Inhofe, UCAR and NCAR

Senator Inhofe has sent some questions to UCAR, which have riled Climate Watch and others. Climate Watch headlined: Senator Inhofe Launches Inquisition Probing Climate Research Organization. Googling will turn up a few references. I’m not doing a detailed note on this, but am giving a few takes on it, since we’ve talked here about UCAR from time to time.

Inhofe sent a letter to the boss of NSF starting as follows:

Last October I asked you whether the National Science Foundation (NSF) planned to open a Cooperative Agreement to manage and operate the National Center for Atmospheric Research.(NCAR) to competition when the current Agreement expires in 2008. You responded that NSF intends to compete this Agreement and that you expected to issue the first formal competition announcement early in 2006. Please provide me with a copy of this announcement when it is issued as well as subsequent notices regarding this specific competition.

He went on to ask for an organization chart and staffing particulars. This request has caused preditable outrage from predictable people. See the above link. Also Daily Camera stated:

U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has asked for detailed information regarding the employees, research projects and funding sources of Boulder’s National Center for Atmospheric Research and its parent organization, the University Center for Atmospheric Research.

The request, made to National Science Foundation Director Arden Bement Jr. on Feb. 24, was brought to light March 11 by Climate Science Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group founded by Rick Piltz, a former UCAR employee. …

UCAR and NCAR officials met regarding Inhofe’s request on Friday. They issued a statement: "UCAR will assist the NSF to the full extent permitted by our policies in answering the request from Senator Inhofe’s office." Kevin Trenberth, an NCAR senior scientist, said the information needed to fulfill Inhofe’s request was public record, anyway.

I’ve done a quick take on this and I probably have a little more experience in reading financial statements and in reading between the lines of contracts of most people at this site. As a first impression, the UCAR-NCAR structure is very convoluted. As a rule of thumb, I’ve found that complicated structures are seldom designed to benefit the public.

Virtually all the money comes from NSF. NCAR (the National Center for Atmospheric Research) is the main operating institution, with most of the employees and does most of the work. (Ammann for example seems to be an NCAR employee, although UCAR (the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) issued the press release about Ammann and Wahl’s "findings". It’s not a small organization – the combined annual budget is over $200 million.

Here’s the curious part to the organizational structure. UCAR "manages" NCAR under a contract with NSF. Although UCAR is only a "manager", UCAR’s audited financial statements are consolidated with those of NCAR. For oversight purposes, what you need to see is the unconsolidated financial statements. My guess is that UCAR has something like a cost-plus management contract. If they got a 10% management fee from NSF, which is not out of the question, they’d have $20 million in income. (Update Mar 25: It seems that a variety of NCAR administrative and facility functions were transferred to UCAR in the early 1990s; UCAR appears to charge a mark-up of around 49% on direct costs but their managemnt fee is either 3% or nominal. I can’t figure out so far whether these indirect charges appear in the total NCAR budget said to be about $87 million, as compared to consolidated UCAR budget of $205 million. These overhead mark-ups by UCAR are said to be consistent with federal practices and I have no reason to doubt that. However, that’s a different question as to whether the mark-up on NCAR direct costs less the actual cost of providing services to NCAR is a profit center to UCAR.) This might be a type of off-balance sheet funding for things like IPCC WG1, which is housed at UCAR (and hyphenates ucar in its website http://www.ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu. ) It’s not obvious to me why NCAR shouldn’t just have its own management and its own board of directors. Management fees seem like an odd way to fund things.

Regardless of the merit or lack of merit of this approach, the plan to put NCAR management out to competitive bid was already in existence at NSF before Inhofe, as a quick google turned up this reference:

Next Cooperative Agreement (FY09-13). The review for the next cooperative agreement to manage NCAR will likely begin sometime in 2006 or 2007. During the most recent review process, the NSF said that this agreement will be competed for the first time. Over the past few years, NSF has begun competing most of their large agreements, and we are planning for a competition

These management agreements seem to have 5 year terms. I turned up a little information about the negotiation of the existing management agreement. UCAR’s proposal to NSF in October 2002 ishere. One of the remarkable features of this proposal – at least to me – is that it doesn’t discuss the actual management fees anywhere in the proposal. UCAR reported on the process here. (Notice the process of "anonymous peer review" – a procedure which seems very strange for contract negotiation.


1.2 UCAR proposal for the next Cooperative Agreement

In September 2002 UCAR submitted its proposal to NSF to manage and operate NCAR for the next five years: UCAR Management of NCAR 2003-2008: A Vision for Leadership and Service in the Atmospheric and Related Sciences. NSF sent the proposal out for anonymous peer review and areas conducted a panel review on site December 17-19, 2002. The UCAR SPEC co-chairs, Bob Duce and Franco Einaudi, participated in the panel review. The NSF review process was comprehensive and thorough, and it resulted in a number of findings and constructive recommendations. We are pleased by the positive nature of the review and are working on implementing the recommendations, which challenge us and our primary partners”¢’‚¬?the NSF, other federal funding agencies, and the university community”¢’‚¬?to build upon the successful NCAR and UCAR programs for the next five years.

Some comments about the 1998 management contract renewal are here. This time the review panel was named (and included Jerry Mahlman, who’s been mentioned here before.)

Update Mar 23 : There has been some discussion below on the form of mark-ups by UCAR on NCAR direct costs. Roger Pielke suggests that UCAR management fee is about 3% and that other mark-ups are tied to physical plant and such. This would mean that the UCAR management fee was about $3 million per year. Whether NCAR should, on other grounds, manage itself seems to me to be an open issue, but if the mark-ups are only $3 million per annum, it’s not a big deal either way. If Inhofe is interested, they should look at the unconsolidated statements and confirm this for sure.


154 Comments

  1. jae
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 7:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Aha! I knew the staffers were watching these issues closely, as they should be doing. Get ready for a barrage of left-wing claims of a witch hunt, conducted by an oil-company-friendly Senator, otu to destroy the whole damn planet.

  2. TCO
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 7:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    They will defend their claim to public funds to the death. Well…not quite that. But remember, they are generally second-raters who couldn’t cut it in physics and who get (snip-eviscerated, perhaps ) by Steve on matrix algebra.

  3. kim
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 8:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve’s algebra makes my head hurt. What am I missing?
    ==============================

  4. TCO
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 8:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Getting shtupped by a Bessel function.

  5. Ed Snack
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 8:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Welcome back TCO, presuming that this is the real TCO !

  6. kim
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 9:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Someone may be noticing the cost of all the mistaken policy based on UCAR work. Do you suppose that might be factored into the competitive bidding?
    ================================================

  7. jae
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 9:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Now, the big question is: is it NCAR-gate, UCAR-gate, or NAS-gate. LOL.

  8. Paul
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 9:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Recently seen posted (I think it’s germane – but I may be mistaken):

    A new element has been discovered! This hurricane mess and gasoline
    issues are proof that it exists. A major research institution has
    recently announced the discovery of the Heaviest element yet known to
    science. The new element has been named “Governmentium”.

    Governmentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy
    neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an Atomic mass
    of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons,
    which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton like particles called
    peons.

    Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert.

    However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with
    which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes
    one reaction to take more than four days to complete, when it would
    normally take less than a second.

    Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but
    instead, undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant
    neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium’s
    mass will actually increase over time, since each re-organization will
    cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

    This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe
    that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity
    in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical
    Morass.

    When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium – an
    element which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it
    has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

    PS – Hey! Where’d the preview go?!?

  9. Roger Pielke Jr.
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 9:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve-

    Some info on UCAR/NCAR. I was there 1993-2001.

    UCAR operates NCAR as a FFRDC (Federally Fubded Research and Development Center), under a cooperative agreement with NSF and has done so since about 1960, I think. UCAR charges overhead on the grants its receives much as universities do, and when I was there it was about 49%. The overhead has to be used for certain purposes as dictated by the feds (i.e., no yachts).

    UCAR does charge a fee on top of that, which if I recall was 3%. This does provide some discretionary resources for UCAR.

    There has always been a tension between UCAR and NCAR. I recall debate over the name of the WWW home page and email addresses; many people thought NCAR was being subsumed to UCAR. As one older senior scientist explained to me, UCAR once used to be a small operation of only a few people that served NCAR, and over time it became a vast entity of which NCAR is only one of many projects. NCAR is the jewel in its crown, but it does have lots of other activities going on.

    NCAR does have its own management, and advisory structure. My recollection is that while NSF is indeed the largest single source of funding, both NCAR and UCAR receive significant funds from other agencies. I am sure this is still true, and there has been a long-term trend of NSF funding representing a deceasing proportion of UCAR/NCAR support, much to the dismay of some scientists.

    IPCC support activities are I believe operated through the UCAR JOSS program, not NCAR, and under a contract from NOAA. I think that UCAR also employs people located in Washington DC who staff the CCSP and USGCRP.

    While it may be appealing to characterize UCAR/NCAR as a unified entity with employees of shared perspectives, the reality is that it is a decentralized place with a lot of people of different views. It has many tremendous scientists working there. I do understand how the views of a few prominent people/managers might give the impression of an institutional agenda. FYI, Mahlman is now on the NCAR staff.

    My view is that there are plenty of valid oversight questions that might be raised about UCAR, but that Sen. Inhofe’s approach is unlikely to be effective in this effort. I discussed this on our blog for anyone who wants to hear more.

    Thanks.

  10. Fred
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 9:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, you stated that “Virtually all the money comes from NSF.” From the NSF 2007 budget request, ATM is asking for $226.85M and NCAR gets $85.73M of that. If the combined budget it over $200M, that’s not even half. NSF is the main sponsor of NCAR, but they also get money from NOAA, NASA, DOE, DOD, private companies, etc.

    http://www.nsf.gov/about/budget/fy2007/pdf/4-ResearchandRelatedActivities/4-Geosciences/23-FY2007.pdf

    Also, I recognize that Steve struck a nerve with his statistical work, but don’t denegrate everything that NCAR does. They do a ton of research in different areas and their scientists are not second-rate. You may disagree with their climate modeling, but don’t ignore their work on aircraft safety, hurricane modeling (the new WRF is amazing), etc.

  11. jae
    Posted Mar 23, 2006 at 10:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I am sure the *CARS do some good. But the issue here is that they got caught with their pants down on the climate science-tree ring-AGW stuff. There is more than enough ammunition here to cause a scandal. There are some managers there that abused science and the system, and they will be castigated in the long run. The managers should have told the scientists to back off, long ago. This is a scandal for the *CARS, make no mistake. The really wonderful thing about science is that the truth comes out, no matter how long it takes. And there are a lot of untruths in the realm of the *CARS. The AGW crap has got to be proven by something other than a bunch of tree ring proxies, and the models will not do it, because they rely on circular reasoning–they are built on assumptions of AGW, so, naturally, they show AGW. This is not rocket science. Now, I admit to a glass or two of Pinot Gris.

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 12:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #10. I quite agree that there are lots of people at NCAR that do good work. Look, I haven’t looked closely at the UCAR-NCAR relationship – I posted up some points to discuss because it’s in the news.

    If Roger is correct that UCAR’s management fee is in the order of 49% – then this is outrageous and the oversight by BSF and their “peer review” has been ineffective. If UCAR is spending their mark-up on worthwile programs, then they should get it funded directly and not indirectly through management fees on NCAR, especially outrageous management fees.

    Roger P., I know that Mahlman is at NCAR. I encountered him because he made some derogatory statements about us to Environmental SCience & Technology. I emailed him about them and he wouldn’t back them up and wouldn’t issue a public retraction. Same with Trenberth. It caught me eye when Mahlman was one of the peer reviewers that approved the UCAR contract renewal. I don’t get this “peer review” of contracts. These guys are climate scientists not contract negotiators. If they are negotiating 49% management fees, they should be sued for negligence.

    Inhofe may have stumbled onto something here.

  13. Bill Bixby
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve-

    You might want to do some due diligence on this before you get too enraged. 49% is a standard indirect cost rate on federal grants. Most universities charge something like that. It is NOT a management fee, but includes the costs of things like fringe benefits and health care for the NCAR employees working on the grant, as well as other misc. expenses required to run an institution. There are voluminous regulations on exactly what can and cannot be charged to indirect costs, and while I have not seen UCAR’s books, I’d be surprised to find that UCAR is not in compliance with them. Of course, here on climateaudit, no conspiracy theory is too outrageous to be considered implausible. It makes for good reading! Keep it up!

    Yours,
    Bixby

  14. Bill Bixby
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    FYI, I stumbled across OMB circular A-21, which goes into mind-numbing detail about allowed direct and indirect costs on research contracts: http://www.whitehouse.gov/OMB/circulars/a021/a021.html

    The key part are on “indirect” or “F&A” costs. It’s good reading. Enjoy!

    Yours,
    Bixby

  15. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #12 Steve 49% overhead on grants is not out of line. I believe Stanford charges about 56%. Back when Donald Kennedy, as president of Stanford, was getting raked over the coals by Congress for fixing a yacht with government money, the usual academic overhead for grants was about 75%.

    During that controversy, I remember someone mentioning that government labs such as Los Alamos typically run on about 120% overhead. Lots of stuff comes out of that money including some physical plant maintenance, and retirement and medical benefits for employees. Government labs also have to pay for security. Academic overhead on grants is no more an outrage than is writing off expenses and depreciations for a business.

  16. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I guess it all depends on definitions. I’ve never seen mark-ups like that in any contracts that I’ve been involved in. Maybe the base costs are defined differently.

    Bill Bixby, give the “due diligence” stuff a rest. I made it clear that I’m not giving an audit report here, we’re just chatting about something in the news.

    I would have thought that NCAR’s budget would include all its own overheads and fringes and would stand on its own. NCAR has its own director and presumably its own accounting staff. From an NCAR point of view, I don’t get what services are being provided by UCAR management? If UCAR has a 49% management fee, wouldn’t it make more sense to give NCAR more money for scientific programs, give it its own board of directors and get rid of an external “management” function. Why can’t the director of NCAR be president of NCAR?

    Again, I haven’t waded through the accounts. It just seems weird to me.

  17. John A
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Senator Inhofe Launches Inquisition Probing Climate Research Organization”

    “No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

  18. The Knowing One
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 3:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Jerry Mahlman wrote an article about the global warming chapter of Lomborg’s book. The article was entitled “Global Warming: misuse of data and ignorance of science” (it can be downloaded from the UCS-USA web site). Here is a quote from the section “How Much Does CO2 Affect the Temperature?”:

    Lomborg also recognizes that the answer to the difficult question
    posed above ultimately depends upon the reliability of our climate
    models. These are complex mathematical models of the atmosphereocean-ice-land climate system, based upon the nonlinear equations of
    classical thermodynamics and hydrodynamics. So, how credible are
    such models? The author correctly notes that such model calculations
    are subject to inaccuracies because of key uncertainties in modeling
    the climate feedbacks. But he incorrectly states that “the result of
    (model) simulations depends entirely upon the parameters and
    algorithms with which the computer is fed.” Not so. In reality,
    calculations of the effects of changed greenhouse gases and solar
    output on the earth’s heat balance are quite accurate and based upon
    well-understood physics.

    The models do not depend on the parameters and algorithms?? Why do we have to deal with people like this?

  19. per
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 4:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Academic grants are frequently run on a very simple basis; so you will apply for the direct salary cost of a person. Overheads would then cover the cost of the building (heating, lighting, security guards….), and things like Human resources, IT infrastructure, libraries, etc., etc.
    I am not sure of the arrangement for the *CARs, but ~50% seems low these days.
    cheers
    per

  20. BradH
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: 17

    NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

    Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.

  21. BradH
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 7:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    From the NSF 2007 budget request, ATM is asking for $226.85M and NCAR gets $85.73M of that

    My godfather! How much money??

  22. Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Per has it right. The overhead costs pay for building and equipment depreciation, utilities, security, etc… The overhead rate at MIT was roughly 50% when I was there in the late ’80s. The following is a 1991 article discussing the overhead rates at MIT:
    http://www-tech.mit.edu/V111/N6/feds.06n.html

  23. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I can see a lot of differences between mark-ups on individual projects by a university and mark-ups on the global NCAR budget. Are NCAR overheads already in the NCAR budget? What are the management services that UCAR is providing?

    Without seeing what’s in the NCAR cost base, we’re just speculating – which is fine, but let’s not place more weight on our conclusions than that. If the NCAR budget is already fully loaded, then it’s not clear to me why UCAR should hae anything more than a nominal override. From Roger Pielke’s post, it sounds like this was once the case and, over the years, the UCAR override has increased a lot, so that it’s become a major profit center to UCAR, if not the major source of revenue (which UCAR then deploys in other activities, doubtless meritorious, but funded through their mark-ups on the NCAR contract.) I go back to my question: why not increase NCAR’s budget and let NCAR manage itself with its own board of directors?? It’s just a question; I have no views on the matter – other than my point that complicated structures in business are seldom designed to benefit small shareholders.

  24. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    From the Daily Camera article:

    William Collins, an NCAR scientist specializing in climate modeling, reserved comment on Inhofe’s request. But the conclusions of the overwhelming majority of climate-change research are clear, he said.

    “The lines of evidence are all reinforcing, and they are all consistent,” Collins said. “I can’t imagine how anyone can conclude it’s a hoax.”

    I’m intrigued that he would say this in connection with Inhofe’s information request. It doesn’t look to me like he reserved much comment. He sounds worried that the mighty “consensus” is being challenged by the good Senator (maybe he knows that it is!). He is also asking for criticism by saying that the lines of evidence are ALL reinforcing, when Steve has demonstrated, without much room for doubt, that a great deal, if not all, the dendroclimatology part is bogus. As a modeler, Collins has to know that some real evidence is necessary to justify the assumptions made in the models. Without the hockey stick graphs, he doesn’t have much real evidence left. I’ll bet there are a whole bunch of folks at UCAR, NCAR, Science, Nature, etc. that are really puckered up over Inhofe’s request.

  25. Jack
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    jae wrote:

    The AGW crap has got to be proven by something other than a bunch of tree ring proxies, and the models will not do it, because they rely on circular reasoning–they are built on assumptions of AGW, so, naturally, they show AGW.

    Your perspective is incorrect. The investigation of AGW is not built on the foundation of “a bunch of tree ring proxies”. It is built on basic radiative physics, observational data, and control vs. non-control model runs. Paleoclimate data informs the process by providing information on climate sensitivity. Because this is not exactly defined, the model results have error bars. The bottom line is: if you take anthropogenic GHGs out of the models and leave everything else in, the models do not provide an adequate representation of past and current trends.

  26. Roger Pielke Jr.
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 10:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve-

    With due respect, I’d encourage you to get a bit more informed on this subject before speculating as you are down a blind alley. The 49% (or whatever these days) overhead charged to the NCAR cooperative agreement is expressly for the purpose of running NCAR, and pays the costs of facilities (lights, A/C, etc.). As someone pointed out it is set by OMB and carefully scrutinized since the days of university abuse of such overhead. If UCAR were to be siphoning off money from this to purposes not related to the co-op agreement, then indeed Inhofe would be onto something. But I’ve heard no such allegations and I doubt UCAR management is doing anything of the sort. The slush fund, such as it is, come from the "UCAR fee" which is an add-on to the overhead and was about 3% when I was there, and this does provide some discretionary resources to UCAR.

    It is complicated, and does implicate a bunch of interesting policy questions, but none that I see as being particularly closely related to issues that you discuss here!

    Steve: Roger, I thought that I’d made it clear that my view of reasonableness depended entirely on what was in the NCAR cost base and that there was a big difference in whether the cost base was fully loaded. In a big agreement like this, I would have thought that the costs would have been fully loaded, rather than working like ad hoc university grants with a rule-of-thumb mark-up for overheads. But if the NCAR cooperative agreement doesn’t start with fully loaded costs, so be it. Also, the devil is always in the details. I have no reason to assume that the NCAR agreement works like a university grant agreement. I’m not saying that it doesn’t. Just that I don’t know that it does. Most of the commenters were just speculating that it does. Is the management agreement a public document? Is it posted up anywhere? In any event, I’ve modified the head notes of the post to reflect this issue a little better (and I really didn’t discuss it in the head notes).

  27. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #@4 – jae, I agree with Jack that the AGW issue does not stand or fall on tree rings. Jack, I’ve not posted up much on the D&A models, but my impression is that there is lots of hair on them as well. Fluctuations of 1 deg C on a centennial scale appear to have been the rule rather than the exception (Bob Carter claims this for 3 million years). So to say that the current 1 deg C fluctuation on a centennial scale can only be explained by AGHGs may say more about the models than the climate. This is just an impression. It’s hard enough keeping up with the proxy articles, but I don’t think that there has been any serious critical analysis of the D&A articles and the level of statistical acument from Hegerl and those folks is not overly impressive. Ross’ jaw droppped to the floor when she cited an 1878 statistics article at the NAS panel as authority for the statistical method proposed in their presentation.

  28. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #25

    Radiative physics, eh? What about convective physics? What about adequate determination of UHI (and not this crap night lights and windy days excuse to ignore UHI)? What about a LIA and a MWP (or whatever the acronym is) that match the historical record rather than the bristlecones? What about a quantitative cloud cover theory?

  29. Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Your perspective is incorrect. The investigation of AGW is not built on the foundation of “a bunch of tree ring proxies”. It is built on basic radiative physics, observational data, and control vs. non-control model runs. Paleoclimate data informs the process by providing information on climate sensitivity. Because this is not exactly defined, the model results have error bars. The bottom line is: if you take anthropogenic GHGs out of the models and leave everything else in, the models do not provide an adequate representation of past and current trends.

    Only the earth is not a black body, and even if it were, the degree of warming expected from “AGW” would be quite low compared to the common claims. And, observational data does not support the degree of warming claimed either. In addition a lot of it can’t discriminate the cause of any observed fluctuation anyway. So, the proof, and magnitude of the claims, always seem to come down to the model runs.

    In terms of “basic radiative physics” and “observational data” nobody has yet pointed out to me the flaw in Idso’s eight observation/calculations which put climate sensitivity at +0.4C/2xCO2 or less. I agree that this type of analysis is valid, but I don’t agree it supports most common AGW claims. The calculated magnitude is small, and very little of the observations (if any) can actually point to the cause for the observed trends. If your thermometer says temperature is going up, you need a lot more information than that to know why. If you’re going to claim that you’d expect CO2 to cause a temperature increase, therefore that must be what’s causing it, you have to be able to account for the periods during which temperature fluctuations do not track CO2 levels, and also why the magnitude of the observed effect does not seem to match the expected effect.

    In short I’m not very impressed with your reasoning, sorry.

  30. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re: 25. I know that I’m in way over my head, but: as I understand the situation, the “physics” is not well understood. How can you tell if the model models correctly without some way to test it? It is constructed on the basis that the recent warming is due to CO2. If it turns out that there really is no AGW, then the model is wrong. What is the “observational data?”

  31. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re: #27. Steve, I’m not so sure that the demonstration of AGW does not hinge, to a large degree, on tree ring data. Don’t most of the other proxies (ice cores, sediments, etc.) show defininte and substantial periodic oscillations in temparature? If so, then it’s likely that the recent warming is just part of a natural oscillation. And it looks to me like the proxies have to be viewed one at a time and not averaged, unless the dating is accurate.

  32. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Jae

    Essentially AGW does not depend on previous climate stability. The oscillations may have been normal in the past, but not now.

    That’s kind of the whole key. It is very difficult to prove/disprove one way or the other because of this one simple fact. *We don’t know what the temperature should be* not to any real accuracy anyways, we know that the Global mean temperature (whatever that means) should not be 250C, or -89C. We are within the range we should be, +/- 2 degrees, easily.

    The basic premise is that we are increasing our global mean temperature dangerously high. This is not a statement of fact because we don’t know how much we are increasing it, and we don’t know that our current modicum of warming is dangerously high, or not.

    This is why I often ask the questions of warmers.

    1. How much of our current 0.6C change is man made, and how much is normal.

    2. Given that climate will always vary on any time scale, over 100 years we WILL see a change, how much of a change do you find acceptable.

    The purpose of the question isn’t to get a numerical answer, it’s to show how little we know. We’ve seen the 0.6C change over the 20th century, but how much would it have changed normally, absent any humans? If we look at the paleoclimate record we can guesstimate how much it COULD have changed (Hence why they look to the hockey stick shaft, and it’s flatness), but we cannot know how much it SHOULD have changed. For all we know the Earth is heading into an ice age, and temperatures should have fallen 3C over the 20th century, so that in fact the warming was 3.6C instead of 0.6C. Unlikely, but the fact is we don’t know, and can’t know. Alternatively the natural warming might have been 1.5C and in reality Anthropogenic effects have actually limited the warming, not added to it. Again, unlikely but you cannot prove that it is not the case, just that with a high probability it is not the case. The one single most important factor we are lacking is what our baseline should be, without that it is hard to show any trend, particularly not one that is within the error bar, and Ithink we can all agree the error bar is at least +/- 0.5C (Likely even higher).

    What the hockey stick tries to show is that previous industrialization the climate didn’t change drastically. Even if we can take that as proven (I and many here don’t), it still doesn’t tell as much, because the current warming we see COULD be normal, or at least a portion of it.

    Without a “Control Earth” that is exactly the same floating out at an opposite orbit with everything the same but no humans we don’t know what the climate should be.

    And even if we did that our “control Earth” would have an effect on the climate, so maybe we need a control solar system a few light years away.

  33. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Nicholas, Jae, et. al. I think we know where the contraversies are at. The radiative properties of CO2 have been measured in the laboratories and don’t present a problem, except perhaps in determining the overlap properties of H2O and CO2 absorption. The real problems are water cycle feedbacks and UHI allowances. AGW assumes essentially all positive feedbacks for H2O vapor and no need to correct for UHI changes over time. Both are baloney on the face but the proof isn’t easy and the inability to look at what’s actually done to arrive at the supposed temperature increases is a problem.

    Cloud feedbacks are more difficult and I don’t think any present model will stand up to a realistic test. Further even if we can use rules of thumb like lite high clouds warm and heavy lower ones cool in the present that doesn’t mean they tell us what will happen in the future. Converting some high light clouds into high heavy clouds because of additional water vapor could switch from a positive feedback to a negative one in short order.

  34. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    PS

    What the hockey stick team is trying to do is prove a baseline, which I don’t think is possible*, and regardless if it is I thing Steve and Ross’ work have shown that they have not done that.

    *Within an accuracy of +/- 1C anyways.

  35. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 12:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: 32-34: I agree. And if we don’t know, we sure shouldn’t be thinking of taking actions that screw the standard of living for millions of people (and it will affect the poorest the mostest). Also, if it can be shown that there are harmonic oscillations (and I think it can be shown), and the present warming matches the amplitude and frequency of one of these oscillations, then it seems to me that it’s pretty safe to say that the warming is probably normal, and probably not AGW.

  36. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “And if we don’t know, we sure shouldn’t be thinking of taking actions that screw the standard of living for millions of people ”

    Prezactly. Hence the AGW supporters waving about that it has been proven. Without definitive knowledge we should not induce drastic programs, so they try to show the knowledge is definitve.

    And I think most of the skeptics here would agree with me, that reducing CO2 emisions is a good thing to do regardless of the reprecusions. I for one would like to see a federally funded window replacement loan program, which would allow people to replace old drafty windows in their homes which would have signfigant CO2 reduction in the norhtern latitudes of the U.S. I don’t feel with have to say the world will end if we don’t do it, it’s a good idea regardless of the impact.

  37. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dave (#33),

    There are still lots of problems with radiative transfer in the models. Take, for example, the paper:

    Pauluis, O. and K. Emanuel, 2004. Numerical Instability Resulting from Infrequent Calculation of Radiative Heating. MWR, 132, 673-686.

    This paper shows that the numerical schemes used to calculate radiation can introduce instabilities into the climate models and some ad hoc damping factor is needed to keep things stable. The first paragraph of the summary covers it well:

    “While it has been known for some time that numerical integrations can become distorted if the radiation is calculated too infrequently, here it is demonstrated that the time interval between the radiation calls act as a time lag that can destabilize oscillatory modes. We have shown that infrequent radiation calls produce spurious oscillations in a single-column model and in an idealized GCM. In the worst-case scenario, corresponding to the case where the cloud–radiative feedbacks act to increase the frequency of oscillations when called every time step, the artificial amplification rate is proportional to the square of the time interval between radiation calls. Experiments with various models show that high-frequency distortions and artificial, weakly damped lowfrequency variability can occur for a time interval between radiation calls of a few hours, and that these oscillations can significantly alter the mean state of the atmosphere.”

    Whether these distortions can introduce long-term trends is something one can worry about. Other problems with the radiative codes include too few vertical layers that can inaccurate calculations of radiative fluxes.

    Finally, I question the very basis of the method to calculate radiative forcing and that is covered in the comments at http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/2006/02/09/the-need-to-broaden-the-ipcc-perspective/

  38. kim
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 12:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Who’s going to indemnify the government for increased radon deaths from their window replacement program?

    The presence of hydrocarbon deposits means that carbon has functionally been sequestered from the ecosystem. I don’t know enough about carbon and it’s manifestations on earth, but I’m not certain that functionally irreversibly sequestering carbon is a good thing to have happen, particularly over eons.
    ================================================

  39. Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    (Getting a little off topic) The hockey stick is being used as one pillar of evidence supporting AGW: Proof that the that the current warming is “unprecedented” in the last 1000-2000 years, providing strong circumstantial evidence of AGW. A second pillar of evidence is the forcing models of the “blade” of the hockey stick used by James Hanson. Hansen’s claim is that the temperature record of the last ~150 years shows a detectable signal of anthropogenic forcings. Lindzen’s view is that this is “essentially an exercise in curve fitting” in which several variables have high uncertainties. A recent commentary of Lindzen can be minutes of his visit to the UK’s House of Lords.
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldeconaf/12/5012501.htm

    M&M’s work (if true) destroys the first pillar, though the second is a separate issue. If the hockey stick is abandoned, I’d guess that this is where AGW advocates will “move on”. Von Storch points out twice in his NAS/NRC presentation (pages 2 & 18) that the controversy in the hockey stick reconstructions does not “have a bearing on the claims that an anthropogenic signal is detectable in the recent temperature change”.

    I see opportunity for auditing of this second pillar.

  40. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In general re the recent trend of this discussion: My, you guys have yourselves convinced. Do try to find the time to check out today’s lead story on the icecaps.

    Re #26: Steve, you should be aware that this sort of management arrangement is common and that UCAR/NCAR is a small fry compared to UC’s contract to manage the big weapons labs. As we just saw with the LANL contract and Texas, often the interest in opening up the contract is from representatives of states with universities that wish to compete for the contracts. The same motive has been imputed to Inhofe with regard to UO. Also, a fair number of labs (at least the smaller ones) are self-managed, but of course that just means that all of that overhead is internal to the federal budget.

    Re #36: There’s a long list of other such “no regrets” measures. It’s an interesting exercise to contemplate why it’s so difficult getting them implemented.

    Re #37: Our friends at ExxonMobil have their very own lab employing climate scientists, plus there are plenty of other climate scientists who would be happy to take their money. If they thought there was *any* chance that Doug is right, they would have produced an alternative model. In fact, I think it’s exceedingly likely that they have tried to do so and failed. OTOH, maybe they too are part of the warmer conspiracy.

  41. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #s 2 abd 4: Steve, is the implicit lesson here that I need to refresh my knowledge of Yiddish obscenities?

  42. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #41: Meant to stick a smiley after that.

  43. bruce
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #32: “We’ve seen the 0.6C change over the 20th century” Err OK Sid, but how do YOU know that? We have seen what happens when determined investigators dig into the area of dendrochronology. I suspect (from what I see looking for myself at records of individual rural temperature records all over the world, something that we can all do for ourselves) that it is far from clear that the “global mean” (whatever that is actually) is rising at all over a 100 year time frame. We have yet to have the forensic examination of the data and methods of those claiming that temperatures are rising. All we get is “We are climate scientists. We have made the appropriate adjustments. Don’t you worry about it. Trust us.” And “an overwhelming consensus agrees that”. Well actually no they don’t.

  44. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve Bloom,

    Your comment is the usual empty ad hominem trying to associate me with ExxonMobil. You are fond of innuendo and lying so it is not surprising that no one takes you seriously.

    In any case you should prepare yourself for a surprise.

    BTW, Steve Bloom is a member of the Alameda Green Party as well as being on the Executive Committee of the Sierra Club. Clearly all his comments are purely politically motivated.

  45. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Do try to find the time to check out today’s lead story on the icecaps.”

    Seen it, ludicrous in the extreme. First off the assume a MINUMUM of 4 degrees increse in 100 years, there is no backing for this claim. Second, 20feet over 100 years would mean 2.4 inches per year, since current sea level rise is .0008 inches per year I find it difficult to see such a drastic increase over such a short period (long in human terms, very short in geological scales).

  46. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Err OK Sid, but how do YOU know that?”

    For sure I don’t, those are the numbers currently being used (some will try to stretch that to .8C). But it’s a number to work with. Personally I’m fine with using it as a working #. While plenty of people swoon going “Goodness we’ve seen .6C change in a hundred years!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I realize that not only is .6C within the error of measurement, even if it is true it’s so small as to be almost insignfigant.

    Particuarly when you realize that the majority of this rise occured before 1950 and primary CO2 output.

    But I agree with your arguement of the numbers, probably more so than you do yourself, but it’s an arguement with little relevance in my opinion. While a change of 0.1C would spell doom for the AGW supporters, I don’t find 0.6C signifigant in and of itself.

    I raise the temprature of my partment more when I fart.

  47. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 1:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Our friends at ExxonMobil have their very own lab employing climate scientists

    Where? How many scientists – ballpark figure? Who are they?

    I do see that they are funding research http://www2.exxonmobil.com/UK-English/Newsroom/UK_NR_VP_Viewpoint_Environment.asp but I’m not sure how any of these are skeptics (aside from Lindzen being one of many researchers at MIT): “ExxonMobil is a leader in the private sector when it comes to funding climate research programmes at top research institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie-Mellon University, Bermuda Biological Station for Research, Stanford Energy Modeling Forum, the International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas Research and Development Program, Princeton University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction.”

    If they thought there was *any* chance that Doug is right, they would have produced an alternative model. In fact, I think it’s exceedingly likely that they have tried to do so and failed.

    If they have tried and failed, why would they still be employed? And where can I sign up to get paid by deep-pocket oil and gas for failure?

  48. Paul
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #40

    Re #36: There’s a long list of other such “no regrets” measures. It’s an interesting exercise to contemplate why it’s so difficult getting them implemented.

    There are good reasons (and off blog topic) for why “it’s so hard.” Primary among them is the idea that there is no constitutional authority to do so. While the ideas (like replace drafty windows with new efficient windows) are good, the debate becomes a question of being a proper function of Government.

    In fact, there are many who would argue that the whole funding issue of UCAR, NCAR, etc. is outside the bounds of government all together (so, in a sense, arguing about how the deal is put together is like arguing about the statistical methods used to evaluate tree ring temperature proxies–tree rings aren’t temperature proxies so it really doesn’t matter what math you use, correctly done or not).

    And, in spite of what is typically done, I think Steve M raises a great point. Any deal that seems to be as convoluted as this one does is sure to be hiding all sorts of things in it. It’s plainly not transparent enough. Imagine trying to pull something like this in the private sector.

    I’m getting to like Canadians all the more!

  49. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Careful about bashing the industry, Bloom. I’ll bet a significant part of your retirement money is invested in ExxonMobil. You appear to swallow that Sierra Club pap that everything the oil industry does is bad, except when they are donating $ to the Sierra Club and the other extremist environmental groups.

  50. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “I’m getting to like Canadians all the more! ”

    Yeah try working for them some time.

    Though in their defense I will say, I have more social friends in Canada than I do at home.

    Last year I even spent Christmas in Canada with my friends (non work related)

  51. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #39: “The hockey stick is being used as one pillar of evidence supporting AGW: Proof that the that the current warming is “unprecedented” in the last 1000-2000 years, providing strong circumstantial evidence of AGW.” As I’ve said before, what bothered von Storch is that the IPCC used the HS to try to make the non-scientific point you describe. Was this understandable on their part? I think so, since the alternative was educating policy makers about what was scientifically important, i.e. 1) the significance of the relatively subtle physical evidence available at the time and 2) the details of detection and attribution. The physical evidence is now more than sufficient to convince the dullest policy maker, and the AR4 SPM will reflect that. Also, the NRC panel will give the IPCC a very small tap on the wrist. But to emphasize, the accuracy of the HS, or more precisely the pattern of the global average temperature fluctuations over the last 2,000 years, never had the scientific importance you guys keep trying to ascribe to it.

  52. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #51. Is this all fact or your opinion, Steve B? You come across as pretty darn certain of yourself.

  53. Paul
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE #51:

    I keep hearing stuff like:

    The physical evidence is now more than sufficient to convince the dullest policy maker, and the AR4 SPM will reflect that.

    Yet, when I look at the “physical evidence” research, I’m not so convinced that it’s “more than sufficient.” I still think the jury is still out, based on my reading of the physical evidence.

    Is there evidence hiding somewhere that we’re not allowed to look at, like the tree ring proxy data?

  54. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Can someone explain something to me about NCAR-UCAR relationships. The NSF site says that “The 2005 base budget for the operation of NCAR was approximately $80M, with additional support from other agencies of approximately $14M.” The UCAR financial statements put their annual budget at over $200 million.

    Looking at UCAR’s organization chart, I don’t see where they do much scientific work of their own. Here are their departments:

    University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
    President’s Office
    CA Corporate Affairs
    Comm Communications
    EO Education & Outreach
    F&A Finance & Administration
    Gov Governance
    HR Human Resources
    OGA Office of Government Affairs
    OGC Office of General Counsel
    SOARS Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science

    I take it that they also run a variety of outreach programs listed here:

    UCAR Office of Programs
    Director’s Office
    COMET Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology Education & Training
    COSMIC Constellation Observing System for Meteorology Ionosphere Climate
    DLESE Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE)
    GLOBE Global Learning & Observation to Benefit the Environment
    JOSS Joint Office for Science Support
    NSDL National Science Digital Library
    Unidata Unidata Program Center
    VSP Visiting Scientist Programs

    The IPCC-WG1 website is housed at UCAR as is the TSU for IPCC-WG1. This is an important and useful activity, but I don’t see it mentioned by UCAR, which seems odd. It’s not as though they do not describe activities in detail, as one of the listed functions of their Safety and Site Services group is “copy paper ordering”. I would have thought that housing IPCC-WG1 was an equally important function, if not more so.

    If NCAR physical costs are being funded out of the UCAR budget, then the true cost of NCAR must be at least double of what’s shown. It’s impossible to tell with consolidated accounts. I wonder if this information is available from NSF in connection with the NCAR management bid?

  55. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #48. People in the private sector pull complicated deals all the time. My point was not that private sector people don’t do them, only that they don’t do them for the benefit of small shareholders and the public. You used to have structures in some public companies where interlocking companies controlled one another. Thus a set of directors once ensconced had majority control against challenges. Thus type of interlocking structure was eventually prohibited about 20 years for companies that wanted to be publicly-traded companies. Or you get companies with unequal voting structures, which ensconce management. If you see this type of structure, you can be pretty sure that the main beneficiaries are management. That doesn’t mean that they are bad managers. I’d love to see the unconsolidated accounts for NCAR and UCAR.

  56. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hello Steve Bloom – Alameda eh? – how about that frigid March we’re having out here …. I digress ….

    Re: #40. Please give me your operational definition of “ice caps.” This is not a trick question or anything facetious. I await your response.

  57. Paul
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE #55:

    It’s all fine and dandy, if they’re not publicly funded. If not, I’m don’t care how they fund it (as long as I’m not investing in it). Since it’s publicly funded it should be clearly transparent. The UCAR/NCAR deal is publicly funded. It should be very transparent, with understandable books and structure.

  58. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 2:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #44: I made no such association, Doug. Life would be boring without surprises, but surely you don’t mean to imply that you’ve done anything so radical as … write a paper? BTW, people who dislike ad homs shouldn’t make them. Also, as I’m very curious here, how does one get on the Sierra Club California Executive Committee (which last time I checked was the policy-making body for an organization with over 200,000 dues-paying members) while not being taken seriously? Oh, you mean not taken seriously by *you*. Well, never mind.

    Re #45: Sid, I suggest you look into the work done on just how fast ice sheets can collapse in a warming climate. The difficulty with waiting for the higher rate of melting you seem to want is that by the time we see that there will nothing we can do to prevent Greenland and the WAIS from melting. But don’t worry, it’s unlikely to occur fast enough to have much of an effect on your stock portfolio during your lifetime.

    Re #46: +.6C in an apartment? Even in a micro-studio, those are some prodigious farts. If I were you I’d shut about this or you’ll end up getting regulated along with the ruminants. :)

    Re #47: They fling a lot of money around. Consider it a hedge against a possible windfall profits tax. From what I’ve seen their own climate-related research output tends to focus on things like sequestration, unsurprisingly. Their own lab is in NY state if I recall right, but that’s about all I know about it. I know it exists from seeing it noted on a couple of papers. I’m sure that if any of their in-house researchers ever made any promises about being able to come up with a credible alternative model they might well have been fired, but I assume the researchers were smart enough to not make such promises.

    Re #48: There’s plenty of authority, e.g. state building codes. Try getting a permit for a house without following the code if you don’t believe me. The problem is elsewhere.

  59. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 3:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Sid, I suggest you look into the work done on just how fast ice sheets can collapse in a warming climate.”

    Actually I suggest you do, the effects are simple to see even in home experimetns, and there is NO evidence to support such a drastic increase in such a short peiod. If the GMT jumped 4 degrees tomorow, we wouldn’t see that kind of melting. You are looking at an increase greater than 1000 times current.

    “it’s unlikely to occur fast enough to have much of an effect on your stock portfolio during your lifetime.”

    You like to make baseless claims don’t you. I’ve only ever owned stock in one company, that was a company I worked in, was part of my pay package, and I sold it ~3months after I left the company about 5 years ago. Currently I own no stock, and before you make another baseless claim I do not own any mutual funds or retierment plans, so nothing there either.

    It’s trust fund people like yourself that have that kind of stuff. Us regular people can’t afford it.

  60. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #56: “Icecaps” was shorthand. Relative to significant sea level rise, what’s at issue are the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets. Of course all of the other ice outside of East Antarctica will go first, most prominently Tibet and the small Canadian ice sheets, but those are minor in terms of sea level rise. In terms of other impacts, Tibet is a huge problem and in the very short term, since without those glaciers something on the order of a billion people will no longer have a year-round source of water. Sea ice has also been much in the news, but of course its presence or absence has no effect on sea level.

  61. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 3:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve Bloom,
    Your ad hominem approach to life is really very tiresome. I suppose you got your position in the Sierra Club by using ad hominems to eliminate more qualified people in competition for the position that you hold. In any case, the only solution is tit-for-tat, so just keep babbling.

    As for papers, I have about 100 peer reviewed papers on climate change and solar physics. You have zero.

  62. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 3:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #58, first item: Have you written any papers on these topics that we can look at?

    second item: Just repitition of part of the doomsday fear-mongering that Lomborg calls the Litany.

    last item: “The problem is elsewhere.” Just what do you mean? Do you mean that people won’t follow the leadership of those who claim they know better than everyone else? You are so aggressive and certain of yourself that it amuses me. Do you treat fellow Board members that disagree with you with the same disdain?

  63. Greg F
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 3:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Bloom is just projecting. Take all his baseless accusations and turn them around, he is telling us all about himself.

  64. Paul
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #48: There’s plenty of authority, e.g. state building codes. Try getting a permit for a house without following the code if you don’t believe me. The problem is elsewhere.

    Building codes are adminstered on a local level. There are no “federal” building codes. It’s not a valid comparison.

    Not only that, but there is nothing stopping you, or anybody else, from implemeting their own “no regrets” measures. There’s no government requirement necessary. If you can convince people that their a good idea, they’ll do them on their own.

  65. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 3:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #60. Looking at Otto-Bliesner’s article, the main take away for me was the model of 133K years BP, i.e. at the height of the last interglacial. Sea levels were thought to be something between 10 and 20 feet higher than they are at present. According to the model in question it looked like Greenland had about half it’s current mass of ice. Antarctica was not part of the study, and was said to account for the variance in estimated sea levels between the most extreme outcomes of the runs juxtaposed against other paleo evidence. The study apparently sought to forecast a worst case scenario, in the event that we saw a repeat of the conditions of 133K years BP. I wonder (with somehat of an educated guess already in hand) how long it would take to melt off all that continental ice to get to that point, given – 1, 2, 3, and 5 deg C step function GMT rises?

    The reason I asked for your definition of ice caps was the ongoing confusion amongst the scientifically illiterate regarding the differences between sea ice, continental glaciers, non tropical alpine glaciers and tropical alpine glaciers. Clearly you were refering to the most important of the four, continental glaciers.

  66. Greg F
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 3:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Also, as I’m very curious here, how does one get on the Sierra Club California Executive Committee (which last time I checked was the policy-making body for an organization with over 200,000 dues-paying members) while not being taken seriously?

    Many (snip) …of.

  67. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 4:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #59: Following is some evidence. From http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/310/5747/456 :

    “The record of past glacial changes provides important insight to the behavior of large ice sheets during warming. At the last glacial maximum about 21,000 years ago, ice volume and area were more than twice modern values (6). Deglaciation was forced by warming from changes in Earth’s orbital parameters, increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, and other attendant feedbacks. Deglacial sea-level rise averaged 10 mm/year, but with variations including two extraordinary episodes at 19,000 years before present (19 kyr B.P.) and 14.5 kyr B.P. (Fig. 2), when peak rates potentially exceeded 50 mm/year (7–9). Each of these “meltwater pulses” added the equivalent of 1.5 to 3 Greenland Ice Sheets to the oceans over a period of one to five centuries.”

    Since there was twice as much ice then, let’s cut that in half and make it 25mm/yr. That equals 2.5 meters in a century, which I’d call quite a lot. But bear in mind that this is a very conservative assumption since a smaller ice sheet could be much more vulnerable to these effects.

    Also, from http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/311/5766/1449#REF29 :

    “Within dating uncertainties, our new ages suggest that the onset of deglaciation of the southern SIS margin at 19.0 10Be kyr may be synchronous with a rapid sea-level rise of 10 to 15 m at 19.0 cal kyr B.P. that abruptly terminated the LGM lowstand (29) (Fig. 3B). Clark et al. (30) inferred that the source of this event originated from one or more of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets. Our dating of the retreat of the southern SIS margin at this time provides direct evidence that the SIS may have contributed to this abrupt sea-level event. The abruptness of the sea-level event in the absence of any associated abrupt warming (Fig. 3, B and C) points to an instability of the SIS that caused it to partially collapse, although the gradual warming that preceded the event suggests the possibility of a nonlinear response of the ice sheet to that warming (31). Such a response may have induced fast flow (32) and drawdown of the low-sloping Baltic Sea ice stream (21), causing retreat of the southeastern SIS margin.”

    So, it’s possible for this collapse mechnaism to operate without the full temperature increase.

    And from http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/297/5579/218?ijkey=f29b4dd690f07c966df2b529766782538784a46d :

    “Therefore, flow of meltwater through moulins, and perhaps through the numerous crevasses throughout the ablation zone, is likely to provide a widespread and continual drainage from the surface to the ice base during the melt season. The surface lakes usually drain during summer, but their drainage tends to be episodic, depending on the irregular timing of the opening of drainage channels from the lakes (15, 32). We believe that the observed correlations between the changes in ice velocity and the timing and intensity of the surface melting show that there is widespread and continual drainage of meltwater from the surface to the ice-sheet base during summer ablation. Because the ice base is at the PMP (18), a wet base maintained by basal melting is expected to be a normal condition throughout the year. Water may be maintained during winter in subglacial conduits that expand during periods of increased water pressure and accelerated flow (33). The probable cause of the summer acceleration is an increase in the water pressure at the bedrock interface, which is a well-known mechanism for velocity variations in alpine glaciers. For example, Iken et al. (33) found that the summer increase in subglacial water pressure actually raised the glacier by as much as 0.6 m and partially decoupled the ice from the bed. The horizontal velocity increased by three to six times and was largest at times of maximum upward velocity.”

    I was kind of amazed when I first read this. The example listed is an Alpine glacier, where it’s possible to get a direct measurement of this effect, but the same thing appears to be happening in Greenland (based on observations of surface lifting ). In any case, one begins to get a sense of how such a large mass can fall apart in rather short order.

    Sorry for seeming to imply that you personally have a stock portfolio. My comment was intended to be a metaphor. Similarly, I lack a trust fund (or a Sierra club salary, for that matter).

  68. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 4:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I suppose this comment fits in somewhere.

    As many of you know, the American Meteorological Society is the primary organization for atmospheric scientists. Through the Allen Press, it distributes many prestigious journals: the Bulletin of the AMS (BAMS); Journal of Climate; Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology; Weather and Forecasting; Journal of Hydrometeorology; Monthly Weather Review; Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences; Earth Interactions; Journal of Physical Oceanography; Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology.

    The AMS has agreed to release to the public the online version of every article in its archive prior to 2001. A substantial portion of the full climate change debate is housed within these AMS journals.

    You can get at the pubs here:
    http://tinyurl.com/pqjeg

    And of course, an inelegant searcher here
    http://ams.allenpress.com/amsonline/?request=search-simple

  69. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 4:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #64: As with most anti-pollution measures, some form of government intervention seems necessary for widespread adoption. Absent meaningful federal action here in the U.S. we will have to rely on state and local governments. Of course individuals should still be encouraged to do whatever they can.

  70. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #61: Doug, please post links to your most recent peer-reviwed papers on climate. I’d love to read them. Thanks.

  71. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 4:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “let’s cut that in half and make it 25mm/yr. That equals 2.5 meters in a century”

    Cut what in half, the peak rate?

    “when peak rates potentially exceeded 50 mm/year (7–9). ”

    So you have taken an extraordinary warming (deglacial) where warming (natural I might add) is significantly higher than now, and then took the PEAK rate, rather than the average. Without noting of course how long this PEAK rate lasted (Does it say in the article, I don’t know because I don’t have a subscription, I didn’t become a wealthy oil conglomerate owner by wasting money on magazine subscriptions)

    A better example would be the average rate, which is more reasonable in the discussion. “Deglacial sea-level rise averaged 10 mm/year,” since the average includes the peak rates this will give us a better picture.

    so 5mm a year (still about 200 times current levels, seeing as how we are not in the beginning of a deglacial) over 100 years is 1/2 a meter or 1.6 feet over 100 years.

    Even your taking of PEAK rates and holding them for 100 years equates to 8.2 feet. This in itself is an unrealistically high estimate, yet it falls short by 41% of the 20 feet in the NCAR.

    Does it note A. Over what period of time this glacial melt in the sciencemag article occurred? B. How much of a temperature increase it took?

    I suspect that besides using peak numbers, you also did not discount for a drastic difference in temperature ranges, remember the NCAR article talked about 4 degrees from now. What was the absolute difference (What was the maximum temp difference* in relation to today’s temp) and the relative (from beginning of deglacial to peak sea level rise) temp difference.

    I’m betting that A. it was higher than NCAR projection for 100 years, and B. was greater than 4 degrees.

    * your talking about going from a peak interglacial when the majority or the worlds water was trapped in land Ice, to now, where this is not the case. In analogy it’s like saying since I get 30mpg I can drive just as far on 1/4 tank of gas as I can on a full tank. At the beginning of the deglacial there was many times more ice to release than there is now, and even with a 4 degree increase (average worldwide) you are not going to see all of the worlds land ice melt in a hundred years, you wouldn’t see it with a 10 degree increase, since the ice itself has a tendency keep itself cold, hence permafrost in areas where summer temperatures exceed the freezing point. Not taking into account that in many places where there are glaciers, average winter temps are far more than 4-10 degrees below freezing.

  72. John A
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 5:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve Bloom:

    A list of Doug Hoyt’s peer reviewed articles are here

    As Doug has said, he has written more than 100 peer review articles on solar science. It is a matter of record.

  73. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 5:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #51 Steve Bloom says again,”As I’ve said before, what bothered von Storch is that the IPCC used the HS to try to make the non-scientific point you describe. Was this understandable on their part? I think so, since the alternative was educating policy makers about what was scientifically important”

    This can be translated as ‘Patronize the intelligence of your audience, and mislead the people with well-meaning lies.‘ That hardly seems like an ethical strategy to me.

    “The physical evidence is now more than sufficient to convince the dullest policy maker.”

    Sufficient propaganda, rather. Steve, what would it take for you to understand that in the absence of a valid and predictive theory, there is no scientific meaning for facts?

    Let’s try the stark approach: Given that GCMs are incomplete and not falsifiable on any scale up to at least 10 times larger than the CO2 effect you and others mistakenly purport them to show: There isn’t a shred of scientifically valid evidence that human-produced CO2 has warmed Earth climate.

    Not a shred, Steve.

    “But to emphasize, the accuracy of the HS, or more precisely the pattern of the global average temperature fluctuations over the last 2,000 years, never had the scientific importance you guys keep trying to ascribe to it.”

    That statement has to be a monument to disingenuity. I still have the 2001 Nature news feature (Nature 412, 122-124) about the release of the TAR. It pictures John Houghton giving his news conference in front of a huge projected graphic of the HS in all its multi-colored glory. The same article shows Tom Stocker holding up a transparency next to his smiling face, displaying, guess what, the MBH Hockey Stick. The caption says: “No doubt: Thomas Stocker feels that the IPCC’s reports make clear any uncertainties.” The Hockey Stick was touted publicly by IPCC scientists and environmental groups as the proof of AGW, here for example, and here, and here.

    Meanwhile for years we get stories about, ’1998 was the hottest year in 1000 years, and the 1990′s the hottest decade,’ all eagerly cited by organizations to which you, Steve, cleave. Maybe you even vetted the content of some of those press releases.

    And now, after all that environmental shouting, breast-beating, accusation, and propaganda, when the hockey stick is shown to be at best an exercize in incompetence (an exculpatory verdict hard to credit), you come along and straight-facedly claim that it has been the skeptical folks who have made the HS a big scientific deal. That is about as shameless a shameful dodge as I have ever seen.

  74. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 5:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Kenneth: thanks for the publication links. Now I won’t have any time for golf.

  75. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 5:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re:#68

    This is great news! Is the decision recent, or has it just not been widely pointed out? I tested it on a 1998 paper at random and it does indeed allow you to access the entire article. Perhaps climate science is going to move into the 21th century.

    Ok, what paper should I read first?

  76. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 5:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #67; Steve B., as demonstrated clearly in ET SidViscous’ subsequent post, you did not prove anything with the quotations you provided. We could all trade exerpts from selected articles all day long, and it would do no good. The point here is that with the tree-ring-based hockey sticks broken, we have less reason to believe the A in GW. Your “side” is now going to have to find another poster child, and I don’t think the models can cut it.

  77. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 6:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    75:

    Dave, the AMS has for some bizarre reason decided to wall itself off from the rest of society. They had a press-release type story a few months ago, but it was released only on their home page, near as I could tell.

    As for where you begin, that depends on your interest. Whenever I want my mind blown, I read something by Charles Doswell, Harold Brooks, Roger Wakimoto, or maybe E. Rasmussen. And there are so many I left out. Amazing stuff. But this really just reflects my own topical bias (towards severe convective storms). Enjoy!

  78. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 6:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    75:

    Dave, the AMS has for some bizarre reason decided to wall itself off from the rest of society. They had a press-release type story a few months ago, but it was released only on their home page, near as I could tell.

    As for where you begin, that depends on your interest. Whenever I want my mind blown, I read something by Charles Doswell, Harold Brooks, Roger Wakimoto, or maybe E. Rasmussen. And there are so many I left out. Amazing stuff. But this really just reflects my own topical bias (towards severe convective storms). Enjoy!

  79. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 6:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #51/73 I think Pat did a very good job rebutting you, Steve. You appear to suffer the same flaw that pervades the environmental activist movement (indeed most of the “progressives,” too), that is that the end justifies the means. There are no ethics, anything that works is fine. If you have to lie and trick people into believing you, that’s OK. After all, you have the lofty goal of saving the planet, and only your kin know how to do it. There’s that overbearing attitude that only your select group knows what’s good for everyone else. I think the environmental movement has been good overall, but it has gotten far too out of touch with reality in the last 10-15 years. That is exactly why I will not support the Sierra Club or most of the other parts of the “crisis industry.” After all, if you don’t keep creating crises, you can’t sell memberships. Please read Lomborg’s book, if you haven’t.

  80. Greg F
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 6:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Your “side” is now going to have to find another poster child, and I don’t think the models can cut it.

    The models are called scenarios for a reason. They couldn’t, with a straight face, call them predictions. The media portraits the model scenarios as predictions without a peep out of the IPCC.

  81. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 6:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #71: Sid, certainly if we get the best-case scenario we don’t have nearly as much to worry about in the short-term. The worst case is a different story, unfortunately. How much are we willing to bet on the latter not happening? The point here is that we have new science that tells us the ice sheets are capable of rapid collapse. How should we respond to that?

    Regarding the needed temperature increase, the point of the second excerpt (fourth sentence) was to note that a collapse is possible without a coincident large temperature excursion. Also, a minor point, but I thought it was clear (first excerpt, second sentence) that the past ice was only about double what we have now (i.e., most water was still in the oceans), so the scale isn’t all that far off. BTW, some of these Science articles are open access.

    Re #73: “Let’s try the stark approach: Given that GCMs are incomplete and not falsifiable on any scale up to at least 10 times larger than the CO2 effect you and others mistakenly purport them to show: There isn’t a shred of scientifically valid evidence that human-produced CO2 has warmed Earth climate.”

    There’s not much to say to a pure denialist position. Of course, for you to be right it really would be necessary for there to be a vast conspiracy involving thousands of scientists. By all means don’t let me try to persuade you of anything else. One thing I can say for sure is that you’re *really* not going to like the AR4.

  82. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 6:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Who’s talking about best case scenario. You still haven’t shown how we are going to get from the current .008 inch per year now, and then get to 2.5 inches a year.

    You’ve talked about a completely different scenario, with drastically larger temprature excursions than current, and saying that “it could happen now” not based on present conditions. You’ve also not shown how you took PEAK tempratures from a deglacial incident and compare it to now, not to mention there is little support to the 4C increase.

    As to the articles being open, not from your links, have to log in. I suspect if I had access I’d find even more contrary evidence to the supposition.

  83. Greg F
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 7:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #73: “Let’s try the stark approach: Given that GCMs are incomplete and not falsifiable on any scale up to at least 10 times larger than the CO2 effect you and others mistakenly purport them to show: There isn’t a shred of scientifically valid evidence that human-produced CO2 has warmed Earth climate.”

    Bloom then responds with his typical ignorance:

    There’s not much to say to a pure denialist position.

    The IPCC says:

    Scenarios are neither predictions nor forecasts of future conditions. Rather they describe alternative plausible futures that conform to sets of circumstances or constraints within which they occur (Hammond, 1996). The true purpose of scenarios is to illuminate uncertainty, as they help in determining the possible ramifications of an issue (in this case, climate change) along one or more plausible (but indeterminate) paths (Fisher, 1996).

  84. Dano
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 7:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There isn’t a shred of scientifically valid evidence that human-produced CO2 has warmed Earth climate.

    You have to wonder then in the face of this overwhelming, Galileo-like repudiation, how come Lomborg thinks otherwise ** and that he accepts ‘the reality of manmade global warming’? Hasn’t he read these comments?

    Best,

    D

    **

    Global warming is important, environmentally, politically and economically. There is no doubt that mankind has influenced and is still increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and that this will increase temperature. I will not discuss all the scientific uncertainty, but basically accept the models and predictions from the 2001 report of the UN Climate Panel (IPCC). Yet, we will need to separate hyperbole from realities in order to choose our future optimally.

  85. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 7:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re 84: Dano, Lomborg purposefully takes a “worst-case” approach here by assuming some of IPCC’s estimates are correct. Then, as you must know, he shows that it still is STUPID to take any extreme action. He’s giving benefit of the doubt, don’t you understand?

  86. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 8:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #81 Steve B says (re: #73), “for you to be right it really would be necessary for there to be a vast conspiracy involving thousands of scientists.”

    Wrong, Steve. All it would take is a rather common-place lack, even among scientists, of focus on the standard of meaning in science when contemplating climatology. Couple that with the other common-place in science of giving far more credit to computer models than they deserve (principally because the graphics are so visually compelling even when they convey nonsense), and virtually the entire phenomenon is explained.

    Plus, of course, the trust the larger world of scientists gives to smaller groups to have done their work to the proper standard. That trust has been sorely abused by both dendroclimatologists, crediting Steve M’s analysis, and by the IPCC managers.

    Your counter distills down to no more than this: ‘If so many believe it, how can it be wrong?’ This false argument is the quintessence of the public IPCC stance. Islamists and Christianists take shelter under that umbrella. So do AGWists.

    “Ag-wists” Hmmm, I like it! :-)

    Here’s a fact, Steve: GCMs are not adequate to predict the climatological effect of CO2 doubling. Your populist disclaimer has no objective force against that, though I can see it has power for you.

  87. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 8:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #84-Dano, how does a fact get its meaning in science?

  88. Paul Penrose
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 8:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Greg,
    That should put the final nail in that coffin! The GCMs are nothing but fantasies. A more cynical person would say they are just jobs programs for climatologists and computer programmers.

    Sid,
    You are wasting your time debating Steve B. – he doesn’t know how.

  89. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 8:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Yeah I know Paul. It was the reference to the NACR sea level thing.

    Amongst a trigger topic for me (AGW), sea level is a secondary trigger. (Call the AGW the set trigger if you will). People who bandy about ludicrous sea level claims annoy me in that it doesn’t take anything but simple math to prove the falsity of the claims.

    It must be simple math, I can do it.

    And 20ft in a hundred years is ludicrous beyond the pale.

  90. Greg F
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 8:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE:84

    There is no doubt that mankind has influenced and is still increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and that this will increase temperature.

    Sticking your hand out the window in a moving car will increase drag and reduce efficiency. The question is not if there is an effect, but rather, how much is the effect and is it significant? The rhetorical technique of stating the obvious and then extrapolating some scary scenario is intellectually dishonest. The question on CO2′s effect remains, how much will it increase temperature and is it significant?

    I will not discuss all the scientific uncertainty, but basically accept the models and predictions from the 2001 report of the UN Climate Panel (IPCC).

    The uncertainty is what the science is all about and you don’t want to discuss it. The models are NOT predictions. So by accepting, as you say, “predictions from the 2001 report of the UN Climate Panel”, you are accepting something that does not exist (see IPCC quote in #83).

  91. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 8:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Uh, Greg, Dano was quoting Lomborg. Lomborg wasn’t willing to discuss it because it wasn’t his area of expertise and since, as jae has already pointed out, he was granting the warmers their hypothesis and still showing that something like Kyoto wasn’t the way to go. What he thinks now is hard to say. It’d be interesting to have him drop by some day and say.

  92. Greg F
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 8:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE:91
    Opps! My apologies to Dano for the false attribution.

  93. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 10:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This is getting hillarious. We have a tree ring expert who can’t demonstrate that tree rings can record temperature. We have a statistics expert, who has demonstrated that the statistical procedures supporting the HS stuff are flawed. We probably have the guys at RealClimate and IPCC guys that are monitoring this site, but not commenting. And we still can’t get one solid argument to discredit Steve’s work. How can a reasonable person believe that Steve is wrong?

  94. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 10:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #s 82 and 89: Sid, your initial response was so replete with factual errors that I couldn’t even figure out what you were asking about. For example, you went off on a couple of tangents based on your assumption that vastly more ice was tied up in the last glaciation than was the case. What’s weird is that the information that it was only about 2x was right in the material I excerpted, so obviously you have a reading comprehension problem to match the simple math problem. Your follow-up didn’t help, although the statement at the end that more information from those articles would only serve to confirm your preconceptions summed it all up nicely.

    All of this must be a little depressing for Steve M. relative to what it says about the quality of the cheering around here.

  95. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve B, what depresses me is the withholding of adverse results by prominent climate scientists, misrepresentations by prominent climate scientists, the statistical incompetence of the Hockey Team, their failure to archive data in compliance with grant policies, the failure of NSF to enforce its own policies with respect, reckless public announcements by UCAR, cherrypicking of proxies, etc. etc.

  96. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Here is some more information about UCAR and NCAR relationships, describing the transfer of various overhead functions from NCAR to UCAR over the years. http://www.ucar.edu/governance/meetings/oct/faq/index.html#q1

    It’s hard to figure out what the real cost of anything is. What a weird way to run a ship.

    It looks like NCAR’s overheads are funded at UCAR, making the cost of NCAR look less than it really is, but who can tell? It’s all very odd. I still don’t understand why NCAR needs a “manager”. If facilities costs are funded from the UCAR budget (and not showing up on the NCAR budget), then there may very well not be large amounts of money being diverted into other projects. Yes, I realize that someone pointed out that other federal institutions have weird arrangements as well, but so what? It’s still an odd way to run a ship and I remain suspicious of weird arrangements. (It’s not a major concern of mine – I only comment because it’s in the news.)

  97. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Actually there wasn’t any, your making baseless accusations again (you might want to look into that). What factual errors are you speaking of, my conversion from Meters to feet ( I used 3.2808 feet per meter, is this incorrect?, what exactly are you speaking of ).

    But just for you I went out and sought the paper since you didn’t choose to link to a publicly accessible article.

    You vague statements with factual errors non-withstanding is there a reason why you failed to mention that the article you cited, to show sea level change of 6 meters under the following circumstances.

    550ppm CO2 – never reaches 6 meters (after 5000 years it maxes out at 2.8 meters)
    750ppm CO2 – never reaches 6 meters (after 5000 years it maxes out at 4.9 Meters)
    100oom COT – reaches 6 meters after 4250 years

    This after a summer warming of 7.3C (almost twice the NACR 4 degrees, which does not specify summer warming)

    After 100 years best I can see even going to 1000 ppm before stabilizing, sea level increase is on the order of millimeters. The graph has insignificant resolution to see readings that small.

    Is there a reason you didn’t cite this quote from your article.

    “For the full range of climate scenarios and model uncertainties, average 21st-century sea-level contributions are–0.6 T 0.6 mm/year from Antarctica and àƒÆ’à‚⼰.5 T0.4 mm/year from Greenland, resulting in a net contribution not significantly different from zero, but with uncertainties larger than the peak rates from outlet glacier acceleration during the past 5 to 10 years.”

    It goes without saying that the article is based on IPCC models.

    In fact that part of the article that you quoted was in the introduction, and had little to do with the paper. And does not give any atmospheric temperature estimation for that period of high sea level change, but does give a sea temperature change of 26 to 28 C, where they get that number I don’t know. But for reference it is approximately the same as the sea temperature off of Central America, and about 20C warmer than it is in the North Atlantic now.

  98. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 24, 2006 at 11:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry, forgot the link.

    http://tinyurl.com/l7fg9

  99. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 12:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hmm First off, my apologies, incorrectness above.

    Should read

    550ppm CO2 – never reaches 6 meters (after the year 5000 it maxes out at 2.8 meters)
    750ppm CO2 – never reaches 6 meters (after the year 5000 it maxes out at 4.9 Meters)
    100oom COT – reaches 6 meters at the year 4250

    Teach me to read numbers of non 0 origina graphs.

    And secondly linky no workie

    try this

    http://makeashorterlink.com/?N20332BDC

    If that doesn’t work

    Getting that error again after posting with a link John.

  100. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 12:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    grrr 1000ppm

    I don’t know what oom is an abbreviation for.

    Anyways Steve, you still haven’t explained why you thought it normal to use PEAK in your calculations.

  101. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 2:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #100: Because, Sid, I am worried about a worst-case scenario. Regarding the quoted passage, please go back and re-read the paper carefully. The figures you quote are from the paper’s discussion of past model results that are now thought to be incorrect. The incorrectness is that they fail to account for newly observed dynamical melting such as that described in the third paper I linked. From the first paper: “Recent observations of startling changes at the margins of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets indicate that dynamical responses to warming may play a much greater role in the future mass balance of ice sheets than previously considered. Models are just beginning to include these responses, but if they prove to be important, sea-level projections may need to be revised upward.” This is conservatively phrased, and significantly was written before the latest satellite results on melting became available, but the upshot is clear enough. I quoted the first passage since it was included in the paper in order to demonstrate just how far short the current models fall; i.e., that past rate of sea level rise could only have resulted from dynamical melting.

  102. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 3:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #93. Err, JAE, what has Steve said about past climate? I think he makes no claim to know about it? So, the best you can do is choose Steve and not know, or go with everyone else and keep trying to find out.

    I fear, since we can’t go back to the past, you’ll allways find something you don’t find to you liking about any recon you don’t find to your liking.

  103. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 3:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #73 “There isn’t a shred of scientifically valid evidence that human-produced CO2 has warmed Earth climate.”. What would a shred be? No evidence – at all? But surely, Pat, CO2 is a ghg? Surely we KNOW were adding it to the atmosphere? Ergo there IS an effect on the atmosphere and climate.

    Really, I can’t see how you can justify such a bold statement.

  104. John Lish
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 3:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    What a depressing thread – Steve Bloom, any remote possibility that you will apologise to Doug Hoyt for your comments? Also Steve Bloom, using terms such as “deniers” alienates me from your arguments. The reason why I am unconvinced by the warmers argument is the lack of empirical evidence that demonstrates AGW conclusively in the real world. I have seen graphs with interesting correlations but remembering my studies in economics, I know that economists avoid what they term externalities as it spoils their theories. The phrase “all other things being equal” is common. This also applies to using tree rings as a proxy for temperature and to scenarios generated by computer modeling. Whilst interesting, they are not factual representations of either the past or the future but rather a potential representation which brings us into the area of risk management. The example of damage caused by Katrina to New Orleans could have been significantly minimised with better risk management. I’m pretty certain that you and those you call deniers could find a consensus about risk management against the volatile climate. Likewise, there are rational economic arguments for energy diversity including renewables and also energy efficiency, none of which depend on AGW. I also doubt whether anybody who visits this blog is against bio-diversity. Its just that I like many others simply have reasonable doubts about the notion of AGW. What Steve M is doing is methodically testing the robustness of the argument and the processes of validation. This can only lead to a more robust climate science. I don’t believe that enough is known or understood about the climate. I’m quite happy to fund further research into studying it. I just don’t believe the hype.

  105. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 4:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #103 “Really, I can’t see how you can justify such a bold statement.”

    It’s straightforward, Peter. There is no theory adequate to assign recent warming to increased CO2. If no one can know from science that human-produced CO2 can have caused recent warming, by what criterion do you or anyone else claim to know that human-produced CO2 has caused recent warming?

    Is anyone able to know without benefit of knowledge?

    Here’s my opinion on the matter in a nut-shell. The AGW scare is one symptom of a more general failure of nerve among western intellectuals following the murderous disasters of the 20th century. They have abandoned knowledge in favor of an inchoate and romantic expiation.

  106. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 4:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #104-What John Lish said, with this addendum. I have yet to see a published climate projection in which all the errors (uncertainties, really) were propagated through the calculation into the final output. Maybe such a projection exists, but I’ve not seen it.

    We all see the cumulated graphs of several GCM runs showing different scenarios projected into the future. These are represented as possible future climates, with the temperature bounds corresponding to the high/low projections.

    But this is a false representation. The total error of such an aggregate is approximately the sqrt[(sum of errors)^2/(n-1)], not just the high/low projections. I’d bet the true propagated error of any one GCM projection would be something like +/- 40 degrees C at 100 years out.

    But no one would get very excited, and agwists would have nothing to banner in letters to their contributors, if the IPCC came out and said that the year 2100 would be between 3 and 8 degrees warmer, +/- 42 degrees.

  107. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 5:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Pat, there is a difference between John’s ‘not conclusive’ argument and your ‘not a shred’. I can live with the former, the latter is obviously wrong. CO2 is (IS) a ghg, We ARE adding it to the atmosphere – in quantity. There IS an effect. To argue the opposite (as you seem to be doing) just make no sense to me. I wouldn’t run with it if I were you.

    “There is no theory adequate to assign recent warming to increased CO2. If no one can know from science that human-produced CO2 can have caused recent warming, by what criterion do you or anyone else claim to know that human-produced CO2 has caused recent warming?”

    Two opposing sentences. There clearly IS a theory that explains recent warming as having a anthro GHG component – GHG thoery, forcings and, yes, model results (there, nice chance to rubbish the models ;)). Now you second sentence is tendentious. No one claims to ‘know’ ‘human-produced CO2 has caused recent warming’ but that it has caused some of the recent warming and that, as it’s concentration increases, it’s effect will increase. Indeed, I’ve seen several pretty sceptical characters accept anthro warming will be 1C. So confidently rowing off towards the islands marked ‘anthro CO2 has no effect’ will leave you highly isolated and, frankly, just plain wrong (IMO).

    Mind you, you do change tack to talk about predictions in your post above. Again, I can live with that. There are always going to be those who, whatver is discovered or projected, ‘oh, we can’t know about the past or future’. Indeed, if (IF!) it warms by a noticable ammount (say more than 1-2 degrees) there will still be some saying similar.

  108. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 6:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #106. Pat, the main issues that I have with considering the various GCM runs as “independent” runs and thus eligible for 1/n-1 errors is: 1) we do not have a population of runs from each model; the runs submitted to IPCC have been selected and a tuning process is already present; 2) there’s an assumption that any errors in the physics are random, but this has not been demonstrated. For example, all theTAR models tended to yield a too cold tropopause, so there was something conssistently wrong in the same direction in all the models. Or for example, all the TAR models used incorrect NIR water vapor absorption as there was a clerical error in HITRAN that was larger in wm-2 than the postulated effect of 2xCO2. This error was knowwn by the time of IPCC TAR, but known too late to re-do the model runs. Needless to say it was not reported. 3) the models themselves are tuned. Ellingson in 1991 did a intercompaarison of CO2 radiation modules in GCMs and found that the modules were inconsistent and many in error. However, the models all agreed on the impact of 2xCO2. Ellingson archly mused on the possiblity of tuning to 2xCO2.

  109. jae
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 7:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re 96: Steve, welcome to the US Government. Believe me, this kind of unbelievable waste is pervasive and is totally out of control. There is no REASON, it’s just pork barrel politics. This is one of the reasons it is so important for the President to have line-item veto powers. Maybe Canada has better control of their tax dollars.

  110. jae
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 7:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve Bloom: It is becoming very obvious that science is not your cup of tea. You try to take worst-case scenarios for three studies and cascade them to “prove” a grand doomsday scenario. That is disingenuous, and you know it. Typical environmentalist. Better stick with the PR, hype, and fund-raising for the Sierra Club. Leave the data mongering to other folks there. Have you read Lomborg’s book?

  111. ET SidViscous
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 12:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Okay Steve sure.

    As soon as we go into an Ice age, cover the norhtern lattitudes with Ice, then go through a deglacial and hit peak ice melt and sustain it till the end of the century, all in a hundred years, then yes it might be possible.

    Wait even that won’t work because it will draw down sea level first.

    Just know way for it to happen the time frame discussed Steve.

    But you keep worrying about it.

    I wnat you to do this. Go down to the oceans edge, mark off high tide. THen next year on the same date, go back again, remember for your scenario the sea muct have risen 2.5″ in a year. If notthen the following year it has to rise at least 2.52″ year after 2.55″ and so forth.

    (On second thought, that might be a bad idea. He could go down to the coast and see the tide coming in, do a waorse case projection and start fearing we’re ll going to get wiped out now.)

    Steve might I suggest you never visit the Bay of Fundy.

  112. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 4:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Everyone should see the Bay of Fundy, especially, the “reversing falls.” And bring a kayak.

  113. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 25, 2006 at 4:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #107 Peter, CO2 is a green house gas, and we are adding it to the atmosphere. Earth is not a greenhouse, however, and climate has a large number of poorly-known feedbacks.

    It’s a question of knowledge. No one properly knows how those feedbacks work, or what their effect is over time. The uncerainties are much larger than any greenhouse contribution of CO2.

    It’s as though the answer you want is written in black, but the page is heavily coated with black paint. Science removes the paint, and the clear areas of the page represent our knowledge. The area of black covering the CO2 answer is more than 10 times larger than the area containing the CO2 answer. So long as that is true, it is impossible to say whether doubling CO2 will materially warm Earth climate. The analogy is poor, but I hope it conveys the point.

    #108 Steve, the best work I’ve seen on the problem was two papers by Matthew Collins (GRL 29(10), 1492, 10.1029/2001GL013919, 2002; Climate Dynamics (2002) 19, 671–692).

    He evaluated the initial value problem in the HadCM3, under conditions of nearly perfect knowledge and a perfect model. He then calculated RMS errors for various runs. The upshot was that tiny changes in initial conditions produce large changes in predicted climate variables; that under almost perfect conditions.

    His conclusions about the predictive accuracy of the HadCM3 model are not reassuring. Even with this, there is no actual propagation of errors through the calculations carried out in the model for any given run. How anyone can think the current GCMs are adequate to validate CO2 as a climate driver is beyond knowing.

  114. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 1:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #104: Apologize to Doug for what exactly? As for calling Pat a denialist, I think the several comments following yours made it real clear why it’s fair to call him that. But at least he was polite enough to finally state the basis for his a priori denialism. As for the evidence question, I’m curious what you’d like to see. Please list some things.

    You wrote “Its just that I like many others simply have reasonable doubts about the notion of AGW. What Steve M is doing is methodically testing the robustness of the argument and the processes of validation.” As I am now getting tired of pointing out, what Steve is doing has very little to do with “the notion of AGW.” Completely accurate paleo studies for recent times would be nice to have, but their value will always be somewhat limited because we can’t ever independently verify the extent of all of the historical forcings (short-term solar irradiance variations being the major one). If Steve is right and the tree ring studies are irretrievably useless, and assuming for the sake of argument that there are no other reliable proxies, then we will simply lack one useful tool for constraining climate sensitivity. There are a number of people on this site who fantasize about the HS meaning a lot more than it does, but I’m afraid fantasy is all it is. End of story.

  115. trevor
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 1:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #114: “There are a number of people on this site who fantasize about the HS meaning a lot more than it does, but I’m afraid fantasy is all it is.”

    Hey Steve, how about we make sure that message is headlined in TAR4 so that all of the punters out there can see that that which was headlined back in TAR 2001 is now “just a fantasy”!!

    Something like “Sierra Club Exec Comm member Steve Bloom today acknowledged that the emphasis on the Hockey Stick in the IPCC TAR 2001 was ‘just a fantasy’. The sterling forensic work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick has demonstrated that there were numerous flaws in the logic that are now acknowledged. Mind you, that doesn’t really matter. There is still a massive AGW problem, and we better do something about it!”

    Please edit it as you see fit, but that is the message that I am taking from your comments here.

    Oh, and perhaps an apology for leading us all up the garden path??

  116. Thomas Bolger
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 2:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steeve Bloom
    “There are a number of people on this site who fantasize about the HS meaning a lot more than it does”
    Come off it.
    The Hockey Stick is ubiquitous.
    All other proxies have been subsumed by it.
    Crowley used it to confirm and quantify CO2 forcing.
    If Crowley’s metnod is applied to a much more variable temperature record the a much lower figure for CO2 forcing will result.
    The breaking of the HS should be a mortal blow to the
    AGW conjecture.

  117. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 2:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #113, answer to #107: Pat, even if you were right about the degree of error (which you’re not), recall that we know how much CO2 is in the atmosphere today and how warm it is (both of these by direct measurement). Magnitude aside, even though we know from physics the warming effect of that CO2, the error you describe is associated with not knowing the amount of the CO2-induced net warming (because of the problem of accurately balancing its effect with all of the other forcings and feedbacks), and so we are not able to precisely predict how much warming a doubling would get us (given that the other forcings and feedbacks would be changing along with the CO2). But to then assume that to double CO2, noting again that its warming effect is a matter of physics, would somehow result in other forcings and feedbacks changing to such a degree that they would actually cancel out the warming from doubled CO2, is speculation verging on fantasy. But good luck getting the paper published. I’m sure somebody around here has Sonja’s email address in case you can’t find it.

  118. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 2:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #114 Steve Bloom says, “As for calling Pat a denialist, I think the several comments following yours made it real clear why it’s fair to call him that. But at least he was polite enough to finally state the basis for his a priori denialism.”

    Fairness in labeling doesn’t seem to be your strong suit, Steve. I’ve been very clear about the physical basis for my position on AGW for quite some time on this blog. I also made myself clear on John Quiggen’s blog some time ago, which you were present to read. In that light, you calling me a denialist (#81) was no more than a baseless intellectual slander; especially because you did so immediately after quoting my #73 which summarized the science-based reason to doubt the AGW claim. You going on to say that such a label is “fair” is no more than a lie in support of your prior slander. But I have to grant you this: Your slanders and lies are always politely drawn. You display a wonderfully corrupt political expertise, but you evince little regard for intellectual integrity.

    Trevor is right on: Your last two sentences in #114 demonstrate the proper outlook to merit employment in Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth.”

  119. Thomas Bolger
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 2:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Magnitude aside, even though we know from physics the warming effect of that CO2″
    This depends on the Physics you use.
    My knowledge of Physics is the prime cause of my sceptism.

  120. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 2:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #117, Steve your entire ramble can be summarized thusly: ‘We know doubled CO2 is going to have a profound effect on global temperature even if we don’t know whether doubled CO2 is going to have a profound effect on global temperature.

    My skepticism about doubled CO2 concerns the knowledge claims made, Steve. Parsing between what we know about physical reality and physical reality itself is a difficult mental exercise, I know. I’m not being sarcastic; it truly is difficult. But I’m concerned with knowledge claims. If we don’t know, we don’t know.

    Doubling CO2 might physically lead to a runaway Venus. It may produce no measureable effect. I don’t know. The point is, neither do you, and neither does anyone else. That lack of knowledge makes me skeptical of people who preach impending AGW disaster. They literally don’t know what they’re talking about.

    And, if you don’t mind, allow me to head off a possible rejoinder. There is no basis for a “precautionary principle” in the absence of knowledge. Doing nothing may be the wrong thing to do. Do something may also be the wrong thing to do. The opposites also apply. That’s the point about not knowing, Steve: One doesn’t know.

  121. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 2:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #116: Thomas, please read http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=114#more-114 on this subject. As for the HS being ubiquitous, I know Mike will be pleased to hear about that, but I’m afraid your comment about it having subsumed all other proxies doesn’t quite make sense. Do you have a cite or link to the Crowley paper? Finally, regarding the metaphor in your last remark, please have the decency to let us North Americans get a few more months between us and the unfortunate events in Turin before using it again.

  122. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 3:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #118: Thanks for all the compliments, Pat, but remember that you wrote:

    “Here’s my opinion on the matter in a nut-shell. The AGW scare is one symptom of a more general failure of nerve among western intellectuals following the murderous disasters of the 20th century. They have abandoned knowledge in favor of an inchoate and romantic expiation.”

    I think you let your rhetoric get ahead of you here. Note that you assert “the AGW scare” is invalid because it and other unidentified symptoms derive from the “more general failure.” If that’s not an a priori rejection of AGW, I don’t know what would be.

  123. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 3:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #119: OK, Thomas, here’s what the IPCC says about the physics: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/260.htm . Please be clear about where you disagree with it.

  124. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 3:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #120: Pat, discussing in generalities whether the D+A is valid is pointless. Please point to exactly where you think the IPCC falls down on this; it’s the same link I just gave Thomas. You have read it carefully prior to now, right?

    Regarding your remark that a runaway greenhouse is possible with double CO2: Now *there’s* a disaster scenario! As I said before, since the warming effect of doubled CO2 is basic physics, you have to postulate plausible mechanisms to counter it (or add to it in the case of a runaway). Since they are all forcings and feedbacks that are subject to some degree of quantification, their behavior can be constrained and we can see if there’s any hope of them adding up to enough to cancel the CO2 doubling. Hundreds of highly qualified climate scientists have done just that and concluded that we will get substantial warming. I don’t think they’re wrong. But go get ‘em.

    Regarding the precautionary principle, you may of course use the term any way you like, but I don’t know any environmentalist who would agree with your version. Now I’m kicking myself for not getting the copyright. :)

  125. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 4:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 123: Steve, thanks for the IPCC take on the physics. The general problem with theoretical physics, as well as the IPCC model suite, is that they neglect the dynamic nature of the system.

    The earth is a tera-watt scale heat engine. It converts solar energy into fluid motion and radiation. To quote Bejan (1),

    In this paper, constructal theory is extended to the
    problem of atmospheric and oceanic circulation driven by heating from the sun.
    The method consists of viewing the Sun–Earth–Universe assembly as an extraterrestrial
    power plant the power output of which is used for the purpose of forcing the atmosphere and
    hydrosphere to flow.

    An unusual feature of the planetary heat engine is that it is “overdriven”. That is to say, not all of the incoming energy is used, a large amount (~30%) is simply thrown away, reflected back into space.

    This control over the amount of incoming energy, of course, acts as a governor on the overall speed and operating temperature of the heat engine. Obviously, given the climate history of the planet, this is a very stable governing system — the planet has neither frozen solid nor boiled away, and has stayed within the narrow range needed for life to exist, for billions of years.

    Yes, theoretical physics suggests that if we double the CO2, the temperature will raise by a degree or so, some say more because of hypothesized feedbacks.

    Whether temperatures rise in that amount in the context of an over-driven, governed, tera-watt scale, constructal, multistable heat engine with a large number of known and unknown forcings and feedbacks is a very different question, one where theory is not much help.

    w.

    1) Adrian Bejan1, and A. Heitor Reis2, Thermodynamic optimization of global circulation and climate

    INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESEARCH
    Int. J. Energy Res. 2005; 29:303–316
    Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/er.1058

    1Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Duke University, Box 90300,
    Durham, NC 27708-0300, U.S.A.

    2 Department of Physics, University of !EEvora, Colegio Luis Verney, Rua Rom* ao Ramalho, 59,
    7000-671 !EEvora, Portugal

    SUMMARY
    The constructal law of generation of flow structure is used to predict the main features of global circulation
    and climate. The flow structure is the atmospheric and oceanic circulation. This feature is modelled as
    convection loops, and added to the earth model as a heat engine heated by the Sun and cooled by the
    background. It is shown that the dissipation of the power produced by the earth engine can be maximized
    by selecting the proper balance between the hot and cold zones of the Earth, and by optimizing the thermal
    conductance of the circulation loops. The optimized features agree with the main characteristics of global
    circulation and climate. The robustness of these predictions, and the place of the constructal law as a selfstanding
    principle in thermodynamics, are discussed.

    KEY WORDS: constructal theory; climate; global circulation; thermodynamic optimization

  126. John Lish
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 4:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #114 – Steve Bloom, you asked “As for the evidence question, I’m curious what you’d like to see. Please list some things.”

    OK, since you are willing to take up the challenge. I would like some empirically measurable evidence (which rules out any computer modelling or dodgy statistical slights of hand) demonstrating an abnormal warming of the climate caused by andropogenic activity. Something real in 2006 – not too much to ask for.

  127. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 4:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #117, Steve Bloom

    I’m sure somebody around here has Sonja’s email address in case you can’t find it.

    Who is Sonja ?

  128. John Lish
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 5:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh and Steve Bloom, manners makest the man – Having read Doug’s comments here and elsewhere, it is clear to me that he has a valid hypothesis and criticism of the GCMs built on scientific knowledge. Cheap jibes about the oil industry or suggesting he lacked standing due to you being unaware of his published articles only serves to debase you.

  129. Thomas Bolger
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 5:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve Bloom
    The physics in IPCC was written by GW protagonists and isn’t gospel
    Here is some simple physics.
    CO2 absorbs 40% more heat than air.
    At night this xs heat is radiated to the aur which in turn is losing heat to outer space.
    Water absorbs 1000 of times more heat than the air evaporatng into the air and when it loses heat at night
    it forms clouds trappng a high proportion of the heat that has been absorbed by the air. The radiative properties of CO2 have little to do with GW

  130. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 5:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #128: I don’t recall making any remark about a connection between Doug and the oil industry, and I was very much aware of his papers. Doug hasn’t published anything for some years now, and I think it’s fair to say that his views on the role solar irradiance and CO2 in global warming are not accepted by the mainstream of science.

  131. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 5:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #122, More of the same from you, steve. Where do you see the word “because” in my statement (105)? You’ve gotten past inapt in your replies and have proceeded onward into self-serving invention.

    #124, the warming effect of CO2 in Earth climate is not basic physics, Steve. It’s complex physics because Earth climate is not in a closed bottle. Maybe you didn’t notice. As to your “constraints,” when the constraints aren’t known to within an order of magnitude or more of the effect of interest, one can’t hope to see anything of it.

    It’s an interesting thing about the IPCC TAR. What I’ve read of the text itself is well-qualified and makes no untoward predictions. One would never know that from comments IPCC directs to the public.

    For example, Figure 6.6 in the TAR here is not reassuring with regard to factor analysis. Exactly there it says that GCM forcings, “do not have a statistical basis and are guided mostly by the estimates from published model studies.” That is, they are based in simulations, and are neither empirical nor deduced from theory. The TAR text goes on, “Performing mathematical manipulations using these ranges to obtain a “net uncertainty range” for the total forcing, therefore, lacks a rigorous basis.“, meaning they don’t really know the magnitude or the range of the forcings. It goes on, “Adding to the complexity is the fact that each forcing has associated with it an assessment of the level of knowledge that is subjective in nature…” meaning that GCM forcings are best guesses.

    Why anyone would suppose this as a reassuring assessment of uncertainties by climatologists is hard to know. Yet, in the Summary for Policymakers, we have, in large print bolded, colorized, and italicized, “Confidence in the ability of models to project future climate has increased.” and, “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” and, “Anthropogenic climate change will persist for many centuries.” All this upfront and emphasized as “likely,” meaning a 66-90% chance, despite the extreme uncertainties listed in the body of the TAR, and as abbreviated above.

    How would you explain such a peculiar and striking disconnect between the contents and the summary?

    Is that clear enough?

  132. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 5:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #127: A small, independent publisher with a novel perspective on peer review.

    Re #129: Thomas, could you supply some technical references for that? They don’t seem quite right.

  133. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 6:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE #131: Yes Pat, “because” was my word. But are you saying that the AGW “symptom” did not derive from a “general failure” that preceded it? If so, that would involve causation, which in turn makes because a pretty fair term to use.

    The direct warming effect of the CO2 isn’t all that complicated. The net warming effect after all the forcings and feedbacks are taken into account is.

    Regarding the uncertainties, obviously the IPPC scientists didn’t think they were all that large. But also, as Steve M. will tell you since he’s an AR4 reviewer, a huge amount of the uncertainty discussed in the TAR is now history. Science marches on.

  134. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 6:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #132, Steve Bloom

    Re #127: A small, independent publisher with a novel perspective on peer review.

    I get the impression I am missing something here. Could you provide a link, or a surname ?

  135. Thomas Bolger
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 6:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    S.Bloom
    It should be plainly obvious even to someone like you.

  136. David Archibald
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 6:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #127 My guess is that this is a reference to Energy and Environment. I should know, because Energy and Environment just published my paper predicting a 1.5 degree temperature decline to 2020, due to weak solar cycles 24 and 25.

  137. jae
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 7:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re: 124 and other Steven Bloom posts:

    Regarding the precautionary principle, you may of course use the term any way you like, but I don’t know any environmentalist who would agree with your version. Now I’m kicking myself for not getting the copyright

    Yup, assuming some worst-case outcome and proposing some extreme actions, “to be safe” is the essence of environmental extremism. You can justify ANYTHING you want to do, using the precautionary principle, which is why the extremists love it so much. So maybe we should start devoting all the Earth’s resources to building a mega rocket with a mega bomb, JUST IN CASE a meteor threatens to blow this rock apart. We should all go back to caves, JUST IN CASE CO2 is causing global warming. Give me a break.

    Steve, you are in over your head in these discussions. You are using your BELIEFS to argue against people who are simply exploring the science behind the putative AGW THEORY. If you think it is all settled, then you are truly from a different planet. The physics is far too complicated to make any deductive conclusions at this point. As pointed out above, even IPCC agrees with this. Therefore, the models are not very useful for predictive purposes, since they are based on physics. And the tree proxy studies—well, even you finally seem to be understanding how useless they are. So what else is there, Steve?

  138. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 7:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Concerning my earlier post #37 where I said “I question the very basis of the method to calculate radiative forcing and that is covered in the comments at http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/2006/02/09/the-need-to-broaden-the-ipcc-perspective/“, a spectroscopic expert has written me saying he reproduced my calculations rather closely and agrees with me that the radiative forcing is not done correctly. I also have direct communications from 2 other scientists agreeing with my conclusions and saying that other colleagues of theirs agree as well. At some point, I expect there will be a publication on this topic. In stellar physics, calculations have been done the way I describe for 78 years, so it should not be a controversial topic.

    The basis of AGW is the postulation of an atmosphere that physically cannot exist. Since I am trained in physics, I feel that this defect in logic should be pointed out. My motivations are based upon getting the physics correct. I see many errors in physics in the climate models and I see many people who do not want to correct these errors.

  139. jae
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Damn block quotes: I got it backwards again in 37.

  140. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 7:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with Doug Hoyt’s argument, by the way.

  141. John A
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 7:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #138

    I’d like to see that paper.

  142. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 8:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #136, David Archibald, thank you.

  143. kim
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 8:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Bloom, in #122 you have the causation backward. The ‘more general failure’ exists because of a body of instances like the inchoate anthropogenic component of warming.
    ==========================================

  144. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 7:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #125: Willis, the text you quote doesn’t support your assertions. Of course while we know that we don’t have to worry about large swings in climate that would endanger life on a large scale, the geologic record is filled with examples of smaller swings toward either ice ages or hot spells. Your closing remark seems to be saying that we should just give up on trying to understand climate. Did I miss something?

  145. Steve Bloom
    Posted Mar 26, 2006 at 7:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #136: Good for you, David. Who did the peer review? (Just kidding.) But just out of curiosity, isn’t that basically the same prediction those two Russian scientists made (and bet James Annan over) a year or so ago? Also, by what year do you expect there to be a significant down trend? Very soon now, I would think.

    Re #138: It will be very interesting to see that paper, Doug. But if you already have the calculations, why not post them here now?

  146. David Archibald
    Posted Mar 27, 2006 at 1:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for those kind thoughts, Steve. A whole raft of solar physicists are predicting a weak solar cycle 24, and a number of those a weak solar cycle 25. Basically, we are in for a repeat of the Dalton Minimum, and yes, it is starting soon. Let’s backtrack a bit. Dr Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, the editor of Energy and Environment, became wary of groupthink in her youth in East Germany. Hers is one journal publishing in climate science that is not run by an AGW-promotor. This, of course, is very upsetting to AGW types like yourself. The situation in climate science is like having most of the biology journals run by creationists.

    The cause of my initial interest in climate science was the same as Steve McIntyre’s – the language of the AGW promotors is the same as that of shonky mining promotors. It raised a big red flag. What I find hilarious about the AGW religion is the attempt to re-impose medieval sumptiary laws. Of course having poor people in Europe being able to fly to Spain for the weekend is against the laws of nature. My motivation is that I like Western Civilisation, and I am doing my bit to protect it from the evil animists trying to impose nature worship on the rest of us. And by the way, I am not funded by ExxonMobil, I do my own oil exploration. I spent the weekend staking wellsites in northern Australia for our upcoming drilling programme.

  147. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Mar 27, 2006 at 8:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    You have to wonder then in the face of this overwhelming, Galileo-like repudiation, how come Lomborg thinks otherwise ** and that he accepts “the reality of manmade global warming’? Hasn’t he read these comments?

    Best,

    D

    Just because an oft-quoted person characterized as a skeptic believes there is
    “man-made global warming” does not mean that all skeptics should follow his lead.

    This is the same non-sensical logic I see you often berate on boards such as this.

  148. kim
    Posted Mar 27, 2006 at 9:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    David Archbald: Thank you for making me look up sumptuary. It might be worth your while to look up a paper by Karl Stacey, done on sabbatical at the ANU in 1968, re finding strategically safe hydrocarbon deposits onshore.
    =============================

  149. Chris Chittleborough
    Posted Mar 27, 2006 at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve had a some experience with computer modelling of partially-understood physical processes (but not with anything even comparable in complexity to the planetary climate). You need a computable formula for the state of each variable in each grid cell at time t+àŽ⳴ based on the values at time t. Sometimes the physical processes are well understood and you can just get formulae from the literature — but then you’re not doing computer modelling, you’re doing applied numerical analysis. (Aside: while lack of knowledge of statistics amongst dendrochronologists is a serious problem, lack of knowledge of numerical analysis amongst computer programmers and computer users is a much bigger problem. Not that I’m any sort of expert…)

    So computer modellers need to come up with the formulae. Often the “shape” of a formula can be derived from basic physics, from dimensional analysis, or even from educated guesswork — that is, you’ll have a good idea of what variables will appear in each formula and in what form. For instance, you might get

    f = a x² + b y + c sqrt z

    but not know the coefficients a, b and c. (In practice, you will often be able to make rough guesses.) So how can you do any computer modelling? Well, you can run the model with several different values for the coefficients, and pick the set that best matches the experimental data. In fact, some people use Multiple Linear Regression to analyse closeness of fit vs values of coefficients and pick the best ones from that. I am not making this up.

    The proper approach is to use only part of the experimental data in setting the coefficients, then compare the model’s predictions to the rest of the data — which should sound familiar. In some cases, it is even safe to interpret the coefficients as physical quantities. (I do not think climate is one of those cases.) But what you have is not a model that describes the physical processes and therefore can provide reliable extrapolations, just a model that describes the experimental data and can do only interpolation.

  150. Dano
    Posted Mar 27, 2006 at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    147:

    Just because an oft-quoted person characterized as a skeptic believes there is
    “man-made global warming” does not mean that all skeptics should follow his lead.

    This is the same non-sensical logic I see you often berate on boards such as this.

    I don’t think he ‘believes’. I think he came to a conclusion via Enlightenment principles, not Revelation. Belief becomes a FUD phrase used to marginalize positions in these cases when used incorrectly.

    So I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

    We’re not talking about backing our assertions with revelation, rather rationalization.

    This is purportedly a science site, right?

    Best,

    D

  151. Chris Chittleborough
    Posted Mar 27, 2006 at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Woops – that mini-essay on modelling was in reaction to some of the preceding comments, not the actual post.

    (Back on-topic:) For a research establishment to have strange funding structures is depressingly common, even in a parliamentary democracy like Australia. It’s not suprising that things are much, much worse in the U.S., where pork-barelling and “earmarks” are endemic.

  152. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 27, 2006 at 10:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #149. Chris, the multiproxy modelers often do a calibration-verification exercise of the type that you mention, but there are two problems. One, the data is usually very highly autocorrelated so that the verification period is inadequately spearated from the calibration period to give a reliable RE statistic. Second, the RE statistic is used to pick models (see Burger and Cubasch 2005 on this) so that the verification period becomes part of the calibration and there is no check left for overfitting. Spurious models are rife even with supposed cross-validation.

  153. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 28, 2006 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #133 Wrong again, Steve B. You wrote in #122 that, “Note that you assert “the AGW scare” is invalid because … of the “more general failure”…” But that’s not the reason I gave at all for the invalidity of the AGW scare. The reasons I’ve given all along for the invalidity of AGW is because science cannot support it.

    You also wrote, “Regarding the uncertainties, obviously the IPPC scientists didn’t think they were all that large.”

    Yet another error of fact. anyone reading the TAR notes that the IPCC scientists thought the uncertainties were very large. However, the uncertainties were falsely downplayed in the Summary for Policymakers. You remember that part, Steve. It’s the part that NGO apparatchiks like yourself had a hand in writing.

    Finally, this gem: “But also, as Steve M. will tell you since he’s an AR4 reviewer, a huge amount of the uncertainty discussed in the TAR is now history. Science marches on.”

    Well done, Steve. You’ve just admitted that all the climate alarmism prior to the 4AR was scientifically unsubstantial. But then, given the opinions you’ve expressed in this blog, that wouldn’t have bothered your program.

    It’s ironic to see you speak of ‘science marching on,’ when it appears from your comments here that the significance science has for you is either as an impediment against, or a tool for, getting your way.

    I’ve been tracking the science, Steve. It hasn’t marched very far on at all since the TAR. At the least, not in any direction you’d like.

  154. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Mar 29, 2006 at 1:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: 110. JAE you are onto something here, let me explain. Indeed, in the world of my day job, the best practice is to use Monte Carlo simulations to look at the “stack up” of noise / tolerance / variation / spuriousness / bad stuff in general. Notice how Steve Bloom does a stack up of worst case and meanwhile, the so called “climate science” community shys away from openly doing realistic Monte Carlo simulations of the entire stack of variations, trends, transients and the like? There could be multiple runs, some tweaking the amount of negative feedback just to see what happens. That would be real objective work to understand what is happening. But oh no, we can’t go THERE!

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

*
*

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,114 other followers

%d bloggers like this: