was being displayed perhaps). After all, he was largely just repeating his Nov 87 speech (wherein the scenarios are substantially as listed in [2]), along with using the same graphic showing the 3 scenarios.

    If you actually read the transcription of the Jun 88 oral presentation to Congress linked at CA, the final line of the speech transcription [1] says

    [The prepared statement of Dr. Hansen now follows:]

    And while the link containing the written submission is no longer active there (at CA), that written submission included Ref. [2]. The full submission to Congress consists of his oral and written testimony. There is no doubt that from his Nov 87 and Jun 88 submissions to Congress and Refs [2-4] what Hansen was on about, and it’s not the scenario you paint.

    Discussion of a 20-year-old oral submission that contained a probable slip of the tongue (or even possibly a transcription error — has anyone listened to any tapes or viewed the stenographer’s notes?) is a waste of everyone’s time and energy, more especially as the Congressional testimonies were about the papers.

    Hank was a bit more succinct than me, but if I had to give a takeaway message, then it would be

    RTFPs!

    References

    [1] US Senate Commission on Energy and Natural Resources. 1988. Greenhouse Effect and Global Climate Change. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC.

    [2] Hansen J, Fung I, Lacis A, Rind D, Lebedeff S, Ruedy R, Russell G, Stone P. 1988. Global climate changes as forecast by Goddard Institute for Space Studies three-dimensional model. J. Geophys. Res. 93: 9341-9364.

    [3] Hansen JE, Lebedeff S. 1987. Global trends of measured surface air temperature. J. Geophys. Res. 92: 13345-13372.

    [4] Hansen J, Lebedeff S. 1988. Global surface air temperatures: update through 1987. Geophys. Res. Lett. 15: 323-326.

  • Phil. // March 8, 2008 at 3:11 am

    Matt said:”Please cite the passage in the verbal testimony that gave the impression we’d expect B to be most likely.”

    Here it is, in his testimony to the House Energy and Power Subcommittee in 1988, Hansen said
    “For the future, it is difficult to predict reliably how trace gases will continue to change. In fact, it would be useful to know the climatic consequences of althernative scenerios. So we have considered three scenarios for future trace gas growth, shown on the next viewgraph.

    Scenario A assumes the CO2 emissions will grow 1.5 percent per year and that CFC emissions will grow 3 percent per year. Scenerio B assumes constant future emissions. If populations increase, Scenerio B requires emissions per capita to decrease.

    Scenario C has drastic cuts in emissions by the year 2000, with CFC emissions eliminated entirely and other trace gas emissions reduced to a level where they just balance their sinks.

    These scenarios are designed specifically to cover a very broad range of cases. If I were forced to choose one of these as most plausible, I would say Scenario B. My guess is that the world is now probably following a course that will take it somewhere between A and B”

  • P. Lewis // March 8, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Re Phil. // March 8, 2008 at 3:11 am

    IIRC, that quotation is actually from his November 87 submission, not the June 88 one … not that it reeeeeeally matters, because it’s exactly what he meant in June 88 (despite exhortations to the contrary) and was in two of the papers referenced above (IIRC).

  • George // March 8, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Matt.

    Others have quoted the relevant Hansen testimony to Congress in which he actually said Scenario B was “most plausible” — and I quoted the paper that was submitted to Congress as evidence which includes those very words as well.

    Quite frankly, you can continue to stick with your original story here (I suspect you will), but let me remind you what your story/claim was: you stated that Hansen was ‘playing fast and loose” and “driven by an agenda”.

    Your claim was not simply that Hansen failed to make himself clear to every Tom Dick and Harry who might possibly read (20 years later) what he said/wrote — ie, people like you who are willing to ignore 99% of what he said and wrote simply to make the point that he was “unclear”.

    Notwithstanding your implication above, it is clear to anyone who actually looks at what Hansen wrote and said that he was most certainly not trying to misrepresent or hide anything back when he made his orginal projections.

    You can believe whatever you want to believe (it makes no difference to the reality, at any rate), but you have no right to imply that Hansen was being dishonest (”playing fast and loose”) when you have no evidence that that is the case.

    That is little more than a smear of Hansen.

  • matt // March 8, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    P. Lewis: IIRC, that quotation is actually from his November 87 submission, not the June 88 one … not that it reeeeeeally matters, because it’s exactly what he meant in June 88 (despite exhortations to the contrary) and was in two of the papers referenced above (IIRC).

    Indeed, it is from his 1987 testimony.

    P. Lewis, The fact of the matter is he is a man who is paid to be precise. That is his job. In this particular venue, additional emphasis must be placed on precision of your spoken words.

    One could argue he simply forgot the words, one can argue he didn’t mind at all folks taking away a most severe interpretation of the prediction.

    Most here believe the former, I tend to believe the latter.

    Today’s news brings a perfect example of how typos, misinterpretations and agendas resulted in the banning of plastic bags. Somethign that makes people feel good, but accomplishes nothing. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3508263.ece

  • matt // March 9, 2008 at 3:41 am

    George: That is little more than a smear of Hansen.

    It’s not a smear. He’s paid to be precise. This particular forum demanded precision. His spoken words contradicted the written words. A reasonable person could indeed call that “fast and loose.” If he were precise, then Gavin and Tamino and the rest of the world wouldn’t have spent so much toner on the issue.

    It you won’t concede this most minor issue, then there isn’t much hope for honesty on the larger issues at hand.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, we can debate the motive. But the fact that spoken words contradicted the written words isn’t really up for debate.

  • Hank Roberts // March 9, 2008 at 4:36 am

    The trouble with the true believers is they so often get the last word because they go on repeating the same thing.

    Matt, nobody misunderstood.
    Look for any record of anyone being confused about the papers. That’s what science papers do — they speak for themselves, they’re meant to be read. Talking about them doesn’t change what’s in the paper and isn’t ever a replacement for reading.

    Read.

  • dhogaza // March 9, 2008 at 5:42 am

    It’s not a smear. He’s paid to be precise.

    But he’s not paid to be a public speaker.

    I do hope you’re not paid to be a bleeping idiot, and that you do this on your own time?

  • Gavin's Pussycat // March 9, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Folks, if what Hansen didn’t say in 1988 constitutes dishonesty, what does that make Pat Michaels mispresenting as Hansen’s view the same graph from the written testimony but with scenarios B and C blanked out? And the rest of the denialosphere including one novelist blindly copying it?

    Are some liars more equal than others? Or just less literate?

  • dhogaza // March 9, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    what does that make Pat Michaels mispresenting as Hansen’s view the same graph from the written testimony but with scenarios B and C blanked out?

    That’s perfectly defensible, of course, because Hansen’s scenario A was drawn in *red*, and as McIntyre has assured us, when confronted with a graph, it is only the *red* line that’s important.

    &qt;/sarcasm>

  • matt // March 9, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Hank Roberts Look for any record of anyone being confused about the papers. That’s what science papers do

    Again, if he was precise then there would NOT have been so many words spilled about this. The fact that BOTH SIDES have written so much about this means people have been confused.

    But he’s not paid to be a public speaker. I do hope you’re not paid to be a bleeping idiot, and that you do this on your own time?

    For a man who has conducted 1400 interviews, you’d think he had the part about nailing the soundbyte down. And yes, of course this is on my own time. And nice manners.

    Folks, if what Hansen didn’t say in 1988 constitutes dishonesty, what does that make Pat Michaels mispresenting as Hansen’s view the same graph from the written testimony but with scenarios B and C blanked out?

    I don’t think Hansen was dishonest. He was potentially playing fast and loose by witholding key facts. But it’s definitely possible it was a simple omission. Michaels, on the other hand, deliberately misled and I think the motives were clear.

    But if Hansen had been clear, he wouldn’t have given Michaels that opportunity. See why clarity is so important?

  • Gavin's Pussycat // March 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I don’t think Hansen was dishonest. He was potentially playing fast and loose by witholding key facts

    Hmm that’s good to hear… but I sense a cultural confusion here. In science, intentionally presenting one-sided info (like witholding key facts) constitutes dishonesty. Quite different then for politicians and lawyers. So if Hansen was honest, it was an accidental omission.

    But if Hansen had been clear, he wouldn’t have given Michaels that opportunity. See why clarity is so important?

    Sure… none of us is perfect — and he shouldn’t have drawn the thing in red :-) But are you really naive enough to believe that Michaels wouldn’t have taken the opportunity irrespective?

    Heck, nobody quoting him checked with the original graph, not Crichton, nobody. Isn’t it bit
    weird to put the blame for the “confusion” on
    the only link in the chain that we
    both provisionally agree was scientifically
    honest?

  • cce // March 9, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Saying Hansen “played fast and loose with the facts” is playing “fast and loose with the facts.”

    The only outcomes that Hansen discussed in his testimony were those related to scenario B. No matter how much skeptics try to rewrite history, “business as usual” does not mean what they think it means, and no one had any trouble interpreting Hansen’s testimony until Pat Michaels came along and erased B and C. Further, Crichton spread it around in his book that simultaneously quotes a paper by Hansen that proves Hansen correct and Crichton wrong. But who cares about facts.

  • george // March 9, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Matt said:

    I don’t think Hansen was dishonest. He was potentially playing fast and loose by witholding key facts. But it’s definitely possible it was a simple omission. Michaels, on the other hand, deliberately misled and I think the motives were clear.”

    It’s good to see that you are now at least entertaining the possibility that Hansen might have been 9and still be?) honest — downgrading your “playing fast and loose” claim, as it were, to “potentially playing fast and loose”.

    We have made progress (I think).

    Then again, your

    “I don’t think Hansen was dishonest. He was potentially playing fast and loose” combination.

    is a puzzle [within an enigma {inside a conundrum}]

    Hansen was either honest or “playing fast and loose by witholding key facts”.

    He can not be both (except perhaps in some philosophical Yin-Yang sense).

    The latter would not be considered “honest” in any arena (except perhaps by certain politicians).

  • Hank Roberts // March 9, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Sometimes tracking back the bogosity has merit at least to show people how they were fooled into believing what they wished were true. E.g.

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/hansen_re-crichton.pdf

    The point is — read the cited sources, in science. Not just the abstracts, and not what people say. The published paper is the work. All else is marginal.

    ——excerpt ———–
    “…In my testimony to congress I showed one line graph with scenarios A, B, C and observed global temperature, which I update below. However, all of the maps of simulated future temperature that I showed in my congressional testimony were for scenario B, which formed the basis for my testimony. No results were shown for the outlier scenarios A and C.

    Back to Crichton: how did he conclude that I made an error of 300%? Apparently, rather than studying the scientific literature, as his footnotes would imply, his approach was to listen to “global warming skeptics”. One of the skeptics, Pat Michaels, has taken the graph from our 1988 paper with simulated global temperatures for scenarios A, B and C, erased the results for scenarios B and C, and shown only the curve for scenario A in public presentations, pretending
    that it was my prediction for climate change. Is this treading close to scientific fraud?

    Crichton’s approach is worse than that of Michaels. Crichton uncritically accepts Michaels’ results, and then concludes that Hansen’s prediction was in error “300%”. Where does he get this conclusion?

    Let’s reproduce here (Figure 1) the global temperature curves from my 1988 congressional testimony, without erasing the results for scenarios B and C. …
    ——end excerpt——-

  • P. Lewis // March 10, 2008 at 1:30 am

    First, sorry this is mostly slightly off topic. And though this is a potted version, it is long. If you think it’s too long HB, then C’est la vie. Je comprends.

    matt said

    You asked if reading the scientific literature is an easy way to know which side is more correct.

    I’ll ask it this way: One person was aware that bacteria caused most ulcers in the early 1980’s. He was pretty much deemed a crackpot by most doctors throughtout the 80’s. So if you read about him in the 80’s you and your family doctor would htink he was a nut. You could find some sympathetic thinkers in the mid 80’s. But the tide wasn’t turning until the early 90’s. And I saw the first TV report on it in the late 90’s. Chances are your family doctor’s opinion changed in the mid 90’s. Thus it took about 25 years for someone to go from crackpot to getting the call to come pick up the Nobel prize in that case. Peer review indeed works, but good grief it is slow.

    Now, whether it’s a deliberate tactic of matt’s or unintentional I don’t know (nor do I rightly care), but this excerpt is reminiscent to me of a lot of the tactics one sees in denialist communications (and not just in the climate sphere), and I think it carries over into his wrong assessment of Hansen, which is why I finally decided to dissect this snippet.

    Peer review indeed works, but good grief it is slow.

    This is somewhat speciously reinforced by the statement

    it took about 25 years for someone to go from crackpot to getting the call to come pick up the Nobel prize in that case.

    Well, yes. It’s “slow” for a reason. Research tends to be like that, especially when you’re doing drug trials and follow-up trials with people. Yes, in 2005, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for work on H. pylori. But 20-odd-year waits are not unheard of for Nobels, and that wait to be anointed by Alfred’s ghost had nothing to do with the work not being accepted in peer review, which in fact it had been in the 1980s(!!) in accordance with normal submission and review practice.

    But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

    First, matt’s quote

    One person was aware that bacteria caused most ulcers in the early 1980’s. He was pretty much deemed a crackpot by most doctors throughtout the 80’s. So if you read about him in the 80’s you and your family doctor would htink he was a nut.

    is wrong on a number of accounts.

    This “one person” was in fact two people: Robin Warren and Barry Marshall (who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2005). Also, these “two people” were not aware that bacteria actually caused most ulcers in the early 1980s. (I’ll comeback to crackpots and nuts.)

    Warren rediscovered the bacterium in 1979. In 1981 it was noted as being present in those with peptic ulcers (the germ of a hypothesis). Then:

    … in the June 16, 1984, Lancet, Marshall and Warren published their first full paper on the topic. They further characterized the bacterium, reported its first successful culture, and established that it was a new species of unclear relation to any previously characterized. … variously called C. pyloridis or C. pylori … eventually … renamed Helicobacter pylori.

    The authors reaffirmed the association of the bacterium with gastritis, but they now also reported it in association with both gastric and duodenal ulcers. Nevertheless, they remained cautious: “Although cause and effect cannot be proved in a study of this kind, we believe that pyloric campylobacter is etiologically related to chronic antral gastritis and, probably, to peptic ulceration also” (Marshall and Warren 1984). They did not recommend antibiotic treatment but reported that bismuth — an established treatment for PUD [peptic ulcer disease] when coupled with acid suppression, that seemed to be associated with reduced relapse rates compared to acid suppression alone — was bactericidal to the new “pyloric campylobacter.” A bacterial cause of PUD, they suggested, could thus explain the finding of a reduced incidence of relapse in patients treated with bismuth.
    Source: Attwood (my emphasis).

    Of course, it is at this point that medical researchers were probably asking themselves how they’d go about treating bacterial infections. Hard one that? Given the acid nature of the environment and that the bacteria were largely hidden/protected under mucus linings, the oral administration of antibiotics would probably have been largely ineffective at that point (I don’t know this for a fact, but it seems at least partly likely from what I know), being inferior to already reasonably successful treatments and likely to lead to reoccurrence of PUD. Which is, I guess, reason enough why full-scale antibiotic application wasn’t promulgated at this point.

    Then matt says

    You could find some sympathetic thinkers in the mid 80’s. But the tide wasn’t turning until the early 90’s.

    Wrong again!

    A PubMed search performed using the terms ‘campylobacter pylori’ or ‘campylobacter pyloridis’ or ‘campylobacter pyloric’ or ‘campylobacter-like’ or ‘helicobacter pylori’ or ‘curved bacilli gastric’ produced the following output (the 1982 and one of the 1983 citations were animal studies).

    Year [# citations]: 1982 [1], 1983 [2], 1984 [16], 1985 [25], 1986 [58], 1987 [155], 1988 [283], 1989 [383], 1990 [379], 1991 [539], 1992 [538], 1993 [762]

    (Sourced from Atwood)

    A similar PubMed search I did pulled up 1972 papers for the years 1982 to 1993.

    So, not only was this “one person” not alone, he had hundreds of other crackpots following in his footsteps through from the first reports in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Regarded as a nut? I don’t think so.

    So, what we have is actually ~10-12 years from the first suggestion in peer-reviewed literature of pylori being associated with peptic ulcers, to the hypothesis that it was a cause of peptic ulcers, to actually being held as a causative agent of peptic ulcers, through confirmation studies and randomised controlled clinical trials (the first double-blind trial was reported by Marshall et al. (1998) — see Atwood ref list — and that I think was probably the first trial use of antibiotics) to clinical use and subsequent National Institutes of Health (NIH) approval of new treatment guidelines (bye-bye H2 agonist treatments and most surgery probably).

    It was in early 1994 that the NIH published an opinion stating that most recurrent gastric ulcers were caused by H. pylori and recommended that antibiotics be included in the treatment regimen; this was subsequently published in J. Am. Med. Assoc. in mid ‘94. However, at least in the USA, following 3 papers that reported in 1992, a triple-drug regimen involving antibiotics was already in operation. So, it took about 4 years of studies and follow-ups to work out the multi-drug regime with the least side effects in patients once they’d got a handle on what was actually happening. PDQ on all counts, I think.

    So there we have it, a story of how science actually works, with healthy (true) scepticism on initial presentation, further confirmatory research/results and follow-up studies by the originators and other parties, all in little more than a decade. Who’s the crackpot/nut? Not Warren, not Marshall.

    And matt said

    You asked if reading the scientific literature is an easy way to know which side is more correct

    Evidentially, the answer is yes. IPCC wins out over “Not IPCC” every day of the year. And if you want to know what Hansen meant, then RTFPs is good advice.

    Sources:

    K C Atwood. 2004(?). Bacteria, Ulcers, and Ostracism? H. Pylori and the Making of a Myth

    R A Moore. 1994. Helicobacter Pylori and Peptic Ulcer. A systematic review of effectiveness and an overview of the economic benefits of implementing what is known to be effective.

  • Heretic // March 10, 2008 at 1:54 am

    Matt says: “The fact that BOTH SIDES have written so much about this means people have been confused.”
    Bullshit. One side has done EVERYTHING that can be done with modern mind manipulation methods and mass-media to confuse the issue. The other has tried to counter that effort and, unfortunately, in the mass-media world, it leads to only more confusion for the gullibe masses. Not to mention that the confusion spreading side has not relented one bit in its effort.

  • Ian // March 10, 2008 at 2:09 am

    I nominate Matt for the Morano Award, in the category “Most Aggressive Bluster in 10 or More Repetitive Posts.”

  • Ian Forrester // March 10, 2008 at 2:31 am

    P.Lewis, great post. It shows that the AGW deniers just cut and paste and never understand what they are talking about. They are only interested in spreading confusion and trying to promote their anti-science sentiments.

  • matt // March 10, 2008 at 2:34 am

    George: It’s good to see that you are now at least entertaining the possibility that Hansen might have been 9and still be?) honest — downgrading your “playing fast and loose” claim, as it were, to “potentially playing fast and loose”.

    Make no mistake, I indeed think he was playing fast and loose and had no problem with everyone assuming A was the expected case. But again, that goes to motivation, and we’ll never know. It could have been intentional, it could have just been forgotten.

    He can not be both [honest or "fast and loose"].

    To me, fast and loose means a lowering of standards in an attempt to sway opinion. You can definitely be honest and still be playing fast and loose.

    Science is full of very famous scientists not telling you the full story in an attempt to sway public opinion, and they have suffered none for it. When Ehrlich, EO Wilson and Myers made statements decades ago that we were loosing between 30,000 and 10,000 species a year EVERY YEAR, they were witholding key information in an attempt to sway opinion. Those are examples, in my opinion, of out and out dishonesty driven by an agenda.

  • Hank Roberts // March 10, 2008 at 3:05 am

    This is why science is done in refereed journals, and why trolls don’t cite to sources in the primary science journals.

  • Hansen's Bulldog // March 10, 2008 at 3:16 am

    I’m posting this to multiple threads. Things have gotten a bit out of hand. The level of hostility is … well … over the top.

    So I urge everyone to try an experiment. For you next comment, make the exact point you wanted to make, but leave the hostility at the door. I really don’t want to censor viewpoints. But as has been pointed out, too much insult not only turns people off, it interferes with communication. Meanwhile, it’s time for me to reconsider my moderation policy … because “moderation” doesn’t seem to apply.

    And please don’t send a comment saying it’s really my fault. I already know.

  • Ian // March 10, 2008 at 3:30 am

    My apologies, Matt - my award joke above was probably, as HB says, over the top. But I think you are completely misreading the Hansen testimony.

  • TCO // March 10, 2008 at 3:47 am

    As a skeptic, I find the refusal of critic types like McI to publish as a real sign of weakness. (And it’s not about the archiving or the review really. If there were white papers done of adequate quality, that would be fine. but the blog posts are far far lower in quality.)

    Having Watts or Loehler as my skpetic representatives pains me even more.

    P.s. I had a much harsher post before, Tammy. This is the toned down version.

  • dhogaza // March 10, 2008 at 4:01 am

    To me, fast and loose means a lowering of standards in an attempt to sway opinion. You can definitely be honest and still be playing fast and loose.

    Well, no, I don’t think this way at all.

    And our different approach to morality is probably sufficient to explain why I think you’re dishonest, while you don’t.

    Because your moral standards are lower than mine.

  • Hank Roberts // March 10, 2008 at 5:50 am

    > fast, loose, and honest
    That’s like telling the truth, but only as much as you need to, I think.

    The ’sin of omission’ is, I think, one of the sins not recognized by most of Protestantism

    – it’s why the court oath specifies ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’

    – it’s why legal documents specify the party has no knowledge of any ‘information the omission of which would make the explicit statements’ misleading

    Those are both ways contemporary western culture tries to deal with the old notion that telling part of the truth but cleverly spinning and omitting and enhancing it was a sin, and that sin was a something to be avoided.

    This is yet another reason science is done in peer reviewed journals and not in blogs and conversations and speeches and debates. It forces attention to the facts others can check.

    And the willingness to play fast and loose is another reason trolls don’t cite sources — it exposes the behavior.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // March 10, 2008 at 10:57 am

    > Because your moral standards are
    > lower than mine.

    Yes and no, dhogaza.

    His moral standards, and those of 99%-plus of humanity, aren’t so much lower as different. And specifically where factual truth is concerned, non-existent — which makes him out of place in a scientific debate. I don’t expect him to go around murdering and raping though :-)

    Have a look at the outside world. Everybody is “playing fast and loose” with the truth: lawyers, politicians, businesses… the lot. It’s the standard. People don’t expect anything better. Yes, when asked a poll question “is telling lies good or bad”, they will say “bad”, because that’s what they’ve been told in church. But they’ll only believe it while inside a church :-)

    In science it’s different. There, meticulously sticking to the factual truth is a matter of professional honour. It has to be, because science is all about figuring out how real, factual things actually are. Science wouldn’t function as a community, and the usefulness of that community to the rest of society would be null and void, without this. But let’s never forget that we are a very small, and rather weird, minority in that sense!

    There are many other professional communities having their own moral codes, like medicine etc. It’s the only way such a community can be trusted, as a community, by the rest of society.

  • Hank Roberts // March 10, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    I think this is one reason scientists have been reluctant to share their data in the past — it’s all they have as a result of their own work that was _not_ released on publication. It’s the treasure mined for publication — and collecting it takes much time, life, expense, and graduate students (grin) to collect.

    Anyone who cares to collect their own data can replicate — and publish an independently valid paper.

    They can do this using the methods another scientist has published, and using the equipment disclosed in detail by brand name and model name, and using the analysis previously published, and even hiring away the graduate students who worked with the first person’s lab.

    And if they replicate the work — either exactly or by doing a similar research approach with different tools — and find different results, everything gets compared.

    The Christy story is a robust example of how it works, if you’re a scientist.

    Not that it’ll convince those who believe science should be like debate or law or accounting. Different rules.

  • matt // March 10, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Gavin’s Pussycat: And specifically where factual truth is concerned, non-existent — which makes him out of place in a scientific debate….In science it’s different. There, meticulously sticking to the factual truth is a matter of professional honour.

    Good grief. There is a time and place for rigorous science. There is a time and place for boisterous discussion driven by agenda and personal opinion. I don’t do rigorous science, neither do you guys. Quit pretending like this is it.

    Hansen does do rigorous science. BUT, he also participates in boisterous debate based largely on his opinion fueled by his agenda. Did you read his “Shadow on American Democracy” paper? (BTW, it wasn’t peer reviewed, so Hank and dhogaza must believe it irrelevant). That paper is boisterous (and healthy) debate. But that paper also failed to surface a lot of very important information that is key to the reader making an informed decision. But you know what? I expect that. You should too. Opinion pieces are important.

    Everyone has an agenda. I have an agenda. You guys have an agenda. Everyone leaves out relevent details when driving that agenda. I get so tired of folks who try to convince their motives are pure and clear and there for everyone to see, when that is YET another way of obfuscating the fact they they, too, have an agenda.

    Does Hansen have an agenda? Certainly. Read his personal writings if don’t believe that. Is is possible that a scientist with an agenda might leave out a relevant detail to make his point stronger? Absolutely. Why is a scientist any different from a lawyer? Or Doctor? Or policeman? Every profession have those folks that will bend the rules to reach a “higher truth”, whatever that may be. If you think scientists are immune you are nuts. Some do it a lot, some do it very little. Everyone does it. And it’s fine to question the reason behind decisions. My guess is that if I went to a political board I’d find the same cast of characters here slamming Bush for the downing memos and attributing all sorts of evil to the various decisions that have been made. That’s fine.

    And really, for all the discussion here about honor and moral standards…I find it amusing that those that claim to live to a higher standard quickly fall to name calling while claiming it shoudl only be about the science. Yes, you make a real convincing case. Your mom would be proud.

    Anyway, feel free to have the last word. My point remains, quite simply:

    1) Hansen failed to correctly temper expectations during his oral presentation in 1988.
    2) Hansen’s oral presentation did not match his written paper.
    3) It may have been intentional, it may not have been. I don’t know.
    4) It is silly to expect congress will read a 24 page scientific paper to get the full truth. That full truth was expected in the oral presentation.

    See you in another thread sometime soon.

  • Hank Roberts // March 10, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Recommended:

    http://scienceblogs.com/worldsfair/2008/01/objectivity_truetonature_mecha.php

    —–excerpt follows——

    The last post (Scientific Objectivity has a History) was about an article from 1992 called “The Image of Objectivity,” by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison.

    Daston and Galison, 15 years later, have now written a book-length treatment of the topic, Objectivity (MIT Press, 2007). It argues that “To pursue objectivity–or truth-to-nature or trained judgment–is simultaneously to cultivate a distinctive scientific self wherein knowing and knower converge. Moreover, the very point at which they visibly converge is in the very act of seeing not as a separate individual but as a member of a particular scientific community.”

  • matt // March 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Matt wrote: One person was aware that bacteria caused most ulcers in the early 1980’s. He was pretty much deemed a crackpot by most doctors throughtout the 80’s. So if you read about him in the 80’s you and your family doctor would htink he was a nut.

    P. Lewis then wroteis wrong on a number of accounts. This “one person” was in fact two people: Robin Warren and Barry Marshall (who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2005).

    I’m intimately aware of their journey. But they didn’t both at the same instant recognize this.

    Matt:You could find some sympathetic thinkers in the mid 80’s. But the tide wasn’t turning until the early 90’s.

    P Lewis: Wrong again!

    Robbin Warren disagrees with you: “They thought we were mad. It was against all the medical teaching, but we had the evidence. We just had to keep pushing it and pushing it.”

    And “Don’t ask me why nobody saw them before. My feeling is that nobody thought they were there. Standard medical teaching at the time was that there were no bacteria in the gut.”

    And from Barry Marshall: “It was a campaign, everyone was against me. But I knew I was right, because I actually had done a couple of years’ work at that point. I had a few backers. And when I was criticized by gastroenterologists, I knew that they were mostly making their living doing endoscopies on ulcer patients. So I’m going to show you guys. A few years from now you’ll be saying, “Hey! Where did all those endoscopies go to?” And it will be because I was treating ulcers with antibiotics.”

    And “When the work was presented, my results were disputed and disbelieved, not on the basis of science but because they simply could not be true. It was often said that no one was able to replicate my results. This was untrue but became part of the folklore of the period. I was told that the bacteria were either contaminants or harmless commensals.”

    And “The livelihood of gastroenterologists and many of the drug companies depended on these drugs that were worth billions of dollars, treating millions of people with ulcers. “

    Based upon the quotes of the recipients, I’d say my brief synopsis was quite a bit more accurate that your well researched (but wrong) accounting of the event.

    My point stands that it takes about 25 years to go from crackpot to Nobel recipient. The recipients clearly believed they were seen as crackpots throughout most of the 80’s.

    NIH recognized Hpylori as causing ulcers in 1994, implying they were getting reasonble traction in in the early 90’s.

    If you went to your family doctor in 1995 with an ulcer, chances are very good that bacteria would NOT have been expected and you would have been told the cause of your ulcer was stress-induced excess acid production.

    Summary (again): Peer review works, it just words very slowly. It takes 25 years to go from crackpot to darling.

  • Heretic // March 10, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Great post, P. lewis. The H Pylori instance is an often cited example of how science is done and implemented in practice. The reality is a far cry from Matts’ description. When he says that most dorctors considered “him” a crackpot, the general impression was rather “this is interesting, might be on to something.” Of course, they had to prove the proper way that they actually were on to something, and they did. It took a little time, but not that long, everything considered.

  • mmghosh // March 10, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Mr Matt,

    Your contention is incorrect.

    My wife, who is a surgical gastroenterologist notes that treatment of H.pylori infection was widespread in the NHS in the UK in 1992.

    http://www.jr2.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/bandopubs/hpyl/hpall.html

    Nobel prize reception is not a measure of acceptance of a hypothesis in the medical community. Neither is NIH or FDA approval. There are numerous political and regulatory hurdles to be crossed before acceptance.

    And in fact the AGW story has taken quite a while to coalesce into a coherent story. Satellites only started measuring tropospheric temperatures in the 1970s. The IPCC was set up 20 years ago, in 1998. It is only ercently, after many decades, that the AGW story has come to be accepted by the majority of scientific climatologists after all the other explanations for the rise in temperature , apart from GHG rises, since the mid 1970s have now been considered and rejected.

  • dhogaza // March 10, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Summary (again): Peer review works, it just words very slowly. It takes 25 years to go from crackpot to darling.

    In reality, most crackpots remain crackpots. The exception proves no rule.

  • George // March 10, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    P Lewis:

    Excellent post! It illustrates your point quite well.

    With regard to acceptance of the idea that bacteria cause ulcers, I would just add one thing.

    When it comes to the practice of medicine (ie, prescribing medicine to cure disease), I think it is all- important to distinguish between “finding an idea plausible” and “prescribing medicine” based on that idea.

    Medicine is not based on plausibility. It is based on evidence.

    Before doctors prescribe antibiotics for an ailment, it is usually the case that there has to be considerable clinical (not just anecdotal) evidence supporting the idea that it will actually work.

    Even in cases where doctors may accept an idea (like ulcers are caused by bacteria) as plausible, they are often reluctant to prescribe a treatment (antibiotics) before they are sure it will work.

    There are several reasons for this. First, in general, doctors are conservative — and certainly not in the business of just “trying things” willy nilly to see if they might work.

    Second, when it comes to prescription of antibiotics in particular there are several reasons for the reluctance to prescribe:

    1) people sometimes have adverse reactions to antibiotics
    2) doctors fear (justifiably) that other bacteria will develop resistance to the antibiotics rendering the antibiotics useless in the future.

  • P. Lewis // March 10, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Sorry folks, another long one (I could easily have written a 10-page essay on this), but …

    matt, you show your ignorance again, and quote mining exclusively from acceptance speeches, journo pieces (is your piece lifted from Medspan.info or directly from The Scientist, the “Magazine of the Life Sciences”, from which the Medspan.info piece is partly attributed?) and book blurbs is, well, not generally acceptable.

    Regarding ignorance, you said:

    I’m intimately aware of their journey. But they didn’t both at the same instant recognize this.

    From this I presume you think they were working independently and came to the same conclusion. Well, actually, they did at the “same instant” recognise this (“this being the association with ulcers rather than just gastritis) — in so far as two researchers working on the same project can at the same instant recognise anything — since they recognised it whilst collaborating on their paper referred to elsewhere. To wit (admittedly this is from a journo-type piece, but it is corroborated by the papers and history elsewhere and is short on journalistic hyperbole):

    In 1979, Dr Robin Warren, a pathologist at the Royal Perth Hospital, reported the presence of an unusual bacterium in biopsies from patients suffering gastritis (stomach inflammation). The report was greeted with scepticism: no bacteria could survive in the acidic environment of the stomach, or so everyone thought. Nevertheless, Warren continued his studies of this bacterium over the next two years, confirming that the infection was common and closely linked to a specific type of gastritis. Warren could not proceed further without active clinical assistance, to provide better biopsies and demonstrate any clinico-pathological correlation. Then in 1981, Dr Barry Marshall, a gastroenterology registrar at the hospital, approached Warren looking for a research project. The ensuing collaboration was to result in what has been described as possibly the most significant event in medicine in Australia in the last 20 to 30 years.

    Warren and Marshall commenced their research by studying a large group of patients who had undergone endoscopy for gastric conditions. They reconfirmed the link between gastritis and the presence of the bacterium that Warren had first noticed two years earlier, and also noted that the bacterium was present in all the patients with duodenal ulcer, most patients with gastric ulcer, and about half the patients with gastric cancer. It seemed that it was rare to have the specific gastritis or to develop an ulcer without also being infected with this new bacterium.

    In 1982, Warren and Marshall succeeded in culturing the bacterium, and discovered that it was similar to campylobacter, which can cause enteritis. …. The proposed hypothesis was that infection with H. pylori would cause gastritis, which could in turn lead to ulceration.

    The peer response showed the same scepticism that greeted Warren’s initial observations, and for a number of years the majority of the medical profession dismissed the hypothesis.

    Source: Australian Institute of Policy & Science

    Note the last paragraph. This is the way that science progresses. Compare it with your quotes and decide which is hyperbole and which is not.

    But also note the first paragraph I quoted and compare this with your effort:

    Don’t ask me why nobody saw them before. My feeling is that nobody thought they were there. Standard medical teaching at the time was that there were no bacteria in the gut.

    Now put your medical hat on and spot the faux pas! And then say which one is more likely accurate.

    matt also said (elsewhere here)

    To me, fast and loose means a lowering of standards in an attempt to sway opinion. You can definitely be honest and still be playing fast and loose.

    Well, I’d say you are pretty adept at the first, given your PUD/antibiotics scenario (not to mention your daft comments about Hansen). And it follows logically from that that you can definitely be dishonest and still be playing fast and loose.

    You can bluster away in reply all you want (you most likely will, since you seem to enjoy having the last word), but I’ve said what I’ve got to say on this issue. And I’ve put the refs out there, and anyone who is genuinely interested can consult them and the masses of primary references quoted therein and form their own conclusions. I think I know where most fair-minded people’s judgement will fall.

  • TCO // March 10, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    dhogza: your readiness to get enraged is…interesting. In any case, I’ve been a practicing scientist. What’s more, I’ve read a lot on how motivations affect science and reporting of science. It is not at all unknown that people let biases affect them. Including at different levels of blatantness and self-awareness.

  • P. Lewis // March 12, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Minor correction to my initial post on H. pylori

    the first double-blind trial was reported by Marshall et al. (1998)

    should have read “Marshall et al. (1988)”.

  • Aaron Lewis // March 13, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    In several ways, Hansen is a better scientist than Darwin was.

    Three cheers for clear thinking, good math, honesty, and — courage!

  • NILOC // March 15, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Matt posted; George: And Hansen made it plain as day to anyone who cared to read what he actually said in his 1988 paper that Scenario B was what he considered to be the “most plausible” scenario.

    No, he didn’t make it plain as day.

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/hansen_re-crichton.pdf

    Actually, he thought he did.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // March 15, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    One more blow on this equestrian carcass.

    matt:

    The chart you showed showed CO2 drawing at an exponetial pace. Do you acknowledge that?

    Yes. Approximately exponential, of form a+b*exp(t/tau), but with a clear “knee” at 1990, the Soviet collapse, after which an exponential with different parameters. Do you acknowledge that?

  • Tenney Naumer // May 22, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Dear Tamino,

    We need your help over at Dot Earth — that jerk, sas, is slandering Hansen, again. Here is the latest:

    “#190. May 22nd, 2008, 12:06 am

    tenney,
    take your pick of cites that james hansen cooked the books on temperature data. it’s fine if you want to continue to discuss this, as it brings to the public’s attention hansen’s completely political agenda and agenda suspect rendering of what should be objective scientific research.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=hansen+fudged+data &btnG=Search

    — Posted by sas”

    Link to the Dot Earth post:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/09/betting-on-warming-or-cooling/#comments

  • Dano // May 22, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Tenney:

    The comments at DotEarth are fast becoming the fever swamps, and trying to slow the spread of disinformation there is likely close to impossible.

    Have fun with it and know that the majority of decision-makers that effect change at large scales understand the issue and do not receive their information from blog comments. Rather, they receive their information from staff who do not receive their relevant information from blog comments (although they look at public opinion, and know that a strident, persistent small minority makes a big noise).

    Have fun with it and try to understand the personality type that must maintain their self-identity via denial (Dnihilism).

    HTH.

    Best,

    D

  • Dave Andrews // May 22, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Dano,

    Having read through that, largely boring, thread at Dot Earth I could say that your comment about “personality type that must maintain their self identity via denial” applies equally well to Tenney

  • Tenney Naumer // May 23, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Dear Dano,

    I know that DE is a swamp, but I feel that disinformation must be countered because demagoguery is rampant in our country and for the past 7 years people have muzzled themselves. Look at the result.

    Right now, those who shout the loudest are the ones being heard. I do not actually believe that senators and congresspersons are listening to real scientists. If they were, things would be different. And, you might consider that fact that most of them are lawyers, and 95% of lawyers are pitiful when it comes to numbers. They are lawyers because they are good with words, not numbers.

    And, I am not having fun with this (although I do have fun reading this blog and others like the Science Creative Quarterly and the Journal of Inactivity) because it makes me feel the way I used to feel in high school when I was the class wit due to my sarcastic sense of humor. I cut that out in later years because I prefer cordiality.

    As you know, I am not a trained scientist. I have to spend hours and hours reading scientific articles and these discussions here and on realclimate in order to counter the ridiculous claims being made.

    Due to some health issues that have come up, recently, I am going to have to cut back on DE. I need people to step in and take my place.

    I think raypierre said it best on realclimate when he tried to explain the denialists:

    “I think it’s probably a matter of ideological blinders. The perceived implications of global warming being a real problem are so dissonant with some other value system that it imposes some kind of filter on the interpretation of objective reality.”

    Dano, I appreciate you taking the time to take the mickey out of some of those DE denialists, and I hope others will now step up to the plate and also donate some of their time.

    Sincerely,

    Tenney

  • Tenney Naumer // May 23, 2008 at 4:32 am

    Dano (or anyone else for that matter),

    No one need step into that strange little hole just created by Dave Andrews for himself.

  • Dano // May 23, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Having read through that, largely boring, thread at Dot Earth I could say that your comment about “personality type that must maintain their self identity via denial” applies equally well to Tenney

    Ah. So you have a large body of scientific evidence, empirical findings, model results, equations, and literature that you draw upon that allows one to deny the findings of the scientific literature that the majority of the planet reads.

    The denialists have done a bang-up job of hiding it up until now. C’mon - give it up. Is it a secret handshake that allows me to see it? Some sort of ‘gang sign’? A spell? Corneal scan?

    Best,

    D

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