Thompson, Hardy, Hemp and the Snows of Kilimanjaro

An interesting article was published in Der Spiegel a week ago on the glaciers atop Mount Kilimanjaro, and the research into why the glaciers are melting.

The article features Lonnie Thompson who has been taking cores from tropical glaciers for a long time, and publishing articles about them, without bothering to put the data into public archive for others to examine.

Thompson, widely viewed as the pioneer of modern tropical glacier research, is a living legend among climate researchers. He’s met with former US Vice President Al Gore to give him his personal assessment of climate change, and music magazine Rolling Stone has celebrated him as an "ice hunter." Where others see nothing but fields of rubble, Thompson uncovers evidence of dying glaciers and the traces of a 300-year catastrophic drought that spelled the downfall of entire civilizations. For Thompson, the ice at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro is an archive, and he intends to use it to divine both the past and future of Africa’s climate.

Thompson has some cherished ideas about why the glacier atop Mount Kilimanjaro is disappearing: global warming.

Like the ebb and flow of ocean tides, the African glaciers have expanded and contracted over the centuries. But beginning in about 1880, tropical glaciers began receding more rapidly and more abruptly than in the past. In places where extensive ice caps reached down to altitudes of 4,500 meters (14,750 feet) only a hundred years ago, all that remains today are narrow glacier strips and isolated chunks of ice in a moonlike landscape of lava sand. Thompson managed to turn Kilimanjaro into a symbol of global warming — and he has triggered a heated scientific debate in the process.

His colleague, Doug Hardy thinks that the evidence points in another direction and disagrees strongly with Thompson’s suggestions.

Climatologist Doug Hardy is one of Thompson’s biggest adversaries in the world of glacier research. "The phrase global warming is misleading, as are the alarmist reports of the complete disappearance of all glaciers on Kilimanjaro," says Hardy. The American scientist acts as a weatherman of sorts for the ice-capped mountain. And although he and Thompson work closely together, Hardy disagrees with much of what Thompson says, arguing that Thompson’s speculations are excessive and his predictions far too premature.

Hardy relies on the evidence gained from the mountain since he established an automated weather station on the peak in 2000:

When Thompson drilled his first Kilimanjaro ice samples in 2000, he asked Hardy to set up a station that would enable the scientists to learn more about the conditions under which the glaciers formed. Ironically, the data Hardy’s equipment has been supplying ever since contradicts Thompson’s theory of the tropical glaciers rapid demise as a result of rising global temperatures.

"Dryness, not warming, is what’s causing the glaciers to recede," says Hardy. According to his readings, the average annual temperature at the station is minus seven degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit). Hardy believes that what the glaciers lack is enough new snow — possibly because moist winds coming from the Indian Ocean, 350 kilometers (218 miles) away, are weakening. Besides, he adds, the amount of water from glacier melt is relatively insignificant, because most of the ice is "sublimed" — it evaporates immediately, bypassing the liquid phase.

A plant biologist, Andreas Hemp also disagrees with Thompson and points to a further mechanism for the disappearance of the glacier:

The climate data collected by the German colonial administration show that precipitation has declined by about a third in the last hundred years," says Hemp. Some mountain streams are little more than thin trickles of water today. But Hemp sees overpopulation as a more serious problem for the region than global climate change.

"In that span of time, the number of people living at the base of the mountain has grown twenty-fold, or to about a million. The forest suffers as a result," says Kemp. "Illegal loggers are assaulting the rain forest from below, and fires have lowered the upper range of the evergreen forest — by about 500 meters in the last 30 years." Poverty is often at the root of the forest fires, which are set by illegal honey gatherers who burn sticks of wood to protect themselves against aggressive African bees.

The loss of about 150 square kilometers (58 square miles) of mountainous forest in the past 30 years has changed the area’s microclimate by making it drier. "The destruction of the forests may be accelerating the loss of glaciers, but not vice-versa," says Hemp. "In fact, all the excitement about melting glaciers has almost become part of the problem." As Hemp sees it, the park administration manages to avoid taking responsibility by blaming receding glaciers and deforestation on global climate change.

The article is fascinating and I recommend it. But I cannot resist a couple of digs at Thompson:

"We have to collect as much data as possible today, even if we’re not exactly sure what it means, because in a few decades it’ll be too late," says Thompson.

Will you be archiving your data that we’re still waiting for more than 23 years after you described them, or will we have to wait for all of them to melt first?

"Perhaps we’re seeing evidence of the same kind of drastic climate change today," Thompson speculates, "except that this time it’s more severe and is happening more rapidly." What if the glaciers on Kilimanjaro do in fact disappear one day? "Then we’ll study the ice fields on Mars," says Thompson, defiantly. The man is dead-serious. He’s already been in touch with NASA.

Somebody should tell Lonnie Thompson that the icefields on Mars are melting as well. I blame global warming …


256 Comments

  1. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

    It is well known to locals in tropical areas that receive snow that 90+% of the precipitation in such places is from Monsoons. “Tropical glaciers melting” – Yet another proxy for moisture being touted incorrectly as a temperature proxy …..

  2. JerryB
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    Doug Hardy has a Kibo page at http://www.geo.umass.edu/climate/kibo.html

  3. Jon Swenson
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    How do you ice cubes disappear in your frost free freezer. Global warming?
    May be useful to use that analogy.

  4. John Lish
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    Good article on how environmental factors affect local climate conditions. It shows again that one source of evidence cannot be considered by itself to prove AGW. I wish that our UK Chief Executive of the Environment Agency (Baroness Young) understood that concept. This afternoon on national radio, she was mainly blaming water shortages in London & the South East of England on climate change. To be fair, she did highlight the issue of London losing significant amounts of water through the decaying pipe system (our Victorian engineering ancestors will be spinning in their graves) but the phrase “climate change” was liberally used. The fact that the UK has significant inward migration to the South-East & London (according to the Office of National Statistics, the population is growing by 80,000 a year) might have something to do with a static resource becoming more scarce?

  5. Geoff Smith
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    It’s good to see this story getting in the popular press, at least in Germany. It reminds me again of my amusement when I see claims that there is no debate about climate change. Anyone who reads the scientific literature knows that simply is not true.

    In the case of “melting glaciers on Kilimanjaro”, a good place to start is the 2004 article by Kaser (with co-authors Hardy quoted above and Ray Bradley (Steve’s “friend” and Mann’s teacher?)about their studies of glaciers on Mt. K., published in the International Journal of Climatology.

    Quoting from the abstract: “In recent years, Kilimanjaro and its vanishing glaciers have become an “icon’ of global warming, attracting broad interest. In this paper, a synopsis of (a) field observations made by the authors and (b) climatic data as reported in the literature (proxy and long-term instrumental data) is presented to develop a new concept for investigating the retreat of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers, based on the physical understanding of glacier–climate interactions. The concept considers the peculiarities of the mountain and implies that climatological processes other than air temperature control the ice recession in a direct manner. A drastic drop in atmospheric moisture at the end of the 19th century and the ensuing drier climatic conditions are likely forcing glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro. Future investigations using the concept as a governing hypothesis will require research at different climatological scales”.

    They make three key points:

    1) “Since the scientific exploration of Kilimanjaro began in 1887, when Hans Meyer first ascended the mountain (not to the top this time, but to the crater rim), a central theme of published research has been the drastic recession of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers (e.g. Meyer, 1891, 1900; Klute, 1920; Gillman, 1923; JàƒÆ’à‚⣧er, 1931; Geilinger, 1936; Hunt, 1947; Spink, 1949; Humphries, 1959; Downie and Wilkinson, 1972; Hastenrath, 1984; Osmaston, 1989; Hastenrath and Greischar, 1997)”.

    2) “mass loss on the summit horizontal glacier surfaces is mainly due to sublimation (i.e. turbulent latent heat flux) and is little affected by air temperature through the turbulent sensible heat flux”

    3) although we haven’t had thermometers on the top of Kilimanjaro for 100 years, it seems unlikely that the temperature ever gets above freezing and this is given support at a new thermometer at the Northern Icefield location where “air temperature recorded from February 2000 to July 2002, which never exceeded àƒ⣃ ‹’€ ‘1.6 °C”.

    So there is strong evidence that the glaciers of Kilimanjaro have been retreating for more than 100 years. There is strong evidence that the temperature at the top never rises above freezing, so there is no melting of glaciers. There is strong evidence that drier air is leading to the glacier retreat. There is no good evidence that the shrinking glaciers of Kilimanjaro have anything to do with increased CO2 levels caused by fossil fuels.

    The research is ongoing, but I’m always surprised that these studies are not better known.

    Geoff

    ref:
    INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLIMATOLOGY
    Int. J. Climatol. 24: 329–339 (2004)
    Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/joc.1008
    “MODERN GLACIER RETREAT ON KILIMANJARO AS EVIDENCE
    OF CLIMATE CHANGE: OBSERVATIONS AND FACTS”, GEORG KASER,DOUGLAS R. HARDY, THOMAS MàƒÆ’”‚¬”LG, RAYMOND S. BRADLEY, and THARSIS M. HYERA

  6. George
    Posted Feb 27, 2006 at 11:28 PM | Permalink

    John-

    Thanks for posting this article. I couldn’t help but think of some of the stories that the late John Daly ran on his Web page, “Still Waiting for Greenhouse.” For example,

    http://www.john-daly.com/press/press-01a.htm#kilimanjaro

    http://www.john-daly.com/press/press-03c.htm#kilimanjaro

    Daly made some of the same points that Hardy and Hemp made.

  7. paul
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 1:04 AM | Permalink

    Unfortunately, as everyone knows, the drier climate is caused by AGW induced climate change.

  8. ET SidViscous
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

    As is the wetter

  9. John A
    Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

    Re: #2

    Ah yes, “kibo” is also a well known scientific acronym.

  10. Posted Feb 28, 2006 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    Don’t forget colder, number 8.

  11. JEM
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 4:19 AM | Permalink

    Re #9:

    Ah yes, “kibo” is also a well known scientific acronym.

    Indeed so.

    Does the Kibo Hockey Team sound appropriate for anyone we know?

  12. Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 7:09 AM | Permalink

    You presentation of this issue is a little skewed. Hardy doesn’t rule out climate change as a cause of Kilimanjaro ice retreat. Hardy says ” it does not rule out that these processes may be linked to temperature variations in other tropical regions, e.g. in the Indian Ocean, where a large-scale connection between sea-surface temperature and East African rainfall amounts has been found in several studies (e.g. Latif et al., 1999; Black et al., 2003)…it appears likely that by mid-century the plateau glaciers will disappear from the mountain for the first time in over 11000 years.” In fact, this is just what Thompson predicted many years ago.

    Indeed, climate change in Africa is linked to temperature changes in the Indian and Atlantic oceans, which in turn is affected by greenhouse gas emissions, according to the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research and NOAA. The warming of the Indian Ocean is thought to be responsible for the current drought in southern Africa. Greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are responsible for the warming of the Indian Ocean.

    The dramatic decline in Kilimanjaro’s ice cap is particularly remarkable given its persistence through many previous episodes of climate change, including a severe 300-year-long drought 4,000 years ago.

    Worldwide, glaciers grew during the Little Ice Age,retreated as climate warmed until about 1940, then gained again from 1950 to 1980 as a slight global cooling occurred. Since 1980, glacier retreat has become increasingly rapid and ubiquitous, illustrating that glaciers worldwide are exquisitely sensitive to global temperatures.

    In your zeal to defame Thompson, you have overlooked the fact that deforestation is also evidence of the “A” in AGW. The deforestation-driven desiccation of the icy crown of Kibo is itself evidence of a human cause of the loss of the famed ice cap!

  13. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    Michael,

    It may be that deforestation can be applied to the A in AGW, but the solution in that case is much different than, say, the Kyoto Protocol. Indeed, for those of us who are on the [American style] political right, the answer would be enforcable property rights (so that those owning forests in the mountain area could produce wood on a sustainable basis rather than having it stolen.

  14. John A
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 7:38 AM | Permalink

    Re: #12

    How did I “defame” Thompson? I reported the gist of the article I was commenting on. If I was defaming Thompson then so was the article.

    You read into Hardy’s words more than was actually written. Where does Hardy make the claim that these changes in the sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean are anthropogenic in origin? Nowhere in the article, that’s for sure. Perhaps you’re reading a different article to the rest of us.

    Yet again, like most alarmists you like to rewrite history to favour your own prejudices.

    Glaciers worldwide have retreated since the Little Ice Age, nor is the current rate of recession particularly rapid. Some glaciers are advancing in places like New Zealand, Greenland and Norway so those are also indicative of global warming? So the glaciers have retreated for 300+ years, then expanded for 40 years and are now continuing their retreat. But the glaciers began retreating long before carbon dioxide started rising in the atmosphere, and advanced while carbon dioxide grew at the fastest rate.

    Yes the deforestation is anthropogenic in origin, and I can go one step further: the deforestation of Kilimanjaro’s lower slopes is caused by poverty, poor land management and overpopulation, not climate change, according to the scientist who is right there.

    So the reduction of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers is due to human political and social conditions, an oscillation in the warmth of the Indian Ocean producing less precipitation and the continuation of a long slow retreat that has been going on for more than 10,000 years, longer than human civilisation has existed.

    Oh and by the way, Michael Mann has claimed repeatedly that the Little Ice Age was a regional cooling not a global one. You should tell him the truth.

  15. Jeff Norman
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    Re #12 & #14

    The article features Lonnie Thompson who has been taking cores from tropical glaciers for a long time, and publishing articles about them, without bothering to put the data into public archive for others to examine.

    This may be what Michael is referring to when he considers John’s “zeal to defame Thompson”. I don’t believe the Der Spiegel article mentions anything about archiving data.

    For as long as modern humans have been monitoring the Kilimanjaro ice cap, it has been retreating. The ~11,000 year age generally associated with this ice cap suggests that it was originally created by the huge climate upset at the end of the last “big” ice age. It may well have been retreating/sublimating since then. We don’t know. Either does Michael. Maybe it did lose something during his big drought. Again we don’t know.

    Would an ice cap like Kilimanjaro’s sublimate from the bottom up? How sublimation effect the interpretation of an ice core sample? Too bad the information isn’t (apparently) readily available.

  16. Carolynn
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

    I have a 2 questions

    1) as ANY glacier gets smaller wouldn’t its rate of melt increase just because a smaller glacier has greater surface area to volume?

    This seems important to me because lots of articles talk about the increasing rate of glacial melt, but if all else is equal it would seem we could expect this?

    2) A couple years ago I read an article that said that the soot from primitive stoves in Africa/China/India might have a greater affect on their local climate than CO2. Anyone else see it?

  17. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    “just because a smaller glacier has greater surface area to volume?”

    I don’t know if that is necessarily true. I mean it is possible, even likely, but I don’t think it’s a given.

  18. Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

    John A asks: Where does Hardy make the claim that these changes in the sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean are anthropogenic in origin?”

    Hardy makes the claim that glacier loss on Kilimanjaro may be linked to temperatures in the Indian Ocean. James Hurrell of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research and Martin Hoerling of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have said that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are largely responsible for the warming of the Indian Ocean. The Hardy quote comes from: MODERN GLACIER RETREAT ON KILIMANJARO AS EVIDENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE: OBSERVATIONS AND FACTS, Kaser, Hardy, et al

    http://geowww.uibk.ac.at/glacio/LITERATUR/kaser_et_al_IJC24(2004).pdf

    I don’t know how you can read the Der Speigel article without having immense admiration for Thompson, Hardy and Hemp. So they are arguing over the details, big deal. That’s what scientists do. Hardy and Thompson agree on the important point: that all the evidence suggests that climate change today is more severe and is happening more rapidly than episodes of climate change in the past, and that human causes are playing a large and unprecedented role. The fact that overpopulation, deforestation and other factors also play a role in the Kilimanjaro glacier disappearing act is neither surprising, nor evidence that global warming is unimportant.

    The article says, “When Hardy co-authored an article criticizing Thompson’s theory that global warming is destroying Kilimanjaro’s glaciers as “simplistic,” climate change skeptics triumphantly misread the statement as evidence that global warming isn’t taking place.”

    Indeed, when Michael Crichton claimed that global warming had nothing to do with the disappearance of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers, citing Hardy, Hardy objected. “Crichton is doing ‘what I perceive the denialists always to do,” says Hardy. ”And that is to take things out of context, or take elements of reality and twist them a little bit, or combine them with other elements of reality to support their desired outcome.”

    Hardy says he has little or no doubt that human-caused climate change is at least partly responsible for melting glaciers in the tropics and middle latitudes. Hardy said “”the link is very clear between changes in tropospheric temperature and [glacial retreats]… And even in the case of Kilimanjaro climate change may be playing a role.”

  19. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    These tropospheric tempratures that show a downturn in temprature in the latter 20th century?

  20. jae
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

    Hardy says he has little or no doubt that human-caused climate change is at least partly responsible for melting glaciers in the tropics and middle latitudes. Hardy said “”the link is very clear between changes in tropospheric temperature and [glacial retreats]… And even in the case of Kilimanjaro climate change may be playing a role.”

    This is a pretty complex, vague statement. He has no doubt, but climate change MAY be playing a role.

    The article says, “When Hardy co-authored an article criticizing Thompson’s theory that global warming is destroying Kilimanjaro’s glaciers as “simplistic,” climate change skeptics triumphantly misread the statement as evidence that global warming isn’t taking place.”

    Note that Hardy did say “simplistic,” referring to the alarmists claims, which they are still making.

  21. jae
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    Dammit, I did something wrong with the block quotes.

  22. jae
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    The earth is cooling. It started out as a ball of magma and has been cooling ever since. Has anyone attempted to factor this into the overall energy balance? Perhaps the effects are negligable? Maybe we need some more AGW.

  23. John A
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    Re #18

    Seward goes for rewriting history again:

    I don’t know how you can read the Der Speigel article without having immense admiration for Thompson, Hardy and Hemp. So they are arguing over the details, big deal.

    How is whether I admire any of them got to do with anything? Is this hero-worship or scientific endeavor?

    That’s what scientists do. Hardy and Thompson agree on the important point: that all the evidence suggests that climate change today is more severe and is happening more rapidly than episodes of climate change in the past, and that human causes are playing a large and unprecedented role.

    Where in that article does Hardy agree that “all the evidence suggests that climate change today is more severe and is happening more rapidly than episodes of climate change in the past, and that human causes are playing a large and unprecedented role.”?

    You wrote that into Hardy’s words. They appear nowhere in the article.

    You forget that Hardy ascribed the disappearance of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers not to “global warming” but to a weakening of precipitation from the Indian Ocean which has been happening OVER THE LAST 300 YEARS (ie since the maximum of the Little Ice Age)

    In any case, who is disagreeing that the Earth’s atmosphere is warming? Not me. The question is whether man’s contribution to that warming is a) significant and b) harmful.

    Notice the qualified language that you quoted from Hardy:

    ‘the link is very clear between changes in tropospheric temperature and [glacial retreats]… And even in the case of Kilimanjaro climate change may be playing a role.”

    In other words the dominant mechanism for Kilimanjaro’s glacial retreat is not AGW but lowered precipitation for the last 300 years combined with more recent deforestation of the lower slopes, but the general trend might be accentuated by AGW.

    Or maybe AGW is a chimera, an explanation that explains nothing, rather like ascribing extreme weather to God’s wrath for the sin of mankind, it is unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific.

  24. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 1, 2006 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    RE: #22. Two excellent texts – Verhoogen, “Energetics of the Earth” and Turcotte & Schubert, “Geodynamics.” Indeed, the overall, big picture energy flow, over time, has been out into space. Good thing the Sun has been slowly increasing its flux and good thing the atmosphere has the minimal levels of “Greenhouse Gases” that it does. The real climate danger, if any, it that we get so cold that there is no recovery. We should be working on ways to slow down the process and to get the heck off this rock before it gets past a certain loss point. This is true big picture …. the warmers are way too obsessed with the short term.

  25. Geoff
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    Re. #18, it’s good to see that the Kaser article is on line for free, but I couldn’t get the reference link to work, so would recommend to try here

  26. jae
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 7:17 AM | Permalink

    re 24: Thanks. I thought someone surely has worked on this issue.

  27. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    Re #25, Geoff
    Try this :
    http://geowww.uibk.ac.at/glacio/LITERATUR/kaser_et_al_IJC24(2004).pdf

    (The end was cut off in the original post.)

  28. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Hmmm. As it has been in my repost, after a page full of strange database text. I guess the blog software doesn’t like brackets in links, or some such.
    Let’s try this

  29. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

    That’s better.
    John, when you have a moment, your Blacklist plug-in is being a bit stroppy about posting links…

  30. Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

    Re #18,

    Michael, the full article shows in the abstract:

    A drastic drop in atmospheric moisture at the end of the 19th century and the ensuing drier climatic conditions are likely forcing glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro.

    If the drying started at the end of the 19th century, how can that be linked to anthropogenic influences, as the increase of CO2 in the period 1850-1900 was only 10 ppmv?

  31. Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    John A asks, “In any case, who is disagreeing that the Earth’s atmosphere is warming? Not me.”

    It’s only taken twenty years for the skeptics to finally admit that the earth is warming. Welcome aboard.

    “The question is whether man’s contribution to that warming is a) significant and b) harmful.””

    Yes, that’s the question. And the answers are clear and compelling. Yes, and yes.

    “Significant” is a matter of opinion. Is a level of CO2 higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years significant? I’d say so.

    Would you consider ocean acidification, species extinction, and rising sea levels to be harmful? “Harm” is not only predicted for the future, we are seeing it happen already. Yet another example of global warming harm is in today’s news:

    “A voracious beetle, whose population has exploded with the warming climate, is killing more trees than wildfires or logging. “It’s a rapid warming” that is increasing the beetles’ range,

    Surveys show the beetle has infested 21 million acres and killed 411 million cubic feet of trees — double the annual take by all the loggers in Canada. In seven years or sooner, the Forest Service predicts, that kill will nearly triple and 80 percent of the pines in the central British Columbia forest will be dead.

    Scientists with the Canadian Forest Service say the average temperature of winters has risen by more than 4 degrees in the past century.” All part of a natural cycle, according to Rush Limbaugh.

    http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/13995365.htm

    Is that harmful enough for you?

  32. jae
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    31. Micahael: It may be all natural. We are coming out of the Little Ice Age, after all. Farms that were covered by glaciers during the Little Ice Age are now appearing in Greenland (notice the Vikings used the word “Green” for what is now almost all white…). It’s all recorded in the history books, and we don’t need tree ring proxies and global climate models to prove that temperatures cycle naturally (probably due mostly to solar changes). Read some history books! The world and forests are in an ever-changing state, insect population dynamics is a real roller-coaster. Read some forest entymology books. You seem to be one of the doomsdayers. Read Bjorn Lomborg’s book “The Environmental Sceptic.” BTW, Lomborg accepts IPPC’s Global Warming stuff.

  33. jae
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Damn, this global warming is affecting everything; it is even making my computer act weird.

  34. John G. Bell
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    Re #31 Michael

    It’s only taken twenty years for the skeptics to finally admit that the earth is warming. Welcome aboard.

    Nah, I’ll wait for you to accept the LIA and welcome you aboard.

    “Significant” is a matter of opinion. Is a level of CO2 higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years significant? I’d say so.

    Sure about that are you? Friederike Wagner isn’t so sure. See “Reproducibility of Holocene atmospheric CO2 records based on stomatal frequency” QSR 23 (2004)1947-1954

    Yet another example of global warming harm is in today’s news:

    “A voracious beetle, whose population has exploded with the warming climate, is killing more trees than wildfires or logging.

    Now you talk about something we can agree on. The introduction of exotic species around the word is causing mayhem.

    Scientists with the Canadian Forest Service say the average temperature of winters has risen by more than 4 degrees in the past century.” All part of a natural cycle, according to Rush Limbaugh.

    And that makes it wrong? If you said it, would it be right?

  35. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 2, 2006 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    Re: 31, Michael, thanks for posting. You say:

    Would you consider ocean acidification, species extinction, and rising sea levels to be harmful? “Harm” is not only predicted for the future, we are seeing it happen already. Yet another example of global warming harm is in today’s news:

    Perhaps you could give us an example of a species which has gone extinct from global warming? (Don’t bother with the frogs, that study didn’t confirm extinction, nor did it show evidence that warming was the cause.)

    w.

  36. Larry Huldén
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 1:54 AM | Permalink

    RE # 31 :
    “A voracious beetle, whose population has exploded with the warming climate, is killing more trees than wildfires or logging. “It’s a rapid warming” that is increasing the beetles’ range,

    It is not warming that is increasing the beetles’ range, it is a shift in the ecology (land use change, erosion, flooding, competition, parasites ect etc). Increasing temperatures affect only the population size, ON AVERAGE for a large number of species in a particular region, but not the range of the species. Species have to spread to survive because the habitats are never static. As a consequence an insect species is spreading only if the suitable habitat is spreading (including suitable maiting place, food resource, declining predators and/or parasites etc).

    IPCC (WG II) is spreading misinformation about shifts in species’ range because of global warming.
    Reported shifts are artifacts based on sudden increase of population size during very warm summers. When population size is high, new records of a species are detected, INDEPENDENTLY of a shift in distribution. The habitat is not shifting in range when the temperature is shifting.

  37. Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

    Re #31,

    Michael, about the ocean’s “acidification”, in fact it is becoming less alkaline with more CO2. For fish this has little influence, as most fish species can have a broad range of pH. For planktonic species, especially the coccoliths (which are building a carbonate shell), this specific species was responsible for the huge layers of carbonate in the Cretaceous (the “White Cliffs of Dover”), with CO2 levels many times (4-10 times pre-industrial, according to different sources) higher than today.
    And reefs seems to benefit from increased CO2 levels, see here.

  38. Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 5:38 AM | Permalink

    John G. Bell Re: #34

    The mountain pine beetle is not an invasive species; it is native to the forests of Western North America. Historically, its attacks are limited largely to trees under stress from injury, poor site conditions, fire damage, overcrowding, root disease or old age. For the first time in history, this beetle is killing everything in sight, destroying twice the wood taken by loggers in the entire country of Canada. In 7 years, 80% of the forests of BC will have been destroyed. This epidemic is a sign of consecutive mild winters and drought-like summers, hallmarks of global warming. “We are seeing this pine beetle do things that have never been recorded before. They are attacking younger trees, and attacking timber in altitudes they have never been before.”

  39. Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

    John A asks, “What about Antarctica?” Funny you should ask. NASA reports today “Two new satellite surveys show that warming air and water are causing Antarctica to lose ice faster than it can be replenished by interior snowfall… Their authors both said that the work added credence to recent conclusions that global warming caused by humans was likely to lead to higher sea levels than previous studies had predicted… Several independent experts agreed with the new conclusions, saying they meshed both with more localized studies of trends in Antarctica and with evidence from warm spells before the last ice age.”

  40. Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 5:50 AM | Permalink

    Funny how global warming always seem to be attributed to humans, per default, despite the fact that we don’t really understand HOW humans could be causing global warming, based upon our understanding of the way things like CO2 affect the climate. Their theoretical effect is too small to explain the observed warming. (See Idso’s work for example). So, why the default attribution?

  41. BradH
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 5:58 AM | Permalink

    Re: #39

    Couple of points, Michael. First, it wasn’t a NASA report, it was a couple of researchers at the University of Colorado, using data from a NASA satellite.

    Second, the satellite was only launched in 2002 (they used data from April ’02 to August ’05). Seems to me, though I’m not really qualified to judge, that it’s a big call to make such a big call from such a short period of data.

    Perhaps some of the more qualified posters can make further comment. One version of this story is available at:-

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060302180504.htm

  42. jae
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    38. The pine beetle was doing the same thing in Colorado a few years ago. It was doing it in Idaho and Montana a few years ago. It was doing it in the Black Hills of South Dakota a few years ago. It’s the same well-known pattern, and it’s probably all natural, Michael.

  43. beng
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

    RE #38

    Michael, I’ve read a fair amount on this to get beyond the standard party-line, and the beetle “plague” isn’t the result of warming. There’s a much more mundane but simpler explanation — forestry practices over the decades that has greatly changed the species distributions. The cutting of old-stand forests has created widespread species changes from the invasion of opportunistic early-successional trees like spruces & pines, which are much more attractive to the beetles than the original, more climax-like species mix.

  44. Paul
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    RE #43:

    Let’s not let facts get in the way of the truth here…

  45. John A
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Re #39

    “What about Antarctica?” and Seward quotes a single press release without citation.

    Several recent surveys of both Greenland and Antarctica have concluded that the ice sheets are growing and not shrinking, and that the temperatures in the interior of Antarctica especially the dry valleys have fallen sharply in recent decades.

    Johannessen, Ola M., Khvorostovsky, K., Miles, M. W., Bobylev, L. P. (2005) Recent ice sheet growth in the interior of Greenland. Science 310: 1013-1016

    Recent growth in the interior regions of the Greenland Ice Sheet is reported by a Norwegian-led team of climate scientists. The growth is estimated to be about 6 cm per year during the study period, 1992-2003. They derive and analyse the longest continuous dataset of satellite altimeter observations of Greenland Ice Sheet elevations by combining tens of millions of data points from European Space Agency (ESA) satellites, called ERS-1 and ERS-2, and NASA. This allowed the scientists to determine the spatial patterns of surface elevation variations and changes over an 11-year period between 1992 and 2003.

    Recent Ice-Sheet Growth in the Interior of Greenland
    Ola M. Johannessen 1*, Kirill Khvorostovsky 2, Martin W. Miles 3, Leonid P. Bobylev 2

    A continuous data set of Greenland Ice Sheet altimeter height from ERS-1 and ERS-2 satellites, 1992 to 2003, has been analyzed. An increase of 6.4 ± 0.2 centimeters per year is found in the vast interior areas above 1500 meters, in contrast to previous reports of high-elevation balance. Below 1500 meters, the elevation-change rate is -2.0 ± 0.9 cm/year, in qualitative agreement with reported thinning in the ice-sheet margins. The spatially averaged increase is 5.4 ± 0.2 cm/year, or ~60 cm over 11 years, or ~54 cm when corrected for isostatic uplift. Winter elevation changes are shown to be linked to the North Atlantic Oscillation.

    Chylek, P. Box J.E., Lesins G. Climatic Change, Volume 63, Numbers 1-2, March 2004

    Abstract
    The Greenland coastal temperatures have followed the early 20th century global warming trend. Since 1940, however, the Greenland coastal stations data have undergone predominantly a cooling trend. At the summit of the Greenland ice sheet the summer average temperature has decreased at the rate of 2.2 °C per decade since the beginning of the measurements in 1987. This suggests that the Greenland ice sheet and coastal regions are not following the current global warming trend. A considerable and rapid warming over all of coastal Greenland occurred in the 1920s when the average annual surface air temperature rose between 2 and 4 °C in less than ten years (at some stations the increase in winter temperature was as high as 6 °C). This rapid warming, at a time when the change in anthropogenic production of greenhouse gases was well below the current level, suggests a high natural variability in the regional climate. High anticorrelations (r = -0.84 to -0.93) between the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) index and Greenland temperature time series suggest a physical connection between these processes. Therefore, the future changes in the NAO and Northern Annular Mode may be of critical consequence to the future temperature forcing of the Greenland ice sheet melt rates.

    Science, 19 May 2005, DOI: 10.1126/science.1110662

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/308/5730/1898

    Snowfall-Driven Growth in East Antarctic Ice Sheet Mitigates Recent Sea-Level Rise
    Curt H. Davis , Yonghong Li , Joseph R. McConnell , Markus M. Frey , Edward Hanna

    Satellite radar altimetry measurements suggest that the East Antarctic ice sheet interior north of 81.6°S increased in mass by 45 ± 7 billion tons per year from 1992 to 2003. Comparisons with contemporaneous meteorological model snowfall estimates suggest that the gain in mass was associated with increased precipitation. A gain of this magnitude is enough to slow sea-level rise by 0.12 ± 0.02 millimeters per year.

  46. jae
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

    It’s time for Michael to take some time out from building furniture and read some of the literature, not just the newspaper.

  47. jae
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    Oh, BTW, Michael, I relly like your furniture. First class stuff.

  48. John A
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    Re #46,47

    I think Michael should stick to what he’s good at, making furniture.

  49. John G. Bell
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    We have something called the Southern pine beetle in the Southeast US. It had destroyed a great deal of timber in the 70s and in 2001 it seemed to reach it’s peak. It could be that the LIA was hard on the bug. I suspect the planting of quick growing pines and fire supression policies have left us with a less beetle resistant forest.

    I don’t see how this makes Steve’s math wrong or how it proves human induced climate change much less green house gas induced climate change.

    We’ve drifted far from the snows of Kilimanjaro. Steve is just pointing out that an warming alarmist is being contested by some of the top researchers in the field.

  50. Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    Dave Dardinger RE: #13
    As for the notion that replanting the forest at Kilimanjaro’s base will help the glacier to grow again, Hardy says: ”The forests need replanting for many reasons, but I think that [Crichton's idea that reforestation is the answer to the melting] is preposterous, without some larger-scale changes.”

  51. Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    John A says: “Where in that article does Hardy agree that “all the evidence suggests that climate change today is more severe and is happening more rapidly than episodes of climate change in the past, and that human causes are playing a large and unprecedented role?…You wrote that into Hardy’s words. They appear nowhere in the article.”

    That’s correct, they do not appear in that article, but Hardy has been clear about this. Hardy has said that using his research to refute the reality of global warming is “absurd”. Even Patrick Michaels says he “has no doubt that humans are altering the climate”!

    “We are entirely against the black-and-white picture that says it is either global warming or not global warming,” said Prof. Georg Kaser, the paper’s lead author of the new study said they were particularly dismayed that the industry-supported group had portrayed their paper as a definitive refutation of the idea that melting from warming was involved…Dr. Hardy (said) “Using these preliminary findings to refute or even question global warming borders on the absurd….The debate over it obscures the nearly universal agreement among glacier and climate experts that glaciers are retreating all over the world, probably as a result of the greenhouse-gas buildup.”

    http://www-bprc.mps.ohio-state.edu/Icecore/TimesArticle.html

  52. John A
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    Re: #51

    Seward dances around his own falsehoods again.

    Where does Hardy say that “all the evidence suggests that climate change today is more severe and is happening more rapidly than episodes of climate change in the past, and that human causes are playing a large and unprecedented role”

    Where is it or are you resorting to fabricating quotes to justify your alarmist beliefs?

  53. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    Re #45: John A., isn’t it a little dishonest to post those cites about Greenland, including two from Science, and just sort of forget to mention this summary of the current science (complete text below) from two weeks ago? I don’t have time to go find the references just now, but I believe your Antarctic claims suffer from similar shortcomings.

    For anyone interested in the science, the current post at RC features discussion of Greenland by at least four *actual glaciologists*.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/311/5763/963

    Perspectives
    ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE:
    The Greenland Ice Sheet and Global Sea-Level Rise
    Julian A. Dowdeswell*

    The changing mass of the great ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica represents the largest unknown in predictions of global sea-level rise over the coming decades. At 1.7 million km2, up to 3 km thick, and a little smaller than Mexico, the Greenland Ice Sheet would raise global sea level by about 7 m if it melted completely. This could take from a millennium to a few thousand years (if melting were the only mechanism by which it lost mass) depending on the magnitude of future warming (1). Of more immediate concern are several sets of new observations, derived largely from remote-sensing satellites. As reported by Rignot and Kanagaratnam (2) on page 986 of this issue, the velocities of several large glaciers draining the ice sheet to the sea, already among the fastest-flowing on Earth, have recently doubled to reach over 12 km year-1. In addition, the ice sheet has experienced a greater area of surface melting this year than at any time since systematic satellite monitoring began in 1979 (3). Both these changes increase mass loss from the ice sheet, with the implication that current estimates of global sea-level rise over the next century, of about 0.5 ± 0.4 m (4), may be underestimated.

    The Greenland Ice Sheet gains mass through snowfall and loses it by surface melting and runoff to the sea, together with the production of icebergs and melting at the base of its floating ice tongues. The difference between these gains and losses is the mass balance; a negative balance contributes to global sea-level rise and vice versa. About half of the discharge from the ice sheet is through 12 fast-flowing outlet glaciers, most no more than 10 to 20 km across at their seaward margin, and each fed from a large interior basin of about 50,000 to 100,000 km2. As a result, the mass balance of the ice sheet depends quite sensitively on the behavior of these outlet glaciers.

    Two changes to these glaciers have been observed recently. First, the floating tongues or ice shelves of several outlet glaciers, each several hundred meters thick and extending up to tens of kilometers beyond the grounded glaciers, have broken up in the past few years (5). Second, measurements of ice velocity made with satellite radar interferometric methods have demonstrated that flow rates of these glaciers have approximately doubled over the past 5 years or so (2, 5). The effect has been to discharge more ice and, thus, to increase the mass deficit of the ice sheet from a little more than 50 km3 year-1 to in excess of 150 km3 year-1 (2). Increased velocity, combined with rapid dynamic thinning of up to 15 m year-1 that cannot be accounted for by increased melting, may be linked to the loss of the mechanical buttressing effect of the ice tongues (2, 5, 6).

    The outlet glaciers in question, including Jakobshavn Isbrae (see the first figure) in the west and Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier (see the second figure) on the east coast of Greenland, are all south of 70°N, suggesting that there may be some linkage with changing climate. Satellite data from passive microwave instruments show that there has been a very marked increase in the area affected by summer melting and the length of the melt season on Greenland. Indeed, 2002 and 2005 are records for melt extent over the 27 years of observations (3). With these observations and a meteorological model to retrieve annual accumulation, runoff, and surface mass balance for the ice sheet, a declining mass balance over the past 6 years (to 2003) was calculated (7). Not only did this change in surface balance yield a contribution of 0.15 mm year-1 to global sea-level rise, but it may also be implicated in the changing velocity structure of the ice sheet. Increased meltwater production, if it reaches the glacier bed through crevasses, provides a clear mechanism for enhanced flow through basal lubrication and sliding. A clue to this is provided by observations of the coincidence of ice acceleration with the duration of summer melting on the ice sheet even beyond the boundaries of fast-flowing outlet glaciers (8).

    Fast glacier flow. The margin of the fast-flowing outlet glacier Jakobshavn Isbrae, West Greenland. This glacier drains an interior basin of more than 90,000 km2 (2). At a velocity of more than 12 km year-1 (5), it is one of the most rapidly moving glaciers in the world. The glacier terminus is shown by the vertical ice cliff, which is up to about 100 m in height. Above this, the heavily crevassed surface of the outlet glacier can be seen. Below, in the foreground, the surface of the adjacent fjord is completely obscured by the very large numbers of icebergs resulting from the recent breakup of the floating glacier tongue and the continuing flux of ice to the margin. The icebergs themselves have similarly crevassed surfaces before fragmentation and overturn.
    PHOTO CREDIT: J. A. DOWDESWELL

    The breakup of marginal floating ice tongues in Greenland may also be related to the increase in meltwater production and its penetration into surface crevasses. A similar mechanism of hydromechanical fracturing was responsible for the disintegration of much larger fringing ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula (9). Importantly, breakup of these Antarctic ice shelves was linked to rising temperatures and was followed by velocity increases of between two and eight times (10).

    Satellite and airborne radar and laser altimeter data sets complete the picture of a changing Greenland Ice Sheet. Above the 2000-m contour, representing 70% of the ice-sheet surface, elevations increased by a mean of 5 to 6 cm year-1 (11, 12). These values were based on satellite radar altimeter data acquired between 1992 and 2003 (11, 12), and are greater than those reported previously from more scattered airborne evidence (13). The pattern of change was variable, however, with growth of 10 to 20 cm year-1 in southwest and parts of east Greenland and negative values of 25 to 30 cm year-1 in some lower-elevation western areas in particular (11, 12). By contrast, peripheral thinning of the ice sheet was recorded, exceeding 1 m year-1 close to the coast, often associated with outlet glaciers (13). The thinning was due to changes in ice flow, in addition to enhanced melting. However, parts of southern Greenland appear to be thickening even close to the ice margin, perhaps resulting from increased coastal precipitation (12).

    Taking the new evidence on the acceleration of ice-sheet outlet glaciers together with estimates of increasingly negative surface mass balance (7) yields, according to Rignot and Kanagaratnam (2), a contribution from the Greenland Ice Sheet of more than 0.5 mm year-1 to global sea-level rise, over two-thirds of which is derived from flow acceleration. This new information on velocity change more than doubles previous estimates of losses from the ice sheet to the global ocean (6, 7). Future monitoring of the velocity structure of the ice sheet, especially above 70°N where acceleration to date has been limited, is required. It is also necessary to understand better the nature and distribution of precipitation over Greenland. Increased accumulation in the ice-sheet interior, and even in some coastal areas, could offset losses attributable to surface melting at lower elevations (12). Existing and forthcoming satellites will continue to measure ice-surface elevation and any shifts in the rates of surface melting and accumulation. In a warming world, it is likely that the contribution to sea-level rise from Greenland is set to grow further, assuming that the observed acceleration in outlet-glacier velocities is sustained, with possible increases in precipitation providing the only prospect of short-term amelioration.

    Icebergs. Large numbers of bergs are calved each year from the fast-flowing terminus of Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier, East Greenland, adding fresh water to the surrounding seas when they melt.
    PHOTO CREDIT: J. A. DOWDESWELL

    References
    J. M. Gregory et al., Nature 428, 616 (2004) [Medline].
    E. Rignot, P. Kanagaratnam, Science 311, 986 (2006).
    K. Steffen, R. Huff, Greenland Melt Extent, 2005 (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2005); available at http://cires.colorado.edu/science/groups/steffen/greenland/melt2005/.
    J. A. Church et al., in Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, J. T. Houghton et al., Eds. (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2001), pp. 639-693 [publisher's information] [Full text].
    I. Joughin et al., Nature 432, 608 (2004) [Medline].
    R. B. Alley et al., Science 310, [456] (2005).
    E. Hanna et al., J. Geophys. Res. 110, D13108 (2005) [ADS].
    H. J. Zwally et al., Science 297, [218] (2002).
    A. Shepherd et al., Science 302, [856] (2003).
    T. A. Scambos et al., Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, L18402 (2004) [ADS].
    O. M. Johannessen et al., Science 310, [1013] (2005).
    H. J. Zwally et al., J. Glaciol. 51, 509 (2005).
    W. Krabill et al., Science 289, [428] (2000).

  54. John G. Bell
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    Re #51,Michael

    “The debate over it obscures the nearly universal agreement among glacier and climate experts that glaciers are retreating all over the world, probably as a result of the greenhouse-gas buildup.”

    You attribute to Hardy the above quote when it was actually the opinion of the writer of the article ANDREW C. REVKIN and his quote. That kind of hacks me off.

  55. jae
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    re: 53 Yeah, yeah, yeah. We are coming out of the LIA.

  56. jae
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Michael, like our friend Peter, has his mind made up and is not interested in any facts that contradict his BELIEFS. It’s not worth responding to him.

  57. Paul
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    RE #53:

    Also note the language used:

    At 1.7 million km2, up to 3 km thick, and a little smaller than Mexico, the Greenland Ice Sheet would raise global sea level by about 7 m if it melted completely. This could take from a millennium to a few thousand years (if melting were the only mechanism by which it lost mass) depending on the magnitude of future warming (1)

    Alarmist language isn’t it?

    And then there’s this gem…

    The Greenland Ice Sheet gains mass through snowfall and loses it by surface melting and runoff to the sea, together with the production of icebergs and melting at the base of its floating ice tongues. The difference between these gains and losses is the mass balance; a negative balance contributes to global sea-level rise and vice versa.

    Sublimation doesn’t have an impact at all? It all melts and only melts? My own experience tells me that this isn’t right.

    Not only did this change in surface balance yield a contribution of 0.15 mm year-1 to global sea-level rise

    Provide no reference to the change in sea-level rise, so we take it on faith, right?

    Not only that, but the melting of Greenland doesn’t mean anything in terms of knowing why the earth might be getting warmer. It’s the “why” that’s important.

  58. jae
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    Seward appears to be quite the envionmentalist, but he sure is raising hell with that old-growth hardwood. Some of the pieces displayed are probably >500 years old.

  59. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    I strongly suspect that the reason why both tropical glaciers and certain Greenlandic ice observations are such hot buttons is precisely because they may be proxies for precipitation rather than temparature, per se. Of course, yes, raise the temperature enough and large masses of ice will melt. However, cutting off their input of moisture may be far more effective. The warmers hate that. Stupid facts getting in the way of an agenda.

  60. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    Re #53. Steve does not explicitly cite the following which is in the RealClimate article. But you will note that this study shows a possible INCREASE in ice mass in Greenland. So if the mass is increasing, how does that raise the sea level?
    ***A third relevant study is a recent paper in the Journal of Glaciology by Zwally et al. (2005) on the ice mass changes on Greenland and Antarctica. They use the same satellite obsevations (ERS 1 & 2) as Johanessen et al. and again find that the Greenland ice sheet is thinning at the margins (-42 ± 2 Gt/year = -38 ± 1.8 km3/year below the equilibrium-line altitude – ELA), but growing in the inland (+53 ± 2 Gt/year = 48 ± 1.8 km3/year). The mass estimates have been converted to volume estimates here, assuming the density of ice is 0.917 g/cm3 at 0 °C, so that the mass of one km3 of ice is roughly equivalent to 1.1Gt. This means that the Greenland ice has an overall mass gain by +11 ± 3 Gt/year (=10 ± 2.7 km3/year) which they estimated implied a -0.03 mm/year SLE over the period 1992-2002.***

  61. Theodore M
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

  62. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    Re #60: Please read this stuff carefully before debating it. Both Johanessen et al and Zwally et al studied surface elevation changes, and while they accounted for a degree of thinning at the edges did not have data about possible losses from dynamical effects (glacier speed-up). Quoting from the RC post (just after the part you quoted): “Looking just at the dynamical changes observed by Rignot & Kanagaratnam, there is an increased discharge of about 0.28 mm/year SLE from 1996 to 2005, well outside the range of error bars. This is substantially more than the opposing changes in accumulation estimated by Johannessen et al and Zwally et al, and is unlikely to have been included in their assessments. Thus, the probability is that Greenland has been losing ice in the last decade.” Then in the comments some guy named Zwally says: “Very nice overview…” and then goes on to discuss dynamical effects without trying to assert that his 2005 study (I haven’t read it since I lack a JoG subscription) took them into account. Presumably it did not or he would have said so.

    Re #57: I think you missed the point on the first quote. The thousand year time-frame is *without* the dynamical effects.

    I suspect the sublimation effect is minor compared to the two other factors, but in any case it was not ignored since it’s inherent in the satellite altimetry measurements used by J et al and Z et al.

    The article I posted was a synthesis (meaning a discussion of what the various papers mean when taken as a whole). The sea level change calculations would be in the papers themselves.

  63. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    Re #59: I don’t get it, Steve. Is anybody arguing that Greenland isn’t getting more snow?. Kilimanjaro is of course another case altogether, but to the extent that a lack of precipitation is the major factor there, do we know the same thing is happening to the other tropical glaciers? Please provide a cite for that.

  64. jae
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    Steve B. This is all very interesting stuff, but the ice flows, melting, etc. do not say anything about AGW. Just GW (perhaps). Again, we are probably still coming out of the LIA. During the days of Hagar the Horrible, there was a lot more green in Greenland. I would expect to see more green there, before we go into the normal cyclical cooling cycle (which I hope is not soon). I think most of this is caused by the Sun, despite those analyses that purport to demonstrate that the Sun can only cause part of the warming that is supposedly being shown (I tend to think there is some warming, but I have little faith in the global average surface air temperature numbers).

  65. Dano
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    RE 59:

    The warmers hate that. Stupid facts getting in the way of an agenda.

    Oh? Name one.

    Warming temps may be contributing to ice gain in the interior of Greenland, BTW.

    *heart*

    Best,

    D

  66. kim
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    Rignot and Kanagaratnam have done little more than measure the rotational velocity of a tornado. That’s data, but has its limits for generalized meaning.
    ===================================================================

  67. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    Re #64: jae, as the climate has little resemblance to a basketball it doesn’t just “rebound” from some prior climate state. At the root of climate changes are heat fluxes, and those heat fluxes have causes. There are numerous studies showing that the sun and orbital forcings, while they are capable of altering climate and have certainly done so over the course of time, are unlikely to be the major factor in the present sharp warming.

  68. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    “the sun and orbital forcings”

    Why so limited? Why are you only considering 2 other possibilities?

  69. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    Re #68: Because those were the ones jae mentioned. But let me expand the list to include all non-anthropogenic forcings.

  70. jae
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    re: 67 Why should I take your word for this? Some references, please. And I shall respond with different references that disagree with yours. There’s a lot of SWAGs in this stuff, IMHO. We simply have no good reason to believe that the climate changes are not a part of normal cycles, caused by the Sun and orbital perturbations. The hockey stick is now broken, for sure. What else is there? Models, LOL, LOL, LOL.

  71. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

    Re # 67 – **There are numerous studies showing that the sun and orbital forcings, while they are capable of altering climate and have certainly done so over the course of time, are unlikely to be the major factor in the present sharp warming.**
    Where are the studies that document and measure this? Is there measured evidence to the contrary? There is only an association of CO2 and warming.

  72. jae
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    I don’t think I’ve seen a reply from the Warmers about the historical FACT that Greenland was greener in the MWP than it is now. Do tree rings trump historical records, or what? Come on, was it colder then than now? I guess you can toss this one off as a “local phenomenon.” There is always a way to make thing seem like a crisis, right?

  73. Paul Linsay
    Posted Mar 3, 2006 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    #62:

    Looking just at the dynamical changes observed by Rignot & Kanagaratnam, there is an increased discharge of about 0.28 mm/year SLE from 1996 to 2005, well outside the range of error bars.

    That’s a remarkable bit of measurement, a human hair is 0.1mm in thickness! Color me extremely impressed that it’s possible to measure the change in sea level to this accuracy. Or am I misinterpreting SLE as sea level elevation and it really means something else?

  74. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 4, 2006 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

    Re #s 70+71: Gerald and jae, I know for a fact you’ve seen evidence on both of those points linked on this very blog. Why should I bother repeating the information if you’re not paying attention?

    Re #72: Let’s see, by logic similar to the kind you’ve used with reference to Greenland we can prove that Iceland was pretty much uninhabitable since it’s all ice. Is there anything like an actual peer-reviewed paper showing Greenland was significantly more “green” (however you want to define that) during the MWP?

    Re #73: That *would* be remarkable. But actually the calculation is much simpler, since once they have a number for the amount of ice discharged all that’s required is a calculator and the surface area of the ocean to come up with such a precise figure for sea level rise.

  75. BradH
    Posted Mar 4, 2006 at 5:57 AM | Permalink

    Re: # 58

    Seward appears to be quite the envionmentalist, but he sure is raising hell with that old-growth hardwood. Some of the pieces displayed are probably >500 years old.

    Maybe Mann, et al. could find a new proxy series? The “Seward Polished Maple Tabletop 300 Year Proxy Series”.

    BTW, is a love of wood a declarable potential bias, when discussing the importance of proxies derived from wood?

    [Sorry, Michael, I'm being facetious, but the confluence was just too good to pass up.]

  76. jae
    Posted Mar 4, 2006 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

    re 74: Come on, Steve, it’s in the history books. Farms are appearing where ice is melting. I don’t think peer review is necessary here. In fact, peer review seems to have become something of a joke, especially in Science. I’ve published enough papers to know that peer review is no guarantee of anything.

  77. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 4, 2006 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

    Re #76: So because you committed fraud in your papers you want to assume that everyone else does the same? Now there’s a whole new perspective.

    Regarding Greenland, I just spent an hour or so on the web looking at various sources. I couldn’t find anything indicating a meaningful change in ice cover in Greenland over the last 1,000 years, or relating to major exposures of Norse farms or settlements from current glacier retreat (to the extent that’s even happening relative to farmed/grazed areas). OTOH, I found many references to the likely propagandistic origin of the name. In any case, it seems clear enough that even under the warmest conditions it would have been difficult to avoid noticing the extensive glaciers and ice sheet. That Erik was a fibber.

  78. Posted Mar 4, 2006 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom: Ugh, that’s disgusting. Have you read ANY of jae’s papers? If not, or if you have and you don’t have any actual evidence of fraud, I recommend you retract that comment immediately.

    This blog documents a fair bit of evidence that casts doubt on the scientific rigor in a number of studies. It’s difficult to make accusations of fraud, since we don’t know the causes of or motives behind the problems in the studies. However, at least evidence has been presented. You seem to be making a baseless assertion.

  79. jae
    Posted Mar 4, 2006 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom: That was uncalled for. The peer review process is greatly overblown by some folks, and it is often being used by egocentric “scientific” types to “put down” any other form of written dialogue. Peer review is better than nothing; it’s probably the best method of quality assurance that we can accomodate in our society for the scientific journals. But it is not a really good system, and it is certainly not infallable. As you well know, reviewers are busy people. And human beings. Given the best situation (no bias) they (usually) read the submission, and if anything strikes them as strange, they comment on it. They certainly do not have enough time, and sometimes not even enough expertise, to replicate the study. What has happened here, IMHO, is that many of the peer reviewers were friends of the person who wrote the article, and they shared the same beliefs. This can, and does, happen; and it can wreak havoc on science.

  80. jae
    Posted Mar 4, 2006 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

    re 79: And I should add that acedemic folks are under extreme pressure to get published in peer-reviewed journals. Their fame, fortune (and tenure for the first few years) depends on it. The reviewers are generally acedemic folks, too, and they understand this. Thus, they tend to be kind. Unfortunately for the USA, publishing is normally all that is important; teaching is far secondary and almost ignored.

  81. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 4, 2006 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

    #80 “The reviewers are generally acedemic folks, too, and they understand this. Thus, they tend to be kind.” No they don’t. Competition is often fierce, and reviewers in the same field know the field and look pretty carefully for errors in competitor’s work. Sometimes, out of competition, they hold up a manuscript. I’ve asked several times that certain people not be chosen to review my work for those very reasons. I have seen eminent scientists facilitate review of their work with a phone call to the editor. This is unethical in my opinion, and relatively rare (I trust).

    That said, and more to the point, it makes no difference to the validity of the A part of the GW claim whether Greenland, or the Antarctic, is melting or not. The only way to establish the “A’ part is by way of complete and falsifiable GCMs. Neither quality describes the current lot. Without theoretical explanation, and that means detailed predictions stemming from first principle calculations, it’s all no more than hot air.

    In my opinion, the reason so many scientists buy into the “A” part of GW is that they don’t really understand science as such, or how to confine their thinking within its purview when it’s critical to do so. Data have no meaning absent a scientifically valid theory. That means a theory that proposes a unique solution and that is falsifiable observationally. Earth may be warming, and ice may be melting, but to assign that whole shebang to increased atmospheric CO2 is, at this point, no more than blowing smoke, because GCMs are not falsifiable observationally and they do not offer unique solutions.

    In another thread, Steve pointed us to a recent Op-Ed authored by Jim Hansen — I think it was in the Telegraph. Hanson came right out and said the GCMs were worthless. He went on to make a clarion call about the impending doom of AGW. An inability to think scientifically could not be more clearly displayed. He discounted the theory, and then assigned meaning to data with no more than personal alarm to sustain it. Hansen might as well have invoked scriptural authority. The climate field is rife with this sort of muddled politicism. I’m not surprised by the eager advocacy of envirnmental groups. But what shocks me is that so many scientists make the same very basic mistake. It’s as though they don’t really know what they’re doing, when they do science. Either that, or they sacrifice the intellectual integrity of their profession for the potage of political cameraderie.

  82. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Mar 4, 2006 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

    Re #62: **Both Johanessen et al and Zwally et al studied surface elevation changes, and while they accounted for a degree of thinning at the edges did not have data about possible losses from dynamical effects (glacier speed-up). Quoting from the RC post (just after the part you quoted): “Looking just at the dynamical changes observed by Rignot & Kanagaratnam, there is an increased discharge of about 0.28 mm/year SLE from 1996 to 2005, well outside the range of error bars. This is substantially more than the opposing changes in accumulation estimated by Johannessen et al and Zwally et al, and is unlikely to have been included in their assessments. Thus, the probability is that Greenland has been losing ice in the last decade.” Then in the comments some guy named Zwally says: “Very nice overview…” and then goes on to discuss dynamical effects without trying to assert that his 2005 study (I haven’t read it since I lack a JoG subscription) took them into account. Presumably it did not or he would have said so.**
    What I see in the Zwally study is that there was a net mass gain. The study by Eric Rignot and Pannir Kanagaratnam referenced the 2002 Zwally study.

  83. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

    Re #82: Sure, but the RC post (to which Zwally was responding) did discuss Zwally 2005. I had a look at the Zwally 2005 abstract, and it states that it found a net mass gain via satellite altimetry only, i.e. via a method that could not account for the dynamical effects studied by R+K. Dowdeswell of course also took account of Zwally 2005. Zwally 2002 wasn’t a mass balance study, BTW. The upshot: Net mass loss despite more snow.

  84. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

    Re #81: “Hanson came right out and said the GCMs were worthless.” I sincerely doubt that Hansen said anything of the sort. Did you happen to read his keynote speech from the AGU annual conference, BTW?

  85. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:39 AM | Permalink

    Re #s 78,79,80: That seemed to be what jae was implying. I suppose I might have also been reacting to his “green Greenland” assertions, which to all appearances have little or no basis in reality. But I’d love to have a look at some of his papers. Links?

  86. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:58 AM | Permalink

    Re #81: One of the reasons why there is a consensus is that the case can be made entirely without GCMs, based on physical principles and direct measurements of different aspects of the climate system. If it was just the GCMs I agree things would be a lot shakier. When you add it all up — ice melting everywhere except the ice sheet centers, surface temp increase, upper troposhere temp increase with stratosphere cooling, ocean heat content increase, sea surface temp increase, more energetic weather, permafrost melt, earlier growing seasons, etc. — it’s all pretty persuasive. (I should add to all of this the major non-climate impact of increased CO2, ocean acidification.)

    Tagging it to GHGs is again just physics. Where the models are extremely important is in establishing climate sensitivity to GHG increases (and other anthropogenic forcings), and then in trying to predict the effects of the increases. Nobody would argue that the models are anywhere close to perfected for either purpose as yet, but they’ve come a long way and I think we can hope for much more progress.

  87. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 3:12 AM | Permalink

    # 81

    Pat,

    James Annan was quoted on the Marohasy blog:

    “Of course, as you will hopefully realise having read my previous posts about Bayesian vs frequentist notions of probability, there isn’t such a thing as a truly objective estimate, since in a situation of epistemic uncertainty, observations can only ever update a subjective prior, and never fully replace it”. Yup I got that.

    So you need to read his paper and the whole post at http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2006/03/climate-sensitivity-is-3c.html and http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/GRL_sensitivity.pdf

    Now when members of the Hockey Team state that “there isn’t such a thing as a truly objective estimate” then science has effectively disappeared from the discipline.

    Science depends explicitly on testable theories and objective facts.

    This means the definition of climate sensitivity is not empirically derived, (otherwise it would not be the guess that it is) and therefore not science.

  88. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 4:12 AM | Permalink

    Re #86, Steve Bloom
    Forgive my curiosity, but of the items in your first paragraph, which do you regard as significant proof of AGW,as opposed to GW ? By which I mean, which of them show evidence of warming that is unprecedented in the last millenium ?

  89. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 4:14 AM | Permalink

    Harrumph … millennium.

  90. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 4:15 AM | Permalink

    Re # 86

    Aaah, the implied need for more research is needed because the GCM’s are, er, incomplete.
    Gee I am being cynical.

  91. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 4:32 AM | Permalink

    “Tagging it to GHGs is again just physics.”

    But there’s something wrong because the CO2 increases don’t match the temperature chart for the same time period.

  92. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

    Re # 92

    JEM, your list is incomplete – belief in Post Modernism might need to be added but then objectively this may not be possible as subjectively this may be construed as an aprioristic assumption based on non-linear and thus easily modelable assumptions, (wandering off into the sunset) and then again if Derridas is considered, where objective estimates are considered…………(seen disappearing over the horizon heading towards a far, far distant place.

  93. John Lish
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

    There is a problem using Greenland/Iceland medivael colonisation as examples to prove/disprove theories. I found this paper which you could cherry pick either way but actually offers food for thought as to the dangers of using simplistic examples (which is where this blog started from in the 1st place)…

    http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/features/1000_vikings.html

  94. John Lish
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    There is a problem using Greenland/Iceland medivael colonisation as examples to prove/disprove theories. I found this paper which you could cherry pick either way but actually offers food for thought as to the dangers of using simplistic examples (which is where this blog started from in the 1st place)…

    here

  95. Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    Re: JEM # 92 “But if, despite all that, there are some anecdotal stories (I hesitate to call such things “evidence’) that suggest the world is warming up, then it must be AGW.”

    If you think that decades of observational measurements by thousands of scientists in every corner of the globe amounts to nothing more than “anecdotal stories”, than you haven’t been paying attention.

    An anecdote, by the way, is “always based on real life, an incident involving actual persons…in real places… an illustrative incident that is in some way an epitome.” So while anecdotes of global warming abound, the attribution of global warming to human causes is based on objectively observable natural events and conditions (which Steve Bloom outlined above) which tend to support the proposition that increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases tend to increase average global temperatures over time. Decades of objectively observable natural conditions are evidence, by definition, not anecdotes.

  96. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

    #96. Michael – in the 19th century, some glaciers reached their maxima since the last Ice Age. I personally am quite convinced that late 20th century temperatures are warmer than 19th century temperatures and know of no one who things otherwise. One expects small glaciers to recede under such circumstances. The $64 question that I’m interested in is: is late 20th century warmer than the 11th century?

    You do not have “decades” of observations by “thousands” of scientists that shed any light on this matter. In my opinion, the viewpoint that is prevalent is based on the influence of a very small group of scientists, who use pretty shaky data to make a point that is politically charged.

  97. John A
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    If you think that decades of observational measurements by thousands of scientists in every corner of the globe amounts to nothing more than “anecdotal stories”, than you haven’t been paying attention.

    If you think that climate is inherently stable unless “perterbed” by human influences, then you must be intellectually comatose. Decades of observational measurements by thousands of scientists in every corner of the globe is…a set of observations. The question is whether those observations over a short period of time mean anything or are part of natural cycles.

    It is YOUR beliefs about these observations that are the case in point, and you keep tapdancing around those beliefs trying to reach for something objective, when its just not there. Your belief that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and therefore you view all observations of the world throught that distorting lens.

    You’re a Romantic, Michael, not a realist or even a good observer.

  98. jae
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    Re: 77 and Steve Bloom: Did you ever hear of Google? Here are some historical accounts; there are plenty of others:

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V7/N22/EDIT.jsp

    http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/ice/lec19/holocene.htm

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981012075513.htm

  99. jae
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    Re: 77 and Steve Bloom: Did you ever hear of Google? Here are some historical accounts; there are plenty of others:

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V7/N22/EDIT.jsp

    http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/ice/lec19/holocene.htm

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981012075513.htm

    I think you are just upset and being mean, because your hockey stick is broken.

  100. kim
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    #87, Louis. It explains the willingness to move on.

    #98, I’ve wondered if it wasn’t Rousseau’s skill as a fabulist that is still deceiving us.
    =====================================================

  101. Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    John Lish (#94) points to an interesting article, illustrating a problem for those who would recommend doubting AWG based on the historical record alone.

    First, how is it that we know what happened of the Vikings in early Greenland? To answer this question, scholars must go beyond the finite resource of the few precious documents that exists, and rely on the evidence of “pollen, soils, insect remains, human and animal bones, charcoal fragments, ice cores, and volcanic ash layers”, based on the insight of “archaeological, paleoenvironmental, and climatic evidence, “¢’‚¬?assembled by many researchers during the past two decades”. In other words, our knowledge derives from the very sources and methods that the skeptics routinely dismiss when the results contradict their conclusions. But in this case, they’ll make an exception.

    Secondly, the demise of the Vikings offers a cautionary tale relevant to the AWG debate. The demise of the Vikings in Greenland was a consequence of the requirements of their material culture, which consumed their “natural capital”, causing severe and lasting damage that deprived subsequent generations of the conditions necessary for their survival.

    Rather than questioning the credibility of climate scientists, the historical example of medieval Greenland actually gives great credit to the work of proxy research by climate scientists. Rather than recommending complacency in the face of human stress on the climate, this tale should teach us the great danger that climate change holds for a society that refuses to adapt it’s material culture to the inherent limits of the natural world. The Vikings demise resulted from the rapid consumption of “natural capital” in the face of a climate more highly unstable than the one they were familiar with. Sound familiar?

  102. jae
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    re 95,96. Your reference barely touches on temperatures, but is in agreement that warming helped colonization and cooling hurt it. I still think there is more to be learned from archaeology than there is from the climate scientists, relative to past temperatures.

  103. jae
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    re: 102. Oh, here’s the doomsday approach again. Michael, have you read Lomborg’s book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist?” It does a good job downplaying all that doomsday nonsense. Sure, you can point to examples throughout history where man has overwhelmed the resources in some spots (even over-grazing in the American West). However, that does not prove that we are on a path to ruin, globally. Please read the book, if you have not.

  104. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    Re #96 ***So while anecdotes of global warming abound, the attribution of global warming to human causes is based on objectively observable natural events and conditions (which Steve Bloom outlined above) which tend to support the proposition that increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases tend to increase average global temperatures over time. Decades of objectively observable natural conditions are evidence, by definition, not anecdotes.***
    Again, neither one of you has referenced a study which accurately measures the percentage of the temperature change which is due to man made causes as compared to any cycle. Temperatures are not constant. The phrase ( tend to support) is not accurate science.

  105. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

    Re #102, Michael Seward

    this tale should teach us the great danger that climate change holds for a society that refuses to adapt it’s material culture to the inherent limits of the natural world. The Vikings demise resulted from the rapid consumption of “natural capital” in the face of a climate more highly unstable than the one they were familiar with. Sound familiar?

    Boringly familiar.It is the same unrealistic hippy rubbish we have been hearing for decades.
    At least we know why you believe anything the AGW crowd tell you. It’s scientific proof that you were right to hate that nasty horrid capitalism stuff, isn’t it ?

  106. JEM
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

    Sure, you [Michael] can point to examples throughout history where man has overwhelmed the resources in some spots (even over-grazing in the American West).

    Or chopping down the Pennsylvanian woods to make furniture, perhaps?

    Can I suggest a motto for you? “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.”

  107. John Lish
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    #103 – thats sort of my point, the temperature record is indeterminable. Those that claim authority do so based on guesswork.

  108. Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    John A # 98 “If you think that climate is inherently stable unless “perterbed” by human influences, then you must be intellectually comatose. Decades of observational measurements by thousands of scientists in every corner of the globe is…a set of observations. The question is whether those observations over a short period of time mean anything or are part of natural cycles.”

    I never said that climate is inherently stable, because I have never heard a qualified climate scientist make such a claim. If the question is “whether those observations over a short period of time mean anything or are part of natural cycles”, than the observations are relevant to the question, and not mere “anecdotes”.

    Obviously, the climate is naturally variable. The observations are evidence of a warming world, consistent with expectations from rapidly increasing levels of greenhouse gases, land use changes, as well as natural climate variations. The idea that rising levels of GHG’s will influence the climate is mainstream science, supported by the evidence. The idea that natural climate cycles cancel out, or overwhelm, rising levels of greenhouse gases and other changes has never been proven. In fact, no credible mechanism has ever been established to support your conclusion that only natural cycles can explain climate change.

    Of course climate is naturally variable. How does that discredit the idea that injecting the atmosphere with increasing concentrations of carbon, which has been sequestered for millions of years, will fail to obey the laws of physics and influence the global climate?

  109. Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    Jem, re: #97, I don’t present myself as an icon of environmentalism. But I build my furniture to last as long or longer than it takes for the tree to grow. That’s a sustainable use of a natural resource. I buy my lumber from sawmills in Amish country, from guys who use technology only after careful consideration of the consequences, and who get by just fine largely with 18th century technology.
    I’m not against using natural resources; I’m against using them irresponsibly, and without regard for the consequences for future generations. Wood, unlike oil, has a neutral effect on the carbon budget of the earth. Eventually, the carbon in my furniture will return to the earth when it eventually decays. No harm done.

  110. Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre Re: #97

    Why is the question you pose worth $64? The important question is: what are the causes of late 20th century warming? I think we can reasonably assume that the causes of 11th century warming are natural (Ruddiman aside), regardless of the degree of warming relative to the 20th century.

    You encourage people to assume that if the 11th century was warmer than current temps, than natural causes alone explain current climate conditions. I wish you would explicitly state, or dispel, this rhetorical argument, according to your opinion.

    You feel that the question of 11th century warmth is based on “pretty shaky data to make a point that is politically charged.” If the data is shaky, and the conclusions are politically charged, then how do you know that current warming is not caused, at least in part, by human caused changes to the land and atmosphere?

  111. IL
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

    Michael #102

    First, how is it that we know what happened of the Vikings in early Greenland? To answer this question, scholars must go beyond the finite resource of the few precious documents that exists, and rely on the evidence of “pollen, soils, insect remains, human and animal bones, charcoal fragments, ice cores, and volcanic ash layers”, based on the insight of “archaeological, paleoenvironmental, and climatic evidence, “¢’‚¬?assembled by many researchers during the past two decades”. In other words, our knowledge derives from the very sources and methods that the skeptics routinely dismiss when the results contradict their conclusions. But in this case, they’ll make an exception.

    Garbage as usual. There is a considerable difference in the quality of evidence comparing Viking farms appearing for the first time in 1000 years from beneath a receding glacier or archeological remains from 1000 years ago appearing from under ice sheets in the Alps compared with reconstructed temperatures from tree rings that may or may not be proxies for temperature.

    Someone elsewhere said that Eric put good spin in calling Greenland green – well no amount of spin allows you to establish a farm under dozens of metres of ice in an ice sheet. The first line of evidence hits you in the eyes, the glaciers MUST have been much further back and the climate much more benign back then than even today, even though today we have supposedly ‘unprecedented warming’. Surely you can see this? If a few tree rings say it was colder then it just emphasises that the tree rings’ behaviour is far more complex than a simple temperature proxy and that is just what lots of studies are now concluding.

    Instead of appealing to authority as you usually do (‘the climate models and climate scientists must be right’) – just how do you think that it was possible for people in the past to live and thrive in areas that today are just reappearing from under glaciers or higher altitudes and terrains that even today are still too cold and inhospitable if today we have ‘unprecedented warming’?

    And if the Earth’s climate can vary NATURALLY by this degree, then how do you KNOW that that (approximately) same amount of warming that we see today MUST be anthropogically caused? The models say that the increase in CO2 that has already happened since 1850 should have ALREADY boosted global average temperatures by 2-3C. The most claimed is 0.6C so the models are wrong!

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas. I fully understand how increasing CO2 in the atmosphere can theoretically increase surface temperatures but how much is a very moot point and that is precisely the point we are arguing.

    So to me it is clear that if the Earth’s climate can, all by itself, vary enough to give us the MWP and LIA then the system is far more complex than currently modelled. What mechanism could cause these variations?

    To misquote an (in)famous British newpaper, ‘Its the Sun what done it’ (and the ‘A’ of AGW is minor).

  112. jae
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    In fact, no credible mechanism has ever been established to support your conclusion that only natural cycles can explain climate change.

    Michael, how about the sun? Do you have any scientific training? You sound like the typical hypocritical hippie environmentalist.

  113. jae
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    re: 109. OK. I agree with your rationale for using the wood, but I would bet a keg of beer that you are against logging of old growth in the West. You are obviously an environmentalist, when it doesn’t affect you directly. Your views on AGW obviously are not based on a study of the scientific issues involved; they are based on some sort of religious belief. Otherwise, you would provide some FACTS to support all your rhetoric.

  114. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    #110. Michael, I have been very careful not to make any claims one way or another on the question of A contribution to 20th century GW. I think that the larger issues are important and worth very careful consideration. But within the compass of multiproxy studies of the past millennium, the relative warmth of the 11th and 20th centuries is the challenging question, not the relative position of the 20th and 19th centuries. I’ve studied this particular topic because I found it interesting and because it was within the scope of what I could do.

  115. JEM
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    Michael,

    You encourage people to assume that if the 11th century was warmer than current temps, than natural causes alone explain current climate conditions. I wish you would explicitly state, or dispel, this rhetorical argument, according to your opinion.

    Occam’s razor? You’ve heard of Occam’s razor?

    Naw. Silly question.

  116. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    I’d just like to encourage most of the recent posters on this thread to try to increase the percentage of reasoned argument in their posts and drastically decrease the name-calling and ad homs.
    Although I don’t agree with his point of view, the reasoned argument and tone of Michael Seward’s posts are a credit to this board, and many would do well to emulate them in those respects.

  117. kim
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    There is an amount of carbon sequestered almost irreversibly out of the biosphere in the form of the hydrocarbons. Has this sequestration changed the balance of climate and will its release change it? What is the end point of irreversible sequestration of carbon?
    ============================================

  118. JEM
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    the reasoned argument and tone of Michael Seward’s posts

    What reasoned arguments?

    The problem is Michael never makes one.

  119. kim
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    M., Gaia much preferred to glory in her primeval splendor, but she felt a chill and the need to evolve a race of critters clever enough to burn black rocks to make salt. Salute the Intrepid Warriors in the Carbon Liberation Wars as they barrel around the barricades in their SUVs. What druid told you that burning these rocks to stay warm will heat up the whole world?
    ================================================================================

  120. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    Not sure which thread to post this on, but this was posted on the Greenland thread on Realclimate. Let us pause a moment, reflect, and chuckle at the Doonesbury cartoon at:

  121. John Lish
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    #103 – precisely, its indeterminable.

  122. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    #84-Steve, you’ll find ths story linked in the “More Hwang Fallout at Pitt” thread. Hansen’s Op-Ed was in the Independent on 17 February this year. Here’s what he wrote:

    “But we can now see that the models are almost worthless. … None of the current climate and ice models predict [Greenland melting]. But I prefer the evidence from the Earth’s history and my own eyes.”

    Here is the link to the original story. Hansen has explicitly abandoned science and now comes to conclusions by reference to his personal opinion. He should be wearing a Roman collar.

  123. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

    Re #113, so would you? All you manage are some, oh so predictable, insults.

    Thus it’s clear you want us to think MS is a hypochrite, one who hasn’t studied the science (obviously, you have…oh, and another phase you might want to use is ‘lacks comprehension’ a lot of people here like that one or something close) and, for your big finish, he is, of course!, religious not scientific. Well well there’s a surprise, no one who disputes your view can be anything other…

  124. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    Re #116. missed that, I agree!

  125. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    #86,88-You’ve got it exactly right fFreddy. Steve the GCMs *are* the physical theory of climate. Attribution of the “A” in GW can come from them alone. The case cannot be made without them. Without GCMs you’d be just assigning meaning to those data from your own personal conviction (like Hansen did in his article, actually). The fact GCMs are incomplete and non-predictive means that the cause of any current warming is unknown and currently unknowable. All the evidences you list may indicate a general warming. They do not indicate anthropogenic causes.

    The weather, by the way, is not more energetic. And given that the total flux of CO2 is 20x the anthropogenic flux, I view ocean acidification with a wary eye, too.

  126. Robert
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    Re: 102

    There _is_ a simple cautionary lesson here, but it not the one you are preaching. The Viking colonies failed (after several HUNDRED years) because the Climate become too cold to support them.

    The lesson is:

    – Cold is Bad
    – Warm is good

    cheers,
    Robert

  127. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    #87-Louis, he’s right, but his context is climate estimates, and not science itself. The fact that he refers to “Bayesian notions” indicates immediately that he himself has some sort of objective standard. His discussion illustrates by implication the importance of theories in science that are unitary in meaning. Theories couched entirely in mathematics meet this standard. It is only by reference to the statements and predictions of such unambiguous theories that the subjectivity can be wrung out of human judgments, including judgments in science.

  128. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

    Hello, I’ve been deleted again.

    Looks like it’s OK to dish it out, but not to reply to it, or even to reply to those, like #116 who I agree with…

  129. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    #96-“Decades of objectively observable natural conditions are evidence, by definition, not anecdotes.”

    How do you know they’re not evidence of god’s wrath, Michael?

  130. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #124, nope, that’s one of the possible lessons. Other factors (like the damage they caused to their local environment) probably contributed to the colonies decline as well.

  131. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    Re #127, oh, you don’t mean you think he’s religious not scientific? You’ll be suggesting he ‘lacks comprehension’ next…(read this quick btw, before it’s deleted…).

  132. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    #110-Michael you’re making a classic mistake in scientific logic. One can’t disprove the endless number of negative propositions. How do you know, for example, that any current warming isn’t caused by space aliens beaming energy into the atmosphere? If you can’t disprove the idea, should we seriously entertain it?

    Regarding your challenge to Steve, the the question is not whether any current warming is ‘unnatural’ if the 11th century was warmer than the 20th. The question is whether we know at all what specifically causes climate warming or cooling. It doesn’t matter whether the MWP was warmer than now (likely was), or not. If our theories are not good enough to explicate climate causality (they’re not), then we cannot know what is causing any warming or cooling. It’s that simple.

    The only reason the 11th century has become an issue at all, is that Michael Mann’s reconstruction has become an icon used by all sorts of others, including scientists, to make an ad hoc argument that human produced CO2 has anomalously warmed global climate. That entire argument is scientifically specious, and would continue to be specious _even_if_ the 11th century really were cooler than the 20th.

  133. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    “Regarding your challenge to Steve, the the question is not whether any current warming is “unnatural’ if the 11th century was warmer than the 20th.” Isn’t it? Ask John A that.

    So, are you saying becuase you say we don’t know therefore it’s not a problem?

  134. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    #129-No, Peter, I’m only making a silly example to illustrate the point. Data have no particular meaning in the absence of an unambiguous theory. Absent the theory, anyone can put any meaning they like on climate data — AGW, god’s wrath, space aliens, Gaia’s revulsion — whatever blah suits their self-abnegating fancy.

  135. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    The idea that natural climate cycles cancel out, or overwhelm, rising levels of greenhouse gases and other changes has never been proven.

    … unless you look at the period from 1940 to 1975 when global temps cooled while CO2 concentrations increased.

  136. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    #131-“So, are you saying becuase you say we don’t know therefore it’s not a problem?”

    If we don’t know, Peter, how do we know there’s a problem at all? Are we able to know without knowing?

    It appears climate is warming. I agree with those who suggest that we should prepare ourselves to live in a warmer world and to ameliorate what problems emerge.

    The attribution of warming to human-produced CO2 is virtually baseless, scientifically, and amounts to little more than breast-beating. It approaches the hysterical, has become very corrosive — even to science itself, is socially destructive, and impedes a rational and systematic approach to preparatively anticipating any future problems.

    I suspect John A would agree that the question of the 11th century bears on a suspect proxy methodology, and not on whether there is any evidence of “A” in GW.

  137. John A
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    re #130

    I think Steve’s question is an intellectual curiosity which encapsulates the whole problem of temperature reconstruction using proxies. We have no direct global measure of temperature for that time, and yet historical records from all over the globe appear to show that 1000 years ago it was generaly warmer, the climate more benign and there was a general flowering of culture and colonization to places that today could not be colonized in the same manner.

    Unless we find a way to properly compare the 11th Century with the 21st, we don’t really understand whether our own climate is unnatural or not, or how climate naturally varies or whether we can modify climate or should.

  138. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    #132-Sorry, that should have been in reference to Peter in #129 and my #130 appears to be in reference to a post not (no longer?) here. Jeez, I’m really losing it and I’ve already had coffee today. :-)

  139. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

    Re #123: Pat, what is the point of engaging with you if you use selective misquotation in order to infer a view to someone that you know perfectly well is a view they do not hold, and in fact is contrary to what they actually said? Were you relying on the fact that the link you gave only provided access to the first couple of paragraphs of the article, and not to the part you excerpted? You claim to be a scientist, but this sort of dishonesty makes me wonder. Scientist or not, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Here’s the quote from Pat’s #123:

    “But we can now see that the models are almost worthless. … None of the current climate and ice models predict [Greenland melting]. But I prefer the evidence from the Earth’s history and my own eyes.”

    It was in defense of this assertion from his #81:

    “Hanson came right out and said the GCMs were worthless. He went on to make a clarion call about the impending doom of AGW. An inability to think scientifically could not be more clearly displayed. He discounted the theory, and then assigned meaning to data with no more than personal alarm to sustain it.”

    And here is the complete article excerpt containing the quoted material (noting that all of this was said in reference to the R+K Greenland mass balance study published in Science on 2/17):

    “Our understanding of what is going on is very new. Today’s forecasts of sea-level rise use climate models of the ice sheets that say they can only disintegrate over a thousand years or more. But we can now see that the models are almost worthless. They treat the ice sheets like a single block of ice that will slowly melt. But what is happening is much more dynamic.

    “Once the ice starts to melt at the surface, it forms lakes that empty down crevasses to the bottom of the ice. You get rivers of water underneath the ice. And the ice slides towards the ocean.

    “Our Nasa scientists have measured this in Greenland. And once these ice streams start moving, their influence stretches right to the interior of the ice sheet. Building an ice sheet takes a long time, because it is limited by snowfall. But destroying it can be explosively rapid.

    “How fast can this go? Right now, I think our best measure is what happened in the past. We know that, for instance, 14,000 years ago sea levels rose by 20m in 400 years – that is five metres in a century. This was towards the end of the last ice age, so there was more ice around. But, on the other hand, temperatures were not warming as fast as today.

    “How far can it go? The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today – which is what we expect later this century – sea levels were 25m higher. So that is what we can look forward to if we don’t act soon. None of the current climate and ice models predict this. But I prefer the evidence from the Earth’s history and my own eyes. I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon, more even than warming itself.”

  140. Paul
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    RE#140:

    There’s an awful lot of supposition on the statements you posted:

    “temperatures weren’t warming as fast as the are today”
    “The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today – which is what we can expect later this century

    What are the science based references to both of these? How do we know how fast temperatures changed in the past? Isn’t that point also part of the debate about the proxies? It appears to me that the further back in time we look the less precise we can be. We might able to detect large changes in relative temperature, but do we know what that temperature was exactly? No. How about dates? Can we peg dates to events of 10000 years ago? Not likely. So, saying things that relate events of 14,000 ago with the speed of things today is a bit presumptuous, isn’t it? Having read what you quoted, it looks to me that he “assigned meaning to data with no more than personal alarm to sustain it.”

  141. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

    Re #141: I’m not saying there isn’t quite a bit else to discuss, but the point of my comment was simply to demonstrate that Pat had completely misrepresented Hansen’s views. Whether those views are correct is another matter.

  142. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    Re #141: On the substance of your comments, bear in mind that Hansen’s comments are from a transcription of an interview he did for a popular press outlet, so of course all of that detail is lacking. You can probably find most of what you want in his AGU keynote of a few months ago at http://www.giss.nasa.gov/~jhansen/keeling/keeling_talk_and_slides.pdf (a 5+ MB download, BTW). I’ll be happy to discuss the contents with you after you’ve read it. It might also be useful to have a look at his recent pubs at http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/authors/jhansen.html.

  143. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

    Re #88: “Forgive my curiosity, but of the items in your first paragraph, which do you regard as significant proof of AGW,as opposed to GW ? By which I mean, which of them show evidence of warming that is unprecedented in the last millenium ?”

    It’s the combination of all of them happening at once that is so persuasive. Many of them could be explained away if considered in isolation.

    As to the second question, the premise is incorrect. As I noted before, having to go back only 1,000 years for a warmer temp than present as opposed to 7,000 years (to the Holocene thermal maximum) or 130,000 years (to the Eemian thermal maximum) is really beside the point. There is absolutely no scientific dispute that non-anthropgenic forcings can result in higher temps than at present. The issue is what the detection and attribution analysis demonstrates to be the cause(s), and what that means for the future.

  144. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

    Re #s 91 (“But there’s something wrong because the CO2 increases don’t match the temperature chart for the same time period.”) and 136 (“…unless you look at the period from 1940 to 1975 when global temps cooled while CO2 concentrations increased”), just to point out that Nanny has had both of these questions answered on a number of occasions. But perhaps Nanny lives in her own special world of linear carbon sinks and crystal-clear, aerosol-free air.

  145. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

    Re #100: jae, let’s cut to the chase on this argument as it’s really beside the point for a discussion on climate. I went after your assertion that Greenland was warmer during the MWP and colder during the LIA not because it isn’t true (it is, alhough the exact amount is hard to know), but because of the specious fabricated arguments you put forward in favor of that point, i.e. it must have been greener because of the name (sheesh) and farms have been discovered appearing from beneath recently retreating glaciers.

    On the first one, let’s say that it was 2F warmer than present during the MWP. Would that make it appear greener? Given the variety of factors affecting plant growth, I don’t see why that would necessarily be true. The Alaskan coastal plain, e.g., is nothing if not green during the summer.

    As for the glaciers uncovering farms, even to the extent that there has been a reduction in the areal extent of glaciers near the settlements (and I have seen nothing indicating that this is the case), it should go without saying that a location just recently covered by a glacier (which would have to be the case if you’re right about the advance/retreat, remembering that there was another cold period just before the MWP) would be a very poor choice (think rocky and wet) for locating a farm.

    And remember before you come back with some hockey stick comment that MBH never claimed there wasn’t an MWP and LIA, but rather that they were regional instead of global in scope.

  146. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

    Re #95: Thanks for that, John. It’s really a fascinating subject and as you point out not especially helpful to a climate science discussion. What does seem clear is that the Greenland colony was marginal under the best of circumstances. Another source I saw (a survey article commenting in part on McGovern’s work) postulated that the economic basis of the colony was always exports, and that the major factor in its demise was the collapse of the walrus ivory market due to competition from the much cheaper and more plentiful elephant ivory that became available in Europe in the 1300s.

  147. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

    #140 – *”Re #123: Pat, what is the point of engaging with you if you use selective misquotation in order to infer a view to someone that you know perfectly well is a view they do not hold, and in fact is contrary to what they actually said?”*

    Thank-you for more fully quoting Hansen’s article. Suppose you show us all exactly where I ‘selectively misquoted’ him, Steve. It appears to me by your own evidence that I quoted Hansen’s view accurately. Hansen clearly dismissed GCMs as “worthless.” That was his choice of words. By what logic should we suppose that he does not hold an opinion he clearly and positively stated?

    Hansen then goes on to conclude climate doom on the basis of his own personal opinion. I.e., *”But I prefer the evidence from the Earth’s history and my own eyes.”* Your more complete quote merely reiterates my point. And so the real question here is not about me, but whether you’re able to understand what you read. Or is it that you commonly indulge blatant and defamatory misrepresentations?

    *”Were you relying on the fact that the link you gave only provided access to the first couple of paragraphs of the article, and not to the part you excerpted?”*

    The full article was freely available at the link when it was first posted. Didn’t you know that? Or are you also given to prejudicial accusations?

    *”You claim to be a scientist,…”*

    I can prove I’m a scientist, Steve. Would you like to receive a pdf or two? Or maybe my publication list? Would they matter to your opinion?

    *”… but this sort of dishonesty makes me wonder.”*

    You’re big on accusations, Steve, but you demonstrated nothing. Isn’t it wonderful: You make the accusation, you present the the full quote, but you somehow neglect to point out any actual inaccuracy on my part. What sort of case-making do you call that? But then, maybe accusations alone are proof of guilt to your usual audience.

    *” Scientist or not, you should be ashamed of yourself.”*

    Hardly. Your own quote of Hansen shows him dismissing GCMs, as I stated. It also shows him then claiming an impending climate apocalypse, on the basis of his personal opinion. Also as I stated. It’s you who should be chagrinned about succumbing to an obviously false indictment; presumably powered by your environmentalist passions. Perhaps the real lesson here is your plunge into fanciful prosecution. I certainly have committed no offense. You certainly have done.

  148. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    #145-Yeah, the 1950-1975 cooling northern hemisphere was assigned to aerosols. Except the clear-air southern hemisphere cooled, too. Of course, no one knows the sign of aerosol forcing anyway. And so the NH assignment was pure convenience.

  149. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:47 PM | Permalink

    just to point out that Nanny has had both of these questions answered on a number of occasions.

    … with a series of hand waves for explanations.

  150. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:47 PM | Permalink

    Re #104: jae, be serious. Before we discuss anything about the contents of Lomborg’s book, could you provide some source for the claim that he was ever an environmentalist? If the title itself is a fabrication, I think that says quite a bit about the contents. While you’re at it, maybe you could also provide some documentation for his environmental activities subsequent to the book’s publication.

  151. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 5, 2006 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    Re #150: OK, Nanny, post the ones you’ve gotten fron climate scientists so we can all have a look.

  152. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    Re #148: Pat, as you know, the ice sheet models referred to in the first paragraph (and which he did describe as “worthless”) are not the same as the GCMs. Note that in the last paragraph he refers to “climate and ice models” as distinct things.

    But backing up a bit (and this is mainly for the benefit of others, as I suspect you know this very well), let’s have a look at the big picture. Remember that Hansen is not only what amounts to the chief climate modeler for the U.S. government, in that capacity running a shop with dozens of other climate scientists under him, but is arguably the leading force in climate modeling and climate science as whole. And somehow he has publicly repudiated modeling and you’re the only one to have noticed.

    I’d love to see your pubs. Post links, please.

  153. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 12:16 AM | Permalink

    #152: Usually it comes down to the old line that aerosols account for every discrepancy between the steadily increasing CO2 concentrations and the fluctuating global temperatures. But we know this is hogwash for a number of different reasons including the lack of cooling effects in the regions where these aerosols are produced and the 1940-1975 cooling in regions where the aerosols were absent.

  154. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 12:44 AM | Permalink

    #153 — Steve, do you really not know that the climate models used to simulate ice sheet dynamics and to model sea level rise are the GCMs? And in that state of ignorance, you offer criticisms? Here is an MIT site discussing their attempt to model Greenland melting. Ice dynamics are embedded in a GCM model. Read that page and the next page, “Climate Models.”

    Your move to the “big picture” is mere evasion. What Hansen is, or does, is irrelevant to the question at issue. What he wrote in that Op-Ed is not. The by-line of the 17 February article was Hansen himself. Whose views do you suppose he was representing?

    Anyone reading that article can see that Hansen repudiates GCM models. Anyone, at least, who knows that GCM models are what are used to predict climate — and Greenland melt rates. If you didn’t notice his repudiation, that’s your fault and not any concern of mine.

    And my point remains that you demonstrated no dishonesty of mine, but displayed plenty of your own gall.

    I have no web-site. If you want my publication list, I’ll ask Steve or John A to please send you my email address. Send me a query and I’ll ship it off to you. I am interested, though, in no extended conversations.

  155. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 3:13 AM | Permalink

    Re #137

    “The attribution of warming to human-produced CO2 is virtually baseless, scientifically, and amounts to little more than breast-beating. It approaches the hysterical, has become very corrosive “¢’‚¬? even to science itself, is socially destructive, and impedes a rational and systematic approach to preparatively anticipating any future problems.”

    What? There is *only* the: basic physics (which are enough really), the observations, the satellite observations (both lower and upper atmosphere), the feedbacks (warm the planet = more water vapour, or melt ice, expose ground, ground now absorbs radiation warms etc etc), the models (yes, the models – which ones show no warming btw? and they track observations!), the reconstruction (yes, the reconstructions – if the MWP was warmer, hemispherically or globally, than now, where is the evidence? it should be strong if the warming was strong – no?), the glaciers, the almost certainty that CO2 concs will continue to rise (and by a lot, it’s a ghg you know :)), the ‘warming in the pipeline’, the energy imbalance within the atmosphere, the reluctance of humanity to do anything about anything until it nearly to late meaning more much more will happen befre we address it, etc etc.

    To stress, I don’t forsee catastrophy, but neither do I see it as logical to see but a little, or less further, warming. I hope I’m around past the 2020’s to see for sure.

  156. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 3:28 AM | Permalink

    …one way or the other.

  157. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 3:37 AM | Permalink

    Re # 155

    Pat,

    re that reference to Hansen and GCM’s being useless – where has Steve hidden that? Under his modelling category or have you a quicker link to it? I just did a few Googles and searched here with not quick solutions.

    Thanks in advance.

  158. Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 4:31 AM | Permalink

    Peter,

    What? There is *only* the: basic physics (which are enough really)

    Right, as Idso has shown using some pretty basic and solid science, 2xCO2 means roughly +0.4C

    So far, we haven’t hit 2xCO2, and we’ve seen about +0.7C, so there must be some other explanation for 50% or more of the observed warming. It could be methane, or nitrous oxide, or albedo changes, or sun brightness changes, or something else, or some combination. However, the basic physics make it pretty clear we should expect about +0.2-0.3C max for CO2 changes over the last century, and it’s therefore clear that there’s something else going on as well.

    the observations, the satellite observations (both lower and upper atmosphere)

    The observations only tell us what the change is, not what’s causing it. Is that so hard to understand?

    the feedbacks (warm the planet = more water vapour, or melt ice, expose ground, ground now absorbs radiation warms etc etc)

    I don’t think the feedbacks are well understood, yet. There isn’t agreement about whether the positive or negative feedbacks have the greater effect. However, observations suggest negative outweigh positive. Regardless, what does this have to do with the attribution of the changes which initiate the feedbacks? Feedbacks are feedbacks regardless of what causes the change in temperature (although feedbacks can react differently if the warming is due to extra energy coming in vs. a greater percentage of incoming radiation being trapped and absorbed).

    the models (yes, the models – which ones show no warming btw? and they track observations!)

    No, the models. As has been pointed out, they’re basically an exercise in curve fitting. Short-term climate models can’t accurate predict what will happen next week, so I have no confidence that long term climate models can accurately predict what will happen next year, let along a century from now.

    the reconstruction (yes, the reconstructions – if the MWP was warmer, hemispherically or globally, than now, where is the evidence? it should be strong if the warming was strong – no?), the glaciers, the almost certainty that CO2 concs will continue to rise (and by a lot, it’s a ghg you know :) )

    As has been shown here and elsewhere, not only are the reconstructions mathematically invalid, and not only do they not agree, but there isn’t even much confidence that they can ever show the data with a reasonable level of accuracy, to allow us to draw conclusions from them.

    the “warming in the pipeline’, the energy imbalance within the atmosphere, the reluctance of humanity to do anything about anything until it nearly to late meaning more much more will happen befre we address it, etc etc.

    OK, now you’ve completely gone off the scientific track and are speculating. What, exactly, do you expect we should do about it? If we cut out all Co2 output we could avoid another +0.4C or so. It would require stopping all industry and going back to living in caves and hunting/forraging for our food. Of course, the majority of humans would die off in that circumstance, but it’s worth it to avoid a mild warming which might cause a couple of species to have to migrate slightly, isn’t it?

  159. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    “we cut out all Co2 output we could avoid another +0.4C or so.” Isdo hasn’t ‘shown’, he’s claimed it: ‘doubling of carbon dioxide to 600ppm, the global temperature might rise at most by 0.4 degrees C.’. which is, frankly, preposterious! If you read the comments in your link you’ll find one, from a very respectable sceptic, who say’s the transient sensitivity is 1C (and that’s only the transient sensitivity). So, nick, you’re just picking cherries.

    “It would require stopping all industry and going back to living in caves and hunting/forraging for our food” that’s just hysterical hyperbole. Tell me this, are fossil fuels infinite? No they are not. So, at some point we need to manage without them? Yes. So, you’re saying when the fossil fuels run out civilisation will end and it’ll be back to hunter gathering? I think you are. I’d say ‘don’t be so daft!’ You might just give up, others wont – those with a can do spirit will find a sustainable way.

  160. Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 5:59 AM | Permalink

    Errr…

    Let me explain science to you. Idso has a theory, in fact eight theories, about ways to measure the ACTUAL climate’s temperature sensitivity to changes in radiation hitting the earth’s surface. All eight measurements happen to give internally consistent results about that sensitivity.

    You don’t get to merely say “Idso is wrong”. You have to show WHY he’s wrong. You have to find and expose the flaws in his reasoning which make the conclusions incorrect. This is sometimes known as “falsifying the theory” or something similar. Am I picking cherries? Maybe. I’m picking the best, most solid science dealing with this phenomenon in order to understand the magnitude.

    Guess what? Idso’s science doesn’t rely on models. It doesn’t rely on proxies. He takes actual measurements of the real climate. I don’t see how much more direct you can get than that. That, Peter, is REAL science, in a published, presumably peer-reviewed paper. Until someone points out the mistake he’s made, I’m afraid that stands for me as the best estimate of the real sensitivity. So maybe it is a cherry, and maybe I’m picking it, but I don’t see anything wrong with judging science on its merits, rather than whether it agrees with your preconceived notion, or how many papers the author has written.

    Basically if you can rubbish Idso without touching on the science then I can rubbish all your favorite studies too. I know of a number of prominent climate scientists who roughly agree with Idso’s findings. Richard S. Lindzen, for example, quotes a figure of +0.5C for doubling CO2, remarkably similar.

    Peter, I can only find one reference to a figure of 1C/2xCO2 in the comments and that’s referring to a MODEL. How can a model be more accurate at predicting the climate than the actual climate? I think you’re clutching at straws here.

    You ask “are fossil fuels infinite”? Well, obviously not, but a problem with your question is the term you use, “fossil fuels”. Again, according to well-reasoned science, scientists have determined that these so-called “fossil fuels” are in fact not derived from fossils, but methane which is part of the planet. While they can’t possibly be infinite, the supply is likely to be far, far greater than previously belived under the old “fossil” theory of fuel. We might find more and more wells refilling with oil, as has happened on a few occasions in the past. Regardless, that’s not the point. We’ll probably end up in the long run synthesizing a lot of it. But whatever technology is developed to replace oil does not exist yet. I think this discussion is, however, outside of the purview of this blog.

  161. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

    144

    There is absolutely no scientific dispute that non-anthropgenic forcings can result in higher temps than at present. The issue is what the detection and attribution analysis demonstrates to be the cause(s), and what that means for the future.

    I think most of us agree on this. Few people are arguing that the forcings CAN result in higher temperatures; the question is DO they? It hasn’t been proven to my satisfaction.

    Re: my comments about the green in Greenland: that was more or less of a joke; don’t get so shook up. However, there is little doubt that it was much warmer there in the 11th century, based on histories and anthropology studies. You can deny this or belittle it all you want, Mr. Bloom, but it is as close to fact as anything I’ve seen in climatology. It’s so simple, Steve: because of this fact, we do not know if the recent rise in temperature has anything to do with mankind. I’m sorry that fact keeps getting in your way.

  162. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    Re #104: jae, be serious. Before we discuss anything about the contents of Lomborg’s book, could you provide some source for the claim that he was ever an environmentalist? If the title itself is a fabrication, I think that says quite a bit about the contents. While you’re at it, maybe you could also provide some documentation for his environmental activities subsequent to the book’s publication.

    Steve: who cares if he’s really an environmentalist? What does that have to do with the truths in the book? If he were a typical environmental freako, I wouldn’t trust a thing he says.

  163. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

    re 153. It is indeed sad that the head of the climate modelers (scientists!) for the US Government would make such glaringly unfounded “personal feeling” statements to the press. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling” LOL.

  164. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom: You said in an earlier post that you did not forsee catastrophe; but in several of your other posts you predict catastrophe. Which position do you hold? If there is no catastrophe, why worry so much about AGW. Mankind is almost powerless to do anything, anyway. As I said before, people are not willingly going to go backwards, relative to their standard of living, just to cut CO2 emissions. Kyoto has done almost nothing so far. When the price of “fossil” fuels gets high enough, we will turn to nuclear and solar energy. These energy sources could be used for hydrolysis and allow a hydrogen fuel economy. Then some wacko environmentalist will say something like,” we’re doomed, because we are using up all the hydrogen.” Again, if you haven’t done so, read Lomborg’s book.

  165. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

    BTW, Mr. Bloom, Lomborg is the true environmentalist in every sense of the word. He attempts to look at the broad picture and determine what is happening. He shows genuine concern for humanity and the planet. Isn’t that what environmentalists are supposed to do? He even accepts IPPC’s nonsense.

  166. Jim Erlandson
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

    Re: #163, 104 — Lomborg’s environmentalism
    From the preface to The Skeptical Environmentalist

    I’m an old left-wing Greenpeace member and had for a long time been concerned about environmental questions. At the same time I teach statistics … Yet, I had never really questioned my own belief in an ever deteriorating environment …

    From Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal January 23, 2003

    I am Danish, liberal, vegetarian, a former member of Greenpeace; and I used to believe in the litany of our ever-deteriorating environment.

  167. Bob K
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    Re: 158

    Louis,

    Pat was referring to this op-ed by James Hansen. Dated February 17th.

    http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article345926.ece

    The entire article is no longer available online, although you can get it from them for about $1.50.

    It’s about 700 words long.

    Here are two paragraphs I clipped and quoted to another forum before it was made a pay to read article.

    Our understanding of what is going on is very new. Today’s forecasts of sea-level rise use climate models of the ice sheets that say they can only disintegrate over a thousand years or more. But we can now see that the models are almost worthless. They treat the ice sheets like a single block of ice that will slowly melt. But what is happening is much more dynamic.

    snip…

    How far can it go? The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today – which is what we expect later this century – sea levels were 25m higher. So that is what we can look forward to if we don’t act soon. None of the current climate and ice models predict this. But I prefer the evidence from the Earth’s history and my own eyes. I think sea-level rise is going to be the big issue soon, more even than warming itself.

  168. JEM
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    It’s no surprise that Hanson got to peddle his irrational and unsustainable thinking in the pages of the Independent, which has deteriorated over the last few years into little more than a propaganda sheet for any passing extreme environmental fashion.

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/45792

    …is just about as convincing, and a lot more fun.

  169. JEM
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    It’s no surprise that Hanson got to peddle his irrational and unsustainable thinking in the pages of the Independent, which has deteriorated over the last few years into little more than a propaganda sheet for any passing extreme environmental fashion.

    http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article345926.ece

    …is just about as convincing, and a lot more fun.

  170. JEM
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    It’s no surprise that Hanson got to peddle his irrational and unsustainable thinking in the pages of the Independent, which has deteriorated over the last few years into little more than a propaganda sheet for any passing extreme environmental fashion.

    By the way, this story in the current issue of the Onion…

    “Rotation Of Earth Plunges Entire North American Continent Into Darkness”

    …is a beautiful spoof of the sort of end-of-the-world panic story spouted in certain quarters, such as the Independent, the BBC, etc.

  171. JEM
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    Sorry, I don’t know what happened there. I thought my first attempt to post had been rejected because of the URL, and the second attempt was an accident.

    If #169 & #170 were deleted, I would be appreciate it.

  172. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    Re #s 169-172: If I tried to say stuff like that, I’d stutter too. BTW, would you mind posting a listing of your scientific accomplishments, publications and awards? They must be pretty impressive to be able to go after one of the world’s most eminent scientists in the way you did.

  173. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    Re #167: Lomborg has zero record of environmentalism. Asked to provide proof of it after a search of Greenpeace records showed nothing, Lomborg was forced to resort to a claim that he had once given a cash donation to a Greenpeace canvasser, and apparently just sort of forgot to get a receipt. The left-wing bit doesn’t seem very reality-based, either. The more cynical among us might suspect that the “environmentalist” title was cooked up by Lomborg and his publisher as a publicity stunt to keep the book from suffering the same obscure low-sales fate as other skeptic books, e.g. the one by Essex and McKitrick. Otherwise, as his professional qualifications have little to do with his subject matter, why would anyone have bought it?

    For a thorough discussion with links of Lomborg, his book and the subsequent “Copenhagen Consensus,” see http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Science/CliSciFrameset.html?http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Science/Contrarians.html#TheDayAfterTomorrow, starting about halfway down the rather long page.

  174. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    174. Mr. Bloom: Tell us, please, if you have read the book and what you think of the SUBSTANCE of it. I seriously doubt it, because it would seriously challenge a bunch of your sacrosanct religious environmentalist beliefs. If you refuse to read it, I consider you intellectually dishonest. The links you provide read just like an environmentalist’s bible. You could have linked Realclimate, too.

  175. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    Ooops, I goofed. I said “environmentalist’s bible,” when I meant “environmental extremist’s bible.” I’m an environmentalist, too, but in the spirit of Lomborg.

  176. JEM
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    Re #173:

    if I tried to say stuff like that, I’d stutter too.

    You mean like pointing out that stuff like…

    The last time the world was three degrees warmer than today – which is what we expect later this century – sea levels were 25m higher. So that is what we can look forward to if we don’t act soon. None of the current climate and ice models predict this. But I prefer the evidence from the Earth’s history and my own eyes.

    …is purile dross, and the very antitheses of science? (For a start, if the models are wrong, there is zero basis for expecting three degrees warming by 2100.)

    Paraphraseable as, “I’ve got this beautiful theory. The facts show it’s rubbish, but I’ll keep believing it anyway because, …well, …because…

    “Oh, just go away and stop confusing me with the facts.”

    If Hansen is…

    one of the world’s most eminent scientists

    …then heaven preserve us.

    I’m a geologist and economist, now retired. I have some idea how the scientific process works. Do you?

    If you imagine Hansen has said anything that is scientifically valid in this case, I think it is clear you don’t.

    So what are you?

  177. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    #155-Louis, here’s the link to the entire article: http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article345926.ece

    Unfortunately, the Independent will now charge you a pound for full access. On the other hand, I have the full text from LexisNexis, and if John A permits I can post the entire text.

  178. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    #156-Peter the basic physics is *not* in hand. Earth climate theory is incomplete. Clouds are not understood, nor many other processes. The models themselves are several orders of magnitude too crude in 3D spatial resolution to model the turbulent processes responsible for cloud formation and heat dissipation. The uncertainties in GCM models are easily 10 times larger than the greenhouse effect of CO2. When relevant uncertainties outweigh the quantity of interest by a factor of 10 to 40, it’s not possible to claim any precision in measurement.

    Someone who wanted to project a future climate of +4 C would have to state the projection as 4 C +/- 40 C. One never sees that sort of uncertainty admitted in climate studies. All we get are ensemble projections. If they were completely forthright, in their cumulated ‘projection of temperature increase’ number, they’d also give us the sqrt[(sum of errors)^2/N-1] error too. It would be very large.

    Given that, the observations you cite cannot be accounted as due to human-produced CO2. Climate theory just cannot support that conclusion.

    Apart from that the greenhouse influence of CO2 is almost maxed out already. Doug Hoyt could quantify that for us. And the recent finding that aerobic plants — forests — churn out huge quantities of methane put the percent human attribution of this gas seriously in question as well.

  179. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    RE: #179 “Apart from that the greenhouse influence of CO2 is almost maxed out already. ”

    That is an interestng thing to contemplate. At some point, there indeed must be a diminishing return for the amount of overall energy flux retarded by the contribution of reflection and reradiation of IR by CO2 molecules (and other gases efficient at doing it for that matter). At some point, you just cannot do anything more to counter the much great net outward flows due to convection, radiation and conduction. Also, in terms of diminishing return, GC can only move so much energy poleward. These are not linearly increasing things as a function of greenhouse gas PP. This is why the cloud issues are so important to gain a better understanding of. Even in a worst case scenario vis a vis CO2 PP, there may be things in terms of convective vertical movement of energy, mechanical energy in the tropics and even things like the subtropical Highs spinning faster, that may result in a situation where even if we assume a lot more energy being retarded by greenhouse gases, nonetheless, that energy will not necessarily ever touch the polar regions.

  180. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    Sea Ice Question: Can someone in Denmark or southern Sweden please answer the following question? Is it normal for sea ice to form between Denmark and Sweden? If so, how much is normal? Would this years level of formation be considered greater than, less than or normal?

  181. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    Re #181: Yes, it normally forms there. To answer the second and third questions for any location go to http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/.

  182. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    Interesting, the sea ice index shows a decrease in the Northern Hemisphere and an increase in the Southern Hemisphere. Maybe we have hemispheric warming and hemispheric cooling…

  183. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

    Re #173 – Is this the same Stephen Schneider who published a book in the 1970’s called “The Genesis Strategy” which warned of a coming ice age? In 1971 he claimed that an 800 percent increase in CO2 would be needed to raise the global temperature by 2 deg. By the late 1980’s he now said that a 100 percent increase would be enough to raise temperatures by 1.5 to 4 deg. So what de we believe?

  184. HANS KELP
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    re #181

    It is not normal to have sea ice forming in between Denmark and Sweden. In case
    the belts are freezing it is normal that also the belt between the two countryes are having sea ice. There is an interesting kind of cyclus which has been broken this year in that the belts froze ( icebreakers in action ) in the years of 1976, 1986 and 1996 but not this year as expected. Small sounds have been frozen though,
    but for very short periods only. But this year is indeed a very cold and nasty winter.

    yours

    Hans Kelp

  185. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    I just had a completely innocuous and link-free comment flagged as spam.

  186. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    Re #184: Gerald, I believe Schneider’s website explains in some detail why the first of those is a myth. Please provide a more specific reference for the 1971 attribution, although I would point out that going back 35 years one would expect to find a fair amount of incorrect information on climate change given that it was at an early stage of development.

  187. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    174. I read significant portions of the links you posted. Wow. Talk about a diatribe. The antiskeptics are more skeptical than the skeptics! At least the skeptics accept SOME of the views of the experts in “climatology.” Most of the skeptics on this site say “we don’t know for sure and would like to understand why you did/did not do such and such.” But the “consensus” guys on the referenced sites bash EVERYTHING said by the “contrarians.” They try a little to appear “balanced,” by quoting a few views of the terrible contrarians (before they criticize it), but an idiot would see through the propaganda. Interestingly, I did not find one place where the substance of an issue was challenged. The focus is on the CREDENTIALS of the contrarians. How dare Lomborg make observations about subjects about which he has not been knighted an “expert.” How dare does a statistician argue about the statistics in a scientific article, when he or she is not a “scientist?” How dare does a forester or wood scientist talk about tree rings, when he/she is not a “climatologist” (whatever the hell that is). How proud these “climatologists” are of their “science!” Hell, I find some faults with every car I ever buy, but since I’m not an auto designer, I guess I don’t have the credentials to criticize the auto manufacturers. Makes for some fun reading, in a masochistic sort of way. Pretty good review of the controversies, although amazingly one-sided.

  188. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #175: I skimmed it when it came out, enough to understand the main arguments. I didn’t have first-hand knowledge of all of it, but from what I could see it looked shaky. The SciAm rebuttal confirmed my initial assessment soon enough.

  189. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    189. Yeah, anything that goes against the religion of environmental extremism is “shaky.” Don’t bother with any facts you don’t agree with. And never read it, so you can discuss it intelligently. LOL.

  190. bruce
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

    re #184:

    I know that I should defer to Climate Scientists who know much more about these issues than I do. But as a layman, I find it hard to see how a trace element (molecule more accurately) in the atmosphere (concentration today of 350 ppm which I calculate to be 0.035% or 1 part in 2666 – near enough to 1 part in 3000) can have such a massive impact on global climate. I am also told that the oceans absorb atmospheric CO2. And that if we double CO2 levels the plant mass on the planet would increase by 50% which must sequester a lot of carbon. Sorry guys, you may understand it, but it doesn’t gel for me. Are we really sure that CO2 is the bad actor that it is portrayed as? Do we really understand the carbon cycle, and the likely impacts on climate??

    Meanwhile, something that clearly has a massive impact on climate – the sun – is seemingly discounted as a factor. It is very hot out there today, and unless I am mistaken, the sun is a factor in it being hot. There are clearly other issues involved – cloud cover, barometric highs, lows, cold or warm fronts etc, but it still seems that the sun is a factor. In fact, I have noticed that it is usually hotter during the middle of the day through to 3:00pm, and also that it is generally hotter in summer. For all of my trying, I have yet to have a personal experience that tells me that CO2 is a factor in that hot day out there today.

    Surely if we are to be worried about anthropogenic effects on climate we need to look at other aspects of man’s activities as well. One that I can actually see on many days is aircraft con trails that can create cloud cover where there was none before. That can change the albedo of the planet, and reflect incoming energy.

    Another is the emissions of H20 vapour from combustion of fossil fuels, air conditioning systems etc which is probably changing the water balances of the planet. And perhaps there is a measurable effect in terms of heat balances relating to the heat that is released when we burn fuels. No doubt there are other issues that I am not aware of that should be considered.

    As a member of the public, I hesitate to panic when the Chicken Little’s scream “the sky is falling in” when I can’t see that with my own eyes. On the other hand, if I saw a tsunami coming I would sure as hell run to find a safe place!

  191. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    #189-The Scientific American analysis was a hatchet-job. See this Dutch site, for example. Green Spirit, Patrick Moore’s environmental site, published Lomborg’s entire reply to the SciAm critique. You may want to read it before cementing in your initial assessment. Scientific American gave Lomborg no option to reply in detail. No matter one’s view of the environment, it’s hard to judge the behavior of SciAm toward Lomborg as anything except, in a word, despicable. David Schoenbrod had a good summary article in Commentary Magazine, appropriately titled “The Mau-Mauing of Bjorn Lomborg.”

  192. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

    Re #191

    Bruce, very astute observation re concentration of CO2. In addition CO2 is also not present as a distinct physical phase in air, hence its measured physical properties derived from CO2 being 100% of the object being measured, are also not applicable. Hence all GCM’s that assume CO2 as a discrete physical phase with unique physical properties are “incomplete”, as it were.

    This allows me to ponder the heresy that maybe CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas at all, which makes AGW even more of a problem that it is at present.

  193. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    #193: Louis, what do you mean by a “distinct physical phase”? Isn’t CO2 in a gas phase in the atmosphere?

    #154: Steve Bloom, don’t leave me hanging…

  194. jae
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 10:50 PM | Permalink

    I skimmed it when it came out, enough to understand the main arguments. I didn’t have first-hand knowledge of all of it, but from what I could see it looked shaky. The SciAm rebuttal confirmed my initial assessment soon enough.

    Yeah. Enough said.

  195. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

    Re #187 – In 1971 Schneider was second author on a Science paper with S. I. Rasool titled “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate”, Science, vol. 173, 9 July 1971. This paper used a 1-d radiative climate model to examine the competing effects of cooling from aerosols and warming from CO2. The paper concluded:

    :However, it is projected that man’s potential to pollute will increase 6 to 8-fold in the next 50 years. If this increased rate of injection… should raise the present background opacity by a factor of 4, our calculations suggest a decrease in global temperature by as much as 3.5 oC. Such a large decrease in the average temperature of Earth, sustained over a period of few years, is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age. However, by that time, nuclear power may have largely replaced fossil fuels as a means of energy production.

    CO2 was predicted to have only a minor role. However, the model was very simple and the calculation of the CO2 effect was incorrect by a factor of about 3 – a fact soon recognised.

    In 1976 Schneider wrote “The Genesis Strategy” in which he said:

    : One form of such pollution that affects the entire atmosphere is the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas…. Human activities have already raised the CO2 content in the atmosphere by 10 percent and are estimated to raise it some 25 percent by the year 2000. In later chapters, I will show how this increase could lead to a 1° Celsius (1.8° Fahrenheit) average warming of the earth’s surface… Another form of atmospheric pollution results from… atmospheric aerosols… there is some evidence that atmospheric aerosols may have already affected the climate. A consensus among scientists today would hold that a global increase in atmospheric aerosols would probably result in a cooling of the climate; however, a smaller but growing fraction of the current evidence suggests that it may have a warming effect.

  196. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 6, 2006 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

    Re #168

    Bob K,

    Thanks for that, I did do a google and actually got to the Feb 2006 abstract and that was that – so your snips are much appreciated :-)

  197. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

    re#194

    Nanny, by a phase I mean a physically discrete entity – grab a volume of air and try indentify which physical part is CO2. Or can you work out which is N2 or O2? No, nor can you easily separate or extract O2 or N2 or C02 out of air physically. Biochemically or chemically no problem.

    So our atmosphere is of 3 phases – gas=air, liquid=clouds etc, solid = aerosols.

    So Air is the physical phase and it has a chemical composition of N2 76%, O2 16% and CO2 0.04%.

    You are correct in that CO2 occurs as a gas phase, but for its physical properties to remain valid requires it to behave independently to the other gases. It can’t because each CO2 molecule is surrounded by approximately 2500 molecules of N2/O2, so its observed behaviour based on an object of 100% co2 is not necessarily so if it is at 0.04% of the object. Herein lies the issue. When does the gas CO2 stop behaving as a 100% CO2?

    I have also done a little searching for the “greenhouse” effect of air, but no results. I would have thought that would have been a fundamental measurement in this issue. Perhaps Idso (1998 referred to by Nicholas above) has already done it.

    In any case in GCM’s it’s the behaviour of the physical components of the system that count, and the only gas component is air with a chemical composition of etc. It is not CO2 acting independently of N2 or O2 or CH4. It’s the total behaviour of Air depending on its chemical composition that has to be one variable of the model. (if its physial composition then we are getting to the molecular level and that raises new problems I suspect). And in anycase as the physical behaviour of the atmosphere is essentially that of turbulence, I would not ever attempt at modelling it from practical experience.

    I tried once to get a handle on the behaviour of heavy minerals in a laminar flow (flowing water in a creek) but since creeks do not flow in this fashion (they don’t transport much under laminar flow) but do all of their load carrying under turbulent flow, then the maths became intractable.

    We have a rule of thumb in geophysical modelling, whether magnetic, gravitational or electromagnetic – when the system becomes non-linear, all bets are off. Period. Turbulent flow is non-linear and when air is in turbulence, then its physical properties have to be affected by that turbulence.

    A bit off thread, though. :-)

  198. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

    re #178

    Pat,

    knowing my luck they would charge a pound of flesh from me :-) Thanks – as a last resort me might oblige John A, but easier methods first :-). Incidentally that was the source I initially got to and became cheesed off I had to pay :-) Ah well, business is business as we say in the diamond game.

  199. Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 12:27 AM | Permalink

    Louis, I think what you said has merit. However, absorption and emission spectra of mixtures of gasses are surely well understood, since they play a major role in a number of disciplines including astronomy and chemistry/physics (devices like a spectrometer).

    That is not to say that these properties have necessarily been well considered by those examining climate issues, but I think there is literature out there which should cover your concerns, and I would hope that at least some of the climate researches are familiar with it.

    Unfortunately, Idso’s experiments determines the effect of substances like water vapour and dust in affecting temperature, and also changes in incoming solar radiation. He hasn’t measured the effect of CO2 at all (since it doesn’t fluctuate enough over short periods of time to get an accurate reading I think), and is taking generally accepted figures for how much extra radiation a certain amount of CO2 will trap. What his experiments show is, assuming that level of extra radiation reaching the surface (due to any reason, including CO2), how much change in temperature should be expected.

    I would be interested to see a closer examination of the issue of how much extra radiation (W/m^2) a doubling of CO2 would cause, but that’s one area where I’m willing to believe the accepted value, since few people seem to be arguing over that aspect.

    What I do find interesting is that the “insignificant” changes in the brightness of the sun (+2W/m^2 in the last 50 years or so, probably more over a multi-century period judging by sunspot observations back then) aren’t very much less in magnitude than the expected change in radiation due to a doubling of CO2 (+4.7W/m^2). A number of people have stated, human-induced changes in CO2 to date are roughly equivalent to three quarters of the value for “doubling”, so let’s say +3.5W/m^2. That is less than double the solar changes. How can the solar changes be insignificant, and the CO2 changes be significant, given those approximate values?

  200. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 1:14 AM | Permalink

    re #200

    Point taken Nicholas, but I have this vague suspicion that alot of climate analysis is done mathematically and theoretically and unlinked from the material physics. I am sure the spectra etc as you mention are well known but too often in science we tend to get to a disconnect from physical reality and spend most of our time in “theory-space”, go computer modelling and and so on.

    Often the computer modelling develops a life of its own and the debates then centre on maths and stats etc. I suspect climate science is in this area – but are the complexities of the models physically realistic? Are they too complex, let alone model climate in the first instance.

    I have to read Idso’s 1998 stuff (Warwick mentioned it to me a few weeks ago and I have a day or so up my sleeve for these things since Murphy’s Law has just altered the timing of the driling program, vehicle availibility etc) first, but measuring CO2 in air etc would seem to me to be experimentally something important to do. What are the radiative properties of air given various changes in CO2? Has it been done? Should it be done? Yes.

    As for your interest in CO2 vs Solar changes, I suspect the CO2 changes are deemed significant hence the guess of climate sensitivity being 1-4.5 Kelvin per doubling CO2. It’s just assumed as a given, from which everything else evolves. And we cannot do anything about the solar fact but it is presumed we can re CO2. (Hopefully not by stopping everyone from breathing).

    (Incidentally doubling of CO2 – human component or total component? Side issue here).

    As for the solar effects – the plasma guys have a different take on it all http://public.lanl.gov/alp/plasma/universe.html.

    Peratt’s site is a useful starter.

    These guys reckon the earth is essentially a charged body moving through an active plasma environment, surrounded by a web of electric currents commonly called the magnetosphere. Earth’s surface and atmosphere are electrically connected through this magnetosphere to electrical conditions in space and on the Sun. Astronomers Sallie Baliunas and Willy Soon have shown that for as long as temperature records have been kept, the global temperatures of the Earth have correlated to the sunspot cycle. And the sunspot cycle also affects radio transmission and power grids.

    Currently science considers the earth as an isolated body in gravitational space.

    So your interest is indeed on the right path.

  201. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

    Slightly off topic but it is Solar after all but we seem to have reached a Sunspot minimum

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/06mar_solarminimum.htm?list198505

    I wonder what spin will be placed on this

  202. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 2:06 AM | Permalink

    Re #201

    Just realised I wrote something idiotic – measuring CO2 in air – d’oh!, so what I should have written was that a standard volume of air in an experiment should have its radiative etc properties measured for incremental increases in CO2. and under statitic and turbulent conditions.

    Now that would be an interesting undergrad degree honours thesis? no?

    More to the point, has it been done?

    One of the reasons are carp on the basics is because this is usually where the errors are made – since everyone assumes the basics are known and need no further thought. Using this paradigm would make for lousy mineral exploration procedure.

  203. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 2:47 AM | Permalink

    Re #154: Nanny, I meant more than just a two-line summary by you. Please post the whole thing, with a link to the original location. Then I’ll happily discuss it.

  204. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 3:00 AM | Permalink

    Re #196: So maybe warming, maybe cooling depending on circumstances. To say that if aerosol emissions are greatly increased and continued it could put us into an ice age isn’t quite the same thing as warning of a coming ice age. The rest is a pretty good indicator of the poor state of climate science at the time, as I believe I noted before.

  205. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 3:31 AM | Permalink

    #204: It is you that are claiming that I’ve “had both of these questions answered on a number of occasions”, and then threw in an ad hom attack. See #145. Why don’t you back up your claim and show where I’ve had these questions answered with anything more than vague hand waves?

  206. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 3:40 AM | Permalink

    Re #191

    I know that I should defer to Climate Scientists who know much more about these issues than I do. But as a layman, I find it hard to see how a trace element (molecule more accurately) in the atmosphere (concentration today of 350 ppm which I calculate to be 0.035% or 1 part in 2666 – near enough to 1 part in 3000) can have such a massive impact on global climate.

    Do you know you are less than 0.0378% manganese (by volume, mass, or mole ratio)? Without that small quantity of manganese, bruce, you would be quite dead. (from the comments section of this – http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/03/why_does_miranda_devine_hate_s.php#commentsArea ).

    Re chemtrail, you can find plenty of conspiracy orientated website out there if that is your taste. I do see a trend here though, things you can see you think are more important than things you can’t. As another example try breathing air with but a tiny bit more carbon monoxide that the atmosphere has CO2 sometime…

    Fact is CO2 is a major ghg and without it this planet would be radically different, period.

  207. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 3:41 AM | Permalink

    Re #191: http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/ClimateFrameset.html is a pretty good place to start for a not-too-simple, not-too-technical summary of climate science, with plenty of links if you want more details. Regarding your concern about how small quantities can have large effects, I would point out that the physical world is filled with numerous examples of that sort of thing. Consider, e.g., the potential effect of 10 pounds of plutonium, or the minuscule total weight of a given deadly virus needed to kill a 100 Kg human.

  208. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 4:24 AM | Permalink

    re #207

    Peter,

    interesting link to Tim Lambert, and his prior link to worst ever etc. Which I read again to refresh my memory as crap makes leaves no impression on my memory.

    Lambert does admit ignorance of the term “phase” which I admit is a specific geoscientific term, mainly used in mineralogy and metallurgy. We deal with things in the physical domain, and from an engineering perspective the earth’s atmosphere has only one gas phase. That Lambert does not understand that comes as no surprise to physical scientists; he is, after all, a teacher of the mechanics of the abacus. That said, he has not countered the argument, just behaved as an indigant Philea and Pead one me.

    Most of his commentators spruiked the usual ad hominems which come to think of it, if I was that Kooky and irrelevant, why would they spend so much intellectual capital on a no body?

    Unless I am actually recognised as a real and present danger.

    Their apoplectic reaction means only one thing – I must have inadvertently published a cartoon of a religious nature.

  209. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 4:38 AM | Permalink

    Re #206: So you want to make *me* go find them. Sorry, I’m not interested in doing that.

    But on the aerosols, I don’t notice a comment from you in the still-open (for a few more days) http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=245. Here we have an opportunity for you to ask two aerosol experts any question you want and you have nothing to say. Cat got your tongue?

  210. Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

    Peter : You said:

    Fact is CO2 is a major ghg and without it this planet would be radically different, period.

    Funny, according to this page, CO2 contributes only 3.618% to the “greenhouse effect”. Water vapour contributes 95%.

    What does that suggest to me? That if all CO2 were removed to the atmosphere, the temperature might drop a degree or two, but nothing radical. Temperatures would likely still be somewhat warmer than during the last glacial period, which did not wipe out life on earth. However, since plants require CO2, they would all die, and since we require plants to live, we would all die.

    Conclusion: CO2 is valuable to life on earth, but is not a “major ghg”. It’s not insignificant, either, but I hardly call 3.618% major.

  211. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    re #211

    Peter Hearndon,

    for you to make that remark referred by Nicholas requires you to be on another planet.

    Physically, of course.

    Is that a problem, in the most polite manner I could imagine Inspector Barnaby, of Midsomer Murders, to aver?

  212. jae
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    re above discussions about solar forcing: the CO2

  213. jae
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

    again–re solar energy: the co2 phobes have to posit positive forcings by co2 in order to predict all the catastrophes. It seems to me that there could be positive forcings caused by increases in solar radiation, also. So, an additional 1 watt/m^2 of solar energy might lead to more evaporation of water (the most important greenhous gas), which would lead to yet higher temperatures. I cannot prove it, but I still think the Sun is almost totally responsible for changes in our climate, and co2 has very little, if any, impact. But if that’s true, we could not blame humans, and how would all the doomsdayers get research money?

  214. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

    Re #211, oh THAT page. You accept it do you? OK, but don’t expect me to, it was trashed here – http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=27706&start=1 , it makes no sense.

  215. Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    Peter, I read the comments at the link you provided, didn’t see any “trashing” other than baseless assertions. Please point me to the relevant bit which points out what is wrong and why, or provides an alternative percentage for how much of the greenhouse effect is caused by CO2.

    By the way, if the total greenhouse effect is 33 degrees (C/K) as you write at that link, and assuming it is correct to say that CO2 is responsible for around 3.5%, that means all the CO2 in the atmosphere is contributing about 1 degree of warming total. As I said, hardly what I would call “major”. Also, this suggests that doubling CO2 will increase temperature by less than one degree, since you get diminishing returns with how much extra radiation you can trap with a given total of gas mollecules.

    I’d like to see anternative calculations for what percentage of the “greenhouse effect” is contributed by CO2. Please point me to them. However, you’ll have to do better than merely assert that the 3.5% figure has been “trashed” to change my mind.

    jae : I forget where I saw it, there was a very good study showing that changes in incoming sunlight had a +100% positive feedback. They determined it by studying temperature fluctuations which correlate with sun brightness changes over the sun’s brightness cycle. It was nice solid science as far as I could tell. I think that meshes with other observations such as Idso’s but I’d have to do some calculations to make sure.

  216. Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Peter: To be clear, I’m interested in an accurate appraisal of the percentage contribution of CO2 to the “greenhouse effect” overall. That page was the only one I saw which gave a clear figure. It references a number of papers, but I have no idea how valid their conclusions are. If you can point me to a better-reasoned one, great.

    I’ve been looking a little and something I came across seen suggests that if you remove CO2 from air it absorbs 12% less energy, so perhaps the figure is 12%, not 3.5%, but I found that page (something from the IPCC) hard to understand so I may have been missing something.

    At that link you provided, the only thing I saw which seemed even slightly relevant seemed to be discussing “two estimates, 60-70% vs. 95%”. 95% is the figure provided for the percentage of the “greenhouse effect” attributed to water vapour. But I don’t know where this 60-70% figure is coming from. Do you?

    If we knew the W/m^2 at the surface we would get with no greenhouse effect, and the W/m^2 at the surface that we get now, we could easily calculate this % based upon the estimated 4.7W/m^2 increase we’d see from 2xCO2. However, I don’t have those figures handy.

  217. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=220 seems to me to be one good place to start, and http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=142 is also good.

  218. Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

    OK, so we have an answer from them:

    Remove all CO2 and you get 91% absorption, a delta of -23W/m^2.

    Idso observed +4.7W/m^2 = +0.4C

    So, using a naive (but probably accurate-within-ballpark) calculation we get a contribution of +2C from the CO2 in the atmosphere.

    What did I say before? One or two degrees? Seems about right. It’s naive mainly because the reaction from a delta in radiation could change as the total radiation changes, but since 23W/m^2 is a pretty small fraction of all the radiation hitting the earth’s surface (around 1000W/m^2) – 2.3% or so, I would expect a fairly linear response.

    Again using the 0.4C/(4.7W/m^2) figure, which I think is fairly accurate (but you can substitute your own value if you don’t), for the “greenhouse effect” to provide a warming of 33C requires it to contribute an additional 387.75W/m^2 or so worth of energy. If so, that means CO2 provides for 6% of the “greenhouse effect”.

    That’s a little under twice what was quoted at the link I provided. I’m still not sure I would consider that “major”.

  219. Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    OK, I’m sorry, I’m getting conflicting values for the amount of radiation hitting the earth’s surface from various different places and I don’t know how to explain the differences. I see values of 1367W/m^2 of raw solar radiation, some places suggest 1000W/m^2 hits the surface but upon reflection that seems too high. Other places give figures closer to 500W/m^2.

    Let’s work on the assumption a more correct figure is 492W/m^2, of which 174W/m^2 is due to the “greenhouse effect”.

    If so, that doubles the percentage of the radiation from CO2 to 4.6% or so, and doubles the percentage of the CO2 contribution to the greenhouse effect to 12%.

    Interestingly, the figure I calculated above using Idso’s sensitivity calculations, 387.75W/m^2, is substantially more than the 174W/m^2 figure I’m seeing elsewhere. I suspect that is due to the non-linearity. In other words, negative feedbacks become stronger as the total amount of incoming radiation goes up.

    Anyway, this seems very speculative and off-topic, but I’m still not sure that 12% would make CO2 a “major” greenhouse gas. I’d say water is still the major greenhouse gas, and CO2 is a minor (although far from insignificant) one.

  220. Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    Actually, this IS interesting, and I made another slip-up in my logic above.

    Here they calculate the amount of radiation which would escape into space, but is instead redirected back to the surface due to the “greenhouse effect” as 324W/m^2.

    I calculated 387.75W/m^2 above using Idso’s constant.

    Not too bad, they’re fairly close I think. The confusion I had before over 174W/m^2 is that includes the fact that the atmosphere also redirects some energy that would hit the surface if it was not there back into space, lessening the total heat-trapping effect of the atmosphere as a whole.

    So, if the “greenhouse effect” accounts for 33C of heating, and if that’s due to 324W/m^2 worth of radiation, that certainly lends credibility to the 0.4C/(4.7W/m^2 = 2xCO2) as far as I am concerned.

    Sorry for the off-topic nature, but I find this interesting! :(

  221. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    #210: “But on the aerosols, I don’t notice a comment from you in the still-open (for a few more days) http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=245. Here we have an opportunity for you to ask two aerosol experts any question you want and you have nothing to say. Cat got your tongue?”

    Steve, probably I DID comment there but the post was censored. (It seems my posting percentage over at RC is running around .600 or so)

    “So you want to make *me* go find them. Sorry, I’m not interested in doing that.”

    It was YOUR claim, and YOUR ad hom attack.

  222. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

    Re #222: Nanny, if you could just ask questions without that little nasty edge you’d be amazed at how much more you’d get in the way of answers. Try it. But in any case you can see from the post itself that the case for the net forcing from aerosols being negative (and thus constituting the most likely explanation for the slight mid-century cooling) is getting stronger.

  223. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    Re #185 (trying again on that comment that disappeared): Steve and Hans, bear in mind that NSIDC defines sea ice as starting at 15% areal coverage (i.e. still much more water than ice). 100% is completely frozen over, which from what Hans said is unusual in the straits between Denmark and Sweden although it happened this winter.

    In general, one can see looking at those annual extent maps that the spatial variability is considerable year to year (not just in terms of overall extent but with regard to where the ice goes), which is why it’s probably a lost cause to try to draw much of a conclusion from those inherently spotty exploration records, however accurately they may have been kept.

  224. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    “Nanny, if you could just ask questions without that little nasty edge you’d be amazed at how much more you’d get in the way of answers. Try it.”

    Or I could try steering clear of bristlecone pines, the MBH99 non-climactic BCP “adjustment”, r2 statistics, or aerosols. Then I’m sure my posting average would improve.

    “But in any case you can see from the post itself that the case for the net forcing from aerosols being negative (and thus constituting the most likely explanation for the slight mid-century cooling) is getting stronger.”

    Which doesn’t touch on the point of many of my posts that the regions that produce aerosols don’t show cooling in recent times. Actually, we see warming in those regions. If the aerosol effect is one way or the other, show where that effect is occuring today. Show why we see cooling from 1940-1975 in regions where aerosols were not a factor.

  225. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    RE: #214. It is self evident based solely on considerations of physics and phase chemistry that an increase in solar flux will result in an increase in atmopheric water vapor. Now that is a positive feedback even I can buy into! LOL!

  226. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    RE: #224. And therefore, is sea ice extent a valid proxy for so called “mean global temperature” or even “mean Arctic temperature?”

  227. jae
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    226. Yes, and therefore, there is plenty of evidence that sunspot activity can explain virtually all of the climate changes in the last millenium (at least). There is certainly one hell of a better correlation between sunspot activity and temperature than there is between all these other proxies and temperature. So why don’t we just accept that? Because you cannot put an A in the equation?

  228. Dano
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

    226:

    Huh. http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/06mar_solarminimum.htm?list45662 **

    Ya don’t say…ya don’t say. Who knew?

    Best,

    D

    ** not sure why can’t HTML this addy…

  229. Dano
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

    Oops. 229 is directed to 228. Got mixed up with the previous HTML issue.

    D

  230. jae
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

    Danoboy: I’ve got my science, too:

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V8/N41/EDIT.jsp

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V5/N48/C1.jsp

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V4/N52/C2.jsp

    There are plenty more, wise-guy.

  231. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 7, 2006 at 8:12 PM | Permalink

    RE: #229. Um, you are off topic a bit there. I was very specific. I addressed the simple notion that increased solar energy incident on an ocean increases evaporation. Did you not learn this?

  232. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 8, 2006 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    #223: Steve Bloom, here’s another one of those “masty edged” questions that I asked over at RealClimate that has yet to make it past the censors:

    —————————
    Re: Those pesky scientific facts…..

    #41: “when CO2 increases, the temperature of the ground increases, all else being equal.”

    But all else is not equal. And additional CO2 has multiple effects – are you sure we’ve quantified each one?

    “It just seems to me you want to believe what you want to believe [about aerosols] and the hell with the evidence. ”

    What evidence? Regions where aerosols are produced show warming not cooling in recent times, and there were regions that cooled from 1940-1975 where aerosols were not a factor. Will anyone deal with these discrepancies?

    “A lot of cities were burned in the 1940s…”

    Not in the Southern hemisphere, yet we see cooling in the 1940’s there as well.
    —————————

    So was it my demeanor, or are these questions just taboo over at RC?

  233. jae
    Posted Mar 8, 2006 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Realclimate is really boring these days, probably because they snip so many posts that don’t support their “facts.”

  234. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 8, 2006 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Re #227: Only in the most general sense, of course.

    Re #231: jae, looks to me like what you’ve got are scripts. It would help your case if you were to find a source that is not a) funded by the fossil fuel industry and b) lacking in all credibility.

  235. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 8, 2006 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    Re #233: OK, Nanny, let’s have a look at this stuff, starting with the sources for those statements. I promise to respond carefully.

  236. HANS KELP
    Posted Mar 8, 2006 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    Re # 224
    Steve Bloom, I became a little puzzled seeing you postulate a 100 % icecover in and of the strait of àƒËœresund ( the strait between Denmark and Sweden ) this year in your posting. I called today, by phone, the DMI ( Danish Meteorology Institute). I asked for information about sea ice thickness and coverage in
    àƒËœresund and also if they could refer me to a site on the internet where I could find statistics concerning the data of the formation of sea ice in Danish vaters. I was told that the only information concerning ice formation the DMI was involved in, was in making ice charts for the vaters of and around Greenland. I was further told that due to the low level of regional occurences of sea ice formation no such services were done by the institute at all for the Danish vaters. When ships call for Ice Breakers that winter will be named a Hard Winter. Hard Winters occurs roughly with intervals of ten to eleven years in Denmark. Asking for the 100 % sea ice covering of the àƒËœresund this year, the answer was absolutely negative. I was told to ask the Sweedes myself if they had observed any formation of sea ice on their part of àƒËœresund because the DMI considered it likely that some sea ice formation could have taken place alongside and very close to the Sweedish coast. With these updated informations in mind I can conclude (as I also with my own eyes have observed sea ice in the inlet of Odense where I live) that the formation of sea ice in Denmark this year is more than normal compared to the interval years where there is none at all, and also that it´s impossible to give any information regarding the thickness of existing sea ice, as there is none available from local instrumental measuring and lastly that there have been absolutely no 100% coverage of the strait between Denmark and Sweeden with sea ice this year.

    Yours

    Hans Kelp

  237. bruce
    Posted Mar 8, 2006 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

    Re #235: Steve, has it ever occurred to you that dismissing sources because they are “a) funded by the fossil fuel industry and b) lacking in all credibility” is in fact a doozy of an ad hominem attack. Isn’t it smarter to objectively critique the data and the conclusions drawn from the data? I would have thought that that is the scientific way to deal with it.

  238. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 8, 2006 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

    Re #237: Hans, I thought you had said it was frozen over, but obviously I misinterpreted what you said. The additional info is interesting, though, so thanks for that.

  239. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 8, 2006 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

    Re #235: It’s not an ad hom to mention the fossil fuel industry since there is an organized GW disinformation campaign funded by the industry and the Idsos (CO2 Science) very much do partake of that money. And such a large proportion of their material has been debunked by now that I don’t think that’s an ad hom either. They’ve even been caught cooking the books with their little “no global warming here!” parade of supposedly cooling locations. Simply put, they are no more a credible source about climate science than the Flat Earth Society is a credible source about geography. You can find plenty of examples via google if you’re really curious.

  240. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 9, 2006 at 12:44 AM | Permalink

    Re 240: Steve, once again you are confusing content with context. What the Idsos do is list on their site a very large number of scientific studies, along with the full name and authors so you can look them up yourself.

    I don’t care if this list of scientific studies is funded by the Flat Earth Society. I am interested in the studies, and what they show; I don’t care who made up or funded the list. It’s a valuable resource.

    If you wish to debunk one or all of those scientific studies, have at it. However, to debunk them, it is not sufficient to say something like ‘The list of the studies was funded by the bad guys.’ Do you really think being on a given list, no matter who funded it, debunks a study? You need to say what’s wrong with the given study you are debunking … if you have decided to do science, that is.

    If all you are doing is continuing your unending ad hominems, on the other hand, you’re on the right track …

    w.

    PS – not sure what you mean about their “no global warming here” graphics. They are showing, each week, a different site on the planet which is cooling. Certainly they have selected sites that are cooling. That’s the point of the exercise, to show how many locations are cooling … how is that “cooking the books”?

  241. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 9, 2006 at 4:35 AM | Permalink

    re: 237, sea ice coverage in àƒËœresund is shown at http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/arctic.1.jpg

    w.

  242. Paul
    Posted Mar 9, 2006 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    RE #240:

    Steve, what do you call MBH98 and it’s derivatives, if not “cooked books?” Isn’t it clear that they’re part of an AGW disinformation campaign unwittingly financed by taxpayers of many nations?

  243. John A
    Posted Mar 9, 2006 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    It’s not an ad hom to mention the fossil fuel industry since there is an organized GW disinformation campaign funded by the industry and the Idsos (CO2 Science) very much do partake of that money. And such a large proportion of their material has been debunked by now that I don’t think that’s an ad hom either. They’ve even been caught cooking the books with their little “no global warming here!” parade of supposedly cooling locations. Simply put, they are no more a credible source about climate science than the Flat Earth Society is a credible source about geography. You can find plenty of examples via google if you’re really curious.

    Sir John Houghton works for the Shell Fund, which is wholly funded by Shell, the fossil fuel company. Is that “industry funded disinformation”?

    The reality is that the cosy fantasy that you live in is that you can’t answer the Idsos so you indulge your favorite conspiracy theory in order to poison the well and avoid inconvenient facts.

  244. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 9, 2006 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    Speaking of which… Hate to bring comittee business in here John, but apparently Sergey has put a downpayment on the Island in New Zealand http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/03/08/you_only_search_twice/

    Apparently he was more receptive to his offer because they only have the one cat, and no dogs.

    The real estate agent said that he had an old place in Utah he could give us at a good rate, I said since our CO2 Machine was meant to flood the southern Hemisphere that wouldn’t be helpful. He mentioned he might have an Evil lair in the Phillipines, but mumbled something about getting the previous tennants out.

  245. jae
    Posted Mar 9, 2006 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

    235. Lacking in all credibility? Prove that for me, please.

    The primary reason for this blog is to consider the validity of multi-proxy temperature reconstructions. Why don’t you use your amazing mind to address that topic. Like, explain for us why we should have any faith in studies that violate so many scientific and statistical rules.

  246. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 9, 2006 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    Re 240: Steve, once again you are confusing content with context. What the Idsos do is list on their site a very large number of scientific studies, giving the full name, journal of publication, and authors so you can look them up yourself.

    I don’t care if this list of scientific studies is funded by the Flat Earth Society. I am interested in the studies, and what they show; I don’t care who made up or funded the list. It’s a valuable resource.

    If you wish to debunk one or all of those scientific studies, have at it. However, to debunk them, it is not sufficient to say something like ‘The list of the studies was funded by the bad guys.’ Do you really think being on a given list, no matter who funded it, debunks a study? You need to say what’s wrong with the given study you are debunking … if you have decided to do science, that is.

    If all you are doing is continuing your unending ad hominems, on the other hand, you’re on the right track …

    w.

    PS – not sure what you mean about their “no global warming here” graphics. They are showing, each week, a different site on the planet which is cooling. Certainly they have selected sites that are cooling. That’s the point of the exercise, to show how many locations are cooling … how is that “cooking the books”?

    PPS – You say “such a large proportion of their material has been debunked by now”. Could we have a citation for your rather extravagant claim?

  247. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 9, 2006 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

    #236: Steve Bloom, here’s a web page that reflects very closely my concerns about aerosols:

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2005/03/11/less-cooling-less-warming/

    To this I would add that we see the mid-century cooling trend where aerosols were not a factor like in the Southern Hemisphere:

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig2-7.htm

    The argument that the aerosols are blown by wind away from the regions where they are produced thereby causing cooling elsewhere does not hold water because we see cooling in one aerosol producing region (North America during the period 1940-1975) and warming in others (China, Europe in the last 25 years). So did the wind blow the aerosols away from China and Europe, but not from North America? I don’t think so.

  248. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 10, 2006 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    Re #248: Nanny, I read the WCR piece carefully along with the linked papers. It looks to me as if they take a paper with a very limited scope (i.e., focused on the second indirect aerosol effect) and try to pretend it has much larger implications. More problematic, although very common for WCR, is that if you try to follow the numbers through to their conclusions, you find that than skip too much information for it to amount to anything other than a series of disconnected conclusions. Perhaps there is a case to be made that a .5C reduction in indirect aerosol forcing can lead to their conclusion that we will only see a linear temp increase of .17C per decade through 2100, but they sure didn’t make it in that piece.

    I’m going to do more reading over the weekend on the aerosol distribution issue. It’s interesting that WCR seems to think it has an easy explanation, but of course I’m not going to take their word for it.

  249. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Mar 10, 2006 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    If you want to learn about trends in aerosols, then read this paper:

    Hoyt, D. V. and C. Frohlich, 1983. Atmospheric transmission at Davos, Switzerland, 1909-1979. Climatic Change, 5, 61-72.

    The measurements are very robust since it involves a ratioing technique. The theory behind it is given at:

    Hoyt, D. V., 1979. The apparent atmospheric transmission using the pyrheliometric ratioing techniques. Appl. Optics, 18, 2530-2531.

    At Davos, there is absolutely no trend in transmission except for a few spikes caused by volcanic eruptions. According to the IPCC, this is in the middle of the region where the largest aerosol increases occurred. The IPCC derives their results theoretically based upon industrial activity and not from direct measurements. The results are confirmed by other authors who used data from Belgium and Ireland. All the measurement papers are ignored by the IPCC. There is plenty of data around to do these analyses all over the world, but no one wants to fund them.

    Sorry, these and other supporting papers are not on the internet. They are measurement papers and are not outdated.

  250. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 10, 2006 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    #249: Don’t lose the forest for the trees. My points are simple ones: Regions that produce aerosols show both cooling and warming, regions that show cooling aren’t necessarily under the influence of aerosols. This seems to be inconsistent with any “mid-century aerosol cooling” hypothesis.

  251. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 16, 2006 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    #249: Steve Bloom – don’t leave me hanging. I’m still waiting for your follow-up on this.

  252. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Mar 22, 2006 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom? What’s the verdict?

  253. jae
    Posted Mar 22, 2006 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

    Yeah, Steve B. Where are some facts?

  254. kim
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

    What about Overpeck and Otto-Bliesner’s latest glacier and sea level rise article in Science. Once again using inadequate models? NYT quoted Overpeck worrying about flooding New Orleans(does he know its elevation?) and South Florida.
    ====================================

  255. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 14, 2006 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    RE: #256 – Gore is right up there with Art Bell and Whitley Strieber, including the tin foil hat. See any greys or rods lately? Got any UFOs? ;)

  256. Skiphil
    Posted Nov 13, 2013 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

    More than 7 years later, and Lonnie Thompson is still emphasizing diminished ice on Mt. Kilimanjaro as a warming crisis for humanity:

    http://www.athensnews.com/ohio/article-41068-veteran-ice-expert-talks-climate-change-at-ou.html

    (H/t Tom Nelson)

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