# Open Mind

## A Bag of Hammers

#### January 19, 2009 · 150 Comments

The level of gullibility in reader comments has recently reached an all-time high.

Nick Zervos contributed this:

If the global temperature were to become cooler, the CO2 concentration would drop without any reduction in human emissions. Keep an eye on that Mauna Loa data.

Richard Steckis said this:

If there is an increase in overall concentration of 13C (as opposed to d13C) then there must also be a non-anthropogenic component to the co2 increase. The most logical source is inorganic 13C from the oceans.

which was a followup to this:

I have just found out that the concentration of 13C when decoupled from 12C is increasing.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/28/spencer-pt2-more-co2-peculiarities-the-c13c12-isotope-ratio/

The link is to a post by Roy Spencer on WUWT. It’s a followup to a previous post in which he says

The long-term increases in carbon dioxide concentration that have been observed at Mauna Loa since 1958 could be driven more than by the ocean than by mankindâ€™s burning of fossil fuels.

Zervos and Steckis don’t provide any data or analysis, but Spencer does.
He begins by plotting the $\delta$13C data for Mauna Loa:

When I plot the same data, using the same axis limits as Spencer, I get a very similar graph:

The ratio $R$ of 13C atoms to 12C atoms can be computed, given the $\delta$ value:

$n_{13} / n_{12} = R = R_0 (1 + \delta)$.

where $R_0$ is a reference value, which for 13C is the VPDB standard, 0.0112372. If we also know the total number $n$ of carbon atoms in CO2 (which is given by the CO2 concentration, something most of us are familiar with), we can compute the number of 13C atoms in CO2

$n_{13} = n R / (1+R)$.

This is essentially the amount of atmospheric 13CO2. I’ve ignored 14C atoms, but they’re only one in a trillion of all carbon atoms. One last note: the $\delta$ value is generally given in “permil” which is “parts per thousand,” so when the value is given as -8 permil (about the average value at Mauna Loa) in terms of simple numbers that’s -0.008.

Putting it all together we can compute the amount of 13CO2 in the atmosphere as measured at Mauna Loa. Spencer does so, and plots it thus:

I did so too, but using the same axis limits as Spencer my graph looks different:

What’s up with that? It’s pretty clear that instead of computing $nR/(1+R)$, Spencer just computed $nR$. Oh well, it doesn’t have a big impact on the analysis. Here’s a better plot of atmospheric 13CO2 at Mauna Loa:

Now Spencer estimates the time rate of change of CO2 concentration, and of 13CO2 concentration; these are d(CO2)/dt and d(13CO2)/dt. He doesn’t give enough specifics about exactly how he does this to reproduce his calculation, but it really won’t matter for what follows. Next he shows a scatterplot of d(13CO2)/dt against d(CO2)/dt and fits a trend line to that data:

He notes that the slope of this trend line supports the anthropogenic origin of atmospheric CO2 increase.

It’s at this point that his analysis goes horribly wrong. He detrends the CO2 and 13CO2 data, then estimates their rate of change, produces a similar scatterplot, and regresses them against each other.

Now, when we look at the ratio of these inter-annual signals like we did from the trends in Fig. 3, we get the relationship seen in Fig. 6.

Significantly, note that the ratio of C13 variability to CO2 variability is EXACTLY THE SAME as that seen in the trends!

BOTTOM LINE: If the C13/C12 relationship during NATURAL inter-annual variability is the same as that found for the trends, how can people claim that the trend signal is MANMADE??

The argument is a logical fallacy. But it’s nowhere near as embarrassing as the mathematical fallacy. Let $A$ be the rate of change of CO2:

$A = d(CO_2)/dt$.

Let $B$ be the rate of change of 13CO2:

$B = d(^{13}CO_2)/dt$.

Spencer’s figure 3 is a scatterplot of $A$ against $B$. Now detrend the CO2 data; this will produce a new data set (call it $x$) which is the original data, minus a straight line:

$x = (CO_2) - \alpha t - a$,

where $t$ is the time, and $\alpha$ and $a$ are constants. Likewise detrend the 13CO2 data; this will produce a new data set (call it $y$) which is the original data, minus a straight line:

$y = (^{13}CO_2) - \beta t - b$

where $\beta$ and $b$ are constants. Now compute the time derivatives of the new data sets:

$dx/dt = A - \alpha$,

$dy/dt = B - \beta$.

We see that the new time series $dx/dt,dy/dt$ of time derivatives are equal to the old time series $A,B$ of time derivatives, offset by constants. Spencer’s figure 6 is a scatter plot of $dx/dt$ against $dy/dt$.

If we take any two time series and regress one against the other, we’ll get a slope. If we take the same two time series offset by constants and regress one against the other, we’ll get exactly the same slope. Necessarily. For Sure. Every time.

So Spencer’s “Significantly, … EXACTLY THE SAME as that seen in the trends!” is nothing more than an obvious consequence of the way he analyzed the data. It’s not “significant” and it means absolutely nothing except that Spencer really doesn’t understand what he’s doing.

—————————

We’ve put huge quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere from fossil-fuel burning, and atmospheric CO2 has increased. In fact the atmospheric increase has only been about half the anthropogenic output, so not only are our emissions responsible for atmospheric increase, they’re increasing some other carbon reservoir as well. The evidence is pretty strong that most of the rest of the fossil-fuel CO2 is going into the oceans. As a result, not only is the atmospheric 13C fraction decreasing, so is the ocean 13C fraction. If atmospheric CO2 increase is coming from the oceans as Spencer claims, the how is it possible for both the atmosphere and the ocean to show declining $\delta$13C?

Maybe Spencer’s most foolish statement about the source of CO2 increase comes not from this post but from his previous one:

Letâ€™s say the oceans are producing an extra 1 unit of CO2, mankind is producing 1 unit, and nature is absorbing an extra 1.5 units. Then we get the situation we have today, with CO2 rising at about 50% the rate of human emissions.

Ignore, if you can stretch the truth that far, that there’s no evidence whatever that the oceans are a net producer of atmospheric CO2 but there’s very strong evidence they’re actually absorbing. Just follow this logic, and take away the “mankind is producing 1 unit” — what’s the result? CO2 would be decreasing by 0.5 units. Result: without human emissions CO2 wouldn’t be increasing.

Claims that atmospheric CO2 increase isn’t due to fossil-fuel burning are about as dumb as it gets. The destructive aspect is that here we are wasting time on a subject about which there is no doubt. Seriously: we might as well be discussing whether the earth is flat. Maybe that’s the entire point: make those who want to increase knowledge about global warming waste their time rather than share important, and correct, information.

This really is a litmus test. I’m not the least bit interested in hearing your arguments about how maybe, just maybe, the increase is coming from the oceans or soda pop or space aliens so I should keep an open mind about it. Keeping an open mind doesn’t mean removing your brain.

Categories: Global Warming
Tagged:

### 150 responses so far ↓

• Something tells me that there should be an annual variation in R which basically tells you that winter the N Hemisphere is heating season, and summer growing season.

Hmm you see it in CO
http://edoc.mpg.de/28867

• Philippe Chantreau

Very interesting. This is the kind of stuff that is difficult to see through unless you really know the Maths.

• Spencer’s quote:“The long-term increases in carbon dioxide concentration that have been observed at Mauna Loa since 1958 could be driven more than by the ocean than by mankindâ€™s burning of fossil fuels.”

Aside from all other considerations, this quote begs the question as to the source of all this new ocean-derived C02. You just can’t call it “natural” any more than you can say it’s just “natural” for the world’s oceans to suddenly become non-saline or the atmosphere to suddenly become 15 percent argon and xenon.

This type of argument brings science back to pre-Thales conditions.

Or, as Tamino says, maybe that’s the point.

• What should one do if one actually wants to find the the ratio of C13 variability to CO2 variability?

• caerbannog

So the wingnut position is that the oceans must be outgassing CO2 even though the average ocean pH is declining. Now, what sort of wingnut chemistry will it take to explain that?

• http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2005/July/01070501.asp

Drop in ocean pH confirmed
… The rate of change we are seeing to the ocean’s chemistry is a hundred times faster than has happened for millions of years. ….

• jyyh

thank you, to fav’s… my (short) stats course was back in 1992 (done without comps), there was some talk of this kind of analysis… I guess this is quite basic nowadays… will have to reread some of it.

• Yikes … hasn’t peer review been invented already?

Aren’t these the guys who love pulling out the even-a-minor-error-doesn’t-instill-much-confidence talking point when it applies to someone else?

• So the wingnut position is that the oceans must be outgassing CO2 even though the average ocean pH is declining. Now, what sort of wingnut chemistry will it take to explain that?

Really fast synergy?

• Steve Bloom

I suspect they would argue that CO2 emitted from the mid-ocean ridges gets emitted into the atmosphere before the oceans can absorb much of it, and in fact I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this argument made somewhere. Of course this is also stupid, but it moves the argument onto a different point, which in their book is a success.

• Steve Bloom

Oh, and of course the fact that the surface station temp data is bogus proves that ocean pH must not be getting measured right. It goes on and on.

Solving the problem of climate change is going to take the efforts of as many smart people as we can muster. To that end, I have always maintained that we must patiently explain the evidence to smart skeptics and even smart denialists until we have a critical mass of smart people. It’s becoming increasingly clear, however, that there aren’t many smart denialists left, and the immediate enthusiasm that greets even the stupidest “alternative” ideas shows there are no true skeptics.
To that end, CA and WUWT serve the useful purpose of providing a place where the tin-foil hat crew can go play while the adults go about the business of trying to save human civilization.

• Thank you Tamino, this is very timely; someone just brought the WUWT post to my attention. I think it is obvious that Spencer was out of his element; the basic problem is that there is a group that believes that “publishing” outside the traditional realm of peer-review is a positive. But what is clear is that these are people who have no interest in making arguments strong enough to convince other scientists but instead rely on the scientific illiteracy of the general public, the media and elected officials.

Like many others here, I am reasonably well-versed in my own field (enough to review proposals and papers), but not on climatology, so I rely on other scientists to review information and screen out the dreck. I wonder what the amen chorus thought about Spencer’s mathematical flight.

• We will see if Spencer notes his mistake

• RE: EliRabett // January 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm “We will see if Spencer notes his mistake” You mean the one that got by the peer reviewers of America’s #1 science blog (gad, that’s painful)?

• TrueSceptic

Surely Spencer can’t be that incompetent, so we can only assume that he is being dishonest, knowing that the zombies at Watts and elsewhere will lap it up and spread it everywhere like a virus.

• TCOisbanned?

Ferdinand Engelbeen is doing God’s work.

• dhogaza

We will see if Spencer notes his mistake

Spencer’s been pushing this “increasing CO2 is coming from the ocean” line for over a year now, so I wouldn’t hold my breath …

• TrueSceptic

dhogaza,
>Spencerâ€™s been pushing this â€śincreasing CO2 is coming from the oceanâ€ť line for over a year now, so I wouldnâ€™t hold my breath â€¦

So if the CO2 _is_ coming from the oceans, does that mean that it _is_ a GHG after all, because it’s “natural”, not manmade?

• > I suspect they would argue that CO2 is
> emitted into the atmosphere before
> the oceans can absorb much

Bzzzzt. Let’s take care of that problem before it arises, if it’s not already being “argued”

“In the year of our Lord 1432, there arose a grievous quarrel among the brethren over the number of teeth in the mouth of a horse. For 13 days the disputation raged without ceasing…..”

http://web.sbu.edu/history/tschaeper/Hist101/101wwwfbacon.html

Watch the bubble column as it rises. If bubbles were reaching the surface, undissolved gas would be reaching the atmosphere. This is done a lot in studying methane hydrate gas releases.

http://www.mbari.org/~etp3/peerart/risingCO2.pdf

Experimental Determination of the Fate of Rising CO2 Droplets in Seawater

“… Direct oceanic disposal of fossil fuel CO2 is being considered as a possible means to moderate the growth rate of CO2 in the atmosphere. We have measured the rise rate and dissolution rate of freely released CO2 droplets in the open ocean to provide fundamental data for carbon sequestration options. A small amount of liquid CO2 was released at 800 m, at 4.4 Â°C, and the rising droplet stream was imaged with a HDTV camera carried on a remotely operated vehicle. The initial rise rate for 0.9-cm diameter droplets was 10 cm/s at 800 m, and the dissolution rate was 3.0 Âµmol cm-2 s-1. While visual contact was maintained for 1 h and over a 400 m ascent, 90% of the mass loss occurred within 30 min over a 200 m ascent above the release point. Images of droplets crossing the liquid-gas-phase boundary showed formation of a gas head, pinching off of a liquid tail, and rapid gas bubble separation and dissolution….”

• I think the weblog awards themselves, and Watts’s very professional PR work, would be a good candidate for the 2009 Falsies Awards.

For 2008, a climate PR program (the coal industry’s ads) only got the bronze.

http://www.prwatch.org/node/8055

• Of course this is also stupid, but it moves the argument onto a different point, which in their book is a success. — Steve Bloom.

I am still laughing — two hours later.

Thx.

• Spencer, caught in the act. again.

i would be slightly embarrassed, if i was on the denialist side. though i doubt most of them know that term…..

• Although watching rising and falling bubbles is a great science fair project and you can drink the apparatus, the key point is that the gas from undersea volcanoes comes from pretty far down, where the pressure is high. Henry’s Law tells you that at depth the solubility of CO2 is very high so the gas never gets to the surface, and mixing is fast enough that it the concentration is never supersaturated (fizzy coke) so that it pops out at the surface.

• I know I don’t know the science that is obvious here. How well you pick out discrepancies of and the futile efforts of deniers.What I question is your moral responsibility. Unless you are here to impress each other with your knowledge, what good are you doing. Deniers are all over the Internet spreading there lies, along with an incapacity to grasp the science of global warming. Deniers numbers have grown and so has their ability to manipulate the media . Will they become a force to reckon with,
I’m not quite sure. I know that Chris Colose, Steve Bloom, and David Benson, have been posting at Denier sites. Shouldn’t you?As my grandmother used to say, it wouldn’t hurt.
I have been posting everyday for at least a year. Not only are dneiers wrong, but they lie,insult,cheat and disinform others. Like the other lemurs they should quietly crawl over that God given cliff. If anyone here has had a bad day, needs an emotional outlet, or loves pure science, we need you.Thanks, Kipp

• Dave A

Kipp,

Lemurs/ lemmings what’s the difference? Keep following the latter, you’re good at it.

• blue

In order to drive the point home, I have taken the liberty of replicating the Spencer analysis, replacing the C12 and C13 data with:
Dow Jones Index, 1990-1999 (1990=100)
Gold price, 1970-1979

Data from here:
http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=358
http://www.kitco.com/scripts/hist_charts/yearly_graphs.plx
Derivatives are simply the difference to the preceding month, multiplied by 12.

Raw data: http://i43.tinypic.com/1217rig.jpg
“Trend”: http://i41.tinypic.com/vigpeh.png
“InterAnnual”: http://i42.tinypic.com/2ajzw55.png
The images are free for anyone to use.

As expected, the slope in both trends is identical.

If you don’t mind, Tamino, I will also post them to the Spencer article on WUWT, including a link to this post, unless you want to do so yourself. If you would like to have a copy of the Excel file, just drop me an e-mail.

• David B. Benson

Kipp Alpert // January 19, 2009 at 9:44 pm — I don’t vist misinformation (AKA denier) sites. I do post on some sites, all of the ones I visit being on the RealClimate ‘Other Opinions” sidebar. Several of those web sites have comments by the misinformed (AKA deniers).

This site does also, to a certain extent.

• RE: Kipp Alpert // January 19, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I see many of these names on other sites like RC, Deltoid, Rabett Run, etc., and many of us post in our local sites where we may have some visibility and credibility. We argue with people and look to convince the lurkers.

I have been mulling over the idea of reaching a church audience by teaching a short course in climate change - my denomination (I think the same as BPL’s) officially endorsed the science about 20 years ago. If anyone’s had any experience with doing this at the community level, I wouldn’t mind hearing about your experiences.

We have a real opportunity to communicate the science - there will be pushback to any proposals and the more that people can be educated, the greater the chance for success.

• DAVEA:Rodents yes!Count the mice davey!

• > what should one do if …

finds much, for example:

Title: A Study of the Abundance and 13C/12C Ratio of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
to Advance the Scientific Understanding of Terrestrial Processes Regulating
the GCC

Charles D. Keeling
Period of Report: 1 August, 1995 through 31 July, 2005

• DAVDave A // December 31, 2008 at 11:46 pm

Nice graphs,
Please explain what caused the temperature rise between about 1909 and 1940, which is roughly at the same rate as that from 1979 to 2000.
[Response: Hasn't this question been answered before? Were you just not paying attention?
Start with this. Add a small increase in solar output, and a small but nonzero increase in greenhouse gas forcing. That's what the computer models do, and they do it very well.]

Dave,Like I said,just count the mice Lenny!
KIPP

• David Benson:You post at Accuweather I think.
What do you think that site is?Isn’t it almost all deniers too.Or do you think there is some hope.
Thanks

• David B. Benson

Kipp Alpert // January 20, 2009 at 12:50 am — Brett does his best to appear neutral and his threads are usually quite reasonable; there are exceptions. Many of the commenters there are among the misinformed, but not all.

I think I might have actually persuaded one that AGW is real, but I’ll admit it is slow, slow going there.

• deech56:Sounds like a great plan. I didn’t intend
to accuse anyone and I certainly enjoy your posts. I guess the NEO-CONS are coming out of the woodwork for some reason.The deniers on my site ask the dumbest questions, so I can see that people at your level of understanding might get slightly bored as well. I printed out one thousand Christmas cards this year,black ink of course. I used a photograph of a house below The Alps, with a message about saving energy this Holiday.I put them in every mailbox of those who had an abundance of Christmas lights.
It probably didn’t do much.Last year I went to a Greenparty meeting and they only cared about equal rights for woman. I must do more. It is a very serious problem we have,for sure.KIPP

• > for some reason
Check the news tomorrow, you’ll see what changed.

http://wpcomics.washingtonpost.com/feature/09/01/19/nq090119.gif

• Eli Rabbett — Although watching rising and falling bubbles is a great science fair project and you can drink the apparatus, the key point is that the gas from undersea volcanoes comes from pretty far down, where the pressure is high. Henryâ€™s Law tells you that at depth the solubility of CO2 is very high so the gas never gets to the surface, and mixing is fast enough that it the concentration is never supersaturated (fizzy coke) so that it pops out at the surface.

Thank you.

If CO2 from mid ocean rifts quickly outgassed to the atmosphere (and therefore was a large part of the Mauna Loa CO2 signal) this same “outgassing” property would make it virtually impossible for the abyssal plain to hold enough dissolved oxygen to support any life at all. Which it most surely does.

• DrCarbon

Tamino, Thanks. Just thanks.

My word, that was an enjoyable post.

• Timothy Chase

Tamino wrote in the essay:

Claims that atmospheric CO2 increase isnâ€™t due to fossil-fuel burning are about as dumb as it gets. The destructive aspect is that here we are wasting time on a subject about which there is no doubt. Seriously: we might as well be discussing whether the earth is flat. Maybe thatâ€™s the entire point: make those who want to increase knowledge about global warming waste their time rather than share important, and correct, information.

When I was debating creationists, you would see the very same creationist pulling out the very same long since refuted argument against the very sake proponent of evolutionary biology — only a couple months, weeks or a few days later. I got the sense that they genuinely wanted you to waste your time looking up the earlier point in the debate where it had been covered before. And likewise, it oftentimes seemed that they feigned stupidity to see just how idiotic an argument people would take seriously and respond to.

This is how I explained it at one point:

On the internet, there are a great many games which get played, and a big part of the winning strategy is to realize what game the others are playing.

Now if you have two individuals who are both well-educated, one of the things which they will tend to do is try to impress each other with how much they know, or they will try to show something off and get the other to say, “That’s interesting!”

But now let us assume that you have two individuals, one who is “book-smart” and the other who is “street-smart.” The “street-smart” individual will probably already know that he doesn’t know as much as the individual who is “book-smart,” and he will probably look at any “normal competition” as something which is being “played” on an uneven playing field.

So what does he do?

Well, one thing he can do is play the role of someone who is dumber than he actually is. If he can get the “book-smart” individual to buy the act, then at least in his own mind, he can view this as proof that he is actually smarter than that “book-smart” fellow.

Is he really smarter?

No, of course not. It really doesn’t take that much smarts to play stupid. Additionally, there can’t really be that joint act of discovery which occurs during genuine dialogue. So everyone loses — inasmuch as no one really gets all that closer to the truth. Assuming truth is what everyone is after. But perhaps that is a faulty assumption.

From a Pragmatic Point of View: Different Games…
Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:50 am
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/creation_evolution_debate/message/81036

• TCOisbanned?

Kipp, you with your cards for light users, remind me of that South Park where Kyle’s dad gets a hybrid and then gets smoggy smuggy and starts ticketing SUVs with fake tickets in the parking lot.

• Jim Eager

Timothy, on another forum I once had a â€śstreet-smartâ€ť heckler/denier/obfuscator send me a private message boasting how much he loved playing the troll game and making us “book-smart” folks chase our tails round and round.

It backfired for him as I then posted his pm to the forum and he was banned. Bad netiquette , I know, but a necessary public service.

• Raven

Spencer should probably have that post taken down. He made it clear in his post that he was speculating and was still working through the issues. Once he saw the replies coming from alarmists and skeptics he seemed to realize that he was way off base. In fact he contradicts that article on his new blog with this statement:

“First, the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 is, on average, only about 50% of what mankind emits. This means that Mother Nature takes out about 50% of the â€?excessâ€™ CO2 that we pump into the atmosphere every year.”

No questions about where the stuff comes from now.

No serious skeptic believes that extra CO2 does not come from humans. Just like no serious skeptic believes that that CO2 is a GHG that will cause some warming. The real questions are how much warming and whether warming is necessarily bad.

• Raven

Oops…

Just like no serious skeptic DOES NOT believe that that CO2 is a GHG that will cause some warming.

• Let us count the serious:)

Gerlich
Tscheuschner
Miskolczi
and about a zillion more (or at least 604)

Basically it’s denial in depth. You knock down one level and there is a guy like Raven saying be reasonable. Sorry birdy.

• Thank you Raven, for that.

Spencer’s experiencing the inverse of “just because you’re on their side doesn’t mean they’re on your side” — much like what Judith Curry, over at CA, mentioned Lindzen as saying:

“… Lindzen said. He differentiated ‘industry stooges’ as a separate category, people who were interested in obfuscating the issue towards supporting their own agenda, as opposed to people that are interested in the scientific truth. This is an important distinction, separating the Marshall Institute type reports (many of which are of the stooge nature), vs the more credible scientific scepticism. The challenge is for a bona fide skeptic to steer clear of being associated with stoogedom….” http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=857#comment-52757

Cautionary for any scientist — as Curry takes pains to point out there.

There are wackos on all sides of an issue who will glom onto a scientist they think favors their wackiness, onto a host of a blog more friendly to the wackiness than the science.

• blue

My comment at WUWT is posted. We’ll see, whether it is going to have any impact.

• Philippe Chantreau

Raven, why should the post be taken down? So that people visiting can not realize to what extent Spencer was ready to go on occasions to try to make a point, regardless of all existing science? So that nobody can wonder if he was deceitful or just grossly incompetent in Maths on that particular one?

Tamino did not take down his exchange with Jolliffe, the only real blunder I have ever seen him do. And that was not even Maths related, only his interpretation of Jolliffe’s position was wrong.

On the other hand, Watts has repeatedly shown his lack of competence to tackle the issues he fills his blog with, from the poor design of his paint experiment to his “analysis” of time series. Not to mention buying into D’Aleo’s crap, which was thoroughly debunked on this site. Of course, when a big blunder happens there, the thread gets hidden, comments blocked and eventually, the thing disappears. Don’t try to deny that, Tamino had first hand experience of it.

And why is there no trace of John V’s work at WUWT?

Serious skeptics eh? Right. The pompous tone and self righteousness dripping all over that thread did nothing to catch Spencer’s faulty Maths, even if some did not buy into his argument for other reasons. Some skepticism that is.

That Watts’ miserable site could win an award is only indicative of how low science comprehension is among the people who get their science from blogs. There is nothing there but pretty pictures and good PR. It looks nice, for sure.

• Raven

Philippe,

Spencer went out on a limb. He admitted he went out on a limb. And when confronted with data that made it clear his hypotheses was unsupportable he changed his mind. If anything, that should give people more confidence in his integrity as a scientist.

As for Watts, he made it clear he was not interested in doing any analysis of the stations until he had covered as many stations as possible.

• dhogaza

Spencer went out on a limb. He admitted he went out on a limb. And when confronted with data that made it clear his hypotheses was unsupportable he changed his mind. If anything, that should give people more confidence in his integrity as a scientist.

Spencer’s been making this argument for over a year. He’s not done.

Raven’s caused me to invent a new word:

Deniapologist.

• t_p_hamilton

Raven:”As for Watts, he made it clear he was not interested in doing any analysis of the stations until he had covered as many stations as possible.”

I’m curious. Why are the “good” stations done so far insufficient to perform an analysis? What makes you think he is interested in doing any analysis at all?

• Raven writes: As for Watts, he made it clear he was not interested in doing any analysis of the stations until he had covered as many stations as possible.

And yet, he was happy to post all kinds of photos and commentary about individual stations, strongly implying that there’s a problem with GISTEMP. No need to wait for the analysis to do that!

Watts’s project was all about PR. Post lots of sarcastic and inflammatory comments, while indefinitely postponing the analysis. Get the masses riled up.

• Philippe Chantreau

Raven says:”Spencer went out on a limb. He admitted he went out on a limb. And when confronted with data that made it clear his hypotheses was unsupportable he changed his mind.”

And then Raven suggestion: the post should be taken down. As in: let’s get rid of the evidence.

And still says nothing about his Maths, the real subject of this thread. Which part of Spencer was that, integrity or competence?

You’re right, the post should be taken down, just so that the Watts Hoi Polloi can continue to refer to him deferently as “Dr Spencer.” It’s not like there is an overabundance of doctors that you can use for appeal to authority.

Watts not interested to do an analysis until all stations are in? Why? How long is that gonna take? That’s being really cautious after all the suggestions that GISTEMP is a useless fraud. John V had an excellent preliminary analysis, why not keep it and qualify it as such?

• TCOis obnoxious:Your a denier I assume.Your not intellegent enough to be a skeptic. You watch south park and other cartoons.Read the Ar4 report,Hank Roberts,Chris Colose,G.Tamino,David Bloom,deech56, and then we can talk.BTW,I have no Issue with Gays, but your little knitpicky stuff is a bit of a nuisance.
Cling on to someone else please. KIPP

Nice one “Eli Rabett” but why can’t we see the data for this model and the software you used to arrive at your theory? Which is, you fail to point out, only that .. a theory!

EliRabett // January 19, 2009 at 3:34 am

Something tells me that there should be an annual variation in R which basically tells you that winter the N Hemisphere is heating season, and summer growing season.

Hmm you see it in CO
http://edoc.mpg.de/28867

• Dave A

deech56,

“my denomination (I think the same as BPLâ€™s) officially endorsed the science about 20 years ago.

And this is reason enough for you to accept it to?

• Terry

Re Eli

EliRabett // January 19, 2009 at 3:34 am

“Something tells me that there should be an annual variation in R which basically tells you that winter the N Hemisphere is heating season, and summer growing season.”

I agree and it also seems to me that you should be able to see a difference bewteen ocean sourced C and new C depending on the mix of fuels.

• dhogaza

And this is reason enough for you to accept it to?

He didn’t say that, Dave. Does your dishonesty know no bounds whatsoever?

• RE: Dave A // January 20, 2009 at 11:18 pm “deech56, ‘my denomination (I think the same as BPLâ€™s) officially endorsed the science about 20 years ago.’ And this is reason enough for you to accept it to?”

No, I’ve been following the science for oh, about the last 25 years, and it’s the published data that has clinched it for me. In fact, until I checked last summer, I wasn’t aware that my National Assembly had taken an official position. My point was that my POV would not be inconsistent with the position my denomination has taken. Outreach should be possible.

We learn from sites like this and RC and take what we’ve learned to make the case for the science. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and a lot of people spouting off things that are just plain wrong, wouldn’t you agree?

• Hank Roberts

This is for Dave:
http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html

• Deech56
BPLWhen I went to college was the Boston Public Library.So form your Christian response to DaveA,I have faith in your answer.KIPP

• Philippe Chantreau

Kipp, give a break to TCO. He got himself banned at Lucia’s, that ought to count for something. And he is, in fact, a skeptic of the better quality. He has agreed with me up to 95% in the past. He’s too lazy to have his own blog but if he did it would be better than Watts and McI together. And, accessorily, he is obnoxious, especially when drunk.

• Philippe Chantreau;
Are you French Canadian by any chance.My wife is from Toure,south of Paris.Sure, I’ll be good to TCO.I have four sures left in my pocket.I have been over at Accuweather for a year fighting the antiscience neo-con fringe AKAdeniers.I will keep following this post as I do love Science.I hope I will pick something up to get off of this plateau I’ve been on. peace, Kipp

• Joel Shore

The interesting thing about all this is that Spencer says “Significantly, note that the ratio of C13 variability to CO2 variability is EXACTLY THE SAME as that seen in the trends!” Shouldn’t this already have been a tip-off to him that something was wrong?!?! I.e., he might expect to get approximately the same result but to get EXACTLY the same slope to 5 significant figures and EXACTLY the same R^2 should have been an immediate tip-off that perhaps this second test was not mathematically distinct from the first!

Talk about confirmation bias…There is something that ought to be screaming out to him, “Wait…This doesn’t seem sensible!” and yet he ignores it because he likes what the result implies!

• Regarding the dissemination of good info, I post on a national news site pretty regularly; for a time all they were hearing there was denialist boilerplate. Now there are several posters who bring the facts out. The differences in factual citation and support are pretty striking; the denialists run strongly to unsupported assertion. When they do try to bring in some support, the analysis can be pretty weak at times; the comedic high point for me was attempting to explain the difference between a smoothed trend line and the raw data plot on a Spencer graph. Poor guy just couldn’t get it. . .

Here’s the thing. IF CO2 WERE to start coming out of the oceans, mainly, that’d actually be almost as bad as all the clathrates melting.

It would mean that the oceans are no longer absorbing our excess CO2. At some temperature and degree of saturation, that will actually happen if we do nothing or make things worse. That’s late-stage, apocalyptic stuff.

They never fail to come up with new mind-bogglers. “CO2 comes from the oceans” as something that is supposed to make us feel complacent about climate change! It’s worse than Reagan saying trees caused air pollution.

• Bob North

Joel - While I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, you are right. Any correlation in a natural system that is exactly the same to five figures is screaming “check me!”

• Dave A

Deech 56,

Thereâ€™s a lot of misinformation out there and a lot of people spouting off things that are just plain wrong, wouldnâ€™t you agree?”

I wouldn’t disagree :-)

• Marion Degaldo:
Working with Pavel Tishchenko of the Russian Pacific Oceanological Institute in Vladivostok, Dr.Lee and his colleague Geun-Ha Park used a cruise on the Professor Gagarinskiy, a Russian research vessel, last May to take seawater samples from 24 sites across the Sea of Japan.
They compared the dissolved CO2 in the seawater with similar samples collected in 1992 and 1999. The results showed the amount of CO2 absorbed during 1999 to 2007 was half the level recorded from 1992 to 1999.
Crucially, the study revealed that ocean mixing, a process required to deposit carbon in deep water, where it is more likely to stay, appears to have significantly weakened.
Announcing their results in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists say: “The striking feature is that nearly all anthropogenic CO2 taken up in the recent period was confined to waters less than 300 metres in depth. The rapid and substantial reduction … is surprising and is attributed to considerable weakening of overturning circulation.” You mean trees don’t cause air pollution? KIPP

http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/1vd.html

• Hank Roberts:You ever read any R.W.Emerson also a Unatarian.I like the European style of government. My Grandad was a socialist, who escaped Russia. You like Kurt too.Kipp

• Joel Shore

As Anthony notes on his blog, Spencer has “responded” to this post with a new post here: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/increasing-atmospheric-co2-manmade%E2%80%A6or-natural/

Unfortunately, he has a strange idea of responding, which seems to entail not even acknowledging his previous work or the criticism that tamino has made concerning it but instead throwing up some new arguments.

The new one looks quite hokey to me already. His derivation of a relationship between dCO2/dt and the temperature doesn’t look too convincing…and on physical grounds, it seems bizarre. Does he really think a 1deg rise in temperature would result in CO2 increasing at a rate of 1.7 ppm/yr? That would make for a very interesting paleoclimate record! I would imagine that the correlation will be much more direct if you just correlate the temperature to a certain additive amount of CO2 rather than a change in dCO2/dt but I haven’t tried to see if this is the case.

[Response: "Hokey" doesn't begin to describe it. He *really* doesn't understand what he's doing.]

• Hank Roberts:Unless I am missing the point,aren’t temperatures and the rise of CO2 different.I mean if temperatures rise as a result of Atmospheric GHG’s alone there could be a correlation. Temperatures not only rise from GHG”S but solar Irradiance. and noise like ENSO and many other climate scenarios. Conversely, CO2 makes the temperatures rise, but mixes with other gases, and also is rising geometrically. From the Keeling curve you know that the two mirror each other,but there is no real way to gauge a signal that is growing in ways we are not sure of.
. There is a direct correlation between temperatures and CO2, but only as cause and effect. There is no way to measure them together. Not with any specificity. Even models can’t predict, with any certainty, because of the complexities I have brought up.KIPP

• Um, not sure where you’re going with that or why address it to me. Are you summing up what you know? Might be time to do a blog page of your own, just to write stuff and ask people to check it; I’m not any kind of expert here.

Offhand, I’d leave out the word “geometrically” (whatever the rate of change is, it’s not that well understood, see Tamino’s thread on whether it’s even a line or a curve on the chart); and I’d say something other than “mirror” (it’s not a precise match).

• Krugman quotes Keynes on the economy:

“… to-day we have involved ourselves in a colossal muddle, having blundered in the control of a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand.”

That reminds me of Broecker on the climate as an ‘angry beast’ — even less controllable!

• Philippe Chantreau

Kipp, I’m from the Alps but my Dad’s family is from Touraine and I know the region quite well. Now, I’m in the great Pacific Northwest and probably not about to leave, love it here! For all the talk on the winter, our snowpack is a low so far, skiing not so good yet.

• Joel Shore

[Response: "Hokey" doesn't begin to describe it. He *really* doesn't understand what he's doing.]

Yeah…I am willing to believe that. Actually, now that I look at it again, I can’t for the life of me figure out what he is plotting in the last figure where all the data fall PERFECTLY on a straight line. Can anybody figure out what it is he is actually plotting there?

• Joel Shore

Oh…Oh…I think I got it! “Raw minus detrended” means (raw data) - [(raw data) - (linear fit to get trend)], which of course means he is just plotting the two linear trends against each other but doing that at every single data point.

Well, that would get you an R^2 of 1…No doubt about it!

Man, this is getting to be like a really bad horror movie!

• dhogaza

It’s obvious that Spencer has given up any hope of attacking the science on its home turf (Science Stadium?:) ) In the past, with Christy, he’s valiantly fought with satellite temp reconstructions that “proved the planet was cooling”, etc. Flawed - but plausibly flawed, because no one claims that these reconstructions are easy to do. OK, at least one bone-headed mistake (the famous algebraic sign error), but given the complexity of the effort, plausibly easy enough to miss.

Now, it seems he’s given up entirely at the professional level. He’s tossing out absolute crap that at best causes his peers to laugh, at worst wonder about his sanity. It’s certainly detrimental to his reputation.

But as a “real live climate scientist”, it is obviously playing well in the denialsphere. He’s done credible work in the past, therefore everything he does must be credible, right? As long as he’s on the right (denialist) side of the fence.

One has to really wonder what’s going on with the man. Is his world view so shattered by the consequences of our increased understanding of climate science that he has to sacrifice his honor and reputation in an attempt to preserve it?

It is just strange …

• Philippe Chantreau

There has been a number of posts on the WUWT thread since Blue’s “analysis” but NONE that addresses Spencer’s math blunder. It is as if they don’t even understand…

• RE: Philippe Chantreau // January 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm “There has been a number of posts on the WUWT thread…”

• “Does he really think a 1deg rise in temperature would result in CO2 increasing at a rate of 1.7 ppm/yr?”

Does he not expect actually a 1deg rise to cause almost 3 ppm/yr increase considering that 1.24 intercept at zero temp anomaly? The Englebeen response pointed out that little tidbit. I am a little worried that if I think about it anymore I may unlearn something.

• Maybe the dumbening is already happening, though to be fair that could be anyway. To clarify… My ~3 ppm/yr increase is for _the_ value of 1deg warming, while Joel Shore was surely talking about the general any increase of 1deg corresponding to an increase in 1.7 ppm/yr.

• Philip Chantreau or Deech 56:
My last post to Hank Roberts was about the correlation of temperature and CO2. You are talking about their corresponding mathmatical relationship..My comments then,are off point, right. If you understand what I was trying to say, could you be good enough to respond.I am learning, but perhaps I am in the wrong place, considering how much I don’t know. Thanks,Kipp

• Hank Roberts;Thought you would help me understand a little more,am trying to learn.
Thnaks.

• David B. Benson

Kipp Alpert // January 22, 2009 at 9:09 pm — Try “Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast” by David Archer;
sample chapter 4 on greenhouse gases available as a pdf here:
http://forecast.uchicago.edu/samples.html

and also “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

Review of above:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04E7DF153DF936A35753C1A9659C8B63

• RE: Kipp Alpert // January 22, 2009 at 9:09 pm

I am far from an expert in this field (have any vaccines question?), but you did ask, so I will try to muddle through an answer. The CO2/temperature relationship or correlation is a bit complicated, since the sensitivity (about 3 degrees C/doubling - at equilibrium) depends on feedbacks, so a simple chart may not be enough. There is a Wikipedia article on “Climate Sensitivity” and you might try RealClimate starting here and here. A perusal of the IPCC report WG1 could also be useful.

• Philippe Chantreau

Deech: Typical indeed. After drowning the fish with the anonymous BS thingy, Watts can close the post and anyone reading through it will be under the impression that Spencer addressed critics, while in fact the true enormity of his blunder will escape most. Pure “skeptic” PR strategy at work, once again. Looks like Raven’s wish was partially granted. Instead of getting rid of the evidence, they bury it in a pile of dung. Even a DEA dog would have a hard time to find the substance in the pervasive stench of bull**it.

Kipp, deech has good pointers. The RC “start here” link is definitely one of the best sources.

• David B.Benson:Thanks man.Read the History of Global Warming,but will read the pdf.Thanks.
Kipp

Kipp, If you go to Barton Paul Levenson’s site, he has done some fairly straightforward analysis showing correlation between temperature and CO2 to better than 70%–pretty good in a noisy system. Of course the best evidence is the fact that we are typing and reading this rather than encased in ice.

• deech56:Thanks.Some goodies.I will keep following along until I get it.I knowCO2doubles=3 degrees,yes?My question is
that temperatures will go up and correlate to the amount of atmospheric co2, but how can you know by how much?Sinks burn,Oceans buffer and acidify, and the arctics reflectivity is always changing. That so many parts are changing, including solarI, that temps and co2 correlate but are never static. So if you read 3 degrees is doubling, then how would you know this. Models
and best predictions,I guess.Thanks againK

• Phillippe Chnatreau: u the man!My best friend worked with a French guy, and he had to keep him stoned, so he would’nt bitch to much. I wish my Marie got high. Thanks for your help! K

• > how do you know it’s 3 degrees

Read the IPCC reports (there have been four so far at 5-year intervals) and notice how the various estimates have changed over time — there’s a range stated and a most likely number.

Notice the distribution of the probability estimate — it’s not a “bell curve” but a skewed curve; there’s an upper limit, which is still a “long tail” though it’s being slowly reduced, and the lower limit which has always been “somewhere above zero” (we know it’s somewhere above zero because we know the physics of adding CO2, as Weart explains).

and look up “Charney sensitivity”

• Shorter version: We know climate sensitivity from studies of past climate, models, and rapid fluctuations caused by such things as volcanoes.

CO2, solar, land use, etc all FORCE the climate. What we mean by this is that changes in these things can be imposed from outside the atmosphere (greenhouse gas changes can ALSO occur as changes IN the atmosphere, when they are they act as feedbacks, this can be confusing).

Our estimates of climate sensitivity have NOT changed much since Arhennius and certainly not much in the past 50 years ~3 C/doubling CO2 with a range of 2-5 and a long tail on the high end. The limits have been narrowed a bit.

Don’t expect it to get any more precise, there is too much variation in the system and you cannot isolate any one cause or even effect.

• Ray, thanks for the recommendation of my site. :D I don’t think I have the correlation analysis there, I think I’ve just mentioned it in a few blogs. I’ve been thinking of putting up a page about it, but I’m weak on the kind of residual analysis that could undermine my conclusions. Tamino, would you be willing to look at a short essay of mine on this subject and add something about stationarity and residual models so I don’t make a fool of myself? I would then post the whole thing on my website, giving you full credit for your contribution, of course. Please let me know. If you don’t have the time for this sort of thing, that’s okay. God knows you’ve got enough to do already!

[Response: Send it, I'll take a look.]

• Tamino,
great job on this one! I give credit where credit is due. Solid post and great usage of the math and evidence.

• caerbannog

For those who are interested in OD’ing on “bag of hammers” stupidity, the contest for the title of stupidest global-warming denier over on the San Diego Union-Tribune climate-change discussion board is heating up (link http://forums.signonsandiego.com/forumdisplay.php?f=153
)

The “Three Stooges” of global-warming denial, “Billyball”, “PeterSD”, and “fishfinger” are now duking it out in a knock-down, drag-out contest for the title of champion idiot on the SD-UT climate-change discussion board.

So if you looking to overdose on “stupid”, you might want to check those clowns out.

Or maybe you’d rather poke yourselves in the eye with a sharp stick instead.

• Ooh caerbannog, I am so borrowing your NSF survey results link - thanks. I have my own set of battles to fight.

• I think that Arhennis’ (sic) estimate was 5 - 6 C. So we’ve certainly brought it down, since the current best estimate of S is 3C. However, his estimate is still within the uncertainty…

• caerbannog

The idiots over on the SD-UT climate-change board just keep on delivering the goods!

“Second, as I stated earlier, it is the atmosphere and clouds within the atmosphere of Venus which retains the heat from the sun. Mercury, on the other hand has no clouds, no atmosphere, nothing to retain the heat. Without an atmosphere and the associated clouds heat is not retained, hence, contributing to exactly what I stated before, convective cooling is the reason why Mercury is cooler than Venus. Had you had an ounce of common sense you would have understood that SIMPLE fact, but NO, you have to make feeble attempts to insult people.”

• RE: caerbannog - the sad thing is that that little bit of hand waving, stated with complete certainty, looks logical to a non-technical audience.

Caerbannog, Ouch, Ouch! Damn! Stop that! That sort of stupidity is rare even among the 27% who still supported Dubya!

• t_p_hamilton

“convective cooling is the reason why Mercury is cooler than Venus”

A person who would say this could easily be outwitted by a bag of hammers.

• Well, you have to make allowances for the denialspeak meaning of “common sense.”

• Tom G

Correct me if I’m wrong…
Isn’t convective cooling difficult without a medium such as an atmosphere?
Doesn’t Mercury cool by way of radiant cooling when it rotates?
I own a number of hammers but I have no desire to impersonate one…

[Response: You are not wrong -- except perhaps that you should change the word "difficult" to "impossible."]

• caerbannog

WARNING: Handle the material below carefully in order to avoid 3rd-degree “stupid” burns.

In response to Billyball’s idiotic post about Mercury and convection, I asked the following question:

“How can there be convective cooling on Mercury if it doesn’t have an atmosphere?”

To which Billyball replied (link http://forums.signonsandiego.com/showpost.php?p=3469337&postcount=300):

“You’re right, it is stupid, and I wish I could draw pictures to make it simple for your mind to understand.

Heat is retained by an atmosphere. An atmosphere has clouds. With no clouds to retain heat the temperature drops. Even with an atmosphere, and no clouds on a calm night stand outside just to see what happens. IT GETS COLDER STUPID. Mercury, while lacking an atmosphere does exactly the same thing because THERE ARE NO CLOUDS TO RETAIN THE HEAT. Venus has those clouds and retains the heat BECAUSE NOT ALL OF IT ESCAPES AT NIGHT, like it does on Mercury.

Did you EVER pay attention to third grade science? If you did, you need to get a refund. You won’t cut your self with the knife, there are sharper ones.”

Like I said, handle carefully — the stupid here is white-hot.

• Tom G

Thanks Tamino…it’s been a very long time since I’ve been in a science class and sometimes I’m a little hazy on things but as soon as I saw convection mentioned a little bell went off…
I’m just a truck driver but even I caught that one.

• He’s mixed up ‘radiative’ and ‘convective’ — but there’s a germ of understanding there.

Not that I think you can argue someone into understanding, but he does understand that without any atmosphere that can hold heat, heat goes away fast. But an atmosphere transparent to infrared would lose the heat too.

It is warmer under clouds made of something that will interact with infrared going out (as greenhouse gases). That’s true for Earth where the clouds are water vapor, a greenhouse gas.

Venus’s clouds are “Composed mainly of sulfuric acid along with chlorine and fluorine”
http://www.universetoday.com/2008/06/10/new-details-on-venus-clouds-from-venus-express/ (plenty of convection visible in the pictures) (anyone know if sulfuric acid in those conditions has an infrared cross section?).

He may not know that CO2 is opaque in the infrared, while transparent in the visible range — so the clouds aren’t really needed with Venus’s atmosphere: “carbon dioxide, 96.5% by volume.”
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/HBASE/Solar/venusenv.html

“A completely dry planet with a habitable temperature range is no problem, at least if one only needs it to remain habitable for a few hundred million years. For example, Venus with a pure Nitrogen-Oxygen atmosphere would have a mean surface temperature of around 300K…. A word of warning to those Dune scientists to wish to re-engineer the climate to bring on rain and surface water: if they succeed, they will almost certainly precipitate a runaway greenhouse. If Dune is already in a habitable
temperature range without much water vapor greenhouse effect, introducing an ocean is likely to be fatal.”
geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/BAMS_SFatm.pdf

• Philippe Chantreau

OK, so convective cooling happens without an atmosphere because there are no clouds. Makes sense.

Are you going to ask him next how long the night last on Venus? Looks like you could really have a lot of fun with the guy. I wonder what kind of clouds he might find in Mars’ atmosphere. Oh wait, dust clouds, of course…

• RE: caerbannog // January 28, 2009 at 3:50 am

He didn’t answer the question, did he. Maybe if you ask him for a reference to show how convective cooling can happen without an atmosphere - or maybepoint hm to a definition of convection. Oh and I see your hands full with the hockey stick chart - being hit with the chart from the 1995 IPCC report. Have fun.

Hank said, “Heâ€™s mixed up â€?radiativeâ€™ and â€?convectiveâ€™ â€” but thereâ€™s a germ of understanding there. ”

Perhaps, but this is the sort of “germ” that should be treated with strong antiseptic. The guy refers to 3rd grade science–that’s probably the last class he had.
The whole thing reminds me of a “Physics for Poets” test I had to grade one time:
The students were given the task of defining the three modes of heat transfer, convection, conduction and radiation. Convection tended to be either right or wrong–mostly wrong. Radiation elicited the usual onslaught of anti-nuke stupidity. On conduction, though, one sweet young thing wrote, “Conduction–when 2 bodies get hot by rubbing…”

Caerbannog, an admonition from Mr. Twain, “Never argue with an idiot. They’ll bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

• t_p_hamilton

Maybe you could remind this fellow how a convection oven works. It blows the hot air around in the oven. This requires - an atmosphere!

• Harold Pierce Jr

ATTN: Hank

There never ever will be a run away greenhouse effect, because as one hemisphere is warming up, the other is cooling down and vis versa. As soon as the sun drops below the horizon in the polar zones, the temperatures plunge to quite low values. Always has and always will. For a given temp and pressure the air can hold only so much moisture, the excess being shed as rain.

Incidently, rain brings down lots of CO2 since it fairly soluble in water (cf, soda water). Rain water usually has pH of 4.5 to 5 depending on temperature and pressure. Rainwater near O C saturated with CO2 has a pH of 4.5.

Another feature of the earth for removing moisture is mountains, like the really tall ones above 20,000 ft such as those in the Andes. Mt Fuji always has snow near the summit. If world humidity were to raise a lot, much of it would freeze out on these moun tains.

The mountains in Africa lost much of their snow due to wide spread deforestation. I saw a clip on TV about a lady who wants to plant a billion trees to resore the hydrology around the moutains.

• elspi

“There never ever will be a run away greenhouse effect, because as one hemisphere is warming up, the other is cooling down and vis versa.”

No reasonably offer refused.

Ignore the warmist alarmists and their 894F warnings.

It is much cooler than that because :
THERE NEVER EVER WILL BE A RUN AWAY GREENHOUSE EFFECT.

• Harold Pierce Jr

ATTN: TAMINO!

What all of the above evaporates down to is this: There is no uniform temporal and spatial distribution of the fixed gases in the atmosphere and in particular that of CO2 and water vapor. Hence it is not possible to model climate with any useful skill and accuracy.

[<Response: ATTN: HAROLD PIERCE! You're a few hammers short of a bag.]

• > germ

Yeah. Just saying, this is performance art, and the teaching opportunity is not best used by emulating major league wrestling. Tempting as it is to act that way.

We know the research — repeating mistakes makes them more memorable. Notice how those denying the science are _very_ aware of this, they never repost accurate information followed by denial, they always paste the talking points directly.

That works, that’s how human minds work:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/03/AR2007090300933.html

‘Obviously, this has implications for correcting these myths. The article suggests that, rather than repeat them (as the CDC “true and false” pamphlet does, for example), one should just rephrase the statement, eliminating the false portion altogether so as to not reinforce it further (since repetition, even to debunk it, reaffirms the false statement). Ignoring it also makes things worse, as the story noted that other research “…found that when accusations or assertions are met with silence, they are more likely to feel true.”‘

If you can find some smidgeon on which to base a reply with an accurate factual statement instead, you give people something new to remember.

Readers come along afterward. You may feel like you’re in the ring with the Hulking Denialist trying to win. But you’re on the sidewalk talking to a crazy person.

People who don’t know the science who happen by have no idea which of you is which. Leave them something to remember that teaches something.

This copypaste repetition of myself, #219 in the series, will be shorter next time. I hope.

• Sekerob

Harold Pierce Jr., pH 4.5 to 5 for rainwater would be considered serious acid rain, so tell us where that is coming down?

I’ve seen this rain out observation before, so maybe a topical on this might draw some interest. It’s not shown in any Carbon Cycle schematics I recollect to have seen.

I did find a Q&A for Calculate the pH of pure water for a CO2 mixing ratio of 350 ppm at 298 K. What would be the pH at this temperature if the CO2 mixing doubles?
Cost for answer: 2.19 USD ;D

One hemisphere warming being offset by another hemisphere cooling is novel and that bag of hammers trick I’ll leave for another to toss around, proposing a second bag to fit the sledgehammer.

Never to old to learn, albeit slowly these days :D

• Sekerob // January 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Harold Pierce Jr., pH 4.5 to 5 for rainwater would be considered serious acid rain, so tell us where that is coming down?

At 25 ÂşC pH of saturated freshwater under current atmospheric composition is about 5.6. At ~0ÂşC the solubility of CO2 increases by a factor of ~2 which would be a decrease in pH of about 0.3, pH of 4.6 would imply an increase of 10X!

Iâ€™ve seen this rain out observation before, so maybe a topical on this might draw some interest. Itâ€™s not shown in any Carbon Cycle schematics I recollect to have seen.

I did find a Q&A for Calculate the pH of pure water for a CO2 mixing ratio of 350 ppm at 298 K. What would be the pH at this temperature if the CO2 mixing doubles?

• dhogaza

There is no uniform temporal and spatial distribution of the fixed gases in the atmosphere

wow, sounds like the next time I travel to spain I’d better bring an oxygen tank just in case this nonuniformity leads to all the oxygen being concentrated over north america …

• Harold Pierce Jr

ATTN: TAMINO

Like Joe “Rantin Joe” Romm and Gavin “Gavin the Grinch” Schmidt, YOU CAN’T TAKE HAROLD HEAT!

No matter! What I posted is an expanded excerpt of op-ed article, ” The Late John Daly, Death Valley, and the Falsification of the AGW Hypothesis”, which is going to very denier-friendly newspaper in So Cal.

You ae going down Tamino! And I’m going to take you down, big time!

Go read the UIG, Inc article and learn something about air of which you obviously know squat.

Ya know, you see the whole world thru the lense of the least square plot.

[Response: Are you participating in a stupid contest? You win.]

• Tom G

I was wondering if Harold would show up….

• Philippe Chantreau

Harold: “evaporates down.” Somehow, these 2 words just don’t fit very well. I’m sure there was a pun intended, but it does not come out good. Just an impression.

As for this: “If world humidity were to raise a lot, much of it would freeze out on these moun tains,” it somehow does not seem to fit with this:”For a given temp and pressure the air can hold only so much moisture, the excess being shed as rain.” I’m not sure you’ll see the contradiction, however.

But here:”There is no uniform temporal and spatial distribution of the fixed gases in the atmosphere and in particular that of CO2 and water vapor.” This time, you really lost me, which, come to think of it, might be your whole purpose. Whatever. Hammer down (or up).

• sekerob writes: Harold Pierce Jr., pH 4.5 to 5 for rainwater would be considered serious acid rain, so tell us where that is coming down?

Obviously Harold Pierce is spouting nonsense, but rainwater with a pH of 4.5 to 5 is quite common downwind of industrialized areas. The average pH of rainwater in the northeastern US is 4.1 to 4.5, and everywhere east of the Mississippi sees rain with a pH below 5.

I’m not sure what the lowest observed pH values are for acid rain, but monitoring on Mt Washington in NH has found cloud droplets at 2.6 and rain at 3.1, about the pH of undiluted vinegar.

http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/acidrain/2.html

http://www.outdoors.org/conservation/airwater/airwater-acid-rain.cfm

• dhogaza

Atmoz said it last summer better than I can:

# Harold Pierce Jron 19 Jun 2008 at 6:38 am
[Deleted.]

• Sekerob

J, // January 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Okay, so the key driver is pollutants, not CO2. Can’t help you and your forests with that.

Harold Pierce, Jr. says of Tamino: “Ya know, you see the whole world thru the lense of the least square plot.” And aparently you see the whole world through your colon.

Oh, uh, did you realize that “least-squares” is not a plot, but rather a fitting technique? No? Imagine that.

• Philippe Chantreau

Harold, we’re all impressed by the quality and scientific relevance of your sources. Keep going.

• Hank Roberts

Tomorrow, I will be sober.

Or at least sobriety will be an option.

• Tom G

But dhogaza….Harold’s post to Atmoz on the same day at 1:22 pm is rather informative, don’t you think?

• caerbannog

Now PeterSD has jumped back into the fray over at the SD-UT climate-change forum.

Here’s an example of his expertise in basic physics (from http://forums.signonsandiego.com/showpost.php?p=3471637&postcount=36):

Mainly, computer models cannot and do not take into accurate account the impact of our oceans, clouds, the efficiency of precipitation at removing heat from the atmosphere, and other myriad factors that affect our climate.

That bag of hammers is looking smarter every day!

• Harold Pierce Jr writes:

There never ever will be a run away greenhouse effect

There already has been on Venus, and probably on many other planets throughout the Universe. There will be one on Earth about a billion years from now, since the sun is steadily increasing its luminosity.

• Harold Pierce Jr. writes:

There is no uniform temporal and spatial distribution of the fixed gases in the atmosphere and in particular that of CO2 and water vapor.

CO2 is a well-mixed gas, Harold. Its proportion is about the same anywhere on Earth in nearly all of the troposphere and stratosphere, which between them make up 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Water vapor is very variable from place to place. But over the long term (say, a year), the vertical distribution can be pretty accurately modeled as the 3.5th power of the relative pressure (Stephens 1990). I use 3.66 in a recent radiative-convective model.

• ” the fixed gases”
Defined by you as what exactly?
Might I guess you define that as the ones that can’t change even if we add lots more of them?

• dhogaza

The latest dumber than a bag of hammers denialist effort, courtesy of watts…

Who is this person who has single-handedly disproven all of the findings of climate science summarized in thousands of peer reviewed papers?

A MARKETING PROFESSOR from Wharton.

Too funny.

• dhogaza

Oh, geez, even worse, the marketing professor’s remarkable debunking of all of climate science isn’t even recent, and was thoroughly debunked at the time by the good folks at Real Climate.

I’ve got to get over this nasty flu, so I no longer get so damned bored that I wander over to that cesspool of idiocy run by Watts.

I think marohasy’s right up there as a let’s-agree-on-our-Hale-Bopp-doctrine meeting place. as good as watts, etc. easily.

• The Wharton “forecasting expert” appears to be an authority on statistical model forecasting. It appears he has NO EFFING CLUE that the cGCMs are physical models, not statistical models.
But then, neither does Watts. So, its a perfect fit over there.

• RE: lee // January 31, 2009 at 3:17 am

The Wharton â€śforecasting expertâ€ť appears to be an authority on statistical model forecasting. It appears he has NO EFFING CLUE that the cGCMs are physical models, not statistical models. But then, neither does Watts. So, its a perfect fit over there.

Hey, that’s America’s Science Blog(TM) you’re dissing. ;-)

The basic problem is that sites like WUWT (I think Hank had a better acronym) make very logical, coherent arguments, that appear to be compelling to the lay reader. Like it or not, arguments that reassure the reader seem more acceptable than arguments that unsettle the reader. Attempts to present real science are met with cries of “groupthink, ” writing about the consequences are “Chicken Little” and proposing steps to avoid a nasty future are “Blame America first.”

The fundamental flaw is that these seemingly logical arguments are built on a foundation of sand - there’s a fundamental flaw either in the basic information itself (Spencer’s detrending plots) or a misinterpretation of the information (cosmic rays and stratospheric temperatures).

In my world I get into arguments about “approved sources” - why Open Mind and RealClimate are trustworthy and WUWT and Daily Tech are not. For me, the argument hinges on how well the presenter captures the published information or performs the analysis.

This is why I salute caerbannog over in SD (over here in the DC area I’ve been hearing all about the “Gore weather” we’ve had this week) for going back to the basic science and showing the weak foundations of the “logical” arguments he or she is opposing. We should always keep in mind that lurkers and people on the fence are the real audience.

• After some analysis that has really taxed Horatio’s little mousy brain to its maze-running limits, Horatio has arrived at a significantly different value for the ratio dC13/dt / dC12/dt than the one Spencer gave on his graph shown above (0.010952).

Of upward slopes and isotopes

Though almost certainly not the method used by Spencer, an expression for â€ś dC13/dt / dC12/dtâ€ť can be obtained by differentiating both sides of the equation for â€śdelta13CO2â€ť (referred to by Horatio as “deltaC13″)

d/dt {deltaC13} =
d/dt { 1000[ (C13/C12 )/ S â€“ 1] }

where S = 0.0112372 (the C13/C12 ratio for the standard)

Horatio did that and got a significantly different result for the dC13/dt / dC12/dt ratio 0.011084 +- 0.000022 (mean +- 1 std dev) than the mean value claimed by Spencer (0.010952).

Specifically, the mean value for mauna loa over the period 1990 - 2005 obtained with the method described above is 0.011084, which lies outside the 2-sigma range for Spencerâ€™s ratio, (which extends from 0.010912 to 0.010992, assuming his error bar of 0.000020 is 1-sigma) In fact, 0.011084 lies over 6 sigma(!) away from the value given by Spencer (0.010952).

On a lighter (and less taxing) note, Horatio also wrote a goofy poem (Horatio enjoys goofy poetry, but is not offended by others’ different tastes)

• A further note of possible interest.

Horatio wonders if Spencer might possibly have actually determined a different ratio than the one he listed on his graph.

Namely, if what he is displaying on his graph is actually dC13/dt / dCtotal/dt (where dCtotal = dC13 + dC12) — ie, instead of dC13/dt / dC12/dt as he claims — then his value 0.010952 would be consistent with the value 0.011084 for dC13/dt / dC12/dt .

A value of 0.010952 for dC13/dt / dCtotal/dt has a corresponding value for dC13/dt / dC12/dt of 0.011075, which would be consistent with the range 0.011084 +- 0.000022.

But this is pure speculation (and assumes 0.011084 is correct, of course)

One would have to see Spencerâ€™s actual calculations to actually know what he did.

• Tamino, thank you so much for this post. I knew, after watching his testimony, that Spencer was a serious wingnut, but this just shows that there need to be some modifications made to the system of tenure given to professors who make no sense.

• No questions about where the stuff comes from now. … no serious skeptic DOES NOT believe that that CO2 is a GHG that will cause some warming.

Well said, Raven.

Apparently only non-serious skeptics like US astronaut/former Senator Harrison Schmitt, who will be appearing at the next Heartland conference:

Schmitt said historical documents indicate average temperatures have risen by 1 degree per century since around 1400 A.D., and the rise in carbon dioxide is because of the temperature rise.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,493624,00.html

• Sekerob

H. Schmidt, obviously is speaking of Fahrenheit. Sort of the convenient omission, or the lack of appreciation that most of the rest of the globe uses Celsius. I make it ~0.8C since 1900, and if talking land, it’s even more.

• Hank Roberts

Wow. Horatio’s actually contending wit some guy who appears to be demanding copies of the data files used by Tyndall and Arrhenius before he’ll accept their publications as valid.

Teh stupid, it burns.

• Hank Roberts

No, wait, that’s Deech contending in that thread.

• Horatio did some poking around and found some information in biogeochemistry course notes on the CO2 carbon isotope stuff that is consistent with the result Horatio described above — and inconsistent with Spencer’s result.

This is detailed here in an update to Horatio’s original “Of upward slopes and isotopes” post (PS: the course notes are also linked to there)

• RE: Hank Roberts // February 23, 2009 at 8:30 pm “No, wait, thatâ€™s Deech contending in that thread.”

Thanks for the mention. (previous posts were discarded, so this is a stripped-down version).

There are about three or four opponents - one who cannot believe the data because it contains “error,” one who continues to harp on my use of sources, and one who writes a local column and is friends with local politicians, including a County Commissioner who has posted a global warming guide, and rails against the “groupthink” and “consensus” - apparently because the publication record on the opposing side is so thin.

The argument over the NSIDC sensor has been a trip down the rabbit hole.

• OK, it was brought to my attention that there’s a new film out there. I add my response below the quoted portion - anyone is free to join in with additions.

btw - great film by an Irish couple coming out on the flaws and lies of Global Warming. Should be great! Saw it here! (CPAC link)

Oh - this should be a winner. Are you really serious that something promoted at CPAC will be scientifically accurate?

Time to devise the drinking game:

Mention of algore: one drink
Mention that algore is fat: chug the pitcher
CO2 is life: one sparkling drink
Vikings!: one flagon of ale
Groupthink: everybody drink from the same bowl

And from the days of my collegiate Rongo Runs:
CO2 is not rising: Suffering Ba$tard CO2 is rising, but the earth isn’t warming: Dying Ba$tard
The earth is warming, but it’s good for us: Dead Ba\$tard
The earth is warming, and it’s bad for us, but it’s too late to do anything: Malaysian Fogcutter

One drink for appearances by: Spencer, Christy, Gray (William or Vincent), Lindzen, any professor emeritus
Cherry picked data: collect fruit from bottom of glass
Bad math: lose count of number of drinks
It’s been warm in the past: Get last night’s opened beer from back of the couch; extra credit for discovery of cold pizza
It was cold yesterday: drink one mL - who needs the whole glass when one tiny sample will do?

Deech, if your intent is to induce alcohol poisoning in the denialist community, I heartily approve it. I’ll not be imbibing because
1)I won’t be watching the movie
2)I don’t imbibe

When it comes to science policy, our goal has to be to persuade all reasonable people of the correctness of the science and the urgency of the threat. By any reasonable criterion, we’re pretty near our goal. Idiots of the type you are “debating” at the Frederick Post Mortem will never be convinced and wouldn’t have the brain power to contribute to a solution even if they were. Mr. Twain’s admonition about teaching pigs to sing comes to mind.

• RE Ray Ladbury // March 1, 2009 at 12:30 pm :

I do like to have fun - maybe I can get TCO to play the game.

My purpose isn’t to reach those with whom I argue, but to present the scientific view to the lurkers, of whom there are many (some even write to me off-line); the “inactivism” position is strong in this part of Maryland. I do learn a lot by having to defend a rational position, and Open Mind is an important source. When someone posted that Daily Tech article by Michael Asher, I was able to present the need for trend analysis even before Tamino posted his excellent analysis.

On a more constructive side, I did get the go-ahead to teach a course on climate at my church this summer. Right now I am leaning towards Elizabeth Kolbert’s articles in the New Yorker, augmented by material from the literature (but in a form suitable for the layperson), and materials from our denomination (PCUSA). If anyone else has ideas or experience doing this sort of thing, please feel free to add them, or drop me a line at Deech56 at Yahoo dot com. Our host and the regular posters here are an incredible resource.

Frederick Post Mortem - I’ll have to remember that.