BBC Radio 4: The Battle for Influence – Overselling Climate Change

The radio program is available on the Internet live at 20.00 hrs BST (just over 15 minutes from now). Click on this link to get to the right program and click "Listen Live" Update (SM): The following link gives the written version of the program. Their interview with me got left on the cutting room floor, but as noted below, there is a link to climateaudit from the BBC.

The blurb says:

Overselling Climate Change

Thursday 20 April 2006 20:00-20:30 (Radio 4 FM)

Simon Cox reports on how scientists are becoming worried by the quality of research used to back up the most extreme climate predictions.

Every week we are assailed by scare stories about the climate. Malaria in Africa, hurricanes in Florida, even the death of frogs in Latin America – all are being linked to global warming. But does the science behind these claims really stand up, or are the risks of climate change being oversold to win the battle for influence?

Well we’ll see (or hear in this case).

The radio program should be available on the website for at least the next week so if you’ve missed the live version, I’ll put the archive link up when it appears.

JA adds: For those who missed the live version, you can now listen to it by following this link


163 Comments

  1. fFreddy
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 12:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There is also an article on Auntie’s web site here, which includes a link to CliamteAudit.

  2. John A
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A link, a link, a palpable link!

    I can die a happy man.

  3. JEM
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 1:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The reputed correlation between changes in temperature and frog deaths in the broadcast reminds me of the known numerical correlation between radio sets sold in pre-WWII UK and the number of people certified insane.

    Arn’t statistics wonderful?

  4. John Lish
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 1:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I thought it was interesting to hear the guy from climateprediction.net state that his models had a sensitivity of 3 degrees. The mean average represented was three degrees. Did that strike anybody else as odd?

  5. fFreddy
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 1:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Are these the guys who were at the NAS panel ? No mention of it in the broadcast.

  6. John A
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 1:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I think this is part one of three. McIntyre to come later, methinks.

  7. fFreddy
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 1:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Myles Allen, the guy from climateprediction.net, was disgraceful.

  8. fFreddy
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John, I don’t think so. The 1/3 refers to the series, of which climate alarmism is only one topic. Next week’s is about secondary schools.

  9. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 1:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I thought that Simon Cox asked Myles Allen a good question about why the press release didn’t mention 3 degrees and only mentioned 11 degrees. It was pretty amusing to hear Myles Allen argue that it would have “more misleading” to mention 3 degrees.

    I thought that they did a good job on the role of press releases in creating inflammatory material. Press releases can be pernicious in other ways – Hansen’s press release claimed excellent fit over a short period without disclosing a poor fit over a long period. Lambert argued that the poor long-term fit was disclosed in the fine print of the article and so there was nothing wrong.

    Maybe climate scientists in issuing press releases whould have to observe standards applicable to mining promoters. The climateprediction.net press release would not have been permitted in a mining promotion.

  10. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 1:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #5,6. This is it for now. The NAS panel was left on the cutting room floor.

    Given the current climateprediction.net schmozzle, their timing was pretty good.

  11. John A
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 1:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #7

    I was laughing loudly at climateprediction. They feed a press release containing just the 11C figure and then blame the media (including the BBC) for quoting just the 11C figure. I mean, did they complain about this media exaggeration to anyone?

    Like John Lish, I wondered how they could claim that the sensitivity of the model was 3C and the mean of the runs was 3C but then say that it wasn’t scientifically significant to report that but was to trumpet loud and hard the 11C outlier? Balls.

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 1:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What’s the over/under on this show being mentioned at realclimate? Anyone want to see if you can mention it without being censored?

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Here’s link for the 2005 press release from climateprediction.net. David Frame of climateprediction.net is one of the coauthors of Hegerl et al.

  14. John Lish
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 2:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #5 – I think fFreddie that the difficulty comes from the fact that the NAS process hasn’t yet been concluded and also that its a more complicated story than 25mins allows. The programme was targeted and effective in embarassing those making outlandish claims and made a real change from the hype. I enjoyed it.

  15. Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 2:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I went to the BBC written version of this story. On the right hand side was a link to Climate Audit. A link to climatepredection, the IPCC and others, but no link to RealClimate.

  16. Greg F
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 2:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I just shake my head in amazement at the justification “everything in the press release was true‘. Someone needs to explain to them what a lie by omission is.

  17. Jim Erlandson
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 2:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Which part was John Cleese playing?

  18. Rod
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 3:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I wonder if the BBC insisted on the rider at the end of the programme?

  19. John A
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The rider at the end was a BBC attempt at “balance”. Didn’t work.

    The way it began with Simon Cox asking ordinary people how much the global temperature had risen in the last Century, with people saying 1.5-3C and then being surprised that it was only 0.6C was a nice touch. When people hear how little the temperature has actually changed, they start to wonder what the fuss is about.

    Myles Allen was given lots of rope and hung himself. Cox didn’t have to even push him at all – Allen’s injuries were entirely self-inflicted strangulation.

  20. John Lish
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 3:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #19 – they were bloody undergraduates from the University of London or East London or something (what mickey mouse poly did that used to be?) on a fieldtrip to East Anglia studying the effects of longshore drift…

  21. TCO
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 3:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I think the rider at the end is reasonable. I don’t want them to play into the brewcrew skeptics that runs around with trite/silly/stupid arguments.

  22. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 3:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “with people saying 1.5-3C and then being surprised that it was only 0.6C was a nice touch. When people hear how little the temperature has actually changed, they start to wonder what the fuss is about.”

    You can do that yourself, as I do all the time.

    Kind of fun, let someone get all up into a lather about CO2 this, George Bush that, Climate change, melting glaciers, Polar bears Penguins living in Sahara like conditions (That’s a new one I expect to hear after Bore’s movie).

    After they get all worked up.

    “How much has the Climate changed over the 20th century?”
    “3-4 degrees.”
    “Nope, 0.6C.”

    The face they give is a look that is best described as vacuous.

    Then I start asking stuff about how much of that is natural and how much man made, and then I ask them how much they think is acceptable.

    I’ve yet to get a good answer.

  23. TCO
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 3:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Do you have a transcript? The recorded version requires RealPlayer and I refuse to download that trojan-like mess. Or is there a WMP version. Seems that there was more content in the radio show than the written article.

  24. Greg F
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 3:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TCO,
    I listened to it at 4:00 EST with WMP. When I clicked on the link to listen it asked which player I wanted to use.

  25. RichardV
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 3:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I produced the documentary. I think what you describe as the rider was important because we wanted to move beyond the sceptics v believers argument. I think the programme was better for not featuring sceptics, that the true believers could just dismiss.

    Climate science needs to be put under the same degree of public scrutiny as politics, business and other scientific fields. This can’t happen if you have to choose to be either a partisan sceptic or an uncritical believer.

  26. Greg F
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 4:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RichardV,

    People seem to be under the impression that scientists are always objective. I don’t know if it was intended but the documentary was effective in illustrating that scientist are human and prone to bias just like the rest of us. I believe the approach you took was effective, nice job.

  27. jae
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 4:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 25, 26: I agree with both posts. I thought the linked article was very insightful and timely (haven’t seen the full documentary, yet). It’s about time that this “scientific consensus” crapola gets squashed. There is no consensus.

  28. jae
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 4:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hope everyone has seen this:

    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=3711460e-bd5a-475d-a6be-4db87559d605

    Small world. I know some of these guys very well.

  29. fFreddy
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 4:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RichardV : Thank you for a solid bit of work. I hope you get more air time to deal with this story.

  30. John A
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 4:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #25

    Richard,

    Nice of you to drop in.

    Climate science needs to be put under the same degree of public scrutiny as politics, business and other scientific fields. This can’t happen if you have to choose to be either a partisan sceptic or an uncritical believer.

    I completely agree with that statement. But who is going to apply that scrutiny? The BBC has not done so so far – in point of fact, the BBC website is chock full of alarmist warnings of climate chaos of which the climateprediction case is just one example. Nearly every day a new headline predicts this or that future catastrophe based on the opinions of climate modellers or based on this or that proxy study whose press releases are deliberately alarmist and worded for maximum publicity.

    On the same page as your programme is mentioned, is a link to the “BBC Action Network” which contains this:

    Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Celsius over the course of the last century, and are predicted to rise even more rapidly in coming decades. Most scientists argue climate change is caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide and other polluting gases in the atmosphere. There are others who believe global warming is part of the earth’s natural weather cycle.

    Except that “about 1 degree Celcius” is 66% higher than the real figure. Exaggerating for effect?

    The BBC has extensive website links to “Planet under Pressure” whose message is persistently alarmist. It was the BBC who hyped the climateprediction.net publicity as “Alarm at new climate warming“. Then there’s endless stories about invading malaria (which was endemic in Britain during the Little Ice Age) and climate change expected to cause an large increase in flies and on and on. If you search on “climate” and “alarm” on the BBC website you’ll see how extensive has been the BBC’s general commitment to alarm with a new series called “Climate Chaos” and the sponsoring of another modelling study by the very same people at climateprediction.net that you reported were guilty of hyping that last modelling runs.

    The BBC has recently done yet another program which featured “The Mann Hockey Stick” reconstruction of past climate, which the owner of this blog has shown very extensively in the scientific literature to be completely unlikely to be a meaningful reconstruction of anything. It still uses that one deeply flawed study has its sole reconstruction of past climate (see here and click on “Long Term High”)

    Who is going to “put climate science under the same degree of scrutiny as politics, business and other scientific fields”? Not the BBC as far as I can see, because the BBC has swallowed climate alarmism hook, line. sinker and copy of “Angling Times”

  31. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 4:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi, Richard, thanks for dropping in. A half-hour show hardly does justice to the material that you had in hand. Cross-checking malaria in Ethiopia and frogs in Costa Rica, together with climateprediction.net press releases was a lot of ground to cover.

    I thought that your analysis of the “sociology” of alarmism was very interesting, and the highlighting of the role of press releases was very insightful. The questions to Myles Allen were terrific.

    John A., I think that you should be be more generous in recognizing that this was a very brave show in BBC terms. Since the title of the show was announced, I can’t imagine how much pressure there has been on Richard and Simon Cox. With the recent climateprediction.net fiasco, they must have been apoplectic at the prospect of this show running.

  32. John A
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 5:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #31

    For that very reason, I am very impressed that this programme was even made inside the BBC. At the very least, we can understand that Richard and Simon must have faced in tackling this issue inside the Corporation

    I must admit though, that it is just one radio programme. I hope that Richard and Simon would agree that there is more to this story than just a few overhyped and speculative press releases.

  33. Doug L
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 7:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It’ll be interesting to see if these intrepid reporters have difficulty getting interviews with climate scientists in the future (for whatever reason).

  34. TokenModerateGuy
    Posted Apr 20, 2006 at 8:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The link provided to listen to the recording didn’t work for me. Instead, I had to go to the “written version” of the program and click the appropriate link on the right side of the page.

  35. RichardV
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 1:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    We criticised the BBC in the programme. I totally agree with the 1 degree Celsius point you make John. Indeed I made a similar point about a quiz on a BBC site which asked you to guess how much the globe had warmed, 1C, 2C or 3C.

    I have some sympathy with my colleagues you have just a couple of hours to turn round a story and are mainly working from a press release. We had the opportunity to spend weeks reading around the subject an talking to many scientists on 5 continents.

    In our programme we focused on an environmental agency report that produced newspaper headlines like tropical Britain and welcome to waterworld. The BBC took this approach:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4720104.stm

    The headline was ” UK’s ‘sobering’ climate forecast” not alarmist in anyone’s book. I think this is a great example of you should cover things.

    The BBC covers so many things it will make mistakes and it has many faults but I think it has the highest standards of any news organisation in the world. I think this story indicates this. It used to be that when you travelled in Africa people would thank you for the BBC especially in places like Zimbabwe. Now I get that in America.

  36. per
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 1:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I was very much amused by one of the scientists on the programme. The research showed a likely increase of 3 degrees, but a small possibility of an 11 degree rise in temperature; yet the press release only mentioned the 11 degree figure. When pressed, said scientist waxes lyrical about how it would be misleading to have even mentioned the 3 degree figure :)
    Strange how two people can start with the same facts, and yet come to such different conclusions !
    cheers
    per

  37. John A
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 2:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #35

    Richard, I assume you are familiar with the term “black propaganda”?

    Let’s take climateprediction.net. According to your report, the extreme outlier for a hypothetical instant doubling of carbon dioxide (what I called a “carbon dioxide bomb”) was 11C, but the mean was around 3C. Now before we get all relieved, 3C is five times the rise duing the 20th Century, and on what basis? On the basis that the climate model actually models the real earth’s climate. According to Myles Allen, the model was tuned to produce 3C sensitivity, and therefore it was “misleading” to focus on this figure.

    (In point of fact, the real story about climateprediction.net was broken by a freelance climate researcher, Warwick Hughes)

    Let’s try a factoid. Assuming all representative countries (including the US) had signed the Kyoto Protocol as Al Gore had wanted, what would have been the reduction in the expected rise in temperature by 2050?

    The answer? 0.07C

    That factoid is courtesy of the very pro-global warming climate modeller, Tom Wigley.

    Now 0.07C is unmeasureable by any instrumentation we have (including satellites) and is, by way of comparison, a smaller temperature difference than the temperature of your skin fluctuates when your heart beats.

    Absurd?

    I have some sympathy with my colleagues you have just a couple of hours to turn round a story and are mainly working from a press release. We had the opportunity to spend weeks reading around the subject an talking to many scientists on 5 continents.

    Unfortunately I have less sympathy. It ill behoves the BBC to have journalists producing information to the world based on a press release and a phone call to one of the modelling team. What is the haste? Is that the way you scrutinize politicians or business? Why do climate modellers get such uncritical treatment?

    You now know that climate scientists are exaggerating for effect, reporting outliers based on extremely unlikely premises. You should also know that the BBC is still reporting the “Mann Hockey Stick” as the sole reconstruction of past climatic change, even though people like Hans von Storch described it last year as “quatsch” meaning “junk, garbage”, and even the original authors and their cheerleaders are backing away from it and emphasizing that climate science has “moved on”.

    You might want to keep an eye on this place, for you’ll find quite a few revelations of famous climate modellers reporting great precision for short periods of time while failing to show that their models failed statistical tests for significance (putting them at no better than a table of random numbers) for most of the data, of paleoclimate reconstructions using “cherry-picked” and secret mixes of dubious proxies which will feature in the next IPCC review.

  38. David H
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 3:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    While many of us share John’s frustrations, we should be grateful to Richard and his team for such an excellent programme. We should also note that it was the most heavily trailed of recent weeks and may well have been heard by many people that have not thought deeply enough about the subject. My hope is that Sir Nick Stern caught the programme along with all of the Today Team.

  39. miniTax
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As a Frenchman, I am shattered hearing the BBC’s story about frogs extinction. Dr Pounds works have me believe global warming will make frog legs price skyrocket: so bad for our cuisine. We poor froggies!

  40. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 6:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #37. John A, I’d lay off about the “secret” mix of proxies. The mix will be known in due course and is merely a source of frustration right now. The worse thing is not so much that they are not presently known, but that out of the universe of hundreds of available proxy series at WDCP, one can accurately predict which 12 proxies they are likely to use.

  41. JEM
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 7:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    miniTax,

    Frog extinction has of course been English government policy for many centuries.

    Only kidding….. :)

  42. fFreddy
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 7:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #35, RichardV

    I have some sympathy with my colleagues you have just a couple of hours to turn round a story and are mainly working from a press release.

    And this, of course, is the root of the problem : the enviro-PR firms know this and are taking advantage of it. As long as BBC News follows the commercial stations in just repeating whatever is hot, they will be giving the authority of the BBC to whichever spin doctor is best at manipulating the news cycle.
    I agree that some mistakes are inevitable in an organisation of the BBC’s size. However, this is more of an example of a systemic failure, and the ongoing gullibility of BBC news in this area is a large part of this week’s absurdity of the leaders of the main political parties competing to out-green each other. Whatever the nation may think, the politicians all think that they have to abase themselves before the green lobby to have a hope of getting into power. Which, of course, is what the abominable Steve Bloom and his ilk have been aiming for all along.
    Despite which, Richard, I can only emphasise what I said in #29 above. I very much hope to see you covering this story more in the near future.

  43. Paul Linsay
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 8:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #35. RichardV

    It used to be that when you travelled in Africa people would thank you for the BBC especially in places like Zimbabwe. Now I get that in America.

    I take it you’re visiting Cambridge, Madison, or Berkeley?

  44. jae
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Aha! Now maybe the “shocking news” that will get everyone’s attention, especially the media, is that much (if not most)of climate “science” is junk science. That could produce some real headlines, indeed!

  45. John A
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I visited the Royal Society this week, and guess which project the RS decided to publicize on their visitor information screens? Take a wild guess….

  46. RichardV
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Certainly you get it more on the coasts but we travel in red America too. People used to not know who the BBC was now they do. One waiter in DC once said to me “The BBC… weren’t you guys big in the sixties”

    The USA is now the second biggest audience for the World Service after Nigeria.

  47. TCO
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    You’re doing fine, Richard. Go for the truth and let the chips fall where they may. JohnA gets a little fired-up at times. I tend to be the voice of calm reason on this blog. :)

  48. Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thankyou Richard. I have been hammering on the issue of exaggeration of extinction risk for years (see “Biased Towards Extinction” at http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V7/N19/EDIT.jsp)
    and I am so glad to see the ball finally being run with.

    In general it can be shown the the high rates of extinction due to climate change predicted in these models can be replicated in a simple geometric model that includes error terms. As the errors in this case are largely one-sided they reduce the apparent size of predicted future habitat available to species after climate change.

    Couple that with another massive exaggeration by using the scenarios for future temperatures based on 2xCO2 sensitivity (3C) as the projected temperature increase by 2050 or 2100, instead of a realistic prediction of temperature increase. 3C/100yr is something like 3 times the linear rate of increase over the last 30 years.

    I am looking forward to your next installment.

  49. John Sully
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 3:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I win on the over/under!

  50. IL
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 3:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #36 per. I listened to that with bemusement because what I (thought I) heard was that to have reported the 3 degree average rise would not have been noteworthy because that was what the model was tuned for so the 3 degree result that most of the runs produced was not noteworthy because that was what the model was set up to produce on average and therefore not a new result. (!!! Am I hearing this right? either the model incorporates the best physics available and varies the input parameters and the chips fall where they may so we might get something usable out of the model and the range and mean that it produces or do we put in the answer we expect to get out of it?) GIGO!!

  51. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 6:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 48, David, you might be interested in my paper at http://www.warwickhughes.com/species/wespecies.doc.

    In that study, I examined the number of bird and mammal extinctions occurring on the continents (as opposed to island and Australian extinctions, which are mostly due to introduced species).

    I was shocked to find out that on the continents, in the last 500 years, there have only been 3 mammal extinctions, and 6 bird extinctions … where are the thousands of predicted extinctions from climate change? Since the earth has warmed significantly since the Little Ice Age, we should have had a raft of climate related extinctions. Instead, we have had …

    … none.

    w.

  52. TCO
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 6:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Where are the saber toothed tigers and the wooly mammoths? You Rethuglican.

  53. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 7:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TCO,

    Last I heard Hannibal used elephants to go over the alps, not wooly mammoths, and Christians were thrown to the lions, not the Saber toothed tigers. I think maybe you missed the “little” in Little Ice Age and thought he said just “ice Age.”

  54. TCO
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 7:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Grrr…it’s Darth Rove’s fault.

  55. Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 10:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #51: You might add that there are no known marine extinctions except for I think an amphibian. Your paper looks good. Did you publish it anywhere?

    Yes the lack of evidence of climate-related extinctions was a criticism made at the time of the Thomas et.al paper “Extinction Risk from Climate Change”. The counter arguments made were (1) that the number of known extinctions must underestimate the actual number, (2) that propensity to extinction ‘accumulates’ via stresses and genetic depletion until everthing crashes at once, and (3) that the range and rate of temperatures experienced during that time was within the range normally experienced (but now its a whole new game of hockey – familiar?).

    Before getting embroiled in the value of such arguments, you have to remember you are arguing over notions such as number of species ‘committed to extinction’. Not extinct, that MAY go extinct, and any undetermined time. I said, in the long run we are all extinct. Anyway its an undefined, unfalsifiable concept and so seems to fit their needs. Since most people in conservation are interested in conserving things they are happy to use vague concepts to support their cause.

  56. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 21, 2006 at 10:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Patrick Moore discussing the well used “50,000 species a year” extinction comment that is well repeated.

    http://tinyurl.com/nglas

  57. JEM
    Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 2:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Meanwhile, back at the BBC.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4932988.stm

    Climate change fight ‘moral duty’

    Chancellor Gordon Brown has spoken for the first time of the “moral need” to tackle climate change.

    He told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme global warming would hit those in the poorest countries the hardest.

    But Mr Brown resisted calls for higher fuel tax, saying he had to balance economic needs with environmental ones.

    Like I’ve said before, politicians (and this one is likely to be British Prime Minister before long) are only interested in saying what they think will garner the most votes. Hence the fact that Brown here utters two opions that directly conradict each other almost within the same sentence is not surprising.

    That the BBC doesn’t point out the blatent absurdity of such a conjunction of opinions within the same utterance is hardly surprising either.

    The bad news is that such absurdity can pass without comment. The good news is that the urge to win elections will lead to no effective action againt the AGW chimera, as there are far more votes to be lost than gained by raising fuel taxes.

  58. Jim Erlandson
    Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 7:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    With regard to the problem of crying “Wolf” –

    In the 1970s, prominent greens were issuing dire predictions about mass starvation, overpopulation and–of all things–global cooling. Since then, population-growth estimates have come way down, biotechnology advances have found ways to feed more people than the doomsayers believed possible, and the global-cooling crisis has become the global-warming crisis without missing a beat.

    From today’s Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal.

  59. Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 9:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For anyone interested this Past, Present, and Future Temperatures: the Hockeystick FAQ looks like it has just been put on the web. It popped up last night where I monitor anything important that happens on the web related to the topic “Hockey Stick” (http://www.landshape.org/news/?cat=6).

    It contains the usual…

    As is typical of the scientific process, independent teams of researchers have worked to reproduce the results of the “hockey stick” by using their own approaches and even by using slightly different data. These studies sometimes produce slightly higher temperature fluctuations in the past compared with the initial study. But despite their differences, they still yield the same essential conclusion: the past 10- to 20-year period was likely the warmest of the past millennium.

  60. jae
    Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 9:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The bad news is that such absurdity can pass without comment. The good news is that the urge to win elections will lead to no effective action againt the AGW chimera, as there are far more votes to be lost than gained by raising fuel taxes.

    Exactly. It is humorous to contemplate just how the hell the putative AGW could be mitigated. It’s a tempest in a teapot.

  61. JEM
    Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Exactly. It is humorous to contemplate just how the hell the putative AGW could be mitigated. It’s a tempest in a teapot.

    In fact, if there really was an AGW problem, there are a number of possible technical fixes that any semi-competent engineer ought to be able to sketch out on the back of any passing envelope.

    But “¢’‚¬? and this is the real crux of the whole matter “¢’‚¬? technical fixes are universally rejected by the AGW believers. What they want to do is to ‘cure’ AGW by changing human behaviour. In other words, they offer ‘religion’ as a solution, not engineering.

    (I do not say this as an attack on traditional religions, but to make the point that belief in AGW requires the same sort of mindset: crudely, the triumph of fantasy over objectivity.)

    I suspect that no matter how discredited the evidence for their view becomes, the true believers will cling to their faith. After all, is not faith the rejection of the evidence of your own eyes in favour of imagination: someone else’s imagination, that is.

    That is why they are so dangerious, but it is also why they are bound to fail eventually. And the fate of false prophets is often messy.

  62. Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #61: And as oil price increases AGW arguments will become increasingly irrelevant as effort to replace oil as an energy source get serious.

  63. JEM
    Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #62:

    Indeed. But even more ironically, if the world is really running out of oil in the next few decades (which I seriously doubt, but many Greens do seem to believe) then any AGW is automatically ‘cured’ … just sit back.

    So why the panic?

  64. McCall
    Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re: 25 …

    Nevertheless, don’t be surprised is RichardV and Simon Cox become listed as AGW skeptics — weaker evidenced accusations have been made by that camp.

    OTOH, a PBS Nova program on “Global Dimming” was recently (re)broadcast: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sun/ — in it Dr Peter Cox and Dr James Hansen get plenty of prominence to speak their (alrming, or just edited to be alarming) views. Again, one has to laugh at that programs dire claims as part of an “AGW theory of everything.” With the content of this NOVA rebroadcast fresh in my mind, RichardV’s BBC product is especially refreshing.

  65. John A
    Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 3:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Having listened to the Simon Cox programme again, I can only say that I hope they do a bit more digging. Simon has a very good way of asking tough questions in a non-threatening way, so it was all the more telling that the explanations given by the scientists (and a charity lobbyist) were that much less convincing. I can only imagine what Jeremy Paxman would do to those same people (I can fantasize can’t I?)

    There’s so much in climate science that is alarmist, sensationalist or just plain bad that you could do a whole series on the topic.

    Now I go back to reading BBC Focus magazine, which has a lovely cover picture of a drowning British Isles with a big headline of “Waterworld Britain” that is in no way alarming. Sea level rise of 7 metres? Bring it on.

  66. IL
    Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 3:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Paxman, now there’s a thought -
    ‘Dr Mann, did you or did you not threaten to overule Nature and refuse to disclose your methodology?’
    “woffle”
    ‘Dr Mann, did you or did you not threaten to overule Nature and refuse to disclose your methodology?’
    “We’ve moved on now”
    ‘Dr Mann, did you or did you not threaten to overule Nature and refuse to disclose your methodology?’
    “I will not be intimidated into revealing how I arrive at my conclusions”
    ‘Dr Mann, did you or did you not threaten to overule Nature and refuse to disclose your methodology?’
    “I’m not staying to listen to this”……

    (with apologies to those not familiar with a famous Paxman interview of Michael Howard.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Paxman)

  67. TCO
    Posted Apr 22, 2006 at 10:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Just finally listened to the program. Very well done.

    Even though Steve was not featured, I think he had an impact. These guys used the phrase “cherry-picking” and have popped up here. I think several of the interesting thoughts that they had (causation versus correlation, etc.) seem to show the impact of reading this site. Even in areas, where Steve is not working, he is having an influence by getting people to use critical thinking skills.

    Also kudos to the non-confrontational way that these guys drove the shiv home.

  68. Steve Bloom
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 1:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #63: Coal. Google for information on the coal utilization plans of the Chinese and Indians over the next few decades and you’ll see what I mean. Also, nobody credible thinks oil will be gone “in a few decades.” Remember that peak oil means that half of it is still available. As supply begins to decline it will get rapidly more expensive, but as oil shales and other currently uneconomic sources become available the net result will be a tapering off of the supply over a rather longer period of time. Between the coal and the remaining oil, that’s rather a lot of CO2.

    On another subject, I remain amazed that you guys can’t keep a lid on the hydrophobic denialism even in the course of a visit from a journalist whom you might hope to persuade to give Steve’s views more play in the future. OTOH, I suspect this story may have been planned largely to answer concerns that the Beeb’s coverage isn’t sufficiently balanced on GW issues. If so, it has served its purpose.

    Abominably yours,

  69. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 1:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    How do you figure half?

  70. Steve Bloom
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 2:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #69: Sid, I’m no expert, and of course I should have said roughly half. According to Wikipedia, the range of estimates are that from 45% to 70% of the original supply has been used: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves. The web material on this subject is vast. One other point to bear in mind is that at current oil prices producing vehicle fuel from coal is cost-competitive, and since the supply of coal is very large indeed this is not exactly good news from a CO2 perspective. A fact I hadn’t been aware of is that South Africa produces about half of its vehicle fuel from coal, a legacy of the apartheid-era trade sanctions. The fact that it wasn’t abandoned when the sanctions ended would seem to be a testament to the practicality of the technology.

  71. John A
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 4:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    According to Wikipedia, the range of estimates are that from 45% to 70% of the original supply has been used: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves.

    Now could you find a reliable source for this information? And by reliable, I don’t mean Wikipedia.

  72. Hans Erren
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 4:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    John, in general for non-controversial topics wikipedia is fairly reliable.
    you can tell controversy by the talk page:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Oil_reserves

  73. JEM
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 5:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #70:

    A fact I hadn’t been aware of is that South Africa produces about half of its vehicle fuel from coal, a legacy of the apartheid-era trade sanctions. The fact that it wasn’t abandoned when the sanctions ended would seem to be a testament to the practicality of the technology.

    No, it’s testement to the fact that South Aftrica has no oil, lots of coal, no foreign exchange and a serious unemployment problem.

    SASOL makes coal from oil, indeed. But is very expensive oil, even with crude oil at $70+/bb;.

  74. Andrew T
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 7:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Phil Jones was on the Today programme on Radio 4 on Friday morning facing Bob Carter. It’s available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/zfriday_20060421.shtml
    It’s the 0833 item.

    Apparently he’s in the majority, the 5 warmest years of last 100 years have been since 1998 and temperatures are at their highest for 1000 years.

    I thought Bob Carter did quite a good job at putting the statistical argument across. Well worth a listen.

  75. JEM
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 7:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Apparently he’s in the majority…

    What has that got to do with the price of fish? Science does not proceed by majority voting.

    …the 5 warmest years of last 100 years have been since 1998…

    Funny, that. According to reports from the Tyndal Center in Norwich, where Jones is the Chief Pseudoscientist, that have recently been seen in the UK press, world temperatures have not risen since 1998.

    …temperatures are at their highest for 1000 years…

    … provided you believe the Hockey Team. The objective evidence, all around you at this very site, does not support Jones or his hockey-playing little friends. But there’s nothing new or unusual in that.

  76. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 8:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Andrew,

    Thanks for the link. I wonder why Phil Jones is so positive that the next ice age is 70,000 years in the future when he only wants to concentrate on the past 1,000 years as far as climate variability. If he can look 70K years ahead with such certainty, why does he not also look back 70k years? Could it be, as Bob Carter was indicating, that the this time scale would make recent temperature levels would look rather cool by comparison?

    If Phil Jones is so bloody convinced that he is correct, then why will he not release his data? Perhaps he truly believes that since “I’m coming from the majority view” that he need not support his views with data.

    By the way, Richard, thanks for producing an excellent show!

  77. Andrew
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 8:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The majority goes where the money is. Presently in climate science the money is in the alarmist camp. Grants, professorships, book deals–the whole kit. We all understand basic human motivations of greed and desire for recognition and prestige. Given that those are the prime motivators for journalists as well, climate science and journalism go together well in the current “climate.”

  78. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 8:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: 70, Steve B,

    I must take your side on this issue. Alternative petroleum sources will be developed in the future since they become economical at between $40 and $50/bbl. At the current price of over $70/bbl, oil shale extraction becomes almost cheap.

    There is another factor to consider in this argument. As we continue to explore for fossil fuels, we increase the potential worldwide reserves. The “we are going to run out of energy within the next 50 years (or whatever timeframe you choose)” arguments are based on the known reserves and consumption projections at the time that the argument was formulated. If I beleived the dire predictions I heard while I was studying engineering, I would expect us to run out of oil by 2015.

    If the dire climate predictions I read about at that time had come true, we would already be entering an ice age. These alarmist climate predictions proved to be wrong. Today’s alarmist climate predictions are also proving to be grossly exaggerated. As Simon Cox made clear in RichardV’s excellent program, peoples’ perceptions of climate change are being driven by alarmist stories in the press and by certain scientists who believe that that exaggeration for a good cause is acceptable.

  79. Lee
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re 50:

    From what Ive read about this (quite a bit), yes you heard that right, and no it is not bad science.

    This experiment was set up to explore possible errors in the RANGE of results coming out of the models. Ensemble averages combined with most other lines of argument (from past glacial/interglacial dynamics, for example), already point to about 3C as the climate sensitivity to 2xCO2, with a range of plausible sensitivities of +/- about 1.5C.

    What this experiment did was explore that range, the +/- 1.5C part. Again by my understankdning (I’m not a climate modeler, far from) what they did was constrain models to require an ensemble sensitivity of 3C, so that the RANGE of results they saw would be consistent with all the curent results for the most likely sensitivity. Then they ran an ensemble and see what kinds of RANGE of outputs sensitivities they got over a large number of runs.

    The experiment was set up properly, designed to answer the question they were asking. And (not having yet read the paper, only discussions of the paper) the answer they got was that something like -1.5C / +2C was still the most likely range around a 3C central sensitivity prediction, but that physically plausible results also broadened the **possible** upper end of the range such that the 11C number is **possible** as an extreme outcome. The press locked onto that number as a prediction for temperature increase (not an endpoint of a range around a most-likely 3C sensitivity result), in part it seems due to misunderstanding the nature of the experiment.

  80. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Roughly half doesn’t even cut it. Wikidpedia estimates don’t cut it.

    So called “peak Oil” will heppen when oil production fails to meet world demand, there is nothing saying that this is half of all th oil we can pull up. It’s much more likely that it would be something like 10% or 5%. The half number is a simple misnomer of not understanding the entire concept.

    To use an EXTREMELY simplistic analogy.

    If you run low on gas in your car the engine will start to hesitate. This is a result of not having enough gasoline to feed your engine. This does not happen at the 1/2 tank mark, it happens when the gas level is much lower.

    And to borrow the tactics if your “heros” for lack of a better word.

    Oil reserves have been increaseing since we’ve started using it. We have more oil now than we did in the 70′s or the 50′s etc etc.

    If we follow this trend than it’s obvious well never run out of oil. You see it’s a hockey stick. Sharply increasing at the end of the 20th century. So we better use as much oil as possible before we’re all awash in it.

  81. Lee
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 12:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re: 80

    My understanding of the term “peak oil” is that it refers to the time when available oil extraction capacity (ie how much we can pump out of the ground if we’re going full tilt) starts to decline rather than grow every year.

    This is not the same as world demand exceeding production capacity, although it is related. Extraction capacity is tied in part to annual exploration bringing new reserves on line, and that in turn is tied to expected profits and therefore to prices, and THAT is tied to the supply-demand curves.

    However, the fact that more expensive oil increases extractin capacity by making it profitable to bring new sources on line, is only one part of the equation. More fundamental is the reasonably-well-known quantity of major easily-extracted oil reserves, and the known rate at which we are pumping them down, and the fact that there are limits on the rate at which we can extract from reserves, even if there is a lot of oil left in them. Those limits are themselves complex; the maximum extraction rate is not constant over the life of a field, nor are they simple linear functions of the amount of oil remaining.

    This doesn’t necessarily invalidate the point you are making, but I think its important to keep the complexities in mind.

    BTW, a majority of my posts are still getting trapped by Spam Karma; if I don’t respond for a while, I may actualy ahve done so an simply be waiting for Steve or John to push my posts through. Intended or not, this seems a ***VERY*** effective mechanism for discouraging new people from participating at the site.

  82. John Lish
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 1:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #79 Lee, I suggest you read the press release.

  83. Lee
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 1:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John Lish (81):

    I have now read the paper, which has as the first words in its title “Uncertainty in response…” The intent and results of teh paper are as I stated.

    The press release is a separate issue. I’ve read it; it does mention the uncertainty, but not sufficiently clearly. That can be interpreted several ways, including: they were expecting the press to also read the paper and were publicizing the surprising outer end of their range and its implications if true, or, they were expecting a naive press to ignore the paper itself and publish this release. Or things in between. And it seems various parts of the press fell into various parts in that range.

    It should have been a much clearer press release, no question. But that is irrelevant to the question about what they did in the paper, that was asked earlier,or my response giving my understanding about the experiment and why holding the 3C fixed was appropriate.

  84. Mike Rankin
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 3:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Lee: Please take the time to review this blog and contents. I spent more than a month reading the contents. You seem to have jumped in without making the effort to read the past entries or comments. If you are striving to find the truth in the technical issues, read and find the context. There is much to review and numerous technical issues. The Hockey Team seems to play fast and loose with what I would call “science”. Your indignant response to a immediate return by Steve M. is unwarranted.

  85. John A
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 5:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It should have been a much clearer press release, no question. But that is irrelevant to the question about what they did in the paper, that was asked earlier,or my response giving my understanding about the experiment and why holding the 3C fixed was appropriate.

    No Lee, that won’t do at all. The 11C claim (the only number in the press release) was a calculated attempt to get publicity worldwide via alarm.

    I still don’t follow the argument that 3C is “reasonable”. To my mind, it’s ludicrously high. Consider the 20th Century: an enormous growth of carbon dioxide, and yet when all’s said and done, a net increase of 0.6C is all the result from everything including a rise in a trace gas like carbon dioxide.

    As I remarked to the BBC Producer, 3C is still five times the rise in the 20th Century. Whatever possesses people to think this is somehow reasonable except when compared to a ludicrous number like 11 degrees?

    Every year we get a flurry of stories in the UK press just before the Chancellor presents his budget. The stories are usually wild and lurid stories of taxes on this or that, scare stories of raiding pensions and robbing candy from children. Then when the Budget is announced the commentators all whistle and say that the budget is “neutral” and that there are some winners and some losers, blah blah blah

    What happens is called black propaganda: If there were no stories to compare with, the Budget would be seen as yet another tax grab, but with those ludicrous stories fresh in people’s minds, everyone breathes a sigh of relief that it wasn’t so bad after all.

    Back to the point: the model was tuned to a 3C sensitivity for doubling of carbon dioxide – what’s reasonable about that?

  86. TCO
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 5:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Well, what is the CO2 change over the last century. If you’re going to make the argument, John, at least give the proportionality?

    WONDERS OF GOOGLE: http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/subject/s/summaries/sdco2proxy.jsp

    So 80 ppm increase over last century (ending at 370). Doubling from present would be an adittional 370.

    80/.6=370/x,

    X= 0.6*(370/80)
    X=0.6*(4+5/8)
    =2.775

    The 3 degrees is not that wacky as a straight proportionality based on recent experience, JohnA. If you want to make an argument, you need to make it based on the difference between 2.775 and 3.0 or need to make a very different argument based on the self-limiting of the temp rise or some such. But just scoffing about 0.6 during this century doesn’t cut it.

  87. Lee
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 6:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John’s argument also doesnt take into account any lag in the system, or any short-term possibility of counter-trending offsetting variables. It is an argument that, in its stronger forms, expects to find an instantaneous perfectly correlated increase in temp with increasing CO2, and if it doesn’t, discards the idea altogether. I think at this point no one seriously expects either instantaneous or perfectly correlated increases.

  88. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 6:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 85/86

    Is 3° way high? I’d say yes.

    According to ice core data and Mauna Loa, CO2 has gone from about 296 ppm to 370 ppm in the last century (74 ppm change). This has the effect of about a third of a doubling of CO2. IPCC says 3.7 watts/m2 per doubling, so this would be a forcing increase of about 1.2 w/m2.

    According to Solanki, Lean, and other investigators, during the same time the TSI has gone up by about 1.63 w/m2. Thus the effective sun, TSI/4, has gone up by about 0.41 w/m2, and the change in sun after albedo is about 70% of that, or 0.28 w/m2.

    So over the last century, a total change in forcing of about 1.2 + 0.28 = ~ 1.5 watts has given us a 0.6° temperature rise.

    This would imply that a 3° temperature rise would require a forcing change of about 5 times that amount, or 7.5 w/m2. This in turn would require two doublings of CO2 at 3.7 w/doubling, so I’d have to agree with John that it is not reasonable.

    w.

    PS – TCO, before you start abusing someone for their math, it would be wise to check your own assumptions. Your calculation is entirely incorrect, because temperature change is not proportional to CO2 change as you have blithely assumed, but to log (base 2) of the CO2 change …

  89. Paul Linsay
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 6:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #86,

    The 3 degrees is not that wacky as a straight proportionality based on recent experience

    Except that the dependence is not linear in the CO2 concentration but logarithmic due to the saturation of the central CO2 line at 15 um. Even the RealClimate guys accept this. Then the expected change in temperature is approximately

    dT = 1.5 C x ln(CO2 concentration/240)

    using units of ppmv. An increase of CO2 from 240 ppmv to 360 ppmv gives 0.6 C, the 20th century rise, and a further increase to 500 ppmv gives a total rise of 1.1 C, ie, at most an extra 0.5 C above the present temperature.

    An increase of 3C is wacky. They need all the positive feedback they can find to get the temperature increases in the models, even assuming that all the temperature increase is due to CO2 and not something else, like the sun.

  90. Ed Snack
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 6:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Of course, Lee and TCO, you have to make the unwarranted assumption that the entire 0.6 degree increase is from the 80 ppm of CO2, and I suggest that is utterly unsupportable.

  91. TCO
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 6:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    JohnA did not make that argument yet. All he did was scoff at the value itself.

  92. TCO
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 6:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ed,

    Of course. But JohnA’s comment was not a dispute of the 0.6. It was a dispute of the 3.0 GIVEN the 0.6. Capisce?

  93. TCO
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 7:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Willis,

    I feel perfectly justified in “abusing”. And do not feel chided for checking maths. If you read my previous statement, I already said that JohnA needed to make a stronger argument other than just the intrinsic change. My comment about “need to make a very different argument based on the self-limiting of the temp rise…” covers the issue of non-linearity. If he wants to make that argument than make it. But just to scoff at the VALUE of 0.6 ITSELF, while not doing the ratio and seeing that the change would work if the relation holds constant is WRONG.

  94. TCO
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 7:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul, but the problem with your math above is that we’ve seen a 0.6 change with only an 80 ppm change. Different from your 120 change (from some equation). The tenor of JohnA’s remark was that 3.0 delta is unreasonable GIVEN that we’ve only changed 0.6 in a century. I’m quite reasonably pointing out that if the same incremental temp increase happens (without some self-limiting) than the 3.0 is not off. So, just by pointing to the 0.6 ITSELF, you can’t rule out the 3.0. Capisce?

  95. TCO
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 7:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh…and I’d remind you that we’re talking about small changes relative to absolute temperature and (as you Rethuglican running dog tendentious fanboy anti-warmers always gratitiously point out) the percent of CO2 in the atmosphere is very small compared to other GHG’s and to other gases in general. So maybe linear interpolation is not such a bad idea. I’m not defending it, note. I’m just saying it’s not so instantly clear that it’s off. It’s actually the simplest thing to start with (and what JohnA was doing intrinsically when he scoffed at 0.6. Actually he was probably a level of sophistication lower, since he hadn’t even done the ratio. So my comments are an improvement on his. If you have a valid logarithmic relationship (and you’d have to prove that too, guys) then we could use that as the next higher level of sophistication.

    You tendites ever use a Mollier chart or steam tables? Huh!? GRRR!

    WHERE’S LUBOS. Those physicists always love to turn everything into perturbation theory from an equilibrium and then get linear first terms that are most important. Creating Taylor series and throwing out first terms.

  96. TCO
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 7:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    More comments:

    Paul: your equation (and what makes it right?) doesn’t use the posited Co2 change over last century versus experienced temp delta. That was JohnA’s point. was that the 3.0 was laughable on it’s own just because it didn’t gibe with modern experience. That means you have to grant the modern experience at least for sake of argument/comparison.

    Willie: You are trying to bring in changes in solar. Implicitly you’re making an argument that NOT ALL of the 0.6 was from CO2. MAybe so, maybe not. But John was making the point that the results on their own did not gibe. He had not questioned the 0.6 being from recent CO2, but implicitly granted it for sake of argument that the 3.0 was ridicioulous. I would also add that you’ve left out aerosols and all the other forcings. So if you really want to stir the brew, why bring in the only the ones that help you. (Oh..and remember when I spanked you last time?)

  97. Paul Linsay
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 8:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #96, TCO. I just used some numbers I remembered off the top of my head. Using your numbers

    dT = 2.46 ln(CO2/290)

    which gives a change of 0.6 C for CO2 = 370 ppmv. Doubling CO2 to 580 gives

    dT = 2.46 ln(580/290) = 1.7 C

    or an increment of 1.7 – 0.6 = 1.1 C from where we are now. An increase of 3 C is still nearly three times bigger. Still need that positive feedback to get there.

  98. Lee
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 8:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul – only if you assume an instantaneous response by the system. Your example assumes that the entire recent delta-forcing is reflected in the current observed delta-temperature, ie, that none of the forcing is currently being chewed up by heating the earth’s thermal mass, and we are at temperature equilibrium.

  99. TCO
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 9:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul, is the doubling from present or from previous? I was assuming from present, but maybe I have it wrong. What is the common understanding?

  100. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 9:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Lee, but of course the warmers take no such precautions when it comes to allowing for the end of the LIA and how much of the 20th century warming is a consequence of that.

  101. TCO
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 9:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    And it’s still not clear to me why the relationship should be logarithmic vice linear given how small the change is relative to all the H2O in the air.

  102. TCO
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 9:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Why don’t you fit a logarathmic relationship that includes total GHGs? You will get a small change of the overall amount and the linear approximation will be quite similar to what fitted log equation gives you.

  103. Jeff Norman
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 9:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #74

    For arguments sake, let’s say the five warmest years if not in the last 1,000 years then let’s say the last 800 years occurred since 1997.

    Why would this be a bad thing? What has happened in the last eight years climate wise that makes the world worse off then it was 30 or 300 years ago?

  104. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 9:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 96, TCO, when you make an error such as you have made, don’t bother trying to bluff and bullsh*t your way out of it. That’s Michael Mann’s method, doesn’t work for him either.

    Start by admitting you were wrong, and fixing your error – redo your numbers with the proper (logarithmic) relationship, and report back to us with the real number.

    Then you can get all snarky and nasty if you wish … but getting snarky and nasty when your error is still blowing in the wind just makes you look like an blustering idiot trying to cover up a mistake. I know you are not one … but others might be fooled by the professional quality of your imitation …

    w.

  105. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 10:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TCO and Willis, the logarithmic relationship is a rule of thumb which is attributed to Wigley and Raper or some such – which I do not regard as high authority. If the expanded CO2 wings start overlapping with H2O absorption, I would have thought that the logarithmic relationship would have to be proved from first principles – not to demonstrate that it’s not linear, but to demonstrate that it’s not less than logarithmic. The best paper by far that I’ve seen on CO2 and H2O is by Shepard Clough [JGR 1995] which I read a couple of yeears ago and would welcome detailed commentary on. It’s about 100 MB or I’d post it up. Naturally it was not cited in IPCC TAR. I can’t tell what the implications of Clough 1995 are; water vapor infrared and near infrared seems to be a can of worms; but it’s very interesting.

  106. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 10:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    One aspect of forcing studies like Hegerl et al that warrants some careful examination are the solar proxies – if the temperature proxies are wonky, I’m not sure that the solar proxies can bear a lot of weight.

    Thinking out loud, when you see Crowley or Briffa argue that the MWP is a dog’s breakfast and “regional”, you notice that we’ve never seen a climate model which reproduces temperatures going all over the place regionally as this implies. Isn’t that a contradiction: if you can’t reproduce wildly differing regional temperatures through forward models into the proxies, then this would surely imply that the “proxies” are noise.

    Along these lines, it would be an interesting exercise to take as a given two proxy points: the Millar et al [2006] and Naurzbaev [2004] models of very warm MWP in California and Siberia and see what solar forcing is required to produce these results and what temperatures in other areas are coerced from only these two fixed points.

  107. Lee
    Posted Apr 23, 2006 at 10:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re 103:

    Jeff,

    Are you asking for specific attribution of specific events to global warming in general?

    Actually, I can think of a couple that are high-probability attributable. An entire arctic coastal town is being lost to novel ocean-shore erosion, because ice ocverage that previously protected it is now gone. Solid attribution requires solid evidence of previous protection adn relative shoreline immobility, which I havent looked into, but the general info Ive seen supports that.

    Oil exploration, mining, and travel work seasons on the arctic permafrost have been curtailed by something like 40% (from memory; I’d have to check the actual number. I’m pretty sure that is ballpark) because the season when it is frozen and can be traversed is shortened.

    I could probably find more with some looking; these pop to mind.

  108. John Lish
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 1:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #83 Lee – I agree with you that the press release should have clearer. I just find the absence of figures mischievous. And why just mention the high outlier? Why not those responses that plunge headlong into a new glacial era? I will partially agree with you that the experiment has merits in terms of understanding computer modelling – however it doesn’t tell us anything relevant about the climate.

  109. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 2:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: 105, Steve, as always a pleasure to hear from you. You say:

    TCO and Willis, the logarithmic relationship is a rule of thumb which is attributed to Wigley and Raper or some such – which I do not regard as high authority.

    Actually, it’s more than a rule of thumb. The logarithmic relationship was first put forth by Arrhenius in his 1896 paper, On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground. He derived the logarithmic relationship based on the physics of the absorption, not as a calculated rule of thumb based on experiment as you suggest.

    I don’t know of anyone who thinks it is not logarithmic — the questions seem to revolve around how many watts/m2 of change come from a doubling of CO2, rather than whether it is logarithmic.

    The IPCC, for example, uses the figure of 3.7 w/m2 per doubling, based on the famous computer models. MODTRAN, on the other hand, puts the figure at 3.0. I suspect this lower figure is because of the progressively greater saturation of the CO2 bands which MODTRAN takes into account, but I don’t know that.

    All the best,

    w.

  110. John Davis
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 2:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Three further thought on the CO2 doubling issue:
    1) Since it’s logarithmic, it doesnt matter where you start from – delta T from 280 to 560 ppm is the same as delta T from 390 to 780 ppm.
    2) The effect seen to date is WITH feedback, obviously, so you can’t easily invoke further, greater, feedback effects in the future without assuming some pretty massive non-linearities
    3)The final equilibrium temperature may be higher, as Lee says, but that presupposes that some sort of final steady state will be reached. That seems to me very unlikely. As far as I know, continuous change is pretty well the status quo in nature.

  111. John A
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 3:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Lee:

    John’s argument also doesnt take into account any lag in the system, or any short-term possibility of counter-trending offsetting variables.

    One of the more irritating things I have to deal with is people oversimplifying arguments and then claiming I’m being “simplistic”

    Bear in mind that the original climateprediction “experiment” produced an 11C change for “instantaneous doubling” of CO2 in 40 years.

    The “experiment” itself took no account of “any lag in the system, or any short-term possibility of counter-trending offsetting variables”

    It is an argument that, in its stronger forms, expects to find an instantaneous perfectly correlated increase in temp with increasing CO2, and if it doesn’t, discards the idea altogether.

    And there’s the oversimplification. The problem is that there are any number of reasons why the real climate doesn’t behave in the way modellers expect (or hope for). I don’t discard the idea, but given its poor predictive ability with the 20th Century, I’d certainly question its prominence in people’s thinking.

    I think at this point no one seriously expects either instantaneous or perfectly correlated increases.

    It’s funny that no=one at climateprediction.net saw fit to make that caveat.

  112. Tom Brogle
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 3:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Lee
    The antarctic is still cooling apart from the antarctic peninsula the melting of which is natural
    Google “Antarctica’s ice sheet melting naturally” and you will get plenty of evidence that the Antarctic is cooling, courtesy of the BBC (!)
    The extent of the Antarctic Sea Ice is now the same as it was at the beginning of the 20th century.
    There is no absolute proof that CO2 has
    caused the present (so called)warming.
    The only real evidence for that the both CO2 and the temperature have both increased at the same time.
    Ice core evidence shows the CO2 rises after the temperature rises.There is an obvious mechanism causing this:CO2 is expelled from the ocean as it warms over a period of thousands of years.

  113. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 4:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #109. Willis, my question is a little more subtle than it may appear and there are two aspects that I’ve wondered about for some time. I’ve looked at HITRAN absorptions on a line-by-line basis so I’m not coming at this from a naive point of view. I mention the Clough 1995 article because its calculations are done with the very best line-by-line model rather than with a broadband or medium-band model – which contains parameterizations even if very good ones.

    The logarithmic relationship is empirical in this sense. The absorption relationship by itself is linear; however, the main CO2 band is saturated and additional CO2 makes no difference. The combination of a linear effect in the far wings of the main band, isotopic lines and weak (hot) bands and a negligible effect in the already saturated lines makes for a logarithmic effect. The appearance of and saturation of lines is not governed by any logarithmic law and that’s why I described the result as “empirical” – although this is not the point that I wonder about.

    One of the intriguing things about IPCC is that they never discuss the infrared reasons as to why increased CO2 has an impact. I think that this is too bad, especially as the proximal references don’t help much.

    The main argument – in a box in IPCC SAR replying to Jack BArrett – is that increased CO2 causes radiation-to-space from higher tropospheric levels (which are colder) and thus increasd surface temperatures in the window radiation are required to balance.

    OK, but this argument doesn’t apply to the main CO2 band. The “radiation-to-space” term in the heart of the big CO2 band looks to me like it’s above the tropopause and increased CO2 will cause radiation-to-space from greater altitudes will lead to radiation from higher temperatures in higher stratospheric levels rather than lower temperatures from higher tropospheric levels and, for altitude heightening of radiation-to-space in the tropopause there will be minimal effect. You can see this in some infrared spectra, where there’s a blip in the heart of the CO2 band that indicates to me radiation-to-space from warmer stratospheric levels. But again I don’t think that this is abig effect.

    Some of the far wings in the big CO2 band called into play in a logarithmic requirement are in the 500s, which is in water vapor territory. In many parts of the world these lines are already saturated. If your CO2 relationship on its own was logarithmic, then you have to check overlaps to see whether it might be less than logarithmic. My impression of Clough 1995 and it’s an impression only is that in the big CO2 band centered on 667 cm-1, you have negligible impact of increased CO2 and that the main impact would come from the hot bands up the 1100-1200 cm-1 range.

    I got stuck in trying to understand Clough but he’s one of the total experts in the field. I’ve never seen any follow-up discussions of his article. IPCC references are to articles that seem to me anyway to be less sophisticated than Clough. Whether there is an issue at the end of the day, I don’t know, but it’s well worth examining for someone interested in the area.

    e sense that as CO2 levels increase you have increased absorption coming from the far wings of strong bands, isotopic

  114. John Lish
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 4:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #113 “however, the main CO2 band is saturated and additional CO2 makes no difference” – I have seen a few people mention this Steve, any pointers as to references to read?

  115. Jeff Norman
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 5:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #107

    Lee,

    Your example of coastal erosion is worse or different from the previous 300 years in what way? How long has that village been there? Where did the people live before the village was put there?

  116. Louis Hissink
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 5:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Er,

    just trolling but what geotemperature curve are we relating things here to? One derived from the same data set you are debating?

    Serious answers send to my email, others………………..

  117. TCO
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 6:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Willis,

    I didn’t “make an error”. You’re acting like those who call MM a “reconstruction”.

  118. Jim Erlandson
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 7:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Those interested in learning what far wings have to do with CO2 may find this useful.
    RADIATIVE TRANSFER AND REMOTE SOUNDING — Physical basis of remote sounding

    A sounding is a vertical profile of atmospheric temperature, moisture or some other parameter. Soundings, including measurements of total water vapour content, total ozone, cloud height, cloud amount, surface temperature, etc., can be obtained from remote measurements of spectral radiance through carefully selected channels, often in the infrared (IR) or microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  119. Lee
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 9:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    perhaps I shoudl leave thsi one alone, but…

    112:
    “There is no absolute proof that CO2 has
    caused the present (so called)warming.
    The only real evidence for that the both CO2 and the temperature have both increased at the same time.”

    There is no absolute proof of evolutionary theory either. Yeah, this is a bit snarky (to borrow a term Ive read here), but asking for absolue proof in science is really a denial of how science works.

    There is much more real evidence, starting with the basic physics of CO2. At issue (in simplified form) is what a LOT of stuff we know about the various greenhouse gasses and atmospheric and oceanic dynamics, and a lot of stuff we dont yet knwo aobut how theyinteract, plays out agaisnt the backdrop of that basic physics. Arguing that the only real evidence is evolution is simply wrong.

    Now, I’m off to work. I’ll look at some of the other posts when I can.

  120. Lee
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 9:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re 119:
    last sentence, replace ‘evolution’ with ‘correlation.’ Too rushed, and I saw it as I posted.

  121. Hans Erren
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 9:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Lee there is quite a big gap between the basic CO2 law of 1 K/2xCO2 and the range of climate sensitivities of the computer models
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/howmuch.htm
    have a look at an analysis of the current state (thanks dano for the linky)
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/tcscrichton.htm

    this picture (Harris, 1977) sums it up:
    http://www.acad.sunytccc.edu/instruct/sbrown/pic/miracle.jpg

  122. Mark
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 9:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re: 119

    Yeah, this is a bit snarky (to borrow a term Ive read here), but asking for absolue proof in science is really a denial of how science works.

    The problem is that even the cause-effect evidence is weak. Not just the standard for proof. Science at least asks the question(s) “can this be attributed to anything else” and in the case of warming, we have one very big yes: the sun.

    Mark

  123. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 9:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #122

    The problem is that even the cause-effect evidence is weak. Not just the standard for proof. Science at least asks the question(s) “can this be attributed to anything else” and in the case of warming, we have one very big yes: the sun.

    http://www.pmodwrc.ch/pmod.php?topic=tsi/composite/SolarConstant

  124. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 9:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Any reason you choose a graph that limits itself to going back to 1978.

    Would be good if you put a properly scaled temprature for the same time period.

    But here’s one that shows solar output for the time periods that we are discussing.

    http://www.john-daly.com/refugees/image005.gif
    http://www.aapg.org/explorer/2000/08aug/warmingfig3.cfm
    Space.com http://tinyurl.com/h3frk

  125. Hans Erren
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 10:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    and besides that
    Willson disagrees with Foukal and Lean about the trend
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/TSI_FLvsW.gif

  126. Hans Erren
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 10:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    froehlich

  127. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Any reason you choose a graph that limits itself to going back to 1978.

    It was to hand, but here is another going further back http://www.mps.mpg.de/images/projekte/sun-climate/climate.gif

  128. beng
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I thought this pdf was a good general CO2 radiational effects primer:

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/barrett_ee05.pdf

  129. jae
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The 0.6 degree rise is unproven, IMO. The data supporting this figure needs auditing.

  130. Lee
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The analyses I’ve read of solar effects, mostly as applied to glaciation dynamics, is that the predicted delta in insolation is also not sufficient to account fo the temperature changes. IOW, there must be an amplifying feedback mechanism at work for insolation, if insolation is what controls that process.

    Same argument applies here as what you are trying to apply to discount CO2 effects. And, it is further evidence for the importance of amplifying feedback in the system.

  131. Greg F
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It was to hand, but here is another going further back http://www.mps.mpg.de/images/projekte/sun-climate/climate.gif

    Once again we get an image minus the context. Seems to me that the scaling is questionable.

  132. fFreddy
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 11:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Attn: Peter Hearnden

    Peter, any thoughts on the radio program ?

  133. Hans Erren
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re 113:

    The log relationship stems from Arrhenius, but strangely his calculations are based on observations that do not contain CO2 data in the 14 micron band. His CO2 spectrum is pure fantasy. The log relation is a lucky shot based on five data points
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/langleyrevdraft2.htm

    The CO2 saturation argument stems from Knut àƒ…ngstràƒ⵭ (in german)
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/angstrom1900/index.html
    àƒ…ngstràƒ⵭ K, 1900, Ueber die Bedeutung des Wasserdampfes und der Kohlensàƒ⣵re bei der Absorption der Erdatmosphàƒ⣲e. Annalen der Physik Bd 3. 1900, p720-732.

    àƒ…ngstràƒ⵭’s “proof” was based on solar absorption measurements in Tenerife, but CO2 has virtually no absorption in the visible and near infrared, so quite logically àƒ…ngstràƒ⵭ did not detect a co2 absorption effect.

    As Arrhenius absorption CO2 absorption values were poppycock his derived temperature effect was also “without merit”. In 1901 he did some laboratory measurement in Germany using infrared sources, and here the first modern values were obtained. Arrhenius however was under the impression that his experimental concentration range was lower than the atmosphere so he stuck with his 896 calcultations. And that’s where they still are.
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/arrhenius1901/index.html
    Arrhenius, S, 1901, Ueber die Wàƒ⣲meabsorption durch Kohlensàƒ⣵re, Annalen der Physik Bd 4. 1901, p690-705

    Still in 1996 in the centennial volume of Ambio Ramanathan mentioned that Arrhenius measured up to 30 micron, when rock salt is opaque for IR radiation at 20 micron.
    Ramanathan, V. and A.M. Vogelmann.(1997) Greenhouse effect, atmospheric solar absorption and the Earth’s radiation budget: From the Arrhenius/Langley era to the 1990s. AMBIO, 26(1):38-46
    Baliunas and Soon confused the solar spectrum and the lunar spectral data, and decided that the original measurements did not go further than 3 micron, which was also wrong.
    http://web.archive.org/web/20050318193015/http://www.greeningearthsociety.org/climate/previous_issues/vol4/v4n19/cutting1.htm
    Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon , (1999) Cutting Edge: Pioneers in the Greenhouse Effect, World Climate report, vol 4 no 19

    this graph compares arrhenius 1896, arrhenius 1901 and modtran
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/arrhvsmodtran.gif

    So a lot of referencing to Arhhenius but no reading, a bit like the Hockeystick story sadly.

  134. Mark
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 12:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m not exactly sure what Peter was getting at anyway. I.e., multi-decadal changes in temperature are being blamed on CO2, yet we know there are not only 11-year, but multi-decadal, multi-centurial (uh, word?), multi-epochal, etc. variations in the sun’s output. A graph going back to 1978 is evidence of…?

    Mark

  135. Hans Erren
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    multicentennial ;-)

  136. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 1:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Not to mention that there is a delay (lag to give Lee credit) between increased solar output and atmospheric tempratures.

    i.e. the high end left of the scale for 1978 would only reflect 10 to 15 years later in temprature, giving you pretty much no clue as to now as the data points are for to minimal to make any kind of assumption for the 80′s and 90′s made worse by the confounding factors of the 1998 El Nino.

  137. Mark
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 1:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ah yes… centennial. Pretty poor showing on my part given that I’m currently interviewing with a company located on Centennial Ave. :)

    I’m curious, ET, how the el Nino is a “confounding factor.” More to the point, why is it explained away by the AGW crowd as an anomaly, which subsequently allows them to ignore 1998 and claim temperatures are still climbing. Certainly the el Nino by itself does not cause the planet to warm. I.e. it is not an engergy generator, but a concentration of existing energy, right?

    Mark

  138. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 1:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Because the El Nino dumps a large amount of heat ino the atmosphere. Yes it is a concentration of existing energy, but it is suddenl released, causing dramatic (comparatively) rises in tempratue throwing off (upwards) “global mean tempratures”.

    This warming is known, and is not caused by C02 or solar irradiance.

    DO we have a good explanation on what triggers el Ninos Other than just deep water building up to release pressures?

    Anyways the El Nino is accepted by both sides of the discusion for the 1998 spike.

    One case in the discusion where cause and effect can be shown.

  139. Mark
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 2:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    OK, so the energy released into the atmosphere is/was stored in the oceans initially. I.e. it is a sort of “generator” w.r.t. atmospheric temperatures.

    The next question, then, is do we see a corresponding drop in average ocean temperatures as a result of the expulsion of energy into the atmosphere?

    Mark

  140. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I aint no genuis but…

    “Average Ocean tempratures” That’s a loaded question. Average surface? Average total incluiding at depth?

    Way I see it, since this an upwelling of lower warm water you would see an increase in average surface oceant temps, but a lower (minutely) overall all volume temp.

    End of the day its an interesting endeavor to examine, but has little correlation to the AGW discusion.

    Though it obviously has an effect on global climate (short term) kind of a reverse swamp cooler (As I say that though, it will pretty obviously increase humidity, which is a strong GHG so it will increase GH warming over the short term as well.)

  141. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 2:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Caveat

    “which is a strong GHG so it will increase GH warming over the short term as well.”

    Up to a point, whereby a high enough Humidity will start to work against warming and act as cooling forcing at about 85F

  142. BKC
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 2:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The spike in the “global mean temperature” due to the ’98 El Nino has bugged me for a while. It indicates to me that the “global mean temperature” isn’t really global. No energy was added or taken away from the earth system, it was just re-distributed. If it were truly a “global mean temperature”, then there should be no spike.

    It’s more like a “mostly global mean air temperature near the surface”, which raises some questions in my mind. Such as, when the PDO, AMO, and other long-term, cyclic climate phenomena change state, do they re-distribute energy that affects the “global mean temperature”? If so, how do we know whether the globe is warming, or the oceans are just distributing more energy to the surface temp sensors?

  143. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 3:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “If it were truly a “global mean temperature”, then there should be no spike.”

    Your points are taken. But yes the GMT is gernally considered to be surface tempratures, and this warm water came from deep Pacafic water, subsurface, not surface.

  144. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Where in the hell is the Pacafic ocean?

    Obviously I meant Pacific

  145. Lee
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mark, re 137:
    “More to the point, why is it explained away by the AGW crowd as an anomaly, which subsequently allows them to ignore 1998 and claim temperatures are still climbing. ”

    The issue around using 1998 as a singular poitn, is that it is NOT a singular point. It is simply the most positively deviant datum, in an inherently somewhat noisy time series. If you analyze any time series with noise, by definition, one of the points is going to be the most deviant from thetrend. In 1998, becausee that deviation was quite far above what had been previousy seen, it looked a bit abberant, and some slopply language has been applied to it, but it is just the datum that is, so far most deviatn from the trend line through the time series.

    However, when one singles that one most-deviant datum, and uses it as the carefully selected end point of a subset of the time series, then one is de facto throwing out the KNOWN info previous to it, which also affects the proper trend. By picking 1998 as the start point, one arrives at an aberrantly (yes) high value for the start of the calculated trend, because one is discarding lower temp data from just previous to that.

    Another way to look at it; if temps climb 5C over a century, but the time series has noise such that a new record high is arrived at only once every decade, then by this definition of cooling, the temps are going down 9 out of every ten years, even though the continual trend is upwards.

    This is why one uses fitted trends smoothed over some appropriate time period, rather than picking extreme values in the record.

  146. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 5:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 143, say what? There is no warm, deep water. Deep water is cold.

    w.

  147. Mark
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 5:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    That’s a loaded question. Average surface? Average total incluiding at depth?

    Uh, surface I think. Yes, I realize it is sort of loaded, but it wasn’t intended that way. I also realize what happens during el Ninos, but where the heat is coming from seems to be the sticking point.

    End of the day its an interesting endeavor to examine, but has little correlation to the AGW discusion.

    Well, yes and no. I mean, sort of along the lines of what BKC is saying, if GW concerns “global mean temperature” then we are really considering “global heat”, which is what causes temperatures (the concept of temperature is really nothing more than human perception of total heat in a system).

    And the point w.r.t. AGW discussion is that natural forces can cause BIG changes, seemingly overnight, which sort of dampens the whole “statistically significant” warming issue (i.e. we humans are statistical pimples on the arse of global climate). Which means it is relevant in terms of the overall discussion, though not necessarily as a specific point at the moment.

    One of the things I really get off on is the statistical significance issue. When measured changes are known to be less than accepted error tolerances, and past temperatures are based on methods designed to exaggerate known cause and effect relationships (prinicpal components is typically used for image analysis, btw), and nature is known to be unpredictable ala el Nino or Maunder Minimum, I tend to get a little wiggy. Since I see el Nino as a natural phenomena, I feel it should be treated with the same statistical significance as any other occurence we’re seeing.

    Mark

  148. Mark
    Posted Apr 24, 2006 at 5:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    methods designed to exaggerate known cause and effect relationships

    By this I mean situations where cause and effect are known, such as in image analysis where we know for a fact light impinging on an array of CCDs, for example, is known to cause some sort of excitation. This excitation may be buried in noise, maybe even correlated noise across the array. The statistics of the background noise are known, and the goal is to find, and remove the correlated “jammers” from the observed image. But the cause and effect is known a-priori, and has some sort of proven linear relationship.

    Mark

  149. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 25, 2006 at 9:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Willis

    My poor understanding of El Nino.

    QUick research here (very quick) turns out from what I’ve seen it’s a lack of upwelling cold deep water, which increases the warm water. OThers may make the claim that is one and the same, but I wont.

    SO to restate. It’s a lack of upwelling cold water, which allows warmer water from the west to move in and displace the cooler water in the east.

    And yes that should effect the average temp (lower) in the west.

    And no I’m not an el Nino expert by any stretch. I jumped into the breach answering BKC’s question and his follow ups drew me in. SO I blame him ;)

  150. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 25, 2006 at 1:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 149: Thanks, Sid, I’ll blame him as well …

    w.

  151. mark
    Posted Apr 25, 2006 at 1:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Cool. Soooo, I think then that the el Nino should balance out overall in terms of global temperature. Thermodynamics and all that. :)

    And yes, btw, I realize “both sides” seem to be willing to throw out 1998, though I have long suspected that their really is not a valid scientific reason to do so.

    Anyway, good discussion. Thanks for the replies, guys.

    Mark

  152. ET SidViscous
    Posted Apr 25, 2006 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Soooo, I think then that the el Nino should balance out overall in terms of global temperature. ”

    Well do we want to get into a discusion that the area where the warm water normally is does not have a lot of temprature measuremnt stations, while during an El Nino Event it has a large effect on an area with a lot of stations.

    So this would effect the global average temprature, as measured and calculated, though likely not the overall temprature.

    Actually who I should blame is the weatherpeople/media for explaining it poorly in 1998, which is I’m sure were I got my mistaken assumption.

  153. BKC
    Posted Apr 25, 2006 at 4:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sheesh, ask an innocent question…

    I think I’ll ask a similar question.

    If this is the case -

    the area where the warm water normally is does not have a lot of temprature measurement stations, while during an El Nino Event it has a large effect on an area with a lot of stations

    then what kind of confidence can we have in the “global mean temperature” when there are numerous “known” long term (multi-decadel) events with effects similar to El Nino, such as the PDO, NAO, AO?

  154. mark
    Posted Apr 25, 2006 at 11:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I think this is also part of what I was getting at, BKC. It’s hardly an “average” or a “mean” if there is no geographical represenation in some very large areas of the planet.

    Mark

  155. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Apr 26, 2006 at 2:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #142

    The spike in the “global mean temperature” due to the “98 El Nino has bugged me for a while. It indicates to me that the “global mean temperature” isn’t really global. No energy was added or taken away from the earth system, it was just re-distributed. If it were truly a “global mean temperature”, then there should be no spike.

    Humm, well, EN/LN is a change in ocean currents. Millions of years ago two other changes in ocean current were cause by the closure of the Isthmus of Panama and the opening of the Drake passage. Both of these even has PROFOUND effects on global climate, (much larger than EN, but then again they were much larger changes). Therein lies your answer?

    So, the question is not why En caused a rise in global temperature, but why the rise in ’98 was so large?

  156. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Apr 26, 2006 at 2:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #154

    I think this is also part of what I was getting at, BKC. It’s hardly an “average” or a “mean” if there is no geographical represenation in some very large areas of the planet.

    Mark

    Well, I’ve yet to find a sceptics who dismisses the satellite record but, as the link below shows, the satellite record and the surface record are now in close (but not perfect) correspondence. These records are all onto something and I think it follows if one is wrong, they all are.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Satellite_Temperatures.png

  157. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 26, 2006 at 5:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 156, say what? I mean, thanks for posting, Peter, but you need to take a second look at the source you cited.

    The wikipedia article shows that the surface temp has gone up by ~0.55°C over the period covered by the trend lines, and the UAH MSU record shows a rise of ~0.36°C over the same period.

    The UAH MSU rise, then, is only 65% of the surface rise … maybe that’s “close (but not perfect) correspondence” on your planet, but on my planet, that’s a very large difference.

    w.

  158. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 26, 2006 at 5:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 157, man, I hates that, I misread the graph. My apologies Peter, I need new eyeglasses …

    w.

  159. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 26, 2006 at 5:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 157/158, OK, now I see the problem. I misread the graph because it is so deceptive. The Wikipedia is once again wrong, or at best misleading. They start their trend line way after the start of the MSU data, and they have picked their start date very carefully so that the difference between datasets is minimized.

    Being a suspicious type fellow, after seeing that the trend lines started way late, I went to the original sources, and downloaded the data to compare them. In fact, the UAH MSU data is significantly different from the ground based data (p

  160. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Apr 26, 2006 at 5:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    (Aw, nuts, I forgot that this blog won’t accept the “less than” symbol, it truncates the post at that point. Here’s the full post … w.)

    Re 157/158, OK, now I see the problem. I misread the graph because it is so deceptive. The Wikipedia is once again wrong, or at best misleading. They start their trend line way after the start of the MSU data, and they have picked their start date very carefully so that the difference between datasets is minimized.

    Being a suspicious type fellow, after seeing that the trend lines started way late, I went to the original sources, and downloaded the data to compare them. In fact, the UAH MSU data is significantly different from the ground based data (p less than 0.5)

    The slope of the entire 1978 – 2005 data from the UAH MSU analysis is 0.119°C/decade. That of the Jones surface data is 0.172°C per decade. Thus, the MSU temperature rise is only 69% of the ground rise.

    Obviously, the author of the wikipedia article had an axe to grind, so he/she didn’t show us the trend for the full dataset, only for part of it … which is why I’m very, very cautious about citing wikipedia articles. Too often, it’s just some joker with more time on his hands than accuracy in his theories.

    In fact, I’m cautious about most things I haven’t calculated a priori for myself.

    Bad wikipedia … no cookies.

    And in any case … I reinstate my earlier claim that no, they are not in “close (but not perfect) correspondence”, they are still a long ways apart, with the UAH MSU data still, after all corrections, showing only 69% of the rise shown by the surface data.

  161. Greg F
    Posted Apr 26, 2006 at 6:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The Wikipedia graph also attempts to hide the differences by starting the UAH anomalies at a higher point then the CRU. A rough estimate the UAH appears to be 0.2 higher then the CRU around 1980. A graph that starts both data sets at roughly the same point at the beginning of the data can be seen here. The greenhouse theory also predicts that the Troposphere should be warming faster then the surface, which it isn’t. Peter has been told this before but he continues to ignore this inconvenient fact.

  162. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Apr 26, 2006 at 6:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I believe that WC is grinding the axe at Wikipedia on the issues of climate science.

    Frankly Peter, I have a problem with any graph such as this if it uses non-archived data. Phil Jones has been asked, ad nauseum, for his data. As Hans von Storch discovered, he still refuses to release it.

    I asked WC if he know where to find Jones’ data. He refered me to the massaged data from which Jones constructed the graph. I told WC that I wanted the raw, unadjusted, unsmoothed data. He refered me to Jones, who only has one answer: NO.

  163. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Apr 26, 2006 at 7:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Frankly Peter, I have a problem with any graph such as this if it uses non-archived data.

    PRECISELY.

    If not for Christy and Spencer making their methods public, nobody would’ve noticed the few errors (widely celebrated by global warming scaremongers) they’ve made.

    So why is everyone else permitted to be so secretive?

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