Letter to NAS

I want to convey one more time that, while I’m going to criticize the NAS report and in some cases I’m going to be pretty hard on it, I think that they are decent, intelligent and knowledgeable people, who’ve tried to do an honest job and who were civil and fair to Ross and I. While I disagree with many conclusions in the report, there are others that I welcome and which I think will do much to clear the air. Before I get into serious dissection of the report, I sent the following letter today to NAS to ensure that they understood that I’m criticizing the report because I think that it is a valuable and useful report.

Dear Drs North and Cicerone,

I have had a chance to do a first reading of the NAS Panel report and commend both of you as well as the panel members for your roles in a very constructive report.

On a personal basis, I appreciated the cordiality and hospitality shown to Dr McKitrick and myself in our visit to Washington both at the presentation and at the reception and the civility and fairness with which you represented our views on the matters in dispute.

For one reason or another, a type of impasse had been reached in scientific consideration of statistical aspects of millennial paleoclimate studies. I think that the panel will have a definite contribution towards resolving this impasse and has already cleared the air in many contentious areas.

Obviously a report like this will not be the last word in a topic. I agree with many conclusions of the report and disagree with others. I’ve criticized things in the past and will criticize them in the future. However, I definitely plan to apply the report in my own work both in terms of specific findings and for setting directions. Please accept any such future criticisms as recognition of the value of the report, rather than as negatives.

I think that the report will serve its purpose best as a living document. As a suggestion, you might consider convening a workshop or a conference session in which participants and others could respond to the study.

Again, I wish to firmly record the above appreciation and recognition of your efforts.

Yours truly,
Stephen McIntyre

Update: I received the following response almost immediately:

Dear Steve,

Thanks for your kind message. We appreciate your remarks. Please take note that we have proposed a special Union Session at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco in December to be chaired by several STR Committee members. I would be very pleased if you would submit a paper to this session. The session has not been approved yet, but we hope it will be given enough response in papers submitted. If you go to the AGU web page you can find instructions on how to submit an abstract.

I have not looked at your blog yet, but I look forward to reading a few of your good humored but prickly and challenging jabs.

Best wishes,
Jerry North

For other posts on the NAS Panel from the outset, see NAS Panel category at right.


300 Comments

  1. TCO
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    Nice touch. I think you should leverage the personal contacts made at the meeting, etc.

  2. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    Good intro to the next step.

  3. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    Steve, your letter is a fine example of friendly compromise, and offers a commendably cooperative spirit. You burned no bridges, and can hope for some reciprocity. Your approach is very understandable, and very politic. Also, it turns my stomach.

    I was going to end there, but thought to add this. Steve, you have gone through the math and analytically derived your approach to proxy reconstructions. You must be confident that your derivations are demonstrably correct. You must know exactly which NAS conclusions are supportable and which are not. You could have been just as friendly and just as cooperative in your letter at the same time as you let them know that their more squirrelly statements are insupportable. I think you would, and should, give more honor to both the process and to your own (heroic) effort by being kind, open, and determinedly to the point. The distress of others in the face of the challenge by an implacably objective science (i.e., not a challenge by you personally, but by the impersonal content of your results) is not your concern. Your concern is to get the science right, and to stand up for that science. Where is the valuation of what you have done if pussy-footing around is more important than speaking plainly?

    Given the behavior of these people, including Cicerone, I see no reason to tiptoe around their political sensibilities. If the NAS needs to be dragged in front of the mirror, then so be it.

  4. John A
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    Bah humbug.

  5. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    I think you miss Steve’s purpose in his letter. He IS going to be quite direct and objective. He just doesn’t want to appear vindictive. If a member of the panel wants to say in the future, “We looked at that and rejected it,” they’re not going to be able to say Steve is just trying to stir up trouble for his own purposes and dismiss him. They’re going to have to actually come clean and either address his statistical points or admit that they were afraid to make waves in the report.

    BTW, all supporters of Steve’s positions, please note that the goal of the other side on this blogsite has been almost uniformly to stir up trouble hoping to make Steve dismissable. It does no good to fall into their trap and get mad at such obvious ad hominim attacks.

  6. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    Dave, I understand your point, but Steve’s criticisms are objectively demonstrable. Making them is therefore demonstrably different from “stir[ring] up trouble.” Objectively demonstrable points are free from personality and opprobrium.

    Either Steve’s right, or he’s not. We both know that’s how science operates. I’ve had to face the music played by my reviewers. You likely have as well. The NAS is no different. Let the enviromythologists shout. Political shouts have no force in the face of demonstration. It dishonors both Steve’s effort and objective knowledge to put politics ahead of them.

    #4, John A, bah what? and whose humbug?

  7. Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Dave:

    A most insightful analysis. But, the most difficult time is yet to come, when the gatekeepers refuse to listen, to pretend his expert opinions are not worth consideration, as he is not “one of them.” Stand by for an attack on his credibility.

  8. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Russ,

    But that’s just the point. One of the ways they attack credibility is to try getting intemperate remarks from him. You’ve already seen various warmer types here attempt to link Steve to remarks made by John A or others hoping to discredit him (note I’m making no judgment as to whether such remarks would be discrediting or not.)

    Likewise there are things like the smear from the error (later corrected) in the Michaels & McKitrick paper.

    As you say, the Hockey Team would love nothing better than discrediting Steve without having to address his points, which I don’t think they can do anyway. Therefore Steve being more polite and deferential than he needs to helps deflect such attacks preemptively. Those of us who agree with Steve should do likewise.

    However I’m not above some hi-brow Sarcasm.

  9. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    Re: #3
    Pat, as Dave writes in #5 (and I thought Steve made clear in his intro), this is not the end, but rather the end of the beginning. There’s certainly no harm (and probably much good) in being polite and gracious.
    What, exactly turns your stomach in his letter? I didn’t spot Steve backing down on any point or criticism there.

  10. John A
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    Re #6

    Pat,

    It’s just that I’m less impressed with Committees and Panels, and I’m not sure that we’re much further forward than we were before the NAS Panel. Surely the glaring issues regarding MBH are not statistical so much as ethical, and on that point the Panel had nothing useful to say generally or in particular.

    Is the science shown in MBH and after, the sort of science that we want? Should scientists continue to produce trash like the Hockey Stick and prosper? Should scientists refuse any and all requests to data and methodology for published work in order to block replication? Should magazines, journals and funding agencies continue to shirk their responsibilities in regard to archiving requirements and full and plain disclosure?

    If I might go further, its as if a panel looking at Hwang woo Suk’s work decided that his conclusions should be downgraded to plausible and some of his methods and conclusions are shakey, but since Hwang’s work is consistent with others in the field of stem cells, therefore its basically OK?

  11. TCO
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Once the battle is won in the peer-reviewed journals, all else will follow. Without that, it’s a tempest in a teapot. And Steve’s not perfect. PC1 versus reconstruction. Confounding centeredness with normalization. Improper RE calcs. He needs to get papers out there. They won’t all be perfect either. But he’s being a chicken by hanging with the cheerleaders instead of putting work out.

  12. Bruce
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    Re #11: Hey TCO, I am getting the impression that you think that Steve Mc should get his a into g and publish some papers in the peer-reviewed journals. Is that correct?

  13. TCO
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    :)

  14. Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    Dear Steve,

    that’s a very nice piece of correspondence. Of course, they must be not only rather extraordinarily bright people but also diplomatic ones because this is necessary for the selection process. Of course that I think you should write a paper for the SF meeting.

    You might also offer these Gentlemen to publish statements and comments on this blog.

    Best wishes
    Lubos

  15. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    #9, Armand, what upsets my stomach is the elevation of politics over objectivity in science. That is invariably a road to disaster.

    #10, John I’m on your wavelength in this and entirely agree with your take. I’m less concerned with Mann’s possible ethical failings, though, than I am with, again, the elevation of politics over science by journal editors and high officials of scientific organizations. It’s almost as though they have no clear idea that scientific statements are deductive rather than inductive. They are supposed to be the gatekeepers. Instead of discharging with integrity their duty toward science, they have indulged sentiment and opened the gates to scientific barbarism.

  16. TCO
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

    Listen to TCO…

  17. Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    Dear John A #10,

    the NAS panel concluded that they found no evidence of deliberate and visible manipulation with data or other ethically problematic acts of Mann et al. Surely, this statement was partly because the NAS is chosen from extraordinarily peaceful (and achieved) scholars. But still, I think it could be a good idea to respect their opinion even if some of us disagree with it.

    The purpose of science is not to exponentially inflate moral accusations in all directions. This is just not how science should work. Climate science is surely not the most important scientific field, but it is still *a* scientific field. I find it obvious that those who work in that field – much like in other fields – much enjoy at least an elementary trust from the society including you.

    Scientists should not be working under permanent threats, attacks, and moral accusations. This is just not a healthy environment for science. In a given field, one should simply collect a certain number of talented people who can work on it, and give them freedom and confidence that they’re essentially honest. I don’t understand what you want to gain by questioning basic moral values of everyone all the time.

    I think it’s obvious that the panel has made a step towards a rational and objective appraisal of different works in science, and this itself makes it existence very useful and justifies Lincoln’s decision to create this institution. As people are getting more rational, of course my guess is that the importance of people like Mann is gonna decrease.

    But you don’t have to call for destruction of people. This was not the task for the NAS panel, and I believe that it is not a task for Steve or Ross either. I find it plausible that we should actually applaud the work of the panel. If the measurements of the electron’s charge are a good example, I think that all of us should actually try to make another panel that will judge the questions again. If this procedure is repeated 5 times, the 5th panel might be very close to the truth. ;-)

    Best
    Lubos

  18. TCO
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    For once I agree with you, theorist.

  19. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

    #17.

    the NAS panel concluded that they found no evidence of deliberate and visible manipulation with data or other ethically problematic acts of Mann et al. Surely, this statement was partly because the NAS is chosen from extraordinarily peaceful (and achieved) scholars. But still, I think it could be a good idea to respect their opinion even if some of us disagree with it.

    Mann also characterized the report this way in his email to San Francisco Chronicle, but I don’t see where the panel, as a collective issuing a peer-reviewed report, issued such an opinion or carried out any due diligence which would have enabled them to render such an opinion.

    I believe that the only support for the above view is was a statement by Bloomfield at the press conference, in which Bloomfield said that he saw no such evidence. I think that Bloomfield would have been wiser to avoid the question and adopt the position taken elsewhere in the press conference, where North said something to the effect that the panel did not get into replication issues altogether. Obviously Bloomfield and the rest of the panel saw evidence of manipulation of data – the withholding the verification r2 statistic – but chose at the presentation and after not to pursue the matter. I can understand why they might take that approach. But if they’re going to take that approach, Bloomfield should not make statements implying that there had been any due diligence, when there wasn’t.

  20. Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

    Grasshoppers watch and learn.

    There are many areas the panel did not get into – like the due diligence and the vulnerability of other reconstructions. Perhaps they were less well informed than readers of this blog.

    Steve is teaching us all how to do science better. I don’t know anyone who appreciated the value of audit and/or exact replication before this blog and now it seems essential. The three rules of research – question your assumptions, question your assumptions, question your assumptions again.

    Reminds me of Atlas Shrugged. When’s the movies coming out? Wonder if Al Gore would go?

  21. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

    One of the nice things about mineral exploration is that there are so many colorful stories and characters. Here’s a story about a company called Agnico-Eagle, a modest gold producer that’s been in business for many years. Many years ago, a notorious stock promoter announced terrific drilling results at the Eagle property. Paul Penna, an up-and-coming guy running Agnico, with aspirations of grandeur in the industry, launched a takeover of Eagle including the acquisition of the shares of the original promoter who walked away with lots and lots of money. When he got control, he found out that the assays had been salted and they had not discovered anything. Plus he was stuck with a drilling contract and remaining funds were diminishing fast. So he cancelled the drilling contract. Unfortunately for him, it was a take-or-pay contract, as the contractor quickly informed him and the contractor was not going to walk away from being paid. So he grudgingly commissioned two more holes to complete the contract and, in those holes, discovered an ore body which was better than even the fraudulent ore body. OK, ethicists, was he cheated or not?

  22. TCO
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    Yes. Of course. If MBH is right even though it was tendentious, then that is still wrong. Similarly if AGW is occuring even if the HS was wrong, that is still wrong.

  23. Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

    Re 21. Was he cheated? No. Because if he were to seek a remedy in court he would probably lose because he could not prove he was damaged in any way. If he had not found ore, then he could have sued for the difference between the value with and without the salting.

  24. Terry
    Posted Jun 24, 2006 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

    Jerry North wrote:

    Thanks for your kind message. We appreciate your remarks. Please take note that we have proposed a special Union Session at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco in December to be chaired by several STR Committee members. I would be very pleased if you would submit a paper to this session. The session has not been approved yet, but we hope it will be given enough response in papers submitted. If you go to the AGU web page you can find instructions on how to submit an abstract.

    This is a silver platter invitation to present a paper outlining the consequences of correcting the errors outlined by the NAS in chapters 9 and 11. The paper almost writes itself. Frame it positively … moving the science along … deriving new and improved and more rigorous results … firming up our knowledge in this ares … going BEYOND the MBH controversy.

    The most obvious paper: what happens when we don’t rely on the bristlecones and correctly calculate confidence intervals from calibration period residuals. Simply take the bristlecones out of the N papers that have used them and succintly report the new and improved results with corrected confidence intervals.

    Need some sort of pithy way to summarize the results so everything can be summarized in a single table — perhaps for each reconstruction give the mean estimate of average temperature in the 11th century (or whatever) and the upper and lower 95% confidence levels of that estimate.

    Could be done in a graph too: a series of horizontal bars running down the page, one for each study’s confidence interval and something to give some intuition as to how large the confidence intervals are. For instance, include Mann’s confidence intervals and perhaps temperatures at various times (current temperature, temperature at depth of LIA, at depth of last ice age, highest estimated temperature in the past 200 million years, etc.) If the new confidence intervals span all known past temperatures, it would be an extremely effective graphic.

    BTW, the tone of your letter was superb. The NAS committe behaved quite honorably and should be treated with respect. Your disagreements with some of their conclusions are disagreements among honorable people. There really is room for reasonable people to disagree here.

  25. John A
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 1:07 AM | Permalink

    Lubos,

    The purpose of science is not to exponentially inflate moral accusations in all directions. This is just not how science should work. Climate science is surely not the most important scientific field, but it is still *a* scientific field. I find it obvious that those who work in that field – much like in other fields – much enjoy at least an elementary trust from the society including you.

    No, its not. There are scientific fields, and there are scientific fields which directly affect public policy. That MBH98 is a fabricated piece of crap is bad for climate science, but the fact that MBH98 and its successor MBH99 is a fabricated piece of crap inserted into the IPCC TAR which was then shamelessly used to promote an extraordinary piece of public policy, the Kyoto Protocol, and is still being used to promote and maintain a state of fear in the public’s mind concerning carbon dioxide and catastrophic climate change means that scientists should be held accountable, just like everybody else is in the public sphere is accountable.

    Scientists should not be working under permanent threats, attacks, and moral accusations. This is just not a healthy environment for science. In a given field, one should simply collect a certain number of talented people who can work on it, and give them freedom and confidence that they’re essentially honest. I don’t understand what you want to gain by questioning basic moral values of everyone all the time.

    I’m going to resist the obvious comeback of your behavior regarding string theory, and focus on the particular. Mann claimed that to give Steve McIntyre access to code and methodology would be to give in to “intimidation”. So whose freedom and confidence is being imputed to be less than honest? I do not see that scientists have any less of an obligation to be honest than politicians, accountants, business owners or mining stock promoters where those obligations have clear public policy implications.

    I think it’s obvious that the panel has made a step towards a rational and objective appraisal of different works in science, and this itself makes it existence very useful and justifies Lincoln’s decision to create this institution. As people are getting more rational, of course my guess is that the importance of people like Mann is gonna decrease.

    To posit such a position is to ignore the enormous harm that MBH98 has done to climate science and to science in particular. The nettle was grasped by the South Korean authorities even when the person involved had featured on the country’s stamps.

    To borrow Sir Humphrey Appleby’s phrase, the NAS Panel “resolutely turned their backs to the music”.

  26. gb
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

    Re # 20.

    "Steve is teaching us all how to do science better. I don’t know anyone who appreciated the value of audit and/or exact replication before this blog and now it seems essential. The three rules of research – question your assumptions, question your assumptions, question your assumptions again."

    These points are recognized by scientist. Don’t extrapolate your experience with Mann et al. to other (climate) scientist. Most of them are doing a good/honest job. And articles are peer-reviewed before publication. This process cannot completely prevent bad science, but do you have a better suggestion?

  27. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 3:10 AM | Permalink

    #21 — Of course he was cheated. Cheating involves an intent to deceive, followed by active deception. The story has all of those elements. The fact that Agnico later found a better lode was a happenstance that spared them the financial disaster of the original deception.

    In fact, one could make the argument that the richer lode would have been present even if the deception had been truth. Therefore, Agnico should have made a profit on both the originally claimed lode, plus the new lode that they would have inevitably found later.

    And so the original financial loss is still present, but it appears as a lower final profit, rather than as a loss.

  28. James Lane
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 3:28 AM | Permalink

    Re #24. Terry I couldn’t agree more. Spot on.

  29. Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 5:47 AM | Permalink

    Dear John A #25,

    I agree that the climate science belongs among politically charged topics where the risk of manipulation is higher, where the money spent because of the scientific conclusions may be substantial (or alternatively, the price of the armageddon predicted by Al Gore may also be high), so it is a good idea for the society to try to check and re-check the conclusions.

    But even when it occurs, the permanent accusations of scientists are not helpful – much like the permanent accusations of M&M have not been helpful at all to find the truth. And sorry, I don’t buy the stories that M&M are less of scientists than their opponents. According to the objective sources I have, they are as achieved or more achieved scientists than most of their critics.

    Much of the potential unethical behavior often occurs because of the external political pressure and threats, and I think that responsible people should try to avoid it.

    Moreover, my recent feeling unfortunately was that your accusations of dishonesty are not limited to scientists who study politically charged topics because it included people from fields with as small political impact as one can imagine.

    It is completely comprehensible that if someone has been treated unfairly for years – and M&M are certainly an example – he can have legitimate and justified feelings about the unethical behavior of others. But it is important to suppress the role of such unscientific line of reasoning and emotions as soon as it starts to become clear that the era of manipulation is approaching its end. We will see whether this description holds for the present.

    All the best
    Lubos

  30. Doug L
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

    Lessons learned:

    1. Withholding adverse statistics is ethical

    2. Use foreign nationals as statisticians, they can fib before Congress with relative immunity.

    3. Don’t worry if you have to add the foreign born statistician at the last minute, even if it’s noticed, it’s politically incorrect for people to point it out.

    4. Use someone from England. The people of the slowly sinking southern shores will welcome him back as a hero and insist that he remain forever free.

    5. Don’t make it clear to reporters that “plausible” does not mean “probable”

    6. Suggest to reporters that reconstructions play no significant role in attributing warming to man, but don’t tell them the written report uses the reconstructions in making the argument.

    under the headline “ANTHROPOGENIC FORCING AND RECENT CLIMATE CHANGE”:

    “Simulations with energy balance and intermediate complexity models indicate that a
    combination of solar and volcanic forcings can explain periods of relative warmth and cold
    between A.D. 1000 and 1900, but that anthropogenic forcing, and particularly increases in
    greenhouse gases, are needed to reproduce the late 20th century warming (Crowley 2000,
    Bertrand et al. 2002, Bauer et al. 2003).”

    (bottom paragraph sheet 117, page 102)

    7. Write reports with something for everyone so people will know how nice your are. (this is included in an attempt to get a list of ten, but there are only seven, hmm seven deadly sins, good enough!)

  31. Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    Re: 27. Aren’t you assuming that the last two drill holes found a new ore body? That isn’t said in the text and would be unlikely to have been established in reality. The original assays would have had some show of mineral, and all accounting of damages pertain to the single ore body in question. So there was no material damage from the salting.

  32. Lawrence Hickey
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    Maybe Steve would like a different avenue rather than the “publish in journals” route. I think the following idea might be a little snarky but I looked at the NAS paper, and it seems
    like it contains a most of Steve’s points but its spin gives the hockey team their sound bites. The two are not brought together in the paper. For example,
    on page 2 of the summary, there is Figure S-1 that shows a hockey stick, and it shows several different proxies. If you examine it, you will see, for most of them
    the cyclic nature of the thing,(MWP LIA 20century) since the graph goes back to 900AD. But then, on a bullet item on page 3, you get the sound byte.
    “It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than any comparable
    period during the preceding four centuries.” That’s the bite, but the graph allows one to see the four century mark was chosen to put it into the depth of the
    little ice age, and only one of the 7 proxies in the graph show any “alarming” very last rise anyway. But the press runs with the sound bite.
    So then, the seeds of the destruction of MBH are sowed in this puppy. They just need to watered.

    Going to the people- I think Steve should publish a line numbered version of the NAS report, like the Bible, and below the sound bites, Steve could, in his commentary,
    maybe in a different color, point the reader at the charts within the document itself, and sometimes add comments, like substitution of polar Urals for bristlecones.

    This “annotated bible” can destroy the PR edge that the document currently gives to the AGW side. Better yet, this framework would provide a skeleton on which
    to hang supplementary material. This would leave the introduction and context work to the NAS document itself, and the counterpunch ever so much easier. No introduction needed, just meat!
    Show the r2 values. … This might annoy the academicians, but if Steve does not want to play in that arena, then he can go vox populi and work with that. As for me,
    it would be more fun to see steve take this route for M&M.

  33. TCO
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    I think that’s crap. He should publish in the peer-reviewed abstracted literature. I’m not sure to what extent it’s fear and what extent not liking to write papers, that holds him back. But it’s not the field’s fault that he doesn’t have 20 publications. It’s his hesitancy.

  34. Lee
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    TCO,

    I think its a lot easier for Steve to sit here and throw snarky analyses at individual facts, than to create rigorous complete in-context stories and subject them to review.

    But I’m feeling snarky myself at the moment.

  35. TCO
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    I agree. I put more trust in his work if it is:

    1. Finished to a point (arguments elucidated clearly)
    2. Disaggregated into individual issues that can be debated on their own (no kitchen sink, no trying to have strong points prop up weak ones).
    3. Exposed to criticism.

    In addition, to me putting more credibility in him, it is also more beneficial to the field in that it directly confronts people and allows them to better use/sharpen/refute/build on his points.

    Of course, I still think the world of him and think he will do just fine once he gets going.

  36. Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    Dear Lawrence #32,

    I completely agree with you and disagree with TCO. TCO would like to transform Steve into an average climate scientist who forms 0.01% of the “scientific consensus”. I think that Steve’s influence over the field is demonstrably higher than that by orders of magnitude, and whether or not their contributions with Ross McKitrick are properly attributed depends on the atmosphere in the field, not the number of articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

    Among other things, the BBC or New York Times articles may be biased, but they contain a link to climateaudit.org on equal footing with a link to realclimate.org. I think it would be irrational for Steve to start to do things that others only do because of career plans anyway.

    It would be a good idea to create an annotated version of the NAS report, and maybe publish it when it works, but among all of us, the blog is more influential than the published versions of these things anyway.

    All the best
    Lubos

  37. beng
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    I find it hard to disagree w/most of the “hard-line” points, but to be polite & courteous is essential in this situation. If real progress is to be made on AWG, researchers need cajoled into cooperating & even collaborating far more than they are now. Steve_M’s laying out a welcome mat.

  38. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    I realize that everyone’s full of ideas on how I should do things – TCO, in particular. TCO – one thing that I get tired of hearing – I’m not “afraid”. Jeez, if I were, I’d hardly have ventured into this field or done it in the way that I have. That’s one of the last adjectives that I’d apply to myself. I’ve got a long list of faults like everyone else. There are other reasons why I’ve not written 4-5 articles over the last year, but that’s not one of them.

    I think that the NAS Panel report is a real watershed. It really opens the door for me in a lot of ways. It obviously sets up about 3-4 (or more) articles right away on topics that I’ve been mulling over for a year on the blog and elswhere, but they will be profoundly different articles than would have been possible 10 months ago for reasons that you can all instantly identify.

    Some of the rulings – on bristlecones, on verification period residuals and other statistical issues – can be applied directly without having to be argued from first principles, which was impossible in the space of a journal article on another topic anyway. Practically, the vindication of the MM articles helps in a variety of ways (even if they left Mann with a figleaf of respectability).

    Sometimes things happen for a reason. If a year from now, I haven’t written some of these ideas up, then, TCO, you can criticize me about it, but please, give me a little time.

    For those of you unfamiliar with AGU meetings, “Union sessions” are a big deal: they are not ordinary sessions. If AGU approves the session, presenting at one in response to Jerry North’s invitation would be a big honor.

  39. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    #31 — David, Steve wrote, “… in those [last two] holes, discovered an ore body which was better than even the fraudulent ore body.

    That sounds to me like they discovered a new ore body no one knew about.

    Regarding the original assays, Steve wrote, “When he got control, he found out that the assays had been salted and they had not discovered anything.” That sounds like there was no recoverable gold from the original drill sites, and that the original assays were outright frauds.

    Cheating definitely occurred. The fact that Agnico struck it rich and suffered no net losses might mean that there is no legal case. But the ethical case is clear. Note that attempted murder is a felony.

  40. Terry
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    Steve wrote:

    I realize that everyone’s full of ideas on how I should do things

    Touche. I often feel guilty just sitting her telling Steve what to do. He has done a hundred times more than I, or almost anyone else commenting here, has done, so any criticisms of Steve’s work ethic are completely out of line.

  41. JP
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    Over 20 years ago, when I was assigned to the Severe Storms Forecast Unit with the AFGWC at Offutt AFB, no one questioned the material that came out of places like NOAA or NCAR. While some research was better than others, we all had a lot of respect for the individuals and insititutions that performed vital research. No one was interested in the politics of Dr. Charles Doswell or Robert Maddox, or Ted Fujita. These 3 men did ground breaking work in the areas of severe storms forecast techniques, Torndado classification, and Mesoscale Convective Complexes. Society has benefited greatly from thier work. Many lives have been saved.

    As stated in another post, Trust is something that has been lacking these last 5 or 10 years in climate research. Once lost, it is hard to it get back. I’m sick and tired of seeing scientists branded as either stooges for Big Oil, or as Fellow Travelers. I hope the work of people here will help return that Trust.

  42. Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    #40.

    #31 “¢’‚¬? David, Steve wrote, “… in those [last two] holes, discovered an ore body which was better than even the fraudulent ore body.”

    That sounds to me like they discovered a new ore body no one knew about.

    I think it could be interpreted either way: as new or the old ore body.

    The fact that Agnico struck it rich and suffered no net losses might mean that there is no legal case. But the ethical case is clear. Note that attempted murder is a felony.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with any of that. But to the extent that being cheated can be equated with material loss, and an objective basis for judging “being cheated” being the capacity to seek a judicial remedy, then in my dubious legal opinion they were not cheated in this instance.

  43. TCO
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    Lubos: You are wrong. Peer-reviewed papers would not stop Steve from making any of the posts that he makes or speaking to committees. In fact, it would help either activity, because he would have forced himself to think through things more.

    Steve: Dude…I was right about Nature not being the right place to publish that Polar Urals misdating paper. I was right about PC1 versus reconstruction (I had asked the question, long, long before getting an answer and was always bugged by the non-response), I was right about your not having fairly described the reasons for correlation versus covariance matrix (“units” silliness versus a math intuition–scale of variation versus parameter of interest.) And I’m right that you need to publish more both for the good of the field and truth-seeking (what I care about) and for advocacy of your “position”.

    Afraidness: you have made remarks about not wanting to write small contained papers that were susceptible to counterargument, have (at times) shown a tendancy to try to use point B to prop up point A (when A was under examination), have interacted in Huybers comment as if you cared more about “being shown up” than pursuing clear truth (e.g. where I had to push to find out that your criticism of Huybers RE method applies to your own running as well.) Basically, I get the impression that you are worried about being “marginalized” by being found wrong on a point now and then (and you will if you wander out into the world and publish a lot) and so you hold back and do things like making blog comments, vice publishing LPUs. So that’s what I mean when I use the term. I also get the impression that you don’t really enjoy writing papers and powerpoints. ;)

  44. TCO
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    Oh…and I don’t like your putting such weight on the Panel as having established the points on verification periods, bristlecones, etc. I want real journal articles with full explication on these issues. I don’t honestly trust the Panel to have thought this stuff through hard enough and diligently enough and to have the same nuts on the block that someone writing an article would have. I think you impressed the committee and they gave you a lot of deference and in some cases went a bridge further than you have. But I want see the frigging details of the argument laid out on the dissection table in detail, in a neutral forum. (And yes, that’s how I view the peer-reviewed area despite that it will not always be 100% neutral…it’s still better then your website.)

  45. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    #43. The answer to the mining question in my opinion is that: as a civil case, there was a fraud, but no damages. You might even have been able to rescind the deal assuming that you could locate the money, but obviously you wouldn’t want to any more. The damage from not having two ore bodies is too remote. Criminally, there was a fraud if the police had chosen to pursue it. This even happened 40 years ago or so and nothing happened then, as far as I know.

    TCO, the nuance that I felt is different than you’ve taken and is probably due to not expressing myself very accurately in my earlier comment.

    There’s obviously a lot that’s been unusual in this particular academic situation. Until there was some resolution on the Mann thing, rightly or wrongly, I was reluctant to put additional balls in play. Mann, Ammann and UCAR had totally misrepresented and muddied the situation and turned it into more of a litigation than a quest for knowledge. Until that situation was resolved, I was really somewhat paralysed on new projects. However, I wasn’t going to get pushed around either and responded in my own way, which wasn’t what anyone expected. Thus, the reality show (David Stockwell’s term) was born.

    In retrospet, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky in how the chips fell. Who would have ever thought that two House committees would get interested and then a NAS panel would adjudicate? Inconceivable.

    Now the situation is totally different. Before, my instinct was that it was most important to advance on a narrow front. Now that the bridge has been taken, it’s a different game. And there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ve taken the bridge. Could the bridge have been taken under a different strategy? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s been taken under the strategy that I pursued – so please chill a little bit.

  46. Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

    Dear TCO #44,

    please don’t view my comment as criticism ;-) but I think that your comments start to be openly hostile. Moreover, your statements comparing certain journals with this website are arguably false.

    It’s just a fact that no one before M&M had identified any particular technical problems with the Mann et al. papers, despite having all the environment of peer-reviewed literature etc. Almost no one reads these technical papers in journals anyway. Most people in their field only read things that are important for their funding etc.

    This website is read by people at many levels of expertise including the experts in statistics – and climate science – and the amount of feedback is at least as big as for the journals you love so much. Many of the readers are interested in the questions because of pure curiosity.

    Your comments how you were right about everything are so convoluted that they make no sense to me. You were right that Steve should be publishing in journals, but you were also right that a paper XY should not have been sent to a journal (Nature), but you were also right that it should have been sent if a prime integer were chosen as the pagenumber for the article, but you were also right that the pagenumber should not be counted as prime if it is a Mersenne prime. Flip flop.

    You’re always right because you always invent some crazy explanation why you’re always wrong. ;-)

    Concerning your #45, I think that both you as well as Steve overestimate the importance of some technicalities. And maybe even Steve is sometimes focusing on too narrow questions. Even if the members of the panel did not go exactly through the full and rigorous calculation of various verification statistics and all of their subtleties, they still could have used alternative methods to get the correct order-of-magnitude estimates for the uncertainty. Because the uncertainty is so high, it really makes little sense to calculate all these things so accurately.

    I don’t know, TCO, what exactly justifies this technical criticism of the panelists. I think that you have no real evidence that they were just guessing. Even if they were guessing, it may have been a qualified guess, much like many papers seemingly supported by data were not qualified. As the infinite arguments about things that were analyzed to the smallest detail – such as the correlation coefficients with and without various things – show us, sometimes it is simply more important to have a respected person who simply understands the right answer, explains it, and removes the fog.

    More clearly, TCO, I don’t believe that one generic article sent to a journal is more important than the panel’s report (or than this blog). It just sounds crazy to me.

    Best
    Lubos

  47. TCO
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    I love ya Steve, but no. Bang me on the head for ad homs and for drunkposting.* But this is a free discussion forum, no? I’ll grind you on points of argument and grind you on failure to publish. You are a free person (err…technically a subject…but we won’t go there), so of course you can do as you choose. And I wish you the best. But I’m still right! :)

    *Except that I have pet troll status, so let me get away with a lot. Vive la standarde double,

  48. TCO
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    Steve:

    1. I thought you were asking an ethics question? You asked board ethicists to comment? :) I will defer to your opinion on the nature of damages and windfalls and the like in civil cases.

    2. You said:

    TCO, the nuance that I felt is different than you’ve taken and is probably due to not expressing myself very accurately in my earlier comment.

    There’s obviously a lot that’s been unusual in this particular academic situation. Until there was some resolution on the Mann thing, rightly or wrongly, I was reluctant to put additional balls in play. Mann, Ammann and UCAR had totally misrepresented and muddied the situation and turned it into more of a litigation than a quest for knowledge. Until that situation was resolved, I was really somewhat paralysed on new projects.

    Yes, this is what I mean when I say “afraid”. I have a real disdain for this type of hesitancy. And the really sad thing is that even were I an advocate as you (I’m more interested in progression to understanding than argument winning, but that’s me) it would STILL be a misguided policy even for that!

    The damages recieved in “being tied up” would be much less than the damage done by new stakes to the heart. Especially if you changed your additude of being tied up. Huybers comment perfect example: you should just acknowledge his points, mentione the EE article where part of the issue was addressed…thank Huybers for clarifying it even more (and better) and then move on. Meaning writing another damn analysis on this site up into some product and getting it out over the transom.

    3. “Situation totally different”. I don’t agree, but if you start publishing more now, then I’ll take the right result for the wrong reasons.

    4. I’m still going to watch you like a hawk.

  49. Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

    Let me tell you one more thing about the perception of Steve’s identity by the people in climate and related fields as I see it.

    Steve got to the field much like Einstein to physics; Einstein was a patent clerk. I have no idea whether it is further from physics than mineral exploration consulting from climate science. ;-)

    Because this whole debate has been extremely politicized for many years, there are many people who just call all skeptics by names, connecting them with the right-wing mafia etc. and viewing the strategy to ignore them and humiliate them regardless of anything as their 11th (or 1st) commandment.

    They will always tell you that Steve is not a serious scientist. Ross and Steve have had many citations for their several published articles for quite some time, but some people still use the arguments about complete amateurs.

    They use it because their usage of this argument has nothing to do with the actual achievements. It is a matter of belief. A political or religious belief. Let me not talk about the climate fans whom I view as hopeless.

    Instead, let me look at more serious ones. When I half-jokingly proposed Steve to become the leader of the Harvard Energy Initiative, a rather well-known climate / Earth / planetary scientists from Cambridge MA sent me a nice and reasonable reply. Of course, he is more or less on the other side of the virtual wall, but I kind of agreed with the comments.

    The statement was that Steve is still more of a statistician than a climate scientist.

    Of course, it is to a large extent true. Steve focuses on technical aspects of a graph and of course that once he starts to compute and think, he ridicules everyone else in the climate science in this particular discipline because he is a stastician, unlike them.

    But climate science is not *just* statistics. I know very well that Steve knows many things about the climate, even the non-statistical ones, much more than I do, and frankly speaking, I (and many readers of mine and others) don’t count myself as a complete layman. ;-) But still, it is probably fair to say that Steve does not have the full education, and one can’t be sure whether he would make the right conclusions about everything in climate science.

    I feel that if he should do something, then to try to increase his control over other aspects of climate science, especially those in which he can use his mathematical innate aptitudes. In some sense, the hockey stick is really dead at this moment. This blog might start to fight for credit or celebrate for the rest of eternity. I think it would be wrong. Maybe there is time to attack other questions.

    Look at the situation from a bigger picture. What are the interesting questions here? No existing reconstructions before 1600 will be trusted when the dust settles. The panel probably buried all of them simultaneously, although for Steve that could mean to repeat the same painful multi-year stories 10 times, and the result would be, most likely, that neither of the studies can decide whether 1998 was the hottest year, for example, with any significance.

    After 1600 it is clear that it is getting warmer. Little Icea Age. Anthropogenic Global Warming. Can you decide? Can you prove AGW from the data? How much you trust it? I am not sure whether these are necessarily the most important questions now.

    The big question, after all, is of course whether a dangerous AGW is taking place and whether it exceeds the natural background and how much. Steve has always been an extremely honest technical worker, but the alarmists did not appreciate it. They won’t appreciate it anyway. Maybe it’s time to think big.

    Best
    Lubos

  50. Terry
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

    A little too much pscyh 101 here folks.

    The path forward is simple. Write as many papers as possible and submit them wherever they can get published. Expect only a 50% success rate in publication.

    Keep the point of each paper SIMPLE and FOCUSED (even when the details are complicated, the point should be very simple) The point of every good paper can be explained in three paragraphs max and usually in three sentences. Almost every good paper comes down to one (maybe two) good graphics or tables. Find that graphic or table and build the paper around it. The abstract is then just a statement of the question and a short description of the key graphic.

    IMHO, this is the thing Steve has to work hardest on.

  51. TCO
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    LM (47):

    A. Sorry about the confusion. Steve knows what I’m blathering about. It’s not critical. I guess the spirit of the point that I want to make is about pursuing truth down to the nitty gritty finish.
    B. I disagree with the comment on detail. Of course, there is an overall picture that is built up. But in addition, when multiple “wrong things” about MBH are mentioned, we should be able to examine each one of them. If one is proven to “not be a wrong thing” then that does not invalidate the overall argument. One should have the honor to examine things point by point without being defensive or tendentious. I dislike this practice from Mannians. Dislike it from our side. Dislike the misalignement of scientific deduction from honorablke logical examination to defensive practices out of the fear that a minor point clarification will be escalated in argument. The truth is the truth. Let the chips fall. Let point a.2.b.(ii) be examined under the microscope. Don’t be scared. (Being bored is another argument entirely :) but I don’t buy that one either).
    C. “What justifies ‘technical criticism’ of the panelists”

    First, I read the report. I know good, thoughtfull analysis when I see it. In science, business, etc.

    Second, the report is confused and schizophrenic and contains some direct contradictions: thus not indicating fully realized analysis.

    Third, I am not criticizing the technical ability of the panelists…as technicians per se…I’m criticising pronouncements that are not fleshed out with full explication and justification. I criticize this in both directions by the way. The “algebra is not shown”: They don’t go into detail.

    Fourthly, some of the remarks are a bridge further then where Steve goes. And I really don’t think that they have spent the time on it that Steve has.

    Fifthly, the pronouncements are those of a committee, are not really carrying the stake that an individual (or lead author of a team publicaion) would have if publishing a real paper on one of the points (bristlecone, etc.)

    D. You are setting up a bit of a straw man or putting words in my mouth (insert cliche) wrt one generic paper versus Panel reports. My point is that on a specific issue (centeredness, bristlecone, etc.) I place more stake in a paper which describes the entire issue, shows the algebra, has a clear proponent, is put into play in a journal where counter-comments can be put forward…than a throwaway line in a committee publication. AHA! I just figured it out. You are concerned about the PR! I’m concerned about learning the truth. It’s a serious aha to me. I had not even thought about this before I was about to submit the post. Sure, you might be right there. That’s not so interesting to me, and even here I think winning in the journals will eventually drag the PR along. But maybe you are right, that the journals are second best on that front. Not so interesting to me really.

  52. TCO
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    Terry…yup.

  53. TCO
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    Lumo:

    Your comment about Steve and his goals and such is very interesting. Lot we could hash around there. I agree that Steve does not really have the command of the physics and the chemistry of climate. He needs to get up to speed on thermo so he can authorize John’s spanking for one. :)

    I think the field is rich for further statisical work and that would be the better direction for him to move if he decides to keep doing this stuff. I think some more stakes to the heart for the various studies are still needed, if only for the reason that the practioners in that field are so frigging naive and such (look at Rob Wilson for instance). Other areas that he could look at might be more along the lines of further investigation into the stats but not tied to spanking others. For instance, codifying and clarifying the LTP properties. Doing his own reconstruction. I really think that someone needs to do a better job of improving the field data obtaining methods and someone needs to do a wide-ranging data getting effort (need a BIG grant). I don’t think that Steve has all the abilities for this (but maybe he does). In any case, he might have some useful role in such a project as the statistician. Any textbook will tell you that involving the statistician AFTER the data has been gathered is too late. So many mistakes can be made in the gathering, that you need him involved in the beginning.

    On a personal note, I would like to see a way that he could get paid for this and ways for him to get the recognition and ego-boost of some definite status. (If he wants those things.)

  54. Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

    Dear Steve,

    I apologize for participating in this debate that deconstructs you. If you’re just like me, you must hate it – regardless of the sign of the contributions. ;-)

    Best
    Lubos

  55. Chris O'Connell
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    I’m fairly new to this website, and the math is way out of my league. However, I’m very interested in the subject and I guess I’ve been a closet skeptic for the past several years. I’ve tried to read as much of this site as I could without falling asleep, and I guess what I’m curious about is what people think is the real problem to be solved. First, there is an issue of ethics, and even if Mann wasn’t lying about his procedures, I would assert that attempts to restrict access to his data and procedures is unethical. Is the plan to try and fry Mann? Next, it seems that there are a lot of researchers out there using either bad data, or using good data incorrectly. Do they need to be stopped and ‘corrected’ (I don’t like that word, but I think you get what I’m trying to say). Third, there are what I consider the non-scientific of the scientific journals (Scientific American etc.). I don’t mean that in an insulting way, but when it comes down to it, they need to sell advertising. They don’t care what the NAS report really MEANS, if they can get a headline that will sell more advertising. Do we need a plan that gets them to stop this? These sorts of magazines are the sorts that are quoted in the New York Times and the Telegraph Herald out of Dubuque Iowa and are what impresses public opinion. Impressing public opinion creates a vicious cycle that influences politics, which influences funding which influences blah blah blah.

    I sort of get the feeling that Steve is the young jedi and we all want him to take his lightsaber and slay someboday (I was gonna say St. George, instead of the young jedi, but we’re all geeks here). Who should he slay? I understand TCO’s desire to get to truth. But if no one cares about truth, you can sleep easier at night, but no once cares about truth… I’m not saying they don’t, and I don’t know the answer. If somehow the editor of Scientific American could be convinced to write the editorial with the correct headline, that would be great. But this NAS report can only be milked for so long. Ultimatally, Steve is going to slay who he wants to slay, or he might just take up keelboat sailing. Just curious if I’m the only one who doesn’t quite get the big picture about this or not.

    Thanks for all your patience with a newbie. Chris

  56. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 25, 2006 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    Actually, I’ve turned into an old jedi. Youth is a distant memory.

  57. CasualBrowser
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 1:31 AM | Permalink

    Don’t worry. I’m sure Mann will be along any time now to tell you that Dagobah’s CO2 is unacceptable.

  58. John A
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 1:41 AM | Permalink

    “Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine, Darth”

  59. L Nettles
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    They will always tell you that Steve is not a serious scientist.

    I just got around to reading “The Tipping Point” it would seem that perhaps Steve is something more dangerous to the Hockey Stick than a “serious scientist” he has become what the book calls a “Maven” and his message is starting to get “sticky”

  60. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    Al Gore seems to think Steve and Ross are not serious “scientists.” His comments lean towards them being “statisticians” that don’t understand the data (wasn’t that also Hansen’s comment?) The problem, however, with such comments, is that he fails to understand that the HS is a statistical beast. So the question becomes, which is more scientific – a statistician applying general data rules and analyzing the statistical methods in which said data is analyzed, or a climatologist taking data he knows and implementing a statistical method? Neither, IMO, is “more” scientific than the other. However, misapplying a method, no matter what the data, will result in an unreliable outcome (and vice-versa for bad data). I’d RATHER a statistician oversee the methods, actually.

    Mark

  61. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    RE: “Please take note that we have proposed a special Union Session at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco in December to be chaired by several STR Committee members. I would be very pleased if you would submit a paper to this session. The session has not been approved yet, but we hope it will be given enough response in papers submitted. If you go to the AGU web page you can find instructions on how to submit an abstract.”

    Wooo hooo! Outstanding :)

  62. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    #61 – And I supposed that a lawyer who changed career once to become a politician, and a second time to become one of the world’s greatest stealth investment bankers, is qualified in any way to even comment on this? Hmmmm …. Hon. Mr. Gore certainly has a very unique point of view.

  63. John Hekman
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    Steve

    It is great news that you have been invited to give a paper. My I suggest (and I apologize if someone above has already done so) that the subject should be “Interrelated dendroclimatic data sources for paleoclimate reconstructions.”

    You have won the first battle in that MBH98 and MBH99 are no longer “operative.” But the retort is that “other aritcles get the same result.” So the most effective paper you could write IMHO would be one that lays out which papers use the discredited data series. You could also add, if I read the comments here correctly, that “Ice core temperature signals do not have a resolution of less than 200 years. Therefore, climate reconstructions that rely either on tree ring data that contains [X,Y,Z faulty series] or ice cores to reach their conclusions are unsubstantiated.”

    If they cannot shoot down that paper with any hard evidence, then you will have leveraged your previous results in a major way.

  64. Gary
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    Here we go. Once the Courts get involved the debate of the science is meaningless.

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/06/26/scotus.environment.ap/index.html

  65. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    #65 That is a worrying turn of events.

  66. fFreddy
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    Re #65
    Any idea what sort of timescale the Supreme Court works to ?

  67. jae
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

    Hmmm. To invoke the Clean Air Act, I think the Court will have to consider CO2 as a pollutant. That’s rather like considering water as a pollutant. This will be interesting, to say the least!

  68. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    re #63:

    And I supposed that a lawyer who changed career once to become a politician, and a second time to become one of the world’s greatest stealth investment bankers, is qualified in any way to even comment on this?

    He is likely not. He is relying on the same old “poisoning the well” argument that always makes me wonder… isn’t he smart enough to know better? Lobbin ad-homs as your argument when you are relying on second-hand information (his ideas come from his own experts in the field) is a poor debate tactic.

    Mark

  69. Reid
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    The lower courts have rejected imposing limits on CO2. The have ruled that only the EPA, not the courts, have the right to regulate CO2. The Supreme Court will most likely do the same.

  70. 2dogs
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    #43 Agnico has a legal case, and can sue, even though they made a profit. The reason being is that on acquisition of the Eagle property, they were acquiring the ability to make a profit from both the(falsely) “known” and unknown deposits on the property. The fact that they made good on the unknown deposit does not lessen their damages from the falsely claimed deposit.

  71. Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    Warned you my legal opinion was dubious.

  72. TCO
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    62. Big deal. I mean it’s good and all. But big deal. He is a part of the field. Why are you all REynolds-wrapper righties getting so giddy over that. I always saw him as part of the field. A part that NEEDS TO WRITE MORE PAPERS. ;)

  73. Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

    Dear #65 Gary,

    I understand that if someone proposes an accusation that the government or anyone else is doing crime by not regulating CO2 – the gas that we call life – the court simply must try to decide.

    Unexpected things can occur – and do occur – but it seems clear to me what should be the right decision of a court. The U.S. laws do not say that the government must regulate carbon dioxide, which means that the government does not have to regulate carbon dioxide – not even if people call the gas names.

    Is not it obvious that one must first create a law the prescribes the duty to regulate to someone, and only afterwards, this law can be used? What existing law can be used to argue that the government must regulate something that was not regulated in the past?

    I find a hypothetical different ruling absurd. Even if CO2 were the main driver of the climate, I think that the court can’t circumvent these standard mechanisms. The standard mechanisms are based on scientific research and testing conjectures. Once the resulting theories gain support of voters and especially their representatives (who can often but not always be smarter) – lawmakers – they can make laws that take the theories into account. Courts then decide within the mantinels given by these laws.

    Someone would like a different scenario. A vocal subset of the scientific community reaches a consensus – within this vocal subset – and together with Al Gore, the loser of the 2000 (and 2008) elections, they get directly to the court to make decisions that contradict not only the opinion of the rest of the scientific community and common sense, but also the existing laws. That would be a pretty dangerous precedence if it were possible.

    It is not a task for the court to validate new scientific hypotheses. A court must insist on the law that existed in the past – it must be legally conservative – and I actually hope that the current one is.

    At any rate, I hope that the judges will have the opportunity to get familiar with what’s really going on.

    Best
    Lubos

  74. TCO
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    64. That’s a really bad idea. Steve will write some half-baked peice that tries to wrap up all the different issues. He needs to do about 10 individual papers. Then summarize all that AT THE MEETING or in a review. His hesitancy to do so because of fear of being bogged down on the individual points is WRONG and that is “afraidness” and it’s tendentious actually.

  75. TCO
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    I take a half-baked, half-explicated, not supported by detail on each point paper (probably even poorly written at the last minute if the other meeting is any guide) a lot less seriously than someone who has done the real strokes.

  76. fFreddy
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    Re #76, TCO

    (probably even poorly written at the last minute if the other meeting is any guide)

    Back off, TCO. Steve had other things on his mind at that time.

  77. TCO
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    yeah I know. I feel like asking how the boy is doing. I’m human and I care. My secretary is in the hospital now at death’s door…it’s wierd how powerless we are before fate or God.

    But to be brutally honest that is not the only reason. That paper should have been done way before…

  78. MarkR
    Posted Jun 26, 2006 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

    A point in the NAS report referred to the difficulties in giving third party access to “proprietory” information.

    If Mann (or any one else)wants to keep his data and source code “proprietory”, and secret, then fine, that is a matter between him and the people who paid for it (If he did the research while at Penn State then they have their own rules Guideline RAG16 THE RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH).

    However he can’t possibly be allowed to publish the results in a peer reviewed journal of record, for the simple reason that there is no way the research in question could have been properly reviewed since neither the raw data nor the code for manipulation were made available at the time.

  79. Reid
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 4:20 AM | Permalink

    Lot’s of people are making demands of Steve. Why doesn’t someone get Steve some grant money for the time and effort involved?

    Even if Steve ceases doing any further climate audit work he has suceeded in demonstating the statistical weakness of major AGW studies. The beachead has been taken.

  80. Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 6:24 AM | Permalink

    Friendly letter to (and from) distinguished NAS members are nice but what is really needed now, as Duane Freese says at the end of his article “Hockey Stick Shortened?” at TechCentralStation,

    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=062706E

    are another McKitrick and another McIntyre to look at the climate models. I am afraid that the field of modelling is such a mess that it will require someone from a less beautiful country than Canada. ;-) Moreover, there don’t seem to be any important papers in that field – it is just a pile of generic and junk papers.

    Freese focuses on the lesson that scientific results will have to be subject to tests. He offers some cute links, for example Schneider’s essay about the Contrarians :-)

    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Science/CliSciFrameset.html?http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Science/Contrarians.html

    Freese offers many links – a true hypertext article – and mentions that the models are optimized to get the “right” paleoclimate. ;-) Well…

  81. Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    I find it ironic that many contributors such as TCO would embrace Steve’s contributions more readily if they appeared in peer-reviewed journals. Those would be the same journals and the same peer-review process that endorsed and embraced the whole hockey-stick thing that led Steve to establish this blog? The same process that would not publish various MM replies and comments on the methods and methodology under-pinning the hockey stick?

    Most academics have a blind acceptance of the infallibility of referreed journals. If nothing else, the whole climate change debate has shown that the hallowed walls of academia are susceptible to the same sociological pressures, dilemmas and ulterior agendas as the rest of society. Let’s not put “consensus science” on some pedestal. Perhaps it is more pertinent to ask why those who practice their craft in academia are not rising to meet the challenge posed by the questions Steve and others have raised, rather than merely circling the wagons, moving the debate to different terrain and generally failing to act in a critical manner, rather than pandering to the dominant paradigm of “consensus”?

    Truth is not a popularity contest. And it is not the sole domain of the high-priests of any religion. Science is supposed to bring us closer to enlightenment, not submerge us in dogma. Do not deride the ability of blogs to parse out the nuances of debate far more readily than any academic forum (including peer-reviewed journals).

  82. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

    I find it ironic that many contributors such as TCO would embrace Steve’s contributions more readily if they appeared in peer-reviewed journals.

    I think TCO would just prefer seeing more detailed analyses and having them published somewhere besides a website. I don’t think peer-review would necessarily make TCO embrace them any more – but it would make other scientists more readily accept them, give Steve more credibility and respect in the scientific world, etc. I think that would provide Steve a much greater impact on what he is accomplishing/trying to accomplish.

    At least, that’s how I see TCO’s calls/pushes/shoves for publication. And if that’s an accurate interpretation of how TCO feels, I am in agreement with him.

  83. Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 7:29 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the link to TCS. That’s the first good review of the report I have seen (apart from yours and Steves).

  84. Gary
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 8:26 AM | Permalink

    Re: the Supreme Court hearing a case about the regulation of CO2.

    fFreddy (#67) – They start hearing cases in Oct and end with their last opinion of the year usually in May.

    jae (#68) – Interesting, indeed, since water vapor is more effective than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

    Lubos (#74) – I worry that the Court will make new law (which it is NOT supposed to do) in an area where it has no competance under the influence of political forces. The Kelo case they decided last year allows governments to take private property and give it to private developers if it will generate more tax revenue. That contradicts 200+ years of established law and case history. What if they decide that businesses now must reduce CO2 emissions regardless of cost? You are right about how the law and courts SHOULD work, but there is evidence that they often do not behave that way.

  85. JP
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    #74 Dear Lubos

    I’m not sure why SCOTUS has agreed to hear the case filed against the EPA since the appeals court settled the argument. Essientially, the EPA refused to regulate CO2 emissions from new autos because CO2 was never considered a harmful gas. The Clean Air Act gave the EPA the charter, and the direction on what gases they could regulate.

    The fact that SCOTUS decided to hear the case means that a)There was something in the lower court’s ruling they didn’t like, or b)They don’t think that Congress has the ultimate authority to direct the EPA’s regulatory efforts. Currently, the EPA says their hands are tied until Congress writes into law the additional gases that need regulating. Some legal experts say there is something unique about the EPA that allows it to define the scope and breadth of its mission (This is the argument that California, Mass, and NY make).

    It should be interesting to see what happens.

  86. Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

    Hi. I’m still getting up to speed on this site, and I haven’t even read all the comments here. Sorry. But would someone like to comment on the common ‘rebuttal’ of global warming advocates that the discussion over Mann’s work is no longer relevant, because there are now so many other indications (whatever they are) that his conclusions are basically correct? (I am personally a skeptic.) Thanks

  87. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

    #82. I agree 100% that a thorough look at one or more climate models by an outsider is long overdue. This is well beyond my resources or aptitude, but I’ve mentioned this need on many occasions. In my opinion, something like that would require a fairly serious budget (more like $2 million than $25,000) and serious engineering-equivalent work. While you’d want climate modelers to be consultants, the study itself should be done by people with no horse in the race – say space station engineers or aerospace engineers or econometricians or some combination of all of the above, there are lots of people with experience in complicated models. INDEPENDENCE is what you need in this type of verification. You know what the IPCC chapter is going to say about climate models almost without reading it, because it’s not written by independent people.

    The remarkable difference between how the NAS Panel and IPCC 4AR (First and Second Draft) treated our work shows what even some modest attempt at “independence” can do. In fact, it’s interesting to think about other differences between IPCC process and NAS process, where the IPCC process can be seen not necessarily to be the more effective .

  88. John Hekman
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    RE: 89. On the need for someone to review climate models. A further problem in this area is that no one who does not have the training and who has not spent a considerable amount of time deconstructing the models can understand the ensuing debate. It is interesting to speculate about what credentials would be necessary for someone to criticize the models and actually score any points off the conventional wisdom about what the models “predict.”

    Really, the field is so full of internal contradictions already. Hansen is revered as a founder of AGW, yet he now says the models are “junk” because they don’t predict the amount of sea level change that he wants.

  89. Jean S
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    re: #88: Shortly, the problem is IMHO that “the other studies”
    a) look the same only on superficial level
    b) are not independent, they use much of the same (even bad) proxies
    c) use similar methodology (essentially multiple linear regression) even there are high doubts that such methods could be applied directly (response may not be linear or stationary)

    BTW, if someone has a chance, please ask Mann or any of his advocates how much “confidence” MBH98 puts on the following (from MBH98 abstract, emphasis mine):

    Time-dependent correlations of the reconstructions with time-series records representing changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations, solar irradiance, and volcanic aerosols suggest that each of these factors has contributed to the climate variability of the past 400 years, with greenhouse gases emerging as the dominant forcing during the twentieth century.

    Just to make sure that no-one is accused of misrepresenting their position if the underlying graph turned out to be another example of spurious statistics. Of course, this is purely hypothetical ;)

  90. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    RE: #73 – you have no idea what my personal politics are and are not. But anyhoo, politics are OT.

  91. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    RE: #88 – What I can bring to this is my own environmental activist past. In the day, we would read various claims – in Friends of the Earth’s newspaper, in various monographs, in positioning sheets – that things like logging, pesticide application, air pollution, construction, etc were causing various degrees of irreparable harm to bio diversity, human health, aesthetics. There may even be studies done by scientists who are part of the Green faction, or even, out of context references to studies done by more agnostic folks. We would take it all at face value and would not really question any of it, based on our own quasi religious beliefs that there was Evil Man against Good Nature and therefore in the big picture, we were doing “the right thing.” I can’t prove it, but I strongly suspect that this sort of thinking underpins warmer points of view. Having determined a priori that Evil Man must be stopped / slowed from controlling / affecting / impacting Good Nature, and also assuming a priori that we have exceeded the Earth’s claimed carrying capacity, and having extrapolated a more or less linear relationship between PP CO2 and “mean global temperature” they have concluded that the “science is in” and that the ends of stopping / slowing “Evil Man” and starting the process of “healing Good Nature” is sufficient justification for Kyoto and other draconian measures based on a presumed “precautionary principle.”

  92. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    RE: #90 – How about I start a list of “CTQs” for the characteristics of folks we’d want:
    1) Finite element “guru-dom”
    2) Excellent command of linear algebra, tensor analysis, partial differential calculus
    3) Hands on, demonstrated effective pawork modelling various boundary value scenarios – for example, geological heat flow, radar, aquifer contamination, etc
    4) Dreams in ERF/ ERFC
    5) Ability in stats, variation analysis, discrmination analysis

    Please add to the list!

  93. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    slow fingers today – pawork should have been past work.

  94. gb
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    Re #89.

    May I point out that there is not one climate model but several developed by independent research teams in the US (MIT, NCAR …), France, Germany, Japan, UK etc. Furthermore, only specialist can make a valuable contribution to the evaluation of climate models. I have a background in fluid dynamics and turbulence and I think only somebody with a solid background in either fluid dynamics, atmospheric dynamics or oceanography is able to judge the models for the ocean and the atmosphere, not somebody with a background in economics (that is a recipe for a disasture). The IPCC report already mentions what the weak points are in the current climate models (clouds, mixing in the deep ocean etc), contrary to what you think. Furthermore, the climate models are documented. It is described what kind of models are used.

    What is missing is not a critical evaluation, but basic reaearch on cloud physics, geophysical flows etc. On basis of such studies more accurate models can be developed. Furthermore, (satellite) observations are needed, but investigating clouds, oceans and the atmosphere is not easy.

  95. fFreddy
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    Re #96, gb

    Furthermore, the climate models are documented.

    Where can I find the documentation for one of these models ? In particular, I’m after a concise, precise specification of what the model does, and what is the input data it does it with.

  96. Tim Ball
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    #89
    The models are at the heart of the problem and have been since they began to dominate climate research in the early 1980s. One of the non-scientific problems is identified by Paul Gallois, who on a variation of the old adage Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO) said, “If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no-one dares criticize it.” Of course, the very expensive machines and the length of computer time needed to obtain even minimal output as testified by Ammann elsewhere on this blog drive the need to amplify the threat of global warming and the need for more research funding. In a weird twist in my country (Steve M too) Environment Canada spent so much on computer modeling and propaganda about global warming that they had to close weather stations or replace many that remained in service with unreliable Automatic Weather Observing Stations (AWOS) so we have less data now than in 1960 thus reducing the reliability of the computer models and the chance of determining what exactly is going on with the weather.

    I have attended climate conferences for over 30 years and watched the modelers come in and dominate, usually the person with the largest computer winning the day. Their attitude and reaction to comment is manifest in Realclimate. Before I make further comment let me say I am not opposed to modeling per se. They provide the ability to handle a large number of variables and do calculations much faster than humans. Consider how long it took Milankovitch to calculate variation of insolation every year for 600,000 years for every 5° of latitude due to orbit, tilt and precessional changes. There’s a scientific responsibility in model construction, calculations, and analysis, which in my experience is too often not being followed. An independent agency as Steve M proposes will find many of the problems found in the statistical applications because people simply don’t know the assumptions and limitations of using numbers and formulae. I recall problems when people doing a sedimentary petrology study were using continuous numbers when the method required discrete numbers (I didn’t know the difference at the time). I remember Cuchlaine King’s study using trend surface analysis for geologic layers in England that upset all previous research and understanding (like Mann with MWP and LIA) but turned out to be a complete misapplication of the technique. I recall the problems that arose in many social science research areas when statistical packages became available (SPSS) and people simply plugged in numbers without understanding. Of course, they got numbers out and as with the cases mentioned above the results were published in journals but peer reviewed by people who didn’t know or understand either. (Peer review is often both peer review censorship and incestuous.) More important in the case of climate change there is a social and economic responsibility when you go public, especially with all the authority and power of the UN. It is this that is being abused and even exploited by some scientists.
    You have the intellectual contradiction of the IPCC reports in which the scientific reports are replete with warnings about using the reports as the basis of policy because of the limitations of the data, research, and analysis. For example, in the final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) they wrote, “In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” Then in a bizarre contradiction they produce a Summary for Policymakers. As you would expect this document is what gets media attention and is where those who push their agenda rather than good science have performed their legerdemain from the infamous Chapter 8 incident to Mann’s inclusion of the hockey stick. I see a similar situation is occuring with AR4.
    The other end of the problem is so many of the modelers and others who proclaim so loudly about AGW know little about climate and climate change. Unfortunately, I see that all too often on this blog. I don’t always agree with Steve M, but the one thing I respect is he always notes when his comment is made with the limitation of his lack of expertize in an area. This does not and should not preclude him posing the question. However, when he asks questions about statistical analysis I find it more than ironic that somehow this precludes him from asking it when it applies to climate research.

    Ironically, some of the more serious limitations for the models and the entire study of climate change were identified by avid proponents of the AGW position, which is solely based on model evidence. For example, the models are built on data but the paucity of data for most of the world for most of time is well known. There is inadequate data for model construction as Jones and Wigley have attested, “Many of the uncertaitnites surrounding the causes of climate changes will never be resolved because the necessary historical data are lacking.” SImilarly mechanisms are not understood as Schneideer said, “Uncertaintly about important feedback mechanisms is one reason why the ultimate goal of climate modleing – forecasting reliably the future of key variables such as temperature and rainfall patterns is not realizable.” We have now reached the ludicrous positon where we are told that the evidence for a human signal is fact because the models prove it. In some cases it is even implied that real data is wrong when it doesn’t accord with computer results.
    How can we get independent analysis of the computer climate models as Steve M urges? It is desperately needed.

    “There is no more common error than to assume that, because prolonged and accurate mathematical calculations have been made, the application of the result to some fact of nature is absolutely certain.”
    – A.N. Whitehead

  97. Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    Re 98. Steve_S I think propensity to believe man is the root of evil is at the basis, and no amount of evidence changes that, because they still think controlling emissions is a ‘good thing’ when I talk about evidence, fact, vs. speculation and exaggeration.

  98. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

    After reading this blog for months now, I felt it time to make some comments. First I wanted to relate an experience that I had with another statistical revelation at an investor website and how it transpired much in the same manner as the hockey stick issue has at this blog.

    The website referenced above remains a popular one in the US with investors and has many boards discussing issues other than investing. The board that I first experienced was touting an investment scheme that used a multi-step screening process and using in-sample results to make outlandish claims for returns. Some of the steps in screening were quite apparently not portrayed as having potential cause and effect relationships until after the fact of discovery and then only with some contorted rationalizations.

    When I came on the scene, the board was being given a lesson in statistics and taught the dangers of datamining by a foreign born academic who was patiently and methodically making his case and wining converts even in the face of some rather emotional reactions from other posters. In the end the teacher made his case and the promoters of the strategy backed off their claims of returns even though a number of the original “believers” never responded as though they had understood the statistical arguments and implications. The media and book authors write about and make claims for strategies with obvious datamining implications without a single utterance of the disclaimers that a competent statistician would.

    My politics are libertarian and I view AGW with the skepticism of someone who has no awareness of workers in the field putting hard statistical probabilities on their compilations and projections. A climatologist who works in some narrow part of field with unknown statistical skills and tells the media that he thinks that 80% of recent warming is anthropogenically caused does not do much more for my skepticism than would Al Gore had he made the same pronouncement.

    As a realist I must say that the media handling and spinning of the day to day developments in the field are not surprising nor that many scientists working in the field would make estimates, not as scientists, but as lay people that would encourage more work in their fields. Politicians will, not surprisingly, rally around an issue without full knowledge or understanding of it if it can benefit them in next elections. They make cases for government actions by cherry picking data be it the war in Iraq or global warming or any number of past government programs.

    In my judgment the day is fast approaching when all governments will want to be on the right side of Kyoto, but will not have the will or permission of the voters to sacrifice the present economy in attempts to prevent what will be presented as a crises for future generations and thus we will be seeing nations going through the motions and pointing fingers at one another without actually making substantial changes. After all, when have the modern nations really addressed the tremendous unfunded liabilities of government funded pensions and health care that weigh on future generations?

    The delaying tactics which appear to be the result of spill over from other irresponsible actions of our citizenry should work well for obtaining more out-of-sample data for global warming and better determining where we are headed. Future climate reconstructions with proxies and computer predictions of climate may improve in skill but right now it would appear better to simply wait and see.

  99. jae
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    What happened to all the critics of this site? Can’t help wondering if the NAS Report has silenced them. All we get lately is Lee, who has kinda replaced Peter in arguing about anything and everything.

  100. Hans Erren
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    they are at tim lambert’s blog

  101. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    #98 — Tim, do you mind if I extract your comments and quote them? I’ve had a running debate for 3 years on AGW in an email list, and my position after reading the literature has been, and remains, that the uncertainties in various energy fluxes are simply too large to allow GCMs to compute valid predictions concerning future climate, and most especially at the resolution of a 4 W/m^2 forcing. Your comment pretty much validates that point, but with the perspective of a professional.

    As a side-question to a professional, do you know of any published work that has propagated the parameter uncertainties through a GCM to get true confidence limits on temperature projections? All I’ve ever seen are “ensemble averages,” which are useless for judging true model uncertainty. Comparisons with observations are useful, but still don’t give us the confidence limits of the prediction.

  102. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    Re:#101
    Lee is head and shoulders above Peter in the quality of his arguments — I think we got the good side of the swap.

  103. TCO
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    Mike:

    Yes, the person saying that I have some super faith in peer review as an impramateur is wrong. I want a lot of what you are talking about. I think there also would be some benefit in tightening the argument actually from the peer reivew and the fear of it, as well. But I don’t think that all that makes it through is perfect. Additionally, I disagree that the journals have been walling Steve off. In general, he just hasn’t even sat seat to seat and written papers.

  104. TCO
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    I like Lee better too. He’s smarter.

  105. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    WOOF!

    “The AP also chose to ignore Gore’s reliance on the now-discredited “hockey stick” by Dr. Michael Mann,”

    http://www.epw.senate.gov/pressitem.cfm?party=rep&id=257909

    Damn the more I read it, the more it sounds like something I’d write.

  106. welikerocks
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    Re: #107

    It’s not just the AP
    (I am so glad that statement was issued!)

    good old RC needs to rewrite their
    “Myth vs. Fact Regarding the “Hockey Stick”
    page as well.

    heh :)

  107. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    Steve M/John

    Another site suggestion.

    A linking to particuarly good and informative posts. I’d like to Nominate Tim Ball’s post 98 for the first one.

    Ken in #100 just has really bad timing, any other day of the week and it would be a good/great post, coming on the heels of Tim’s #98 post it’s in the shadows.

  108. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

    re: #109

    I was thinking something similar, but the way Steve has generally worked things is to take especially good posts and either replying to them in new threads, or getting permission and posting the messages as the header on an new thread.

    But I am glad of one thing your post solved for me. I was rather confused by message 103, coming as it did after message 102 which talked about Tim Lambert’s blog. I couldn’t figure out why Pat Frank was talking to Tim Lambert here instead of on his own blog! Just shows the power of suggestion, I suppose. I hope we don’t have more Tim’s start coming so we need to use Tim B & Tim L, etc. like we do the Steves and the Johns.

  109. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

    I prefer to differentiate the Tim from Down under by quoting a famous Timmy in my head. This would be the Timmy from a long running animated series.

  110. TomR
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

    #107 beat me to the punch. That Senate press release was on Drudge so I assume that means it will soon start to spread like wildfire. This excerpt appears to be very damaging to someone line me with no formal scientific background:

    The AP also chose to ignore Gore’s reliance on the now-discredited “hockey stick” by Dr. Michael Mann

  111. mark
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

    It’s like a house of cards.

    Mark

  112. Tim Ball
    Posted Jun 27, 2006 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

    #103
    Pat please feel free to use any of the material, I am complimented. I do not know of any studies other than “ensemble averages.” I will check further.
    I recall a meeting in 1989 (?) when Michael Schlesinger gave a paper comparing output of 5 models in which the same data and parameters were used. The results were considerably different for each model. In the subsequent discussion an atmospheric physicist put a formula on the board to represent the atmosphere. He then began eliminating variables that were not included in the models. Schelsinger agreed on the eliminations. When finished the physicist said “You no longer have an atmosphere.” Schelsinger argued the models were successful because they all showed overall warming even if one had North America warming while another had it cooling. The physicist said he would have been surprised if they didn’t since the program was written so that if CO2 increased temperature would increase virtually ceteris paribus (all else being equal). Despite the claims the models are barely more sophisticated today.

  113. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

    #114, Thanks, Tim. I promise full credit plus a link. Also, regarding 1989, incredible! If you don’t mind, I’d like to include that reminiscence, too. :-)

  114. McCall
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

    Re: the near publish-or-perish line of discussion continuing in #84

    IMO, submittal to Science or Nature magazine is a bad option; those mag’s are part of the bad (or lax) climate science review problem — one could argue, it’s not just in climate science. They have AGW-biased acceptance procedures, and are on a enforcement trip rejecting those exposing flaws in that position. Finally, with the possible exception of Science-Online, they are systemically too darn slow; success of M&M is due in part to rapid, insightful and specific response.

    Perhaps there’s more balance at journals like Quaternary Research or GRL, but I have no problem with a blog-supported or even blog-primary fight. In a sense, this site is fully refereed. Certainly a published point-by-point rebuttal of the NAS report can’t wait for the dinosaur process of peer-review publishing at journals like Science, Nature or SciAm. They are the old media that got us in this (and the stem-cell) fix in the first place.

  115. John A
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 1:44 AM | Permalink

    Re: #109

    Actually, I’d like a film review thread of “An Inconvenient Truth” by Tim Ball. I’d be intrigued.

  116. Peter
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    Dear Steve

    I think that you have shown an enough courage that you have openly criticise the NAS report and it’s good to see that you have got a response immediately!!

    The concern that you have shown is really remarkable. All the best for the future!!

  117. Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 7:27 AM | Permalink

    Somewhere buried in the over 600 comments on the NAS report, is the remark by Steve M that the report may have repercussions for the attribution of natural vs. human made contributions to the recent (last century) warming. This is very likely.

    Most attribution studies (like Hegerl03) and several GCMs covering parts of the pre-industrial time frame used MBH98/99 as temperature reference for the pre-industrial period. But as MBH98/99 is invalidated, what remains are reconstructions which don’t rely on questional bark strip trees or on tree rings in general (bore holes) or with a reduced impact (Moberg). Both show much larger natural variations (than MBH98/99) in the pre-industrial period, of which at maximum 0.1 C is from volcanic emissions, the rest (ca. 0.7 C vs. 0.1 C for MBH) from other internal variations and/or probably mainly solar driven variations.

    If attribution attempts were based on this larger variation, that would be at the cost of the response to the GHGs/aerosols tandem, as the model needs to fit the surface trends of the past century (as far as reliable…). This is what Esper, Moberg and Luterbacher expect from more natural variability in the past. That is not the opinion of others (like Raypierre), who believe that the climate response to natural (volcanic, solar) forcings is virtually the same as for human made (GHGs, aerosols) and thus a larger variation in the past implies a larger response to any driver, including GHGs. But it seems to me that the real response to solar is far more enhanced (by modulation of stratospheric processes and cloud formation) than for GHGs/aerosols which are acting mainly in the lower troposphere.

    That current models underestimate the climate response to solar is quite sure: an attribution experiment with the state-of-the-art Hadcm3 model by Stott e.a. revealed an at least 2x underestimate of solar, within the constraints of the model (like a fixed influence of aerosols). An experiment by myself on a simplified climate model (Univ. Oxford) does show that a change of sensitivity for 2xCO2 from 3 C to 1.5 C + halving of the influence of aerosols + tripling of solar influences fits the 1900-2000 trend as nicely as the original, but lowers the “projection” of the 2100 temperature from + 4 C to ca. 2 C (with solar remaining constant during the 21th century).

  118. Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the reference Ferdinand. With Hegerl, Stott and others it seems like the basis for expecting climate sensitivity to be at the low end of IPCC, if not lower than the low end of 1.5C is already in place. The issue seems to be that those whos ‘opinion’ thinks it is higher, and focus on worst case scenarios are in the ascendency.

    I have oone question. If CO2 is to increase from 400 to 600 this century, this is 60% not doubling. Then how do you get an increase of 2C which would be more than doubling? Shouldn’t it be more like 1C increase by your sensitivity estimates? Cheers

  119. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    #120. I’ve been mulling over this debate a little and I think that the issue is not “climate sensitivty” but whether the climate sensitivy to solar and climate sensitvity to increased CO2 are more or less equal. Some of the statistical evidence makes me wonder whether the sensitivity to solar might not be considerably higher than the sensivity to CO2. I’m planning a post on pre-MBH98 discussions of solar correlations and have collected some very interesting material.

  120. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    Particularly given the decline in temperatures during the sharpest increase in CO2 from the post WWII industrial boom into the 70s.

    Mark

  121. Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    Re: #82 - Freese focuses on the lesson that scientific results will have to be subject to tests. He offers some cute links, for example Schneider’s essay about the Contrarians :-)

    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Science/CliSciFrameset.html?http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Science/Contrarians.html

    JK: From page 47 of Discover magazine, October 1989 interview with Stephen Schneider:

    Stephen Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research described the scientists’ dilemma this way: “On the one hand, as scientists, we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but-which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but; human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might. have. This `double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

    Thanks
    JK

  122. Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    Re 121. From my examination of the solar data, their appears to be correlation to tempertures to the eye, but the timing of the peaks is off. When you run the regression the result with solar is poor because of the poor timing. It makes one suspect that the timing of the various proxies is either off, or the system is kind of loosly coupled, with temperatures sort of flopping about with variable lags in response to slight cumulative effects.

  123. gb
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    # 119. I saw another article by Cubasch et al. (Von Storch is one of the co-authors), 2006, Advances in Space Research. They used a climate model to see the influence of variations in solar forcing on the climate but on a longer time scale. Using estimates of the solar forcing, they found variations of 1-2K which is already quite high compared to climate reconstruction. If the sensitivity to solar forcing is increased (as you do), the variations due to chances in solar forcing will even beome larger, probably much larger than climate reconstructions show. Thus changing the sensitivity to solar forcing might work for the last 100 year, but gives perhaps completely unrealistic answers on a longer time scale. Perhaps your conclusions are correct, but I don’t think that all studies support your findings.

  124. Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Re: 123. Definitely don’t agree with Schneider. It is extremely unethical to obtain grants on the basis of “scary scenarios, simplified, dramatic statements, and little mention of any doubts”. Such misrepresentation in my dubious legal opinion opens scientists to accusations of fraud (see http://landshape.org/enm/?p=109).

  125. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

    Therein lies the problem. Viewpoints like this sully science. I totally disagree with this statement (and I recall reading it before). Human or not, you have to be agnostic enough to present all the ifs, ands or buts to be credible in my opinion. Even if it pains you to say so, you must admit failings in your studies.

    In my field (signal processing for radar/comm), this happens often. An error creeps in that you missed in early design work. You know in your heart that you’ll take a beating for “fessing up” after the fact and it is going to cost big money to fix it. The alternative, however, to letting the lie slide is… well, failed radar system which results in the missle getting through and massive loss of life. Things like this can be career ending if it looks like incompetence. However, I’d rather see a career end before a life.

    In human terms, too, I think it is better in the long run to be as honest as possible. Those that are willing to admit their mistakes sleep better.

    Mark

  126. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    If a defense contractor gets caught exaggerating progress/results/ect., btw, they will have their ability to bid on future programs limited. Sometimes there are even suspensions and outright bans for such unethical behavior. I wonder how this would apply to our little situation.

    Mark

  127. Jeremy
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    I always come in late.

    I agree with John A in that what has occured in the public policy realm with regards to the 2001 IPCC 3rd and MBH 98/99 is unforgivable. I believe that when such obvious fabrications are allowed to simmer and boil until large swaths of the population believe in things that are effectively baseless, someone should be held accountable. I believe that, but it is only belief. I would love to see someone put on trial for it, but alas, no laws were broken.

    However, I also agree with Steve’s approach to the NAS (and supported by others in the first batch of replies). Before AGW became something that so many people feared, climate science was just another science and had little ties to public concern. Now it has been sold as something we all need to fear right now, and thus has become inseperable from public policy. With that background you have tons of well-meaning scientists who are anxious to do good work but are simply following the culture that exists in their field. You are simply not going to win back the scientific method from a clique of researchers by being a force of antagonism. You might have the clearest most salient points ever, but if you come off as an asshole noone will listen. On the other hand if you “flow like honey” into the middle of the pot, then at some point there’s no getting you out. From there you can direct the focus of research in an entire field towards that which is perfectly demonstrable by being a valuable referential asset to that clique.

    I agree with both, and I fail to see how they are mutually exclusive. I think someone should be held accountable for making the world fear its own progress. I also think the only way to make any headway is to make friends.

  128. jae
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    123: Schneider’s statement is exactly what is WRONG with science today. That view is exactly why it is so hard for scientists (and others) to question AGW, without being labeled “contrarians” or “skeptics,” or worse. It is immoral, stupid, and totally unscientific. Schneider should be ashamed of himself. I’ll think on it some more and maybe tell you later how I really feel….

  129. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    I would love to see someone put on trial for it, but alas, no laws were broken.

    Actually, Steve has a discussion thread on the Tort of Conversion. Laws may have been broken, but not really in the sense that you are probably implying. IMO, I think there is an attempt to defraud that has resulted in continued funding. There may be legal implications there, but who is there to enforce such a lawsuit? I’m not sure if a citizen of the US could bring suit against Dr. Mann even if he has received taxpayer funds for his work. I just don’t know.

    Mark

  130. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

    RE: #114 – Recently on RC I was debating Raypierre. He had written that the effect of a doubling of C02 should be modeled in a thought experiment as the dividing of the earth’s surface into 20 square foot plots then the subsequent deployment of a 1W (if I recall correctly, although I may not have the order of magnitude correct here, the concept is what is important …) energy source in the center of each plot. Amazing …. utterly amazing. Although trained in geology, due to the oil crash of the early 1980s I was forced to pursue a career in high tech in order to meet my own immediate and pressing income needs. One of the first things I learned was how to calculate the temperature rise in an integrated circuit. You have an energy source, you have a thermal resistance and you have an ambient temperature. These are the boundary conditions. So here is Raypierre, a big bad PhD, counseling modeling the doubling of CO2 (a de facto increment in thermal resistance) by incrementing the energy dissipation of the energy source. Raypierre would be fired if he were a newbie, new grad engineer.

  131. Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    Re: 131. The NAS avoided being grist for that mill.

  132. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    Re#132, I didn’t read your exchange, but I imagine he’s just trying to come-up with a dumbed-down model that Joe Q Public can understand and which has the equivalent resulting increase in temperature. It’s more of a conceptual analogy than a scientifically accurate description.

    FWIW, there seem to be a lot of posters on RC who advocate using fear and motivation over scientific accuracy when it comes to informing/”educating” the public.

  133. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    As noted numerous times on this blog and elsewhere, when adding impedances, the result is a logarithmic decrease in power/energy. This is why a linear increase in CO2 produces a logarithmic decrease in the amount of energy escaping the atmosphere into space. CO2 is just another impedance.

    John Creighton asked the question of why the correlations aren’t made against the log of CO2 increases. I think there is a validity to that question, though even then it would be a poor correlation over the last century due to the number of other variables involved.

    Mark

  134. gb
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    Re # 132. The comment in # 134 was completely correct. It was more a concept. You misinterpret the remark by Raypierre completely.

  135. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s really misinterpreted. At least, I agree he’s probably trying to come up with a dumbed down approach, the problem is, the dumbed down approach creates confusion. This confusion is then broadcast by the defenders of the faith (journalists) as “the way it is” and John Q. Public is unaware of the implications of the difference (which are huge in this case). The dumbed down approach needs to mirror physical reality as best it can.

    Mark

  136. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    “Some of the statistical evidence makes me wonder whether the sensitivity to solar might not be considerably higher than the sensivity to CO2.”

    Thinking about it as a concept, without looking at the details (Which are required to prove the concept). Increase in solar energy has to have a larger effect on temperatures than CO2, because it’s adding energy, whereas CO2 is only retaining more energy. In a general sense CO2 is acting like an insulator and/or increasing efficiency. Whereas increased solar energy is adding more fuel to the fire. You’ll always get better/larger results (Temperature) by adding fuel than increasing efficiency (Unless efficiency is the goal). {avoiding analogy as I do that too much}

    “Re 121. From my examination of the solar data, their appears to be correlation to tempertures to the eye, but the timing of the peaks is off. When you run the regression the result with solar is poor because of the poor timing. It makes one suspect that the timing of the various proxies is either off, or the system is kind of loosly coupled, with temperatures sort of flopping about with variable lags in response to slight cumulative effects. ”

    Well obviously there are other effects besides just solar. In fact CO2 most definitely has an influence. The thing I noticed is that in the timing of the peaks you discussed, later in the 20th century, the peak temperature is moving closer to the peak solar output, time wise. The response is becoming faster, while at the same time the upper bound is becoming marginally higher. Could it be that CO2 is acting to speed the response time of the atmosphere?

    But regardless when you overlay solar output to temperature, the correlation is much much more than if you overlay CO2 output and temperature. And causation is known and well understood (Increase heat input, you will increase temperature). Yes there are variances, but they are minor, whereas with CO2 there is nothing but a general long term trend. In the medium term, for brief periods (say 25 years, particularly 1945-1975) they diverge away from each other.

    Yes there are some short term (1-3 years) where solar output and temperature diverge, but in the medium to long (on a centennial scale) they have a very good correlation. The short term divergence makes sense, things do not heat instantly. The CO2 as primary driver doesn’t make sense when the temperature cools for 20-30 years during the time of greatest increase of CO2 output. If the divergence was only 2-3 years it too would make sense, actually very much sense, even up to 5-6 years. But for 20-30 years it starts to work against the pre-supposition.

  137. jae
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    I think you would expect a lag between solar output and temperature, due the “dampening” effect of the oceans. Don’t know why this would change over time, though.

  138. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    There would be other dampening effects as well, not just the ocean, the atmosphere has a signifigant water content as well, so there is inertia there as well.

    My only point about changing over time is that CO2, in acting as an insulator, will retain heat/energy, therefore it could increase response time, [asking question] could this be a greater effect than it’s increase in magnitude?

  139. Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    Well there could also be an instantaneus effect as the GH effect is radiative, then the temperature drops to the new equilibrium as mass transport turbulence processes pick up the transfer to space. There are so many possibilities in a complex system, and that is what CGCM are supposed to examine, but you know, all the difficulties there.

  140. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    Anyone interested in this topic should read Reid (1991) Solar Total irradiance variations and the global SST record, JGR 96, 2835-2844. Not available in pdf to my knowledge.

  141. jae
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    There is just so much evidence of long- and short-term cyclic temperature variations being well-correlated to solar activity, that CO2 seems like a trivial pursuit.

  142. JP
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    #141 Dave, you make a good point. I wondering if the modelers at the NWS incorporate CO2 into thier dynamic models such as the Nested Grid Model? One would think, that if CO2 conentrations are so important as to cause AGW, then the short term forecast models are under forecasting temperatures. (This would be very easy, but time consuming to verify). I wonder if there is a way for Rawindsonde balloons to accurately measure CO2 concentrations? Why haven’t surface weather observation stations been directed to measure CO2 on at least a 24 hour cycle?

  143. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    RE: #136 – the point is, that there are a number of things that can impact the flow of energy before it is affected by a given, reputedly doubled impedance component. By claiming that “doubled CO2″ is analogous to “doubled energy dissipation” is completely erroneous and helps to promote the flawed notion that CO2 is itself an additional source of energy to the dumbed down masses. Furthermore, I have, in my own right, vastly oversimplified things. CO2 molecules are not the plastic in an integrated circuit package. Doubling CO2 does not really double the de facto thermal impedance. The most revealing thing to me is that certain biases regarding how to approach the problem seem to be showing over at RC.

  144. jae
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    145:

    By claiming that “doubled CO2″‚Ⱡis analogous to “doubled energy dissipation” is completely erroneous and helps to promote the flawed notion that CO2 is itself an additional source of energy to the dumbed down masses.

    Yeah, especially when the energy dissipation decreases logarithmetically with increasing CO2 (maybe I’m wrong here, but that’s my take based on other’s comments).

  145. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    RE: #146 – I get a laugh out of RCers who babble about “the physics say that ….” (insert questionable conclusion here). So let’s look at the physics. CO2 molecules are being added to the air. There are various levels they are going to effect things at. En masse, they impact the bulk thermal impedence of the air. Individually, they are excited by incident photons and reradiate in a given spectrum. Complicate things further with the stratified nature of the atmosphere and the non uniform concentration of CO2 in it (obviously CO2 is higher in areas where it is being emitted by industry or by volcanoes). So indeed, the overall “de facto thermal impedence” function as a function of PPCO2 is certainly non linear and semi chaotic. No doubt, based on the physics, as you have duly noted, there is going to be a diminishing return in terms of “de facto thermal resistance(PP CO2).” And this is only one component of the overall energy flow. Add in the feedback loops, etc. The science is not settled.

  146. Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Comments go fast here…

    Re #120

    David, I forgot to mention that the modelled 4 C and 2 C increase was for one of the “worst case” (A2) IPCC scenario’s, which reaches 2xCO2 long before 2100, therefore the high temperature “projections” for that year.

    Re #121

    Steve M, I fully agree that the main question is if there are substantial different climate sensitivities for different forcings. In Doug Hoyt’s opinion (and I follow him here), solar (and volcanic) has a different (and larger) impact on climate than GHGs and human made (tropospheric) aerosols. There are indications for that in the observed response of climate to solar variations within a 11/22 year and longer sun cycles. This results in shifts of the stratospheric Jet Stream position and cloud cover/rain over mid latitudes and plant growth. Some references from NASA and Science daily

    Further, there is an inverse correlation between solar activity and global (low) cloud cover, see Fig. 1 in Kristjansson e.a.. While the link between cosmic rays and cloud cover is reduced in the later cycle, the overall correlation between solar radiance and low cloud cover is significant and gives an appreciable increase of the initial forcing.

    The difference in response between solar and CO2 may be the result of many items: stratospheric processes (ozone formation and temperature changes) for solar vs. lower troposphere for GHGs, heating of the oceans (-tens- of meters for visible vs. a fraction of a mm for CO2-IR) and cloud droplets, distribution of energy (much higher in the tropics for solar – more evenly distributed for GHGs)…

    Re #125
    gb, I have read the Cubasch e.a. article, it looks like they used already a rather high sensitivity for solar (more than in other models!) as the results are a 1 K difference between MWP and LIA, and a MWP aproaching current temperatures… With this model, there is no need to further enhance climate sensitivity for solar…

    Re #138
    Sid, the correlation between temperature and solar variations varies with the reconstruction one uses. Sunspot number or sunspot group number, cycle length, or combinations (or even other reconstructions). Further problem: where to put the change in incoming solar energy: near the beginning of a new cycle (as Hoyt & Schatten do), in the middle (Lean e.a.) or at the end? That makes a shift of around a decade. We only now have two full cycles where the change in incoming sunlight is more or less exactly measured by satellites. But even there is a controversy if there is a shift in incoming energy between the two cycles or not…

  147. JP
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    #147

    Steve,
    You must also factor in the dynamic nature of the atmosphere. These include turbluent mixing, advective and convective processes, as well as mecanical mixing.

    Another thing that has bothered me with the Mann’s temperature spike during the last 50 years of the 20th century, is the lack of supporting data with relation to what has been reported via surface an rawinsonde data. Basically Mann has argued that the atmosphere has radically become less dense during the last 100 years. This radical warming on a global scale, should easily be followed in plots of different atmospheric thickness reconstructions (1000mb-850mb thickness, or 900-1000mb thickness etc…). One would also think that the standard average height of the tropopause globally would increase at a rate similar to the spike on the tail end of Mann’s hockey stick. The rate of chane in surface temps during the last 50 years of Mann’s graph is just too dramatic not to show up in conventionable weather data.

  148. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Ferdinand

    I don’t know if cycles are the way to go, they are of course representative of output, but I think that tells us more about the sun, and less about how much energy reaches us.

    In addition to Steve’s info, this link is nice.

    http://www.tmgnow.com/repository/solar/lassen1.html

  149. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

    Re: #109

    Thanks, Sid, for the comment. It has encouraged a second attempt from me — I hope you will not come to regret it.

    While I am not particularly good with writer content or style, I do recognize it when I see it and I must say that is what I saw in Dr. Ball’s post #98. I think I could be speaking for other lurkers out there when I say that it is posts like his that keep me coming back to this blog.

    As I stated in my initial post, the major part of my skepticism on AGW is my lack of awareness of hard statistical probabilities for computer generated climate (temperature) predictions and for any other data projections that are used by climatologists to assert confidences in the contribution of AGW to global warming in the past and future. My ignorance does not obviously mean that these probabilities have not been derived in some manner or form, but I have often brought this issue up in casual conversations and in online searches without success in finding answers. I believe I have read Steve M. make a comment about deriving public policy from scientists’ consensuses but I am not sure to what level he would want them to be required to formalize their confidence in their predictions. In my view scientists tend to be much more conservative in extrapolating their scientific data in their scientific writings than they do when rendering opinions to the lay public. It would appear to me to create a major disconnect between scientific findings that other scientists read and what the laymen and even politicians hear. Does the scientist feel more or less free of his scientific constraints when addressing a public body and more in a mode to market more potential work for his field? The more scientists were required to formalize their confidences in their predictions and the more the public understood what that meant (perhaps with the aid of an independent statistical counsel), the less the potential for disconnects between the scientist and the marketer.

    One further point that I can no longer contain after months of lurking involves TCO’s advice for Steve M. In a former life I thought I was rather proficient in extracting “practical” information from highly technical people, but if that person were a Steve M., I think I would have judged that he was fully capable of contributing without my assistance and that he would be able to find any assistance he required on his own. I believe he is retired (and I know retired) and has a different agenda than those technical people of my past, so please stop the nagging.

    If he needs assistance in writing papers or whatever he could, I would think, go to his current collaborator, Ross M., or any of an increasing number that must be in the wings. The only success that I have personally seen with the persistent nagging routine is from a little lady with whom I have lived for some 45 years and that is uniquely because she is she who must be obeyed.

  150. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

    I’ll give it a 7.5

    Kidding. Your early post was good as well.

  151. Posted Jun 28, 2006 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

    Re 148. Sorry to ding you on thie Ferdinand but its reported that the rate of CO2 increase is actually lower than the lowest IPCC scenario, so why even mention the ‘worst’ case? This is like Hegel et al. worrying about upper limits to sensitivity when the mode, the most likely value for 2XCO2 is around 1.5C but I don’t have the paper with me.

    Even then, I think that the effect of NH. could be underestimated, as it is essentially colinear with CO2 up to 1998. How to tell them apart? When you think of all the N2 in the atmosphere that has been converted into ammonia fertilizer for crops that could well account for the increase. J. Hasen after all attributes most of the temperature rise to the present to NH. not CO2 which is couneracted by sulphates.

    A little more temperature attributed to solar ala Hegel, a little more to NH. and a little bit to CO2 and you have a recipe for stable weather into 2100.

  152. Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 3:24 AM | Permalink

    Re #153,

    No problem, I should have noticed the (unbelievable) scenario before commenting here… The same model changed the 2100 “projection” for the much lower emission B1 scenario from ~2.5 C to ~1 C…

    Anyway, if you triple the influence of solar and halve the influence of CO2 and tropospheric aerosols on climate, you obtain the same fit to past century temperatures, but simply halve the “projection” of 2100 temperatures, regardless of the scenario…

    About other GHGs, I suppose that CH4 (methane) may have more influence than CO2, as it is rather inert until destroyed by ozone and hydroxyl radicals in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (which may be also the case for NH4, but it seems to me that it is less stable in the lower troposphere than CH4). The result is CO2, but also water which is therefore increasing in a layer of the atmosphere which is quite dry. But it seems that the increase of CH4 has stopped in the past years…

  153. TCO
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 4:46 AM | Permalink

    Ken: Actually post 98 while clearly written was overly long for the info delivered. I’ve certainly seen better writing on the blog. While I’m not a good writer, I can smell the good stuff.

    On the nagging, I agree that the comments about getting co-authors for Steve are inappropriate (not from me). The comments (from me) pushing publication are definitely not purely for Steve’s own good. Although it would serve that, my main driver is what is right for the field. Finally, if Steve persists in not doing the right thing, I take his criticisms (unfinished and performed in a sheltered setting) less seriously than if they were put in play on the open field.

  154. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    Re#144:

    One would think, that if CO2 conentrations are so important as to cause AGW, then the short term forecast models are under forecasting temperatures. (This would be very easy, but time consuming to verify).

    Actually, a poster on RC several months ago asserted this very thing. He or she claimed that the NWS doesn’t believe in/promote AGW (I can’t remember “why” – maybe because of the Pres administration or some other conspiracy theory) and therefore doesn’t include AGW in their forceast, which has them almost always under-estimating the daily hi’s and over-estimating the daily low’s by a few-to-several degrees. He or she didn’t provide any evidence to back it up, of course. And then there was the scaremongering about how hurricane strengths would be underestimated because forecasters weren’t adding-in the AGW effect, etc, which was going to result in complacency of people in the path of the hurricane.

  155. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    #157 OOPS: which has them almost always under-estimating the daily hi’s and over-estimating the daily low’s by a few-to-several degrees

  156. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    re:#157-8

    The problem is that since the supposed temperature rise in the NH over the past century is only .6 deg C, ignoring it can’t result in being off more than a degree F. But local temperatures are usually at airports and the like so it’s more likely that UHI effects are what is ignored if there’s truly such an underestimate.

  157. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    #158 – Agreed.

    BTW, did you happen to catch my link on the pitfalls of assinging probability to confidence intervals last week on another thread before it got deleted?

  158. JP
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    #158-159

    I agree about the UHI effect, but I’m not sure how high the UHI penetrates the atomosphere. Does it exceed the boundary layer? Taking either pi-ball or rawinsonde soundings of the atmospheric thicknesses between say 850b and 700mb should reflect the kind of radical warming that Mann et als claim. A comparison could be made of standard thicknesses from 1960 to 1980, and 1981-2001.

    As far as public temperature forecasts (whether they’ve been underforecasting or overforecasting), it isn’t that simple. Most NWS forecasters massage the numerical guidance, and make adjustments accordingly. The public forecasts would therefore hide much of the variation that may occur. I was thinking of using stict model guidance, and selecting only those places that have little seasonal variation (ie sounding stations near the equator).

  159. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    He or she claimed that the NWS doesn’t believe in/promote AGW

    Accuweather does not. At least, Accuweather typically says that it may be warmer, but there isn’t any real evidence to suggest anthropogenic sources. At least, their meterologists typically state that in interviews that I’ve seen.

    Mark

  160. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    RE: #160 – I consider the term “UHI” to be a misnomer. I think that the most useful way to look at arthropogenic heat input and direct atmosphering effects is to look at it in the most general possible way. Whereever there is either human settlement, farming, roads, pastoralism, large scale mining, military installations, managed forestry or other overt land use modification, the following things are true to varying degrees depending on the nature of the development / activity:
    1) There is direct energy dissipation due to climate control, equipment, motors, transport of electrical current, friction and the like.
    2) There is a pattern and mix of vegetation different from what would have been the case with natural succession.
    3) There are generally roads, parking areas and other grade modifications resulting in at least packing of the soil and possibly addition of an artificial surface.
    4) Structures have been built that alter airflow, have different thermal conduction and heat capacity characteristics than the native materials and flora.
    5) Possible additional modifications to the natural environment.

    Viewed globally, it would be interesting to see an in depth, agnostic analysis of the cumulative impacts of all of this. GCMs currently do not specifically address this other than attempted fudge factors of a scale that is way out of whack with the above issues.

  161. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    Speaking of so called “UHI” here is something en queue over at RC:

    “RE: #69 – It’s quite a stretch to comment responsibly on a paper from reading only its abstract. In any case, even based on the abstract I can see some possible problems with that paper. First problem is the a priori assumption of clearly defined “islands” of heat that are particular to urban areas. That’s a nice first level way to understand arthropogenic energy dissipation and arthropgenic environmental modifications, but it’s only a highly simplified first level conceptual model. If you are going to treat the aforementioned direct arthropogenic impacts, a global approach that looks at each and every source of dissipation and every modification is really the only accurate way to encompass it. Good luck trying to do that. First one to do it will definitely be a strong candidate for a Nobel Prize.
    by Steve Sadlov”

  162. jae
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    162. Don’t forget the negative “forcing” due to increased albedo from concrete!

  163. Lee
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

    This is interesting:

    doi: 10.1175/JCLI3730.1
    Journal of Climate: Vol. 19, No. 12, pp. 2882–2895.

    A Demonstration That Large-Scale Warming Is Not Urban
    David E. Parker

    Hadley Centre, Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom

    (Manuscript received 14 March 2005, in final form 25 July 2005)

    ABSTRACT

    On the premise that urban heat islands are strongest in calm conditions but are largely absent in windy weather, daily minimum and maximum air temperatures for the period 1950–2000 at a worldwide selection of land stations are analyzed separately for windy and calm conditions, and the global and regional trends are compared. The trends in temperature are almost unaffected by this subsampling, indicating that urban development and other local or instrumental influences have contributed little overall to the observed warming trends. The trends of temperature averaged over the selected land stations worldwide are in close agreement with published trends based on much more complete networks, indicating that the smaller selection used here is sufficient for reliable sampling of global trends as well as interannual variations. A small tendency for windy days to have warmed more than other days in winter over Eurasia is the opposite of that expected from urbanization and is likely to be a consequence of atmospheric circulation changes.

  164. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

    re: #165 Lee,

    Is this basically the same paper which was published last year? If so, the biggest problem is that the premise isn’t necessarily valid. That is, it’s quite possible for the air at measured heights to be greater in light wind than in calm weather.

    First, the wind will destroy surface stratification. Then mixed layer will be higher and can easily make the thermometer read higher.

    Second, insofar as air temperatures tend to be measured away from city centers, depending on wind direction, the warm air from city centers can warm the outlying areas.

    Rather than assuming such things, I’d think that the authors would actually get out and take some measurements in various conditions.

  165. welikerocks
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    This is the money quote:

    The trends of temperature averaged over the selected land stations worldwide are in close agreement with published trends based on much more complete networks, indicating that the smaller selection used here is sufficient for reliable sampling of global trends as well as interannual variations.

  166. jae
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    The science of climate science is, indeed, strange science to me.

  167. Lee
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Dave,

    But think about what they are analyzing.

    They arent lookign at temp differences at the station, between calm adn windy days. They are looking to see if the temperature TREND over time, is the same whether it is windy or calm.

    The trend over time on calm days, when local effects will predominate, is the same as the trend over time as measured on windy days, when distant and mixed effects will be much greater.

    It doesnt matter if the wind mixing makes the absolute daily temperature on windy days read higher or lower than on calm days, because the absolute temp is not what they are measuring; the trend is. And the trend is the same whether they are measuring local-urban-influenced temperature, or temperatures influenced by a much larger area and by mixing.

    This isnt definitive, and all I’ve read is this abstract, but it looks strong.

  168. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    And again, the flawed premise that there are definitive islands of heat and that heat sources are only urban (and there are none in non urban areas). “UHI” was a nice oversimplified way to account for things like the reduction in sticking snow in NYC. But to really understand arthropogenic heat content, a mapping of the areal global distribution of heat sources would be needed plus each source’s own variations in time. To understand the impacts of land use mods, that would be very difficult to tackle since there are no real accurate maps of either the present surface materials or of the initial state. Therefore, yet another overall unknown – all we know is that humanity has gone from a few scattered bands of wild creatures to an ubiquitous earth shaper and heat producer, within a flash of geological time. We know there has to be an effect of it, but we cannot specifically measure it or even really model it since we know neither the initial condition nor the current actuals. The closest thing to the current actuals are some of the IR “heat maps” out there, but those sure aren’t quantitative and are not in any way mapped to the actual power dissipations involved.

  169. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    It seems to me that a better explanation for Parker’s results is that the UHIs are so strong that even windy weather is not sufficient to reduce their effects. That would be consistent with urban areas having high heat capacities that cannot be easily cooled.

  170. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

    RE: #169 – You are confusing heat and temperature. Winds and turbulence transport the energy / heat further. On calm days it is not transported. In fact, the sum total of non calm conditions will tend to cause non urban areas to experience an impact of urban generated energy / heat. Forget about urban and forget about islands. Look at total arthropogenically generated global heat for a first approximation. Then seek to understand the next level of approximation by using population density, land use modification and other human caused changes as transforms. Who has done this? (Answer – no one – it is a tough problem!)

  171. Lee
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    Steve S., for that criticism to damage this work, you have to posit that the hyothesized — uhh, can I call them “dispersed UHI effects?” — in the warming trend are uniform enough that mixing doesnt matter. IOW, that all effects acting outside where the stations are situated cause equivalent effects as at the stations, all are causing it relatively in unison with the amount of warming that is seen at the fixed stations, and all causing it over uniform spatial distributions such that mixing doesnt matter.

    That seems a hell of a stretch, especially when we know that wwinds are often mixing in recent temperature histories spanning, for example, entire ocean basins.

  172. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    RE: #171 – consider the scale of the turbulence. We humans feel colder in wind than in calm. That is because at the scale of skin thickenss and nerve structures, the transport of heat is huge. At the scale of miles, not huge but not miniscule. Consider also the overall bulk impact of the integration of the heat sources. How could one ever hope to use surface measurements to detect the impacts of arthropgenically dissipated energy? Surface measurements are clearly not capable.

  173. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    RE: #173 – Surface measurements themselves are noisy and of questionable quality. Consider also this fact. The areal distribution of surface measurement points is heavily biased in favor of Western Europe and Eastern North America.

  174. Lee
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    “Winds and turbulence transport the energy / heat further. ”
    And dilute it.

  175. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    What did Pielke Sr. say about land use changes way back in 2002?

  176. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

    Re: #163

    First problem is the a priori assumption of clearly defined “islands” of heat that are particular to urban areas. That’s a nice first level way to understand arthropogenic energy dissipation and arthropgenic environmental modifications, but it’s only a highly simplified first level conceptual model.

    So maybe those 1950s horror movies with giant spiders weren’t so far off the truth! :) :)

  177. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jun 29, 2006 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    The trend over time on calm days, when local effects will predominate, is the same as the trend over time as measured on windy days, when distant and mixed effects will be much greater.

    That’s right, but that doesn’t exactly strengthen the argument. Assume we have some cold areas and some warmer areas having UHI, then over time various urban areas will grow which will cause local warming due the the growth. But surrounding areas will also grow; suburbs and the like these will now come into play and these will keep the windy days from cooling the monitoring stations as much as they had in the past, showing up as a similar trend as on the calm days. Now if the area where the station was didn’t have any outlying growing areas, there might indeed be a difference over time between windy and calm days, but suburbs pretty well obviate that.

  178. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 1:38 AM | Permalink

    Re: the UHI:

    Steve S, the “heat” in urban heat island actually does refer to temperature, and almost all UHI studies have used that simple metric. Getting into total heat storage is another matter altogether, and unfortunately, we are largely without the supporting data we would need to do those sorts of analyses, especially on meaningful timescales. I know you are claiming UHI is a misnomer, and your theory is novel, but that does not change the fact that in terms of temperature, urban areas are often rather island-like. Temperature is a “continuous” variable, and in homogeneous airmasses it is also spatially smooth. Yet urban areas impose large “abruptions” to this smoothness, and in that sense, the UHI declaration is spot-on.

    I think two different arguments are emerging on this thread (and other threads) about the UHI. One of the arguments has some traction, while the other does not. The idea that global temperature records are being strongly influenced by UHI is legitimate, although people who find themselves constantly opposed to the AGW stance should at least acknowledge that this effect is not some never-thought-of issue to the “warmers.” Perfectly decoupling the urban signal from the temperature records is going to be impossible, and it is an ongoing problem that gets a decent amount of research attention. But it is not simply ignored by climatologists as a matter of convenience. If you look through the US HCN data, they often include a UHI correction series. Nobody is saying the correction is perfect, but then again, if you think the methodology is so awful, you could have a crack at it yourself. Here’s one citation, which is a free download from the AMS:

    Karl, T. R., H. F. Diaz, and G. Kukla. 1988. Urbanization: Its detection and effect in the United States climate record. J. Climate 1:1099-1123.

    But I am also inferring another sentiment here (mostly from other threads), that the warming that takes place over urban areas is then “advecting” to other areas significantly downstream, and thus, the UHI may actually explain regional or larger scale warming. I know of no climatologists, skeptical or otherwise, who hold this position. Over many discrete areas, the UHI behavior has been mapped out, and it is known to be a very local effect. This is not a matter of opinion but one of fact. As cities expand, it is reasonable to expect the UHI to follow suit, but it is going to be a long time before you can explain anamolous warming in rural areas as being a result of urban “heating.”

    Furthermore, a number of studies (Bornestein 1968, 1977; Bornstein and Lin [2000?]; Dixon and Mote 2003) have looked at things like UHI-induced precipitation, or UHI induced surface boundary behavior (i.e., “fronts”). Their observations are unique to the UHI (and yes, they do generally control for other influnces, like the “urban barrier effect”); that is, these behaviors are not observed in other parts of the non-UHI airmass.

    Also, Dave D., it is not that on windy days the UHI is blown elsewhere –that happens in light winds. It is that it is usually dispersed completely.

  179. gb
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 1:42 AM | Permalink

    Re # 172.

    Also on calm days there is vertical mixing of heat in the atmoshere. This mixing is owing to thermals. But of course, the mixing rate is faster when there is some wind. Atmospheric models try to describe vertical mixing as a function of wind speed and the stratification of the boundary layer, but this sometimes a quite challenging task.

    I am a bit confused about you mentioning anthropogenic dissipation. Are you saying that the heat generated by human activities contributes to the heating of the Earth?

  180. fFreddy
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    gb –
    In your post #96, you said :

    Furthermore, the climate models are documented.

    Where can I find the documentation for one of these models ? In particular, I’m after a concise, precise specification of what the model does, and what is the input data it does it with.

  181. John A
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

    Ken Blumenfeld

    …it is not that on windy days the UHI is blown elsewhere –that happens in light winds. It is that it is usually dispersed completely.

    Erm, no. The UHI is a radiative phenomenon, primarily. If you can make the buildings and concrete blow away, then that would work. The wind would have to be a lot colder as well.

  182. gb
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    Re # 182. For example here This document gives a lot of references where you can find more of the details of the used atmospheric, ocean, could models I think. However, it is probably not very easy to understand. It is more meant for people who have some background in climate model. I have only some knowledge on turbulence and boundary layers and it seems that in the giss model they use a quite advanced model for the atmospheric boundary layer (much more realistic than in the model described in the article by Ou discussed here before). Probably the Hadley centre has similar documentation on climate models, just use google.

    John writes: I’ve changed your url to a link.

    Can everyone please refrain from putting urls into the first seven words or if they must, put it as a link? This prevent Internet Explorer users (TCO) from whinging about the sidebar covering part of the post text and claiming its all my fault and that I don’t care about the sadsacks who continue to use this insecure and unstandard POS browser.

    Thank you for you attention.

  183. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    re: # 180

    [concerning UHI] But it is not simply ignored by climatologists as a matter of convenience.

    Well where’s the evidence? The articles we’ve been pointed to seem to imply that there is no real UHI correction in the surface temperature records, at least as produced by Jones. Whether it be these wind articles, or the night-light paper or any of several others, the story seems to be that UHI is just too small and therefore there’s no correction made for it.

    If the temperature manipulations were available directly for auditing, as Steve M has been pushing in the dendro world then that would be one thing, but they don’t appear to be. I know that one set of the temperature records are supposed to have been adjusted [probably I’m refering to the US HCH data you mention] , but even then it’s weird as it works backwards from how you’d think it’d work, and old temperatures are changed, not the new ones. And adjustments were made to rural, not urban temperatures. (It’s been a few years since I looked at it so the details are a bit hazy in my mind just now.)

    Further, you talk of “rural areas” but what’s defined as rural is rather fuzzy. In some areas quite dense areas of habitation are called rural, especially if the census records used are out of date. In any case towns of tens of thousands are called rural.

    It’d seem to me that every reporting weather station could be photo documented similar to the way Roger Pleike (sp.) did in eastern Colorado and MapQuest or something similar be used to document the surrounding area. This sort of documentation could be done very easily these days even in rather remote parts of the world and the hardest part is just deciding the precise method to be used (i.e. where to stand, what directions to shoot, etc.) Local people could do the shooting with a digital camera and upload things via satellite. A few million total cost and you’re done. That’s chump-change compared to the billions being spent on Climate Change research as it is (not to mention the costs of Kyoto and the like).

  184. fFreddy
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    gb, thank you. NASA seems to have rather more documentation than Hadley (which is something for which I have previously searched). I don’t yet see anything that looks like what I would call a specification, and I am not reassured that the second question on the FAQ is “Why is modular code so great anyway?”, but I have some reading to do.

  185. JP
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    #185
    LANDSAT which I believe is managed by the French has been documenting changes in the rual landscape for over 2 decades. How much of this is available to the public is another question. I know the DOD tried in the past to limit these hi res shots when the LANDSAT vehicles crossed over our missle bases and air bases.

    For the US, most of the dramatic changes occured from 1840-1930 when the Great Plains were farmed, several large natural growth forests in the Midwest were cleared, and many rivers were either changed or dammed.

    Since 1970, at least 25% of all farmland has been allowed to go fallow. Most of the small farms in the Great Plains have returned to thier natural state, and many of the small villages there have been abandoned. When you take into account the large industrial tree farms in the Southeast, much more of the land in the US today is “greener” than in 1970. Of course, the suburban sprawl of our 18 biggest metro areas has grown just as fast. The entire Northeast Corregdor is one large concrete sprawl.

  186. gb
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    Re # 186. It is not possible to explain all the details of the models in 40 pages, but it gives a long list of references. With some literature research you should be able to find more details.

    People on this site have said that the climate system is complex. So you can’t complain then that the model description doesn’t fit on 10 pages …

  187. jae
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    180, Ken Blumenfeld: thanks for the great post. My question is what is with all the secrecy about how the average temperatures are derived? This whole issue has a Mannian stink about it.

  188. fFreddy
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    Re #188, gb

    So you can’t complain then that the model description doesn’t fit on 10 pages

    Agreed, which is why I didn’t.

    What I mean by a specification is a document that tells the programmers what the model has to do.
    A specification needs to be precise – the programmers should be able to produce the model entirely based on the contents of the specification.
    A specification needs to be complete – it is allowed to say “this module works the same as the previous version”, but it should then carry on and specify the module.
    A specification needs to be concise – it should contain minimal justification for why the model is implemented in a particular way. If a particular treatment is the subject of academic debate, the specification can make reference to the debate elsewhere, but it should only describe the particular conclusion that the model is to implement.

    With some literature research you should be able to find more details.

    No. What I have described is the basis on which major software projects in the real world are implemented. You may think that this is too high a standard for an academic project to reach. Well, if this were just a quiet academic pursuit, I might agree. However, these models are now being used as a prime excuse for messing up the world economy. I think they should be subject, at a minimum, to the same level of professionalism as is common elsewhere.
    Climate modellers have chosen to get into bed with the political activists and their PR firms. I know that the actual reports from the modelling teams contain appropriate caveats and warnings, but these do not seem to be available until a few days after the press releases which make all the scary headlines. I have yet to see any senior members of the modelling teams pushing their way into the press and saying that “your treatment of that press release was total nonsense”.
    Bah, humbug.

  189. fFreddy
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Re #89 SteveM, #94 SteveS
    You know, I really don’t think it would be that hard to audit these things – just use one of the big audit firms. They both produce and audit all sorts of software projects other than simple financial stuff.
    SteveM’s budget – yup, that sounds like the right ballpark.
    SteveS’s list of skills needed – graduate students are (depressingly) cheap and available. I’ll bet you could get all you needed perfectly easily.
    A software audit should just be a matter of the auditors being willing to sign off on the statement that “this software does what the specification says it does”. In this case, I suspect the larger part of the job would be dragging the academics, kicking and screaming, to writing a proper specification.

  190. JJ
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    Kenneth,

    “Getting into total heat storage is another matter altogether, and unfortunately, we are largely without the supporting data we would need to do those sorts of analyses, especially on meaningful timescales.”

    That is not an impediment to ‘climate scientists’. :^)

    “I know you are claiming UHI is a misnomer, and your theory is novel, but that does not change the fact that in terms of temperature, urban areas are often rather island-like.”

    I think that the gist of Steve’s claim that UHI is a misnomer relates to the ‘urban’ rather than the ‘island’ part of the nomer being missed. Anthropogenic warming is greater (in areal extent) in ‘urban’ areas, but is not restricted to them. The LATTE (Local Anthropogenic Temperature Tainting Effect) may be smaller in areal extent in smaller towns and rural areas, but in this case size doesnt matter. What matters is where the LATTE sits with respect to the thermometer. A short LATTE and a triple shot Venti LATTE can have the same temperature …

    Correcting for LATTEs in the temperature record is occasionally mentioned, but methods are rarely given. Sometimes, actively hidden. When they are provided (as in your linked article above) they generally state explicitly that the research does not look at the siting of the thermometer with respect to the LATTE, but only estimates the areal extent of the LATTE using population as a proxie (the applicability of that proxie untested, of course). So they are attempting to correct, incorrectly. And the effect of doing it like that is to conflate LATTE with alleged ‘global warming’.

    JJ

  191. beng
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    RE #190

    Climate modellers have chosen to get into bed with the political activists and their PR firms.

    And then, the dendrologists are in bed w/the climate modelers, aren’t they? Aren’t some of the hockey-team “members” @ SurrealClimate, climate modelers? (I thought I remember RC inesplicably & tellingly flying off the handle when problems w/the models were suggested.) You wonder how much influence one has on the other.

  192. jae
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    193: Good point; never made the connection before. That explains a lot of their “resistance to change.”

  193. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    RE: #192 – you are spot on. This is precisely one of the important aspects of this. Imagine the possible differences in a place like El Dorado County, California, over the past 150 years. Much of it is still classified as rural, but in reality, it has become an exurb. Consider also the vast explosion of irrigated agribusiness areas in the US SW. Not only is there the irrigation effect noted by Christy et al, as well, the population density of such areas (and all that that implies) has gone from nearly zero to a surprisingly high number, over the past 100 years. Such areas make extensive use of migrant laborors who live in scattered hamlets and small villages. For mechanized agriculture, a grid pattern of paved roads is a must. So where there were desolate deserts 100 years ago, no there are irrigated fields and many man made structures and roads. To think that the impact of something like this on surface measurement stations in such an area is negligable would be, to my way of thinking, quite wrong headed.

  194. JJ
    Posted Jun 30, 2006 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    SteveS,

    I was thinking of even smaller LATTEs.

    Historic temp station at a USFS ranger station. Starts up in 1940, two room office with living quarters for the (queue rousing rendition of the William Tell Overture) lone ranger. Weather station in the field out behind the office.

    Seventy years later, they’ve got 10 permanent employees and a couple dozen seasonals. A 6,500 square foot office … with detached maintenance shop and storage facilities (black shingle roofs all around) 300,000 BTU furnace, 200 gal water heater, 12 ton central air conditioning unit, and 50 space asphalt parking lot where the field out behind the office used to sit – a stones throw from the fancy new weather station. There’s a new coffee shop across the recently paved street, and a new gas station kitty corner from that. And damned if that thermometer dont read a few degrees higher than it used to, even though the town has only grown from 200 to 300 permanent residents and is ‘rural’ by the judgement of a ‘climate scientist’ who needs to make a ‘simplifying assumption’.

    Just outside of town, there is a USGS stream gauge station under the bridge. Installed in the 50’s, its has been recording stream flow and weather data sporadically since. Back then, it was a single lane wooden trestle bridge spanning 60 feet of snowmelt with a 3,000 cfs peak flow and a 500 cfs base flow of 37 degree water all summer long.

    Now, its a two lane paved bridge with regular traffic, and less regular water. Irrigators open their gates during spring run-off, clipping 1,000 cfs off the peak flow, and the 50 cfs left in the base flow come August is 75 degree irrigation return water. And what do you know, another ‘rural’ temp station confirms a significant ‘global warming’ trend. Subtract this rural AGW trend from the temp increase shown in the big city 30 miles away, and there’s your evidence that the UHI isnt really that important a factor …

    Of course, not being a washed-up politican, I’m really not qualified to be making such musings about ‘climate science’. :^)

    JJ

  195. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jul 1, 2006 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

    John A,

    Yes, the “UH” part of UHI is radiative, and that you can’t make go away. But wind can wreak havoc on the “I” part. Light winds can shift the UHI downwind, but stronger winds often mix it out. At the level of detail in most temperature observations, it is much harder to discern the UHI on windy days. Oke’s classic, “Boundary Layer Climates” goes into some detail.

    Dave D,

    The US HCN allows for a UHI correction series in the monthly data for urban and rural stations. And the “raw” data are intact, so you can see the difference in the output. The CRU data may be problematic, but there are other fish in the sea, and for US climaotologists (classical, not paleo) working on US problems, the CRU data are seldom-used. The NCDC has a ton of good data, and more documentation than I would ever care to look at. I agree with you that within the already elaborate station histories, we should now add air photos, plan views etc, to better understand land change and land influence on the record.

    JJ,

    Anthropogenic warming is greater in urban areas (than rural), not just in areal extent, but also in magnitude. I agree that there is probably some small background warming everywhere due to LATTE, but it is hardly measurable with our instrumentation. For what purposes do you find it an important distinction? Do you think, that in northern MN, where population growth has been modest over the past 50 years, and where industry has generally moved out, that your LATTE could explain the the regional-scale warming? Even if we put aside the AGW part of it, and just assume it is what it is, how much of the 2 degree C change (in northern MN) is from LATTE? At what level and scale are these differences important to you and to Steve S?

  196. Lee
    Posted Jul 1, 2006 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    re 196:

    In both those examples, a mderate wind mixing oin surrounding air would wash out any local effect completely.

    And rememer, I started this particular subthread by posting the paper that say s that you get the same trend on windy days as on calm days.

    Remember that wind not only moves air masses sideways, it mixes them, horizontally and vertically. Wind gusts are the result of such mixing, usually as a result of bringing upper altitude higher velocity air to the surface. this rocess is pronounced in urban areas – buildings constitute very effective mixing fins stuck up into that moving air mass.

    The fact that you get the same trend in calm as on windy days is, IMO, strong evidence that the UHI effect is not responsible for observed large-scale warming.

    S Sadlow’s broader claim reduces to: direct anthropogenic effects other than CO2 are causing significant global warming that cant be distinguished from CO2 or other effects. He supports the claim by stating that it is hard to calculate.

    That’s one hell of a claim.

  197. JJ
    Posted Jul 1, 2006 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Kenneth,

    “Anthropogenic warming is greater in urban areas (than rural), not just in areal extent, but also in magnitude.”

    Perhaps greater in average magnitude over the greater areal extent, but again that is not important. What is important is the magnitude of the LATTE in the immediate vicinity of the thermometer. The research that has looked at this issue rigorously is to be found where?

    “I agree that there is probably some small background warming everywhere due to LATTE, but it is hardly measurable with our instrumentation.”

    Not talking about everywhere. Talking about LATTE around the thermometers. Can your instrumentation not measure the temperature in the immediate vicinity of that instrumentation? Or is it like tree proxies, in that it can only measure temperatures from some undetermined remote location thru ‘teleconnection’? :^)

    “For what purposes do you find it an important distinction?”

    See above. If the temp rise indicated at a rural weather station is assumed to be AGW when it is not, then the magnitude of the estimated AGW is inflated by both that wrong assumption and the incorrect ‘correction’ of the urban data based on that wrong assumption.

    “Do you think, that in northern MN, where population growth has been modest over the past 50 years, and where industry has generally moved out, that your LATTE could explain the the regional-scale warming?”

    I think that there are many things that could cause such a regional warming, and many things that could cause the appearance of such a regional warming even if there werent one. And I dont think that they are being looked at rigorously insofar as the ‘global’ temp record is concerned. And that is not the fault of the temp record, incidently. It is supposed to record temp, not ferret out the various and assundry factors that comprise the temp. That is the job of the ‘climate scientists’ that use the temp record.

    “Even if we put aside the AGW part of it, and just assume it is what it is, how much of the 2 degree C change (in northern MN) is from LATTE?”

    I dont know. And apparently, neither does anyone else. And that is the point.

    “At what level and scale are these differences important to you and to Steve S?”

    At any and all levels and scales which effect the determination of temperature, its trends, its sources, and the uncertainty of each of those measures.

    I have given two examples of very small scale effects that, if they are occuring, are being interpreted as very large scale (global!) effects and attributed to a different source. Steve has presented larger scale effects which might produce a similar result.

    The NAS states that sea surface temp records have in some instances been adjusted to reflect a change in the material composition of the bucket used to bail the water sample. Samples taken in canvas buckets were found to be significantly different from those taken in wooden buckets.

    In that same vein, are temp measurements taken at a one dirtstrip local airfield serving 25-passenger prop planes twice a week likely to be different from those taken at a regional airport with 15,000 feet of asphalt runways serving 650,000 passengers per year on a dozen commercial jets per day? Yeah, they probably are different.

    So what if those are not two different airports, but the same airport? Sitting in the same unincorporated rural area outside of town, but 50 years apart? Are the temps measured now likely the same, so that any difference that is noted may be assumed to be AGW?

    Who is quantifying these effects?

    JJ

  198. JJ
    Posted Jul 1, 2006 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    Lee,

    “In both those examples, a mderate wind mixing oin surrounding air would wash out any local effect completely.”

    And your support for that assertion (which incidently violates the law of conservation of energy) is what exactly? LOL.

    “… buildings constitute very effective mixing fins stuck up into that moving air mass.”

    Put another way, buildings constitute very effective wind breaks. And very effective repositories of thermal mass. Who has quatified these effects?

    “The fact that you get the same trend in calm as on windy days is, IMO, strong evidence that the UHI effect is not responsible for observed large-scale warming.”

    Thus completey ignoring the radiative component of LATTEs, and micro-climate effects in general. Arent you a biologist?

    BTW, have you read the article? Or are you assigning the status of ‘fact’ based on the abstract?

    “S Sadlow’s broader claim reduces to: direct anthropogenic effects other than CO2 are causing significant global warming that cant be distinguished from CO2 or other effects. He supports the claim by stating that it is hard to calculate.”

    The claim is that other effects are not being distinguished from CO2 or other alleged AGW sources. Whether or not they can be distinguished is something else that needs to be looked at. It will be hard to calculate. Perhaps intractable.

    “That’s one hell of a claim.”

    No, one hell of a claim is ‘a little wind will completely wash out any effect that I find inconvenient’.

    JJ

  199. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 1, 2006 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    re: #198, 200

    Ditto JJs remarks.

    I might also ask Lee to consider why a car will get frost on it while the empty parking space next to it doesn’t. Likewise a blade of grass may get frost while the bare patch of ground next to it doesn’t. (The answers are obvious, but you need to consider the application to moderately windy situations.)

    Also, the presence of a horizontal wind doesn’t necessarily imply any major vertical mixing. If that were always the case there wouldn’t be heat islands in the first place.

  200. Lee
    Posted Jul 1, 2006 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    200. My support for that claim is that weather stations are designed to measure air temperature. In a calm, the measured air temperature reflects heating by local surface elements. In a wind, the measured air temperature reflects heating effects from a much, much larger area.

    Thus, the wind vs calm data tells us that we get the same trend whether we are considering only local effects on air temperature, or broadly distributed effects on air temperature.

    I am not ignoring the effects of microclimates, etc. I am pointing out that the effects of the weather station microclimates on *air temperature* gets diluted (at least) when the wind blows new air into the microclimate from a much broader local area.

    Dave, your comment on frost formation of different surfaces connected to different thermal masses would be relevant, if the weather stations were measuring the temperatures of those surfaces. But they arent; they are measuring air temperature. That air temperature is influenced by the temperature (and heat effects) of the surrounding surfaces, as a function of HOW MUCH TIME IT SPENDS ABOVE SUCH SURFACES. And by how close it is to those surfaces. A 20 mph wind means, by definition, that the air now at the weather station was 20 miles away, only an hour ago, and has been influenced, even in just the last hour, by the surfaces it passed over in traversing those 20 miles,a s wellas by mixing in the mass of air. Adn mixing, thogh not perhaps univeral, is common. Wind gusts are caused primarily by vertical mixing.

    If we get the same trend in temperature increase over time whether we consider calm days when we are measurng air temperature predominantly influenced by the immediate surroundings of the station, or windy days, when we have air arriving from a huge upstream environment and are measurign air temperature influenced by that much wider area, then that means the trend is not being caused just by the environment local to the station. The trend is common to the area influence air temperature flowing over tens of miles before arriving briefly at the station. Thus, the trend is not caused by an island effect.

    Given the other evidence for warming -coordinated tropical glacial recession (often despite increased precip, according to the NAS report) and temperate glacial recession, substantially shortened surface freeze season in the arctic permafrosts (this is becoming problematic of high-latitude oil exploration), decreasing arctic ice cover, greater upwards trends seen at high latitudes where there is less urbanization, to mention just a few, I frankly dont see any weight worth considering to the argument that warming trends are a result of UHI effects and not a real global warming.

    This is point one: the wind vs calm data are strogn evidence against the observed trend being a artifact of island effects.

    You guys are now apparently making a different argument. You are claiming a significant general global warming resulting simply from patchy infrastructure buildup (and with higher observed temperature increase in high-latitude areas of lesser infrastructure than in low-latitude areas of greater infrastructure) based simply on the claim, basically, that “it might be happening.” And you are mixing the arguments against point one and this point; they are separate and separable issues. At least make an approximate first-order calculation of some kind: perhaps back-calulate from urban temp disparities to get an estimate of heat effects, and integrate over the area of anthropogenic surfaces. Something, to get at least an estimate of order of magnitude of potential effects, even if disregarding non-linear area responses and so on. Otherwise, you’re hand-waving in what looks a lot like an attempt to find another way to dispute any evidence agaisnt a UHI effect – especially when you conflate arguments relevant to the two separate and separable issues.

  201. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Jul 1, 2006 at 4:07 PM | Permalink

    Warwick Hughes has discussions of many urban heat islands and how they are treated at http://www.warwickhughes.com/climate/cities.htm

    For example, Atlanta, Georgia has no UHI correction and is treated just as if it were a rural site or as Warwick says “We are talking here about the Urban Heat Island (UHI) over the cities of Atlanta and Macon, where the temperature record was used by Jones 1994 uncorrected !”.

    I am pretty sure that CRU does no UHI corrections and have asked them to provide a sample station record showing temperatures before and after such a UHI correction was made and received no reply.

  202. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 1, 2006 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    From looking at wikiwackipedia, I understand now:

    “There is no controversy about cities generally tending to be warmer than their surroundings. What is controversial about these heat islands is whether, and if so how much, this additional warmth affects trends in (global) temperature record. The current state of the science is that the effect on the global temperature trend is small to negligible”¢’‚¬?see below.

    Scientists compiling the historical temperature record are aware of the UHI effect, but they vary as to how significant they think it is. Some scientists (see Peterson, below) have published peer reviewed papers indicating that the effect of the UHI has been overestimated, and that it does not affect the record at all. Other scientists have used various methods to compensate for it. Some advocates charge that temperature data from heat islands has been mistakenly used as evidence for the global warming theory.

    It also says night time temps are important to talk about :

    In fact, a description of the very first report of the UHI by Luke Howard in 1820 says:

    Howard was also to discover that the urban center was warmer at night than the surrounding countryside, a condition we now call the urban heat island. Under a table presented in The Climate of London (1820), of a nine-year comparison between temperature readings in London and in the country, he commented: “Night is 3.70° warmer and day 0.34° cooler in the city than in the country.” He attributed this difference to the extensive use of fuel in the city. [8].

    Does this abstract cover nighttime temps or ?

    Cheers!

  203. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 1, 2006 at 5:34 PM | Permalink

    re: #202 Lee,

    You’re assuming a lot based on an abstract. I read the whole previous article on the subject and they broke things up into calm, light winds and windy. I can’t remember the exact details, however. The point is that those urban areas counted as urban are generally quite large. Therefore it doesn’t much matter how long an air mass is over any particular warm surface, it will be over other warm surfaces as it goes. Now it may be that part of the time when it’s windy it will be blowing from colder areas, which might depress the UHI, but there are also time when it’s calm that the real warmth is held near the surface and this depresses the temperature of the air where it’s being measured. Also, assuming the measuring station is in a sub-urban area, and places like airports generally are, some of the time the wind will be coming from the direction of the city center and this might be quite a bit warmer than the local area.

    If even the warmer-held Wikipedia admits:

    cities generally tending to be warmer than their surroundings.

    Then it’s pretty hard to logically argue that growth, i.e. creating more and larger cities won’t affect the measured temperatures. Before I’d accept that based on indirect inferences I’d like much more definitive studies. But I don’t have time to play Steve McIntyre on this subject and demand the data to audit. But if it’s available I might be interested in helping analyze it.

  204. JP
    Posted Jul 1, 2006 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    Re #202- Most weather stations in the past either used a sling psychrometer or had a piece of equipment called a TMQ-11 to get a dry bulb reading. The bulb of the sling psychromter is violently slung for 30 seconds. This is repeated 3 times; the dry bulb reading is then recorded to the nearest whole degree. An average dry bulb is then calculated. According to the FMH1b, the observer must take his readings at least 100ft from any buildings, in a flat open area- preferable in a grassy area. A wet bulb temperature can also be calculated, which will in turn render the dew point temp.

    The TMQ-11, is normally locaed on the grassy strip on either side of a runway. It sensors are normally 6-9ft above ground level. A samll fan continously runs in front of the sensor.

    In both cases, a slight wind is simulated.

  205. Bruce
    Posted Jul 2, 2006 at 12:05 AM | Permalink

    An interesting discussion on UHI. And important too. What if, for example, a disciplined statistical exercise was able to demonstrate that perhaps half of the 0.6 deg C reported rise in “Global Mean Temperature” over the 20thC was due to UHI effects.

    The extraordinary thing is that (as I understand it and I know you will correct me if I am wrong) those who publish the temperature series showing the 0.6 dec C rise over the 20thC refuse to divulge their data, corrections, processes, methods. They say simply “We have made appropriate corrections. Trust us!”

    As has been made abundantly clear through discussion of the Hockey Stick, it is simply not enough for us to trust climate scientists. To restore their standing, I would have thought that climate scientists would have to reveal their data, methods, corrections; have their work reviewed, audited, and confirmed before we the public will trust them. The fact is, I for one don’t trust them.

    Who DO I trust? Actually Steve McIntyre (and Ross McKitrick). While faced with the problem that all of us have in that we cannot know everything about everything, Steve and Ross have pursued diligent enquiry, been very open about methods and approaches and (refreshingly) admitted it when they might have been in error. The interesting thing about Steve and Ross’s work though, is that they don’t ask us to trust them. They are prepared to put the hard yards in, write in great detail about their work, are open to input from those better informed than they are (providing that it is an explanatory discussion). We are all better off for having them on the case.

  206. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 2, 2006 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

    Re #206, JP

    This is repeated 3 times; the dry bulb reading is then recorded to the nearest whole degree.

    They record to the nearest whole degree – so with an accuracy of +-0.5 degree – then claim to have noticed a signal of 0.6 degrees ?
    Isn’t that a bit silly ?

  207. Hans Erren
    Posted Jul 2, 2006 at 3:07 AM | Permalink

    no ffreddy that is not silly. This is the same argument that John Shotsky uses.

    The average daily temperature in temparate counties varies has an amplitude of ten degrees. it is possible to calculate the average temperature of the day.
    the average annual temperature is the sum of all daily averages divided by 365.
    So the average annual temprarure is not a temperature it is a statistical metric.

    This metric in temperate climates is dominated by winter temperature and very well correlated over 1000 km. See europe here. (Note that the 2003 hot summer hardly has influenced the metric!)

  208. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 12:23 AM | Permalink

    Hmmmm. Thank you, Hans.

  209. JJ
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    Lee,

    “My support for that claim is that weather stations are designed to measure air temperature.”

    Non sequitur.

    “In a calm, the measured air temperature reflects heating by local surface elements. In a wind, the measured air temperature reflects heating effects from a much, much larger area.”

    Not necessarily. Microclimate exists, and it is called that for a reason.

    “Thus, the wind vs calm data tells us …”

    Uh, exactly what wind vs calm data is there to tell ‘us’ anything? All you have is an abstract of an article that you have not even read, much less evaluated for its methods and results. This behaviour of yours is not scientific. It is religious.

    “I am not ignoring the effects of microclimates, etc.”

    Yes, you are. Prevailing winds no more describe the air movement at a particular thermometer’s location than prevailing precipitation describes soil moisture in the root zone of any particular tree. Buildings are effective wind breaks.

    You are summarily dismissing anything that is inconvenient to your foregon conclusion. That is not science – though I do not doubt that such is precisely the basis of the ‘scientific consensus’ that is bandied about.

    “A 20 mph wind means, by definition, that the air now at the weather station was 20 miles away, only an hour ago, …”

    It most certainly does not mean any such thing. This is very similar to that whopper you told last week, that recently deglaciated areas must now be experiencing conditions warmer than at any time since they were glaciated. The sort of thing that makes sense, if your desire to believe in it causes you to not think about it for more than four or five seconds. Six seconds of consideration and the stupidity of it just jumps right up and knocks you over.

    “If we get the same trend in temperature increase over time whether we consider calm days when we are measurng air temperature predominantly influenced by the immediate surroundings of the station, or windy days, …”

    This doesnt necessarily tell us anything. Temperature is measured as a daily average, which is calculated as the average of the maximum and the minimum temps. What constitutes a ‘windy day’ in the study that you havent read? Constant 24 hour wind? Highly unlikely. So the max and min temps could fall during calm periods of the day (the max likely would) unaffected by any wind. Even if the thermometers were exposed to unmitigated prevailing winds, which they likely arent. Even if windy and calm days are constant across seasons, which they likely are not. Even if the LATTE heat sources (insolation, anthropogenic heat production) were constant across windy and calm days, which they likely are not. But then, those factors likely werent looked at. But then, you dont know, because you havent even read the article. Yet you believe. That is religion. Pardon my agnosticism.

    “Thus, the trend is not caused by an island effect.”

    Speaking of trend, how was this alleged trend calculated? Mannian style data mining?

    “Given the other evidence for warming … I frankly dont see any weight worth considering to the argument that warming trends are a result of UHI effects and not a real global warming.”

    Given your uncritical acceptance of anything that appears to go your way as ‘evidence’, I frankly dont see that your opinion is meaningful.

    “You guys are now apparently making a different argument.”

    No, thats just you raising a straw man.

    JJ

  210. jae
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Lee: You are forgetting that heat is transferred by conduction, convection and RADIATION. I don’t care how fast the wind is blowing, it can’t “blow away” radiation. If you are facing a fire and the wind is blowing at your back, you still feel warm…

  211. TCO
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    jae, don’t go down the John A route of saying silly things. Wind doesn’t blow away radiation. It provides heat transfer by conduction and mass transfer.

    Try this. Room with no central air, window to the sun on one side. Sunny part of the room gets hotter. No? Now turn on a cieling fan. Remeasure temps in the room.

  212. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    Re#203:

    For example, Atlanta, Georgia has no UHI correction and is treated just as if it were a rural site or as Warwick says “We are talking here about the Urban Heat Island (UHI) over the cities of Atlanta and Macon, where the temperature record was used by Jones 1994 uncorrected !”.

    If true, that’s absolutely amazing. Atlanta is one of those cities that has been long known to have influenced the weather around it because of it’s UHI (ie, creates thunderstorms south of the city). The USEPA, NASA, NOAA, and others have invested significant research in Atlanta’s UHI.

    The first graphic (albeit from a model) on this page is pretty amazing .

  213. jae
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    TCO: Where is the thermometer?

    You obviously missed my point, which was:

    Wind doesn’t blow away radiation.

  214. jae
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    The point is that a thermometer at an airport, or anywhere else, is receiving IR radiation, directly or indirectly, no matter how well it is “shaded.” If there is a black tarmack or a building nearby, it is going to be influenced by it, more than it would be affected by soil, grass, etc. IMO, this is the UHI effect that is not being corrected for in the SATs.

  215. Lee
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    re 211:

    jj, if someone has a subscription and wants to send me a copy of that article, I’d be happy to read it. Yes, I’m taking the abstract at face value – it is what I have. Clearly, if the details dont support that abstract, my point -to the extent there is a disparity- is damaged.

    Now for the rest of your post. Note that it is not necessary for every UHI effect to go away at every station for this to be a useful methodology. Yes, some stations might be in microclimates that dont get any wind effect So what? This is looking at comparative trends. They see no DILUTION of the effect on windy days. Unles you want to posite that effectively ALL weather stations are sheltered from diluting effects of wind, to a degree that nearly completely mitigates any dilution, then this tells us that moving large masses of air from outside and through urban areas does not affect the TREND. Yes, it is possible(even likely) that individual stations in the data set are sheltered from such effects. But – as I explicilty said above- the fact that they see no dilution of the effect means that either you must posit that effectively ALL stations are sheltered from wind effects, or that moving air masses in doenst dilute the trend.

    “Given your uncritical acceptance of anything that appears to go your way as “evidence’, I frankly dont see that your opinion is meaningful.” jj – fark off. This sentence is simply an irrelevang way to avoid YOU having to deal with the classes of evidence that I pointed to. You statement that I’m “uncritically accepting” is simply attempted mindreading. The fact that I’ve said at several times, for several kinds of this data, phrases like “if this stands up” or “If this is real – I want to see the evidence,” would tend to lead an honest and nonconfrontational reader to a different conclusion. I could attack you here with an accusation of confrontational closed-mindedness, but I’ll simply point out that it seems that my unwillingness to uncritically accept your criticisms of this paper, is your supposed evidence for my suposed uncritical acceptance.


    “”You guys are now apparently making a different argument.”

    No, thats just you raising a straw man.”

    No, I’m attempting to sumamrize S. Sadlow’s point about wider than “island” effects, and the support some others have seemed to give it here. I specifically summarized that point, in part so that any misunderstandign of the point on my part could be corrected – you very conspicuously did not address the details I posted, you only made a dismissive gesture in the direction of my first sentence.

    And finally, jj-
    “This is very similar to that whopper you told last week, that recently deglaciated areas must now be experiencing conditions warmer than at any time since they were glaciated.”

    I said no such thing – speaking of straw men.. I said that the fact that the glacier retreated beyond that point was evidence that the conditions leading to glacial retreat beyond that point are abberent – by definition- in the context of the time since that point was covered. Those conditions, as I explicitly acknowledged, include precip and other effects and the history of changes in those effects. I went on to point out that if (an dI was careful to include the caveat about evidence that the plants acutally originated there)… that if it is in fact true that this spot was covered for 25,000 years, and just now is uncovered, then something unique in the context of that 25,000 years is happening now, and that this is strong evidence for something abberant in recent conditions. And that given other evidence -which I outlned just above, and which I’ve mentioned elsewhere- that tropical glacier retreat is being driven by temperatures, this (if confirmed) becomes strong evidence that the warming is causing tropical effects not seen before – and therefore may be abberantly warm. Note that in the last sentence, the dash separates two separate conclusions.

  216. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    re: 217
    Comment about glaciers ” something unique in the context”

    Can’t they just melt all at once too ? I don’t know how to put it in scientific terms…but don’t glaciers just melt all of a sudden or all at once sometimes, like a pot of water boils when it reaches the right temp (inside the pot) Isn’t there evidence of this in geologic history?

  217. JJ
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

    Lee,

    “jj, if someone has a subscription and wants to send me a copy of that article, I’d be happy to read it. Yes, I’m taking the abstract at face value – it is what I have.”

    This is, unfortunately, the status of the so called ‘science’ surrounding this issue (and in many other areas of ‘science’ as well). ‘It is what we have’. Well, sometimes what you have isnt sufficient to say anything. The correct course of action is to get more, or shut up. Instead, people take ‘what we have’ to be authoratative, just as you have done here. It isnt. It is worthless speculation.

    “Clearly, if the details dont support that abstract, my point -to the extent there is a disparity- is damaged.”

    Its more than that. In addition to the potential of the article not supporting the abstract, there is also the very high likelyhood that the article does not support the assumptions that you are making about what the article and the abstract are saying.

    “Now for the rest of your post. Note that it is not necessary for every UHI effect to go away at every station for this to be a useful methodology.”

    It is necessary to quantify the effect that wind (as measured for this study) would have on LATTEs for this method to be useful.

    “This is looking at comparative trends.”

    Derived how? Comparing what? You dont know.

    “They see no DILUTION of the effect on windy days.”

    You dont know that. You havent read it.

    “Unles you want to posite that effectively ALL weather stations are sheltered from diluting effects of wind, to a degree that nearly completely mitigates any dilution, …”

    Or that enough of them are sheltered from the wind and that the LATTE effect is large enough to mitigate wind effect across group of stations. Or that (as stated above) the definition of ‘windy day’ does not rule out the existance of sufficient calm periods for the instantaneous max and min temps to hit their LATTE influenced values within the (unknown because you havent read it) limits of ‘dilution’ and error assumed by this study. Or that (as stated above) the sources of LATTE heat are not constant across windy and calm days. Or (as stated above) that windy days are not constant across seasons. Or a combination of these. Or other factors that havent been thought of yet, and wouldnt come to mind without having examined the methods explicitly.

    “Yes, it is possible(even likely) that individual stations in the data set are sheltered from such effects.”

    So, who has quantified the proportion of stations for which this is true?

    “jj – fark off.”

    Intelligent response.

    “This sentence is simply an irrelevang way to avoid YOU having to deal with the classes of evidence that I pointed to.”

    No, it is simply a relevant way of pointing out that your standard of ‘evidence’ is really, really, really low. Please dont come in here using your interpretation of an abstract as authoratative fact and pretend otherwise.

    “You statement that I’m “uncritically accepting” is simply attempted mindreading.”

    No, it is simply accepting your posted remarks in the context in which you present them. You refer to your own specualtion regarding the content and accuracy of an article that you have not read as ‘fact’.

    “The fact that I’ve said at several times, for several kinds of this data, phrases like “if this stands up” or “If this is real – I want to see the evidence,” would tend to lead an honest and nonconfrontational reader to a different conclusion.”

    Nonsense. You stated ‘given the evidence’ not ‘I want to see the evidence’. You cant have it both ways.

    “No, I’m attempting to sumamrize S. Sadlow’s point about wider than “island” effects, and the support some others have seemed to give it here.”

    Throw a post # in, where this point is made.

    “I said no such thing -”

    Yes, you did. And here you say it again:

    “I said that the fact that the glacier retreated beyond that point was evidence that the conditions leading to glacial retreat beyond that point are abberent – by definition- in the context of the time since that point was covered.”

    And that is false. As is your ‘a 20 mph wind means that this air was 20 miles away an hour ago’, which you also called a ‘definition’. You need a new dictionary :^)

    “… that if it is in fact true that this spot was covered for 25,000 years, and just now is uncovered, then something unique in the context of that 25,000 years is happening now,”

    And that is false.

    “… and that this is strong evidence”

    Once again, your ability to identify ‘evidence’ is shown to be faulty, and compounded by your assessment of it as ‘strong’.

    “And that given other evidence -which I outlned just above, …”

    And which must be interpreted in light of the incorrectness of the above (and below) assessments of ‘evidence’.

    “that tropical glacier retreat is being driven by temperatures, this (if confirmed) becomes strong evidence that the warming is causing tropical effects not seen before ”

    Nope.

    “- and therefore may be abberantly warm.”

    Nope.

    JJ

  218. Lee
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    jj, you may recall that the glaciers have not been retreating for 5,000 years, which can be ascertained by their moraines, and by historical observatins. Glaciers have grown and retreated over that period sof time, either by direct observatins of the sequelae of that growth and retreat, or by comparing to otehr simialr glaciers where we hahe that evidence. And they have (given for argument that the observation is true) never retreated to this point. By your argument, if a glacier exists for 25,00 years, and then disappears compeltley, that doesnt tell us that anything is different now that during those 25,000 years. And that is absurd.

    And even your imaginary observations dont disprove anything. If you include history as a condition (which it clearly is) then even in your amazingly unrealistic scenario, the length of time that the retreating condiitions lasted are, by definition, abberant. In the real world, the totality of conditions, including history, that cause glacial retreeat havenot before, in that time, allowed this extent of glacial retrat. Period.

    You also don’t seem to be able to read – “…as I explicitly acknowledged, include precip and other effects and the **history** of changes in those effects.” Emphasis added. Also, if you read for reasons other that mining quotes for attack purposes, you will notice that I carefully limited the strength of successive conclusions.

    It is true that wind velocity doesn’t necesarily determine the distance moved of any particular parcel of air. Again, so fricking what – we’re talking averages across assemblages here. For the umpteenth time.

    If you seriously are arguing that warming isnt really happening – in the fact of evidence from coordinated retreating tropical glaciers with in many case increasing precip, observations of seemingly novel surface melt in the accumulation zone of an old tropical glacier, teh NS agreemetn that dO18 ratis in tropical glaciers show that the integrated temp/precip pattern is abberant in teh 20th century, general retreating of temperate and perhaps arctic glaciers, shortened permafrost surface freeze seasons, reductions in arctic ice, the evidence you’ve been disputing aobut glacial retreat anomaly, and direct surface and satellite measurements (for their time periods), with supporting evidence from a c ouple different lines of investigation that the direct measurements are real – then you have one hell of a job showing that all this is wrong or misleading. Me, with something so widely supported by so many lines of evidence, and accepted by nearly the entire sceintific community now, pro and con, I’ll buy this particular peice of arguemnt and spend my energy.. If you think the entire community, and these various ines of congruent evidence, are all wrong, go for it and prove them all wrong. Raising disputes based on imaginary and clearly unreasonable histories wont do it.

    Me, I think its pretty damned evident that the world is heating up, and anyone arguing otherwise in general has a burden to go to dispute this. I think the evidence that tropical conditions are at or near previous extremes for glacier forming conditions is becoming strong, but not bulletproof. The data that temperate region temps/conditions are nearing upper extremes are far less convincing; I suspect that temperate regions are far more variable, and it seem likely that there have been at least localized or non-contemporaneous, and perhaps more widely synchronized deviations beyond where we are now. But the relative stability of tropical atmosphere seems to me to be a more reliable barometer,a dn teh synchronzied retreate and threatened disappearance of tropicla cglaciers is reasonalby powerful evidence. The data for a large amount of arctic warming seem clear, but the evidence for that being unprecedented is shaky at best, mostly for lack of data.

    Overll, this indicates to me that the warming globally is likely at or near maxima over the last 10,000 years or so. And I arrive at this by asking, waht do the data look like. It seems to me that yo are arguing from a defaut that ther is no change, and any evidnece otherwise must be extraordinarily persuasive to overcome that presumptin – and that strikes me as a a priori filter on the kinds of data you allow without extraordinary support, or accept uncritically. Lubos makes this point for me, unwittingly, with his Millikan experiment argument – you guys are starting from the assumption that things wont change, and giving greater scrutiny to claims that indicate otherwise. This is ALSO biasing to one’s conclusions,as buasing as the “you guys are assuming change” implicit criticism of your opponenets..

    I also believe that CO2 induced warming at meaningful amounts is likely, and I base this on similar looks at several lines of evidence and asking an agnostic, what do the variousl ilnes of evidence tall us, taken together. Note that this is a compeltley separate issue,a nd perhaps from a different set of baseline assumptinos, from the policy implications.

  219. JJ
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    Lee,

    ‘History’ is not a present condition. Nor does your use of it to play semantic games make any sense. The history of this glacier over the last 10,000 years is unique in the history of this glacier in the last 10,000 years? Really? You dont say. Run over to that dictionary that you keep your ‘definitions’ in, and look up ‘tautology’. Then ‘irony’.

    Once again, the fact that X point was recently uncovered, and has not been uncovered in the last 10,000 years, tells you *nothing* about *todays* conditions vs the conditions that have ocurred during those 10,000 years. Whatever today’s conditions are, those very same conditions may have existed numerous times in the past, and/or been significantly exceeded. All you can say when you witness a point being uncovered for the first time in 10,000 years is that the net glaciation at that spot over the last 10,000 years is zero. It doesnt tell you anything specific about the conditions right now, or the last 10 years, or the last 100 years, or the last 1,000 years, or the last 9,000 years. That is not absurd, it is the simple truth.

    “It is true that wind velocity doesn’t necesarily determine the distance moved of any particular parcel of air. Again, so fricking what -”

    Uh, that was the premise of one of your arguments. Having it proved false demostrates that your argument is incorrect. This probably happens enough that you are getting used to it, but ‘so friking what’ is a bit defeatist, dont you think?

    “… we’re talking averages across assemblages here. For the umpteenth time.”

    The average of a bad argument is another bad argument. A 20 mph wind does not mean that the air in it has traveled 20 miles in the last hour, nor does it mean that the air in many 20 mph winds has traveled an average of 20 miles in the last hour. Your assumption that a 20 mph wind means that air has traveled 20 miles is wrong in the singular, in the aggregate, in the average, in the assemblage, etc. It is just wrong. Get over it.

    “If you seriously are arguing that warming isnt really happening -”

    Never said any such thing. I am seriously arguing that there is scant rigorous evidence of it. And even less rigor in the estimates of its quantity and attribution of its cause.

    “… in the fact of evidence from coordinated retreating tropical glaciers with in many case increasing precip, observations of seemingly novel surface melt in the accumulation zone of an old tropical glacier, teh NS agreemetn that dO18 ratis in tropical glaciers show that the integrated temp/precip pattern is abberant in teh 20th century, general retreating of temperate and perhaps arctic glaciers, shortened permafrost surface freeze seasons, reductions in arctic ice, the evidence you’ve been disputing aobut glacial retreat anomaly, and direct surface and satellite measurements (for their time periods), with supporting evidence from a c ouple different lines of investigation that the direct measurements are real – then you have one hell of a job showing that all this is wrong or misleading.”

    Crap is crap, regardless of how high you pile it.

    “Me, with something so widely supported by so many lines of evidence, …”

    Your idea of ‘evidence’ and ‘support’ is really weak. As is your understanding of the scientific method:

    “If you think the entire community, and these various ines of congruent evidence, are all wrong, go for it and prove them all wrong.”

    It is not up to me to prove someone elses assertion wrong. It is up to them to prove it correct. And the proof is simply not there. It is largely anectdotal studies, with poorly documented methods, which are themselves often quite poor. That it is believe by a bunch of people with standards like yours means nothing to me.

    “Raising disputes based on imaginary and clearly unreasonable histories wont do it.”

    Sigh. I resisted posting an example history, for fear that it would prompt you to make such a fallacious remark. That specific history proves that your logic is wrong. There are an infinite number of histories that do that, and infinitely many of those are ‘reasonble’. That they exist at all is what proves your logic wrong.

    “Me, I think its pretty damned evident that the world is heating up, and anyone arguing otherwise in general has a burden to go to dispute this.”

    And what you think is law, LOL. You have some very strongly held opinions. And you may be right about all of them. And you may be wrong about all of them. And you do not have a firm foundation for discerning which it is. Just a bunch of articles that you may or may not have read, methods that you do not evaluate, results that you accept uncritically, and some stuff (like the ‘unique conditions in 10,000 years’, ’20 mph wind’ etc) that is just plain silly. That is not how science works. That is religion.

    “Overll, this indicates to me that the warming globally is likely at or near maxima over the last 10,000 years or so.”

    Where do you come up with 10K years of data with global coverage and sufficient resolution on which to claim that you beliefs are based on?

    “And I arrive at this by asking, waht do the data look like.”

    I’m betting they’re written on gold tablets by angels :^)

    “It seems to me that yo are arguing from a defaut that ther is no change, …”

    Nope.

    “Lubos makes this point for me, unwittingly, with his Millikan experiment argument – you guys are starting from the assumption that things wont change, and giving greater scrutiny to claims that indicate otherwise.”

    Please do us all a favor: Grab a mirror, look deeply into it, and tell yourself the story of how you came to call the imagined conclusions of an article, that you have not read, ‘fact’. When you stop laughing, come back and talk to us about appropriate levels of scrutiny. Really.

    JJ

  220. Lee
    Posted Jul 3, 2006 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    jj,

    When you manage to stop misrepresenting or baldly misstating what I’ve said (“Uh, that was the premise of one of your arguments.” Well, no – that was an example of the kinds of transport and mixing effects that should cause windy days to dilute island effects. But perhaps you dont know the difference between a premise and supporting illustrations – or quote mining is your favored method of discourse?) I might begin to take you seriously. When you stop ignoring relevant parts of what I say, I might begin to believe that you are honest. When I see you start a subthread with someone with whom you disagree in a manner other than with insults and accusations, then I might believe your interest is examining the data and conclusions rather than attacking and dismissing those who disagree with you. And when you start to show some willingness to back up your claims with data and analysis you start to behave according to your own dictates about working from data rather than vehement asertions (“crap is crap, regardless of how high you pile it” is simply a vehement unsupported assertion that that multiple congruent lines of evidence are wrong, failgnto even address the kinds of evidence, and nothing more), then I might believe you have some credibility when talking about how science should be done.

    Until then, I’m done with you, and I’ll stick to discussions with people here interested in discussion rather than insult and dismissal.

    Or as I put it when you first started the insult and invective, fark off.

  221. Bryn Hughes
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 4:31 AM | Permalink

    I notice that Lee doesn’t mention the Antarctic. Didn’t I read somewhere that its cooling and expanding?

  222. Lee
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    re 225:
    The antarctic peninsula is warming substantially, the Larsen Ice shelf is collapsed, the interior is cooling recently and slightly. If we go back over a few dacades, based on sparse weather data, the trend even in the interior is a very slight warming over decades.

    I didnt mention antarctica because the data there, previous to modern stellite data, is very very sparse. Additionally, the southern ocean is a massive heat sink, with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and its links to south atlantic, pacific and indian ocean current systems likely driving substantial heat transport, so there is good reason to expect the southern hemisphere in general, and antarctica, to lag if there is a global warming trend.

    And yes, that has had numbers put to it, imperfectly but incorporting our present best knowledge (this is what the models do), and while they dont currently match the patterns in the antarctic, they do in general show a substantial lag in antarctic warming, but once they run to equilibrium, a major antarctic warming

    So, the data in antarctica is historically very very sparse, and currently not all that helpful one way or the other overall in analyzing whether there is a general substantial pattern of global warming currently going on, or not – which is why I didnt list it among the evidence for warming, or as counterevidence. There certainly is not sufficient cooling to substantially conlict with the general pattern of warming observed through the rest of the planet.

  223. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    incorporting our present best knowledge (this is what the models do)

    This isn’t really correct. We have much more knowledge than is incorporated into GCMs. But we only have a finite amount of time and only so much computer power, so we have to use less than our best knowledge in making the model calculations. You can counter, if you want, that it’s the best we know how to do with our limited resources, but that’s not what most people mean by “present best knowledge”.

  224. Lee
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    Dave, acknowledged.
    A better way to put it would be, the best present knowledge that we know how to include in the quantitative assessments of a very complex issue.

  225. John A
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    The antarctic peninsula is warming substantially, the Larsen Ice shelf is collapsed, the interior is cooling recently and slightly. If we go back over a few dacades, based on sparse weather data, the trend even in the interior is a very slight warming over decades.

    The Antartic Peninsula has warmed, the rest of Antartica (the other 98%) has not. Temperatures at the South Pole and the dry valleys have declined sharply in recent decades. Both the West and East Antartic Ice Sheets have thickened.

    The Larsen ice shelves have indeed collapsed. Since they were at most a few thousand years old, and near to a recently discovered erupting submarine volcano in the Weddel Sea, their meaning in terms of global warming is unclear.

  226. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    Re #226, Lee

    (this is what the models do), and while they dont currently match the patterns in the antarctic, they do in general show a substantial lag in antarctic warming, but once they run to equilibrium, a major antarctic warming

    Goodness me, fancy that. Funny how that keeps happening.
    I wonder how many free variables they had to tweak.

  227. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    “The Antartic Peninsula has warmed, the rest of Antartica (the other 98%) has not. Temperatures at the South Pole and the dry valleys have declined sharply in recent decades. Both the West and East Antartic Ice Sheets have thickened.

    “The Larsen ice shelves have indeed collapsed. Since they were at most a few thousand years old, and near to a recently discovered erupting submarine volcano in the Weddel Sea, their meaning in terms of global warming is unclear.”

    John A., most of this wrong or misleading for reasons you well know, but it does seem to me that you’ve stooped just a bit lower than in the past when you quote Tom Brogle’s absurd volcano hypothesis. Please try to have a little self-respect.

  228. jae
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

    Bloom: Some PROOF of your statements, please?

  229. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    Yeah,
    What are the wrong and misleading parts?

    And if I remember right it was not absurd. It was something plausible. And every article I’ve read about that ice sheet collasping, doesn’t say “global warming” caused it. It says “warmer tempertures and/or warmer seas in the area” did.

    At least Tom Brogel has something orignial to say and doesn’t insult people.

  230. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    As John A. posted first, shouldn’t you be asking him for proof of his assertions? Or do both of you take everything he says at face value?

  231. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    #234
    Me? No, except maybe posts like yours.
    What was the value again of it again?

    Sheesh. I said “‘Ive read about that ice sheet collasping”

    Tom Brogle had another theory about it, so? And he talked about it, so?
    He’s not allowed? I saw how he got treated on RC many times.

  232. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    This seems to be the state of the art on the Holocene history of Larsen-A as is this on Larsen-B. Nothing in either of these about a volcano, interestingly. For the connection between global warming and the collapse of these ice sheets, try using Google Scholar for papers discussing overall warming of the Antarctic Peninsula. The TAR should even have something on that. As for the rest of John A.’s remarks about Antarctica, try GS searches on the GRACE satellite findings and Antarctic tropospheric warming.

  233. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 8:37 PM | Permalink

    And here is the volcano information:

    “Evidence of the volcano came as an unintended bonus from a research plan to investigate why a massive ice sheet, known as the Larsen B, collapsed and broke up several years ago. Scientists hope to understand whether such a collapse is unique or part of a cycle that extends over hundreds of thousands of years. Evidence of the volcano came as an unintended bonus from a research plan to investigate why a massive ice sheet, known as the Larsen B, collapsed and broke up several years ago. Scientists hope to understand whether such a collapse is unique or part of a cycle that extends over hundreds of thousands of years”

    National Science Foundation
    May 2004

    http://tinyurl.com/gkdyn

  234. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    #236 The first link there “Holocene history of the Larsen-A Ice Shelf constrained by geomagnetic paleointensity..”

    We can’t read the paper, but husband says : “geomagnetic paleointensity” is mostly about time; wobble of the Earth; the cycles.

  235. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

    Re #237: Well, that was worth saying twice! But what’s your point? They found a volcano when they took a close look at the sea floor in the vicinity of the former ice sheets. This is not news to me, for the simple reason that I was the one who provided Thomas with the link identifying the volcano. There may even be other volcanoes in the vicinity for all I know, and considering that its the Antarctic Peninsula we’re talking about there probably are. That said, is there an iota of an indication that this or any other volcano would have been able to warm the water under the ice sheets enough to contribute to their collapse. Um, no there isn’t. Yes, the volcano is hot when it’s erupting (which isn’t all the time, BTW), but the volcano is also not very big, whereas the surrounding water has stupendous volume and heat capacity *and* is refreshed on a regular basis. You might also consider those shows on Nature where they show pictures of undersea lava flows just off the cost of Hawaii. That water is much warmer to begin with, those cameras are close, and someone is holding them without being parboiled.

  236. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    Re #238: Apparently it’s a dating method. The abstract of one of the citing papers has what looks to be a pretty thorough description of it.

  237. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    #240
    My husband happens to be a scientist, a published one, with a masters in environmental geology. He’s right here and says it’s not far-fetched to take note of the volcano and it’s relationship to this ice. Which is why I said something in the first place.

    How do you know any different? Do you know how much energy that volcano puts out?

    And, the volcanos in Hawaii put out a totally different kind of lava, moving very slow. A unique situation. It’s no comparison. Like a cascadian volcano with a with a huge amount of ejecta is very different then what Hawaiian volcanos do. So the example is lame.

    In Iceland just recently a volcano went off and melted a glacier all at once.

    You know what? We don’t know what the answer is, but we don’t know what the heck is down there on the sea floor either.
    You make too many pronoucements as if you do know. Our one pet peeve are the warming people who think they know geology backward and forward with no creditials at all. Like it’s all so easy.

    And whatever P. K. Anderson said too. LOL

  238. Lee
    Posted Jul 4, 2006 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

    rocks,
    That new volcano appears to have been named now – Jun Jaegyu. It is in the Antarctic Sound tucked between some islands way up at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/vol_extra.cfm?name=Jun%20Jaegyu

    The Larsen A and B ice shelfs were tucked in along the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, about halfway along its length, several degrees of latitude away.

    http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/art-68227

  239. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:20 AM | Permalink

    #242 Thanks for the maps Lee :)

    Looking at them, you are right it is far away. The info says the volcano ~9 k from Andersson Island, which is on the tip of the penninsula on your map, and the ice shelfs we found below that (east side).

    Its the shape of the penninsula, the tectonics, that is interesting. The volcano could be part of a chain too, and there could be other vents. plausible, yes, proven no. Similar to the ring of fire. Still trying to find a good map/illustration. There are alot of volcanos in Antarctica.

    I also found the hamilton.edu website with information from the scientist who where there and who made the discovery.

    they say:

    a dark mat of underwater life is broken along the edges of the volcano by barren patches of dark, black rock indicating that lava has flowed there. Because no life was found on these surfaces, the rock is believed to have formed fairly recently in geologic time.

    Rock dredges recovered abundant, fresh, basalt, which normally would be rapidly acted upon and transformed by seawater but appeared unaffected.

    Highly sensitive temperature probes moving continuously across the bottom of the volcano revealed signs of geothermal heating of seawater. The heating was noticed especially near the edges of the feature where the freshest rock was observed.

    These observations, along with historical reports from mariners of discolored water in the vicinity of the submerged peak, indicate that the volcano has been active recently.

  240. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:35 AM | Permalink

    rocks,

    There *could be* giant trolls melting it with nuclear blowtorches, too.

    LarsenA and LarsenB were separate portions of that ice shelf system with a peninsula between them, still intact. You are postulating that because they discovered a volcano some hundreds of miles away, that there might have been volcanoes that no one has seen or knows about that caused the near-simultaneous disintegration of two separated very large portions of the ice shelf? By means that dont seem to have been noticed by the people investigating the breakup?

    And **I** get accused of arguing from inadequately supported data?

    The breakup of those ice shelves was observed. Surface melt proceeded to runofff through fissures, which fragmented the ice shelf, leading to its breakup (and no I’m likely not using standard terminology – it’s not my field). This event was being closely watched.

  241. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:40 AM | Permalink

    oh, notice also in your quote from the people who found that volcano – the temperature anomalies were mapped with “highly sensitive” probes that found “signs of” geothermal heating – at the bottom of the volcano. There is no mention anywhere of surface temperature anomalies.

    As has been pointed out, the antarctic ocean is a MASSIVE heat sink, and there is a lot of water moving around down there, transporing heat among other things.

  242. maksimovich
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:15 AM | Permalink

    Re 244 I think you confuse natural phenomena with the premisi that sea ice breaking in the Antarctic and melting of portions of the antarctic outside of the polar circle is evidence of global warming.The ice shelves are already seaborne and are receptive to gravity tides of immense proportions.

    Gravis is an excellent source of information and phenomena such as this

    "While the tides cause only minute fluctuations in Earth’s overall gravity, they are actually composed of massive amounts of water, he explained.
    The ice is a mile thick in parts, and the tides are so large that they can lift the shelves — with a combined area bigger than the state of California — as high as 15 feet.
    Scientists believe that these unseen tides can carve into the ice from underneath and eventually cause pieces to break off, as part of the Larsen Ice Shelf broke off in 1995."
    Link

    Now we would expect some melting of the shelf due to the broken icesheets.This provides a paradox the increase of melted ice produces an increase of summer ice ,and winter ice as it freezes faster this is evidenced by the icebreaker fleets entering mcmurdo and difficlties in cutting channels for replenishment.

    The summer lt temperatures in Antarctica are the coldest for some years with southern sst colder then norm.The increase of icemass in total is again updated by Gravis here

    "We estimate mass trends over Antarctica using gravity variations observed by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission during its first 3.5 years (April 2002–November 2005). An image of surface mass trends is constructed from 1° àƒÆ’”‚¬” 1° pixels over the entire continent, and shows two prominent features, a region of mass loss along the coast of West Antarctica, and one of accumulation in East Antarctica. After adjusting for bias due to smoothing and to GRACE’s limited spatial resolution, and removing post glacial rebound (PGR) effects, the rate in West Antarctica is àƒ⣃ ‹’€ ’77 ± 14 km3/year, similar to a recent estimate of ice mass loss from satellite altimetry and remote sensing data. The prominent East Antarctic feature in the Enderby Land region has a rate of +80 ± 16 km3/year."

  243. maksimovich
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

    APOLOGIES I forgot to close links.
    here http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/icetide.htm and here http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2006GL026369.shtml

  244. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    #245, they did mention surface temps, and it was freezing cold. LOL I can’t get the page to open this morning to show you or give you exact numbers. But I am done talking about it because you get so pissed off here.

    Also here’s maps:

    http://tinyurl.com/zoozl

    http://tinyurl.com/flcvq

    It is still not far-fetched to look or ponder at volcanos: ones we know of and ones we dont’ even know of, under the ice on the sea floor for a volcanic icey region of every changing movement. ( BTW a ship just found another one under the sea near Antartica on the other side) Everything does or could play a part of some complex NATURAL dance of reasons the ice sheets fall off sometimes. #247’s post included.

  245. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    re 246:

    The breakup of the Larsen shelves (as is true of any single event) is far from definitive re global warming, but it seems quite clear that it WAS caused by the observed local warming at the antarctic peninsula, and consequente surface melt and high sub-ice ocan temperatures, at least in good part. But taken in context, it is one of many examples of local warming, all together leading to a picutre of a world getting warmer overall. As I said above, Antarctic temperatures are a bit enigmatic, for a number of reasons, with interior surface coolingand higher altitude warming, for example, and poor hsitoricial data – but the collapse of a 12,000 year old shelf concomitant with observed higher temperturs, in concert with worldwide oservatins of events indicatign higher temperatures, is certainly consistent with a pattern of worldwide higher temepratures overall, and suggestive of something unusual in a 12,000 year span.

    http://www.uweb.ucsb.edu/~christowilson/recession.htm

    There is work going on right now investigating whether there are natural “cycles” or occasional reoccurances of some factors leading to that kind of collapse. I note, however, that if one is goign to invoke “gravity tides” as the ultimate cause of the breakup (rather than one of several factors operating during the breakup after destabilization due to the observed increase in temperatures), then one must also explain why they caused the breakup now and not over the last 12,000 years in which the Larsen B existed. One also has to discount any role for the documented rise in temperatures at the ice shelves, and the existence of very large areas of surface meltwater starting from shortly previous to the breakup.

  246. John A
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    The breakup of the Larsen shelves (as is true of any single event) is far from definitive re global warming, but it seems quite clear that it WAS caused by the observed local warming at the antarctic peninsula, and consequente surface melt and high sub-ice ocan temperatures, at least in good part. But taken in context, it is one of many examples of local warming, all together leading to a picutre of a world getting warmer overall.

    Only if you ignore that the rest of the Antarctic (the other 98%) has cooled overall. What you call “one of many examples of local warming” is what the rest of us call “cherrypicking”. You also pick and choose your timescales depending on what you’re trying to prove. Like the NAS Panel says, all we really know is that globally its been warming for 400 years. Beyond that, there are various lines of evidence to show warmer temperatures than today 1000, 2000 and 4000 years ago.

    What does the breakup of the Larsen ice shelf prove? Not much. It does demonstrate that ice shelves are prone to sudden breakup. It does not demonstrate a single cause that produces the breakup. It does not demonstrate which cause predominates over the many others.

  247. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

    JohnA,

    Surface cooling, and warming at higher altitudes (you didnt mention this: I guess you’re cherrypicking), in the interior. As I explicitly said. As I also said that the temps are enigmatic, and this is why in a previous post I outlined the reasons I didnt use antarctica in a list of observations of temperature change. Adn as I also sid, teh breakup of the Larsen shelves by themselves dotn tell us much,and may infact be unrelated to climate chnge – people are investigatingwhtether there are none global-wrming events that cause occasinal breakups down there.

    But is is ALSO consistent with the observed patterns of warming events across the planet – the peninsula has gotten clearly warmer recently. The continent is warming AND cooling at various places; this is a separate observation which I explicitly made, separately, and which you seem to have ignored, completely.

  248. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    Also, JohnA, I chose a 12,000 yeea time scale here, BECAUSE THAT IS THE ESTIMATED AGE OF THE LARSEN B SHELF. I chose it because it indicted that the Larsen B shelf has not collapsed in 12,000 years. That isnt picking and choosing time scales to try to prove something, it is simply stating what the time scale IS in THIS case.

  249. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    Lee,

    But taken in context, it is one of many examples of local warming, all together leading to a picutre of a world getting warmer overall.

    No dispute that the world is getting warmer overall, but that has been true (naturally) for some time before GHG emissions from humans were of significance. Even the IPCC says the warming of the 1st half of the 20th century was likely "natural", no?

    "Many of examples of local warming" would seem to fit-in with a warming world. However, apparently, examples of local cooling are also evidence of a warming world.

    The glacier issue is an interesting one. For instance, the disappearance of this glacier has been used by many to demonstrate the effects of global warming. I believe it’s either in Gore’s movie or his PowerPoint presentation. The disappearance of the glacier in the foreground from 1932 to 1988 is quite convincing as "one of the many examples of local warming." On the other hand, there is certainly much more snow and ice in the background in the 1988 picture compared to the 1932 picture, which would suggest local cooling. Can significant warming and cooling be THAT localized, or should we consider that there are other factors at play?

  250. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    I apparently badly botched my efforts to put links in my last post.

    Cleanup, aisle #253!!!

  251. John A
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    Lee, you waste too many electrons making tendentious statements

    The continent is warming AND cooling at various places; this is a separate observation which I explicitly made, separately, and which you seem to have ignored, completely.

    That statement is perilously close to false. The bulk of the continent (98%) has cooled in the last 50 years. Only the Antartic Peninsula has shown a warming. As far as the warming at altitude, the baseline is too short to tell us much. And warming is still a relative term here – the air above Antartica is bitterly cold, just in recent years, slightly less bitterly cold.

  252. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    Here’s a fair and balanced overview for everyone:

    http://tinyurl.com/echl9

    Please take note of this in the commentary:

    “Evidence from seabed sediments in the Prince Gustav Channel on the Antarctic Peninsula after the ice shelf that previously blocked it collapsed has shown that it had disappeared at least once before in the last 10,000 years”

    “Thus, the present loss of ice shelves cannot be assumed to be a consequence of Man-made climate change, unless and until a cause can be identified”. British Antarctic Survey

  253. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    JohnA. That is what I frickin’ said! The data is sparse (even for the surface) and for the period where we have good data, we see overall surface cooling and higher altitude warming, and overall there isnt enough baseline for the data for the continent to know what the hell is going on one way or the other.

    If anything is tendentious here, it is your tendency to accuse me of ignoring things that I explicilty pointed out in the posts to which you are responding.

  254. John A
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    I find myself nodding in agreement with the BAS.

    - Global warming is real, it is happening more quickly in some parts of the world than others.
    – Global warming has not yet been proven to be a result of the effects of man’s activities.
    – The Antarctic Peninsula is particularly sensitive to small rises in the annual average temperature, this has increased about 2.5ï〢½C in the region in the last 50 years, this is 2 or 3 times faster than the average in the rest of the world. This makes it an excellent study area.
    – The temperature of the rest of Antarctica – the other 96% – shows no current indications of rising.
    – There is no unusual significant loss of ice of any kind from the larger 96% of Antarctica that is not the Peninsula.
    – Rising temperatures cause ice shelves to break up – as they are floating this will not affect sea levels, it may cause the glaciers behind them to speed up their flow-rate considerably. These glaciers will add to sea-level rise if they melt.
    – The temperature of Antarctica as a whole is predicted to rise by a small amount over the next 50 years. Any increase in the rate of ice melting is expected to be at least partly offset by increased snowfall as a result of the warming.

  255. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Michael, Local SEASONAL effects are essentialy meangless when looking to see if ther are global trends.

    The glacier pic is interesting. Remember that glaciers have accumulation and ablation zones – a picture of a glacier with its front retreating, and with simultaneous evidence of INCREASED ice accumulation in the upper zones, seems to me to be evidence that the shortening is being caused by increased ice removal below the equilibrium line, not by reduction in precip and accumulation in the upper zones. And this is evidence for a temperature warmgn effect, rather than a precip effect.

    Elevation matters.

  256. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    Re#259 – I am certainly in agreement with you on local seasonal effects. I just wanted to point-out that even cold weather is blamed on global warming, and few people raise their hand for “local seasonal effects” when there’s a heat wave, drought, flood, or hurricane – they instead put the blame on anthropogenic global warming.

    It’s also possible in the glacier photos that the ice and snow in the background mostly melts during the summer and that the photos were taken at different times of year. The explanation could be that simple. But I wouldn’t draw any strong conclusions from those two photos alone without a lot more information. On the other hand, like I said, those photos have been used as conclusive, scary evidence of anthropogenic global warming. If one were to argue the glacier in the front could have melted due to natural warming, or that possibly it had sloughed-off a mountain and been melting “naturally” for the previous 50, 100, or 150 years, etc, how many people would instantly dismiss those possibilites?

    a picture of a glacier with its front retreating, and with simultaneous evidence of INCREASED ice accumulation in the upper zones, seems to me to be evidence that the shortening is being caused by increased ice removal below the equilibrium line, not by reduction in precip and accumulation in the upper zones.

    That’s a possibility, but if I showed you a glacier with its front retreating with simultaneous evidence of DECREASED ice accumulation in the upper zones, would you consider that glacier further evidence of warming, or would you explain it away as a precipitation effect? Because there are plenty of photos of such glaciers out there, and they are also used to show the destructive nature of anthropogenic global warming, such as some of those here link.

    And, of course, even when glacier recession can be blamed on precipitation rather than local temps, what gets the blame for the decreased precipitation? Anthropogenic global warming, of course.

  257. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    Michael, the compelling thing about the glacier data, and especially the tropical glaciers given the more stable thermal stratification of tropical atmosphere, is the coordinated worldwide retreat (everywhere we have good data – still waiting on solid himalayan analysis, but preliminary analysis supports the global trend) – regardless of precip effects. Some glaciers have less precip, sme have more precip, but they are nearly all retreating.

    The illustrative pictures arent the proof; they simply show some of the data.

    Now I think that is strong evidence of coordinated worldwide tropical warming – but of course is not alone evidence that the warming is unusual. Morraine dating analysis (for one example) to look for evidence of whether there were previous coordinated retreat events would be interesting and valuable. In the absense of those, we DO have some individual observations that are indicative, and at least one that is hard to dismiss. The “ancient plant under the ice” observation is indicative, but not (yet?) compelling. But the surface melt observation on Quelcayya IS compelling that some temperature anomaly has happened recently that has not happened for a long time in that ice cap’s past. The NAS report points out that the dO18 record, even if we cant tease out temp and precip effects, does show that the CLIMATE as recorded by that combined proxy is anomalous, so something unusual is happening up there. Taken together, I think the evidence for anomalous high-altitude tropical climate, and likely anomalous temps as aat least part of that anomalous climate, in the tropical glacier record is getting strong.

    And will continue to get stronger if (JohnA, note the conditional) the predicted emminent demise of long-standing tropical glaciers continues on course.

  258. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    Michael, the compelling thing about the glacier data, and especially the tropical glaciers given the more stable thermal stratification of tropical atmosphere, is the coordinated worldwide retreat

    Do we have these retreats correlated with local temperature and/or precipitation changes?

    The IPCC 2001 here states, “The available data suggest that this retreat generally started later at high latitudes but in low and mid-latitudes the retreat generally started in the mid-19th century.” So even without significant anthropogenic GHG emissions in the 20th century, we would still expect to be seeing glacier retreat. So the only issue should be the change in the rate of retreat from 20th century warming (assuming man has significantly impacted temps, of course). Figure 2.18 shows conflicting results when it comes to acceleration, deceleration, recovery compared to global temps, so it’s tough for me to make heads or tails of it. I do find it interesting how the IPCC notes the onset of glacier retreat timing conflicts with some of the temp reconstructions, including Mann’s.

    The illustrative pictures arent the proof; they simply show some of the data.

    I agree. Unfortunately, they too often as presented as “proof.” Even more frequently, they are presented for impact.

  259. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    Lee,
    Seriously, with no bash intended, do you know how weird this sounds without a standard given exactly on your part ? :

    “anomalous temps as at least part of that anomalous climate”
    (especially about *tropical* glaciers) The Southern Hemisphere of the planet action or reaction to every possible senerio is far from being understood completely.

    I think you have to define anomalous temps and climate.

    And you have to set a time scale.

    All before you put someone or something to a “test”.

    In other words, what are your standards?

    I am far from having any scientific background or education. I do know that when putting something to a test, you have to say before the test what the standards are : like a place where you “win” or “loose” the test. Or a place where you become “anomalous” or not. And you can’t move the goal post around.

  260. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    Michael, I’m not sure I follow your point int he midde paragraph.

    I think the data for global tropical warming per se is compelling. We are already pretty sure that the emergence from the LIA and the observed warming, up until sometime in the early to mid 20th century, was not anthropogenic in significantly large parts – the statement about the onset of low-latitude retreat is approximately a restatement of that.

    This of course tells us nothing about the mechanism or potential future trajectory of currently observed warming. Thus the importance of analyzing anomalous events as one important input into whether what we are seeing is “natural” or influenced by anthropogenic inputs.

  261. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    rocks, I think those standards are pretty clear impliclty and often explicitly in my statements – they refer to unique signatures in the time period covered by the data. That is kind of what anomalous means…

    Here is what the NAS report says about anomalies in the ice record:

    http://darwin.nap.edu/books/0309102251/html/72.html

  262. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    Re #s 256 and 258: Ah, cherry-picking and misattribution, what would life be without you?

    A little googling (research is such a poor substitute for just making things up, I know) shows that while the former Prince Gustav Channel ice sheet was a segment of the overall Larsen ice sheet, it was distinct from and far smaller than either Larsen A and Larsen B.

    Another search failed to turn up that purported BAS quote on their web site. It may be a real quote, but if so it’s very out of date. Try this instead for the current BAS perspective. And of course the purported BAS bullet points that John A. so happily agreed with turn out to have been written by a community college marine biology instructor who briefly worked for the BAS 20 years ago (and are on an entirely different and very much unofficial site, as a quick glance at the URL would have shown).

  263. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    Lee,

    Point #1: glacier retreat alone is not a sign of anthropogenic global warming (which you seem to agree with)
    Point #2: glacier retreat began well before the acknowledged beginning of significant anthropogenic GHG emissions, so glacier retreat would likely be observed today even without anthropogenic GHG (makes sense, leaving the LIA an all), so all the photos of glacier retreats and tying them to anthro-GHG warming is misleading
    Point #3: to really tie glacier retreats to anthro-GHG warming, one would need to observe an acceleration beyond “natural,” and Fig 2.18 in the IPCC report shows conflicting information in this regard
    Point #4: I just enjoy seeing the IPCC pointing-out that the glacial retreat data conflicts with the shaft of Mann’s hockey stick (but doesn’t conflict with most other paleo-reconstructions)

  264. John A
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    Ah, cherry-picking and misattribution, what would life be without you?

    Well for a kick-off without them, you’d have nothing to say.

    And of course the purported BAS bullet points that John A. so happily agreed with turn out to have been written by a community college marine biology instructor who briefly worked for the BAS 20 years ago

    There’s always a reason to dismiss everyone elses viewpoint other than your own Bloom. Have you linked this person to Exxon yet? it’s only a matter of time.

    The quotation makes clear that according to the BAS, the exact reason for the collapse of the Larsen Ice Shelf is not known and there are multiple possible reasons. Of course, in the world of alarmism that you inhabit, there’s only one reason for glacial retreat, glacial advance, temperature rise, temperature fall, more precipitation, less precipitation and so on.

    In the real world, it ain’t that simple. Fortunately I’m not accusing you of living in it.

  265. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    Lee,
    Sorry, see this is where we hit a barrior.
    I think the NAS report agrees with what I said.

    Steve Bloom,

    I googled your name + the word climate. You are sure the “socialite” of the climate blogshere. I can’t compete. You’ve got the technique down. What’s your degree in BTW?

    The BAS page you linked to says basically the same thing:

    What caused the warming which attacked the ice shelves is not yet clear. It is possible the climate in this region is subject to natural cycles or that the warming could be related to global climate change.

  266. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    Michael, I disagree strongly with your point 2 – it makes an unsupported assumption that past causes must also be present causes in this phenomenon. “Likely to be observed today even without…” does not follow, not without an analysis demosntrating the same cause is operative. ESPECIALLY not when there is a reasonable hypothesis of alternative causes operating. The current research is in part atempting to figure that out.

    I pointed to specific anomalies detailed in the NAS report. Remember, if AGW is happening, we are barely into the transition – but I see strong evidence of emerging anomalies, and I’m reasonably convinced by some of them that we are observing at least a few events anomalous on millenial time scales.

  267. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    rocks, I think you have not presented an argument, and dont seemt to know what the overall report says.

  268. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    JohnA, the current BAS site says this:

    “It is now clear that while the calving of icebergs as large as small countries (e.g., from the Ronne-Filchner and Ross ice shelves in the 1980’s and 1990’s) may be part of the normal life-cycle of an ice shelf, the progressive retreat of smaller ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula may well be linked to the changing climate.”

    That previous quote that has been attributed to BAS, and which Bloom points out seems to be either misattributed or out of date, says:
    “Thus, the present loss of ice shelves cannot be assumed to be a consequence of Man-made climate change, unless and until a cause can be identified”

    Those two quotes say different things, and the one that is currently on the BAS site says somethign different from the earlier one, JohnA. IT specificallys ays taht the BAS thinks thate AGW is a seriosu potnetial couase of the collapse, which is direclty conhtradictory to the previosu quote. But then, you didnt actually address the previous quote, you sidestepped it and went on to a different point without withdrawing the previous one. Can you say “tendentious?” And yet you jump in and (one more time) immediately start hurling insults about living in a real world, you make a post containing more invective than argument.

    Steve, when (in the fr***in h**l!!!!) do you give your co-moderator (and there are examples of his moderation in currently active threads) a yellow card here?

  269. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    Michael, I disagree strongly with your point 2 – it makes an unsupported assumption that past causes must also be present causes in this phenomenon.

    You seem to agree the warming of the 1st half of the 20th century was mostly/all natural, right?

    The IPCC says “work done so far indicates that the response times of glacier lengths shown in Figure 2.18 are in the 10 to 70 year range”. That says to me that those with a longer response time are still reacting to the “natural” temperature increase of the 1st half of the 20th century. Those with a lesser lag are much more unclear, of course.

    I probably should’ve used better wording – “glacier retreat would likely be observed today this half-century even without anthropogenic GHG.” Would that have settled it for you?

  270. Dane
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

    Lee,

    Again, you miss something important. You don’t agree with Michael’s point 2 because why? You just ignored one of the fundemental principals in geology, that the processes of the past are the same processes going on around us today.

    Lets see, we have had about 18,000 yrs of ice retreat, none of which was AGW, but now all of the sudden, in a type religious ferver, you see anomolies that point to AGW because why? You make no sense at all. To assume that all these processes are so well understood is a faulty assumption. My Proffs all said glaciology was the most complex aspect of geology, but you have it all down? Please!

  271. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

    Lee, I am not arguing.
    Words in the NAS report like “limited”, “do not provide”, “only little information” “paucity of data” “not suitable for reconstructions” “recesses more extensive then the present” And only in one example of Quelcceya do they define temps anomalus within a time scale.

    All that matters to my opinion of what is going on.
    Which is” we don’t know much about what is going on.

    Maybe that’s why it is so hard to get along with the people who think they know and take offense at the drop of a hat. Then they cruise the blog sphere with talking points as if they’ve never seen someone “behave” that way disagree with them. LOL

    Lee, why don’t you just put JohnA on that list you have going on who to argue with or not to argue with? Skip his comments. If you are so sure they don’t make points or good debate, then everyone should be able to see the same thing as well, right?

    off to melt in real life…:)

  272. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    But then, JohnA *IS* the guy who sent days blasting me for claiming that equilibrium has any physical meaning on the earth, because earth is an open system and equilibrium is meaningless in open systems.

    Based further on his claim that the earth is an open system because we receive energy from the sun.

  273. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    Re #s 260/2: I agree that photos can be misleading. That said, AGW has already been shown to be causing increased drought (possibly because of this) and a comprehensive review of the largest tropical glacier complex (the Andes area) shows that it’s pretty much headed for a train wreck. See also this, although I haven’t read the paper itself.

  274. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

    Dane, I am well aware of the history and application of the battle between catastrophists and gradualists. Adn ideological attachemtnto one end of teh scpecturm is irrelevant to the question of what precise mechanissm are operating in this specific obsrvation at this specific time.

    Just as the obsedrvation of slow erosional processes operating in the Washington Channeled Scablands today is not evidence against the massive flood events that created them.

  275. Dane
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

    Lee,
    Actually, from a geological perspective, the earth is an open system. We receive tons of space dust everyday, and meteors several times a month go through the atmosphere and make it too the ground. The formation of the moon is thought to be from a impact of some kind, and don’t forget the K-T boundry impact to name just a few.

    So I disagree with the physiscists and math modellers, in reality the earth IS an OPEN SYSTEM!

  276. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    Those two quotes say different things, and the one that is currently on the BAS site says somethign different from the earlier one, JohnA. IT specificallys ays taht the BAS thinks thate AGW is a seriosu potnetial couase of the collapse, which is direclty conhtradictory to the previosu quote.

    It says it, “may well be linked.” The previous quote said, “cannot be assumed.” I think those are in the same ballpark. In fact, they could be used together – “may well be linked but cannot be assumed,” or “cannot be assumed but may well be linked.”

    If there’s a subway explosion in NY today, one could say it “may well be linked to Al-Queda,” and at the same time say, “it cannot be assumed.” In fact, “it cannot be assumed” could be perceived as stronger wording.

    I think it’s hair-splitting.

  277. Dane
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    #278,
    Lee,
    That statement makes no sense whatsoever. The point was you disagreed with a fundemental geologic princepal, you can’t do that without proof, which you have none. The only way to know what is happening today is to study the crud out of every glacier and compare results. That is nowhere near happening.

  278. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    re 273:

    “That says to me that those with a longer response time are still reacting to the “natural” temperature increase of the 1st half of the 20th century. Those with a lesser lag are much more unclear, of course.”

    And yet we see worldwide coordinated glacial retreat.

  279. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    Dane, from the standpoint of climate modeling, we are near enough to a closed system as to make no never mind. Similarly, gas exchange between my experimental system and the atmosphere didnt keep me from doing equilibrium calculations in my freshman chemistry class.

  280. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    dane, you go right on beleiveing that lack of evidence (actuly, reasonblay good preliminary evidence)is evidence of absense.

  281. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    Re #274: See the last two links in my #277. A key point to bear in mind is that the last glaciation ended very quickly and something like current conditions was reached about 10K years ago. Now we’re seeing something else happening, and it’s reflected in the behavior of the glaciers.

  282. Dane
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

    #284, Lee,

    Well I guess you should get a Nobel Prize since you just redefined Geology. BTW, my proffs said the same thing, I am very aware of that concept. It amazes me how a biologist knows more about geology than 99% of the PHd’s in Geology. Don’t confuse correlation with causation. Also don’t forget the have been times when sea levels were high and there was less ice, and primative humans survived just fine.

    First rule of combat: DON’T PANIC!

  283. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    And yet we see worldwide coordinated glacial retreat.

    So you’re asserting that we wouldn’t be seeing any such retreat without anthro-GHG emissions? We’d have fully recovered from the LIA and glaciers would have all stabilized and/or advanced in the last half century?

    What about the glaciers shown to be recently stabilizing and/or advancing in the IPCC Fig 2.18 – have they gone back into retreat?

  284. Dane
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

    #283 Lee,

    Tell it to the Dinosaurs

  285. Dane
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    #285, Steve,

    Not true. Sea level was much lower 10k ago, evidence is all around the mediteranean, it has been gradually rising for the last 10K.

  286. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    Re#285, Interesting stuff. It always strikes me as peculiar when people use “rapid climate change” as proof that current climate change cannot possibly be natural, and yet we find out about more-and-more natural rapid climate changes in the past. I’m curious to read the Lonnie Thompson paper – lots of talk about the unprecedented warmth of “the last 50 yrs,” when nearly half of that “last 50 years” was spent cooling. With annual data, there should be something more specific than that.

    You might be interested in these recent threads, I didn’t see you comment on them:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=718

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=719

  287. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    sigh.. re 287:

    Do I have to repeat everything Ive said in every post every time I make a response to an individual point?

    No, Michael, I am not saying that.

  288. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    #276. Lee, please discuss the "open system" question on the Ou thread. Could you consider the diagram in the Ozawa paper cited in one of the first comments there as a more useful framework for discussing a question like that – just to ensure that semantic quibbles are avoided.

  289. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    dane, once again, your “fundamental geological principle” is a rule of thumb that must be examined in individual cases, ESPECIALLY if there is some reason to believe that the causes might have changed. Which in the cae of climate we have – an entire major theory, in fact.

    I’ve already given a major example where the gradualist assumption it does not work. It is good at creating hypotheses – the grand canyon is being cut now by river erosion, we hypothesize that it was cut in the past by river erosion, we go find evidence to support that. It is NOT itself evidence that the river was cut entirely by erosion – it is a rule used to help interpret evidence and create hyotheses from that evidence.

    You can NOT use it to assert that causes have not changed, ESPECIALLY when there is an valid argument otherwise.

    Here is another simpler example. I come home, the house is cold. I turn on the heater, and the house starts warming up. I simultaniously start a fire in the wood stove, and when it is burning well, turn off the heater. The house continues to warm. By your simplistic application of gradualist doctrine, there is no reason to supose that the house is being heated by anythng other than the heater – even if you seee soem smoke in the chimney and therefore have reason to believe that other causes might be looked at.

    But I forget – geology is simpler than my house’s heating system.

  290. Dane
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    Lee,

    Your arrogance is only outweighted by your ignorance. Your “Gradualist” comment has nothing to do with the geologic principal I was talking about, Uniformitarianism. Go google that while I do real work.

  291. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    No, Michael, I am not saying that.

    You “strongly disagree” with me saying “we’d still be seeing glacial retreat today without anthro-GHG emissions,” but you aren’t saying “we wouldn’t be seeing glacial retreat today without anthro-GHG emissions?” So your answer is the Al Gore-esque “the scientists don’t know…they just don’t know.”

    If you don’t want to venture into the world of making educated judgements, then just say so. But spare the childish sighs.

  292. Dane
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

    Lee,

    It is the processes that are the same. Sometimes they can be catostrophic (Lake Moussalla in Montana for instance), but generally they are a slow, gradual process. Hence soil science for example. Don’t tell me soils form rapidly or from catastophes please!

    It is funny since the princepal is also fundemental to the study of biology. It took a geologist to show the biologists what was really going on. Here again we have the same thing happening.

  293. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    michale, there is a diffference between “any such retreat” and coordinated retreat nearly everywhere – and I’m primarily takng tropics, because I am far from convinced that we are seeing anything unusual (yet?) in temperate glaciers – other than widespread retreat, fi that is unusual.

    Yo posted aobut 10-70 year tim lags. If the past temperatures of the entire last century were what was the operative cause, and thsoe time algs were simple lnear lags, we would expect (to a first approximation) to see some still retreating from the early century warming (70 year end of the lag) and some advancing from the mid-late century cooling (middle part of the lag), and some starting to retreat now from late warming (short part of the lag).

    Or if that is simply a measure of the uncertainty of a single estimate of the lag, and this is due to early century warming, then we ahve restricted the estimate to a short part of the long end of the uncertainty. The observations of currently elevating equilibrium lines in the glaciers, though, would argue strongly for mechanisisms operating today causing the shortening.

  294. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    ok, dane, I get your point. Yes the processes are the same. Temp and precip are still the primary operative mechanisms conrolling glacial length, even if increased precip was lengthening a particular glacier last century, and increased temp is shortening it this century. Insolation, albedo, greenhouse effects from h20 and co2 et al, internal variability, etc, are still the same processes driving global climate.
    This is trivially true (I’ve been assuming we were discussing something a bit higher order and more relevant to the question), and irrelevant to whether the causes that worked via those mechanisms and initiated warming 100 years ago, are the same causes driving continuing warming now.

    The fact is that in a multicausal system like the climate, you can NOT simply assert gradualism to say that the causes that were primary a century ago are still the causes that are primary now – even if the same overall set of potential causes are still the operative potential causes.

  295. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    and some advancing from the mid-late century cooling (middle part of the lag)

    Why would they necessarily advance just because the temperature cooled? They’d still (arguably) be recovering from the LIA, just in cooler temps than the 1st half of the century. Take an ice cube out of the freezer and put it on the counter, and it will start melting. Put it in the fridge where the air is cooler than on the counter, and it will still continue to melt, just slower than it would on the counter. But for it to re-freeze, you’ve got to put it back in the freezer. If mid-19th century temps were warm enough to start widespread significant retreating, mid-late 20th century temps probably wouldn’t be cool enough for them to advance.

    That’s why I mentioned looking at the rate of retreat and correlating it with local temps (while adjusting for lags, precipitation, of course, and any other factors that may exist – prevailing strong winds, for example?).

    Are there sophisticated models – either general or for specific glaciers – which relate temperature and precipitation to the rate of advance and/or decline?

  296. Lee
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    299,

    yes, ther are, derived form in epth studies of a samle of glaciers.

    The NAS report mentions them and their use.

  297. Dane
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    #299
    I agree that its the rate of retreat (or warming for that matter)that really is the key to see if anything anomolous really is happening. From the work I did on sea levels about 8 years ago, the rate of change was very hard to figure out. We could find where sea level was at a given point in time, but the lines drawn between points were always “best fit”, and may not have reflected reality. Still bugs me. We assumed gradual rise, but really unless you have solid evidence like tsunami deposits or large scale slumping, it is very hard to say what the true rate is. Glacial retreat is similar. We know they move from points A to B, but not really how fast it happens, only how fast it happens while we measure it over the last few hundred years or so, which is a relatively short timespan. It may happen in spurts for all we know.

    Here is an example from a proff I had. he was teaching field camp on the eastern sierras back in the mid 80’s. The camp was in a small valley below a rather large snow pack. A small stream ran through the valley, it was summer and quite hot. The proff wondered everyday how long the snow pack would last or how long it would take for it too melt. Weeks went by and the snow pack was still the same size. Then, in front of his and a few students eyes, all of the sudden the snow pack started to melt, and withing a few minutes a large flash flood of water was rushing down the valley towards the camp. The proff barely had enough time to warn the remaining students of the coming flash flood. Nobody was injured but the field camp tents, SUV’s and all were washed downvalley for some distance and much stuff was lost. We discussed this trying to figure out why it happened that way. Any thoughts?

  298. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 4:07 PM | Permalink

    Re #290: See comment 2 on the first thread you linked. What could I possibly have added? BTW, I found the Thompson et al paper linked here. I’ll be happy to discuss it after I’ve had a chance to read it.

  299. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    Re#300,
    The information I see about glacial retreat in the NAS report is its use as a means of temperature reconstructions. I was looking for the converse, and with respect to surface temp records, not ice core records (which, obviously, don’t get updated regularly). But I will take a further look when I get time.

  300. Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 2:05 AM | Permalink

    A wonderful article you posted. That is so informatory and creative. Please keep these excellent posts coming. You helped me so much.

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