Open Mind

Open Thread #12

April 2, 2009 · 538 Comments

Open thread #11 is getting very big, so here’s a new one for faster loading.

Categories: Global Warming

538 responses so far ↓

  • Lazar // April 2, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Reply

    Rising temperatures during 1979-2002 reduced Chinese staple food production (rice, wheat, maize, soy) by approximately 0.7% per decade…

    Climate–crop yield relationships at provincial scales in China and the impacts of recent climate trends
    F. Tao, M. Yokozawa, J. Liu, and Z. Zhang (2009)
    Climate Research Vol. 38, No. 1
    doi: 10.3354/cr00771

    Meantime…

    “After five years of bumper harvests, it will be very difficult to keep grain production growing steadily,” the National Development and Reform Commission said today in its annual report, pledging to keep overall output in the coming year at least steady at 500 million tonnes.

    Satisfying the appetite of a population growing at the rate of 12 million people per year is all the more difficult as the impacts of climate change are felt.

    Lin Erda, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences projects a fall in agricultural yields of 14% to 23% by 2050 due to water shortages and other impacts.

    Northern China, which accounts for 58% of the country’s food production, suffered its worst drought in half a century earlier this year, according to local media. Rising temperatures and over-use of water resources has continued to cause desertification, cutting the cropland available.

    In the face of this, and continued industrial and urban development, it will be a major task for the coming year to be keep the area of arable land above 120 million hectares, Wen told the 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament. This is the minimum that the government has long set for food security.

    Chinese scientists have not reached a consensus about the potential impact of climate change on overall harvests. While some areas may be boosted by warmer, wetter growing conditions, other regions are likely to suffer droughts and floods.

    Lei Ming, an environmental economist at Peking University said the extra spending on agriculture was a precautionary step. “The impact of climate change on food production is uncertain. It may go up, but it is also possible that we will face massive food shortages. To avoid such a risk, we need to prepare ourselves. I think that’s one of the reasons the government is increasing the agriculture budget.”

  • michel // April 2, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Reply

    Cap and Trade Amendments

    One is delighted to see that Ray Ladbury’s determination to defend to the death the drive and shop culture, and its main embodiment on planet Earth, the California freeway system, is shared by the US elected officials.

    We seem to have two amendments, both passed with overwhelming majorities. One of which makes sure that the middle class American will not be subject to any tax increases from climate legislation. That’s excellent, and will help a lot. The other seems to say that the price of energy is not permitted to rise.

    Well, that’s great. I am now writing to my UK Member of Parliament in these terms. I shall say that obviously a climate catastrophe awaits the planet if we continue with business as usual and emit large amounts of CO2. This catastrophe will be so great as to possibly extinct the species (to extinct is now a transitive verb, one of many innovations in our thinking due to climate change).

    So, my letter continues, I support any and all measures no matter how drastic that my government may implement to deal with this problem instantly.

    I have only two small conditions which must be placed on such measures. There must be no reduction in the UK supply of electricity, and there must be no rise in prices of gasoline in the UK. I will point to the striking intellectual innovation of the US Congress and Senate as my precedent. America after all is manfully dealing with the crisis, and has nobly imposed on itself the most rigorous limits, thus setting themselves a real challenge worthy of a great power.

    Small countries do the possible, great powers look for more difficult challenges.

    So the UK should seek to emulate America in the difficulties it imposes on itself in the cutting of emissions, and I think my two conditions will do that pretty well. But if you want to rise to the challenge set by the US, and go one better, why, there is a third condition you might set: gasoline consumption must not fall.

    I do not really see how you could make it much harder to reduce emissions than that. Well, maybe you could demand that the consumption of coal rose at the same time?

  • TCO // April 2, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Reply

    Lazar:

    (Mea culpa): I only skimmed that article and I know there were some significance tests included. You know how intellectually lazy I am, so just take these as one off questions.comments.

    * 0.7%/decade for 2 decades seems like a very small overall change. Given all the other confounding factors (land use, agr methods, social/business phenomenons, disease, etc.) do we really think we can ascribe this change to temp?

    * any ideas if the correlation (if it exists) will stay linear, will reach a point of diminishing effect, or the opposite?

    *Any ideas on either active (top down) or natural (economic driven changes of seed choice, land use, farming method, etc.) response would mitigate these changes?

    * Some of the figures have a heck of a lot of scatter in them and some have parabolic curves drawn in those shotgun plots.

  • Deep Climate // April 2, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Reply

    Hey TCO,

    Did you ever check out my two posts on UAH annual cycle at DeepClimate?

    I thought you were interested ….

    On your question about CA’s discussion of Steig etc., maybe you can narrow down what you think is worthy of attention and summarize it in your own words – surely not the posts by the two Jeffs?

    I find the discussion impossible to follow as Steve leaves in his and others’ mistakes as he goes along. And, as usual, there’s a lot of snark and ill-informed comments to wade through. Do any of us really need to waste time over there?

    Maybe we should wait for an actual publication …

  • Kipp Alpert // April 2, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Reply

    dhogaza:Love your pics.On 78 you have it all there.Have you ever tried using one fake tiny catch-light on eye to intimate where the sun is coming from.16 Cactus ,perfect balance on front light back light and slightly out of focus background, beautiful,perfect picture.66,foggy brown,monochromatic,cool.92,37,9,29 excellent .You have real talent,good eye. Hope to have my stuff up soon. They are mounted on artist canvas, so I have to copy the old fashioned way with thirty degree strobes, baby bank lights,kill reflectivity. I don’t, like the way they copy them at the lab. Really good work.You have a talent for this. No Shit. KIPP

  • Dave A // April 2, 2009 at 10:05 pm | Reply

    Deep Climate,

    It must be a source of eternal wonderment and disappointment to you that your blogs rarely attract any comments whilst CA motors on.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 2, 2009 at 10:10 pm | Reply

    Dhog and Mr.Steck.You both have talent which is the only important thing. I worked in the beginning at Time Life, there is always more to learn. I get brochures, huge ones from Photography Stock Companies, which have a lot of good people pics, where I can steal a couple good Ideas. Look them up and order them from where you work to your name head of PR.
    Photo Researchers, Creaive options,Getty Images, Super Stock. I check those out to get sites. Scientific,landscape peoples stock photos. Peace Out. KIPP

  • Ray Ladbury // April 2, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Reply

    Michel,
    You just can’t imagine how much it means to those of us who still maintain a nodding acquaintance with reality to get these little missives from your little fantasy realm. To those of us who have to deal with messy things like negotiation, compromise and the democratic process can only marvel at your ability to sweep the CA freeway system out of existence with a wave of your hand. We wonder, though, why don’t you just change the laws of physics in your little domain. Oh wait. That’s right. You tried that too.
    Reality has been asking about you. Said he hasn’t heard from you in years. Maybe you should drop him a line.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 2, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Reply

    Getty and superstock by Google.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 2, 2009 at 11:05 pm | Reply

    Go to American Society of Magzine photographers and American Society of media Photographers.Good stuff. Irving Penn,Alfred Eisenstadt,Ansel Adams,Richard Avedon,Annie Libovitz(she devil). You owe me one lesson on physics someday. Kipp

  • P. Lewis // April 2, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Reply

    to extinct is now a transitive verb

    Erm, “extinct” as a (transitive) verb has been around since the mid C17 [SOED] or C15 [Merriam Webster].

  • Kipp Alpert // April 3, 2009 at 12:47 am | Reply

    Dhog.I love to use other things to enhance my prints. Note that one picture on the right foreground is a small light beige stick. I usually retouch right off the print using acrylics and a small windsor newton triple zero series six size brush.Extremely fine point. Most color prints Type c for c-41 or,printer kodak paper, have a thin underlayer of orange or magenta. That helps you undertsand how to retouch with color.Mix white and brown with a small dab of orange and you will match the color you need to hide a small twig witch is a higher light than the area around it.

  • Deech56 // April 3, 2009 at 12:57 am | Reply

    (From previous Open Thread): Dhogaza, those pictures are amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lazar // April 3, 2009 at 12:58 am | Reply

    Hi TCO,

    0.7%/decade for 2 decades seems like a very small overall change. Given all the other confounding factors (land use, agr methods, social/business phenomenons, disease, etc.) do we really think we can ascribe this change to temp?

    [...]

    Some of the figures have a heck of a lot of scatter in them and some have parabolic curves drawn in those shotgun plots.

    Crop yield dependence on growing season temp… I think this is pretty robust… there’s plenty to read, about twenty relevant cites in this paper. Parabolic curves are climate variable vs time (bottom row). The top row is yield vs climate variable, which, though as you say have a fair amount of scatter, look very linear to me. About confounding variables, they took first differences…

    To investigate the climate–yield relationship by province, we used a common approach (Nicholls 1997, Lobell & Field 2007) based on the first-difference time series for yield (ΔYield) and climate (i.e. year to year changes) (ΔTm, ΔTn, ΔDTR and ΔPre). This approach
    avoids the confounding influence of long-term variations such as changes in crop management. The relationships between ΔYield and ΔTm, ΔTn, ΔDTR and ΔPre were evaluated using Pearson correlation analyses. Due to the limited historical sample size, a bootstrap resampling approach was used to estimate the sampling uncertainty associated with the derived regression coefficients. Specifically, the original data was resampled with replacement, a new regression model was computed, and this was repeated 1000×. The simple linear regression allows identification of the most relevant climate parameter for each crop and province. We also conducted multiple linear regressions (MUL), with ΔYield as the dependent variable, and ΔPre, 2 variables of ΔTm and ΔTn, and ΔDTR (decided by the stepping criteria for entry and removal while regressing) as independent variables.

    … what do you think?

    any ideas if the correlation (if it exists) will stay linear, will reach a point of diminishing effect, or the opposite?

    dunno…

    Any ideas on either active (top down) or natural (economic driven changes of seed choice, land use, farming method, etc.) response would mitigate these changes?

    Again, dunno… sorry…

    It’s also mitigating those changes among the other pressures… rising consumption per capita, population growth, desertification, topsoil, fresh water supplies, costs of fertilizer and fossil fuel… with uncertainties in all those, and uncertainties in our ability to adapt… I’d rather hit the brakes.

  • Lazar // April 3, 2009 at 1:05 am | Reply

    Michel,

    You think climate change is really serious, which it is, therefore you’re giving up because of one alleged setback, one alleged vote?

    You’re a nice guy, but I think I’ll never understand you.

    PS… what is your source?

  • Ian Forrester // April 3, 2009 at 1:35 am | Reply

    Lazar, here are some results from a project at the International Rice Research Institute Farm:

    “We analyzed weather data at the International Rice Research Institute Farm from 1979 to 2003 to examine temperature trends and the relationship between rice yield and temperature by using data from irrigated field experiments conducted at the International Rice Research Institute Farm from 1992 to 2003. Here we report that annual mean maximum and minimum temperatures have increased by 0.35°C and 1.13°C, respectively, for the period 1979–2003 and a close linkage between rice grain yield and mean minimum temperature during the dry cropping season (January to April). Grain yield declined by 10% for each 1°C increase in growing-season minimum temperature in the dry season”.

    They found that maximum temperatures seemed to have little effect, it was night time temps which were important.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/101/27/9971.full

  • TCO // April 3, 2009 at 2:07 am | Reply

    I find it hard to follow as well. Just wondered if someone here had impressions of any particulalry interesting revelations or boners.

  • dhogaza // April 3, 2009 at 2:23 am | Reply

    Maybe we should wait for an actual publication …

    The next ice age will come before that happens.

  • TCO // April 3, 2009 at 2:56 am | Reply

    DC, my posts aren’t shwing up. My impression is that both RSS and UAH exhibit a pattenr of seasonal vatriation that is in synch and more extreme than the surface. So likely that both satts are sick, with UAH worse.

  • grammarmonster // April 3, 2009 at 4:11 am | Reply

    Michel:

    We don’t need “extinct” to be a verb, we already have “extinguish”.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 3, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Reply

    Dave A. snarks “Deep Climate,

    It must be a source of eternal wonderment and disappointment to you that your blogs rarely attract any comments whilst CA motors on.”

    I guess CA must be putting out the right bait to attract flies. Did it ever occur to you that little is accomplished by establishing a comfortable habitat for idiots?

  • dhogaza // April 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Reply

    Kipp – thanks for the kind words …

    Have you ever tried using one fake tiny catch-light on eye to intimate where the sun is coming from

    Yeah, Canon had these nice little 200EZ lights – dumb, camera controlled, guide number of 100, about the size of a slightly-thick cigarette pack (due to having no on-flash controls, just room for four batteries and the flash itself).

    Since Canon bodies since the 1N (film) allow for in-body flash exposure compensation a dumb flash is just fine, makes fill a snap.

    Here, for instance, though that’s a bit heavier on fill than I like (no choice, it was very dark there). Generally I try to keep the fill so subtle that only photographers who know to count highlights in the eye will see it …

    I used to sell for publication frequently … selling stock for nature photography has advantages and disadvantages compared to people stock …

    1. Evolution is very slow – wildlife from 100 years ago looks like wildlife today. So a very strong image can be sold over and over again. That’s a plus.

    2. Since wildlife – unlike human fashion, clothing materials, styles, etc – doesn’t change year-to-year, there’s no huge incentive by stock agencies and the like to buy up new stuff to replace stuff already in stock. This also means nature stock tends to sell for less than up-to-date people stock.

    I do sell prints as well, though I use a large-format printer with archival inks – at this point these fade much less quickly than even Fuji Crystal Archive or whatever they call that stuff.

    And taking out small things like that twig you mention’s easier in photoshop than correcting a print by hand.

    I’ve done a lot of reversal printing, and C41 from internegs (less problems with contrast), and yes, retouching, though I kinda suck at retouching because that’s a real skill!

  • dhogaza // April 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Reply

    Oh, and Deech56, thanks for your kind words, too.

    And,. Tamino, I don’t remember how this photo diversion got started, but thanks for your patience!

    When shooters start talking, it’s hard to get them to stop …

  • dhogaza // April 3, 2009 at 4:00 pm | Reply

    It must be a source of eternal wonderment and disappointment to you that your blogs rarely attract any comments whilst CA motors on.

    This ad-hom statement is just more evidence that DaveA doesn’t understand that science isn’t done in blogs.

    And, even if it were, reality isn’t a popularity contest.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 3, 2009 at 8:12 pm | Reply

    Dhog;That litle fill might be helping you get a full exposure on the subject too. Your right about too much fill,but I like those catch lights.
    I like too shoot flash at least sixteen inches off camera to tip fill down to kill back flash fill light from being seen.Also they make small nuetrel density filters that you can put on flashes that are glued to your camera.Or you can just take a tissue and rubber band, and fold it once to get one quarter flash. KIPP

  • Kipp Alpert // April 3, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Reply

    Tamino:Thanks for letting me regress a bit, now back to Atmospheric Physics or other more important things. Your a good guy.

  • Dave A // April 3, 2009 at 8:35 pm | Reply

    Ray,

    Your predictable responses are so comforting. Thanks very much!

  • Kipp Alpert // April 3, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Reply

    Haven’t been compulsively blogging over at AccuWhatever for a couple of days and feel much better. They are so damn nasty,crude, uncivil,low life, crazy,right wing nut jobs.They lie, they misrepresent, argumentum pitium, argumentum populum. They slander Gore, like he needs to travel on his slide show for money. They slander Hansen, like he was born yesterday and did nothing to save us from ourselves. I am getting attuned to real science and am now able to follow more of it than I did.
    I miss a lot but have only been studying for a year. Some of you have been studying your whole lives, so I cannot expect miracles.
    I,m trying to do things, to meditate, to stop hating deniers, but I am having a hard time. If I could just shoot one or two. No. that’s not a good idea. wellllll.???????? No. Think positive.
    That’s it.

  • TCO // April 3, 2009 at 8:57 pm | Reply

    Laz: I donno. I would have to really read the paper more and for that matter understand significance tests and first differences and the like better. It just seems to me that there are a lot of extraneuous factors going on, such that such a small change migh be from one of them, not from climate. I guess first differencing might help, although I need to think and understand it. For instance if temp is going up monotonically and other variables are too, could it still be confounded? This is they type of problem that plays havoc with econ, sociology etc. And it just seems like this is a super complicated system. Sorry…if that’s weasely. Consider it more as a confession of ignorance and prejudice than a rebuttal.

    Understand you want to throw down the brake. I don’t really. I’m more que sera about things. I just want my skeptics to be more honest. But I love me some drilling in Alaska (both in the ANWAR and the governor). This makes me hated everywhere. But then I feed off of the attention anyhow.

  • Deep Climate // April 3, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Reply

    TCO – Thanks for letting me know. I rescued your comment from the spam folder (not sure why it was there, but I guess you have a WordPress history).

  • Dave A // April 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Reply

    dhogaza,

    “science isn’t done in blogs.”

    Furthermore, it is my understanding that Einstein, for example, published numerous papers in German and other publications that didn’t have any kind of peer review.

    How good all those papers were I can’t judge but you can’t deny that Einstein made a significant scientific contribution.

    Maybe science in blogs isn’t that different to science in Einstein’s time.

  • Hank Roberts // April 3, 2009 at 11:00 pm | Reply

    Ask yourself if you’re as smart as a marmot.

    I don’t think any marmot is going to take the “Bag’o'Hammers” award away from our current champion.

    http://www.pulseplanet.com/dailyprogram/dailies.php?POP=3941

  • Sekerob // April 3, 2009 at 11:28 pm | Reply

    Saw a snippet in foreign news that latest imagery from wilkins show the the tether to all eroded further… the waiting for the final float off is on.

    Another item there discusses MWP warming having been found in a long and persistent air pressure system supporting an enduring stream of warm air from down south i.e. a natural phenomena (stable NAO ) quite unlike current warming of the planet, global at that where the MWP was not. Valerie Trouet found strong correlation between a wet Scotland and a drought in Morocco.

  • David B. Benson // April 4, 2009 at 12:05 am | Reply

    Dave A // April 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm — At one time acceptance or rejection was solely in the hands of the editor. But the editor was, of course, a senior “peer”.

  • dhogaza // April 4, 2009 at 1:01 am | Reply

    TCO:

    ANWAR

    You can drill there all you want, no conservationist will stop you.

    DaveA:

    Furthermore, it is my understanding that Einstein, for example, published numerous papers in German and other publications that didn’t have any kind of peer review.

    I’m not familiar with the publication “German”…

    However, the four papers he published in 1905 that turned physics on its head were published in Germany’s leading physics journal.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 4, 2009 at 1:39 am | Reply

    DaveA:Hey did you ever think that if Einstien ever saw a computer,and read one of your blog revelations that he would’nt pick the computer and through it out of his window.
    As Hank Roberts has stated, and what I have learned from him is one simple conclusion. You can’t learn from the world wide web, and if you you don’t want to get robbed hide your money in a book. because dumb people don’t read them. All of the real science is in scientific papers,Journals, and BOOKS. Of course you can step down on the Antarctic like Anthony, only to complain about the temperatures, and climb quickly back into his plane.

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 4, 2009 at 6:59 am | Reply

    Dave A, specifiy what Einstein “papers” you’re talking about.

    He wrote a lot of stuff outside of physics and also letters to editors etc… All that does not really take part in the body of his scientific contribution. Einstein knew well the value of peer-review and would not publish anything until it was ready for the process.

    All his seminal papers were in peer-reviewed publications, according to the biographies I’ve looked at. You may be referring to “Annalen Der Physik” which was obviously in German and peer-reviewed as well, the two are not mutually exclusive.

  • P. Lewis // April 4, 2009 at 9:18 am | Reply

    Well, Einstein’s 1905 papers, though not subject to a modern-day peer review, had the benefit of being seen by the Annalen der Physik editors du jour: Planck and Wien!

    And then you might like to read this about Einstein and peer review.

  • michel // April 4, 2009 at 10:23 am | Reply

    Ray, do we advocate what is necessary for the survival of the species, given the situation and the probable consequences of business as usual?

    Or do we advocate doing what we think is possible, regardless of how effective it is?

    Your response, and that of a lot of the movement, is that we advocate doing what we think is possible, which most of the time will have no measurable effects on the problem. Like the first Kyoto agreement, or driving hybrids, or putting windmills in our back yards.

    The sort of ad hominem motivation based argument that is typically used when skeptics deny that the situation is as bad as all that, is that they are terrified of having to give up their creature comforts. This has been said to me, though I have a lot less creature comforts than most, and have no particular attachments to the few I retain.

    To advocate the ineffective, while professing to believe in the imminence of a tipping point to disaster, really does invite speculation about one’s attachment to creature comforts as a motivation for a position which is rationally indefensible.

    It may be that you are right about the politics. It may be that there is no case, no matter how well presented to the general public, that will lead them to make the kinds of changes to emissions that are argued to be needed.

    It is doubtful in that case that there is any case which will motivate them to mitigation on the scale alleged to be required.

    Could be, and in that case things will get very unpleasant. But it is not a solution to this unpleasant situation to abuse people who point out that the requisite actions are not being taken, or to argue against taking them.

    Your argument ought to be, yes, these things are necessary. Now, we have to find some way of persuading people to start making them.

    At the moment you are ridiculing people for pointing out that necessary steps are not being taken, and ridiculing those steps, not because they are not necessary, but because they are politically unpalatable.

    Makes no sense.

  • michel // April 4, 2009 at 10:34 am | Reply

    Sources for amendments

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:SP804:

    That is Senator Ensign on not increasing taxes.This was the roll call:

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00121

    This is Senator Thune on not increasing prices.

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:SP731:

    This was the roll call:

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00117

    Or was the question, where did I first hear about those amendments?

  • Barton Paul Levenson // April 4, 2009 at 10:43 am | Reply

    Dave A writes:

    Furthermore, it is my understanding that Einstein, for example, published numerous papers in German and other publications that didn’t have any kind of peer review.

    All Einstein’s important papers were published in Annalen der Physik, a peer-reviewed science journal.

    I seem to recall you making this claim before, in other threads, possibly on other blogs–and having it corrected before.

  • dhogaza // April 4, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Reply

    After doing a little googling, DaveA may be referring to the fact that in 1905 anonymous peer review wasn’t an established process, with reviewing being done by journal editors.

    But as someone above mentioned, Planck was certainly a peer, even if not anonymous.

    After Einstein was established as the leading physicist of his time, his papers were frequently published without any formal review. DaveA may be referring to this. Note the key word “after”, however. Unpublished claims made in the blogosphere do not establish one as a leading scientist, no matter how huffy and puffy Watts et al are about it.

    DaveA may also be referring to an incident with Physical Review, where Einstein, not used to being challenged by anonymous reviewers, got peeved at the journal. He wrote them:

    We (Mr. Rosen and I) had sent you our manuscript for publication and had not authorized you to show it to specialists before it is printed. I see no reason to address the – in any case erroneous – comments of your anonymous expert. On the basis of this incident I prefer to publish the paper elsewhere.

    However, apparently …

    Although Einstein ignored the referee’s comments, the referee (Howard Percy Robertson) had found a serious mistake, and was able to convince Infeld, Einstein’s assistant, of the mistake. The paper which was eventually published had the exact opposite conclusion of the version originally submitted to Physical Review. So it appears that peer review is good for something after all.

    The conclusion I draw from this episode is very likely the opposite that DaveA draws from the fact that anonymous peer review annoyed Einstein …

  • Ray Ladbury // April 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm | Reply

    Michel, Well, as so far nearly ALL of the accomplishments for reducing ghg emissions have been done on a personal rather than societal level, I’ll take practical for now. A little savings now is worth a whole lot more than a lot of savings that might or might not happen in the distant future.

    We will not conserve ourselves to sustainability with 9 billion people on the planet. For sustainability, we will have to have dramatic advances in all sorts of technology–energy, agriculture, carbon capture and storage, and so on. For that to happen, the global economy has to remain productive and that means that scientists do indeed have to jet off to conferences and solve problems. Conservation buys time for this to happen. Let me know when you figure out a PRACTICAL way for CA to do without its freeway system entirely.

  • Dave A // April 4, 2009 at 7:33 pm | Reply

    BPL,

    Sorry, but you are completely wrong!

    I have never mentioned Einstein in a post before.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 4, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Reply

    Barton Paul Levenson: What if Einstein was, on an Island,imprisoned, or in hiding. What if for some reason, his work was not peer reviewed. Would his many discoveries be less, or unacceptable. Have you ever seen work that was peer reviewed that was fatally wrong. Peer reviewed science is not the only marker for genius. Although a necessary process, Lindzen,Watts, and Roy Spencer, could be peer reviewed, and also be very wrong. Kipp

  • Dave A // April 4, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Reply

    Hank,

    I understand marmots are highly social and eat lots of greens. They should therefore appeal to a lot of people who comment here.

    As regards a’ bag of hammers’ – you mean this is not a prestigious award? Oh well, put it down to a transatlantic misunderstanding :-)

  • Hank Roberts // April 4, 2009 at 8:12 pm | Reply

    > Furthermore, it is my understanding

    If only you did.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 4, 2009 at 8:20 pm | Reply

    Michel:
    I’m not in the same league as most of you, which is obvious. But I have finished reading two books, “Fixing Climate” by; Wallace S.Broecker, and “Climate Crash” by John D.Cox.
    Although I think you don’t honestly characterize Ray Ladbury’s position properly, I agree that we must act now. “Target Co2″By James Hansen et al, seems to have the correct perspective. I don’t think we have a minute to waste. Now we have the South West agriculture, that is ready to flip back into a desert. Also the Sierra Nevada’s mountains are poised to put Californians into a situation of water stress. “Climate Crash” offered examples of the downfall of many civilizations just by drought alone. These were geologically recent events. As Hansen pointed out we should bring CO2 back to three fifty ppm, now. We don’t know what circulation patterns, changing jet streams, and the Arctic could do.His point was that changes have always been abrupt and not smooth transitions.

  • dhogaza // April 4, 2009 at 9:25 pm | Reply

    Pikas may become the second species to be listed endangered due to climate change.

  • Phil Scadden // April 4, 2009 at 9:53 pm | Reply

    Didnt have “tobacco science” journals in Einstein’s day (like “Energy and Environment”). Smaller scientific community, etc.

  • Boris // April 4, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Reply

    Haven’t been compulsively blogging over at AccuWhatever for a couple of days and feel much better. They are so damn nasty,crude, uncivil,low life, crazy,right wing nut jobs.They lie, they misrepresent, argumentum pitium, argumentum populum.

    If you think Accuweather is bad, check out Newsbusters sometime. But don’t stay or you’ll turn into one of them.

  • Lazar // April 4, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Reply

    Michel…

    Thank you.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 4, 2009 at 10:56 pm | Reply

    Michel: you misrepresent what Ray Ladbury is talking about.Yes, this is the most important issue of all.If America or the large world, becomes to poor to reach sustainability, than everything would certainly be lost. So we must do what individuals and society can do now, and hope that sustainability will be gained. Also if you remember Hank Roberts said that we couldn’t save everyone from poverty or malnutrition, starvation, and death. We could save a majority of our species if we are clever without jumping to fast, by making a world in chaos. This sea change, has never happened before, not when we have a chance to do it fast, but with caution. While you stop the freeways in California, who is going to quell the mass riots.
    You don’t get to vote in a Police state. Kipp

  • Ray Ladbury // April 4, 2009 at 11:09 pm | Reply

    Dave A., If I had a journal edited by Max Planck, I would accept his editorial judgment quite independently of that of any referee. Planck was not only a great physicist, his character was also above reproach.

  • paulm // April 4, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Reply

    anyone know what the CO2 footprint is of ski activities?

  • Lazar // April 5, 2009 at 12:10 am | Reply

    TCO,

    (apologies Tamino, could you delete the previous comment where I messed up the tags?)

    I guess first differencing might help, although I need to think and understand it. For instance if temp is going up monotonically and other variables are too, could it still be confounded?

    I think the purpose of correlating differenced time series is matching the wiggles. Temperature series wiggle at lot year to year, I’d imagine yield does too.

    it just seems like this is a super complicated system.

    … I wouldn’t argue, thinking back to tree-ring growth and interaction strengths which varied with location, and their variables with time and location.

    … think you’re right about the potential for confounding variables being unexplored.

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 5, 2009 at 12:28 am | Reply

    Kipp, I think you’re a little mistaken about peer-review. Nothing that Watts utters would pass it and that’s a good thing. On the other hand it is true that it is not a guarantee of quality or whatever else we’d like to have guaranteed. It does provide a minimum level of confidence that the paper has something interesting to say and is not complete rubbish. That is why it is so alarming that a piece of junk like G&T could make it in a physics journal in any way.

    I can only imagine Planck’s face if G&T had tried to run their “paper” by him…

  • TCO // April 5, 2009 at 1:33 am | Reply

    I am so sick of my skeptic side saying that the “man” is keeping them down from publishing peer-reviewed papers.

    1. There are a multitude of journals. Even if you have a rival (or a hated editor or whatever) at JOC, there are a lot of other in field choices.

    2. There are international or other country journals. (I know of one case with a physics rivalry where a French lab that felt Bell Labs was stifling or even stealing from them decided to publish in France instead). You can even do this as a precaution.

    3. There are different tiers of journals. Science and Nature have more than they can handle. But the JOCs or below will take a lot of stuff. And a level below that, it is even easier. Also, by going down in the tiers, you can address more minute points in more detail and/or have less breathtaking (but still additive) points.

    4. You can often publish in different fields or in interdisciplinary journals. (For instance solid state chemistry can go into straight chemistry, niche chemistry of several kinds, materials science, applied physics, etc.) For someone like McIntyre, there would be everything from statistics, applied stat, climatology, geology, botany and there is even a journal just on tree ring research.

    5. You can also publish white papers (or even just use your website to show rejected papers). People do that all the time. I find it telling that we don’t see so much of that from the skeptic guerillas. They don’t want to show how crappy their writing is (but I’ve seen what was in the blogs and it was damn disorganized). Some of the “rejections” (e.g. polar urals paper) date to 2005, yet the skeptics are still to cowardly to show the work product, despite abondoning any effort to publish. (And I have found that journals other than Science/Nature are pretty lenient on having white paper pre-prints on web sites (won’t stop it from allowing papers to go through.

    6. There’s even Climate of the Past Discussions, where even REJECTED papers are in a sense published (viewed publicly, archived, etc.)

    7. EnE is an option that seems about like a white paper (or un peer reviewed). I guess it does push a little bit of clerical quality above the miserable mislabeled axes and missing figure captions on blog posts. But I find that even well published scientists who submit to EnE slack off and don’t put best effort in. So would advise skeptics to avoid this route.

  • TCO // April 5, 2009 at 1:37 am | Reply

    The Shuttle crash investigation panel criticized NASA for using power points on technical issues. They said the technical report (everyone get off your duff and read Katzoff!!!) was the proper medium. Well for science, it’s the same thing. The proper method is a peer reviewed paper, not a blog post. Science is so hard to understand anyhow. And scientists so prone to logic, math and clerical errors…that having cleaned up papers to read…is a minimum expectation. If we want to have a kaffee klatch after that, fine. But don’t never write a paper and only kaffee klatch.

  • Deech56 // April 5, 2009 at 2:35 am | Reply

    RE: michel // April 4, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Ray, do we advocate what is necessary for the survival of the species, given the situation and the probable consequences of business as usual?

    Or do we advocate doing what we think is possible, regardless of how effective it is?

    Michel, there was an article in Scientific American about 4 years ago in which various scenarios (from doing something drastic to gradually incorporate change) were examined for their benefit. The authors concluded that it was better to err towards gradually implementing change to allow for adjustments as plans were implemented. Conservation was an important part of the early strategy.

    I’ll try to find the citation for it, but sleep (and another chapter of The Long Thaw) beckons.

  • dhogaza // April 5, 2009 at 5:35 am | Reply

    TCO is starting to sound rational (though he’s unwilling to accept the consequence, i.e. that science might trump his political philosophy once and for all).

    Well, it did, a couple of decades ago, his standard of proof is far beyond the mean while he has no standard of proof for the correctness of his heart-felt political beliefs.

    ‘fess up TCO :) I know you hate me, but I’m speaking truth here.

    Dave A., If I had a journal edited by Max Planck, I would accept his editorial judgment quite independently of that of any referee. Planck was not only a great physicist, his character was also above reproach.

    And, Ray, as I’m sure you know full well, the number of practicing physicists back then was … a couple or three hundred? (Richard Rhodes speaks of the coziness and informality of the field in his “The Making of the Atomic Bomb”).

    This is really why Planck was the editor of the authoritative physics journal of the time, no? He was totally top-notch, the community of practitioners was small, and he served the role of today’s peer reviewer as well as journal editor because, well, with such a community and such small funding it’s the way it was.

    No relationship to today’s blogosphere’s “I put up a website, I disprove science”.

  • Phil Scadden // April 5, 2009 at 6:30 am | Reply

    The more I think about it, the more ridiculous the idea of “science in blogs” is. Review is good – blogs can actually help, arxiv certainly has its place – as reviewers can you out of tunnel vision and pick up data errors. But ultimately you have to publish to add to scientific knowledge. That way you get a permanent way for you your work to be referred to. And science culture demands it. Looking at someones citations is to scientists what sniffing bums is to dogs. No publish, no respect. Mere blog entries or even books dont count. And frankly, there is a reason – whats “published” that way wouldnt survive peer-review and standards required. Looking at what does get published too, I would say journals are running dead scared of accusations of bias against AGW skeptics. Its easier to publish Spencer and let science discourse take its course (and Spencer’s reputation with it).

  • P. Lewis // April 5, 2009 at 9:30 am | Reply

    anyone know what the CO2 footprint is of ski activities?

    Well, once the only skiing left is in Greenland or Antarctica, then it’ll likely only be an increased footprint over now ;-)

  • Lazar // April 5, 2009 at 10:19 am | Reply

    What happens when energy is cheap and costs uninternalized… energy is wasted. Want to reduce energy shortages… raise prices. Want to hide and worsen the problem for a couple of years… build more capacity and keep prices artificially low.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 5, 2009 at 11:31 am | Reply

    Dave A. says: “BPL, Sorry, but you are completely wrong! I have never mentioned Einstein in a post before.”

    Hmm, must have been some other denialobot. You guys are all tuned into the mothership anyway.

  • TCO // April 5, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Reply

    Lazar (just thinking): wonder if first differencing would essentially just show the damage done by years that are essentially much warmer or colder than average. But not show the ability of the system to respond to the very slow (compared to year to year variation) change in average temp.

  • TCO // April 5, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Reply

    scadden: Agreed. The journals are scared of being biased…and even if some aren’t or even are unfair or reviewers are, there are so many venues, that a solid contribution will find a home easily.

    I think the skeptic bloggers don’t publish that much because they get used to the lazy slack standards of blog posting and then the few times they try, the papers they send are aboritions in terms of clerical quality, logical organization, avoiding personal fights, ad homs, etc. I think there is usually enough of a nugget in seom of the analyses that it could be worked into a publication…just aslo that the skeptics over-triumphalize mmi9nimal kvetches…and so a careful paper with disaggregation, deconfounding, full factorials, measurement of extent will show that. And they HATE that.

    THe funny thing is when they point to Mann or the like and say, “look at him getting published”. But really the team, despite a higher basic level of professionalism, has all kinds of problems getting published. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them get something done that was approved without revision. And usually there are pretty long delays in the time from submission to publication…

  • TCO // April 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Reply

    I think that the right hates the concept of an externality and the left loves it. Both to the point of having a bias in not seeing it, or exaggerating it. The libertatian right, now feels that it must be anti AGW since if it exists, it will require a Pigoutvian tax. The left does not clearly articulate how much the damage to the functioning market is worth disprupting for the sake of an externality.

  • The Wonderer // April 5, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Reply

    Tamino,

    Coming back soon with a post? We miss you.

    [Response: Yes. Some time this week. Thanks for the kind words.]

  • Hank Roberts // April 5, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Reply

    > Einstein, peer review
    That was Raven et al. at Tamino’s back a ways
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/10/14/bjorn-lomborg-how-did-you-get-those-numbers/#comment-23073

    Google finds a plethora of Dave A Einstein hits elsewhere, but mostly because Google ignores punctuation. Even adding Ayn Rand still finds way too many people using that name to narrow the search.

  • Richard C // April 5, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Reply

    If a fourth order polynomial is not related to the underlying physical process, nor does it have “any predictive power for the coming months or years?, then is it simple dishonesty to overlay it on measurement data for the express purpose of fooling the eye?

    WTF am I talking about? I’ve just been over to Spencer’s blog. (Yeah, I know. I am genuinely contrite, I’ve learnt my lesson, I won’t do it again, etc).

    I thought this guy was meant to be a serious, professional scientist. Or at least his bio presents him as such.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 5, 2009 at 8:12 pm | Reply

    TCO suggests “I think the skeptic bloggers don’t publish that much because they get used to the lazy slack standards of blog posting and then the few times they try, the papers they send are aboritions in terms of clerical quality, logical organization, avoiding personal fights, ad homs, etc. ”

    -OR-

    Maybe the denialists are so far out in left field as far as the physics goes that they can’t advance the understanding of the field–as suggested by the fact that when they do publish a paper (e.g Spencer), it lies there like a dog turd on a New York sidewalk.

  • David B. Benson // April 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Reply

    TCO // April 5, 2009 at 1:33 am — Could you write more about

    Climate of the Past Discussions

    ?

  • michel // April 5, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Reply

    Lazar, the question was probably: did I read about the amendments on Pielke Jr? Do I regularly read Pielke jr?

    The answer is yes.

    Wherever one reads about the amendments however, there is a really serious issue on them, to do with whether anyone is really willing to accept the consequences of emission reduction. I see no sign of it, either in the UK or the US. That is, to accept the consequences which would follow from taking seriously such targets as lower than 1850 by 2050, if they are to be achieved by conservation.

    So maybe Ray’s point of view, which I’ve perhaps stupidly not understood until the last post, makes sense. That is, try to focus the economy and research on carbon free energy. Don’t try to conserve our way out of it, since this will simply cut off the funding and innovation that will be required.

    There might be a pragmatic value in even ineffective conservation from this point of view: it keeps the goal in sight.

    What happens if innovation does not deliver, however, is a different matter. That must be the risk. In that case, the hypothesis is, it all blows sky high.

  • Hank Roberts // April 5, 2009 at 8:34 pm | Reply

    TCO, you misunderstand ‘externality’ because you try to force understanding into right-left limits.

    Nothing goes away, once you step back far to see it.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinion/ssi/images/Toles/s_04052009_520.gif

  • TCO // April 5, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Reply

    Spencer has disappointed me. However Christensen looks good to me…

  • Kipp Alpert // April 5, 2009 at 8:52 pm | Reply

    Philippe Chantreau:I’m shocked.You said that Anthony Watts has never had a paper, peer reviewed. What a perfect waste of a good scientist’s time. His name should never be brought up here. When you talk about all the best, dedicated and hard working scientists,
    that have given their whole lives to Science
    I am only impressed to the greatest degree. These deniers are flies next to you gentlemen. They should either be exterminated, or thrown out with the daily trash. I am glad that the Obama Administration, has brought Science back to it’s proper noble place. I hope it leads, and doesn’t lag anymore behind Politics. This is a new world where Science will be given the notice and respect it has earned, the hard way.
    I hate when people come here and trash talk those people who have studied their whole lives, by people that don’t even bother to understand what’s real. So now we have Global Warming, and you have to argue against deniers, the least that mankind has to offer, to waste the efforts of those who offer most. Shameful! Kipp

  • Kipp Alpert // April 5, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Reply

    David B.Benson offerd this view April 4 of the Wilkins break up.

    http://webservices.esa.int/wilkinsarctic/wilkins.php?type=full

  • Kipp Alpert // April 5, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Reply

    For the first time I ventured into the Heartland Institute. They lobby for cigarette Companies.
    My mother died from lung Cancer.For nine months she was on a morphine drip, and couldn’t drink water as she could drown herself.
    I’m just starting to warm up! KIPP

    Defending smokers is a thankless task in today’s politically correct environment, and Bast doesn’t deny that smoking is an unhealthy habit. But today’s taxes and bans go far beyond a reasonable public policy response to a public health problem. Bast asks for a reasoned debate that respects the rights of smokers and the owners of bars and restaurants.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 5, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Reply

    What is the definition of insanity,The Heartless Institute.

  • dhogaza // April 5, 2009 at 10:54 pm | Reply

    I think the skeptic bloggers don’t publish that much because they get used to the lazy slack standards of blog posting and then the few times they try, the papers they send are aboritions in terms of clerical quality, logical organization, avoiding personal fights, ad homs, etc.

    Or, applying Occam’s razor, since they can accomplish their objective of confusing the public, and giving RW politicians ammunition in support of their goal of delaying action, their time is better served in non-professional activities.

    Rather than trying to play on science’s home turf, where they’re bound to lose.

  • Dave A // April 5, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Reply

    Ray,

    Please tell me where the “mother ship” is, I’ve been waiting sooo long for it to come :-)

  • Kipp Alpert // April 5, 2009 at 11:40 pm | Reply

    Philippe Chantreau:The G and T assertions are ridiculous.
    1.The Stefan-Boltzmann law is false.
    2.Radiation transfer is really heat conduction
    3.There is no radiation budget.
    4.The stratosphere isn’t cooling.
    5.Absorption is reflection
    6.Some outgoing radiation is short wave radiation.7.
    7.Global warming breaks the first and second
    law of thermodynamics. Radiation is only conduction,and entropy is reflection.
    8.How can you explain a perfect backbody if it is colored. That’s genius working here.
    Hey!I’m trying to learn physics here.Give me a break.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 5, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Reply

    If a tree in the woods is falling, how do you know it will make a sound.
    Answer:Tape your mp3 player to it, and circle some deniers around it.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 6, 2009 at 1:03 am | Reply

    Michel tries to summarize my view of a way forward: “That is, try to focus the economy and research on carbon free energy. Don’t try to conserve our way out of it, since this will simply cut off the funding and innovation that will be required. ”

    …and pretty much nails it. Conservation is essential, but mainly to buy back some of the time we’ve lost. The amount we need to conserve depends on how quickly we can engineer our way out of the problem…if we can…

  • Kipp Alpert // April 6, 2009 at 3:43 am | Reply

    dho gaza:The ball is in our court now,and it’s rolling quite fast.First the new EPA has real bite,killing those plants that wanted to pollute so much land in West Virginia. Remember Christy Todd Whitman, the Bush girl that told everyone at ground zero that they didn’t need their masks.
    Many of them are already dead. Now Barbara Boxer wants to learn about cap and trade. Why don’t they just tax them.Oh Well!

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 6, 2009 at 4:26 am | Reply

    Deconstructing G&T is a pretty good exercise, Kipp.

  • TCO // April 6, 2009 at 5:40 am | Reply

    dhog: depends on your definition of lose. I think there are intersting points that ARE BROUGHT up. Just that when pursued to ground, they often don’t have the huge impact we deniers say (or that our hoi polloi trumpet). Also, even if you do real science and end up proving yourself wrong, so what, you’ve advanced understanding.

    I mean Christensen has a great article on proxy reconstructions…

  • Lazar // April 6, 2009 at 8:37 am | Reply

    TCO,

    wonder if first differencing would essentially just show the damage done by years that are essentially much warmer or colder than average. But not show the ability of the system to respond to the very slow (compared to year to year variation) change in average temp.

    … interesting… I think the approach assumes that the system responds to slow changes near enough the same… the regression model is determined by fast changes and driven by slow changes… so it will show a response…

    Here’s one of the cites…

    the use of first differences minimizes the influence of slowly changing factors such as crop management. We then performed multiple linear regressions with first differences in yield (ΔYield) as the response variable, and first differences of minimum temperature (Δtmin), maximum temperature (Δtmax) and precipitation (Δppt) as predictor variables. Methods of detrending the time series other than first-differences were evaluated and produced qualitatively similar results (see section 3).

    While an empirical study cannot attribute directions of causality, we assume that climate variations caused yield changes, and not vice versa. This analysis also assumes that year-to-year management changes were either uncorrelated with climate, or were themselves caused by climate [12], and thus did not bias the interpretation of the climate’s influence on yields, and that errors in FAO global yield data are independent of temperature and rainfall.

    To estimate the role of climate in recent yield trends, we applied the regression models to observed trends in climate variables for each decade since 1961. The uncertainty in the relationship between yields and average growing season climate due to a finite historical sample was estimated and propagated by bootstrap resampling of the historical data (with 100 bootstrap samples) and re-calibration of the regression model for each sample.

    While these empirical/statistical models do not attempt to capture details of plant physiology or crop management, they do capture the net effect of the entire range of processes by which climate affects yields, including the effects of poorly modelled processes (e.g. pest dynamics). In addition, these empirical/statistical models enable a quantitative evaluation of uncertainties [13].

    An important assumption in using models derived from year-to-year variations to compute impacts of climate trends is that crop yields respond similarly to rapid and gradual climate variations. In theory, farmers would adapt cropping systems as climate changes, thus minimizing or possibly reversing the adverse effects of warming [14–16]. Our estimates of climate impacts can therefore be viewed as an upper bound on the impacts of recent trends. However, while some studies have documented recent trends in management practices, these changes were not driven by climate [17]. In addition, adaptation is expected to lag several years behind climate trends, because of the difficulty of distinguishing climate trends from natural variability and the disaggregated nature of farmer decisions [18].

    Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming
    David B Lobell and Christopher B Field
    Environmental Research Letters
    March 2007
    doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/1/014002

    The other cite is…

    Increased Australian wheat yield due to recent climate trends
    Nevill Nicholls
    Nature 387, 484 – 485 (May 1997)
    doi:10.1038/387484a0

  • Lazar // April 6, 2009 at 9:12 am | Reply

    Michel,

    Lazar, the question was probably: did I read about the amendments on Pielke Jr? Do I regularly read Pielke jr?

    I had no idea, I don’t read that guy.

  • Lazar // April 6, 2009 at 9:17 am | Reply

    TCO,

    So if I understand, slow changes in yield are prevented from influencing the model, which are probably a combination of many factors including climate.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 6, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Reply

    Philippe Chantreau and Kipp,
    Learning thermo by deconstructing G&T is like practicing marksmanship by shooting fish in a barrell. We learn little by deconstructing our opponents’ arguments at their worst. Unfortunately, that seems to be all our opponents are capable of providing.

  • Deech56 // April 6, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Reply

    RE Deech56 // April 5, 2009 at 2:35 am:

    Michel, there was an article in Scientific American about 4 years ago…

    I’ll try to find the citation for it…

    And here it is (from April 2005 – I guess that was about 4 years ago).

  • Hank Roberts // April 6, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Reply

    Yo, Tamino, one for you — if you’ve covered this I didn’t find it but I have the feeling you did already.
    Claim is that the IPCC is lying about the Antarctic sea ice; they show a dotted line and claim a trend; not clear how:
    http://globalwarmingquestions.googlepages.com/ar4seaice

  • Ray Ladbury // April 6, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Reply

    Hank, I can’t tell for sure, but it looks as if they are not fitting the last datapoint–which would be amazingly duplicitous, or about par for the course.
    In any case, GRACE is pretty unequivocal–somewhere Antartica is losing ice.

    Also, judging by the other crap from that site and the anonymous nature of the author, it looks like crap.

  • dhogaza // April 6, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Reply

    Well, this paper, cited by that site, does seem to support his position that there’s a significant trend in extent and area of Antarctic sea ice, though as he states, it wasn’t available to the IPCC as it hadn’t been written at the time.

    A much smaller trend than the decrease in Arctic sea ice, and of course we know that the Antarctic situation is totally different …

    Didn’t try to track down the earlier papers he claims were ignored by the IPCC and that refute the claim made in AR4 because I rather doubt they’re true.

    After all the source he claims the IPCC cherry-picked to support their lie is the same Comiso who wrote the paper he cited and I link to above.

  • dhogaza // April 6, 2009 at 7:40 pm | Reply

    Hank, I can’t tell for sure, but it looks as if they are not fitting the last datapoint–which would be amazingly duplicitous, or about par for the course.

    He’s probably not updated the page since 2007, since the latest paper he cites (the one I linked above) is also from 2007. Not necessarily duplicitous.

    So what if there’s a slight, yet significant, trend in the increase of antarctic sea ice, documented after AR4 was written? It doesn’t do anything to “prove climate science is a fraud”.

  • Arthur Smith // April 6, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Reply

    On yet another topic (fascinating reading above…)

    Feeling a bit tamino-like, I have posted a rather long screed on the “hot spot”, with what I think is a novel analysis that perhaps shows the satellite measurements are giving clear evidence of amplification after all. Still some more analytical work to do on it, but I’d appreciate comments (here or there):

    http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/hot_spot_redux_analysis_of_tropical_tropospheric_amplification

  • David B. Benson // April 6, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Reply

    WAIS is losing ice through Pine Island and Thalles glaciers, maybe a little into Ross Sound.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 6, 2009 at 9:42 pm | Reply

    Philippe Chantreau: Thanks for the workout. I guess some of this science is making sense. Or by G and T standards, no sense. What a major effort to dispute pure science. I don’t know how all of the Physics is starting to come together.
    But by just exposing myself daily, to it, I am learning a little. Very little. The maths are my greatest weekness. But it is a great cause. A huge lifetime commitment, for me. When people say the more you learn the more you realize you don’t know.I’m more like Socrates, all that I know , is that I know nothing.
    Philippe, have any more challenges for grass hopper? Thanks

  • Kipp Alpert // April 6, 2009 at 9:47 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury:I like the way you set up those jokes. You set up the sentence, than nail it on the rebound. What ever happened to food tube.I miss it.

  • TCO // April 6, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Reply

    “So if I understand, slow changes in yield are prevented from influencing the model, which are probably a combination of many factors including climate.”

    I think if you read the end of the snippet that you gave, that slow changes could ameliorate the issues and would not be accounted for. For instance, let’s say every time the climate is one sigma above “average”, that you have a yeild issue. And let’s say that the average is slowly varying. You might still be able to change the management such that you are dealing with the new climate average fine. So extrapolating the year to year issue to a slow changing trend would not be proper (in that case, were that the case, blabla). This is why the paper talks about an “upper bound” on impact.

  • Lazar // April 6, 2009 at 10:55 pm | Reply

    Michel, you might like to read this.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 6, 2009 at 11:55 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury:Howdy.Philippe Chantreau referred this poor excuse for an argument by G and T.It was good excercise for me, sort of a critique between fact and mostlty fiction. It’s actually not a bad way to reinforce what I studied. KIPP

  • Kipp Alpert // April 7, 2009 at 3:13 am | Reply

    Arthur Smith:Tamino would never say that temperature increases with height.The stratosphere is layered in temperature because it is heated from above by absorption of ultraviolet radiation from the Sun only. On the one hand you say that short wave radiation is transparent to our atmosphere,and then you say that after the tropopause the sun warms the stratosphere.The top of the stratosphere has a temperature of about 270 K -3 C just slightly below the freezing point of water This top is called the stratopause, above which temperature again decreases with height.
    Also the troposphere is expanding, and the statrtosphere is cooling. Youv’e got the adiabatic moist troposphere warming downward,
    cutting off the and bascically cooling the stratosphere more.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 7, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Reply

    Kipp,
    While G&T might have been a useful exercise for you, in my opinion, having to read it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. It may well be the worst paper ever published in a peer-reviewed science journal. It was so bad that as I was reading it on line, I actually considered printing out a copy just so I would have something tangible to fling across the room. To be honest, it is so bad that I am not 100% convinced that it isn’t some type of hoax like that perpetrated by Sokal.

    As a general rule, I think it is more instructive to look at the best that the opposition has to offer. Unfortunately, when I look at the ouvre of the denialosphere, I don’t find much that is compelling. Lindzen is reduced to pontificating on blogs and right-wing editorial pages to the gullible. Spencer seems now to have zero projection onto the real axis. You have the execrable works by G&T and Miskolczi, and the misguided over-simplified effort by Schwartz. And the rest? Hell, they don’t even publish! All we get are the same damned arguments that:
    1) Climate is too complicated to be modeled.
    2) It’s all a vast conspiracy by the scientific community.
    3) They claim one tiny result that may not fit perfectly into current predictions overturns a model that has successfully explained most of Earth’s climate over eons.

    That’s it. The entire ouvre of the denialosphere. If that doesn’t represent scientific consensus, I don’t know what does. By definition, when all your opponents can throw at you are spitwads, you’ve pretty much won the battle.

    The war is another matter. Now we have to convince the public that the consequences are severe enough that fairly drastic action is in order. Most of the credible opponents have already regrouped to fight that fight. All that’s left of the denialosphere are the hardcore ideological nutjobs.

    Note, that I did not use your favorite epithet “ignorant food tube”. As you may guess, I hold that little term of endearment near to my heart. At a minimum, to achieve that status, one must make irresponsible claims like saying climate change is a conspiracy by the international scientific community and show no evidence of educability. A learning curve slope that is negative definite helps, too.

    A denialist who merely doesn’t pass the Turing test I refer to as a denialobot.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Reply

    Dhogaza, I think that the argument made by the site is fundamentally flawed. There is simply no way the IPCC could cite every study, and if some studies see a positive trend while others see a negative trend, then by definition, there’s no significant trend. Likewise, given we likely have loss in the WAIS and some growth in the East would belie any significant trend for Antartica as a whole.

  • michel // April 7, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Reply

    Interesting article in WSJ on Arctic Ice trends.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123903143093793167.html

  • Saltator // April 7, 2009 at 2:19 pm | Reply

    Arthur Smith:

    “I have posted a rather long screed on the “hot spot?, with what I think is a novel analysis that perhaps shows the satellite measurements are giving clear evidence of amplification after all.”

    So. It takes a NOVEL analysis to show amplification.

    Is that because there is no obvious analysis or observation that shows it?

    If there was clear evidence of amplification as you imply, there would be no need for NOVEL analyses to show it. It should be CLEAR.

    [Response: The analysis is either correct or incorrect. If you have reason to believe it's incorrect, let's hear it. The fact that it's "novel" is *not* a reason.]

  • P. Lewis // April 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Reply

    Better than the political take of the WSJ (which is fine if you want it) is the talk on the NASA page on which the WSJ piece is based. If the news is not entirely unknown by inveterate ice watchers, the images on the linked NASA page are quite instructive.

  • dhogaza // April 7, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Reply

    Is that because there is no obvious analysis or observation that shows it?

    If there was clear evidence of amplification as you imply, there would be no need for NOVEL analyses to show it. It should be CLEAR.

    In that case, better toss out all satellite temperature reconstructions in the first place, because the use of these satellites in this way is NOVEL, and the analysis NOT CLEAR (in fact the three different groups best known for analyzing this data come up with slightly different products). They weren’t put up there to measure temperature, so by definition using the data they generate to come up with a temperature product is NOVEL.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 7, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Reply

    Michel,
    I wouldn’t train a puppy on the Wall Street Urinal.

  • Saltator // April 7, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Reply

    Tamino:

    “Response: The analysis is either correct or incorrect. If you have reason to believe it’s incorrect, let’s hear it. The fact that it’s “novel” is *not* a reason.”

    Sorry. I was getting confused between amplification and actual temperature (it’s all too hard!). I will look at the article in more detail.

    There is no significant temperature change at the tropics for UAH T2 data using a linear model.

  • Deech56 // April 7, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Reply

    RE: Ray Ladbury // April 7, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Note, that I did not use your favorite epithet “ignorant food tube?.

    I prefer the term “filter feeder,” but then that’s just my biological background. Usually I just get a “huh?” from an opponent.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 7, 2009 at 6:38 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury:Did you read my objection to Arthur Smith, and was I right about that. I currently found a good book on The History of Physics and it is really good starting with Aristotle and moving forward.It covers all the bases, but eventually I want to study Atmospheric Science, cause I can’ know it all, like who does.
    The War.Unfortunately there are to many people out there to re-educate, those millions of people that say life is to short, will you share a seat on the Titanic with me types. Then we have those people married to natural variations,”don’t worry”mother nature will take care of it”. Was it Mother nature that put a hole in the ozone, or was it George Bush who solved the Global Warming Issue by advocating a National Air Conditioner. KIPP

  • michel // April 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Reply

    Ray, you should read the article, and stop indulging in childish prejudices about what may or may not be in it.

    The WSJ is a mixed bag, like most MSM. Some things its uniformly good on, some uniformly bad on, and some its patchy. Mostly its behind a paywall, but this particular piece is not, and its worth reading.

  • Dave A // April 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Reply

    P Lewis,

    Well according to NSIDC

    Sea ice extent averaged over the month of March 2009 was 15.16 million square kilometers (5.85 million square miles). This was 730,000 square kilometers (282,000 square miles) above the record low of 2006, but 590,000 square kilometers (228,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average.”

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    So the ice extent has recovered significantly since 2006. It may still below the 1979 -2000
    average but who is to say that it is not the start of a new trend?

    [Response: With this comment you firmly establish yourself as a denialist: one who is in denial.

    The March 2009 extent is in complete accord with the prevailing trend: a decline of 43000 km^2/yr. It's less than one standard deviation above the trend line. There is zero evidence -- ZERO -- that it's "the start of a new trend." But you suggest that it might be, not because of any evidence based on observation or any theory based on physics, but for one reason only: you DON'T WANT TO BELIEVE THE TRUTH.]

  • Deep Climate // April 7, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Reply

    Arthur,
    These are preliminary comments and I do plan to comment at length at your blog when I have time.

    First of all, I commend you for spending some effort on explaining what the misnamed “hot spot” is (i.e. amplification of trends with increasing altitude in tropical troposphere).

    One issue I will raise here is that in Eschenbach’s analysis the lower-troposphere and mid-troposphere measurements are implicitly understood as measuring temperature anomaly at a specific level of the troposphere, whereas in fact RSS and UAH measure a very wide swathe.

    That is why the so-called “mid-troposphere” amplification is lower than the LT one for both RSS and UAH – the T2 channel contains spurious stratospheric cooling, even in the tropics.

    The approach in the various papers by Santer et al seems a better one to me. There they derive the “swathe” trends from model output, using the published altitude sensitivity curves, and compare those to the actual UAH and RSS trends.

    The emphasis is slightly different of course – they are primarily interested in showing whether any model-observation divergence is significant. But it should be possible to reverse engineer an “observed” amplification metric from that approach.

    You might also want to look at Fu et al for estimates of tropical tropospheric amplification with altitude. I think all these references are in the original CA thread. Or you could try Google scholar (he said channelling Hank Roberts).

    There was also some good discussion of this issue at Realclimate …

  • Dave A // April 7, 2009 at 8:52 pm | Reply

    Ray,

    Your certitude that you have scientifically sorted out the world and defined people according to your preconceived notions is both sad and pathetic.

    Ray, by your own admission you never had any children. Thus you have missed out on the sheer joy, beauty, hope and frustration that they bring.

    You might not think so, but I believe this contributes significantly to your pessimistic approach. There is no future for you so you project that into your world view.

  • TCO // April 7, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Reply

    Ray:

    You still haven’t looked at Katzoff. Which is a short beautiful gem from Langley. You seem to have an awful lot of time on blogs and to read G&T, etc.

    Would also check out Christensen article referred to on the deniosphere. Give you a link if you need it, but I figure you’re so plugged into the debate, you won’t need it.

  • Arthur Smith // April 7, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Reply

    Kipp – yes, temperatures drop again in the mesosphere, and then rise again in the thermosphere above that. I wasn’t intending to discuss the outer reaches of the atmosphere there, but I could probably write that section more clearly, so thanks for the comment. Anyway, that introductory discussion was merely intended to try to explain why we expect amplification in the first place, and that issue only applies where the lapse rate is close to the adiabatic value (i.e. for the lower part of the atmosphere where temperatures strongly decline with altitude).

    Saltator – the conclusion of most of the papers on this up to this point (Douglass and Santer etc.) seems to be either that the expected amplification is missing, or it’s ambiguous given the data we have so far.

    I was struck by Eschenbach’s analysis that seemed to actually show the amplification quite clearly under most time-scales, and wanted to investigate it further – I think the analysis I’ve done shows it even more clearly. But there needs to be a little more mathematical background to explain why; anyway, I didn’t want to sit on it any longer waiting for me to write that part up. I am actually interested in any useful comments on the approach.

    Specifically, what I did differently there is look at all *pairs* of data points, comparing the temperature difference between the tropical satellite (T2LT/TLT/T2/TMT) numbers for those two months of data, and the corresponding temperature difference at the tropical surface.

    At those pairs of points in time when the tropical surface temperature difference is largest, the amplification of that surface temperature in the satellite data seems clearest as well, and comes close to a factor of 2. I haven’t seen that reported anywhere else before, but I can’t say I’m terribly familiar with all the literature on this, so references etc. if people have them would be welcome. Thanks.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 7, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Reply

    Deech56:Is the 56 your age or IQ.I learned that from Anthony.Never let your mouth be a made a fool, by all your other senses,or, happiness is to find a cause for hate, like any psychopath. Huh.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 7, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Reply

    Deech56:
    Roy Spencer”sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me”.

  • Richard C // April 7, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Reply

    Dave A, how’s the volume doing?

  • Deech56 // April 7, 2009 at 11:48 pm | Reply

    Kipp, not sure of your meaning – I was making a general comment on epithets, not directing anything towards you. Sorry if you took things the wrong way. Pacem.

  • JCH // April 7, 2009 at 11:57 pm | Reply

    “You might not think so, but I believe this contributes significantly to your pessimistic approach. There is no future for you so you project that into your world view. …”

    Dave A, you are exceptionally pessimistic. Reading your logical dodges is mildly entertaining, but imagining a world controlled by folks like you would mean my children’s futures are in very bad hands.

    Anyway, you went below the belt. A very cheap shot.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 8, 2009 at 12:22 am | Reply

    Dave A., the only things more pathetic than your grasp of scientific matters are your attempts at pop psychology. I’m quite happy with my choice not to propagate the species without assurance that there will be a planet to support them, thanks. As to my future, I’m probably good for another couple of decades or so, and that will be plenty.
    See, Dave, that’s what I don’t understand about folks like you. You say that your children are your pride and joy, and yet you aren’t willing to lift a finger to make sure they’ll have a planet worth living on.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 8, 2009 at 12:27 am | Reply

    Michel, I see no benefit to reading the WSJ and quite a lot of merit in boycotting them for their irresponsible editorial policies. I find The Economist more informative in any case, presenting many of the same perspective, but biased toward reality rather than ideology.

  • Phil Scadden // April 8, 2009 at 12:33 am | Reply

    Dave A. Well I do have children and care very passionately about their survival. That means facing reality and trying to ensure that there is world suitable for them and grandchildren to live in. Misplaced optimism that science is wrong and life will just go on is definitely not child-rearing practice.

  • Deech56 // April 8, 2009 at 1:32 am | Reply

    Dave A, I too have children with a grandchild on the way. If there is cause for pessimism, it’s the obstacles that need to be overcome in order for the US to act on a looming threat. Optimism? Well, we do have an administration that listens to scientists.

  • David B. Benson // April 8, 2009 at 1:49 am | Reply

    “worth living on”.

    It may be worse than that. Civilizations have collapsed from jusst a small change in precipitation and many of them had quite, quite ugly endings.

    Review of “The Great Warming”:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/21/books/21book.html?ref=science

    offers some historical perspective.

  • TCO // April 8, 2009 at 1:51 am | Reply

    McIntyre has a couple new posts up about some random study. It’s such a downer seeing him now. He has so much snark and poor writing to bury his analyses in. And he segues like a mofo. Can’t disaggregate. He won’t get this published and he hasn’t gotten anything published for 4 years. and he doesn’t even cover relevant papers like Christnesen. What a waste. They guy is really a brittle little Canadian bacon.

  • TCO // April 8, 2009 at 2:31 am | Reply

    We seem to be having technical problems. One of my posts is missing. Sam thing happened on WMbrigss as well. epidemic.

  • dhogaza // April 8, 2009 at 3:09 am | Reply

    See, Dave, that’s what I don’t understand about folks like you. You say that your children are your pride and joy, and yet you aren’t willing to lift a finger to make sure they’ll have a planet worth living on.

    Oh, he’s just not willing to face up to the fact that our generation’s contribution to the future is likely to lead to a bleak future for his kids.

    Facing up to that by taking action … tough … since it’s pretty clear his kids will have a harder life than our generation.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 8, 2009 at 3:50 am | Reply

    Deech56:I was joking, Follow the conversation from your remark to my own invented genius.
    Those remarks were for food tubes not you.
    FRIEND KIPP

  • Chris // April 8, 2009 at 9:59 am | Reply

    “Misplaced optimism that science is wrong and life will just go on is definitely not child-rearing practice.”

    Whereas this thread is full of great role models of objective, polite and open-minded attitudes? See the effect on the kids already:

    Kipp Alpert // April 5, 2009 at 8:52 pm
    “…These deniers are flies next to you gentlemen. They should either be exterminated, or thrown out with the daily trash…”

  • Saltator // April 8, 2009 at 10:00 am | Reply

    Arthur Smith:

    “I haven’t seen that reported anywhere else before, but I can’t say I’m terribly familiar with all the literature on this, so references etc”

    Perhaps, if this is a new and revealing approach then you might consider publishing it and see where it runs from there?

  • Saltator // April 8, 2009 at 10:00 am | Reply

    In the peer reviewed literature, I mean.

  • Saltator // April 8, 2009 at 10:25 am | Reply

    Dhogaza:

    “They weren’t put up there to measure temperature, so by definition using the data they generate to come up with a temperature product is NOVEL.”

    You are actually wrong. The NOAA series and AQUA series of satellites were placed in orbit to measure just that. They carry AVHRRs (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometers) and AMSUs (Advanced Microwave Sounder Units). The AMSU-A channels 5-8 have tropospheric temperature as their primary measuring function and channels 9-14 have stratospheric temperature as their prime measuring function.

    The primary roles of AVHRR channels 3A, 4 and 5 is night time cloud mapping and sea surface temperature.

    Neither instrument measures temperature directly. But then, nor does a mercury bulb thermometer.

  • Saltator // April 8, 2009 at 10:27 am | Reply

    Sorry. Should be AVHRR channel 3B. There are other non-temperature related missions for the outstanding channels of the two instruments.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 8, 2009 at 12:15 pm | Reply

    TCO, the problem has not been finding time to read Katzoff, but rather finding a copy of it. I did look–both on line and in the Goddard Library, but it doesn’t seem to be easy to come by. Do you know of an on-line reference? Do you have the full document title or have a NASA document number?

    NASA has produced a lot of gems over the years that just seem to get lost among all the crap.

    G&T, actually took a lot less time than I had feared. There was so little physics there, that one could safely skim without loss of information content. And these posts take little time. This is a hobby for me, and hey, it’s better than watching TV.

  • Arthur Smith // April 8, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Reply

    Saltator, yes, publishing in the peer-reviewed literature is the idea. I’m working on a more formal paper, but didn’t want to wait for that to post what I had seen so far to get some feedback from folks who may be more familiar with what’s been done already.

  • Hank Roberts // April 8, 2009 at 3:18 pm | Reply

    Which Katzoff? Nearly 600 hits. Clarity in Technical Reporting, mentioned long ago here?
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?num=100&hl=en&lr=&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=%2BKatzoff+NASA&btnG=Searc

  • bluegrue // April 8, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Reply

    TCO // April 5, 2009 at 1:37 am
    They said the technical report (everyone get off your duff and read Katzoff!!!) was the proper medium.

    Do you mean Clarity in Technical Reporting – S Katzoff, 1964?

    Hank,
    searching for “langley author:katzoff” cuts it down to 36

  • Ray Ladbury // April 8, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Reply

    Hank, I looked at the “Clarity in Technical Reporting” when TCO first recommended Katzoff, but as it contains no reference to how to conduct research and emphasizes only style in reporting research, I decided there must be some other report.

    TCO, do you have the fll title of the document you are recommending?

  • Dave A // April 8, 2009 at 9:07 pm | Reply

    Tamino,

    “There is zero evidence — ZERO — that it’s “the start of a new trend.”

    I asked how do you know it is not the start of a new trend? Tell me how you can deny that it might be? Obviously it will take many years to tell, but a new trend has to start at some point. During the little ice age, for example, all the evidence pointed to it being cold, but then at some stage it started to warm up. If you had been around doing your science then you would have said exactly the same about the new warming trend!

    [Response: How can you deny that the Pittsburg Steelers' victory in the super bowl is not the start of a new trend: that every super bowl for the next several decades will be won by a team in the American northeast?

    Does that sound ridiculous? It should -- because it is. But there's just as much evidence as there is for your claim about sea ice.

    And by the way, this March's northern hemisphere sea ice extent is 170,000 km^2 *less* than last year's. How can you deny that this isn't the start of a new trend, with March sea ice extent declining by 170,000 km^2 every year until it's completely gone?

    That should sound ridiculous too -- because it is. But there's just as much evidence as there is for your claim.

    If you *really* can't see -- or simply refuse to admit -- that your suggestion about "the start of a new trend" is downright, completely wrong, then you don't belong in any serious discussion about anything climate related. And: it's completely obvious to everyone (except maybe to you) that the ONLY reason you made that suggestion is that it's what you *want* -- not because there's any *reason* to do so.

    That kind of behavior -- suggesting what you want to be true in spite of an utter lack of evidence, and in fact massive evidence to the contrary, is offensive. You've insulted the intelligence of every reader here, and made yourself look like an blathering idiot. Admitting you were wrong, and pigheaded to boot, is the only way you'll recover even a smidgen of respect.]

  • TCO // April 8, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Reply

    Ray:

    I just mean the tech reporting pamphlet. That’s all. It’s not just style…but the philosophy and purpose of communications. But it is comms…not “how to do research”.

    It’s online and I love it. I also have a hard copy of it.

    If you don’t have it at Goddard that just shows how Goddard is worse than Langley.

    If you want a general reference on research, there is E Bright Wilson’s book. And if Goddard doesn’t have it, have the librarian ILL it.

  • Dave A // April 8, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Reply

    Ray,

    “See, Dave, that’s what I don’t understand about folks like you. You say that your children are your pride and joy, and yet you aren’t willing to lift a finger to make sure they’ll have a planet worth living on.”

    Ray,

    You forget I spent 25 years campaigning to create a better world for all as well as working nearly 20 years in the National Health service. I would say I have lifted many fingers to try and improve things.

    I also hope I have helped to bring up my kids responsibly, to teach them the worth of every individual, to think for themselves, and, in particular, to question things, never to meekly accept what they are told.

    I guess, Ray, nearly every generation has said to their successors that the planet is getting worse. It doesn’t mean that it is so and it certainly underestimates the ability of the upcoming generations to deal with the problems they face.

    This is not a do or die situation Ray, as I am sure you probably often recognise in private.

  • Deep Climate // April 8, 2009 at 11:29 pm | Reply

    Regarding amplification in tropical troposphere:

    Arthur,
    The research issue is amplification of long term trends, not amplification per se. It is agreed on all sides that there is amplification of sharp short-term variations (e.g. El Nino or volcano aftermath), so if you compare point-to-point chosen to reflect the largest variation discrepancies you will see “amplification” in both UAH and RSS.

    This difference between short-term and long-term amplification is addressed in the CCSP study – when I have time, I’ll dig out the reference and suitable quote.

    As well, my understanding is that Santer et al show relatively good agreement concerning trend amplification between models and RSS observations, but not UAH.

    So … once again this really comes down to which of the two data sets is more reliable as they are quite different, especially in the tropics. My money (um, figuratively of course) is on RSS for various reasons, some of which have been explored on my blog and here too.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 9, 2009 at 1:04 am | Reply

    Dave A. asserts, “This is not a do or die situation Ray, as I am sure you probably often recognise in private.”

    And your basis for that faith is… what exactly? Do you have any comprehension what climate change could mean for agriculture? Do you have even a clue how difficult it will be to feed 9 billion people on this planet without completely collapsing the environment even without climate change?

    Of course you don’t. You simply presume that everything will be fine. After all, Malthus was wrong, wasn’t he? And all of the other prophets of doom were wrong, weren’t they? So everything is OK, because prophets of doom are always wrong, aren’t they?

    Uh, Dave, did it every occur to you that the reason those prophecies of doom didn’t materialize in the past was because a whole bunch of people got worried about them and worked their arses off to keep them from happening? I will guarantee you that those giving reassuring choruses of “Don’t worry. It’ll be all right,” had nothing to do with actually making it all right. But don’t worry your purty, little head, Dave. Just leave it to the adults.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 9, 2009 at 1:12 am | Reply

    TCO, nearly every technical organization has similar pamphlets. They have them at NIST. They have them at Goddard. They have them at Fermilab. Yes, Katzoff gives good advice on technical writing. So did Mark Twain:

    If you see an adjective, kill it.

    -and-

    Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 9, 2009 at 1:14 am | Reply

    Dave A:I have never in my life heard anyone make the low life,base, unfettered and psycophatic ally driven remarks you made to Ray Ladbury.There is a point when emotional intelligence would stop anyone here from making those nasty,bottom feeding remarks.First you insult his wife, and now you insult him because he never bore children. How low can you go,man. Well he is my father, and the father for all of us that have benefited by his decency, warmth and compassion, that you will never have. You worked in the health services.
    Bull.You wouldn’t be able to train a child, and if you did than why do they hate you.You don’t have to be a father to have children,by the way.You have to be a person who teaches and knows how to love, which you don’t. He has helped for no good reason, and many others through his kindness. You stick to mud, like a flounder, and stink like a fish. I am infuriated over your comments and lack of any human sense of moral decency. You are the lost child of your own madness, and if you were next to me right now,you would not be standing. May God forgive,even if you don’t believe in him either. You are the pits, as my Dad used to say.
    Good riddens to bad rubbish.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 9, 2009 at 1:15 am | Reply

    Another Twain quote for the denialists:

    “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

  • Richard Steckis // April 9, 2009 at 1:51 am | Reply

    Deep Climate,

    “My money (um, figuratively of course) is on RSS for various reasons, some of which have been explored on my blog and here too.”

    The fact is that RSS are using data from the now ageing NOAA-15 satellite. UAH are acquiring their data from the more up to date AQUA satellite. The AQUA satellite has positioning thrusters and NOAA-15 does not. That means that RSS data is more subject to dirunal drift error than the UAH dataset.

    The changeover to AQUA by UAH was in 2002. The differences between the two datasets has been discussed at some length. see:

    Christy and Norris: http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/~mnew/teaching/Online_Articles/christy_norris_trop_temp_trends_GRL_2004.pdf

    Mears and Wentz (not a paper): http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/itwg/itsc/itsc13/session9/9_mears.pdf

    Christy et. al.: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/pdf_extract/301/5636/1046

    Randall et. al.:http://www.stormingmedia.us/34/3409/A340944.html

    Lucia has an interesting post on this issue:
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2008/uha-vs-rss-temperature-differences-why-energy-at-1-year/

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 9, 2009 at 2:32 am | Reply

    Ok Dave, we could imagine that the most recent data is the beginning of a new trend, which, of course, can not be asserted or invalidated in any way, since it does not yet exist. Or we could look at how the data fit the existing trend. It so happens that they do match the existing trend quite well.

    Then what is the probability of it being the start of a new one? Let’s rephrase: how friggin’ pointless can an argument be?

  • Arthur Smith // April 9, 2009 at 4:47 am | Reply

    Deep Climate – thanks; nevertheless, what’s the boundary between short-term and long-term? The biggest two-point surface temperature delta (from the Hadley series) in the satellite data time period is from January 1989 to February 1998, which is certainly getting into “long-term”, but the amplification is about as strong there as anywhere.

    Not sure what CCSP study you’re referring to, unless that’s the same as the Fu et al paper you mentioned? Still need to look that up…

  • Lazar // April 9, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Reply

    Reconciling measurements of sea-level, temperature, ocean heat content, the earth’s energy budget and model simulations — far-reaching implications of corrections to Argo and XBT data, a superb summary with references. Bumped from RealClimate. H/t : Pekka Kostamo

  • Lazar // April 9, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Reply

    TCO,

    … thanks for explaining “upper bound”.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 9, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Reply

    steckis puts his preference on the line “…the now ageing NOAA-15 satellite. UAH are acquiring their data from the more up to date AQUA satellite”

    When it comes to satellites, synonyms for for “aging” include validated or understood. Given past history, Christy ought to understand this.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Reply

    Kipp, don’t worry about Dave A.’s post. I don’t take offense easily, and generally in a flame war, I’ll come away less scorched than my opponent. The primary risk in an exchange with Dave A. is third-degree stupidy burns in any case.

  • Saltator // April 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury,

    “-and-

    Substitute “damn? every time you’re inclined to write “very?; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

    Ray. Do you think that would be good advice for the IPCC report writers? Not “very likely”!

  • Ray Ladbury // April 9, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Reply

    Saltator,

    No, what they should do is substitute the appropriate confidence level. Very likely and likely are not VERY descriptive.

  • Deep Climate // April 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Reply

    Richard Steckis said:
    “The changeover to AQUA by UAH was in 2002. The differences between the two datasets has been discussed at some length.”

    AQUA was deployed in 2002, but the changeover incorporating AQUA data happened in early 2008, according to the UAH readme. The changeover had little effect on overall trends (again, according to the readme).

    UAH has a strong annual cycle, which has been touched on by Lucia as you’ve noted (although her analysis is not very compelling). It has been discussed at some length by Atmoz, Tamino and at DeepClimate.org of course.

    Pointers to all of the above are in my two posts, BTW. The first post is here

    How do the two issues relate? Well, to quote from my second post:

    “… RSS has to make a correction for diurnal drift, while UAH does not. But a comparison of the UAH pre-AQUA LT data set to 2007 with the current data set for the same period shows that the UAH seasonal divergence is stronger now than it was before the change!”

    Here is my summary:
    “[T]here is a severe annual cycle in the UAH LT data set that results in a noticeable divergence in both the global and tropical monthly temperature trends over the 1979-2008 period. This annual cycle and resulting divergence can not be explained by diurnal drift adjustments in the UAH or RSS data sets. Rather, it appears that a moderate annual cycle (of hitherto unknown origin) in T2 channel data has been exaggerated by the UAH LT extraction process.”

  • Kipp Alpert // April 9, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury:Well thanks again anyway for all your help.I’m sure I will bother you again for some more help. Some people aren’t very nice and Dave A has the emotional intelligence of a rabid squirrel, no offense to the squirrel. Your acceptance of him shows how good you character is, and that has made all of the difference.R.F.

  • Deep Climate // April 9, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Reply

    Tamino – (please delete previous mangled version of this post – thanks!)

    Richard C // April 5, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    “If a fourth order polynomial is not related to the underlying physical process, nor does it have “any predictive power for the coming months or years?, then is it simple dishonesty to overlay it on measurement data for the express purpose of fooling the eye?”

    I would say yes.

    You and others may be interested in my latest post, which explains where the origins of this polynomial craze comes from.

    “… some of the usual suspects are now using higher-order polynomial fitting in an attempt to illustrate a severe downward “trend? in global temperature.

    “Chief among them (what a surprise) is Alberta’s very own “fact chucker?, National Post columnist Lorne Gunter … Roy Spencer (of UAH satellite-derived tropospheric temperature fame) has also jumped on the polynomial bandwagon…

    “Now it turns out that Gunter, who is mathematically challenged to say the least, has most likely been relying on the wisdom and Microsoft Excel skills of his fellow Albertan, oil industry insider and engineer Allan MacRae… MacRae is a minor but fast rising star in the contrarian firmament, as we shall see.”

    BTW, it appears likely that Spencer also got the idea from MacRae, at least indirectly.

  • Dave A // April 9, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Reply

    Ray

    “So everything is OK, because prophets of doom are always wrong, aren’t they?”

    You said it Ray not me :-)

    Levity aside, I have never said that changes are not required just that I don’t believe your particular proposals are necessarily practical or achievable.

    It may make more sense, for example, to give all the money earmarked for reducing CO2 emissions directly to alleviate poverty in the developing world thereby improving the ability of those people to make choices about their future lives.

    All the evidence also points to the fact that as peoples prosperity and education improves so they ‘naturally’ limit the size of their families.

    Ray, my mind is certainly not closed about how we need to progress in the future, but to me you seem to have decided there is only one way, ie sustainability, although I am doubtful you could actually really define what that means.

  • Dave A // April 9, 2009 at 9:53 pm | Reply

    Kipp Alpert

    Your ingratiating toadying is sickening.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 10, 2009 at 12:19 am | Reply

    Kipp, It’s not worth letting guys like Dave get you upset. We don’t know much about him, and you do have to admit that I’m not exactly innocent in our little exchanges (yes, Dave, I do admit to certain glee in giving you a hard time).
    H. L. Mencken once said that the purpose of a journalist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. You can do worse as a goal.
    My impression is that Dave A. is complacent and wants to enjoy relative ease in his dotage. I’m more than happy to make his complacency a little less comfortable if I can. All in fun, as there’s no reason he should care what I think or I what he thinks. Feel free to ask any questions that bug you anytime (and yes, Dave A., that also goes for you).

  • Ray Ladbury // April 10, 2009 at 12:59 am | Reply

    Dave A., Do you even know what I’m proposing? You’ve certainly never commented on any specifics.
    Have you ever done development work, Dave? Do you know how hard it is to “give money” directly to alleviate poverty? Do you have any comprehension of how hard it is to get donor nations to sign onto such a scheme? Compared to your pie-in-the-sky schemes, sustainability is a breeze.
    I hope that it has not escaped your notice that I have always emphasized that development is a part of sustainability. I don’t share your view that it is either/or.

    And most important, physical reality really doesn’t give a flying [edit] what you think. If you ignore the effects of climate change, all the development aid you manage to give will be for naught. Climate change will undo all of it and more. That is not just the opinion of the environmentalists or the climate scientists. It is endorsed by every scientific society that has looked at the subject–including many that have something to lose if climate change is a reality.

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe you should be paying attention?

  • Kipp Alpert // April 10, 2009 at 1:28 am | Reply

    DaveA:Stand up like a man and say what you believe.Otherwise shut the hell up and don’t bother me again. Seriously.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 10, 2009 at 1:41 am | Reply

    Tamino:What kind of wild west show is this.Comments, like the ones Dave A have made are worse than swearing.They are dirtier than child porn, and I honestly don’t think you should have posted his remarks.They are at the very lowest extreme of an abusive personality and it doesn’t do any justice to your good blog.
    There is a point when you as an adult, have to say no more and this is one of those rare instances. No one, no matter what their mental condition is, should be allowed to post such
    remarks. DaveA should not be exempt and deserve some kind of immunity as I could not walk up to your wife and say F.U. Could you Tamino, clarify this for me.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 10, 2009 at 1:50 am | Reply

    Ray Ladbury:Sorry,but I have never met anyone in my life like Dave A.His comments are absolutely the worst possible thing you could say to a person, and I would not accept them in any way.I know you don’t mind a little bantering, and I have been insulted many times in my life, and have not acted on what I could have done. But to call your wife names, and than say what he did about your family, is the lowest I have ever heard. I played professional Football (soccer)in Mexico city for two years, and I have heard some real bad stuff, but this turkey wins the prize.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 10, 2009 at 2:00 am | Reply

    Ray Ladbury:I don’t know if your into photography at all, but if you could helpme with my physics questions this year, once and a while, I would be happy to give you an old film Nikon or Hasselblad in return. KIPP

  • Saltator // April 10, 2009 at 2:11 am | Reply

    Ray Ladbury,

    I think Christy well understands the level of understanding of the AMSU instrumentation. His group (UAH) and Mears group (RSS) cooperate quite well in order to produce a temperature product that is accurate.

    I wish you would not let what seems to be your hatred of the man cloud your judgement.

    Deep Climate,

    This annual anomaly in the UAH data has been discussed at length in the blogosphere for some time now. I emailed Christy about it and he is confident that the UAH extraction algorithms are robust and less error prone than those of RSS.

    Perhaps it is time for people to put up or shut up and publish their findings (as Christy and Mears have done) and let the scientific community make their assessment of its validity.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // April 10, 2009 at 10:37 am | Reply

    Kipp,

    While I agree Dave A.’s comments about Ray’s childlessness were out of line, or at least verging on it, he has by no means been as insulting as possible. If you really wanted to insult someone, you could say, e.g., that they were a child molester who pees on the floor and eats dog vomit. Nothing said on this blog so far approaches that level of vituperation. And there’s probably worse even than that possible. This blog is actually pretty civil compared to some of the nastiness available on the internet.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Reply

    Kipp, I’m more than happy to help out, camera or no. My wife is actually the expedition photographer. I’m the journalist…who almost always fails to keep an adequatediary. My wife on the other hand is pretty good. She actually managed to take a picture of a resplendent quetzal in Costa Rica through a bird-spotting scope!

    Whether it’s Dave A. or anyone else, always remember what Leonardo said:

    “As to my enemies, I pay no more attention to the wind that comes from their mouths than to that which comes from their anuses.”

    Our sense of value comes from our relationships with those who know us well, with all our faults and foibles. Acclaim and censure from those who do not know us are equally fickle and irrelevant.

  • dhogaza // April 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Reply

    This annual anomaly in the UAH data has been discussed at length in the blogosphere for some time now. I emailed Christy about it and he is confident that the UAH extraction algorithms are robust and less error prone than those of RSS.

    The problem, Steckis, is that Christy’s always stated with confidence that UAH’s product’s more accurate than the RSS product, but the track record would indicate the opposite. AFAIK it’s always been the UAH people who’ve had to backtrack, for instance from their bold statements a decade ago that the satellite data actually showed cooling rather than warming 1979 to circa 1999 (forget the exact date when that controversy arose).

    Maybe Christy & Spencer are the ones who’ve gotten it right this time, but I tend to put my money on proven winners (RSS).

  • Hank Roberts // April 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Reply

    Kipp, there’s a long history of flaming and trolling online, and responding to that kind of stuff encourages it. Saying you’ve never seen anything as awful is just an invitation to those who are sure they can say something worse. People who type across the Internet can say worse things than people in an armed camp, let alone a football field; they can’t be reached.

    Look up the troll faq. Don’t try to fight this.
    And don’t click on any link or open any image file that any stranger emails you. Expect more crap when you complain about crap, they sign you up for spam and do all sorts of stuff to annoy if you let people see you’re bothered.

    It’s just dots on a screen. Ignore it.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Reply

    Saltator, where on Earth did you get the idea I had any negative feelings towards Christy personally. I most certainly do not. I disagree with his publicly stated positions on climate. I believe some of his comments have gone over the line ex cathedra. However, I feel he has behaved himself relatively decently, certainly moreso than Spencer or Lindzen. My sole point was that it is not uncommon for all the glitches to take a few years or more to work out when you have a new satellite come on line. How you would take that to be a personally motivated attack is beyond me.

  • David B. Benson // April 10, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Reply

    Arthur Smith // April 9, 2009 at 4:47 am — Long term is long enugh to detect a statistically significant trend. The value typically used for climate is 30+ years.

  • Deep Climate // April 10, 2009 at 7:16 pm | Reply

    Arthur,

    Wikipedia has a good overview article on the subject of satellite tropospheric temperature.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_temperature_measurements

    Also see chapter 3.2 of IPCC AR4 WG1 of course.

    From the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) publication entitled “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”:

    “In the tropics, the agreement between models and observations depends on the time scale considered. For month-to-month and year-to-year variations, models and observations both show amplification (i.e., the month-to-month and year-to-year variations are larger aloft than at the surface). This is a consequence of relatively simple physics, the effects of the release of latent heat as air rises and condenses in clouds. The magnitude of this amplification is very similar in models and observations. On decadal and longer time scales, however, while almost all model simulations show greater warming aloft (reflecting the same physical processes that operate on the monthly and annual time scales), most observations show greater warming at the surface.

    “These results could arise either because “real world? amplification effects on short and long time scales are controlled by different physical mechanisms, and models fail to capture such behavior; or because non-climatic influences remaining in some or all of the observed tropospheric data sets lead to biased long-term trends; or a combination of these factors. The new evidence in this Report favors the second explanation.”

    Original chapter PDF:

    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/sap1-1-final-chap5.pdf

    Executive summary:
    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/sap1-1-final-execsum.pdf

  • Kipp Alpert // April 10, 2009 at 8:04 pm | Reply

    Hank Roberts: Thanks for the good advice. When people talk about wives and family issues that’s about as low as I have seen. But your right. It is a crazy world out there, and crazy people can also be dangerous. Thanks.

  • Kipp Alpert // April 10, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Reply

    Hank Roberts: BTW, the only advice I have ever gotten from you has been good advice.

  • Dave A // April 10, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Reply

    Kipp Alpert,

    Twice now you have made a remark about me “insulting” Ray’s wife. WTF are you talking about?

  • Kipp Alpert // April 10, 2009 at 10:53 pm | Reply

    Barton Paul Levenson:
    Well that was encouraging. I personally think puke and pee, is less than what was said. I am a loyal kind of person, and stick up for people I think are my friends. Oh well, it’s off my chest and flew out the window with the other dust that clutters people minds. Staying true to your own goals, and future designs is where I create the best, so I will go play my drums to Miles Davis and all will be forgotten. Thanks for the words. Appreciate them. Happy Holiday. KIPP

  • TCO // April 10, 2009 at 11:48 pm | Reply

    Since this is an open thread may we debate evolution in here?

    [Response: No.]

  • Ray Ladbury // April 11, 2009 at 12:28 am | Reply

    TCO, you can debate evolution to your heart’s content at Pharyngula–at least you could if there were anything to debate.

  • dhogaza // April 11, 2009 at 4:30 am | Reply

    TCO outed himself? nice!

    You could also try here
    If you have

    1. something new to say about age-old objections

    2. or new ways to display ignorance

    you might even get your own thread!

  • michel // April 11, 2009 at 7:08 am | Reply

    Ray, surely the issue with your approach is that it depends entirely on how urgent the problem is, and how close the planet is to a tipping point.

    If one takes the view that it is imperative to get total emissions below those of 1850 by the year 2050, but thinks that it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference what the curve looks like, then your approach is arguable. We could embark on intense R&D and continue to live pretty much as now, and maybe by 2025 or 2035 we’d have made some progress towards low carbon energy. Lifestyles would not have to change at all, or only very gradually.

    But if you take the view that Hansen, Joe Romm and other AGW spokespeople have taken, that we are on the brink of a tipping point, and that only the most drastic immediate reductions have any chance of saving civilization, maybe human life on earth, then your approach is very risky indeed.

    The first thing to do is establish the parameters of the problem. The discomfort one continues to feel about your position is that it combines assertions of urgency and the rhetoric of civilization in danger with prescriptions for actions which both take a long time and have no very predictable outcomes. That is fine if the problem is one where failure to deliver in quite close timescales will have no terrible consequences.

    But it does seem to imply a less dramatic view of the urgency of the problem than is quite common in the community, and that seemed to be implied by some of your comments.

  • Arthur Smith // April 11, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Reply

    Deep – thanks, that ccsp quote pretty much covers it. So doesn’t that strongly imply any long-term trends from the satellite data now cannot be considered reliable? Why do so many people still quote it on long- term behavior then?

  • Ray Ladbury // April 11, 2009 at 3:14 pm | Reply

    Michel, The problem is that we do not know how close tipping points are. That will take a considerable amount of research and, yes, time.

    I am somewhat used to such situations–in building satellites, we often confront risks that cannot be bounded and must carry out mitigation in parallel with gathering information about the risk. The idea is that you minimize the probability of realizing the threat even as you try to understand the consequences.
    Let me be clear, I am not advocating continuing to “live pretty much as now”. We do have to make changes to the way we live to reduce CO2 emissions as much as possible while still maintaining productivitity. The emphasis here is “possible” and “maintaining productivity”. I don’t think Joe or Dr. Hansen would disagree with these goals, although the means necessary could be controversial.

  • Hank Roberts // April 11, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Reply

    Ya know all that argument between various satellite and balloon measures?

    Boreholes are another source:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL037400.shtml

  • Hank Roberts // April 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Reply

    Oh, egregious exaggeration flag for michel’s
    > any chance of saving civilization,
    > maybe human life on earth

    Good grief.

  • Hank Roberts // April 11, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Reply

    http://blog.modernmechanix.com/index.php?s=Hulburt

    1932
    Carbon Dioxide Heats the Earth
    DR. E. O. HULBURT, physicist of the naval research laboratory, Washington, has found conclusive mathematical evidence that the earth’s temperature is being warmed by the increased amount of carbon dioxide present in the air. Smoke stacks emit huge volumes of this gas, which is also found in the breath and waste products of humans and animals.

    —-> anyone got a better cite?

  • Deep Climate // April 12, 2009 at 4:54 am | Reply

    Arthur,
    CCSP isn’t just about about satellite – radiosonde and reanalyses are also covered. This IPCC AR4 chart summarizes all the different sources of temperature estimates for the tropics:
    http://deepclimate.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/ipcc-ar4-tropical-troposphere-trends.gif
    (from chapter 3.2)

    Note the wide 5-95% confidence intervals, even for surface. You can see RSS slightly above the surface.

    Radiosondes are assumed to have cooling bias, but may have other advantages (e.g. they can show relative relationship of trend to altitude).

    In general, I consider the surface data more reliable (certainly less measurement error), but the discrepancy with satellite record has narrowed considerably (mostly because other teams corrected UAH errors).

    Of course, anyone predisposed against AGW will claim the satellite temps are more reliable, with UAH more reliable than RSS. Then slap a a higher-order polynomial trend onto UAH and voila … don’t get me started.

  • George Darroch // April 12, 2009 at 6:18 am | Reply

    I know a few data points does not a trend make, and the readings are still preliminary, but has anyone noticed the rapid growth in global CO2 as measured by ESRL?

    I can only remember consistent increases this large in 1998. Any significance or meaning?

    [Response: It looks to me as though the recent data (since 2000) are well in line with a steady increase at about 2.06 ppm/yr, plus an annual cycle; I don't see any significant departure from that pattern.]

  • Lazar // April 13, 2009 at 2:13 am | Reply

    Tamino, is your book near publication?

  • michel // April 13, 2009 at 8:07 am | Reply

    There is an interesting article about the English railway system in the Guardian

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/13/trains-railways-branch-line-closures

    It shows, if you think about it, the nature of the problem. The UK built a large high speed road network some 50 years ago. The result was that transport both passenger and freight moved away from rail. They then closed down branch lines, which lowered the value of the network to users even more. They also prevented the train operator from delivering by truck for the last mile, thus knocking the last nail in the coffin of rail freight.

    With the dominance of the private car for personal transport and trucking for freight, cities and suburbs rebuilt, and companies started to arrange their operations around roads. So we now have a situation where we cannot go back to rail even if we want, the physical layout of the country will not allow it.

    Or at least, we cannot go back without large scale social change. And from the article it appears likely that the recession will now put what remains of the rail network at risk owing to demand reduction.

    In response to the recession the UK Government is now considering a £2000 subsidy on the purchase of new cars, to save the auto industry. This will of course make things worse, once you have bought a new car, its sunk cost, so you reckon the cost per mile on an incremental basis.

    The two things together – the subsidy to new cars and the pending issues with the rail network – show one that as a matter of economic and political reality, the UK, probably like all other developed countries, is just not going to reduce its emissions or change its pattern of energy consumption materially. The only thing that will make it happen is a commitment to quite large social changes – in this case, on the question of transport. But similar arguments can be made about food production, which is 25-30% of energy usage. And the sort of measures required to produce that change are simply not on the agenda.

    In Continental Europe, despite their green sermonizing, they have also introduced a car purchase subsidy.

    So at the moment, we are at the level of handwringing. I can’t see any practical proposals for action on carbon reduction, and I can’t even see any signs that politicians are prepared to entertain them.

    A green response to the difficulties of the auto industry after all would be to welcome them, set targets for the reduction of passenger car mileage, invest heavily in rail, and implement programs for moving freight back to it. Not on the cards, not anywhere in the EC. No politician of any party will even advocate thinking about it. A similar response on energy consumption in food production would be similarly far reaching.

    But, in the present government, ministers have shifted their cars to Priuses. The greener tendency among one’s acquaintance have also shifted to Priuses. Some of them have put up windmills in their gardens. Others have taken to growing a few green beans on an allotment. None of it will produce any measurable reduction in emissions, but I guess it will make everyone feel a whole lot better.

  • Hank Roberts // April 13, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Reply

    Chris Colose has a new visitor you might look in on at some point, Tamino, posting in this thread at Chris’s site:
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/decadal-scale-coolings-not-all-that-unusual/

    If you want to look beyond what he posts at Chris’s thread, Erlhapp describes his work thus on his own website:

    ” This was a simple analysis. It may have been time consuming, but all it required was extracting data from a user-friendly website and some excel fancy-work to show that the effects of El Nino events are long-lasting and dominate the the global temperature record. How the alarmists miss something so easy to see is beyond me…..”

    [Response: How anyone can take the statement "El Nino events are long-lasting and dominate the the global temperature record" seriously, is beyond me.

    I could waste time responding to yet another idiot, or I could finish a post about the Akaike Information Criterion. Let's see ...]

  • dhogaza // April 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Reply

    But, in the present government, ministers have shifted their cars to Priuses. The greener tendency among one’s acquaintance have also shifted to Priuses. Some of them have put up windmills in their gardens. Others have taken to growing a few green beans on an allotment. None of it will produce any measurable reduction in emissions, but I guess it will make everyone feel a whole lot better.

    Cutting tailpipe emissions of CO2 certainly helps.

    You seem to take the attitude that anything short of some sort of absolutist standard is absolutely useless, which is absurd.

  • dhogaza // April 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Reply

    A green response to the difficulties of the auto industry after all would be to welcome them, set targets for the reduction of passenger car mileage, invest heavily in rail, and implement programs for moving freight back to it. Not on the cards, not anywhere in the EC.

    And this isn’t even correct. Germany has invested heavily in high-speed rail and continues to do so (moving the system from 250 km/hr to 350 km/hr technology).

    Spain’s investing heavily in expanding it’s AVE rail network, and moving it up to 350 km/hr also. It’s also investing in its second-tier passenger rail (200 km/hr, might not be standard gauge, switching gauge is one of the issues in Spain).

    I know that at least the main line from Germany to Amsterdam was being upgraded to at least 250 km/hr capability when I was last there in 2004, I’m sure it’s done now.

    All this is to move people out of airplanes and cars into more efficient, less CO2-emitting, high-speed rail.

  • Hank Roberts // April 13, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Reply

    Awww … a bloggerworth a visit before he goes away or moves on from text to audio:
    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/

  • Lazar // April 13, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Reply

    Borehole reconstructions potentially influenced by snow cover…

    We use a set of global coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation (OAGCM) experiments for timeslices over the Holocene from 9K Yr BP onwards to examine differences in Northern Hemisphere Ground Surface Temperature (GST) and Surface Air Temperature (SAT) trends. The model results are driven mainly by the orbitally-forced changes in seasonal insolation, and in particular, the increase in northern hemisphere seasonality in the early-to-mid Holocene. The model reproduces qualitatively presumed past trends in NH temperatures, though it may underestimate their magnitude. For this period, we see on average a significant increase in GST relative to SAT as a result of a competition between the effects of changing seasonal insolation, and the varying extent of insulating seasonal snow cover. The model shows a mid-Holocene peak in annual mean terrestrial Northern Hemisphere GST, but not in annual Surface Air Temperatures (SAT). We conclude that the factors influencing long-term GST trends are potentially quite complex, and that considerable care must be taken in interpreting SAT changes from the GST evidence when there is the possibility of substantial seasonal variation in warmth and snow cover.

    Potential biases in inferring Holocene temperature trends from long-term borehole information
    Mann M.E., Schmidt G.A., Miller S.K., & A.N. LeGrande
    Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L05708
    March 2009
    doi:10.1029/2008GL036354

  • Lazar // April 13, 2009 at 11:26 pm | Reply

    Chris Colose has a new visitor

    Too crafted and temperate to be an ideologue, but too stale and repetetive for a crank. That people are being paid to write this stuff seems increasingly plausible.

    Chris Colose is an excellent writer, thoughtful, really puts the research in. Enjoyed his blog for a long time.

  • michel // April 14, 2009 at 6:40 am | Reply

    Both the Germans and the French have invested in rail for many years now. They have also invested heavily in roads. The question is not whether they have built any new lines, the question is whether they have reduced vehicle miles and gasoline consumption. They have not, and have no plans that would result in it, and are not even discussing it.

    I do not think UK Ministers should be congratulating themselves or we them on driving Prius’s for the following reasons:

    1) We need them to be in something bullet and bomb resistant to protect them from Irish and Islamic terrorists. That’s the enemy when they’re in cars, not CO2. Driving around in chauffeur driven hybrids is the politics of gesture, its doing things for symbolic reasons which have no good effects and significant practical disadvantages. Its a form of political correctness.

    2) The Prius is not a particularly fuel efficient vehicle by European standards. If you have a look at

    http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/index.asp

    you will see that it is very easy to buy quite a substantial car (again by European standards) which does over 60mpg (Imperial). In fact, most cars any economy conscious person would consider will do that. And cost a lot less than a Prius.

    Hybrids (including the Prius) are not a contribution to lowering emissions. Even small cars, and there are quite a few with better economy than the Prius, are not sufficiently better to make the difference needed. The ONLY way to lower emissions from transport is less driving. A lot less driving. That means less car ownership. That means less car manufacture. It means revised patterns of location and living, It means social change.

    The thing one finds absolutely extraordinary about comments on this, and which really merits the term ‘denial’ is the blind belief that emissions can be controlled without significant social and lifestyle changes. It is not going to happen.

    I am continuing to reflect on Ray’s position, and still don’t find it quite satisfactory, there is still a gap between the scale of the problem and the proposed solution. In fact, in large scale emergencies, the Western countries have a record of having done things which were politically difficult. The UK at war, for instance, nationalized food supply, banned white bread, rationed meat, eggs, dairy produce. Not to mention gasoline and all travel. Compulsory land purchases have been a feature of most public works projects in the West.

    If we really do believe that the situation is as dire as the rhetoric suggests, we would be arguing and agitating for these kinds of measures world wide. In fact however we are indulging in the politics of gesture and restricting ourselves to doing things which are said to be better than nothing, but which in fact have no measurable effects whatsoever on the problem. Like the ministerial Prius.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 14, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Reply

    Michel, I’m afraid I don’t understand your hostility to hybrid technology. The fact of the matter is that hybrids are more energy efficient–and therefore less emission intensive–than an equivalent internal combustion engine. If you used hybrid technology with a diesel engine, it would also improve efficiency.
    A plug-in hybrid with batteries charged with a renewable source has the potential of being nearly zero-emissions most of the time, while still offering adequate cruising range. That may not be a significant development in terms of the EU or UK, but it is huge in the US, where distances are large and public transit pathetic.

    The science of climate change is not in debate by anyone who is 1)knowledgable and 2)honest and objective. Politics begins when we begin discussing solutions. We are more likely to prevail politically of the sacrifices demanded are not too onerous to begin with. We need to see something done first, even if the initial steps are small. When people see the small steps are possible without bringing on the end of the world, they may be willing to take larger steps.

    Your invocation of WWII is illustrative. Yes, there was rationing and people fought it every step of the way. It was only by compulsion that government ensured compliance at first. It was only later, after the blitz began and the magnitude of the threat was realized that conservation became patriotic duty.
    It is my goal to keep compulsion to a minimum as much and as long as possible. I hope that as we learn more and the magnitude of the threats facing future generations become apparent, that people will bear the mantle of conservation with good will.

    In any crisis, we cannot be assured of the end. It is important therefore that the means we use to try and acheive our ends be sufficiently ennobling that we are enriched even if we fail.

  • dhogaza // April 14, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Reply

    Both the Germans and the French have invested in rail for many years now. They have also invested heavily in roads. The question is not whether they have built any new lines, the question is whether they have reduced vehicle miles and gasoline consumption

    No, the question was whether or not your earlier statement was correct, or not. It wasn’t.

  • dhogaza // April 14, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Reply

    you will see that it is very easy to buy quite a substantial car (again by European standards) which does over 60mpg (Imperial). In fact, most cars any economy conscious person would consider will do that. And cost a lot less than a Prius.

    Note that the top achievers are diesel, which as has been pointed out many times, is denser in hydrocarbons than gasoline and therefore emits more CO2 per gallon consumed than gasoline.

    So you start with apples and oranges.

    Converting the gasoline vs. diesel and imperial gallon vs. US gallon difference, and your 60 mpg works out to about 42 mpg in US/gasoline equivalence. A Prius beats that 20% in urban driving and does at least that well on the highway.

    And of course a Prius is not a particularly small car.

  • dhogaza // April 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm | Reply

    And cost a lot less than a Prius.

    A Prius isn’t particularly expensive here, these days, and Honda’s just announced a very reasonably priced version of the Insight.

    Japanese cars are quite expensive in Europe compared to cars built in the EU, which might be contributing to your assumption that hybrids are intrinsically expensive. This relatively high price of Japanese cars in the EU has nothing to do with the cost of manufacture, though.

  • michel // April 14, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Reply

    Its not really a hostility to hybrids in themselves, or any particular technology.

    Its a hostility to a point of view. Which can be characterized as the view that there is something greener about a Prius than a Ford Fusion. Despite the fact that the Fusion, though a deeply unchic and unfashionable car, gets areound the same mileage and has about the same space. But costs half the price.

  • dhogaza // April 14, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Reply

    If hybrid technology is unable to improve the mileage of cars like the Ford Fusion, why is Ford introducing the Ford Fusion Hybrid?

    Why do they claim 41 mpg for the hybrid version, vs. 34 mpg for the standard IC version?

    And why do both get less mileage than the Prius? Prius gets about 35% better mileage than the standard non-hybrid Fusion.

    But costs half the price.

    Bull. The standard IC engine version starts at $20K in the US vs. about $28K for the Prius. The Ford Fusion Hybrid’s priced at $27K.

    That doesn’t look like half the cost to me …

  • dhogaza // April 14, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Reply

    As it happens, Oregon, my home state, has the highest per-capita number of hybrids in the country.

    The State of Oregon has been operating them for some years now. Over 100,000 miles they’ve computed that operating costs of currently-available hybrids have been 40% lower than for the standard internal combustion engine powered comparable vehicles the operate.

    Now this is going to vary according to fuel prices, of course, but implied in this message is less maintenance for the hybrids. Not sure how much is due to Toyota’s well-deserved reputation for building reliable cars, vs. the fact that the hybrid’s IC engine runs in a much narrower, optimized range of RPMs in urban driving (when it does run) so perhaps is less subject to wear, etc.

    Over the 100,000 mile lifetime of the car for motor pool use, the lower operating costs more than compensates for the moderately higher initial cost of hybrids, in their experience.

  • t_p_hamilton // April 14, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Reply

    michel said:”Its a hostility to a point of view. Which can be characterized as the view that there is something greener about a Prius than a Ford Fusion. Despite the fact that the Fusion, though a deeply unchic and unfashionable car, gets areound the same mileage and has about the same space. But costs half the price.”

    From Toyota Mar 9: “While the combined rating of 50 mpg remains unchanged, the city rating went up one mpg and the highway number went down one mpg. Therefore the revised preliminary EPA fuel economy ratings for the new Prius are 51 city/48 highway/50 combined.”

    From Ford about the Ford fusion HYBRID: “Ford’s just-out 2010 Fusion gas-electric hybrid sedan is rated at 41 miles per gallon in the city, 8 mpg more than Toyota’s rival Camry hybrid, and 36 on the highway,”

    Regular gasoline standard shift 4 cyl 2008 Fusion 29/20.

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 14, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Reply

    Same mileage eh? Right. You have a history of going for that stupid comparison between the diesel BMW and the Prius, Michel. The reality is that, for any vehicle used in a urban environment, hybrid is better. Hybrid cars are the best for urban driving and even the best diesels don’t beat them at that game. Diesel-electric hybrid buses are much better than all diesel, diesel-electric delivery trucks are better too. And who cares what kind of highway mileage these vehicles would have since it is not what they’ll be used for?

    Trashing the technology, which you are doing, regardless of where your hostility is directed, is no smarter than using as a green facade. There is a place for hybrid tech in a carbon conscious world, would it be only as a transitional tool.

    It also serves the very useful purpose of channeling people’s spending impulse. If someone just won’t settle for a Fusion because it is so unappealing, I’d rather have them drive a Prius than an SUV or oversized sedan that would make them feel equally satisfied socially. Who cares that their decision is wrong from a personal finance point of view? The result is still better.

  • Hank Roberts // April 14, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Reply

    > the Fusion, though a deeply unchic
    > and unfashionable car,

    Well, maybe you’ll like the Fusion Hybrid better?

  • Ray Ladbury // April 14, 2009 at 11:19 pm | Reply

    Michel, Hmm, so you seem to be saying that if people want to drive the car, it must be a bad thing? Personally, I am living for the day when frat boys all over the country trade in their Hummers for Priuses, because the latter is a better chick magnet.
    Look, if people want to feel good about doing something good, I’m all for it. Hey, if it were me, I’d go for the fusion, too (at present, I drive a 15 year old Honda Civic with 245000 miles on it–a Fusion would be a step up). However, if a Prius leads to recycling, and recycling leads to weatherproofing the house and maybe some solar panels, great. And if they learn to vote some non-idiots in…

  • Hank Roberts // April 15, 2009 at 1:19 am | Reply

    Feedback, positive (that is, bad news):
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/04/09/0812743106.abstract
    Changes in biogenic carbon flow in response to sea surface warming

    Hat tip to
    http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/environmental_law/2009/04/global-warming-reduces-capacity-of-ocean-to-store-carbon.html

  • Phil Scadden // April 15, 2009 at 1:19 am | Reply

    So Michel wants to be able to let China pollute – fair enough. See here
    http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c1/page_14.shtml

    for a graph showing the historical share of CO2 emissions. By this token then, UK needs to reduce CO2 to below 1 ton/per/year.
    http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c1/page_15.shtml

    Read the rest to see how.

  • David Gould // April 15, 2009 at 5:05 am | Reply

    I am looking at some graphs on rainfall data for the south-east of Australia. I am not a statistical expert, but I ran some data through Excel and found the trendlines for the since 1989. (I admit to cherry-picking a little here.)

    But since that time there has been a steady decline in yearly rainfall, at around 16 mm per year according to the trendlines (I looked at years, five-year moving averages and 11-year moving averages – the last only gives me 10 data points, though, so it is likely not very useful).

    This leads me to conclude that if that trend continues the south-east of Australia will be technically a desert – annual rainfall below 250 mm – by 2050 at the latest, and possibly as early 2035.

    If the trend is real, it seems that it is already too late to save this huge agricultural production area, no matter what steps we take in the next few decades. Does anyone share my pessimism?

  • David Gould // April 15, 2009 at 5:30 am | Reply

    Oops: I meant ‘-9 mm per year’. The -16 mm per year was from something else I was doing.

    I should also add that I am trying to work out whether the trend is statistically significant. There have been greater trends of similar duration previously, both up and down, in the south-east climate record. So it is likely that it is not statistically significant yet. The problem is: if we wait to work out whether it is or not before pursuing public policy goals to fix it then if it is a real trend caused by global warming the place is a desert and nothing more can really be done …

  • michel // April 15, 2009 at 7:41 am | Reply

    I’m in Europe. The source of comparisons on mileage is the UK Department of Transport site.

    http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/index.asp

    It may not be perfect, but its standard and official and uniform.

    My point is simple. In the Europe the issue is not do they buy a Prius or an SUV, there are very few SUVs.

    The question is whether the wholesale adoption of Prius would make any significant difference to fuel consumption statistics. I am saying that it would not, and the basis for this assertion is the site given above. The reason it would not is that the Prius, according to this site, gets a combined mileage of 65.7 to the imperial gallon. Various Fords, Fusions and Focuses, get 62.8 to the imperial gallon. The difference is minimal.

    Now yes, these are all diesels, like most of the others that do over 60 to the imperial gallon. But you can also get smaller gasoline powered cars that are rated at 61.4.

    What I am saying, and it is so obviously true its hard to see why anyone would argue with it, is that moving from what people are driving now, if the standard is the cars you find on the 60mph+ pages, to Prius will make no material difference to CO2 emissions.

    We will be buying a new car one of these days, in fact it will be a used one. It will probably be a Ford, but it might be a Peugeot/Citroen. It will do around the same mileage, a bit less, as the Prius would. But no-one will think it is a green choice. Though it will be just about as green, maybe greener being used.

    Philippe says “You have a history of going for that stupid comparison between the diesel BMW and the Prius”. I don’t have a history, I cited it. And I do not think it stupid, on the contrary, it more or less tallies with the experience of the one person I know who drives a Prius. But regardless, the information I am basing this stuff on is official sources on a variety of cars from a variety of manufacturers.

    I don’t know how much driving in the UK is really urban, but outside of London suspect not a lot. The country is covered in small roads on which one drives at a more or less constant 30-60 mph. The percentage urban/highway in the BMW-Prius test struck me as reasonable compared to what I and people I know drive. But whatever, that is not the basis for the assertion.

    My point is not particularly the technology. It is about reducing total gasoline consumption for transport by a particular country. Hybrids are not going to make the difference that is said to be required in the UK. We are going to have to cut down miles driven and cars owned. Why does this idea arouse so much emotional opposition? Is it because you guys cannot adapt emotionally to the idea of giving up the suburb-car-mall ethos?

    Now, after we get through establishing the obvious on transport, the next thing to look at will be food production in one particular country, for instance the UK. The same thing is going to come out. Driving to one’s allotment to grow a few beans is not going to make any measurable difference. Banning flown in vegetables from Kenya will not make any difference. Charging 1p for plastic shopping bags will make no difference.

    What will make a difference is a move away from chemical and industrial agriculture. That requires social change too, including much more labor intensive farming, and much more reliance on mixed farming, rotation and composting.

    It is fundamentally dishonest to argue that if we just do this and that ineffective gesture in a green direction, life can continue as normal but emitting 10 or 20 percent of the carbon we do now. No it cannot!

    As for China, I didn’t say anything about it, but China is obviously a huge issue, as is India (judging by the recent Washington Post article, a most recalcitrant issue).

  • Ray Ladbury // April 15, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Reply

    Michel,
    Show me where anybody has said that switching to hybrid technology is THE ANSWER that will allow us to continue as before. It is one among many answers, and it is an important one. The Prius is a step closer to a plug-in hybrid, which would be a significant part of the solution even in Europe. The transportation issue is a difficult one, particularly where there is not already a large investment in mass transport infrastructure–e.g. rail. Plug-in hybrids + cleanly generated electricity could equate to ~20% reduction in CO2 emissions–not enough, but not chicken feed.
    Keep in mind that there are three goals here:
    1)Reduce emissions to buy time for finding solutions
    2)Keep the economy healthy enough that we can support continued R&D to find solutions
    3)Keep things as democratic and free as possible for citizens

    Anything that is consistent with these goals is to be applauded. I would contend that the Ford Focus and the Prius are not competing with each other for market share. If the Prius appeals to yuppie scum, great, let’s get them on board. Maybe we can also get them to recycle, compost, garden and plant trees, too. And if these actions make them feel good, fine.
    In your analogies with WWII, there is one critical difference you are forgetting: Although the war seemed to those who lived through it to be never-ending, it was in fact a short-term effort–a sprint, if you will. Efforts to deal with climate change are a marathon. They will have to be sustained and perhaps even accelerated over at least a couple of generations. It cannot all be about sacrifice or we will not be able to sustain the effort.

  • Neven // April 15, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Reply

    I don’t know how much michel was one of the anti-AGW misinformed or misinformants here previously, but I think a lot of the current hostility towards him is misguided. Maybe he has ulterior motives, but what he says and the way he puts it, isn’t so far-fetched.

    If things are as bad as they say they are – and with things I mean global warming, ocean acidification, top soil erosion, overfishing, financial markets & economies, etcetera – then a little bit of policy here, a little bit of policy there, just doesn’t cut it.

    The way things are done have to be altered completely if things are really as urgent as people say they are (and I think they are). I believe michel is completely right that there isn’t a chance in hell that people will settle for anything that involves sacrifice and habit breaking.

    It’s not about Prius vs Fusion vs Volt, it’s about driving vs not driving. It’s about finding alternatives to the neoclassical concept of economic growth.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Reply

    Neven, Great. Get right on that and report back to us. Is next Tuesday open for you?

    Sorry to be flippant, but to discuss remaking society is a bit premature when we have yet to institute even the most modest policies to curb emissions seems just a wee bit grandiose. What we need are things we can all do now to make things better. If the people lead, eventually the government will follow.
    Yes things have to change–and radically. However, it has been my experience that the best way to make radical change is not to start out with radical changes that will lead to backlash. Our goal is to make the Prius or the Volt displace the Hummer as the ultimate chick magnet (sorry, Michel, the Fusion ain’t gonna make it there). Change to be effective must be sustained, and to be sustained, it cannot all be about sacrifice.

  • dhogaza // April 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Reply

    It may not be perfect, but its standard and official and uniform.

    So are the EPA mileage figures, and so is the very real difference in CO2 emissions per gallon of diesel consumed vs. gallon of gasoline consumed.

    You call 66 mpg gasoline consumption “insignificantly better than 63 mpg diesel consumption, when in reality it is easily 20%, possibly more like 25%, better in terms of CO2 emissions.

    I’ve looked at the UK combined mileage methodology and it appears to give equal weight to urban and highway driving. Not a reasonable model for consumption in the US outside major cities on the eastern seaboard (Michel might be surprised to learn that many New Yorkers don’t even own a car – how un-American!).

    Of course, Michael states that you can get smaller gasoline IC powered cars that get close to Prius mileage. Well, if those were hybrid, they’d see their mileage jump by the same 35-40% that introducing hybrid technology into larger vehicles gets you.

    And, lifetime ownership for hybrids appears to be lower than for an equivalent conventional automobile, according to the State of Oregon Motor Pool data I cited above. Real operating data, not projections, not evil mathematical models, etc.

  • dhogaza // April 15, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Reply

    Neven:

    I think a lot of the current hostility towards him is misguided.

    The hostility, on my end, at least, comes about because of his intentional use of misleading “facts”.

    For instance, constantly ignoring the fact that consuming a gallon of diesel emits considerably more CO2 than consuming a gallon of gasoline in an IC engine. He did this a few weeks ago, was corrected, and came up with the same “but this diesel gets almost the same mileage as a Prius” argument all over again trying to “prove” that hybrid technology doesn’t reduce CO2 emissions.

    The constant posting of misleading and previously-refuted “data” is always going to frustrate people, no matter what position they take on climate science.

  • gmo // April 15, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Reply

    The impression I think michel gives many is not of one thinking “we face a huge problem that requires drastic changes to solve” but rather “_if_ the problem is as big as you say then you should be advocating a certain set of drastic changes and ignoring small potatoes.”

    It seems to me at least michel is typically aiming for winning debating points toward a goal of demonstrating many who take climate change seriously are not really taking it seriously because they are not pushing in a certain direction.

    Of course there is reasonable debate to had about whether whatever measures will be effective or effective enough. It seems though michel takes the ‘not doing enough’ side not out of personal belief the threat is real and massive but more to be contrarian and try to demonstrate others are being hypocritical. My opinion may not be worth the ether it passes through, but I think that plus tending to focus very narrowly (like on Prius vs Fusion) leads to that particular “hostility”. However, even if michel is not actually doing any of the pushing, when the discussion is just about how we push, that is an improvement over the stale old questioning of if there is even a problem.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 15, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Reply

    I do not see that we lose anything by attributing bona fides to Michel. My position remains that the first thing we have to do is overcome the inertia of inaction and then keep pushing in the right direction. He should know that each of us are doing what we can in our personal lives subject to the constraints of the society we live in. If his goal were to demonstrate hypocrisy, he would have failed miserably.

  • Hank Roberts // April 15, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Reply

    Good point about documenting the difference between diesel and gasoline on CO2 produced.

    Line them up in terms of amount of carbon:hydrogen ratio:

    Methane — gasoline — diese l– coal

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Reply

    Neven, you make some good points. Michel does too but that’s a relatively recent trend for him. Not long ago he was arguing that Anthony Watts’ way of doing science by blog, while consistently failing to analyze data, was perfectly justifiable, hence the hostility. He also bought into the surface stations “effort.” By the way, that led us to wonder why Watts has not processed the data from his “survey.” Evan Jones briefly visited to tell us that analysis and release of preliminary results was imminent. That was a few months back, AFAIK we’re still waiting. Any news on that front Michel?

    Michel also likes to knock down his lovingly crafted strawmen. He has a bit of a fixation on the Prius. For me, it is beyond obvious that one should take a good look at what kind of driving they do before buying the most able car for that use. Michel trumpeted the Prius/BMW test as some sort of proof that hybrids are useless, with much snark. The test says that the 2 cars come very close on an overall type of use that is much more favorable to the BMW. In fact, the Prius performs very well on something that it’s not exactly designed to do. Dhogaza is right in saying that the total CO2 emitted matters most and the Prius would win at that, although refining related CO2 should be considered too. I note that Michel still does not elaborate on diesel-hybrid buses and urban bound trucks, which I said were the applications that we should really ask for right now.

    Michel’s history here leads me to believe gmo may be right on point and wonder about his sincerity. He has shown masterful use of language and rethoric, in a lawyer kind of way.

    But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Michel is irritated with left-leaning, self-righteous, eco-blabbing people who enjoy the good Western lifestyle while making little effort themselves and still trying to make others feel guilty. Nothing wrong with that, but it makes him a little irrational since, as a result, he picks the wrong targets or is swayed by Watts-like nonsense.

    When you say this: “It’s about finding alternatives to the neoclassical concept of economic growth,” I couldn’t agree more. That, indeed, is the heart of the issue.

  • t_p_hamilton // April 15, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Reply

    David Gould,

    The problem is not just the rainfall, but the amount that does not subsequently evaporate.

  • JCH // April 15, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Reply

    Maybe Paul Krugman could drop being behind the curve by a country mile on the TARP and the Geithner plan, and get to work on that alternative economic concept – a far better use of his talents.

  • Hank Roberts // April 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Reply

    Oops. Maybe this is a hint about why the ANDRILL people have been so excited.

    Looking at excavations:

    NYT April 15, 2009
    “Evidence from fossil coral reefs in Mexico underlines the potential for a sudden jump in sea levels because of global warming ….
    The study, published in the journal Nature, suggests that a sudden rise of 6.5 feet to 10 feet occurred within a span of 50 to 100 years about 121,000 years ago, at the end of the last warm interval between ice ages. …”

    Picture caption:
    Earth round, some say; opinions differ.
    No, wait, it says:

    “Paul Blanchon
    “Coral fossils in canal walls at a Mexican resort show evidence of a rapid increase in sea level 121,000 years ago, researchers say. Other experts on corals and climate are not convinced. ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/science/earth/16coral.html?_r=1&hp

    Nature’s page and Scholar don’t seem to have this yet. Scholar has related articles:

    Recent articles/2009
    Results 1 – 5 of 5 for Blanchon coral.

    Tsunamis, hurricanes, the demise of coral reefs and shifts in prehistoric human populations…
    SR Scheffers, J Haviser, T Browne, A Scheffers – Quaternary International, 2009 – Elsevier
    … However, Blanchon and Perry (2004) point out that information from cores is limited
    in identifying coral reef environments and conclude that hurricanes have …

    Modern benthic foraminifera on Banco Chinchorro, Quintana Roo, Mexico
    E Gischler, A Möder – Facies, 2009 – Springer
    … 26 Gischler E, Ginsburg RN (1996) Cavity dwellers (coelobites) under coral rubble
    in … doi:10.2307/3515291 Li C, Jones B, Blanchon P (1997) Lagoon-shelf sediment …

    Macro-Ecology of Gulf of Mexico Cold Seeps
    EE Cordes, DC Bergquist, CR Fisher – Annual Review of Marine Science, 2009
    … of this mound are hard substrata with gorgonian (Callogorgia americana delta) and
    a few isolated scleractinian (Lophelia pertusa) coral colonies (MacDonald et …

    Exploring typhoon variability over the mid-to-late Holocene: evidence of extreme coastal flooding …
    JD Woodruff, JP Donnelly, A Okusu – Quaternary Science Reviews, 2009

  • dhogaza // April 15, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Reply

    although refining related CO2 should be considered too

    And drilling, and transport to the filling station, etc.

    I’ve not seen full-cycle numbers comparing gas to diesel, but diesel’s about 18% heavier so presumably hauling a tanker of diesel burns more fuel/releases more CO2 than hauling a tanker of gasoline.

  • Hank Roberts // April 15, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Reply

    Here it is:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7240/full/nature07933.html

    Letter

    Nature 458, 881-884 (16 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07933; Received 8 October 2008; Accepted 23 February 2009
    Rapid sea-evel rise and reef back-stepping at the close of the last interglacial highstand

    Figures and tables
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7240/fig_tab/nature07933_ft.html

    Supplementary info
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7240/suppinfo/nature07933.html

    Editor’s Summary
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v458/n7240/edsumm/e090416-08.html

    “… New evidence from an exceptionally exposed fossil reef in the Xcaret theme park in Mexico provides a detailed picture of the development of reef terraces, erosion surfaces and sea-level excursions in the region during the last interglacial. A combination of precise uranium-series dating and stratigraphic analysis, together with comparison with coral ages elsewhere, suggests that a sea-level jump of 2 to 3 metres occurred about 121,000 years ago, consistent with an episode of ice-sheet instability towards the end of the last interglacial. On that evidence, sustained rapid ice loss and sea-level rise in the near future are possible.”

  • Phil Scadden // April 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm | Reply

    Michel – the urban/rural ratios used by official fuel figures are based on surveys of actual use not anecdote. I am not suggesting you go buy a Prius – but do buy an electric when you can. The BMW/Prius “test” you cite was monumentally flawed. Go to the fuel testing site and compare it with how the real tests are actually done – ie scientifically. Meanwhile, everyone in UK needs to say YES to a lot of renewable projects and I am guessing Yes to nuclear too. On the efficiency front, UK also needs to look harder at home heating. Heat pumps especially. If you are worried about China then simply stop buying stuff from China. Their energy use is mostly our energy consumption.

  • Deep Climate // April 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm | Reply

    Hank,
    How rapid was the SLR of 2-3 m? 10 years? 100?
    500? (I’m assuming you can go behind the “pay wall’).

    Current SLR models apparently project 1-1.5m by 2100, well up from the equivalent scenarios in AR4. (You were at that RealClimate.org thread as well).

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/sea-will-rise-to-levels-of-last-ice-age/

    James Hansen projects more in the area of “several” meters apparently, but my understanding is that would depend on a doubling of SLR rate each decade.

    Scary stuff, no matter who’s right.

  • Lee // April 15, 2009 at 11:28 pm | Reply

    TCO: you’ve been noticed!

    voodoo (20:37:31) :
    What is “TCO??
    REPLY: He’s an omnipresent troll in climate blogs. His MO is foul langauge, insulting ad homs, occasional (admitted) drunken rants, and refusal to answer any questions posed to him. He occasionally has some good moments, but he tends to tire everyone out. He’s been mostly banned here though on occasion when he has something relevant to say I let the comment through. Lucia put him in her troll box, so did Steve McIntyre. There are some other places where he’s banned also.
    He has taken quite a dislike to me, and regularly posts things about how stupid he thinks I am. It’s quite amusing.
    - Anthony

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/12/a-challenge-to-steig-et-al-on-antarctic-warming/

    at 12/04/09

  • Hank Roberts // April 16, 2009 at 1:29 am | Reply

    Nope, sorry, I don’t own a subscription to Nature either, and haven’t been to the library. But there are stories about this in several sites now.

    NYT:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/science/earth/16coral.html?_r=2&hp
    “a sudden rise of 6.5 feet to 10 feet occurred within a span of 50 to 100 years ”

    This isn’t definite, according to the paper’s own authors, some of the sites couldn’t be dated by radioactive isotopes.
    SciAm: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=ancient-corals-provide-record-of-rapid-sea-level-rise

    “Other evidence has shown that 14,000 years ago, at the beginning of the current epoch (the Holocene), ice sheet melting led to sea level rises of as much as 49 feet (15 meters) in 300 years. But this find indicates that sea level can rise even faster, most likely from collapsing ice sheets, Blanchon says.

    The dating of the reefs by the decay of thorium as well as comparison with similarly aged reefs from the Bahamas remains in question, however, because Blanchon and his colleagues failed to confidently date the first reef.

    “Their accuracy is suspect,” the researchers admitted in the paper. Yet, other studies have shown that sea levels rose by as much as 5.2 feet (1.6 meters) per century during the Eemian.

    This finding “is the first indication that ice sheet collapse caused a sea level jump during the last interglacial,” Blanchon says. “If we can find back-stepping reefs during the last interglacial in [Western Australia and other areas], I think we will have a rock-solid case for ice sheet collapse and catastrophic sea level rise.”

    Check the supporting files linked above.

    I know ANDRILL is working on several cores that tell the story of repeated collapses of the ice at least around the edge where they’re drilling. I haven’t seen any timeline yet, but it’s early for that kind of detail to be published.
    ____________
    Speculative predictive aside — note the quote in the SciAm by the author, starting with “Their accuracy ….” (he’s agreeing with uncertainty about the results, referring to some of the dates). Watch for it soon at a WTF-type site, misattributed to maek you think it’s describing the authors. Just a hypothesis, of course.

  • David B. Benson // April 16, 2009 at 1:50 am | Reply

    Deep Climate // April 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm — There are threads about this Eemian rate paper on DotEarth and ClimateProgress. The author is appearently stating 50–100 years. It seems there is a previous study of the Red Sea which appears to back up a centennial scale SLR.

  • TCO // April 16, 2009 at 4:14 am | Reply

    Actually I don’t dislike Anthony. I say things that make him feel bad. But I actually think he has a sweet personality.

  • michel // April 16, 2009 at 7:00 am | Reply

    UK Minister in today’s Guardian:

    Hoon said yesterday that decarbonising road transport had a big role in helping the UK meet its targets of reducing CO2 emissions by 26% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. “Something like 35% of all our carbon emissions are caused by domestic transport,” he said. “Of that, 58% of the emissions are caused by motor cars.”

    Notice the numbers, before concluding I’m being obsessed with private cars. 20% of all emissions in the UK are due to them.

    Notice also what Hoon said about hybrids:

    How the money would be distributed is yet to be decided but Hoon said it would be available only to people buying cars that ran entirely, or for the vast majority of their time, on electricity.

  • michel // April 16, 2009 at 8:19 am | Reply

    The problem with hybrids in the UK is not really with the technology.

    The problem is that whatever technology you use to get 60-65 miles per imperial gallon, combined cycle is not going to make the required difference. The problem is not getting to 60-65. The problem is getting to the equivalent of several hundred. It is not that reducing gasoline consumption by a total of 5% is useless. It is just that it doesn’t address the problem.

    It is like, walking East on 14th St is not a first step to getting to Europe. It is pointless to advocate doing things which have no substantial effect on the alleged problem. Maybe all-electric cars will turn out possible on a large enough scale to do it. They are at least a conceivable solution to the problem. If we all drove them, gas consumption really would fall by a huge amount. All switching to cars which do 60-65 will not make it happen.

    I don’t think all-electric will turn out to be possible without huge lifestyle changes also, but at least if it were, it would have effects on the scale required. So you can believe that people proposing this are serious about solving the problem and not just waving their arms.

  • Chris S // April 16, 2009 at 8:41 am | Reply

    Hank, Deep

    The Blanchon et al. paper cites the following two papers:

    Blanchon, P. & Shaw, J. Reef drowning during the last deglaciation: evidence for catastrophic sea-level rise and ice-sheet collapse. Geology 23, 4–8 (1995)

    Peltier, W. R. & Fairbanks, R. G. Global glacial ice volume and Last Glacial Maximum duration from an extended Barbados sea level record. Quat. Sci. Rev. 25, 3322–3337 (2006)

    Which both give SLR rates exceeding 36mm/yr (apparently, I’ve not read them to check) They claim that their findings are “compelling evidence for a sea-level jump with a similar rise rate during the late stages of the last interglacial”

  • Gavin's Pussycat // April 16, 2009 at 9:45 am | Reply

    > I say things that make him feel bad.

    You mean, the truth?

    “Sweet” is not the word I would pick for that.

  • Deech56 // April 16, 2009 at 11:36 am | Reply

    I’m reading the Nature paper (thanks, Hank) and it does not seem to mention how quickly the sea level rose. The importance of this papers seems to lie in the analysis of instability during an interglacial. This is a first analysis and needs to be corroborated by studies in other regions, of course.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Reply

    Michel, I’ll take a 5% reduction. Hell, I’ll take a 1% reduction–in fact I’ll take as many 1% reductions as you can give me. What is more, a plug-in hybrid is about 90% of the way to an electric car. One would only use the IC engine on long trips. Now granted, it would be nice to obviate the need for long car trips by improving mass transit (e.g. rail, bus, etc.). By all means, we should fight for that.
    Action has to be viewed in the historical context–that is, complete inaction or worse retrograde actions that make the problem worse. So if somebody offers me a 5% reduction, I’m not going to refuse it. I’m going to say “Thank you, sir. May I have another?”

    The journy of 10000 miles…

  • TCO // April 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Reply

    Dog:

    Although I phrase the statements provocatively, the points are true.

    I do think it’s possible to have a sweet disposition and not be a truth-facer. Many women are like this for instance. In contrast, it’s also possible to be an SOB like Hymie Rickover, who was very truth-facing.

  • dhogaza // April 16, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Reply

    If we all drove them, gas consumption really would fall by a huge amount. All switching to cars which do 60-65 will not make it happen.

    If the average passenger car mileage in the US rose to the 50 mpg or so equivalent in US gallons, CO2 emissions from this source would drop by 1/2 to 2/3.

    Not “insignificant” no matter how many times you huff and puff.

  • Neven // April 16, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Reply

    Philippe,

    Yes, I vaguely remember the role michel was playing here concerning AGW, and I also remember that the iconic image of the Toyota Prius triggered some disgust in him (as a matter of fact, I believe there are legitimate reasons for that). His motives probably still are to trick somebody on a rhetorical level, which is fine, because I do that too every now and then on other topics in other fora.

    Ultimately, like gmo said: the good thing is that the energy in the discussion is aimed at solutions to the problems, instead of on the whole alarmist/denier cul-de-sac of righteous indignation. The only use that this has is that it can point newcomers in the right direction, if they’re open to investigate and follow logical conclusions.

    I might be wrong, but I don’t think the problems the globe is facing can be solved. And I don’t mean that in a pessimistic way. I’m not pessimistic that I can’t fly either. For solutions to work, changes would be so far-reaching, that it would take a complete shift of consciousness for them to happen (perhaps in the end this is what it’s all about). In that sense I agree with michel and I disagree with Ray.

    Until recently I more or less felt the same as Ray though: Things are hopeless, people are hopeless, but we have to try nevertheless, small steps first, then the big ones. But right now I’m at a stage where I don’t believe we will never go beyond the small steps. There’s just too much deliberate and involuntary greenwash to wade through. In theory it’s possible to shift completely to renewable energies, maximize efficiency and have technology solve every problem. But in practice I think timing will prove to be disadvantageous.

    So basically, IMO it’s out of our hands. The only thing that matters is how humanity will respond when things get out of hand. Because I think things cannot but get out of hand. There will come about some collapse, or a slow contraction, or whatever. This is only logical, as the freight train of economic growth doesn’t seem to have a built-in emergency brake. The only thing that counts now is the chronology of the global problems, of which AGW in my view would come last and could very well be the coup de grace.

    Like I said, the concept of economic growth is the bad guy, and I’m still not seeing any significant signs that this is being thought about, let alone be changed. Obama has a lot of plans to kick-start the economy and have people borrowing and spending again like they have up till now, but my calculator is protesting, it just doesn’t add up. Sooner or later this has to end, and the longer it takes, the bigger the initial crash will be. Peak resources, agricultural problems, the onset of AGW, but most of all, this enormous illusion Western society is built on financially, economically, psychologically and spiritually, will force the demise of BAU much better and quicker than any set of (politically impossible) policies could ever do.

    So I actually welcome this crash. It could be the best possible thing to happen considering AGW, the biggest problem of all in the long term. I nowadays say to people around me: “Yes, buy that LCD screen that’s much to big for your house. Yes, go on that extra holiday to Thailand. Leave that heating and lighting on when buying a bag of onions in the Walmart, 20 miles from your MTV Cribs replica. Never ever buy a Prius. Spend that money on beef, lots of beef. Go cheer on WUWT every time some graph is doing what you hope it’s doing. Become a libertarian and graze the commons as you please and see fit.” The earlier the crash, the better it’ll be.

    The only question I have right now is: What happens after that? Will this be a wake-up call? Will enough knowledge and (communications) infrastructure be conserved to start getting societies in shape for real sustainability? Sure, things could get rough for a while as so many people are completely dependent on that destructive system and have no useful skills. But I think in the end people will be better off than they are now. And maybe that fatal level of CO2 will not be reached.

    And now back to michel… ;-)

  • Hank Roberts // April 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Reply

    Efficiency: consider Revkin’s invitation to speechwriting. Here’s mine. One single line in one regulatory decision could eliminate as much fossil fuel use as all the automobiles produce; that’s the utility transformer regulation from DOE:
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/17/the-annotated-climate-speech/?apage=2#comment-16771

    “If the department simply required new transformers to be as efficient as the best equipment already on the market, ….
    That would also reduce the annual output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide by 700 million tons, more than the amount emitted by all U.S. cars ….”

    One line in one regulation. Easy. Costs utilities money they’re petitioning to spend, eagerly.

    Change everyone’s vehicles and driving habits. Hard. Requires junking the auto fleet and replacing it. Who makes money on that? Banks and auto manufacturers who need bailouts.

    It’s reasonable to ask if we’re making the best choices here.

  • luminous beauty // April 16, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Reply

    For solutions to work, changes would be so far-reaching, that it would take a complete shift of consciousness for them to happen (perhaps in the end this is what it’s all about).

    Twenty years ago, what we are doing here now was something somewhat beyond the general fare of human consciousness.

    Did you notice the shift?

  • Phil Scadden // April 16, 2009 at 9:41 pm | Reply

    [Moving a discussion from Antarctic Ice to open thread - subject: powering China from renewables]

    Ray, I am not against anything you say, but solutions must add up. Its pointless to search for solutions that are not physically possible (like delivering China’s current electricity needs through renewables. The only place where the physics allows some latitude would be increasing the efficiency of solar collectors to around 70%+). Population control, distributing manufacturing to energy rich regions, massively reducing consumption in the west – these are the useful things for whole planet to worry about.

  • Neven // April 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Reply

    luminous beauty: “Twenty years ago, what we are doing here now was something somewhat beyond the general fare of human consciousness.”

    I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t understand what you’re getting at. Please clarify.

  • Phil Scadden // April 16, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Reply

    WHOOPS! The trouble with back of envelope calculations, is that it is easy to make mistakes. Think I confused tetra and trillion. Anyway, China installed capacity is something around 800GW but usage implies 100% run time of 370GW. At 15W/m2 for a concentrating solar station, should be able to generate all China’s power from 25000km2 of desert. Only 1/4 of Gobi. Hmm. Perhaps it is doable.

  • luminous beauty // April 17, 2009 at 1:37 am | Reply

    I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t understand what you’re getting at. Please clarify.

    Chatting on the innertoobs, me bucko.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 17, 2009 at 1:49 am | Reply

    Phil and Neven,
    First, once we have a large source of renewable energy, we can convert that energy to chemical potential energy and export it. There ’s no necessity for every nation to be energy independent with renewables, just as there is no need now for every nation to be independent with fossil fuels.

    Second, since we do not know what course technological development will take, it is pointless to speculate on the probabilities of success and failure.

    Third, suppose the probability of success were vanishingly small. How would this change your response. Would you give up? Get drunk every night? Or would you continue to work toward survival and sustainability, knowing that even probability=0 does not equate to impossible. Indeed a zero-probability measure can still contain an infinite number of points. A guarantee of success is not a prerequisite for trying. I intend to try.

  • Phil Scadden // April 17, 2009 at 4:03 am | Reply

    Well if we do nothing Nature will more or less fix the problem by substantially reducing the no. of humans. I’d rather do that in controlled way through reduced fertility rather than uncontrolled increased mortality. So, I am all for action, the faster the better. I am not ready to rule out nuke or CO2 sequestration however even if they are only stopgap measures. What we need is a viable plan, just do it and get off the fossil fuel. Cheap solutions will involve both new renewable generation and energy efficiency.

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 17, 2009 at 5:45 am | Reply

    Neven, I find the results of my own reflexions formulated by you better than I could probably do (not a native speaker you know). The thing is, it scares me much more than it seems to scare you. I can’t imagine that any kind of crash (earlier or later) will not entail tremendous suffering. Of course we’ll be better off afterwards, but ouch!
    And Ray is still right, we might as well try, do we have anything better to do?

    And who knows, perhaps ITER will actually succeed, so we will keep on cheating entropy and continue our lives of abundance. Funny, that does not sound entirely good either somehow…

  • Neven // April 17, 2009 at 9:20 am | Reply

    Ray, I totally agree with that last paragraph. Like I said, I’m not a pessimist. If things were hopeless, I’d still continue to work toward survival and sustainability. For me it’s not just about AGW (and all the problems that are interconnected), but also about finding out what the right way to live is.

    At this moment I still believe a collapse or a forced contraction (whatever it is induced by) is the prerequisite for solutions. And paradoxical as this may sound, it makes me feel optimistic.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 17, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Reply

    Phil Scadden,
    There’s nothing in McKay’s approach that I fundamentally disagree with. I think he may be a bit pessimistic in his assessment of potential benefits of conservation. Moreover, I think his emphasis on difficulties rather than potential makes it too easy for the apologists for complacency to claim renewables are not viable. Yes, we need to guard against hot air, but we also need to avoid producing a cold chill.

    I believe that renewables are the way forward, as their supply is mainly limited by the life of the Sun. I do not prejudge the mix of renewables that will be needed, or which will be viable or whether reliance on renewables equates to energy independence (I rather doubt it, in fact). I suspect that at least in the short term, we’ll need to supplement renewables with non-fossil fuel technology such as nuclear power, but I accept that this is not a unanimous position.

    Most of all, I stress that the motivation behind these changes is not that they are “green” or holistic or egalitarian, but rather they they are NECESSARY if we are to develop a sustainable economy and civilization. The apologists for complacency object that the transition will be hard–as if they are telling us something we do not know. But sustainability is the only path I see that leads to any sort of viable human civilization by the year 2150 or so. Business as usual will lead to diebacks of human population and mass extinctions of other species. I do not hold out much hope that any vestige of our civilization will survive that.
    So it remains my fond hope that humanity will come to its collective senses and use the 3 pound mass of neurons on the top of its spine for something other than rationalization.

  • Lazar // April 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Reply

    I’m with Ray Ladbury on this one. Governments cannot introduce massive changes against cultural and economic inertia without sommat breaking… possibly both the economy and democracy. Start with small steps, get the public used to thinking and making choices, give time to shift investment. Gradually ratchet up the cost of carbon. Allowing individuals to make choices through carbon tax or cap-and-trade is far less economy destructive. Bring the U.S. economy to its knees, you bring the world economy to its knees, you have little hope of developing replacement technology, affording investment and exporting elsewhere. Military and economic power go hand in hand. You may need military might to sort out squabbles over fossil and other resources in the near future.

    suppose the probability of success were vanishingly small. How would this change your response. Would you give up? Get drunk every night? Or would you continue to work toward survival and sustainability, knowing that even probability=0 does not equate to impossible. [...] I intend to try.

    That’s the spirit.

  • Dave A // April 17, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Reply

    Ray,

    You might also have to accept, in addition to nuclear, that there will have to be a considerable world wide development of coal fired power in the coming years as well.

    Mackay raises another issue about renewables which you may have missed. That is they need to be implemented on such a vast scale , “country sized” as he puts it, that inevitably people will object to the implementation.

    Moreover, it is highly likely that many of those who will object to these and other measures will be so-called environmentalists – nuclear power and tidal barrages being cases in point.

    There are also massive infrastructures that have been built up to support current fossil fuel use over the last 60 years. These just can’t be turned off or closed down. Replacement will take a considerable time.

    So let’s have a bit more realism – that is all I am saying.

  • Dave A // April 17, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Reply

    Deech 56,

    The paper also doesn’t seem to say anything about temperatures at the time beyond”our discovery of sea – level instability at the close of the last interglacial”

    They make the customary remarks about the current “warming world” but don’t explain how this in any way relates to the “close of the last interglacial” when presumably temperatures were declining rather than increasing.

  • luminous beauty // April 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm | Reply

    There are also massive infrastructures that have been built up to support current fossil fuel use over the last 60 years. These just can’t be turned off or closed down. Replacement will take a considerable time.

    So let’s have a bit more realism – that is all I am saying.

    The economic life of a coal-fired electrical plant is >40yrs. Highway transportation rolling stock turnover is a quarter to a third of that and supporting industrial infrastructure life-span about the same.

    If the goal is to reduce emissions by 4/5 in the next 40yrs by rebuilding an infrastructure that will of necessity require replacement in the next 40yrs, regardless, then I must confess to not quite clearly understanding the insinuation of not being realistic.

  • David B. Benson // April 17, 2009 at 11:26 pm | Reply

    Dave A // April 17, 2009 at 9:36 pm — I’ve worked out the numbers. Grow algae in sunny deserts or other sunny, unused lands. Pyrolysize into biochar. Ship biochar to coal reactors (such as electric power generating stations). Burn biochar rather than fossil coal; it is a superior fuel in all respects and the costs are competative with current coal spot prices.

  • Michelle // April 18, 2009 at 12:07 am | Reply

    I’m hoping someone here can help me. I’m prepping for a term paper and I can’t find anything about the effects of downward shortwave radiation on tropical sea surface temperature. I can find the effects of TSI on global temperature. It’s said to be about 0.1 deg C for every 1 watt per meter squared. But I can’t find the same information for a 1 watt per meter squared change in downwelling shortwave radiation on the tropical oceans. Also, if there is a simple rule of thumb, is it a linear relationship?

    Thanks

  • TCO // April 18, 2009 at 12:21 am | Reply

    McI is blathering on now about some Gray stuff wrt a whole new study. Really sad how the guy hasn’t finished a piece of science since 2005 GRL. So many blog posts, so little finished work. Then again, he’s a shell company Canadian penny stock guy…

  • Ray Ladbury // April 18, 2009 at 1:25 am | Reply

    Dave A., Last I saw, realism meant accepting reality, and since the best definition of reality I know is that which doesn’t go away when you stop believing in it, physical reality trumps “political reality” or “psychological reality”.

    It does not matter what people like. It doesn’t matter what people want. We have left ourselves very little margin–indeed, perhaps none. I for one have never said we need too shut down every coal-fired power plant tomorrow. I do believe that new coal-fired plants without CCS–or at the very least, effective offsets, are extremely irresponsible.

    Fossil fuel infrastructure will need to be replaced in the very near future. Indeed the biggest challenges–those related to replacing petroleum will have to be confronted first.

    My position has always been that we need to hold down emissions as much as we possibly can, consistent with keeping the economy healthy enough to sustain a vigorous R&D program to develop mitigations and new technologies to meet these challenges. I have also said that if we don’t confront both climate change AND development, any progress we make on one front will be nulled by our having ignored the other.

  • Deep Climate // April 18, 2009 at 5:25 am | Reply

    I’m afraid I’ve gotten into a bit of a kerfuffle with Lucia (of Blackboard fame) about how models compare with observed trends. I have a feeling I might need some support …

    See:
    http://deepclimate.org/2009/04/18/20-year-surface-trends-close-to-models/

    and
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/longish-trends-much-lower-than-models/

    Thoughts? Comments?

  • Deep Climate // April 18, 2009 at 7:16 am | Reply

    Sigh … some Blackboard folks sure are nasty.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/hadcrut-march-data-available

    Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

  • michel // April 18, 2009 at 8:21 am | Reply

    If the average passenger car mileage in the US rose to the 50 mpg or so equivalent in US gallons, CO2 emissions from this source would drop by 1/2 to 2/3.
    Perhaps so. Start driving smaller, more fuel efficient cars. Legislate for it. They do not have to be hybrids. They can perfectly well be the same relatively small IC cars the rest of the world drives.

    For those of us that do not live in the US, and already do drive smaller and more fuel efficient cars, the effect would not be very great. Because we are already getting quite good mileage, so the improvement would not be very great. So to make a dent in our carbon emissions from cars, we need to do better, a lot better, than 60 miles per imperial gallon on the combined cycle. Electric might make a dent in it. But probably social changes in transport modes will also be necessary, if only to make electric viable on the scale needed.

    These points are so obvious it is incomprehensible how they can meet with such opposition. It must be that denialism is contagious.

  • Phil Scadden // April 18, 2009 at 8:54 am | Reply

    Dave A, I find it incredible that you think we need more coal. We cant easily shut down coal or oil no, but we can stop NOW any further development. And my day job by the way is finding oil and coal. Yes, renewables need to be country sized. Yes, greenies need to stop the NIMBYism. I am busy doing MacKay’s calculations for New Zealand (which is a much rosier picture) with this intent in mind. But to build any more fossil fuel burners? You must be joking! The risks are too high and yes, I do think this a matter of life and death. A very great deal of death if people dont have a bit more realism thank you about the risks of climate change. I think Lovelock’s doomsday scenario is too pessimistic but its also far from beyond the realms of possibility. “A bit more realism” indeed.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Reply

    Michelle, try here for a start:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/

  • george // April 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Reply

    Deep Climate says

    I’m afraid I’ve gotten into a bit of a kerfuffle with Lucia (of Blackboard fame) about how models compare with observed trends. I have a feeling I might need some support …
    Thoughts? Comments?

    My first thought/comment:
    You can not “win” an argument with a straw man. (The Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz understood that all too well: “How about a little fire, scarecrow?”)

    My second thought:
    You can not nail jello to the wall (Believe me, I have tried).

  • dhogaza // April 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Reply

    These points are so obvious it is incomprehensible how they can meet with such opposition. It must be that denialism is contagious.

    They’re so obviously *wrong*, but that’s OK, continue to ignore the facts that people trot out endlessly.

    Arguing the same crap over and over again won’t change the fact that your arguments are crap.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Reply

    Michel, I think perhaps your opposition to hybrids is a symptom, as perhaps is my support of them. I do not own a hybrid. I own a 15 year old Honda Civic with 2450000 miles on it. You and I are not the market they are aiming the Prius at. Rather, they are aiming it at people like a friend of mine in CA, who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Honda Civic, but jumped at the chance to buy an Accord Hybrid. Now she is obsessed with seeing how high she can bring her mileage. I say fine. It’s better than buying a Beemer or an SUV.
    I believe in what works. Hybrids work. They decrease fuel consumption and people want to drive them. We don’t have time to be ideologically pure.

  • luminous beauty // April 18, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Reply

    michel,

    I confess to not comprehending your incomprehension.

    It seems to me you are trumpeting the obvious and obviously trivial point that social habits will of necessity adapt to changes in material infrastructure.

    So what?

    Also, it seems like you are having difficulty comprehending the concept ‘plug-in hybrids’.

  • dhogaza // April 18, 2009 at 8:20 pm | Reply

    I do not own a hybrid. I own a 15 year old Honda Civic with 2450000 miles on it.

    Nor do I, actually, mine’s a 1990 Acura Integra with 235,000 miles.

    I’m impressed that Ray’s gotten 2.45 MILLION miles on his Civic in 15 years.

    That’s almost 500 miles a day, seven days a week! :)

    Hybrids work, Michel. Your personal prejudice doesn’t change this fact.

  • David B. Benson // April 18, 2009 at 9:33 pm | Reply

    Dave A // April 17, 2009 at 10:06 pm — Effects can lag temperature; in this case the supposition is that a large-scale, rapid distruction of some of GIS or WAIS occured rather late in the Eemian interglacial. From Vostok ice core temperatures, this is believable, but hardly more than conjecture at this point.

    Michelle // April 18, 2009 at 12:07 am — Tung & Cabin (2008) establish a temperature change of 0.17 K from solar minimum to solar maximum, using 50+ years of data. The paper (pdf) is available from Professor Tung’s publications page at the Univ. of Washington.

    Deep Climate // April 18, 2009 at 5:25 am — Here is a comparison of SAR & TAR 90% confidence limits with actual data:
    http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t231/Occam_bucket/IPCCTempPredictions.jpg
    if this is of any aid…

  • Phil Scadden // April 18, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Reply

    David Benson. Interesting. My reading says that to get the claimed high watts by m2 for algal you need CO2 enrichment. Without that (or that matter with it), can algal – biochar-end user energy compete with concentrated solar (which so far manages 15-18 W/m2 of end user energy)? I would like to see an economic analysis of both too.

    Ray Ladbury. I am grappling with MacKay’s no.s for possible efficiency improvement at moment. Can you give me some examples of where you think he is too conservative. I suspect many would regard 15 deg for home thermostat as far too low. He also plots for cutting transport fuel energy in half. I really struggle with seeing how this can be achieved here given our low population density. (On other hand, I struggle to see what the hell US citizens do with energy to spend 250kWh/p/d)

  • Neven // April 19, 2009 at 12:05 am | Reply

    Dave A, I would kindly ask you to stay out of this one. I said I couldn’t clearly remember the way michel expressed his AGW-skepticism, but to forget the way you flaunted your misinformedness would take a serious amount of Alzheimer’s.

    If you want to enter the discussion on mitigation policies, you first have to admit that the planet is warming, that this is taking place due to human activities and that it might have very serious consequences. And if you can’t subscribe to the gravity of the matter I think you should restrain yourself and not engage in the debate. You’ve wasted enough time here in my opinion.

  • David B. Benson // April 19, 2009 at 12:35 am | Reply

    Phil Scadden // April 18, 2009 at 9:39 pm — I don’t need lots of watts per square meter, just lots of square meters. The question is entirely in the cost per tonne of biochar versus cost per tonne of fossil coal. If competative, then the biochar can replace fossil coal in any coal reactor with minimum adjustments; biochar is about 96% C as opposed to the typical approximately 60% C for bituminous coal, people burning coal will prefer it for that reason and also because it has very low sulfur content.

    Busbar (generation) cost in cents per kilowatt-hour in 2008 dollars:
    Coal Supercritical: 10.554
    Coal Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC): 11.481
    Solar thermal: 12.653
    Nuclear: 15.316
    Coal IGCC with Carbon Capture & Storage (IGCC with CCS): 17.317

    from
    http://www.ethree.com/cpuc_ghg_model.html
    a study commissioned by the State of California (which has some unusal rules) and is for new generation equipment. The solar thermal cost is without storage.

    But if I can compete on the basis of the price of fossil coal alone, then the biochar can go into any existing coal reactor competatively.

    To compete, I’ll need sunny, worthless land quite near the ocean; deserts. Suitable locations may exist in Argentina, Western Africa (Sahara Desert), Arabian Pennisula, South Asia and West Australia; ocean transport is very inexpensive.

    Still looking into it, but this paper,
    “Thermal characterisation of microalgae under slow pyrolysis conditions”
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TG7-4TRK0J8-2&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=6ab963f0ae039f99ce2f8aea15815d03
    is encouraging.

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 19, 2009 at 12:36 am | Reply

    Phil, “On other hand, I struggle to see what the hell US citizens do with energy to spend 250kWh/p/d.”

    I think Hank had a god first clue with the grid transformer problem, on some other blog/thread. Most people here have wasteful habits and don’t even realize. Houses are stuffed with electronic gizmos whose little transformers suck power 24 hrs a day, even if they are used only 15 min a day. Nat. Geographic had an interesting story on the subject.

  • Deep Climate // April 19, 2009 at 1:53 am | Reply

    David,

    I’m mainly interested in 4AR, which was baselined to 80-99 average. TAR was also about 0.2 C per decade , but it looks like it was baselined to 1990, according to the figure. Different baselining actually makes a fairly big difference, as 1990 was a relatively warm year.

    Is this your figure? Or is it taken from another source?
    Thanks …

  • Barton Paul Levenson // April 19, 2009 at 11:04 am | Reply

    Phil,

    We use our computers to get on blogs all day.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Reply

    Phil Scadden,
    I look at things like the experience of Juneau, AK when they managed–quite abruptly–to reduce power consumption by ~40% when their hydro power was cut off. There was no time to coordinate. Suddenly power prices tripled and people made rational decisions. The economy did not grind to a halt. Yes, there was hardship, and everyone was happy when the lines were restored ahead of schedule, but it shows what can be done if necessary.
    The thing is that our entire economy–yes, in the UK, but especially in the US–is geared to waste energy. The price is artificially low. Many houshold gizmos and doodads consume lots of unnecessary when not in use. We commute to our jobs when we could usually work from home (I don’t remember the last time I had a face-to-face meeting that I couldn’t have attended via WebEx or telecon). What has to happen is people have to realize that it is necessary. Even 12 degrees can feel warm with a good thick sweater.
    Humans are complicated creatures. Prosperity makes us stupid. I have a feeling we’re going to need to become a whole lot smarter.

  • george // April 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Reply

    Deep Climate says;

    Different baselining actually makes a fairly big difference, as 1990 was a relatively warm year.

    This is not directed at Lucia (because I do not believe she is guilty of this) but when it comes to comparing temperature trends (actual to projected), anyone who plays the “baseline game” is up to no good.

    BTW, my comments above (about straw men and jello) may have seem goofy, but they are nonetheless serious at their core.

    For example, I would suggest that you begin by comparing what the IPCC actually says (and graphs) in AR4 to what Lucia claims to have “Falsified”.

    On a related note: it is “illuminating” to follow the “evolution” of Lucia’s “IPCC falsified” claim.

    For example, at one point, her IPCC falsified claim was with reference to “the central tendency predicted by the IPCC”

    One might be inclined to think/conclude from this that somewhere within the AR4, the IPCC “predicts”[sic] (perhaps even graphs) a “central tendency” (for their temperature projections)

    Well, resist the temptation.

    The IPCC certainly never “predicted” (or even projected) a “central tendency” for global temperature increase .

    The closest they come to (and still far from) this is the statement in the AR4 that

    For the next two decades a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emissions scenarios.

    How “0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emissions scenarios” got transmogrified into “the 2C/century central tendency of IPCC AR4″ [as Lucia claims] is anyone’s guess.

    In fact, what IPCC actually did say about “central tendency” was in a report about
    SRES (emissions) scenarios which are used to make the various trend projections in the AR4

    “None of the SRES scenarios represents an estimate of a central tendency for all driving forces and emissions, such as the mean or median, and none should be interpreted as such.”

    So, answer me this: how can Lucia claim “the central tendency predicted by the IPCC” when the projections are based on emissions scenarios and there is no “central tendency” for emissions scenarios by the IPCC’s own caveat?

    The significant “problems” with Lucia’s claims have been addressed by many (including Tamino and Gavin at real Climateand at Rabett Run).

    But the problems can all be boiled down to two things:
    1) reading things/meanings into and making claims about the IPCC AR4 text and graphs that are not there and/or simply not warranted

    2) comparison of short term trends (< decade) to projections that were intended for the longer term without proper consideration of the “noise”.

    It’s really a complete waste of time debating something IPCC never claimed (other than perhaps to point that out, which is the main purpose of this comment)

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Reply

    Barton,
    not all day, at least not in my case. But I get your point.

  • george // April 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Reply

    I left out the key word above

    How “about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emissions scenarios? got transmogrified into “the 2C/century central tendency of IPCC AR4″ [as Lucia claims] is anyone’s guess.

  • dhogaza // April 19, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Reply

    New post at Denial Depot, in which the blogger apparently manages to reel in one Eli Rabbett …

    Well done.

  • Lazar // April 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Reply

    Deep Climate,

    I think Lucia’s point is a fair one about comparing only models which include volcanic forcing.

    She states…

    compared to the trend based on 16 AOCGMs models driven by volcanic forcings

    It would be helpful to list which models, I can’t find that information on Lucia’s website nor in the source at “Climate Explorer”, because it would be good to understand why the volcanic forcing subset gives a more positive trend than ‘all models’ — is this caused by the additional forcing or because some runs are outliers, or a combination?

    Her suggestion that models and observations are inconsistent is speculative. As commenter Chad shows, the suggestion is plain wrong, at least for the 1979-year comparison. As for the twenty-year moving window comparison, she’s responding to critics who correctly insist that meaningful comparisons need at minimum thirty years of data, so why choose to use twenty years?

    Prior to your suggestion for using annual avarages, Chad created confidence limits using monthly data. I’m not sure he’s modelled autocorrelation correctly because they are much narrower (about 1/10th the width).

  • Lazar // April 19, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Reply

    … Chad is using only one dataset for observations.
    … and no confidence limits have been created for the twenty-year comparison.
    … so in total, there is no evidence that models and observations are inconsistent, and the 1979-year comparison shows the contrary.

  • David B. Benson // April 19, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Reply

    Deep Climate // April 19, 2009 at 1:53 am — If your comment was directed to me (there being more than one David), then no, I just linked in somebody else’s work.

  • Dave A // April 19, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Reply

    Phil Scadden,

    It is not that I think “we need more coal”, just that inevitably given the development of India and China, and the inability of renewables to come up with the goods in the near future (if at all) and the coming crunch in energy supplies in countries like the UK, that the chances are pretty good that there will be worldwide growth in coal usage in the short to medium term.

    It would be folly to ignore this fact.

  • Phil Scadden // April 19, 2009 at 9:04 pm | Reply

    David Benson, I appreciate the point about sq m2 but I think you need an awful lot. Using a MacKay calculation was that you need something like 600×360 sq km to power all of USA 300m people on current power consumption with concentrating solar power at assumed rate of 15W/m2. The best figures I have seen for algal with CO2 enrichment is 8W/m2 as diesel – which is pretty impressive given the inefficiency of photosynthesis. I am guessing (but prove me wrong) that transporting electricity is cheaper than shipping char. So I think algal is very promising for producing diesel especially when capturing say steel CO2 because we still need coal for steel, but suspect concentrating solar may more energy and cost efficient for other uses.

  • Phil Scadden // April 19, 2009 at 9:14 pm | Reply

    Trawling through the energy figures is something of a minefield as say NZ figures dont include much embodied energy as we dont manufacture much. To really see what the USA is doing for their 250kWh/p/d needs someone to look in some serious detail. I am skeptical about the gadgets because to me anyway its hard to see how they account for much of a percentage of the power bill. I went through our house looking at where electricity went with a Centimeter. As expected, hot water, refrigeration, cooking, heating fans, accounted for almost all. Gadgets (especially computer andTV) showed up but standby, clocks barely registered. MacKay again – what you save in ONE YEAR by turning off you mobile phone charger, you spend in ONE SECOND of car driving.

  • Deep Climate // April 19, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Reply

    George,
    You’ve made a lot of great observations, especially regarding the 2C trend. I don’t want rehash everything, but you have basically echoed the points I was making to Lucia (perhaps better than I did).

    a) Short term trend analysis is meaningless.

    b) 2C was the near term trend, not century.

    c) The three scenarios highlighted in Chapter 10 have multi-model mean trends ranging from .2 to .22 to 2030. Presumably, this where the .2 C figure comes from. But at present, one would expect even more convergence of these trends up to the end of this decade, so about .2C is a reasonable benchmark.

    d) Baselining is important (duh!). In fact, Roger Pielke Jr, who has a mutual admiration society with Lucia, has played fast and loose with this. When you consider that 1990 was about .1C warmer than the 80-99 average in all three surface data sets, it makes a huge difference.

    I’m planning a post on RP Jr. , BTW. In a nutshell he used 1990 as the baseline for TAR, placed 4AR baseline even higher (!), and then claimed that the observations fell somewhere between SAR and TAR.

    Lucia still prefers specific start and end points, but at least she now seems to understand that you have to examine a range of such periods. I still think baselining is the more rigourous approach, but Lucia disagrees apparently.

    Lazar,
    Yes I noticed that Chad’s monthly CIs were way smaller and he also did not use GISS.

    My suspicion is that the “volcano” models also tend to have a higher sensitivity to CO2 and/or are not modeling volcanos properly. In any event, I don’t think limiting the analysis to a subset of models is the right approach. I’m also not sure exactly which model runs she is using, so can’t evaluate if the comparison is apt for the stated purpose.

    It’s true that there were two major volcanoes in the baseline period. One approach would be to estimate the effect on the 80-99 baseline average. Then the IPCC trend projection or baseline itself could be adjusted, I suppose. However, I’m pretty sure that would not turn a .2 C projected trend into .28C trend.

    Note also, the IPCC projections and model runs specifically assume no major volcanos up to 2030. I have to admit I’m not 100% clear how the effect of volcanos in the baseline is accounted for in AR4, but surely it is small in any event (maybe 0.01 deg. averaged over 80-99).

    It was very interesting to go back to Tamino’s post on the Rahmsdorf 2007 study on model/projection match (which predates my arrival here). That post discussed TAR, but of course much of it applies to the current discussion.

    At least Lucia (finally) is discussing longer term trends. That is progress of a sort.

    I have done a quick calculation comparing 2000-2008 to the 80-99 baseline, expressed as a trend (centre-to-centre). In GISS this gives .19C/decade; in HadCRUT .18C/decade.

    Surely, the models are not “abjectly failing” (to use the Cato Institute talking point), no matter which of a number of longer trend estimates one uses.

  • Dave A // April 19, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Reply

    Neven,

    Sorry about your ‘Alzheimers’.

    I do accept the planet is warming as we recover from the LIA. I don’t necessarily think this is solely due to AGW

    I don’t think that my views on climate change in any way restrict me from talking about renewable energy and the future use of energy.

  • Dave A // April 19, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Reply

    Ray,
    Re Juneau, AK you can’t from the particular to the general

  • Dave A // April 19, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Reply

    Damn (again),

    You can’t ARGUE from the particular to the general.

  • Deech56 // April 19, 2009 at 11:02 pm | Reply

    RE dhogaza // April 19, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    “New post at Denial Depot…”

    OK, is the link from the first commenter a spoof? I’ve argued against people who make claims just like those.

    I’ve argued against someone who claims that the Mauna Loa CO2 measurements cannot be right because they are taken on a volcano.

  • David B. Benson // April 19, 2009 at 11:58 pm | Reply

    Phil Scadden // April 19, 2009 at 9:04 pm — I’m still working cost estimates, but it appears I can generate electirc power using existing coal fired electric generators, just replacing fossil coal with biochar, for less than half the cost for new solar thermal, which appears to be more expensive than new coal burners. The reason is that growing algae and using pyrolysis to produce heating oils and biochar doesn’t cost much done on some otherwise worthless desert near an ocean. Ocean transport of both commodities is quite inexpensive and is regularly done, so the actual production is to be accomplished far from the consumption regions.

    As a technical note, the heating oils are properly called pyrolysis oils. These can directly replace #2 heating oil, in common use in the NE US, but I’m not sure about its use as a fuel for transport, so I just use the NYMEX spot prices for heating oil to work up the estimates.

    The usual route to producing biodiesel is a different process starting from the same raw material, algae. Here is a link leading to a paper describing the more traditional approach:
    http://www.csiro.au/resources/Greenhouse-Sequestration-Algae.html

  • Phil Scadden // April 20, 2009 at 1:11 am | Reply

    Allowing some expansion of coal in India and China is one reason why need west to go to zero as soon as possible. And need to curb growth there as soon as possible too. Mind you if you think we “are recovering from LIA” then your reality is sure different from mine. The published papers that support this extraordinary proposition are what?

  • David Gould // April 20, 2009 at 2:59 am | Reply

    A bit disturbing that Rasmussen has a poll out showing that American belief in AGW has decreased significantly over the last year.

    Is it the case that sceptics are better at communicating, or is it the case that a non-scientific idea is easier to communicate than a scientific one? Do we need to engage in cherry picking and use sound bites to win this one?

    [Response: I'd guess that every cold spell brings a decline, and every heat wave a surge, in public acceptance of AGW.]

  • lucia // April 20, 2009 at 3:01 am | Reply

    DeepClimate

    At least Lucia (finally) is discussing longer term trends. That is progress of a sort.

    Finally? I have no idea why you think I was been discussing longer term trends before engaging your specific desire to examine 20 year trends.

    In this post, I discuss a test back to 1960 (which I happen to have extended back to 1900, but don’t show.)

    In this post I examined trends from 1970.

    I also don’t know why you think I don’t consider baselining important. I also discuss that all the time, and explain why I choose particular start points. For example here.

    I’ll discuss more long term trends tomorrow! I probably won’t be back here, but have fun. :)

  • Phil Scadden // April 20, 2009 at 4:49 am | Reply

    David, I am struggling with idea that building algal farm with high output is cheaper than concentrated solar in a desert. Both a solar collectors. One is a mirror, other is a complex tank. And you still need a CO2 stream to get even 8W/m2.

  • Deep Climate // April 20, 2009 at 6:16 am | Reply

    Sorry, yes I meant you, David Benson.

    It’s interesting to compare the graph you supplied (baselined 1990) to the Rahmstorf graph cited by Tamino last year (properly baselined). Very different impressions …

    http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t231/Occam_bucket/IPCCTempPredictions.jpg

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/rahmstorf2.jpg

  • Deep Climate // April 20, 2009 at 6:36 am | Reply

    InfernoJones of DenialDepot seems to have hit here, Rabett Run and Jennifer Marohasy … and that’s about it, according to Google. No sightings at RC as far as I can tell.
    IJ … seems to be from the UK?
    http://www.topix.com/forum/news/global-warming/TAI8N00ECS6KUAJJM

    I might go over and suggest a post on analyzing temperature trends with a high-order polynomial trend demonstrating all global warming has disappeared. Or perhaps one analyzing the trends based on eight years of data “because that’s when the predictions started.”

    Oh wait – those were done already.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // April 20, 2009 at 11:05 am | Reply

    Dave A writes:

    I do accept the planet is warming as we recover from the LIA.

    What is the mechanism of action which drives “recovery from the LIA?” Where is the energy coming from?

  • luminous beauty // April 20, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Reply

    Pardon my simple-minded observation of the obvious, but Lucia’s problem is that she is grafting the mean of a group of projections with a point (1990) on an annually fluctuating series that is ~0.1C above the running mean of the series.

    Hence, her SRES trend line is over-estimated and her 95% falsification nonsense is nonsense.

    It’s that simple.

  • george // April 20, 2009 at 2:38 pm | Reply

    Deep Climate says:

    I might go over and suggest a post on analyzing temperature trends with a high-order polynomial trend demonstrating all global warming has disappeared. Or perhaps one analyzing the trends based on eight years of data “because that’s when the predictions started.

    How about a post on the birth of Christ? because that’s when the calendar started, and without that, the AGW deniers would have to say “Global warming stopped 3712 days ago … +- 2 days, of course”

    …which simply does not have the same “ring” to it that “Global warming stopped in 1998″ has.

    Or how about a post on the “introduction of negative numbers to mathematics”, since without the concept of negative, the most quantitative thing they could say would be “the magnitude of the temperature trend since 2001 can not be characterized with today’s mathematics… but we can say this much: it is most definitely not positive”

    …which does not sound very sciencey (sounds downright wishy-washy) compared to “Since 2001* temperatures have been dropping (steeply) at a downward trend rate of -1C per century”. Besides, without negative numbers, the “uncertainties” [???] that they provide [of course] on all their trends would have to be just “+” , which might give the wrong impression.

    *The beginning of 2001 is the only proper starting point for all temperature trends.

    Or how about a post on “The origin of the word “fat”, since without that (the single most important word in the English language , for scientific arguments, at least), they would have nothing substantive to say about Al Gore and his slide show and movie.

    Al Gore is “Pudgy” or “Al Gore is overweight” or “Al Gore has eaten one too many donuts in all those airport terminals when he’s flying all over the planet creating a carbon footprint bigger than T-Rex’s” just do not have the same intellectual impact as “Al Gore is fat” (not in the scientific journals like the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, at least)

  • dhogaza // April 20, 2009 at 3:18 pm | Reply

    OK, is the link from the first commenter a spoof? I’ve argued against people who make claims just like those.

    Actually, I think the first commenter is for real, and the target audience, if you will.

    Deep Climate says the blogger has hit Marohasy’s site, with any luck, this could be fun. Sit back with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the show.

    Poor Lucia acts all offended by Deep Climate’s comment that “At least Lucia (finally) is discussing longer term trends. That is progress of a sort.”

    As Deep Climate reminds us, Lucia first made her mark in climate pseudoscience by analyzing the trends based on eight years of data “because that’s when the predictions started.?

  • luminous beauty // April 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Reply

    Dave A,

    You can’t ARGUE from the particular to the general.

    You poor dear. It’s called inductive reasoning and yes you can. Its mathematical cousin is called statistical analysis (any bells ringing?). There would be no modern science without it.

    Do you also believe one can’t prove a negative?

    From the experience of Alaska (and Cuba?) we can conclude that it is not impossible for communities to respond to systemic energy shortfalls without extreme or tragic social cost. It is true that doesn’t prove Great Britain will respond so sensibly should they suffer similar shortfalls.

    Should everyone on the British Isles possess the sensibility that you so consistently demonstrate, I wouldn’t give very good odds on your chances of success.

  • tortoise // April 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Reply

    Deech56:
    Sadly, Ken Ring does not seem to be a satirist. Not intentionally, anyway. He’s a crackpot who (among other things) claims to be able to predict the weather with very high precision for times many months in the future, and gets testy when someone (Gareth Renowden) has the temerity to compare his predictions with observations (which of course show Mr. Ring to be dreadfully wrong).

  • luminous beauty // April 20, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Reply

    Graphic representation of the Lucia Problem .

  • David B. Benson // April 20, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Reply

    Phil Scadden // April 20, 2009 at 4:49 am — Actually, production scale algae farms are considered to be doing very well indeed to mantain even 4 W/m^2, with the extra CO2 stream. So more land is required, but the capital cost of an algae farm, being low tech (not a complex tank), is much less than for solar thermal. Operating costs might be somehwhat higher, but it doesn’t require washing mirrors with fresh water every night either. In addition, the solar thermal needs to be fairly close to consumption areas; the algae farms can be located near to any place with a decent sea port.

    The issue, for me, is costing out an algae farm which could supply (1) just dry algae for local consumption, (2) local electricity, possible via burning biogas, (3) methane as a natural gas replacement, or (4) pyrolysis oil and biochar. To make any of these commericially feasible does indeed require some extra CO2. I’m currently looking into resolvng that; it may mean that costs go to high to directly compete with subsidized fossil fuels without a comperable subsidy.

    Deep Climate // April 20, 2009 at 6:16 am — The basline does not matter, so long as consistently done. Since the link you gave doesn’t show the error bars, it might be thought to give a different impression, but I don’t see the point.

  • Dave A // April 20, 2009 at 10:43 pm | Reply

    luminous beauty,

    I know its called inductive reasoning and on that basis Ican conclude that because India and China are vastly extending their use of coal fired power the rest of the world will follow suit.

    Makes as much sense as talking about Juneau, AK or Cuba and deriving conclusions from them, especially as India and China are doing things on a much bigger scale.

  • Dave A // April 20, 2009 at 10:52 pm | Reply

    Luminous beauty,

    BTW, I obviously don’t really think that the whole of the rest of the world will therefore follow India’s and China’s example, just using it as an example of inductive reasoning.

  • Lazar // April 20, 2009 at 10:54 pm | Reply

    Lucia has another post up…

    As the illustrated graphs I show today do not include uncertainty intervals, so it not possible to say whether the over-prediction by models is statistically significant. However, it is possible to note that [...] the model projections happen to exceed the observations.

    What is the purpose of this exercise? Her conclusion is a truism… it is impossible for models not to either exceed or underpredict observations. Without significance testing, the result is meaningless, uninterpretable, of no interest to scientists. Why are we supposed to be interested?

  • Deep Climate // April 20, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Reply

    lucia said // April 20, 2009 at 3:01 am
    I also don’t know why you think I don’t consider baselining important. I also discuss that all the time, and explain why I choose particular start points. For example here.

    The choice of a baseline period (usually 20 years or more) avoids the bias inherent in the choice of a particular start and/or end year. So that’s a big difference in approach.

    Or am I missing something?

    Anyway, Lucia and I continue down our separate paths. For anyone interested, I have posted on computed trends for 2000-2008 average, relative to the 1980-99 baseline. As I noted before, this results in a gap between the IPCC benchmark and observations, but considerably smaller than the one asserted by Lucia.

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/04/20/recent-surface-temperature-trends-relative-to-baseline/

  • Deep Climate // April 20, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Reply

    Regarding DenialDepot

    I missed one sighting before – user “Inferno” was also at WattsUp. But I think DD has been outed there anyway.

  • TCO // April 20, 2009 at 11:59 pm | Reply

    Some good kerfuffle…where I take on my side for being against publishing:

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/anomalosity/#comment-4742

    I really am one of them, not of you. It’s just funny when they get that confused.

  • Phil Scadden // April 21, 2009 at 12:20 am | Reply

    Ken Ring. That name rings a bell – he is from here in NZ. Long term believer in moon-controlled weather. Has a following.

  • Deep Climate // April 21, 2009 at 1:10 am | Reply

    TCO,
    The answer is obvious – you should publish. But then you wouldn’t have time to hang out here.

  • Hank Roberts // April 21, 2009 at 1:22 am | Reply

    I’ve been doing this for years, it’s a family tradition. My mother, when she was still driving in her 90s, laughed that she wanted a bumper sticker that said “I didn’t get this old by being in a hurry.”

    I taught my spouse the only appropriate response when finding oneself on a narrow road behind a white-haired slowpoke: “Well, bless her heart.”

    And finally, from the Wall St. Journal:

    *

    Dow Jones Reprints: This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers, use the Order Reprints tool at the bottom of any article or visit http://www.djreprints.com
    See a sample reprint in PDF format. Order a reprint of this article now
    * Need a Real Sponsor here

    * POWER SHIFT
    * APRIL 20, 2009, 1:55 A.M. ET

    Efficient Drivers Cut Emissions, but Stir Up Hot Air
    Eco-Motorists Slow Down, Coast, for Big Mileage Gains, but Their Strategies Might Drive Others on the Road Crazy

    … “eco-driving” — a technique that combines a racecar driver’s skill with the proverbial grandmother’s pace. By learning to drive all over again, Ms. Dresser estimates she has boosted her truck’s fuel economy to 21 miles per gallon from 15, a jump of 40% that surpasses the mileage advertised by its manufacturer, Toyota Motor Corp. With that shift in behavior, she has done more to curb oil consumption than most people zooming around in the latest hybrid cars.

    “Who would have thought a truck could get good gas mileage?” she says. “It’s possible with any vehicle, big or small.”….

  • Hank Roberts // April 21, 2009 at 1:24 am | Reply

    PS, yes, that’s just a little snippet from the beginning of the column, to tempt you to think about the story — you should buy the paper to read it. I didn’t give you enough to comment on here.

  • Phil Scadden // April 21, 2009 at 2:30 am | Reply

    Well David I will watch efforts with interest and look for some good economic analysis which I am sure will be done as both solar and algal mature. I am still skeptical about the algal being that feasible. In a desert, they have to be closed system or you will have water problem. CO2 enrichment means they have to be close to CO2 stream so transport over long distance may be cheap compared to HVDC but pumping CO2 in is large. 1000×810 sq km of land area is big ask to cover with sealed tanks.

    On other hand, I strongly suspect algal will part of solution because of many applications for diesel that are difficult to cover by electricity. (bulldozer anyone?). Algal is much better than any other biofuel that I can see. Reasonable CO2 streams could come from steel works and from cement plants. Getting off fossil fuels for electricity and transport are the real priorities.

  • TCO // April 21, 2009 at 8:58 am | Reply

    Just don’t do it in the left hand lane.

  • luminous beauty // April 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Reply

    Dave A // April 20, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Luminous beauty,

    BTW, I obviously don’t really think…

    I noticed.

  • george // April 21, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Reply

    Lucia says

    As the illustrated graphs I show today do not include uncertainty intervals, so it not possible to say whether the over-prediction by models is statistically significant.

    Or, in plain unbiased English: “without proper consideration of the uncertainty intervals, it is simply not possible to make a judgment (one way or the other) about the relative magnitude of “model projections” vs “observed”.

    “Over-prediction” [sic] is a loaded word that indicates that the latter judgment has already been made.

  • Deep Climate // April 21, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Reply

    george // April 21, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    “Over-prediction? [sic] is a loaded word that indicates that the latter judgment has already been made.

    Even the word “prediction” is problematic. The IPCC estimates are projections made under cetain assumptions and are too uncertain to be called “predictions”. There is a range of scenarios and Lucia likes to focus on the highest of the three highlighted ones (A1B).

    Anyway, maybe she will get around to calculating CIs. At least the focus is on longer-term trends and comparisons now.

    The previous obsession with short-term trends from Lucia, Michaels and others tends to obfuscate the issues. The CIs are so wide that the analysis is not meaningful. But the misleading impression of falling or flat temperatures remains.

    On the other hand, I’m feeling a little bruised by all of this … time to take a break.

  • David B. Benson // April 21, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Reply

    Phil Scadden // April 21, 2009 at 2:30 am — Some propose closed “tnaks”, others use open so-called raceways. For salt water algae not far from the ocean, water is not a problem. In know of one venture started up on the Texas coast and another south of there in Mexico; both are sited near large coal-fired power stations.

    Moving inland is problematic for creating either methane or liquid fuels; both obtain the hydrogen from water, in short supply in the desert interior. While I have two solutions, both would require some form of “carbon credit” before the product(s) could compete with the fossil equivalent.

  • Zeke Hausfather // April 21, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Reply

    Deep Climate,

    If you are interested in seeing the CI’s for Lucia’s analysis, see http://rankexploits.com/musings/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/multi_model_meanjan23draft.jpg. I’d suggest assuming good faith; while Lucia is often combative, she does not seem the type to engage in willful obfuscation.

  • lucia // April 21, 2009 at 8:23 pm | Reply

    george
    The model projections are higher than the observations: Here’s merriam-websters definition of “overpredict”:
    “to predict by an amount that exceeds the actual value”.

    So, in plain english, the projections over-predict the observations.

    Deep:

    1) I focus on A1B because it includes the most models and runs. The results for A1B are not very different from other cases, as you are perfectly aware.

    2) You arrived in comments and made claims about what moving 20 year averages show. You made claims about what trends I’d see if I began in 1979. You made claims about what “all” long term trends show.

    When we look at any of these trends, the trends drop recently.

    This appears to have moved you to suggest we should look at trends defined in other ways creating your own graphs based on these, showing no confidence intervals. It is hardly surprising you don’t show confidence intervals because methods on you suggest are non-standard and do not have standard methods to estimate confidence intervals.

    I am simply super-imposing what the models show on the grpahs, and highlighting that one might come to a different interpretation if we show the model projections.

    I will not be “getting around” to devising methods to concoct confidence intervals for trends defined by subtracting the 1980-2000 means from the 2001-2008, or any of these other means you suggest.

    If you want to convince people your trends tell any meaningful story you are going to have to figure out how to concoct confidence intervals for this mismatched assortment of trends on your own.

    If you feel beat up that the trends you suggest we examine don’t tell whatever story you wish to tell, then look at the trends before you make use them to support your story.

  • george // April 21, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Reply

    Deep Climate Even the word “prediction? is problematic.”

    I agree. That was actually why I included the [sic] after “over-prediction”. maybe I should have included two sic’s {sic^2 }

    It’s especially problematic that someone who has claimed to have “falsified” IPCC projections apparently does not even realize what it is that she has supposedly falsified.

    Either that or she is just being very sloppy.

    In any case, the fact that Lucia would actually use the word “prediction” in this context says a lot about the complete lack of care that she has taken to accurately represent the work of the IPCC.

  • TCO // April 21, 2009 at 10:42 pm | Reply

    Watching Jeff Id and the like pick apart the Steig report is kind of intersting.

  • Lazar // April 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Reply

    Zeke,

    … those CI’s are from a different analysis for a different time period.

  • Hank Roberts // April 21, 2009 at 11:11 pm | Reply

    http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/
    Council of Science Editors

    Show Me the Data —2009 CSE Annual Meeting
    May 1-5, 2009

    http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/publications/style.cfm

    Scientific Style and Format… reference for authors, editors, publishers, students, and translators in all areas of science and related fields. … New chapters cover the responsibilities of authors, editors, and peer reviewers in scientific publication

  • Lazar // April 21, 2009 at 11:32 pm | Reply

    That figure linked by Zeke is interesting, context here. The outlier in the bottom panel, NCAR CCSM 3.0, has a very high mean trend with little variability between runs. It contributed six 20c3m runs to the AR4 and included volcanic forcing. I wonder how much this increases the mean trend of Lucia’s 16-model volcanic-only subset above the all-models group?

  • Lazar // April 22, 2009 at 12:10 am | Reply

    Generalized statements about the performance of “the models” such as “models show” when interpreting multi-model means is probably not a good idea.

  • dhogaza // April 22, 2009 at 12:42 am | Reply

    In any case, the fact that Lucia would actually use the word “prediction? in this context says a lot about the complete lack of care that she has taken to accurately represent the work of the IPCC.

    Given that her reputation in the land of climate pseudo-science derives from, and is pinned to, this misrepresentation I don’t think you’re going to see any change on her part.

  • luminous beauty // April 22, 2009 at 1:05 am | Reply

    luminous beauty // April 20, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Pardon my simple-minded observation of the obvious, but Lucia’s problem is that she is grafting the mean of a group of projections with a point (1990) on an annually fluctuating series that is ~0.1C above the running mean of the series.

    Hence, her SRES trend line is over-estimated and her 95% falsification nonsense is nonsense.

    It’s that simple.

    Am I wrong?

  • Hank Roberts // April 22, 2009 at 1:11 am | Reply

    http://www.google.com/search?q=IPCC+FAR+prediction

    http://www.math.umn.edu/~mcgehee/Seminars/ClimateChange/presentations/20071107.pdf

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/2009Q1/111/ATMS111%20Presentations/Folder%201/KajfaszS.pdf

  • Hank Roberts // April 22, 2009 at 1:13 am | Reply

    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2007/06/predictions_of_climate.html

    “Predictions of climate

    Posted by Oliver Morton on behalf of Kevin E. Trenberth

    I have often seen references to predictions of future climate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), presumably through the IPCC assessments (the various chapters in the recently completedWorking Group I Fourth Assessment report ican be accessed through this listing). In fact, since the last report it is also often stated that the science is settled or done and now is the time for action.

    In fact there are no predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been. The IPCC instead proffers “what if? projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios. There are a number of assumptions that go into these emissions scenarios. They are intended to cover a range of possible self consistent “story lines? that then provide decision makers with information about which paths might be more desirable. But they do not consider many things like the recovery of the ozone layer, for instance, or observed trends in forcing agents. There is no estimate, even probabilistically, as to the likelihood of any emissions scenario and no best guess.

    Even if there were, the projections are based on model results that provide differences of the future climate relative to that today. None of the models used by IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate. In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models….

  • David Gould // April 22, 2009 at 1:40 am | Reply

    Lucia,

    Can you clarify what you mean when you say ‘the trends drop recently’?

    When I look at the rolling 20-year averages from the 20-years ending in 1970 all the way up until now, the temperature averages are up recently.

    Now, the very last two five-year trend lines are indeed of lower slope than other recent ones. But they still show a warming trend of 0.016 and 0.0126 per year.

    Is this what you mean by the trends dropping – that we still warmed over the last little while but at a slower rate?

    (I am using Hadley centre data for my analysis here; I apologise if that is the wrong set)

  • David Gould // April 22, 2009 at 1:47 am | Reply

    And I should add that I used the Hadley data global temperature average anomaly for 2009 that is currently in their dataset – 0.375.

  • David Gould // April 22, 2009 at 1:53 am | Reply

    Luminous Beauty,

    While 1990 is high, if 20-year rolling averages are used it should not have that much of an impact on the trend – at least, I don’t think so.

  • dhogaza // April 22, 2009 at 3:54 am | Reply

    Watching Jeff Id and the like pick apart the Steig report is kind of intersting.

    Well, TCO, after taking a look at his early “mathematical proof that AGW is false” baloney, I don’t thing he’s very “intersting” at all.

    “interesting” to me would be something that science, not the denialsphere, would find interesting.

  • Phil Scadden // April 22, 2009 at 4:18 am | Reply

    David, if you are using salt water and open tanks, then how do you control salt build up long term? Good point about the source of hydrogen in the lipids. If there is CO2 available from power stations, then it implies there is a electric power carrying infrastructure present as well. CO2 from steel or cement works is far more preferable (want to shut the power station down if its emitting CO2).

  • Hank Roberts // April 22, 2009 at 4:40 am | Reply

    This is interesting tangentially at least for climate — it’s a reminder that the kind of conditions favorable to anaerobic bacteria — the paleo episodes that Eric Steig and Peter Ward are off investigating in the geological strata — also happen locally in any stagnant puddle full of garbage.

    http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/2009/04/orgies_and_antibiotic_resistan.php#more

    The fact that sewage plants may be adding to the ability of bacteria to resist antibiotics wholesale is just another example of unintended consequences.

    And it’s omfg now what have we done

  • george // April 22, 2009 at 6:45 am | Reply

    In response to my above criticism that

    “Over-prediction? [sic] is a loaded word that indicates that the latter judgment has already been made.

    Lucia has essentially repeated her claim in slightly different language

    The model projections are higher than the observations: Here’s merriam-websters definition of “overpredict?:
    “to predict by an amount that exceeds the actual value?.

    So, in plain english, the projections over-predict the observations.</blockquote.

    My question is this: How can one (how can you) know what the “actual value” is in this case?

    I was under the (perhaps misguided) impression that the very reason for specifying “uncertainty intervals” in science is that one does not (indeed can not) know the “actual value” of any measured physical attribute.

    …which, incidentally, also happens to have been the entire point of my above comment

    “without proper consideration of the uncertainty intervals, it is simply not possible to make a judgment (one way or the other) about the relative magnitude of “model projections? vs “observed?.

    So, your above statement (the one that was supposed to show me the error of my ways?)

    So, in plain english, the projections over-predict the observations.

    is really little (if any) improvement on the one that I criticized above.

    I would duly note that you explicitly refer to “projections” above, but would also note that you are still claiming the very same thing, that “projections over-predict”, which really is “[sic] [sic]” in the absence of any specified uncertainty interval (and [sic] even with its inclusion)

  • george // April 22, 2009 at 6:46 am | Reply

    Resubmit (messed up blockquotes above)

    In response to my above criticism that

    “Over-prediction? [sic] is a loaded word that indicates that the latter judgment has already been made.

    Lucia has essentially repeated her claim in slightly different language

    The model projections are higher than the observations: Here’s merriam-websters definition of “overpredict?:
    “to predict by an amount that exceeds the actual value?.

    So, in plain english, the projections over-predict the observations.

    My question is this: How can one (how can you) know what the “actual value” is in this case?

    I was under the (perhaps misguided) impression that the very reason for specifying “uncertainty intervals” in science is that one does not (indeed can not) know the “actual value” of any measured physical attribute.

    …which, incidentally, also happens to have been the entire point of my above comment

    “without proper consideration of the uncertainty intervals, it is simply not possible to make a judgment (one way or the other) about the relative magnitude of “model projections? vs “observed?.

    So, your above statement (the one that was supposed to show me the error of my ways?)

    So, in plain english, the projections over-predict the observations.

    is really little (if any) improvement on the one that I criticized above.

    I would duly note that you explicitly refer to “projections” above, but would also note that you are still claiming the very same thing, that “projections over-predict”, which really is “[sic] [sic]” in the absence of any specified uncertainty interval (and [sic] even with its inclusion)

  • michel // April 22, 2009 at 8:20 am | Reply

    On reading what one does not necessarily agree with but finds thought provoking

    There is a temperamental difference between me and most other contributors to this blog, namely, that I do not object to reading things I may not agree with. On the contrary, its rather enjoyable and intellectually stimulating, and usually results in the clarification of one’s own ideas – if the stuff read is of reasonable quality.

    So in this spirit, I read some of the contributions in WUWT with pleasure, and there have been a couple of very thought provoking contributions lately.

    The most recent is by someone called Indur M. Goklany, and addresses the question of whether conserving our way out of it is a rational, welfare maximizing solution, under the IPCC and Stern Report assumptions. The answer given is negative.

    Which is just as well for a resident of the UK, who otherwise would have difficulty holding up his head in the light of the recent Independent report

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/the-great-green-con-labours-climate-measures-mainly-hot-air-1671051.html

    Which points out that our government leads the world in both the proclamation of aggressive carbon reduction targets and its determination not to achieve or even come close to achieving them! So maybe we should not throw stones at the recent US Senate amendments.

    The other piece was a link to the following posting by Shaviv:

    http://www.sciencebits.com/calorimeter

    which is also very thought provoking.

    I was prompted to write this partly because the stuff is interesting in itself, partly because I came in for critical remarks for having found the Surface Stations project worthwhile and interesting. Yes, I still do. I still think it was entirely legitimate to examine the stations for their conformity to standards, and for evidence of susceptibility to siting influences, and continue to think that if no-one else was going to do it, it is in the great tradition of American individual initiative for a bunch of volunteers to get on and do it themselves. What it shows exactly? Well who knows, its taking a while to get the stuff out in publication. But then, its taken quite a while to get some of the proxies updated. It will be, in both cases, all the more interesting when it finally emerges.

  • michel // April 22, 2009 at 8:24 am | Reply

    By the way, I also thoroughly approve of Lucia’s efforts. Whether her analysis is right or wrong, it is quality work technically, and you cannot work through it without it clarifying your ideas about what exactly you expected from the IPCC predictions. Or scenarios. Or projections. Or whatever they were – that’s one of the things that you start having to be clearer about!

  • TCO // April 22, 2009 at 9:36 am | Reply

    Hank, but have emissions been up to what was anticipated in the what if? Also, at a meta level, I think some form of prediction is needed by climate warmers. Maybe just a functional one, saying this amount of warming for this amount of CO2. This is not to say that I think much of Lucia. I have found her to be evaisve and a sophist. And to play semantic games.

  • Chris S // April 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Reply

    On the subject of resistance, this may be of interest: Evidence for a possible fitness trade-off between insecticide resistance and the low temperature movement that is essential for survival of UK populations of Myzus persicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae)

    Foster SP, Harrington R, Devonshire AL, Denholm I, Clark SJ, Mugglestone MA

    BULLETIN OF ENTOMOLOGICAL RESEARCH Volume: 87

    Apterous aphids need to move from ageing to younger leaves in order to survive UK winters. This behaviour was studied at low temperatures in field and laboratory trials using Myzus persicae (Sulzer) clones representing all five recognized categories of esterase-based insecticide resistance found in UK populations. Both studies showed that the tendency of aphids to move from deteriorating leaves was inversely related to their insecticide resistance level. This maladaptive behaviour associated with greater insecticide resistance could lead to increased risks of aphids becoming separated from plants after leaf fall, and subsequent death from starvation when adverse cold and wet conditions prevent return.

    (What this abstract does not mention is what happens if winter temperatures become high enough that the aphids either do not need to move, or are able to return to the plant).

    Along similar lines:
    Temperature-related fitness costs of resistance to spinosad in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera : Plutelidae)

    Li ZM , Liu SS , Liu YQ , Ye GY

    BULLETIN OF ENTOMOLOGICAL RESEARCH Volume: 97

    In this study, we compared the performance of two homogenous strains of P. xylostella, one susceptible (SS) and the other resistant (RR) to spinosad at an unfavourable, low natural temperature regime, a favourable median-fluctuating temperature regime and an unfavourable high-fluctuating temperature regime. The RR strain showed only marginal fitness cost at the median temperature regime. At the low temperature regime, the RR strain failed to produce any viable offspring, while the SS strain achieved positive population growth. At the high temperature regime, the RR strain showed a 33% decrease in intrinsic rate of increase compared to the SS strain. The results demonstrate that fitness costs of resistance to spinosad are temperature-dependent, increasing in scale at unfavourably low and high temperatures; costs were particularly high at low temperatures.

  • luminous beauty // April 22, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Reply

    David Gould // April 22, 2009 at 1:53 am

    Luminous Beauty,

    While 1990 is high, if 20-year rolling averages are used it should not have that much of an impact on the trend – at least, I don’t think so.

    Exactly. Lucia didn’t do this. Instead, she began her projection mean from a cherry-picked point ~0.1C above the trending average.

    That is the sole reason for her statement ‘the projections over-predict the observations’.

    Everything that follows is GIGO.

    Unless she corrects this initial goof, arguing about her subsequent diddly-doodling is just thrashing in the trash.

  • dhogaza // April 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Reply

    By the way, I also thoroughly approve of Lucia’s efforts. Whether her analysis is right or wrong, it is quality work technically.

    Thank you, Michel, for giving me something to LOL at first thing in the morning.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // April 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Reply

    michel, I believe you when you say that you have something of value to learn from Lucia and some of the other sources you quote. Understand though that they won’t benefit me in the same way :-)

  • george // April 22, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Reply

    The more I think about Lucia’s above statement [without specifying the uncertainty intervals] that “the projections over-predict the observations” the more astonishing it seems.

    When it comes to comparing “projections” to “observations,” the ‘uncertainty intervals” (error bars on both observations and projections”) mean everything.

    In fact, without their inclusion, a statement like “the projections over-predict the observations”
    means absolutely nothing from a scientific standpoint, at least.

    That is something that our gracious host Tamino has driven home time and again. In fact, if there is a common ‘theme’ to all his posts, I’d have to say that this is it:

    “Beware the errs, lest you err!”

    People who are not familiar with science may think error bars are merely added as an incidental detail (to make graphs pretty?), but in actuality they contain the real meat of all scientific arguments.

    All measured values (and trends) are “apparent” (uncertain). Unless you say what the attached probable error is, you have really said nothing from a scientific standpoint.

  • luminous beauty // April 22, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Reply

    There is a temperamental difference between me and most other contributors to this blog, namely, that I do not object to reading things I may not agree with.

    michel, take your straw man and stuff it.

  • michel // April 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm | Reply

    “Hybrids work, Michel. Your personal prejudice doesn’t change this fact.”

    Of course they work. They get around 65 miles to the imperial gallon. That’s what UK government testing says.

    Its just that this is is not a particularly great mileage, and its one that you can achieve pretty much without hybrid technology.

  • Terry // April 22, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Reply

    A simple question for everyone: What would have to happen for you to reverse your currently held position on AGW?

    • gmo // April 23, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Reply

      My response the question Terry poses would be similar to that from Gavin’s Pussycat.

      Assuming by “reverse” it is meant the extreme case of going from the most general accepting that human activities are inducing climate change (approximately to the extent of the mainstream view?) to believing that human activities are not having any (noticeable? significant?) warming effect on climate, it would take something something approaching “The Matrix”-like in revelation.

      AGW is not just some isolated field of study. The theories that underpin it permeate climate science. Trying to distinguish AGW from climate science is like trying to separate the biology of tall people from general human biology. I think the question would be better posed, at least to those who accept the consensus views on it, as, “What would have to happen for you to replace most of your understanding of climate science with contrary theories?”

  • Lazar // April 22, 2009 at 9:47 pm | Reply

    TCO,

    Watching Jeff Id and the like pick apart the Steig report is kind of intersting.

    Hmmm.
    His response when you pushed him on teleconnections…

    I’ve never heard a good argument for teleconnections. Proxies and thermometers measure where they sit nowhere else.

    Most issues of of most journals related to the atmospheric circulation will have discussion of some teleconnection or other. They’re as common as flies and as well established as the trade winds. Seriously, google friggin’ scholar. It’s like when he criticized Tamino — professional statistician, by claiming there is no uncertainty in long term climate trends. He talks beyond what he knows, doesn’t want to learn, and doesn’t want to publish.

  • TCO // April 22, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Reply

    Dhog: It’s not interesting, because you are a lefty denialist. You’re not in search of new insights…but of good facts and arguments to back up your position. Like Simon and Garfunkle said, “…a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest…”

    Plus it is all about people either being 100 percent correct or the reverse to you (and to your mirror image types). You can’t comprehend someone goofing up one thing and finding something useful elsewhere.

    Plus anyhow, to me it’s not interesting because it supports my self-confessed denialist wishes to drill Anwar and her governoress. But just intersting because it makes me think about how does data interact with an algorithm. It makes me understand more what Steig was working on and how variants of it could be done.

    Sorry…but I actually have an intellectual fascination with puzzles themselves. I mean I enjoy kicking ass and spanking my opponents as well. But I can see more than that. I confess that this is annoying since a good monkey should only hate the other tribe and groom his own….

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 22, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Reply

    Michel, are you serious?

    Considering what you’ve written before, I can’t see how you can conciliate this
    “I do not object to reading things I may not agree with.”
    With this
    “in this spirit, I read some of the contributions in WUWT with pleasure.”

    That seems to indicate you fundamentally disagree with Watts, although you have abundant writings here showing the exact opposite.

    As for this
    “its taking a while to get the stuff out in publication”

    That horse has already been beaten to death. There is no other way to revive it than Watts showing some sort of analysis and, of course, releasing all the data, methods and code in true skeptic fashion. Until that happens, there is nothing to talk about.

  • David Gould // April 23, 2009 at 12:15 am | Reply

    I have built a little simulator of temperature trends, similar to the one that Tamino discussed a little while ago, although much less robust.

    All I have done is build in trend and used sets of randomly generated numbers with what I feel is a reasonable standard deviation (this can be easily increased or decreased) in yearly temperature. This simulates things like volcanic eruptions, el nino, solar output variation and so on.

    So, to examine whether a 12-year group of 20-year trends running below predicted 20-year trends is unusual, what I did was simply run the model.

    The predicted 20-year trends are all obviously going to be the same: the built-in trend.

    The actual trends can then be compared to this built-in trend to see how often groups of 12 run below or above this actual trend.

    In the first run of 100 years of temperatures, 4 such series were generated. The range of trends was between .0138 and .026, so about a 30 per cent difference.

    In the second run, I also got 4, with one series 17 data points long! The range was bigger, too between .013 and .029.

    I have not done any more as yet, although I probably will. But it seems to me that such periods of over/under trend are to be expected.

  • David Gould // April 23, 2009 at 12:19 am | Reply

    luminous beauty,

    I don’t think that it makes too much of a difference. Her analysis basically says that the predicted 20-year trends are not matching the actual 20-year trends and have indeed been below them for the last 12. Taken at face value, she is correct – the graph is pretty clear.

    The question is: how significant is that?

    While I have not done any rigorous statistical analysis, I have run some model data. It seems that such runs are not uncommon at all. My model provides an average prediction of .02 degrees per year for every single 20-year period – that is built in to it!

    And yet there is a lot of deviation from that .02 when you run the model once.

    Given that we are ‘running the model once’ – ie, the real world – it is not too surprising that the values are in general very different from the average ones.

  • David Gould // April 23, 2009 at 12:31 am | Reply

    And, obviously, if there is something wrong with my [very] rough analysis, please let me know. I’m new at this stuff, so likely have made horrible errors somewhere.

  • David Gould // April 23, 2009 at 12:57 am | Reply

    In other words, our models could be correct even with a 12-year run of below average 20-year trends. After running the model 10 times, there has even been one occurrence of 22 data points in a row below the average, plus a few of 18, 17, 15 and so on. And yet the model cannot be ‘wrong’ as it is being compared with itself!

    The average period of data with + or – signs compared to the mean seems to be around 9, with a very high standard deviation.

    *Note: the model can indeed be ‘wrong’ if it does not compare well with the year-on-year temperature variation in the real world. I think that it does compare well. But obviously I might be in error here.

  • TCO // April 23, 2009 at 1:00 am | Reply

    Lazar: Agreed. But it still makes me think about the methods, the issue analysis, the interactions, etc. That’s actually one of the things I hate about us denialists…is teeing up all these interesting issues and running so few down. But still fun even just as a thought starter.

    Plus it is my latest place to tro…converse.

  • David Gould // April 23, 2009 at 1:03 am | Reply

    Actually, scratch that last.

    I have now played around with the temperature variation. It turns out that the variation in temperatures has absolutely nothing to do with the generation of runs in trends.

    All the variation does is reduce the differnence between any 20-year trend and the mean. It does not alter the sign of that difference.

    So, it appears that long runs in below or above average 20-year trend data is built-in: it is something that is going to happen *automatically*. And when I say ‘built-in’, I mean that any system with a trend plus random noise (whether extremely noisy or only slightly noisy) is going to exhibit such deviation from the average trend.

  • dhogaza // April 23, 2009 at 1:09 am | Reply

    Dhog: It’s not interesting, because you are a lefty denialist. You’re not in search of new insights…but of good facts and arguments to back up your position.

    Actually, when I first went to Jeff Id’s blog to read his “mathematical proof that AGW is false” claim, I went there expecting him to have at least made some subtle errors.

    Instead, it was boneheadedly wrong as hell. Has nothing to do with my being “liberal” or “conservative”, it was just DUMB.

    Uninteresting.

  • dhogaza // April 23, 2009 at 1:13 am | Reply

    Of course they work. They get around 65 miles to the imperial gallon. That’s what UK government testing says.

    Its just that this is is not a particularly great mileage

    They say that even a broken clock is right twice a day. Michel’s proving that this isn’t true if the hands have been knocked off and the face smashed in.

    You can post your disinformation regarding hybrid technology as many times as you want, and it’s still going to be bullshit.

    Why don’t you go somewhere else rather than waste your time here. You do realize we just laugh at you, right?

  • David Gould // April 23, 2009 at 1:13 am | Reply

    Terry,

    If only three of the next 12 years (2009 to 2020 inclusive) are warmer than 2008, I would have to consider that global warming had ceased, at least temporarily. This would not reverse my views on the physics of CO2 warming, though.

    There would obviously have to be some mechanism for this. Hansen suggests that an extended solar minimum might be the equivalent of removing seven years of global warming from the system, for example.

  • luminous beauty // April 23, 2009 at 3:21 am | Reply

    luminous beauty,

    I don’t think that it makes too much of a difference. Her analysis basically says that the predicted 20-year trends are not matching the actual 20-year trends and have indeed been below them for the last 12. Taken at face value, she is correct – the graph is pretty clear.

    The question is: how significant is that?

    The y-axis of the SRES mean is shifted ~0.1C above the mean of the instrumental record. That is 50% of the 0.2C expected decadal difference 0r 25% error over 20 years.

    Pretty significant.

  • luminous beauty // April 23, 2009 at 3:52 am | Reply

    OLS tren-+++++++++++———————-
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1990/to:2009.25/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1990/to:2009.25/trend

    Trend since 1990 is 0.18C/decade. The Lucia method would make you think it is 0.13C/decade.

    `

  • luminous beauty // April 23, 2009 at 3:59 am | Reply

    Trend since 1990 is 0.180.17C/decade.

    Oops.

  • David Gould // April 23, 2009 at 5:01 am | Reply

    One of the interesting things that I have noticed is that longer and longer periods with all data points either above or below prediction are generated when I increase the trend time (for example, from 20-year trends to 30-year trends to 40-year trends).

    I am thinking that this has to do with the level of ’samness’ in the data. A 20-year trend ending in 2001 has 19 data points in common with a 20-year trend ending in 2000. Thus, the change in start and end points is more likely to result in a significant deviation in slope than two 30-year trends, which will have 29 data points in common. And so on.

  • Lazar // April 23, 2009 at 8:17 am | Reply

    TCO,

    I actually have an intellectual fascination with puzzles themselves.

    Most don’t have your patience with the flaws you point out e.g. meandering bs, lack of quantification, jumping to conclusions, in these sites… … don’t they irritate you enough to want to do the puzzles yourself?

  • Gavin's Pussycat // April 23, 2009 at 8:31 am | Reply

    A simple question for everyone: What would have to happen for you to reverse your currently held position on AGW?

    A good question in principle, but as someone who has actually invested significant time in getting to know the science, I have some difficulty getting my head around it. And yes, I know how very un-Popper that is.

    To understand my difficulty: I try to imagine
    “What would have to happen for me to reverse my currently held position on geosphericity?”
    “…on the orbital motion of the Earth?”
    “…on the historical reality of Tranquillity Base?”
    …etc.,
    and come up empty. Sorry.

  • Lazar // April 23, 2009 at 10:01 am | Reply

    TCO,

    But still fun even just as a thought starter.

    It ain’t my business, but it’s good if you enjoy it.

  • TCO // April 23, 2009 at 10:14 am | Reply

    What I really want to do Lazar is get other people to do the work and just sort of manage/coach them. No one seems interested in the other side of that proposition…

  • TCO // April 23, 2009 at 10:18 am | Reply

    Lazar: Obviously the faults you noted annoy me considerabley. But I still find the denialist sites doing more intersting picking things apart. Heck…look at the flow diagram that they developed for explaining the method of the Steig paper. I think it’s a great graphic and a neat exercise to have developed it. I don’t think that methods papers of Science papers are very good in detail or accessibility. And I just really like having a flow chart. I know it sounds trivial, but I think it neato. Let’s have one for MBH98 as well.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // April 23, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Reply

    michel writes:

    I also thoroughly approve of Lucia’s efforts. Whether her analysis is right or wrong, it is quality work technically

    My reply to this accidentally got posted to the Multiple Regression thread. In brief, Lucia’s analysis is not quality work at all. She uses too sort a period of analysis, ignores error bars, and refuses to take correction from people who know better. That plus her grandiose claims about her work (”I have falsified the IPCC predictions!” etc.) peg her firmly as a pseudoscientist.

  • Hank Roberts // April 23, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Reply

    http://www.treehugger.com/shermans-lagoon-earth-day-comic.jpg

  • Barton Paul Levenson // April 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Reply

    Terry writes:

    A simple question for everyone: What would have to happen for you to reverse your currently held position on AGW?

    Well, someone would need to demonstrate that everyone from Fourier to Arrhenius was wrong about CO2 being a greenhouse gas, that everyone from Planck to Heisenberg was wrong about quantum mechanics, and that hundreds of thousands of land surface temperature station, sea-surface temperature reading, borehole temperature reading, balloon radiosonde temperature reading, and satellite measurements were all wrong.

    For a start, that is.

  • george // April 23, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Reply

    Luminous beauty says “Trend since 1990 is 0.180.17C/decade”

    I would just note that the uncertainty on that trend since 1990 is about +- 0.1C/decade.

    So the “actual” trend (which we actually can not know) may be significantly larger (or smaller) than the calculated (ie, “apparent”) trend.

    For details, read Tamino’s post Recent Climate Observations Compared to (IPCC) Projections. That was a year ago, but the values are not far off and the analysis and caveats are still very applicable. (Unfortunately, particularly on the issue of global warming, it often seems that the internet is one big echo chamber where claims that were made — and debunked — a year ago come back even louder than they were to begin with)

    It’s worth quoting what Tamino said there since Lucia has been known to assume AR1 noise (on occasion) and to use a hard and fast IPCC number (0.2C/decade) when what the IPCC actually said (in TAR and AR4) was about 0.2 deg.C/decade.

    Tamino:

    it turns out that the AR(1) model, while sufficient for many purposes, won’t do for this job; it’s necessary to apply more realistic estimates of the autocorrelations. I’ll also use the exact formula for the impact of autocorrelation on the probable error in an estimated trend rate from OLS (see Lee & Lund 2004, Biometrika, 91, 240).

    Results? For GISS data the trend estimate since 1990 is 0.02 \pm 0.011 deg.C/yr, for HadCRU it’s 0.019 \pm 0.0118 deg.C/yr. The midpoint value from both data sets is greater than the TAR projection, but both error ranges include the TAR value of 0.0165. Hence a proper comparison of observed data to IPCC TAR projected temperature (start in 1990 when the projections start, use a realistic autocorrelation model, and an exact formulation of its impact) confirms, rather than falsifies, the projection. If anything, it’s “more likely than not? that actual warming has been greater that the TAR projection.

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 23, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Reply

    TCO says “You’re not in search of new insights…but of good facts and arguments to back up your position.”

    I’ve seen so much (oh, so very much!) of that on demialist sites that it made me wonder if there was any sincerity there at all. I don’t wonder any more.

    Watts’ recent post on Ozone and GCRs is a case in point. He couldn’t even read the friggin’ abstract and just rushed into something that he thought could vaguely support some sort of contrarian point of view on an issue certain to attract the preferred type of crowd.

    The way Watts’ readership buys into the title of the post without reading even half way down the abstract is so pathetic it could almost be funny. Except that they’re all so convinced of the nonsense they’re sprouting.

    I think you’re so rare a bird, TCO that you may be fast heading toward extinction…

    It is ironic that your fellow deniers, trumpeting how the dogma should be challenged, are so prompt to shut you up when you shake their dogma a little too hard. Hell, they even think you’re a fake, trying to make a bad name to skeptics! As if they couldn’t do a great job of that themselves. It is really the height of irony.

    The “interesting” stuff you see there escapes most of them, including the instigators.

    Whatever actually presents interest is reached inadvertently, as a result of the same shotgun approach that produces “it’s not warming,” “it’s warming but it’s not CO2,” “it’s warming because of CO2 but it’s a good thing” or “it’s warming in the data, but because thermometers are baking in the sun.” All equally defended as if they were equally valid and never mutually exclusive.

  • t_p_hamilton // April 23, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Reply

    David Gould: I recommend that you read tamino’s post http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/dont-get-fooled-again/#more-1055 It will give you a feel for how long a flat or downward segment from noise is expected in a signal with the same characteristics as climate data.

  • TCO // April 23, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Reply

    Phil:

    You’re right on the mutual exclusivity thing. Like it was funny how they were arguing for long term persistance to say the recent 100 years was an anomoly…than on the other side that ten recent years of slowdown shows AGW no effect. I mean one or the other might be right. But impossible both.

    McIntyre has a habit of this sort of defense in depth thing as well. He’s a little smarter about it in terms of trying to keep options open, not proclaim both…but he still basically throws shit against the wall too much and only against one wall. It was hilarious to watch him withhold fire on Douglas despite a completely basic Box Hunter Hunter fixable messup of a hypothesis test…but than go after Santer. And then he never goes after Watts even when Watts is opining in areas he works on…and has Watts guest moderate and fix his servers.

    He also didn’t criticize Loehle on the most basic things (like not citing Moburg)…and he had the most oblique and spun around comment on the mistakes in Loehle (that it should be judged like Loehle…rather than telling people he had already criticized Moburg itself…and Loehle was intrinsically flawed).

    It’s funny how they don’t have the guts to criticize each other. That’s one reason I like Annan cause I have seen him take on his “own side”. I would like it if everyone ripped into their own side more. Not just for the value of the carnage (although that is fun), but because it is how less cliqueish and more objective areas like physics and math are.

  • Richard C // April 23, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Reply

    So, we are agreed that Denial Depot is a parody of denial blogs, right? (Btw, I am devastated that my Father Ted link didn’t get any sort of response).
    Now, the question is, is Watts Up With That it’s own parody?

  • Hank Roberts // April 23, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Reply

    Clim. Past, 5, 1-12, 2009
    http://www.clim-past.net/5/1/2009/
    © Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed
    under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

    Western Europe is warming much faster than expected

    G. J. van Oldenborgh1, S. Drijfhout1, A. van Ulden1, R. Haarsma1, A. Sterl1, C. Severijns1, W. Hazeleger1, and H. Dijkstra2
    1KNMI (Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut), De Bilt, The Netherlands
    2Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

    Abstract. The warming trend of the last decades is now so strong that it is discernible in local temperature observations. This opens the possibility to compare the trend to the warming predicted by comprehensive climate models (GCMs), which up to now could not be verified directly to observations on a local scale, because the signal-to-noise ratio was too low. The observed temperature trend in western Europe over the last decades appears much stronger than simulated by state-of-the-art GCMs. The difference is very unlikely due to random fluctuations, either in fast weather processes or in decadal climate fluctuations. In winter and spring, changes in atmospheric circulation are important; in spring and summer changes in soil moisture and cloud cover. A misrepresentation of the North Atlantic Current affects trends along the coast. Many of these processes ontinue to affect trends in projections for the 21st century. This implies that climate predictions for western Europe probably underestimate the effects of anthropogenic climate change.

  • Phil Scadden // April 23, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Reply

    Terry, for GW part of it, I would have doubts you had a 30 year trend of flat or downward. For “A” part of “AGW”, then that trend would have to be over a time when no other factors like TSI, or volcanism would account for the downward trend while CO2 was rising. Tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling is also a key predictions. Stratospheric warming would cause a close reexamination of models. Given the strength of the physics behind the theory, nothing less than these would change my opinion.

  • lucia // April 23, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Reply

    David Gould:

    Can you clarify what you mean when you say ‘the trends drop recently’?

    The running 20 year trends, computed based on monthly temperature anomalies through March 2009 are shown in tt this post. So, the magnitude of the 20 year rolling trend is lower compared to the magnitude it previosly was.

    DeepClimate said the opposite was the case in comments at my blog and insisted that continued rise meant something. I posted to show the rise was currently a drop. (I don’t by the way think the dip means anything just as I never thought the continued rise meant what DC claimed.)

    For what it’s worth: The graphs we are currently discussing do not form the basis of most of the conclusions those here complain of.

    Luminous Beauty

    Lucia’s problem is that she is grafting the mean of a group of projections with a point (1990) on an annually fluctuating series that is ~0.1C above the running mean of the series.

    I have never grafted the mean of any group of projection on a point in 1990 or any other year.

    Exactly. Lucia didn’t do this. Instead, she began her projection mean from a cherry-picked point ~0.1C above the trending average.

    I don’t know where you get this notion.

    I did not begin projection from any point cherry picked or otherwise When I show anomalies in C, both the models and observations are shown relative to identical baselines. Most frequently, both are set to the baseline from Jan 1980-dec 1999. This is the baseline the IPCC chose for projections in the AR4. I have sometimes shown other baselines to illustrate the impact of the choice of baseline. When I discuss trends, all anomalies are computed relative to the same baseline, but this hardly affects the trends.

    George–
    I agree uncertainty intervals are extremely important. I point out my graph do not have uncertainty intervals, and so one cannot make conclusions about the statistical significance of what they mean.

    You also seem to be forgetting that the following three things are all different from each other: a) observations of X, b) projections/predictions of X and c) X itself. The projections or predictions (which ever word you prefer) exceed the observations. Of course both the observations and the predictions of X contain uncertainty and it’s possible neither equal “X” itself. But the models overpredict the observations. One is permitted to observe this.

    By the way– I agree with you that we can say little from those graphs. However, it is worth noting that they were posted in response to Deep Climate suggesting graphs of that sort speak for themselves.

  • Dave A // April 23, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Reply

    Philippe Chantreau

    “I’ve seen so much (oh, so very much!) of that on demialist sites that it made me wonder if there was any sincerity there at all. I don’t wonder any more.”

    Can’t say I’ve ever come across yourself or most of the regulars here even attempting to engage with people on sites that are not to your way of thinking.

    You denigrate the contributions on such sites but run shy of joining the discussion head on. At least a number of skeptics try to engage both here and at RC, and continue to do so despite the numerous snide remarks. Perhaps we skeptics just have more faith in our arguments.

  • David B. Benson // April 23, 2009 at 10:52 pm | Reply

    Phil Scadden // April 22, 2009 at 4:18 am — Under ideal conditions, algae double daily. More realistic is every other day, on average. So every other day the algae farmer has to remove half the algae from the raceway pond; in doing so lots of water comes along as well. Salt build up is avoided by, once algae and water are separated, not returning that water to the raceway. Best is a nearby salt flat; the water evaporates there; the salt flat is periodically mined for the valuable minerals therein.

    I’d by happy to have a nearby powerplant to buy my methane, pyrolysis oils or biochar to replace their use of fossil fuels.

  • TCO // April 23, 2009 at 11:11 pm | Reply

    Hey, Dave, I been there. You calling me out? Want to look me in the eye and do it?

  • David Gould // April 23, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Reply

    T P Hamilton,

    Yes, that is where I got the idea from to examine this. My model is not as sophisticated as his, but I think it is a reasonable approximation.

  • David Gould // April 23, 2009 at 11:54 pm | Reply

    Lucia,

    Thanks. I am starting to understand, I think.

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 24, 2009 at 12:40 am | Reply

    Dave A, I have little time to blog. Why would I bother getting into an internet fight with people commenting on an article on which they can’t even read the abstract?

    Reading abstracts and papers that are accessible to me is what I spend most of my time devoted to understand elements of climate. Blogging is a low priority.

    Discussion? What discussion? That of surface temperature record that has been suspected to be contaminated by micro site effects but that the only real analysis done so far has shown to be unaffected by such effects?

    A discussion of the very premise of the existence of WUWT? Have I not already said that until Watts does some sort of anaysis there is nothing to talk about? Last time this came up, he had more than 75% of all the stations covered, but still nothing to show. Could there be a lack of faith there?

    In any case, faith does not add to the validity of an argument.

  • luminous beauty // April 24, 2009 at 2:26 am | Reply

    Lucia,

    From the ugly…

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2008/trends-comparison-since-1990-coarse-cut/

    Whether significant or not, if we selected 1990 as a start date, the trends predicted by models do over-shoot the trends we actually observed.

    … to the grotesque:

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/has-global-warming-stopped-4833#more-4833

  • naught101 // April 24, 2009 at 2:57 am | Reply

    TCO // April 23, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Reply

    It’s funny how they don’t have the guts to criticize each other. That’s one reason I like Annan cause I have seen him take on his “own side?. I would like it if everyone ripped into their own side more. Not just for the value of the carnage (although that is fun), but because it is how less cliqueish and more objective areas like physics and math are.

    and, well, because that’d be the definition of a good skeptic, right? Looking for the holes in every argument, including your own…

    TCO: I haven’t been following the deniosphere much lately – I think my physics course is giving me the ‘flu. That flow chart by Jeff C. Looks really interesting has there been any confirmation by Steig/others that it’s at least close to accurate?

  • TCO // April 24, 2009 at 10:57 am | Reply

    I have not seen a correction or disagreement from Steig. But one should not take that as endorsement either.

  • lucia // April 24, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Reply

    Luminous–
    JohnV specifically asked me how the models would look if I did pin them, rather than using the method I use.

    Note bullet point 2:

    Show the graph “pinning? all realizations using a reference of Dec. 1989 to Dec. 1990 average. The only purpose is to show how things happen to look using that baseline. (For discussing the AR4, I prefer to show use the average temperature from Jan. 1980-Dec. 1999.)

    However, since people are constantly suggesting that the choices I prefer somehow show the models to disadvantage, I am perfectly willing to show them that if I do it their way, the discrepancy between models and observations is either no different or worse than with my way.

    If you read that series of articles, I’m sure you are aware that Roger referenced to 1990 because his plots include the TAR which actually is referenced specifically to 1990 and not the average of 1980-1999.

    If you think it’s grotesque to compare observations and models using the specific baseline selected by the IPCC authors when they made their projections, we disagree on which analytical choices are grotesque.

  • Lazar // April 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Reply

    Global ocean heat content 1955–2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems
    Levitus, S. et al.
    Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L07608 (2009)
    doi:10.1029/2008GL037155

    We provide estimates of the warming of the world ocean for 1955–2008 based on historical data not previously available, additional modern data, correcting for instrumental biases of bathythermograph data, and correcting or excluding some Argo float data. The strong interdecadal variability of global ocean heat content reported previously by us is reduced in magnitude but the linear trend in ocean heat content remain similar to our earlier estimate.

  • Lazar // April 24, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Reply

    Lucia,

    I’m sure you are aware that Roger referenced to 1990 because his plots include the TAR which actually is referenced specifically to 1990 and not the average of 1980-1999.

    Roger referenced 1990 ‘coz he’s an idiot. There is no interannual noise in plots in the TAR for SRES, they are multi-model multi-run averages and they were not comparing with observations. If they were, they would not have used a one-year baseline. Where the TAR does compare modelled with observed temperature trends, they use a 1901-1930 baseline.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 24, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Reply

    Dave A. says, “You denigrate the contributions on such sites but run shy of joining the discussion head on. At least a number of skeptics try to engage both here and at RC, and continue to do so despite the numerous snide remarks. Perhaps we skeptics just have more faith in our arguments.”

    Well, since you don’t have the science on your side, I guess faith is the best you can do. I would also note that I don’t go on Answersingenesis or astrology or crystal healing websites to engage either. The idea that science is getting done on a blog is quite simply absurd.
    There is a robust scientific debate going on, Dave, but if you are not reading the peer-reviewed scientific literature, you are missing it. Curiously, this debate has nothing to do with whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Rather, it has to do with issues that are not yet firmly established–e.g. what will be the consequences of a warmer world? Where are the tipping points? What are the dynamics of melting ice? Will warming lead to more severe hurricanes or fewer? And so on.

    You guys ask what it would take for us to reject anthropogenic causation for the current warming epoch. The answer is simple: A model that explained paleoclimate and modern climate at least as well as the current consensus model, but which had a CO2 sensitivity below, say 1.5 degrees per doubling. Let us know when you have one.

  • george // April 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Reply

    luminous:

    Quite frankly, I’m really surprised that anyone would make even a feeble effort to “explain” (rationalize?) that Pielke graph you linked to

    As you and I (and a lot of other people) realize, that Pielke graph is just pure unadulterated bullshit.

    I think even Pielke himself understands this (at least now that it has been pointed out to him).

    Why else would he feel the urge to post a link (in a discussion at CE Journal) to a less grotesque version that he had previously produced? (comment at CE Journal quoted below)

    Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted January 12, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    “Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that you can see the same figure through 2007 with the observations plotted against a 1980-1999 baseline here:

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-2592-2008.07.pdf

    The trends are with respect to a 1990 baseline.

  • TCO // April 24, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Reply

    I think sufficiently low temp rise for sufficient time, with measurement of relevant inputs (solar, CO2, etc.) ought to also allow rejection of the AGW model. Regardless of whether there is a new microscopic (fundamental) understanding of the reason.

  • Hank Roberts // April 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Reply

    http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/?p=362

    live-blogging the AGU, with links to presentations and videos.

    He’s right. If you pay attention to what the scientists are saying right now, you just don’t have time to listen to the people still chanting the old PR stuff.

    Take a day off and follow his links, eh?

  • David B. Benson // April 24, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Reply

    TCO // April 24, 2009 at 5:37 pm | Reply — Yes. Sufficient time is long enough to avoid treating decadal scale so-called oscillations as anything other than noise. Typically 30+ years is used, although I prefer centennial scale.

    Conclusion from looking at data from 1850 CE on (HadCRUTv3) or from 1880 CE on (GISTEMP) is that global warming is continuing due to the usual suspects.

  • Dave A // April 24, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Reply

    TCO,

    I was counting you as one of the sceptics who post here and elsewhere and ask questions of the ‘consensus’.

    Ray,

    Congratulations! I deliberately used the word ‘faith’ knowing that it would inevitably be commented upon, though I must admit that I thought dhogaza would be the first to do so:-)

  • Dave A // April 24, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Reply

    Ray,

    You also know very well that the climate models suffer from considerable deficiencies in truly modelling the real world.

    Yet study after study is churned out, likely most of the work being done by recent postgrads, and as ‘the computer cannot lie’ it is accepted. And lets not even go anywhere near unconventional statistical methods.

    [Response: This is one of your most idiotic comments ever.]

  • dhogaza // April 24, 2009 at 9:48 pm | Reply

    I deliberately used the word ‘faith’ knowing that it would inevitably be commented upon, though I must admit that I thought dhogaza would be the first to do so:-)

    I’d love to play poker with you …

  • Ray Ladbury // April 25, 2009 at 12:24 am | Reply

    TCO said “I think sufficiently low temp rise for sufficient time, with measurement of relevant inputs (solar, CO2, etc.) ought to also allow rejection of the AGW model. Regardless of whether there is a new microscopic (fundamental) understanding of the reason.”

    Well, except that there is n AGW model. There is a consensus model of Earth’s climate, and it implies that warming will result from increasing greenhouse gasses. Given the success of the model, it is rather unlikely that the climate model would be discarded entirely. It is almost inconceivable that we would suddenly discover that CO2 were not a greenhouse gas. Rather, if we were to see no warming, we would look for some additional negative forcing or feedback–the most economical change to explain the new phenomena.

    However, finding such a feedback would be problematic, since–as skeptics are so fond of pointing out–it has been warmer in the past, implying there is nothing especially stable about our current temperature range.

    Moreover, finding another negative forcing would simply postpone warming, since CO2 hangs around for millennia–much longer most other forcings.

    Really, if you want to “disprove” anthropogenic climate change, you really need another theory of climate–one that gives only a small role to CO2. Good luck.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 25, 2009 at 12:29 am | Reply

    Dave A says “You also know very well that the climate models suffer from considerable deficiencies in truly modelling the real world.”

    Gee, Dave, maybe you’d care to tell us what those deficiencies might be. We could all use a good laugh. Or you could admit you don’t have the foggiest notion about how climate models work. In the latter case, you wouldn’t be telling us anything we don’t already know from your other posts. Admitting you are clueless has another advantage: you could actually start learning. Don’t worry, we won’t hold our breath.

  • Ian Forrester // April 25, 2009 at 1:29 am | Reply

    dhogaza said: “I’d love to play poker with you …” You better make sure that you use your cards, I wouldn’t trust any provided by Dave A.

  • Philip Machanick // April 25, 2009 at 2:11 am | Reply

    China and India need to worry about climate change for 2 reasons. Rice stops being a viable crop when exposed to extended periods of 3oC or above. Check out the global trends at http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/ and you will see that India and China are in a band where some of the greatest warming is happening. Second, India relies to a significant extent on Himalayan glacier melts to feed its river systems, and recent evidence is that these glaciers are depleting fast.

    So, back to the point of renewables.

    David MacKay’s book http://www.withouthotair.com/ does say that a pure renewables solution in the UK is hard but NOT IMPOSSIBLE: it would require importing solar energy from North Africa. China and India are different to the UK and would require their own studies. In all cases the conclusion is pretty much the same. Renewables including solar can do the job if a bit harder than if you include nuclear.

    Distributed energy for developing countries may work, by analogy with what happened with phone systems. Countries like Nigeria failed to roll out wired phones to a significant fraction of the population but when GSM technology arrived, the cell phone took off like wild fire. See http://opinion-nation.blogspot.com/2008/05/peak-oil-poverty-moores-law-and-manure.html for some thoughts on that.

  • Hank Roberts // April 25, 2009 at 5:28 am | Reply

    Eric Steig’s last post at RC was as he was finishing packing to leave for Antarctica. He’ll be away for several months, as I recall, doing field geology I think.

  • TCO // April 25, 2009 at 10:37 am | Reply

    Ray: Uh, no, no you don’t. Superconductivity is a departure from the Drude model of conduction in metals, which gives a linear resistivity versus temp. You don’t need to have thought through BCS to show the experimental departure.

  • Deech56 // April 25, 2009 at 11:35 am | Reply

    With the recent EPA announcement regarding CO2 and rumblings coming from Congress, we may be poised to start taking steps to reduce carbon emissions. We should expect enormous pushback and, frankly, I am not sure that there is cause for optimism.

    My questions are:

    1. Will the US act to reduce carbon emissions? The EPA is putting pressure on Congress, but actions by an unelected body (the EPA) are not desirable.

    2. If there is no action, what would it take to get people to sit up and take notice, and take action? In the past, heat waves and hurricanes have gotten people’s attention, but many of the other changes are barely perceptible, as changes have been happening at, um.., a glacial pace.

    Is it an ice-free Arctic? Another ice shelf collapse? The next heat wave?

    Hopefully, this is OK for an Open Thread.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 25, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Reply

    TCO, I think you will agree that there is a rather sharp difference between conductivity and supercondictivity. It is dramatic, repeatable and occurs under consistent conditions. Even so, it took decades between the observation of superconductivity and the BCS theory. And BCS theory is an addition to rather than a replacement of the Drude theory. And in the interim until BCS developed their theory–they used Drude’s.

    What is more, I don’t think we are talking about anything as dramatic as CO2 sensitivity going to zero at a particular temperature. Unless the consensus theory is completely wrong–and that is unlikely given its success–the most likely change would be minor.

  • walter crain // April 25, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Reply

    tamino,
    i posted this on the “multiple regression” thread, but this “open thread” is probably a better place.

    sorry if this is totally off topic and in poor form etc…
    i loved your analysis of the central england temp record a while back. i am having this discussion with “jbob? over at realclimate. he is a real bona fide scientist (”physical scientist?, i believe) who has done an analysis of the central england temperature record. apparently, he has shown that you guys have this global warming thing all wrong…

    (knowing that central england does not represent global temperatures) what can you say about the graphs he as produced using the central england temp record? see this link:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/a-potentially-useful-book-lies-damn-lies-science/langswitch_lang/fr#comment-119998

    look at the few posts above and below jbob’s and the links he has provided to graphs he’s produced. thanks.

  • TCO // April 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Reply

    Ray, the point would be the same. Even a less dramatic departure, say a deviatyion from linearity would still disprove a linear model. It would not be required to have a new microscopic understanding to know that the previous was mistaken.

  • TCO // April 25, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Reply

    BTW, the blog owner here has said that experimental proof of sufficient departure for sufficient years would work for him. I’m amazed by both denialists and skeptics who can’t eve sketch out falsfiability. Then again Ray, you are a pretty mediocre physicist…and I’ve known good ones.

  • luminous beauty // April 25, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Reply

    TCO,

    What it comes down to is your ’side’ has nothing to explain reality other than the Wishful Thinking Hypothesis:

    Some unknown imaginary phenomenon may yet emerge from the mists of our ignorance that magically saves us from the consequences of our actions.

    Good luck with that.

  • Dave A // April 25, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Reply

    Ray,

    For model deficiencies have a look at the following published in the Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A. in August 2007, by Stainforth et al.

    Their list of deficiencies is pretty long!

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1857/2145

    [Response: As usual, you've chosen a one-sided wishful-thinking interpretation of something you clearly don't understand. It's a genuine pity that when scientists choose to be as open and critical as possible about the weaknesses of current research, people like you use it to imply that the research is essentially worthless.]

  • Dave A // April 25, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Reply

    Philip Machanick

    “Second, India relies to a significant extent on Himalayan glacier melts to feed its river systems, and recent evidence is that these glaciers are depleting fast.”

    Last year the Indian Government published a report saying the evidence about Himalayan glacial melt was inconclusive. The report was endorsed by Pachauri, head of the IPCC.

    [Response: Reference?]

  • Hank Roberts // April 25, 2009 at 8:35 pm | Reply

    According to this it’s India Uber Alles all the way:

    http://uddebatt.wordpress.com/2008/07/27/rajendra-pachauri-the-head-of-ipcc-endorses-and-defends-india%E2%80%99s-aggressive-coal-plant-building/

  • Hank Roberts // April 25, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Reply

    But on the other hand, this
    http://www.tehelka.com/story_main39.asp?filename=Ne030508what_men.asp
    says the Action Plan described above as already final hasn’t even been published and is due out in several months, although they expect about the same result:

    “… The Government is the singular entity with the power to tackle climate change issues. But the compulsions of playing to the vote gallery mean that politicians of every hue court both backward classes and the upwardly mobile. Still, being able to drive change doesn’t help to alter mindsets set in concrete — the concrete ideas of big cities, big dams and double-digit growth. The Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change is mandated to develop a National Climate Action Plan to deal with this critical issue.

    At the time of writing, the Plan, due in June, is cloaked in mystery. Instead of calling an open discussion to thrash the best strategy, the government says it will release the plan when it is ready. Few know how this Plan will project India’s position before the world community, though one can guess. Intoxicated with prospect of economic wealth, and in the grip of coalition politics, India is unlikely to find the courage to take hard decisions….”

  • TCO // April 25, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Reply

    luminous: We weren’t even discussing my sides arguments. We were discussing what future event would cause someone to change their view. Ray has had a blind spot before to even considering this. Tammy is better. You are even dimmer.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 25, 2009 at 9:24 pm | Reply

    TCO, given that you don’t even have the guts to post under your own name, you can imagine how much credence I give to your opinion. I am more than content with my role as an oompa-loompa of science. I know for a fact that I have made a difference in the projects I’ve worked on, and those projects have produced some pretty good physics.
    Your own opinion merely demonstrates that you haven’t bothered to look into the history of superconductivity–or much else, from what I have seen.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 25, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Reply

    Tamino,
    Dave A. is so ignorant, I don’t even think we can hold him responsible for his misinterpretations of Stainforth et al. He would probably look at David Hilbert’s list of open mathematical problems as a list of shortcomings of mathematics.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert’s_problems

    And he’d look at the fact that several of the problems are still unresolved and be outraged, “What the hell have mathematicians been up to these last 100 years?!?”

    Dave has obviously never worked on a difficult problem where he had to feel his way in the dark, not knowing how to proceed–well, at least, not since third grade.

  • Lazar // April 25, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Reply

    TCO,

    I think sufficiently low temp rise for sufficient time, with measurement of relevant inputs (solar, CO2, etc.) ought to also allow rejection of the AGW model. Regardless of whether there is a new microscopic (fundamental) understanding of the reason.

    [...]

    sketch out falsfiability

    If temperature trends were much less than predicted I think we would look for a hidden forcing or feedback, we wouldn’t have reason to reject the AGW model if you mean… CO2 is a greenhouse gas, anthropogenic emissions give rise to warming and most of the warming in the previous century was due to those emissions. What would falsify AGW would be extraordinary… the line spectra are wrong, or the radiative transfer equation is wrong, or anthropogenic emissions are imaginary, or the atmospheric CO2 concentration has not risen as we think it has.
    Unless by AGW model you mean GCM projections… then yes, rejection.

  • luminous beauty // April 26, 2009 at 12:24 am | Reply

    TCO,

    I’m sure meeting a real live leprechaun would change my opinion on a number of things.

    Would you like to buy an interest in my pending pot of gold?

    You aren’t dim at all. That would imply some capacity for illumination.

  • georgedarroch // April 26, 2009 at 12:43 am | Reply

    Since this is an open thread, it’s worth pointing out that New Zealand National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research head climate scientist Jim Salinger has been fired for speaking out on climate change…

    An ugly business.

  • george // April 26, 2009 at 1:32 am | Reply

    TCO said “[insert name here] you are a pretty mediocre physicist…and I’ve known good ones.”

    It’s the physics you know that counts, not the physicists.

  • TCO // April 26, 2009 at 1:39 am | Reply

    Lazar: If you found some hidden feedback or the like, that would be the microscopic reason for the response of CO2 being less than you thought. But figuring out what exact feature (say an iris or ocean current interaction or whatever) that made the Co2 temp rise flatter than expected is not nescessary to realizing that it is flatter than expected.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 26, 2009 at 1:51 am | Reply

    TCO said: “We were discussing what future event would cause someone to change their view. ”

    What you seem to fail to grasp is that there is no “AGW theory”. AGW is a prediction by the theory of Earth’s climate. It was predicted long before it was definitively observed. As such, you simply cannot view the current warming trend in isolation from all of the other evidence supporting the current consensus theory. That evidence is prodigious. Hell, it’s not even confined solely to Earth’s climate: the successful modeling of climates on Venus and Mars constitutes evidence for the theory.

    When you have a successful theory and are confronted with observations that don’t agree with it, the usual approach is to modify the existing theory in a minimal way that preserves the basic theory but explains the discrepancy as a special case. Kuhn notwithstanding, true scientific revolutions are rare.

    And since to date there is no evidence that poses any serious problems for the consensus theory, this discussion is purely hypothetical in any case.

  • Hank Roberts // April 26, 2009 at 2:30 am | Reply

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL037810.shtml

    Is the climate warming or cooling?

    David R. Easterling
    National Climatic Data Center

    Michael F. Wehner
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • Lazar // April 26, 2009 at 10:08 am | Reply

    It is interesting seeing the number of studies that falsify at 95% the IPCC projections using short-term trends, and the ones which don’t falsify, whilst temperature anomalies of any given year stay withing the 95% confidence interval of model runs. I feel the main problem with short-term trends is the possibility of data mining using noisy data, multiple data sets, no prespecified hypothesis, and arbitrary start and end points — not whether the confidence intervals are accurate. RealClimate illustrate the problem here.

  • Lazar // April 26, 2009 at 10:14 am | Reply

    … or put another way, the confidence intervals do not reflect the arbitrary selection of start and end points and data sets.

  • Lazar // April 26, 2009 at 10:55 am | Reply

    … defining ‘recent short-term trends’ of length five to ten years in the last ten years of data, count all the observed trends so constructed which fall outside the model 95% CI. The points are not independent because the time periods overlap, so if the expected number which assumes independence is 0.05 * total number of available time periods of length five to ten years, the observed count must be reduced somewhat… how would the expected distribution then be constructed?

  • Lazar // April 26, 2009 at 11:05 am | Reply

    … by the way, I’m not really pushing this short-term trend comparison thingy. For the difficulties mentioned above, and because model variability is possibly sufficiently different from the real-world to cause short-term rejections with a long-term trend that is right on the mark, which is difficult to judge with only one realization of the real world and uncertainties in forcings etc. Some very clever people over a long period of time used 30-years for good reason, I feel this short-term trend thingy is being jumped into too incautiously.

    • KenM // April 26, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Reply

      Is there a longer period of time one could select that would show cooling? Say 10,000 or 100,000 or 1,000,000 years?
      If so, then why are we so sure that 30 years gives the “correct” trend?

  • Saltator // April 26, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Reply

    Lazar:

    “What would falsify AGW would be extraordinary… the line spectra are wrong, or the radiative transfer equation is wrong, or anthropogenic emissions are imaginary, or the atmospheric CO2 concentration has not risen as we think it has.”

    Not necessarily. The physics does not have to be wrong nor does the co2 dynamics have to be wrong for AGW to be falsified. AGW can be falsified by the identification of a presently unknown forcing or feedback that is unaccounted for at this time.

    If AGW isn’t falsifiable it wouldn’t be, by definition, science.

  • TCO // April 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Reply

    The short term trend thing is silliness agreed. What’s important (relevant in even a strategic sense) is to consider what type of departure from prediction would make you say that you had been off on the earlier view. Tamino has stepped up to the plate and made relevant comments. Annan and Pielke have made the relevant points that it’s important both for denialists and skeptics to have some sort of hurdle where they would change their views based on reality not matching prediction.

    And then you have oompas who don’t even get it. Sigh…

  • Lazar // April 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Reply

    TCO,

    A future trend does not necessarily falsify understanding of past effects, e.g. it could be a nonlinear feedback. I find it difficult to imagine how a future trend would change our understanding past variability much, where most of the variance has been explained with a solid physical basis. I don’t think it’s reasonable to conclude from a future trend alone that 20th century AGW is falsified.

  • Lazar // April 26, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Reply

    TCO
    … e.g. if methane clathrates became a serious problem, research suggests that if they have an impact it will be sudden, ice shelves and sheets rapidly collapsed, albedo dived and temperatures overshot IPCC projections, that would not be interpreted as falsifying the AGW model, in general or over the 20th century.

  • TCO // April 26, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Reply

    I meant denialists and alarmists.

  • TCO // April 26, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Reply

    or skeptics and main stream. What ever…

  • TCO // April 26, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Reply

    Hu McCullough (one of the better denialists imho) has just published a little note in EE, that essentially says he can’t replicate Thompson. I don’t think it’s any big discovery, but would prefer not putting stuff in EE. Don’t know if the point woujld be big enough for a general paper though. Anyhow, EE sucks in peer review (lack) and in not being abstrazcted. But it is at least b etter than a blog post.

    Funny wathcing Loehle talk about his EE paper as a proof of peer review. Actually it’s the opposite. EE let the first paper through and it had obvious messups. McCullough had to rewrite the whole thing and EE republished that version. Loehle’s first paper through is the poster child for what low standards EE has.

  • Richard C // April 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Reply

    Most peculiar.
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

  • Gavin's Pussycat // April 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Reply

    Lazar, I think it’s called “data dredging” (Burnham & Anderson).

  • TCO // April 26, 2009 at 5:51 pm | Reply

    Lazar, I think you are missing the point. I’m not thinking about AGW as some sort of CO2 affects temp or it doesn’t, but as some view of how significant it is versus other factors. Of internal amplification or negative feedback. Of the system’s own vagaries. Relative to other forcings, etc. If we come back 30 years later and find that temp went up 1/3 of what was the consensus view, than something was wrong about the consensus view. It doesn’t have to mean that CO2 has no impact. But it does mean that the system is complicated and we did not really understand how much CO2 would affect it.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Reply

    I have said all along that if we saw ~30 years without significant warming AND we did not see increased aerosols (e.g. as we did from the 40s-70s) or decreased TSI, etc., that we’d need to reexamine the theory. That does not mean, however, that anthropogenic warming would cease to be a concern.

    Saltator says: “AGW can be falsified by the identification of a presently unknown forcing or feedback that is unaccounted for at this time.”

    What you are failing to account for is that the paleoclimate has a very clear signature of a long-lived, well mixed greenhouse gas. Merely finding some other forcing, which would likely give rise to a very different temporal and spatial effect, would not invalidate that. A negative feedback that suddenly kicked in at current temperature levels (remember, feedbacks don’t care where a watt of forcing comes from) is another matter. However, there is no evidence in the paleoclimate, and no reason to expect, that the current temperature range is exceptionally stable.

    A forcing–in addition to CO2–would not invalidate the threat of anthropogenic warming unless it had the same temporal and spatial characteristics as CO2, and what do you suppose the chances of that are?

  • TCO // April 26, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Reply

    Lazar: Ok, so clathrate burps (which could even occur for nonclimactic reasons btw) or ice sheet collapses are not included. I assume meteors are also out. So what is a fair falsification? If we came back 30 years later and the temp trend was 2 sigma less (or more) than the expected? I mean surely there is some view that is falsifiable. Else you are including low impact as a reasonable part of the prediction space?

  • Lazar // April 26, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Reply

    TCO,

    I think you are missing the point.

    … very possible.

    it does mean that the system is complicated and we did not really understand how much CO2 would affect it

    Okay… if we adjust those expectations for the actual change in forcings, e.g. CO2 emissions, solar variability etc., and we’re confident our knowledge of all forcings is adequate, and the temperature rise does not match our expectations, then our understanding of how CO2 would effect the system can be rejected, though not necessarily for the past… thinking again of nonlinearities.

  • David B. Benson // April 26, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Reply

    KenM // April 26, 2009 at 2:25 pm — The use of 30 years come from meteological practice; I assume this is long enough to remove short term wobbles in data. At a scale of 100,000 years there are the shifts between glacials and interglacials. At a scale of millions of years, there is removal of carbon from the active carbon cycle via formation of carbonates. That is, up until the beginning of the Antropocene when humans began adding back carbon to the active carbon cycle; it is this much shorter interval of time which is of current interest.

    Saltator // April 26, 2009 at 12:26 pm — AGW predicts ocean acidification. Oceans are acidifying.

    TCO // April 26, 2009 at 5:51 pm — Annan & Hargreaves have quite good papers on establishing the pdf for Charney’s equilibrium climate sensitivity, taken for convenience as the response to a doubling of CO2; they are not the only ones. We can be quite sure that the most likely value is 3 K.

    Anyway, climate is still on track, Dave Occam’s SAR & TAR predictions vs data (1.28 std. dev.):
    http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t231/Occam_bucket/IPCCTempPredictions.jpg

  • Lazar // April 26, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Reply

    “how CO2″… or any forcing… “would effect the system”.

  • Lazar // April 26, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Reply

    Gavin’s Pussycat,

    From this? Looks like a good book.

  • dhogaza // April 26, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Reply

    If we come back 30 years later and find that temp went up 1/3 of what was the consensus view, than something was wrong about the consensus view.

    Unless an asteroid hit …

  • dhogaza // April 26, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Reply

    TCO

    I assume meteors are also out.

    Oops, my comment above was made before I refreshed the page and saw this …

  • Lazar // April 26, 2009 at 9:11 pm | Reply

    A question about journal publication costs (non-institutional rates) I hope someone can patiently explain, and I’m not making a political point (really, it’s out of general interest)… subscribing to the current year of a Wiley InterScience journal costs around $2000, AMS journals cost around $500, and AGU journals cost around $100 which includes access to the five previous years. Why the large differences? More/less costs being passed on to the research institution? Larger/smaller distribution? Wiley publishes the International Journal of Climatology, AMS the Journal of Climate, AGU the Journal of Geophysical Research and Geophysical Research Letters. Membership fees? Another strange thing is becoming a member of the Royal Meteorological Society reduces the cost of Int. J. Clim. from $2250 to $120 and only costs $100. Anyone can join!

  • Ray Ladbury // April 26, 2009 at 9:14 pm | Reply

    TCO says, “If we came back 30 years later and the temp trend was 2 sigma less (or more) than the expected? I mean surely there is some view that is falsifiable. ”

    The only proposition that would be definitively falsified would be that claiming that current climate models give a COMPLETE picture of the climate. Since no one is claiming this, I’m not sure how significant this is. A significant discrepancy over a long enough time (~30 years) could indicate there is a significant forcing not considered. Can you see that given the persistence of CO2, a forcing would not necessarily meean we are out of the woods. Lindzen realizes this–that’s why he keeps emphasizing negative feedback giving rise to low sensitivity.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 26, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Reply

    Lazar, it’s an excellent book. I recommend it. You can get some idea of the treatment from this:

    http://www2.fmg.uva.nl/modelselection/presentation.cfm?presenter=1

  • Phil Scadden // April 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Reply

    Just a clarification here. It would appear that Salinger was sacked from NIWA for repeating side-stepping NIWA media protocols despite numerous warnings which is a very different thing from muzzling climate comment. I work for another Crown Research Institute like NIWA and we also have media protocols. This is not to say that I am defending NIWA’s actions but I am cautioning about interpreting the sacking as an attempt to muzzle comment about climate change. I and many other scientists working for the CRIs will follow the case with interest.

  • Hank Roberts // April 26, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Reply

    Want to catch up on everything?

    EGU blogging; try starting here:

    http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/?cat=27

  • dhogaza // April 26, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Reply

    Another strange thing is becoming a member of the Royal Meteorological Society reduces the cost of Int. J. Clim. from $2250 to $120 and only costs $100. Anyone can join!

    Except libraries and institutions, perhaps?

  • dhogaza // April 26, 2009 at 11:51 pm | Reply

    Anthony Watts is a liar.

    But we already knew that …

  • Lazar // April 27, 2009 at 12:16 am | Reply

    Echoing what Ray said…

    The only proposition that would be definitively falsified would be that claiming that current climate models give a COMPLETE picture of the climate. Since no one is claiming this, I’m not sure how significant this is. A significant discrepancy over a long enough time (~30 years) could indicate there is a significant forcing not considered.

    … the prediction itself is falsified, but without knowing causes then no falsification can be made of the assumed effects of CO2 or any other knowledge that was used to make the prediction. For example, unaccounted forcing would not change the expected response to CO2, enhanced natural variability would effect the variability of the expected transient response but not the central tendency nor obviously equilibrium, a feedback might effect equilibrium but not necessarily the role of CO2 in previous changes, whilst a feedback specific to a non-CO2 forcing would not effect expected CO2 response.

  • Lazar // April 27, 2009 at 12:18 am | Reply

    Ray,

    Thanks for the links and recommendation.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 27, 2009 at 1:02 am | Reply

    Lazar,
    Publication costs are a highly controversial (and litigious) subject. They vary widely, and depending on the metric (publication cost per article/page/word, membership cost, etc), different organizations come out on top. As a general rule, professional organizations wind up being cheaper, in part because they are trying to increase membership and publications are a significant perq. In many cases the organization may lose money on its “flagship” publications. Professional organizations also have the advantage that a lot of the editorial time may be volunteer. Note that larger memberships and circulation may also bring down the cost per volume of a journal. Many scientific publications complain that they have to charge high prices due to the low circulation.

    This is a pretty general answer, but it does reflect my experience on both sides of the science publication desk (editor and author).

  • Hank Roberts // April 27, 2009 at 2:37 am | Reply

    It appears he was really outstanding at what they don’t want him to be doing:
    http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/system/member_details/default.aspx?ID=19883

    “Promoting excellence in science and technology”

    “… In terms of science promotion, he has been a very active communicator on the science of climate change, and has brought out national climate summaries regularly for many years, commenting on trends and variations of New Zealand’s climate over the months, seasons and years. As well, in the early 1990s Jim designed a science communication strategy for the Royal Society of New Zealand which was then implemented.”

    Monthly, seasonally, annually — why it’s like the guy just kept coming out with comments on a regular calendar basis, no matter whether the news was good or bad.

    No wonder they had trouble wiht him.

  • TCO // April 27, 2009 at 3:45 am | Reply

    Ray,

    You are missing the point and arguing against a straw man. I’m glad at least the blog author is capable of engaging, though. I really do think you have a block and are a bit of a simpleton.

  • TCO // April 27, 2009 at 3:49 am | Reply

    Lazar: They charge the costs to libraries. Individuals usually get subs from attending meetings or joining societies. And generally read in libraries. I think the science journal racket has been a lucrative little walled garden for a few firms and a few societies for a while. But eventually this will and should change.

  • TCO // April 27, 2009 at 3:51 am | Reply

    Ray: “I have said all along that if we saw ~30 years without significant warming AND we did not see increased aerosols (e.g. as we did from the 40s-70s) or decreased TSI, etc., that we’d need to reexamine the theory. ”

    This is adequate.

  • TCO // April 27, 2009 at 3:52 am | Reply

    I kinda remember your “all along” as more like, “had to be bludgeoned into thinking about it”, and then you wandered off the reservation and needed a touchup bludgeon.

    Maybe I need an oompa calibration tool (2by4).

  • Saltator // April 27, 2009 at 4:10 am | Reply

    DBB:

    “Saltator // April 26, 2009 at 12:26 pm — AGW predicts ocean acidification. Oceans are acidifying.”

    AGW does not predict anything of the sort. The decline in oceanic pH is occurring. It is suggested that it is related to the output of Anthropogenic co2 but not proven.

    The solubility of co2 is inversely proportional to water temp. If the temperature of the oceans continues to rise the net effect should be an outgassing of co2 to the atmosphere. Therefore if there is continued decline in pH of the oceans then it will be defined by the flux balance.

    Oceanic pH declines could happen with or without AGW.

  • George D // April 27, 2009 at 4:38 am | Reply

    “It would appear that Salinger was sacked from NIWA for repeating side-stepping NIWA media protocols despite numerous warnings which is a very different thing from muzzling climate comment.”

    Well, it’s slightly more complicated than that. Until recently NIWA allowed Salinger to speak to the media without first having his comments authorised. The new policy appears to have come in at the request of management, and its interpretation and enforcement have also come from management (at least one of the three cited incidents is highly questionable as a breach).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this policy was directly or indirectly related to the denialist tone of the new NZ Government, and a sense of needing to keep NIWA’s heads down. OIA requests would be useful in following this up…

  • Deep Climate // April 27, 2009 at 6:03 am | Reply

    David Benson,
    I’m still wrestling with the discrepancy between the graph you posted and Rahmstorf et al (2007).

    The Occam graph shows 2000-2008 temps all below the TAR midline. R07 shows most of 2000-2007 *above* the TAR midline projection. The difference is in the baselining of the TAR projection as far as I can see. Occam uses the single year 1990, whereas R07 apparently uses an average centred on 1989.5 (so perhaps 1980-1999).

    One of them is wrong … or else this is open to interpretation. As I pointed out before it makes a difference – as much as 0.1 degree in observations relative to projection.

    [Here are the links again].

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/rahmstorf2.jpg

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Rahmstorf_etal.pdf

  • Gavin's Pussycat // April 27, 2009 at 7:23 am | Reply

    Lazar, yes, that book. Very good. I take it Tamino is reading it too ;-)

    (In case I failed to make myself clear, they frown on “data dredging”.)

  • Barton Paul Levenson // April 27, 2009 at 10:32 am | Reply

    No, TCO, Ray gets it just fine. It’s you who don’t get it. He gave you the criteria for falsifying AGW a long time ago, but you didn’t accept what he said; you insisted it had to be something about temperature trends. Well, excuse me, but you’re not allowed to define the debate. AGW would be falsified if a lot of basic science we know about quantum mechanics and chemistry and climate were all wrong. That’s all the falsification criteria you need.

    What would it take to convince you that AGW denialism was wrong? Or would you always say some room for debate remains? In my experience it’s been the deniers who absolutely refused to admit they might be wrong about anything; like the crew on landshape who insist to this day that the atmosphere can’t warm the Earth because it would violate the second law of thermodynamics.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Reply

    Saltator says, “AGW does not predict anything of the sort. The decline in oceanic pH is occurring. It is suggested that it is related to the output of Anthropogenic co2 but not proven. ”

    Uh, Richard, ever hear of chemical potential? We know the oceans have been absorbing much of the CO2 we’ve been pumping out. They have to. H2O+CO2–>H2CO3, an acid, Richard. It dissociates into H+ and HCO3-. For God’s sake, man. Don’t let your denialism of climate change put you into denial of simple chemistry. Sheesh!

  • Ray Ladbury // April 27, 2009 at 12:15 pm | Reply

    TCO, now that the weekend is over and you are hopefully in a less inebriated state, maybe you can go over what I wrote. My position is consistent:
    1) First, you are positing a hypothetical situation–and one that is only vaguely specified.
    2) How we fix the model depends on how it breaks. Merely positing some other forcing doesn not necessarily rescue us from our predicament, since it will almost assuredly be shorter lived than CO2 in the atmosphere.
    3)If it turns out that CO2 sensitivity is significantly less than ~3 degrees per doubling, it really means that you would need a radically different model of Earth’s climate than we currently have to explain paleoclimate. I think you underestimate how difficult it would be to come up with such a model.

  • TCO // April 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Reply

    You don’t have to know what the flaw is to know that it broke, Ray.

  • TCO // April 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Reply

    3)If it turns out that CO2 sensitivity is significantly less than ~3 degrees per doubling, it really means that you would need a radically different model of Earth’s climate than we currently have to explain paleoclimate. I think you underestimate how difficult it would be to come up with such a model.

    ————————-

    Maybe so. But if it happens, experiment will have trumped theory. Reminds me of the story of ferrocene. Story:

    Some big dude chemist at Harvard asked his theorist friend if the molecule ferrocene (iron stuck like a sandwhich between organic rings) was possible. Theorist ran some calcs and came back and said no. Then a report was published saying ferrocene was made. Big dude went back to theorist and asked again if it were possible, pointing to the published report. Theorist ran some more calcs and said “yes, it’s possible”. Big dude swore and stamped on the library’s journal copy of the ferrocene report.

    This is not a sea story. It ain’t no shit, it really happened. Go to Harvard and look it up. Shoeprint still evident on article…

  • Ray Ladbury // April 27, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Reply

    TCO says, “You don’t have to know what the flaw is to know that it broke, Ray.”

    Granted. However, first you have to have some evidence it’s broken. Then you have to look at what the evidence says about HOW it broke so you can fix it. Only when you’ve got at least some idea how to fix the system (and yes, that might include a whole new theory, but it ain’t likely), will you understand the implications of the break.

    Nobody would be happier than me to see climate theory break. I’m an experimentalist. I like breaking theories. I’m enough of a realist to understand though that the goal is to understand the system you are studying better than before. To that end, it’s not enough just to break things. You have to break them in such a way that you give guidance for the improved theory.

    That’s how science actually gets done.

  • saltator // April 27, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Reply

    Again Ray. I say that, as most of the pH change is occurring in the surface waters of the oceans, the ultimate HCO3- concentration will be affected by the near surface ocean temperature. The other possible limiting factor is the availability of free H+ ions (not as abundant as you might think). Another limiting factor is the availability of Ca++ ions. Segalstad argues that there is enough Ca++ in the upper 200m of the water column to completely absorb all anthropogenic co2 into CaCO3.

    http://www.slideshare.net/stevenfoley/gw-tom-segalstad

    And all this is without consideration of biochemical interactions!

  • saltator // April 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Reply

    Tamino.

    Why did you pull my response to Ray?

  • saltator // April 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm | Reply

    Ray.

    Re: Ca++ above. Calcium ions are not limiting in the surface waters of the oceans. Therefore it should read A non-limiting factor is the availability of Ca++ ions.

  • saltator // April 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Reply

    Ray. Quoting high school chemistry does neither you nor your case any service. You seem to be completely unaware that this is not a case of simple chemistry. The ocean does not work like that.

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Reply

    TCO, mistakes happen. Einstein got confused about the cosmological constant. Until the Aspect experiment, phase entanglement was considered a mistake, or I should say an unsolved part of QT. Theorists make mistakes. Experimenters make mistakes.Perhaps your big dude’s problem was to rely on only one opinion, besides a failure to control his emotions.

    So far the data to prove the theory might not be axactly on point is not quite there. But the thing we seem to agree on is that, if the theory behind AGW is wrong, then nobody knows where exactly it is wrong. That is especially true of the so-called skeptics, who have nothing to propose except dubious ideas or downright crackpotery.

    As for myself, that’s the biggest problem I have wit the all skeptic thing. No ideas. They love to pick apart a paper (except when it supports their position), make mountains out of molehills and then shout “fraud.” But then, when real work and real novative ideas would be needed to tackle the implications stemming from their conclusions, nothing substantial.

  • luminous beauty // April 27, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Reply

    But if it happens, experiment will have trumped theory.

    If; the magic pixie dust of Tinkerbell theoreticians.

    Please, provide a concrete and specific falsifiable hypothesis that contradicts the consensus opinion. Seriously reduce the idle speculation and strained analogies. Please. Address the observed GST, cryosphere, Ocean pH, biome range, etc. changes in the last 30+ years. Please.

    Specifically, if the EGE wasn’t the dominant forcing, what was? What specific phenomenon would indicate these changes will not continue apace, and by what plausible dynamic might it operate?

    No one can prove there might not be some unknown, unspecified forcing or feedback, nor can anyone prove certainty from present knowledge the Moon doesn’t have a tasty core of well aged brie.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // April 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm | Reply

    > Anthony Watts is a liar
    …and not a very smart one at that. I mean, linking the article that exposes him as a liar…
    But perhaps he assumes his readership doesn’t know how to click on links. He could be right…

  • TCO // April 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Reply

    phil:

    Dude. You and Lazar are my favorite alarmists. Hugs.

    I was NOT asserting anything with respect to the recent temp stall. I think that is Watts-Lucia silliness.

    I was just saying, “what would it take to make you say temp rise lack had invalidated the general consensus”? You can think it’s inconceiveable(!*), think it’s likely, think unlikely. I don’t care. It’s just a question of what would it take.

    I would ask the same to denialists in reverse. I have been very respectful to Tammy for just giving an answer.

    Now, I think the pferd is liquified.

    *imagine the little Sicilian in Princess Bride

  • Philippe Chantreau // April 27, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Reply

    Saltator, what do you think is the reason for the current observed acidification?

  • Ray Ladbury // April 27, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Reply

    Saltator says: “Segalstad argues that there is enough Ca++ in the upper 200m of the water column to completely absorb all anthropogenic co2 into CaCO3.”

    Funny how it doesn’t seem to be working that way, isn’t it? I mean, oceans are getting more acidic. CaCO3 is dissolving. So, I ask you: where is all that acid coming from, Saltator? Aliens? Oh, that’s right. You don’t even believe the CO2 in the atmosphere is coming from anthropogenic activity.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 27, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Reply

    LB, I occurs to me that if we want to take a step beyond the hypothetical, we can look at history. There was a historical period where warming seemed to pause–1940-1970. Now, true, we had not had the sort of dramatic warming we’ve had the last 2-3 decades, and we didn’t have near the paleoclimatic and other evidence we now have, but greenhouse warming had been predicted long prior to this.

    The way climate scientists responded was predictable:
    1) They considered lower values for the CO2 sensitivity.
    2) They considered other possible forcings–including aerosols.
    3) They did not scrap the basic model and start over–in particular, they didn’t posit that CO2 wasn’t a ghg.
    4)Based on 1 and 2 above, some posited a risk of aerosol induced cooling.

    What is different now is that the value of CO2 sensitivity is a lot more tightly constrained, and there is a lot more evidence that would need to be explained by any modified theory–evidence the current theory does quite well with, thank you very much.

    If there is one message I would like to radio to the denialosphere, it is the same one I’d like to hammer into the creationists: You cannot consider each little piece of evidence in isolation from all the others.

  • george // April 27, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Reply

    Philippe Chantreau said

    “when real work and real [in]novative ideas would be needed to tackle the implications stemming from their conclusions, nothing substantial.”

    I agree, but I would also add a few qualifications..

    First, I’d have to say that the “implications” of incorrectly arrived-at conclusions — eg, based on faulty assumptions, faulty logic, faulty physics, etc (which are all too commonplace among those who question AGW) — are usually not worth tackling, at least not from the standpoint of actually advancing the science.

    Second, even in the case in which some “skeptic” has actually noticed something legitimate and critical that everyone else has missed, far more than “innovative ideas” are needed.

    Doing science is like doing fine art in a straight jacket.

    Coming up with a new theory that is somehow “better” (more complete, more predictive, more logically consistent, etc) than the currently accepted one almost always requires that one have a very thorough understanding of the current theory and of the relevant physics, chemistry, biology etc in order to recognize precisely where the current theory has gone wrong.

    Most of those who question the basis of AGW simply fail on the latter count. In fact, I’d say that this is what divides the real skeptics (rare) from the “skeptics” (who are a dime a dozen)

  • Phil Scadden // April 27, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Reply

    George D. We watch with interest but as I said, dont jump to conclusions. The NIWA media protocol seems to be more about the new management (and style) in NIWA, not the new government . Change happened before new government. Our protocols are considerably more relaxed but we have them. I dont like their protocol but I’d leave too much jumping about till after employment court hearing.

  • David B. Benson // April 27, 2009 at 10:00 pm | Reply

    Saltator // April 27, 2009 at 4:10 am — I’ll stick with what Roger Revelle
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Revelle
    worked out over 50 years ago.

    You seem sadly out-of-date. Try to keep up, man!

    Deep Climate // April 27, 2009 at 6:03 am — I fear I’m unable to shed any light on the matter. I just wanted Dave Occam’s graph to show to various denialists. While Rahmsdorff’s is surely the more correct, it is too sophisticated for my intended audience.

  • Dave A // April 27, 2009 at 10:13 pm | Reply

    Tamino,

    ” It’s a genuine pity that when scientists choose to be as open and critical as possible about the weaknesses of current research, people like you use it to imply that the research is essentially worthless.”

    I have never said that the research is worthless, rather criticised the ‘totemic’ value given to the climate models.

    [Response: The implication oozes from your comments. I'm calling you a liar.]

    Stainforth et al, as you say were open and truthful about the limitations of the models but I have yet to see a climate study based on models that comes with qualifying ‘health warning’

  • Dave A // April 27, 2009 at 10:24 pm | Reply

    Ray,

    Please forgive my ignorance. Obviously I can’t read and you can. I didn’t understand that Stainforth et al , while pointing out the considerable deficiencies in the climate models, were actually saying the opposite. Silly me.

    OTOH, Tamino acknowledges that they were doing what I thought they were.

  • TCO // April 27, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Reply

    Tamino: Please change to allow instant posting. Or at least for me.

    [Response: No.]

  • David B. Benson // April 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Reply

    “When a CO2 change occurs over a short time interval (that is, less than about 10^4 yr), ocean pH is relatively sensitive to added CO2. However, when a CO2 change occurs over a long time interval (longer than about 10^5 yr), ocean chemistry is buffered by interactions with carbonate minerals, thereby reducing sensitivity to pH changes.

    “Based on the record of atmospheric CO2 levels over the past 300 Myr and our geochemical model, there is no evidence that ocean pH was more than 0.6 units lower than today. Our general circulation model results indicate that continued release of fossil-fuel CO2 into the atmosphere could lead to a pH reduction of 0.7 units. We conclude that unabated CO2 emissions over the coming centuries may produce changes in ocean pH that are greater than any experienced in the past 300 Myr, with the possible exception of those resulting from rare, catastrophic events in Earth’s history.?

    Tamino — This Open Thread is taking a looong time to load.

  • Dave A // April 27, 2009 at 10:55 pm | Reply

    Tamino,

    [Response: Reference?]

    The Indian Government National Action Plan on Climate Change says (p 15),

    “The available monitoring data on Himalayan glaciers indicates that while recession of some glaciers has occurred in some Himalayan Regions in recent years, the trend is not consistent across the entire mountain chain. It is accordingly too early to establish long-term trends, or their causation, in respect of which there are several hypotheses.”

    http://pmindia.nic.in/Pg01-52.pdf

  • TCO // April 27, 2009 at 11:39 pm | Reply

    George:

    Yes (lack of basics). That is why I want to almost physically discipline my own side. When I see the extent of their silliness, the only thing that makes me (mildly) feel better is that the oompas on the other side are kinda dense. That said, the alarmists are publishing and we denialists are not. it depresses me and makes me wonder if my side is a bunch of [edit]

  • Hank Roberts // April 28, 2009 at 12:09 am | Reply

    EGU on ocean acidification
    hard science in the video excerpt starts around 00:12:00; press conference around 00:24:00
    http://www.h82.eu/webstream/egu2009/index.php?modid=18&a=show&pid=30

  • Robert P. // April 28, 2009 at 1:12 am | Reply

    TCO, your ferrocene story is, at the least, pretty seriously garbled. (To be fair, that’s true of most of the potted history in science textbooks, and probably even more true about urban legends handed down by generations of Harvard professors.) See http://www.roaldhoffmann.com/pn/modules/Downloads/docs/Ferrocene.pdf for a serious attempt to reconstruct the actual story. The big question about Ferrocene was not whether it could exist, but what its structure was. Your story sounds like a garbled version of footnote [1 3].

    But as long as we’re on the subject of the history of chemistry, let me point you to a story about which we do know the detailed history, as it’s published in the regular literature: the singlet-triplet splitting in methylene. (Why hello there, t_p_hamilton ! ) This was a HUGE controversy in the early 1980’s. The best theory insisted that it had one value, while beautifully designed, exquisitely sensitive experiments said it was twice as large. It took years, but the experimentalists eventually conceded. They never did figure out just why their original experiment was wrong, but they devised a new, even better experiment that immediately showed them that theory had been right all along. But without the stubborn refusal of the theorists to back down, it’s likely that the new experiment would not have been done (it was hugely more difficult than the original one.) This is now considered to be a milestone in the development of theoretical chemistry – it has reached the point that on sufficiently well-defined problems, when good theory disagrees with good experiment, people no longer assume that the theory is inadequate. In 1951 (when Ferrocene was discovered), quantum chemistry was in roughly the same position as AGW at the time of Manabe’s 1960’s papers – the foundations were in place, but quantitative calculations were highly uncertain. Today, AGW strikes me as being in rather the same stage as quantum chemistry was in the 1980’s.

  • Richard Steckis // April 28, 2009 at 1:31 am | Reply

    Ray.

    In the post that I initially made, that Tamino pulled, I stated that the oceanic pH levels (as far as we can tell from Boron isotope analysis) have been declining since the 1700s. I also stated that for over 200 of those years (from the 1700s to the mid 20th century) anthropogenic co2 has had a negligible impact on the availability of HCO3- ions. So, why the decline in pH during that time? AGW was not responsible.

    Lee et. al. 2006 (GRL): http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/oceans/KitackLee_Alk_Climatology/GRL_Surface_alk.pdf

    show that the two most determining factors for oceanic alkalinity are SST and SSS (Sea Surface Salinity) and particularly the latter. As SST and SSS rise so does the alkalinity (i.e. pH increases).

    They also state in section [3] in the introduction, that At (total alkalinity) determination on a global scale is problematic as there is a great paudity of available data. Therefore they use SST and SSS as proxies.

    [Response: What's your source for the claim that pH has been declining since the 1700s?]

  • Richard Steckis // April 28, 2009 at 1:36 am | Reply

    DBB:

    “Saltator // April 27, 2009 at 4:10 am — I’ll stick with what Roger Revelle
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Revelle
    worked out over 50 years ago.”

    I think science has moved on in 50 years, don’t you? Our knowledge is improving year by year.

    [Response: Don't be silly. Of course science has moved on -- but that doesn't invalidate past results.]

  • Robert P. // April 28, 2009 at 1:48 am | Reply

    Saltator at 2:50 PM: “The other possible limiting factor is the availability of free H+ ions (not as abundant as you might think).”

    Huh ? H+ ions (actually a sloppy, though conventional, abbreviation for H+ bound to one or more water molecules) aren’t a factor that potentially limits ocean acidification – they are the *result* of acidification – in fact, once could say that they literally *are* ocean acidification.

  • David B. Benson // April 28, 2009 at 2:24 am | Reply

    Misspelled Stefan Rahmstorf. Apologies.

  • lee // April 28, 2009 at 3:19 am | Reply

    DaveA:

    So, I went and actually read that portion of the Indian Action Plan. There is no citation for that statement. None. No pointer to the primary literature, not even a hint what papers an studies they were using in arriving at that statement.

    There is no way of checking the validity of that statement, based on what is there. No way for YOU to know how valid that statement is, or to evaluate the strengths oand weaknesses of the papers with conflicting results.

    IOW, your source is close to worthless for evaluating veracity.

    Got any primary literature? better yet, got a comprehensive overview of the primary literature? Or are you only quote mining for sentences that agree with your position?.

  • dhogaza // April 28, 2009 at 3:52 am | Reply

    Stainforth et al, as you say were open and truthful about the limitations of the models but I have yet to see a climate study based on models that comes with qualifying ‘health warning’

    The lack of qualifying and the inherent dishonesty of modelers is why the models generate a CO2 sensitivity between 2.5-4.0C rather than something more precise?

    Is that your claim? If they were truthful about the limitations of models they wouldn’t publish such a large confidence interval for CO2 forcing?

  • dhogaza // April 28, 2009 at 3:57 am | Reply

    Yes (lack of basics). That is why I want to almost physically discipline my own side. When I see the extent of their silliness, the only thing that makes me (mildly) feel better is that the oompas on the other side are kinda dense. That said, the alarmists are publishing and we denialists are not. it depresses me and makes me wonder if my side is a bunch of [edit]

    Well, TCO, if you were 1/10th as smart as you claim you are, you could clean up the denialist arguments and publish, since, obviously the science side consists of “oompas”, and your superior capabilities, combined with the kernels of truth uncovered by denialists, should make it possible for you to easily crush mainstream science.

    Because you repeatedly tell us you’re smarter than those on the denialist side, and smarter than those on the other side, and yet …

    What do you do?

    Drink and bitch and do nothing useful at all.

    Other than to say “I’m smart, and you’re an idiot, and I’ve known smart people, and you are REALLY an idiot”.

    Meanwhile, you’re a noncom who couldn’t make it into officer schools …

  • michel // April 28, 2009 at 7:16 am | Reply

    “You can post your disinformation regarding hybrid technology as many times as you want, and it’s still going to be bullshit.”

    What exactly am I saying about hybrid technlogy that is disinformation? You can go look at the UK Government site for yourself. There is no doubting what you will see there. You can search for cars doing better than 60 mpg (imperial gallons that is, combined cycle). You will find a substantial number which do better than 60. There is no doubt about that, its just a fact. You will also find the Prius doing about 65. Again, this is not subject to doubt, it is on the site. Dhogaza can get as emotional as he wants about this, but don’t direct it at me, direct it at the UK Government who is the source of the data.

    My conclusion is that hybrid technology is not a particularly promising contributor to a problem whose dimensions are not the difference between 60 and 65 miles per imperial gallon, but the difference between 60 and several hundred.

    dhogaza has elsewhere accused me of being a denialist. This I am not. I am a heretic.

    A denialist, to make it clear, in the case of Christianity, would deny the existence of God, and or the existence or the role of Jesus. A heretic would be one who accepted the existence of both, but differed with the Catechism or Creed in some respect. He might for instance deny the real presence, or follow the Manichean doctrine on the power of evil, or falsely think the Son is of one substance rather than the same substance with the Father. Or whichever way is correct.

    There is a sort of catechism people like dhogaza insist on, and then falsely and furiously label every departure from it in any detail however small as denialism. But to be clear, I fully accept the warming effect of CO2. I also think that action to lower emissions would be both desirable and improve our quality of life.

    I do not however accept that the method of PCA used by MBH98 had any validity, I don’t think the evidence suggests the MWP was either insignificant or purely regional, nor do I accept that hybrid cars have any significant role in remedying GHG emissions, and in any case, will not replace very far reaching lifestyle changes in transport policy. I am not persuaded we understand feedbacks fully, or that the IPCC estimates of climate sensitivity are correct.

    Only fundamentalists call this denialism. It is in fact heresy, and it is heresy with regard to a complex and detailed set of dogmas most of which are not essential to the AGW hypothesis. Which have in fact a purely emotional role for their more furious adherents. I suspect in the case of hybrids that the fury is occasioned by the terrifying thought that the car/suburbs/mall lifestyle may be reaching the end, both economically, morally and in terms of climate, and that dhogaza, like many on the right, is in denial about this.

  • michel // April 28, 2009 at 7:36 am | Reply

    Well, someone would need to demonstrate that everyone from Fourier to Arrhenius was wrong about CO2 being a greenhouse gas, that everyone from Planck to Heisenberg was wrong about quantum mechanics, and that hundreds of thousands of land surface temperature station, sea-surface temperature reading, borehole temperature reading, balloon radiosonde temperature reading, and satellite measurements were all wrong.

    This is just silly. You simply would not have to demonstrate this in order to show that AGW as embodied in the IPCC reports is mistaken. I am not saying that it is mistaken, or that warming will not happen. I am saying that if it did not happen, we would certainly not conclude that everyone from Planck to Heisenberg was wrong about quantum mechanics. Or indeed any of the other silly things that are stated in this quote.

    We would probably start out by deciding that the record showed that it was not warming. Then we’d look for explanations, for example, we might simply find out that feedbacks were not uniformly positive. That natural variation was greater than we had thought. That the influence of the sun was different than we had thought. That the surface station record, particularly outside the US, was contaminated by UHI. That the proxy record had been misinterpreted.

    I am not saying any of these things is correct. Just that, should temperatures continue to be stable or to fall for 30 or 40 years in the presence of rising CO2, this is the kind of thing we would be looking at. About the last thing we would doubt would be quantum mechanics.

    Now, you may say that none of these things are going to happen, and you may be right. But in the end, all it would take to cast very serious doubt on AGW would be for temperatures to stablize or fall for the next 30 years. There would be no need whatever to doubt that CO2 is a GHG or that quantum mechanics is correct.

    The argument is as illegitimate as this one: to show that Christianity is false, you will have to show that Palestine did not exist and that there was no such city as Jerusalem. No, the existence of both are perfectly compatible with many accounts which would deny either the existence of God or the role of Jesus.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 28, 2009 at 10:03 am | Reply

    Dave A., I’ve never questioned your ABILITY to read, merely whether you have the knowledge to interpret what you read in context and your willingness to learn that knowledge. You are one of the most cheerfully and proudly ignorant folks I’ve come across, but then I suppose that is a prerequisite for your complacency.
    Of course climate models have a long way to go. Hell, it’s a complicated system. However, what we do not know does not invalidate what we know well. CO2 has a very strong signature. As a long-lived, well mixed greenhouse gas, that effect sticks out like a sore thumb.

    As nearly as I can tell, your entire argument boils down to, “Well, the prophets of doom have been wrong before, so it will be all right now.” All of your other activities seem to be directed at reinforcing that comforting lie. If you had the courage to confront the truth, you might want to look at how hard scientists have worked to stave off Malthus’s prognosis. Look at the cost of those efforts–collapse of fisheries, salinization of fields in from Australia to Zimbabwe, monocultures alternating between corn and soy beans…

    I need not add that I don’t expect that sort of courage from you. Like I said. The adults will deal with the world as it is.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 28, 2009 at 10:10 am | Reply

    TCO, The possibility you are ignoring is that maybe the guys on “your side” aren’t a bunch of [edit], but rather that they are laboring under the disadvantage that their ideas lead nowhere. They cannot advance the understanding of climate, because they reject good science because of its political implications.

    Physical reality is a cruel ol’ bitch, ain’t she?

  • saltator // April 28, 2009 at 11:00 am | Reply

    Tamino,

    “Response: What’s your source for the claim that pH has been declining since the 1700s?]”

    Hmmmm. How about Wickipedia (ocean acidification) just for starters.

    Then Raven et. al.: via http://royalsociety.org/document.asp?id=3249

    or royalsociety.org/displaypagedoc.asp?id=13539

    Although they state 200 years.

    [Response: As I expected, your claim is a sham. Both the Wikipedia article and the Royal Society link talk about acidification compared to 200 years ago. They make no statement that pH has been declining for 200 years. You just interpreted it that way because that's what you want to believe.

    You also omitted to mention what both the Wikipedia article and the Royal Society link really talk about. From Wikipedia:

    Ocean acidification is the name given to the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by their uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.[1] Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.179 to 8.104 (a change of -0.075).

    And the title of the policy statement from the Royal Society is: Ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    But by some perverse twist of non-logic, you interpret it this way:

    I also stated that for over 200 of those years (from the 1700s to the mid 20th century) anthropogenic co2 has had a negligible impact on the availability of HCO3- ions. So, why the decline in pH during that time? AGW was not responsible.

    Your perversion of the truth is archetypical denialism.]

  • TCO // April 28, 2009 at 11:40 am | Reply

    Robert P.:

    Thanks for the reference. Awesome. I would love to see the sequel that Hoffman refers to. Also, my story is a good story nonetheless. Who knows it might even be true…:)

    On your other story…that’s fine. I think it’s good if theorists can push something where they think an error might be. However if the experiment is later done, flawlessly and repeatedly, than the theorists need to give in.

    For instance, if Pons and Fleishman can make neutrons come out of their palladium rod….well good for them. Of course they can’t and all they have is minutia of noise in calorimetry and detections of particles at the boundary of instrumental error. They’re shit iow. But it’s easy to set falsifiable boundaries for what it would take for them not to be shit. N’est pas?

    One can also think about Michelson and Morley as the CLASS of experimentalists for observing and recording and not occluding measurements which CLASHED with their understanding of theory, even in a small way, but which validated a later one. In opposition, you have the Milliken repeaters, who Feynman has called out as shameful because they did not instantly correct Milliken’s wrong value of the electron charge, but instead gradually “walked” the value back.

    I recognize the differing levels of proof for something that goes against theory. But I also recognize different types of theory. One might be a simple group theory wrt molecular vibrations. Another might be a very complicated peice of crystallography. All I ask (and Annan and Pielke asks) is that each side call out what it takes for falsifiabilty. Based on the instruments we have, the need for time verus noise, etc.

  • saltator // April 28, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Reply

    Tamino:

    “Response: Don’t be silly. Of course science has moved on — but that doesn’t invalidate past results”

    Of course not. But. A number of times at this site I cited papers that were 10 or 15 years old and criticised because they were so old (not by you but by others).

    Past results are invalidated not by the passing of time but by progress in research that brings new knowledge. That is what I meant by the statement.

  • saltator // April 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Reply

    perhaps I should have used a word other than invalidated.

  • Ray Ladbury // April 28, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Reply

    Michel, again, you are considering a rather vague hypothetical situation (lack of warming), and considering it in isolation from all the other evidence favoring the consensus theory. You can try to throw out the paleoclimate if you are willing to sacrifice Uniformitarianism, but I rather doubt many in the Earth Scienes would be prepared to do that. The paleoclimate implies pretty strongly that CO2 sensitivity is around 3 degrees per doubling, and that implies we should see warming…unless there is some unaccounted for forcing or feedback. An unaccounted for forcing is very unlikely to have the persistence that CO2 forcing will, so at most this would postpone the day of reckoning. And feedbacks don’t care where a watt of forcing comes from–all they care about to first level is temperature. There is no evidence that this particular temperature range is exceptionally stable in the paleoclimate, so why should it be stable now?

    Look at all the evidence. Think it through. This isn’t an easy maze to find your way out of.

  • saltator // April 28, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Reply

    “[Response: As I expected, your claim is a sham. Both the Wikipedia article and the Royal Society link talk about acidification compared to 200 years ago. They make no statement that pH has been declining for 200 years."

    Rubbish. You even validated it yourself when you cited "Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.179 to 8.104 (a change of -0.075)." Does this not say that pH has declined over that period of time?

    [edit]

    [Response: Are you really incapable of seeing how you've twisted things to fit your preferred belief? These references make NO REFERENCE to a decline FOR 200 YEARS, only a difference between then and now.

    It's offensive that you would take such strong, unambigous, scientific statements of the causal relationship between atmospheric CO2 rise and ocean acidification, and pervert them to use as "references" to support your moronic idea that it's something else. It's offensive to the researchers, and to the intelligence of every reader here.

    I am so sick of your crap.]

  • TCO // April 28, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Reply

    Ray, I’m not ignoring that possibility.

  • saltator // April 28, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Reply

    You might want to look at:

    Avoiding dangerous climate change
    By Hans Joachim Schnellnhuber, Wolfgang P. Cramer, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Great Britain. Dept. for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Tom Wigley, G. Yohe, Ed
    Edition: illustrated, reprint
    Published by Cambridge University Press, 2006
    ISBN 0521864712, 9780521864718
    392 pages

    A graph of pH change since 1800 on page 66

    can be viewed at: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7Ui8fBmNlm4C&dq=%22Reviewing+the+Impact+of+Increased+Atmospheric+CO2+on+Oceanic+pH%22&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0

    [Response: You bet I looked at the graph on page 66. It completely contradicts you.]

  • saltator // April 28, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Reply

    and I am really getting annoyed with your selective censorship. Not to matter. No doubt I am banned again because you cannot brook scientific debate.

    [Response: You claim that ocean acidification is not due to increasing CO2. To support this, you claim that ocean pH has been declining since the 1700s -- but the references you supply to support that make no such statement, and in fact are all about how ocean acidification IS due to increasing CO2.

    The you say "look at the graph" in your last comment, and when I do ... the graph flatly contradicts you. Proves you wrong. It's hard to tell whether you are really that stupid, or whether you think the rest of us are that stupid.

    You are not capable of participating in scientific debate.]

  • Ray Ladbury // April 28, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Reply

    Saltator, OK, just looking at the graph you provide, I see a precipitous rise in pCO2 and a precipitous fall in pH that are virtual mirror images of eachother. Now, pray, how does that support your argument?

    It is also not particularly becoming to play the martyr when you are found to be in error. It’s kind of hard to see how you can call Tamino’s correction of your mistake censorship.

    Repeat after me, “Oops, sorry guys. Brain fart…”

  • Hank Roberts // April 28, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Reply

    > I do not however accept that the method of PCA
    >used by MBH98 had any validity

    Do you accept that using the improved method suggested didn’t change the conclusions? Or do you simply reject the whole notion and the many separate findings over the subsequent decade?

    Are you worried about gravity because Galileo didn’t really drop cannonballs off the tower at Pisa? Are you in doubt about the charge on the electron? How about lightning, Ben Franklin didn’t apparently ever fly a kite in a storm. Electricity working for you today?

    > I don’t think the evidence suggests the MWP was either insignificant or purely regional

    Who does? What does “purely” mean to you?

    Good grief, you’re using a whole lot of words and soaking up a whole lot of people’s time to keep saying nothing except your witnessing of your faith.

  • Dave A // April 28, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Reply

    Lee,

    That Report was from a Committee set up by the Indian Prime Minister and presumably published as an official government document.

    Who am I as a UK resident to say that they have not based it on sound science? Who are you likewise? After all the whole world doesn’t revolve around scientific papers published in Nature and Science.

  • Philip Machanick // April 30, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Reply

    Dave A, the latest date in the Indian National Action Plan on Climate Change is 2007, and only cites local research. The research I’ve seen showing strong evidence of the risks of losing the Himalayan glaciers starts from around 2007 and includes international sources, e.g.:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070327113346.htm
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL035556.shtml

    This is starting to get coverage in the Indian media (note the role of Pachauri):
    http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/09/stories/2009040950490200.htm

    It’s clear that the “inconclusive” in the report you quote arises from inadequate data in the sources used, not an inconclusive trend.

    As a skeptic, when someone tells me something, I check. You should try that.

  • Dave A // May 4, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Reply

    Philip Machanick.

    OK, let’s saythat the Indian govt hasn’t done a great deal of research yet. One could speculate that that is because they haven’t yet seen that there is any real problem. However, they are now going to do some more reseach.

    To set against that two studies, one of which involves Thompson, and imply that they somehow prove something else is disingenuous. Thompson in particular has been picked apart comprehensively at CA over many years.

    Have a look at

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?cat=26

    [Response: A hatchet job doesn't qualify as "picked apart comprehensively." Of the two, Dr. Thompson and McIntyre, I attach confidence in the former and none in the latter.]

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