Four Hunnnnnn-dred Years

Everybody seems to be so full of advice on how I should do things. OK, I have a question.

Ross and I are writing an op ed about the NAS Panel. It’s hard to convey to a lay audience what a comedown it is for the NAS Panel to say that it is merely the warmest year in 400 years. For example, a reporter at the NAS press conference called this statement "astounding", when it was a statement that would not have surprised Hubert Lamb or Reid Bryson or the pre-hockey stick paleoclimatologists.

To convey what we believe to be the underlying comedy of the NAS press release (Yes, Minister is a comedy after all), we thought that it might be rather fun to end our op ed with a little bit of humor. On the other hand, humor is hard to pull off in print and one certaintly wouldn’t want to appear undignified in front of the IPCC top-hats, now would we? So what would you think of the following ending to the op ed? Hit or miss? Stud or dud? (Leaving aside nominations in the separated-at-birth contest)

The NAS press release is a bit like the famous scene in the Austin Powers movie where Dr Evil comes out of hibernation and demands a ransom of a millllll-ion dollars. No. 2 has to tell Dr Evil — uh, don’t you mean a billion dollars?

So when you see a headline saying that it’s the warmest year in 400 years, think Mike Myers not Michael Mann. Read the headline, but put your little finger to your lip, just so, and read it out loud in Dr Evil’s voice –

"the warmest year in four hunnnnnn-dred years!"

There… now you have a summary of the NAS panel report.


215 Comments

  1. Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    Steve and Ross

    I would leave out the humor. You were correct, it is very hard to pull off in writing. In this case it requires people to have seen the Austin Powers movie. I did not see the movie, and I suspect other did not see it either.

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 10:26 PM | Permalink

    I was afraid of that, but knew it in my bones. Too bad, it’s a great comparison. On the other hand, a few years ago, instead of high fives, it semed like any two Toronto stock brokers, upon meeting, would put their fingers to their lips, say a milllllll-ion dollars, and fall down laughing.

  3. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

    And as we all know, Toronto Stock Brokers are the center of comedey in the western world.

    Any joke you have to explain is not going to be a hit.

  4. BradH
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    You could point out – with no small amount of irony, that the headlines stating that it is the warmest for 400 years could just as easily have been spun to something like, “It’s taken 400 years to get back to the same temperature it was in the late 1500’s.”

    Of course, that it not what the NAS Panel report said, but then neither did they say that it’s now the warmest it has been in 400 years.

  5. PHEaston
    Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

    I haven’t seen the film (or any Austin Powers films). If the joke needs explaining, it won’t work.

    I would suggest putting the conclusion that ‘temperatues are the highest in 400 yrs’ alongside the ‘old’ palaeoclimate graph and demonstrate that the NAS conclusions are in effect that the multi-proxy studies tell us nothing new. Where they aimed to tell us something new (pre-400 yrs) they tell us nothing.

  6. Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

    At times that looks irritating that people give you lot many advices and you don’t even feel like following them. Ijust hate this kind of an attitude.

  7. Posted Jul 5, 2006 at 11:52 PM | Permalink

    The joke was ammmmmmmm-using. :-) My only advise is: feel free to ignore any advises that you find ill-considered. ;-)

  8. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    Some of you people need to get a life…Haven’t seen Austin Powers? Get out of the lab and rent a movie once in a while for God’s sake.

    I thought it was funny, Steve.

  9. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

    I haven’t seen any Austin Powers movies either, because what I’ve seen of his humor is broad burlesque. I’ve never found obvious and latitudinous humor funny. Now The Three Stooges — they were funny, and the Marx brothers, and most especially Python. On the other hand, if you explain it as you have above, the point is obvious even to a non-fan like me, and it’s funny enough. And it has a satiric barb that Austin Powers would likely not recognize.

    A suggestion: How about modifying the last sentence like this, ‘There… now you have a properly framed summary of the NAS panel report.’? (italics for highlighting only)

  10. Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 2:28 AM | Permalink

    Why not keeping it simple, with something that everybody understands (although I enjoyed the movie – my wife couldn’t appreciate the humour, even worse with Monty Python films…)?

    With something like:
    The conclusion of the NAS panel report that it is the warmest year (decade) in 400 years is as correct (and astounding) as concluding that this summer is warmer than past winter…

  11. TCO
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 2:39 AM | Permalink

    science papers Steve, science papers. What’s the numerical impact on the overall reconstruction of changing off-centering only? I hope you’re not, not-answering, because it is small. Because you should just let chips fall where they do.

  12. Ed Snack
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 2:45 AM | Permalink

    My sixpence, no, it isn’t witty, and it needs to be witty to really be noticeable. Austin Powers is “common”, being funny for stockbrokers is no recommendation.

  13. Wolfgang Flamme
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 2:55 AM | Permalink

    One picture is worth a thousand words.

    Btw: Some additional humour.

  14. TCO
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 3:08 AM | Permalink

    If you can get a graphic allowed, that would be great.

  15. Jack Lacton
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 3:18 AM | Permalink

    The problem with involving humour is that you need to make it generic due to the fact that a lot of the audience won’t be up with movies etc.

    “Old statisticians never die, they just lose their census”

  16. David Smith
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I would not do it. The downside is that many people would not get it and would be left with a sense of goofiness as they finish the article.

    Personally, I’d consider ending it with a broad, simply-constructed sentence or two about the importance of pursuing truth and how anything that hinders that pursuit, hurts mankind.

  17. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

    PHEaston in #5 has it right – show the hockey stick above the IPCC1 chart with a vertical line through the year 1600 in both. This is easily the most powerful visual representation of what NAS said.
    Incidentally, has anyone asked the NAS Panel if they would describe the IPCC1 chart as “plausible” also ?

  18. Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

    Let me cut to the chaff, so you think that because the so-called hockey stick is inaccurate and that this is NOT the warmest period in recent human history – that we should all forget about climate change and re-introduce coal fired power stations and let the people burn backyard rubbish once again whilst driving gas guzzling vehicles.
    Is this the direction you want to head. Or does your numerical triviality in regard to callibration of the bleedin obvious mean that in fact you have been seconded by the minerals lobby??

    Tony Fellows BSc MSc
    Newman College of Higher Education
    Birmingham, UK

  19. David Smith
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 6:18 AM | Permalink

    My submission (below). I realize it’s rather heavy, a bit preachy and not fun, but it’s what the struggle is about and is the simple mesaage that a casual audience should take home.

    “Science is about the pursuit of truth. Anything that slows or misdirects society’s pursuit of truth hurts us all.”

  20. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 6:21 AM | Permalink

    Re #17, yep, show the IPCC chart – anyone can see the confidence limits increase right where your line would be. So, the net effect of all the thousands of words here is one line on one graph…

    Wrt humour, don’t do it, do what TCO says.

  21. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    Re #19, of course we all agree on that. So, come on, who’s lying slowing or misdirecting society’s pursuit of the truth’? I wont be saying you are, can you bring yourself to say I, or others with similar views, might also be interested in the truth?

  22. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

    SteveM, My gosh you are allowed! I can’t imagine working on all of this without expressing some humor. With what you are up against, and who you deal with all the time its a good thing to still laugh. People need to lighten up.

    Take a break before you tackle all the stuff TCO wants you to do.
    Go on vacation or something!

    How about Sponge Bob Square Pants yelling
    “It’s the hottest year EVER!!!!!!!! :)
    And Al Gore can be Mr. Crabs ? LOL

  23. Jean S
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 7:02 AM | Permalink

    re #20: Peter, this is the IPCC1 (=IPCC 1990) image they are talking (the one in the bottom to be specific):

    Now rethink (hard) this:

    It’s hard to convey to a lay audience what a comedown it is for the NAS Panel to say that it is merely the warmest year in 400 years.

  24. Gary
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    Successful humor depends on a good sense of both timing and absurdity. Those are probably lacking in too large a segment of your audience, so better to leave it out. Of course, if you can calculate a high correlation coefficient, you might just risk it.

  25. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    OK, it’s out. I’ve had enough experience in writing to know that, when you write something that’s fun, you just have to enjoy it a little, but make sure that you don’t send it out.

    #18. Tony, I’ve said over and over that I believe that climate change is an important issue and the only policy that I’ve advocated is that scientists archive their data and methods. I’ve heard people argue that if the hockey stick is wrong, then the situation is even worse than we think. If that’s the case, that would hardly vindicate the HS authors and it would be all the more reason why we should know if the hockey stick is wrong.

    Let’s say that you were an analyst who tried to tell Colin Powell that sometimes an aluminum tube is just an aluminum tube and not evidence of WMD. Would that have been nit-picking? Would anyone be justified in calling the good faith of the analyst into question, in making lurid accusations against the analyst?

  26. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

    #21 I just googled your name + climate, and I read.

    You spend alot of time talking about the people who think that AGW theory isn’t very convincing and you have lots of opinions about global warming skeptics and how they behave. I read 4yr old comments.

    What do you think now, since Steve and Ross were heard by, and their work validated by, the NAS?
    Tell the truth now. ;)

  27. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 7:39 AM | Permalink

    Re #23, OK, fair enough, my mistake, I should have noticed you and Ff (and the other PH) are cherry picking the 15 year old plus graphs and IPCC reports you like. Cherry picking allright we you do it is it? Probably.

    I think science does progress, but then clearly some people don’t like progress.

    Oh, and of course the NAS didn’t say what you/Steve and the rest say they did.

  28. TAC
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    Tony (#18) raises an interesting question: Does “numerical triviality in regard to callibration of the bleedin obvious” matter? At the risk of offending some readers, I can recall similar words from a few years back when policies were being formulated to deal with Saddam Hussein’s supposed “weapons of mass destruction”. Those holding the “consensus view” then — members of both political parties, the White House, the Congress, (and me) — dismissed (even denied) the skepticism of the few wise policy makers (Colin Powell comes to mind) who personally examinined the evidence and noticed that inappropriate inferences were being drawn from peculiar, secret, data (cherry-picked, no less) without consideration of uncertainty.

  29. Jean S
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    re #27: Good Peter, you are starting to get it: the NAS report is basicly saying that the “temperature reconstruction science” has not progressed for 15 years, the Mann interpretation of the temperature history turned out to be wrong, and with the confidence, we can say the same thing we could say 15 years ago.

  30. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Re #26. I think the NAS reports says what it say it does not what commentators here wish it to have said. I’ve read some of it. SM features in a few pages of a 150 page plus report. They note what he’s saying. They don’t throw out the HS, but they do use different words to describe how accurate it’s thought to be – especially the further back you go – wow, that’s earth shattering eh? I’ve never thought the HS the be all and end all of it, otoh, I don’t see M B anh H in the way most here do – as dishonest, secretive, scientists who can thus (since the former is a given to them) be called names, riduculed, disrespected and the rest.

    Now, you do the honest and truthful thing. From now on use you name and let ME google you. Nope, no chance, you’re far to secretive I bet? Am I right? Do I face repercussions???

  31. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    Re #29 , Jean, you’re clearly smart, can you try to make just one post without the patronising tone :( ? It’s not possible I suppose you might just be wrong??? No, of course not…

  32. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    #28 [snip - Steve: sorry about that. I probably asked for trouble in raisimg the analogy, but I don't won't to careen off into a political discussion about Iraq.]

    Besides, the warmers say "we’ve moved on" there is plenty of other evidence to support AGW. (but there isn’t)

  33. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

    Besides, the warmers say “we’ve moved on” there is plenty of other evidence to support AGW. (but there isn’t)

    Indeed, quite true, if you ignore the changes to the atmosphere, the changes to the sea, ghg emission data, changes land ice and snow, changes to sea ice, the physics, shedfulls of articles, reports, collected data…

  34. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    #30, I am just a housewife, I’d like to stop people lying and scaring my kids about the future. And I happen to be married to an environmental scientists who feels the same way about this data..it’s foggy bottom fudgy science. I’ve been reading about all this for a long time. Difference between you and me, nothings come up to possibly change my opinion “in all these years” in fact, more supports it.

    I see plenty right now that could at least change your attitude a little toward CA, and “gullible” people like me.

  35. David Smith
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    Hi, Peter. The subject is Mann and hockey stick, and I struggle to put him into the pursuit-of-truth camp.

    Perhaps it is a bit ironic that I think (beyond a doubt) that the earth is warmer today than it would otherwise be due to mankind’s activities, and I believe that we should be aggressively pursuing alternate forms of energy. Where I veer from the “mainstream” is that I am not a catastrophist.

  36. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    Re #30, Peter Hearnden
    Welcome back – haven’t seen you in a while.

    I think the NAS reports says what it say it does not what commentators here wish it to have said.

    You’re spluttering again.

    …dishonest, secretive, scientists who can thus (since the former is a given to them) be … disrespected and the rest.

    How frightfully “street”, you trendy thing, you.

    Now, you do the honest and truthful thing.

    “welikerocks” is a lady. Please behave appropriately.

  37. Hopalong
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    #18
    A couple of observations as a consulting engineer who makes a living identifying and correcting energy waste in industrial facilities:

    1. Challenging the conventional thought processes and practices is probably the single most important element in improving energy utilization.

    2. Relying on permanently-installed instrumentation – even when the devices are putatively in calibration – is extremely risky.

    3. Getting one’s hands dirty is essential; i.e., don’t simply rely on what others (including the aforementioned instruments) tell you – go out there and get the data for yourself before doing the number crunching.

    4. A snapshot, taken during the course of a week’s effort, can paint a very misleading picture about the longer term operating profile.

    5. While data proxies and models can provide useful insights, never, never, never rely on them alone as bases for change. Even in a relatively controlled, physically limited environment, the number of uncontrolled, unknown (and within practical limits, unknowable) factors can be incredibly large and diverse, and can absolutely shatter the conclusions from necessarily simplified proxies and models.

    6. Don’t recommend facility changes that use financial and human resources that can clearly provide greater benefit elsewhere.

    I think that you may find some of the same concepts in play in this game of the hokey stick.

    BTW, it may be difficult to conceive from an elevated perch of “Higher Education”, but there are a few of us who actually practice what you preach without necessarily ascribing to the underlying religion.

  38. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    Re #18, Tony Fellows BSc MSc

    Or does your numerical triviality in regard to callibration of the bleedin obvious

    I got lost in the bile. What is the “obvious” to which you refer ?

    fFred bBloggs
    MA, Cantab

  39. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    I don’t see M B anh H in the way most here do – as dishonest, secretive, scientists who can thus (since the former is a given to them) be called names, riduculed, disrespected and the rest.

    You don’t find it “likely,” or at least even “plausible?”

    I think Mann’s behavior has been reprehensible in dealing with criticisms of MBH98. Granted, I’ve usually seen Steve’s presentation of what goes-on “behind the scenes,” but I can judge for myself what I see in their written words. But how can you say he has not been “secretive” and “dishonest” about MBH98?

    As far as name-calling, ridicule, disrespect, and “the rest” – well, that’s one reason Steve felt he needed to start this site – to put a stop to the name-calling, ridicule, disrespect, and “the rest” he was getting from people, including Mann himself, in public forums where he could not defend himself.

  40. H. Patrick Baru
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    You should go more obscure than “Austin Powers”.

    Try Maxwell (Don Adams) Smart from “Get Smart”.
    Catch phrases he used:
    “Missed it by thaaaaaat much.”
    “Would you believe…..”
    “I asked you not to tell me that.”
    “The old ___________________(bristle cone) trick.”

    http://www.wouldyoubelieve.com/phrases.html

  41. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    re: # 32
    Steve, No problem! :) Thank you.
    I didn’t really want to go there either.

  42. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Let me cut to the chaff, so you think that because the so-called hockey stick is inaccurate and that this is NOT the warmest period in recent human history – that we should all forget about climate change and re-introduce coal fired power stations and let the people burn backyard rubbish once again whilst driving gas guzzling vehicles.

    Not even close. The so-called hockey stick is constructed inaccurately, yes. This may or may not be the warmest period in “recent” (depending how you define it) human history – we don’t have the statistical accuracy in reconstructions to say for sure (there are other reconstructions, for example, which conflict with the hockey stick in this regard).

    BTW, burning backyard rubbish has really nothing to do with the subject of climate change (its an air quality issue), although there are people who do that for energy (some even call it an “alternative fuel!”). The hockey stick issue has nothing to do with coal or gas guzzling, either, nor do any of the articles on this site.

  43. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    Re #36, ff, WLR is a human being. As such if she asks me something and I answer I can’t really se why I can’t ask similar of her. This is 2006 not 1906.

  44. Dane
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    # 37, Here Here I 2nd that motion. As a consulting environmental/geotechnical geologist, I have exactly the same feelings as Hopolong

  45. rodander
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    I don’t think the Dr. Evil joke quite comes off.

    I’m more reminded of Emily Litella from the old Saturday Night Live (played by Gilda Radner): “Never mind.”

  46. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    #43, my name wouldn’t come up anywhere but here as “welikerocks”.

    Unless you look on RC where I commented as “justahousewife”, when I was censored and gagged even when I tried to post a science link or reply to comments made directly to me. You can’t “see” that but that’s what happened to me. All the while that was happening the other commentators continued to issue stero-type comments about my intelligence, called me a creationists, and an SUV soccer mom. Just because of the screen name and because I didn’t agree with them.

    Last message I sent to Gavin was how dishonest and unfair I thought he was and I also told him : “May the truth haunt your dreams”.
    I still hope it does.

  47. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

    and you know what else #43,

    after that happened to me I wrote a long email to the White House and to my representatives here where I live. I included the links to that RC thread. I asked why these men, working for NASA were allowed to conduct a site like that. I also reccomended Climate Audit and Michael Critchton’s speeches. All this was a before the NAS panal met.

    I’d like to think someone like me CAN be heard. It is 2006!
    I have noticed the comments on RealClimate have toned down ALOT since. Is it just a coinsidence? Maybe. But so what. What matters is the truth. If a NASA scientist has to gag a housewife, that sure clues me in to what the truth may or may not be.

  48. Mark
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    As humorists, you guys really are good at analysis.

  49. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    #18 Yeah because logically, one follows the other.

    Efficiency is worthy for efficiencies sake, scare scenarios are not required. If the Hockey stick is (has) been proven wrong, why haven’t gas prices come down? That’s right, they aren’t connected, one doesn’t effect the other. Just like Climate change doesn’t effect the need for us to keep our energy bills down, and reducing emissions just plane makes sense end stop. So correct me if I’m wrong, connecting two unconnected arguments, that’s a strawman argument right?

    #9
    “and most especially Python”

    We’ll if we center on Cleese, and go the Fawlty Towers route.

    “Listen, don’t mention the Bristlecones! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it alright.”

  50. beng
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    Jeesh, a light & humorous post & some of the comments analyzing it to death… Some need to lighten up alittle.

  51. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Re #47, and if CA has to gag a Tasmanian scientist? Well, make me laugh, tell me that’s different.

    John replies: We don’t have to gag anyone, except when they post porn links and accuse me of writing them. Then we tell them to go away for a long while.

  52. jae
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    I would prefer a picture of a flustered hockey player with a broken hockey stick–shaft separated from the blade.

  53. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    Re#51, did you catch why he was gagged? Show me one site where one wouldn’t get a lifetime ban for doing such things.

    BTW, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve tried a number of statistically-related posts responding to those made by that Tasmanian scientist. They’ve also be censored as Steve et al don’t think it’s fair since said scientist can’t respond. So don’t try to act like he’s being silenced while the rest of us can dance around and say anything we want.

  54. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    The committee said – high confidence for 400 years, less confidence (not ‘none’, less than high) back to AD 900, and little confidence before that. At the VERY least, you need to use the phrase “at least” to modify that 400 year part you want to push.

    Here is the wording of the “less confidence” part:
    “Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with hemispheric or global mean temepratures from these data increase substantially backwards in time through ths period and are not yet fully quantified.”

    They also point out evidence from other lines of investigation:
    “The main conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warming was unprecedented during at least the last 1000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of proxy indicators, such a melting on icecaps and retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2000 years. Not all individual proxy records indicate that the recent warmth is unprecedented, although a larger fraction of geographically diverse sites experienced exceptional warmth during the late 20th century than during any other extended period from A.D 900 onwwards.”

    They also say this:
    “Surface temperature reconstructions for periods prior to the industrial era are only one of mutiple lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that climatic warming is occuring in response to human activities, and they are not the primary evidence.”

    Steve, you are of course free to dispute all these conclusions from their summary, and the supporting evidence scattered throughout the report, in your oped. But if you indicate (as your second paragraph above very strongly implies you are doing) that the NAS report says we don’t know anything about relative temperatures prior to A.D. 1600, that they cut off the legs at 400 years ago, that would be a gross misrepresentation of what the report says. If you do si without discussinig these other statements and lines of evidence, that would be tendentious.

  55. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    They also state that bristlecones are not a reliable proxy and, well, that contradicts ANY reliance on ANY temperatures over the past 2000 years because bristlecones are the primary temperature indicator that the NAS panel reviewed (since they are used in nearly every study). Actually, Lee, you need to review the context properly. The report says both things, in contradictory fashion, so any mention by Steve would NOT be a gross misrepresentation.

    Mark

  56. H. Patrick Baru
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    Re: #50

    “Zis is ClimateAudit.org, Ve Don’t hahahahahaha Here!”

    Ludwig Von Siegfried
    aka Konrad Siegfried
    Vice President of Public Relations for KAOS

  57. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Mark, if you would read JUST THE STUFF I QUOTED you will see that they are talking about supporting data that is NOT from the dendro reconstructions. There is more in the report, which I have read, and which is NOT just about the dendro reconstructions.

    BTW, IIRC, they don’t say that bristelecones are not reliable, they say that strip bark samples should not be relied on.

    You will also see that my point to Steve is NOT that he can’t dispute their conclusions (I explicitly addressed this), but that if he is going to do so, he better dispute what they actually said, and not imply that they cut everything off at the knees 400 years ago.

  58. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

    “But if you indicate (as your second paragraph above very strongly implies you are doing) that the NAS report says we don’t know anything about relative temperatures prior to A.D. 1600, that they cut off the legs at 400 years ago, that would be a gross misrepresentation of what the report says.”

    No it isn’t. It says:

    ” The uncertainties associated with hemispheric or global mean temepratures from these data increase substantially backwards in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified”..NAS

    That is a huge statement there IF you understand geological timescales and any “data” collected to look at going back in time.

  59. Jean S
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    re #54: Lee, why are you so worried about what Steve is going to say? Why do you worry if Steve might misrepresent the contents of the NAS report, but on the other hand, you have not expressed any similar worries about RealClimate, Nature, big media etc which have already done exactly that? Did you actually read & understand the report, or are you just quoting from the summary?

  60. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    rocks, you’re cherrypicking. They expliclty state that the uncdertainly increases going backwards, yes, and they place some cutoffs on it, but then they go on to say (and implicitly, despite the increasing uncertainty) the things I quote above.

    You cannot just pretend that one sentence of the report trumps everything else, especially when in context tha tone sentence is being taken into accout when they say the other things, and when the report explicitly and repeatedly says different from what you want to conclude it means.

  61. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    Jean, as I have repeatedly pointed out, I am here precisely because the thinking and analysis on this site challenges some things I think I know. I am responding to what Steve said here because I am here. To paraphrase, Jean why are you so worried about what I say to Steve?

  62. jae
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Lee and Rocks: As Steve pointed out some time ago, the NAS Report is schitzoid, to say the least. It continually points to “other evidence” without really mentioning just what it is. In my view, there isn’t much “other evidence” out there, when you get rid of all the intercopulated hokey stick studies. I just hope the AR4 addresses these issues. If it doesn’t, it will be open to some BIG criticisms.

  63. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    #60 No I don’t think I am and yes I think I can when you are arguing or showing data (like most of these charts do) a

  64. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    #63..continued I got glitched up or something.

    No I don’t think I am and yes I think I can when you are arguing or showing data (like most of these charts do) a

  65. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

    #64, holy cow. LOL

    …a less then 1 degree of temp rise.

    jae yes, I agree. :)

  66. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

    jae, it includes entire frickin chapters on the other evidence.

    Here is the TOC – the majority of the chapters are about that other evidence.

    Front Matter i-xiv
    Summary 1-4 (skim)
    Overview 5-24 (skim)
    1 Introduction to Technical Chapters 25-28 (skim)
    2 The Instrumental Record 29-36 (skim)
    3 Documentary and Historical Evidence 37-43 (skim)
    4 Tree Rings 44-50 (skim)
    5 Marine, Lake, and Cave Proxies 51-61 (skim)
    6 Ice Isotopes 62-67 (skim)
    7 Glacier Length and Mass Balance Records 68-73 (skim)
    8 Boreholes 74-78 (skim)
    9 Statistical Background 79-93 (skim)
    10 Climate Forcings and Climate Models 94-103 (skim)
    11 Large-Scale Multiproxy Reconstruction Techniques 104-113 (skim)
    References 114-132 (skim)
    Appendix A: Statement of Task 133-135 (skim)
    Appendix B: R Code for Figure 9-2 136-137 (skim)
    Appendix C: Biosketches of Committee Members 138-142 (skim)

    How in the frickin H**L you can state what you just did is beyond me.

  67. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    A climatologist walks into a bar with a colorful parrot on his shoulder and the bartender says “Hey, where did you get that?” and the parrot says “It grew out of a wart on my ONLY 400 YEAR HOCKEY STICK”.

  68. jae
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    Lee: I know there are a lot of studies out there. The problem is that if this “other evidence” is not very convincing, because it is equivocal. I’ll bet I can find a study that disagrees with any study you cite in these areas. We just don’t know, Lee.

  69. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    I just hope the AR4 addresses these issues.

    I’m less than confident this will happen. It is my view that there is a (not so) hidden agenda to control property rights underfoot in the world. But that’s a political debate not appropriate for this forum.

    Mark

  70. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    jae, read the ice isotopes chapter – 20th century climate (temp/precip) in the tropics is clearly anomalous. Soem of that is attributable at least in part to temp, some is less well understood and cant be parsed between temp and precip. But that does not undermine the conclusion about anomalous climate overall. Somethign unique in the last TWO millenia is going on in the tropics.

    Greenland is warm, not uniquely so but clearly warmer than ‘average’. Ellesmere Island has unprecenented millenial warming over the last 150 years.

    Overall, just this shows anomalous tropical climate (with thge greater tropical stability making that record, IMO, stand out as useful – and the ice cap melt as a singularly confirming observation), and showing that there is substantial temperate variablility with at least some record of anomalous heating. Parts of jsut this record are very storn, other parts are confirming 0 and this is jsut one line of evidence.

    Again, if you think the NAS got it wrong, go for it. For me, the evidence is strong for a world with at least some regions anomalously warm on millenial scales, andwith a lot of ocntinuing waorming in those and in regions where we are above average or nearing anomalous records..

  71. John Hekman
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    Steve
    Is this an invited op ed? Where will it appear? Or are you planning to submit it somewhere?

  72. Dane
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    #70, Lee,

    You need to recheck the dating methods used in the portions of the report you are citing. I am pretty sure that the resolution for dating back 2000 yrs is like plus or minus 100yrs, if not more (could be wrong, but I don’t recall any method with any better precision that that). I don’t think they have written records going back that far either, so again it comes down to proxies.

    Also, with so little time used in the decent data we have, you really can’t say anything is “Anomolous”. You cqan say its higher or lower than certain times, but not anomolous. You simply do not have enough data with the type of resolution you need to say those sorts of things.

  73. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    Re#54 – They didn’t say “we endorse with high confidence,” or “we say with high confidence”…they say, “it can be said with high confidence.” To me, that’s akin to saying, “I don’t have a problem with you being highly confident in it, but I am not necessarily highly confident in it myself.” But it’s tough to say what they really meant, and I don’t think anyone is going to contest the last 400 yrs with the LIA and all, so let’s just say that’s “high confidence” and move-on.

    Then there’s “less confidence” in 900-1600 (followed by “very little” confidence prior to 900, much different than the “little” you paraphrase in your post), followed by “even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium.”

    Now, they don’t quantify what “less confidence” means, but we have to assume it is of some signficance that they use the term in the first place, especially without any caveat. So, at best, you’re going from “highly confident” over last 400 years to “less confident” about 900-1600, to “even less confident” about the 90s being “likely the warmest decade” and 1998 “likely the warmest year” since 1000.

    How “even less confident of less confident of high confidence of likely” can be construed to be anything close to “likely” itself is tough to argue. It seems that the NAS doesn’t put much confidence at all in the “1998 likely the warmest year in the last 1000 yrs” claim, which is what I believe Steve addresses in the 2nd paragraph you wanted to attack by asserting the NAS only recognizes the “last 400 yrs.”

  74. Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    FWIW, the actual Austin Powers price is “/one/ million dollars”, not “/a/ million dollars”. It’s funnier that way.

  75. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    #66 Lee, climate models are very far from good enough to resolve a 4 W/m^2 CO2 forcing. Until they can do that, your list of facts does not indicate anthropogenic CO2 as the cause (or even *a* cause) of 20th century warming. That’s the verdict of science itself, as dictated by the method. Facts are given meaning in science by a predictive and falsifiable theory, and by no other way. That some scientists (and others, #18) make ad hoc declarations that they know anyway, even when they don’t know, doesn’t change the verdict of science. If one doesn’t know, one doesn’t know. Pretending to know doesn’t cut it.

  76. John A
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    Again, if you think the NAS got it wrong, go for it. For me, the evidence is strong for a world with at least some regions anomalously warm on millenial scales, andwith a lot of ocntinuing waorming in those and in regions where we are above average or nearing anomalous records..

    Unfortunately when anyone other than the credulous investigates such reconstructions the “evidence” becomes a set of “assumptions” about cherry-picked “proxies” using dubious “statistical methods”

    Please define “anomalously warm” because there is extremely good evidence that the earth was warmer 1000 years, 2000 years and 4000 years ago.

    You’re not going to produce any of this clinching proof of “anomalous warmth” because you know it doesn’t bear close examination. Cue more arm-waving and exasperation that everyone doesn’t believe what you give so much credence to.

  77. Hopalong
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    Steve, regarding application of humor….it can be incredibly effective when it is first aimed at one’s own self, changing the entire tenor of a discussion. It also serves to sharpen the blade when then turned and used in the other direction.

    Harder to do in writing than in person.

  78. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    Re #76 oh, OK, I’ll bite, what is the ‘extremely good’ evidence. You say ‘the earth’ so it must be for both hemispheres. I’d like to see it, three sets of clear unequivocal evidence for three times in the past.

  79. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    re#73

    To me, that’s akin to saying, “I don’t have a problem with you being highly confident in it, but I am not necessarily highly confident in it myself.” But it’s tough to say what they really meant, and I don’t think anyone is going to contest the last 400 yrs with the LIA and all, so let’s just say that’s “high confidence” and move-on.

    If one wanted to turn phrases that the media and interested organizations could use to spread the word about AGW, or at least present a less constrained view of the authors’ conclusions and at the same time allow for deniability for the authors in case of closer scrutiny, would not this be the wording selected. I am not saying that was the original intent, but it certainly has worked to those ends and even adds the bonus defense of allowing those who point to the less than precise wording to be accused of victimizing the author with trivial pursuits.

  80. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    JohnA, I just cited the relevant portions of the NAS report, for starters. If you think the studies they cite are bad, and the NAS committee consisted of the “credulous,” then make that argument. Adn I HAVE defined anomalous, by reference in each case to a set of investigations, a region, a time period and a context as relevant. If you choose to ignore that, it doesnt mean I didnt specify it. Dont come arm waving in response about “extremely good” (but conspicuously absent) evidence that “the earth” was warmer at specific times 1000, 2000, and 4000 years in the past.

    “Cue more arm-waving and exasperation that everyone doesn’t believe what you give so much credence to.”

    Once again you make an initial post in which you just can’t help but start gratuitous attacks. I fully realize that people can in good faith disagree with me – I jsut said that the reason I’m here is to learn from people who disgree with me, to reexamine what I think I know and see what of it I need to modify. And I just acknowledged some of what I have learned here,a nd some ways in which I have changed my thinking. Your basic premise is incorrect and derived entirely from your impulse to attack rather than think, if someone says anything other than what you think you know. I’ve already been through this with you in the past, with (among other examples) your attacking me with your argument that the earth is a system in which equilibrium is not a relevant concept, so my referring to equilibrium was physically incorrect – remind me again how a system that receives energy from outside is “open,” John. I enjoyed that.

    I have engaged some very good and productive conversations on this site – in which I learned some things, and I hope others did as well – and you havent done a damn thing in any of them except start the bomb throwing. Why Steve continues to tolerate your behavior is utterly beyond me.

  81. Dane
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Lee,

    In all honesty, the only “Real” way to view the earth is as an OPEN SYSTEM. Its ok to model it as a closed system, but get real, we recieve TONS of cosmic dust DAILY! Google it, it comes right up. Plus asteroids and meterors, have affected the planet over time, so realistically, not just geologically, the earth is an open system. If it weren’t we wouldn’t have the moon, and where would that leave all the intertidal dwellers?

    Also, again, your definition of Anomolous is kind of silly, see my comment to you above. You just don’t have enough time involved to say that.

  82. John A
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

    JohnA, I just cited the relevant portions of the NAS report, for starters. If you think the studies they cite are bad, and the NAS committee consisted of the “credulous,” then make that argument.

    Funny because it looks to me like you’ve cited the chapter headings – which I don’t regard as proper citation. I did not say that NAS Panel consisted of the credulous. I remarked that credulous people accept arguments made by some of the Panel members without good evidence and without properly investigating the sources cited as “proof”. It’s a belief engine thing, not an evidence thing.

    I’ve already been through this with you in the past, with (among other examples) your attacking me with your argument that the earth is a system in which equilibrium is not a relevant concept, so my referring to equilibrium was physically incorrect – remind me again how a system that receives energy from outside is “open,” John. I enjoyed that.

    Just because you twist my words to make them seem absurd does not mean that what I said was absurd. I remember clearly you making the case in all seriousness that because a biological cell can be considered a closed thermodynamic system therefore so can the Earth’s climate. Yet every textbook I’ve read on climate acknowledges that the Earth’s atmosphere/ocean cannot be considered closed. For some reason you regard it as absurd for me to repeat that statement, which is a shame but not for me.

    I have engaged some very good and productive conversations on this site – in which I learned some things, and I hope others did as well – and you havent done a damn thing in any of them except start the bomb throwing. Why Steve continues to tolerate your behavior is utterly beyond me.

    Because he knows that without me, he will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to correct absurdist statements from people who have more time to argue the toss than he has, and who turn practically every thread no matter what the content into a discussion about whatever it is they believe.

    Your argumentation runs along the same lines as Hearnden has already tried: that the proof of global warming is always to be found in the places not yet investigated, reproduced or audited, That there is a vast archive of glorious proof just tantalizingly beyond my grasp because I don’t have the time to read the Internet from start to finish.

    I don’t ask for chapter headings to Panel reports but evidence that can be independently verified and that requires no prior belief in the veracity and/or validity of the conclusions based upon political, religious or moral imperatives. In other words, science.

  83. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    Dane, show how space dust interferes with the assumption of closed for purposes of, for exmaple, ocean surface temperature or oceaen-atmosphere CO2 exchange equilibrium.

    Nearly EVERY system that we routinely treat as closed in basic thermo calculations is not strictly closed, but is treated as such because the mass exchange is negligible. We are talking about ‘modeling the system’ remember – and that is what John was talkiing about, when he attacked me by declaring that equilibrium is a physically meaningingless concept on earth because we exchange energy with the sun.

    My point, actualy, si to at lest thank JohnA. If he is going to routinely engage in throwing bobms as rhetorical strategy – which is supposed to be verboten here – I’m glad that at least the bombs he throws contain such engagingly silly confetti rather than substance.

  84. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    John, John, John… you are such a transparently dishonest little simp now, I don’t give a damn what you think.

    Anyone else, my arguemnts are up there for the reading – I’m happy to engage in discussions that dont involve overt attacks in the opening salvo.

  85. John A
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    …that is what John was talkiing about, when he attacked me by declaring that equilibrium is a physically meaningingless concept on earth because we exchange energy with the sun.

    But I have never made such an argumentation. I made the argument that the Earth’s climate system is not in equilibrium, and its a category mistake to treat it as if it was.

    Rather different from the claim you think I made.

    I’ve no idea what these “rhetorical bombs” I’m supposed to be throwing, but I suspect its because I don’t accept your precepts at face value without good evidence. I’ve no idea why you think that to question such a precept is “attacking you”, but if its yet another attempt to silence criticism then it ain’t going to work.

  86. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    I said:
    Lets see, we have an atmospheric concentration of CO2, which concentration is determined by integration over the past of many inputs with (forward rate constant) fluxes, and many sinks with (reverse rate constant) fluxes. ***THAT*** is an equilibrium process. The atmosphere may or may not BE at the equilibrium concentration; given that the fluxes change over time it is probably seldom at equilibrium. But it will alwasy be trending toward equilibrium, and the changes in those forward and reverse fluzes will change the equilibrium concentratin and therefore change the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the direction of the change in concentration whenever the current equilibrium concentration and the present actual concentration change sign relative to each other. This is REALLY BASIC to the science; first month of first year chemistry kind of basic.

    In this kind of equilibrium process, even a small constant new input (forward reaction rate driver, in quasi-chemist language) can lead to large changes over time. Which is what anthropogenic carbon emissions are doing to our atmosphere. I believe John Hunter poitns oaut above taht the ratio of new forward flux to teh total mass allows one to calculate the time needed for a particular increase, which is in close agreement to the observed icnrease. That you try to dispute this, even at the level of disputing whether equilibrium processes apply, is utterly discrediting to your basic understanding of any science, much less this one.

    JohnA responded:

    “Nope Lee didn’t disappoint – he really doesn’t have a clue.

    If you’re going to be patronizing and condescending – remember not to make such a stupid mistake as to confuse the tendency of closed systems to reach equilibrium with open systems that oscillate chaotically. That’s basic science but you, like Hunter and Lambert, were asleep at the desk when that one was taught.

    Equilibrium only exists in systems which can be considered to be CLOSED. The Earth’s climate system is not closed at all, being dominated by the variability of the Sun’s output, the celestial mechanics of the solar system and the cosmic ray flux. There is very strong evidence that these sources of variability dominate the climate system. But they’re not the fault of mankind, so they’re ignored, or better still claimed to be “accounted for” in those wonderful random number generating machines called climate models.”

    Note here that JohnA claims that Earth’s climate system is “not closed at all, being dominated by the variability of the Sun’s output, the celestial mechanics of the solar system and the cosmic ray flux.”

    If anyone wants to wade through the rest of JohnA’s mendacity, this is in the “A Few Inconvenient Trugths” thread that JohnA posted and Steve completely rewrote. Thsi is also the thread where, when I dared to question him on his claim that a time series showed no correlation and asked for the numerical correlation, he repeatedly acused me of ‘finding a correlatin by usiung squitn test’ and then fianly amditted that th auther DID claim there was a correlation, but he, JohnA, by visual examination, didn’t see one – I was particularly amused by that.

  87. jae
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    Lee: You said:

    In this kind of equilibrium process, even a small constant new input (forward reaction rate driver, in quasi-chemist language) can lead to large changes over time. Which is what anthropogenic carbon emissions are doing to our atmosphere.

    Now, you simply cannot prove this assertion. You are again telling us what you BELIEVE, which is OK, but state it as a belief, not a fact. Notice that you used the word “can” here.

  88. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    #86 Dear Lee,
    Can you just leave it at that and be amused? :)
    Your faith in models that express “the fault of mankind” goes way beyond that of many a folk participating here. At least me.

    So, no matter what you say you know is true from them, and unless you understand where those doubts we have come from; this will be the debate that never ends.

    Can you at least try understand our doubts or except them (on some level)? Read some threads about the flaws in the models too. If you are so sure, it wouldn’t hurt.

    BTW just for FUN…
    Space dust: The dust is believed to be composed of heavy elements such as carbon, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Every year, about 40,000 tonnes of cosmic debris fall onto the Earth. :)

    Cheers!

  89. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    #57. Lee, Graybill’s collections were intentionally taken from strip-bark samples. Graybill’s sites make up Mann’s PC1. So NAS says that the sites relied upon by MBH are out. Now just because NAS says something is so doesn’t make it infallible, but surely Mann has an uphill fight to justify the use of these strip-bark sites. And it’s not just in MBH98. He re-used them all in Rutherford et al 2005 cheekily even using his discredited PC1), which is also used in Osborn and Briffa 2006 and Hegerl et al 2006. So there are more shoes to drop.

  90. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    Oh sheesh…except or accept our doubts. Whatever!
    You know what I mean. Cheers! :)

  91. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

    #82, 86, etc., Earth climate, and Earth ecology, is a far-from-equilibrium (FFE) system. It will follow the non-equilibrium thermodynamics of Prigogine, Nicolis, and their colleagues. (Prigogine got the Nobel for this work) See here for an example. Far-from-equilibrium systems are driven by continuous through-put energy fluxes, and produce “excess entropy.” The sun is the FFE energy source driving Earth, and its luminosity and magnetic variations means that Earth systems can be driven among various states because of resonance with low-power oscillating drivers. Small induced fluctuations can produce relatively large oscillations. Larger scale transitions driven by resonance can be fast in geological time scales (e.g., glaciations), but small transitions, such as the sudden change in the NAO in ~1850, and the phase change in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in 1976, can be fast in human time scales.

    The take home message, though, is that equilibrium thermodynamics is the wrong theory to apply to Earth climate and Earth processes. For our purposes, nothing about Earth is tending toward equilibrium in the sense of reaching a constant entropy end-state (which is what all of normal equilibrium chemistry describes). Instead, the system reaches a steady state with respect to the energy flux, but that can include oscillations of the system paramters themselves, even with a steady energy flux, leading to what might be described as a strange attractor orbit (see the Lorentz Butterfly for a conceptually useful illustration of how a simple driven system can vary).

    What all this means is that the idea of “anomalies” can only take its meaning in the context of an oscillating FFE system. Supposing, especially in the absence of a good theory, that some sort of linear model can be applied to parse among empirically collated climate excursions, so as to decide which are native and which are artifactual (human-produced) is to flirt with delusion. Virtually nothing on Earth is dynamically linear. FFE systems can produce fluctuational spikes or excursions that might be very large or very small compared to their recent dynamical history, because the quasi-periodicity of the multiple underlying processes can produce random-seeming beats. Presently, there is no way to make a credible scientific case that Earth climate is being driven by anthropogenic CO2; or even measureably influenced by it, for that matter.

  92. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    re 92.

    Pat, you’re outside my knowledge base now, so I’ll take your word (provisionally – grin) for it.

    But the “discussion” with JohnA was revolving around anthropogenic influence on atmospheric CO2 – not even getting to anything that the increased CO2 might be causing. This one is pretty simple, at least in broad outline. We’re dumping CO2 into the atmosphere every year, somewhat less than what we’re dumping is showing up IN the atmosphere as increasing CO2 concentration, indications are that the major source/sink of CO2 exchange with the atmosphere, the ocean, is ALSO increasing CO2 – so therefore we are increasing atmospheric CO2. Even if the amount we are dumping is miniscule in terms of the overall annual exchange from all sources and sinks (a point that was being made to argue that huan emissions cant have any effect), that doesnt matter, because it is the NET difference that matters, not the gross. And small continual inputs into what is otherwise a system that IS near equilibrium, the atmospheric CO2 system, will alter the concentration, potentially quite substantially, over time.

    That is ALL I was arguing, when JohnA tore off on his extraordinary tirade.

  93. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

    #94, Lee, there’s no doubt you’re right that if we keep on putting CO2 into the air indefinitely, the concentration will increase indefinitely. The oceans could eventually take up most of it, but that’s a slower process than our production.

    But I think we’re approaching the end-times of fossil-fuel energy production. A new generation is growing in that did not experience the demonization of nuclear power that occurred in the 1970’s. They’ll be much more open to its use when they come to vote. The latest generation of fission plants is apparently far, far safer than the older models, and I don’t know of any fatal reason against converting over. I suspect by about 2050, we’ll be entering the down-side of the CO2 production curve.

    Now, if we could just do something about the actually serious environmental problem of over-population. . . Maybe, after all is said and done on proxies, we could get Steve M and John A to start a blog called ‘condomaudit.’ :-)

  94. Lee
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

    Hartlod – we get the message. Stop spamming.

  95. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 6, 2006 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

    re: #93 Pat,

    Why do you think population is still that big a problem? Sure it’s still rising, but the trend is for the population to start leveling off. Lots of countries are now in negative replacement territory and others tending that way. Sure the trend could change, but so far it’s been going on for several decades.

  96. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

    #95, Dave the poulation problem is solved mostly for prosperous, mostly middle-class countries. Societies that are still largely peasant-based still have large families. With the lowering of infant mortality, and the increased longevity (apart from AIDS), populations in Africa, South and Central America, and much of east Asia (apart from Japan, and, to a lesser extent, China) are still growing. To be candid, 10 sons (130 sons if you’re a Saudi prince) has got to stop being a monument to too many male egos. I believe it’s also true that agrarian societies have the largest negative impact on the environment, mostly through farming practices and wood-cutting.

    Desite the talk against it, I think the best thing that could happen for the environment is for all those parts of the world to become as prosperous and as generally well-educated as the US, Japan, and Europe. And Israel, for that matter. I think a smaller, say 3-4 billion people, more technically adept population would do wonders for the environment, while easily leaving us with the resources and energy to vigorously colonize interplanetary space.

    Once off-Earth, of course, population could expand ad libitum. I look for some pretty wild designed-in DNA variants of humans to eventually head out into deep space.

    All of this is way off-topic, but I’ll risk it. :-)

  97. John A
    Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 12:32 AM | Permalink

    It’s fascinating that Pat Frank makes exactly that same point as I do about the Earth’s climate being a non-equilibrium system, and yet Lee does not refer to him as being “mendatious”, “transparently dishonest” or engaging in an “extraordinary tirade”.

    I think the reason has nothing to do with the quality of the arguments, and everything to do with Lee’s belief system.

  98. Lee
    Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 12:53 AM | Permalink

    John, tell me some more about the correlation you can tell doesn’t exist, by eyeball test, despite your grudging and late acknowledgement, after your several vehement asertions that there is no correlation and your vehement attacks on me that by asking for the numerical value I was performing a “squint test”, that the author actually does report a correlation and you, by visual examination (hah!) decided there isn’t one. And you STILL havent reported the numerical analysis. Oh, and how there is no correlation between CO2 and temp on “meaningful” time scales, and anyway, the correlation through 650,000 years and 6 ice ages is the wrong phase.

    BTW, I dont find where Pat is claiming that a system that recieves energy is an open system because of it.

    I am willing to beleive that you arent a liat, though, John. I find it perectly plausible that you can beleive that there is no evidence of a correlation while simultaneously using the phase of the correlation to dispute the interpretation of the correlation.

  99. John A
    Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 1:33 AM | Permalink

    I note that you do not bother arguing that the Earth’s climate can be considered “near equilibrium” now that Pat Frank notes that it is “Far From Equilibrium”. I’ve no doubt that if Pat Frank talks about the Earth’s climate system being thermodynamically open, you’ll “provisionally accept” that as well.

    No Lee, in your case, presenting any evidence or making any argumentation that does not chime with your views is an invitation for rhetorical bombs of calling me “mendatious”, “a liar”, “transparently dishonest” or engaging in an “extraordinary tirade”

    I will note that the author of the cited paper (Retallack) did say there was a correlation but, natch, failed to numerically quantify what the correlation was. Perhaps someone should ask him.

    In looking back at your arguments, I find many mysterious claims of yours that you don’t bother to defend, including one on the novel scientific concept of “dual casuality”. Since I have a job of work to do, and an actual life outside of this weblog, I can’t be bothered engaging any further on these subjects, fascinating as they may be.

  100. Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 3:44 AM | Permalink

    Oh man, haven’t laughed like this in a while..

    Hmmm, now that I’m thinking about it, this was almost as funny:

    But for god sake everyone should check out Austin powers atleast once.

  101. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

    Pat, John A and Lee, please confine equilibrium discussions to the Ou thread for now. Not everybody is interested in what is possibly (but not necessarily) a semantic argument.

    #100. Glad someone thought it was funny. I’m not going to use it in the proposed op ed, but I still think that it was funny and a good characterization of the report.

  102. Lee
    Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    JohnA, if you bother to read what I actually posted, you will find that I’m making a different claim than the one you say I am. And you wil find that Frank largely just agreed with my overall claim. The discussion was about CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. YOU were the one who made the absurd clam that the earth is an open system because we recieve energy from outside, apparently as a way to avoid dealing with the CO2 issue or to claim that we therefoe cant knwo if human CO2 emissins are driving atmospheric CO2 increases.

    Your unceasing tendency to mis-state or actively distort what I say is extraordinary.

    Steve, JohnA has claimed to be acting in your behalf, and it is noteworthy that you don’t yellow-card your co-moderator. Is he the “bad cop” half of your duo?

    82:

    L- ” Why Steve continues to tolerate your behavior is utterly beyond me.

    J- Because he knows that without me, he will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to correct absurdist statements from people who have more time to argue the toss than he has, and who turn practically every thread no matter what the content into a discussion about whatever it is they believe.

  103. jae
    Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

    #91 What a great post!

  104. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    #97,98,99, etc. — In view of Steve M. in #101 this will be my last word on the topic, I promise. :-) In terms of thermodynamic systems, both Earth and biological cells should be thought of as bounded but open. Open in terms of energy flux, bounded in terms of process. Not closed; not isolated.

  105. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    Pat, I agree with jae that #91 was a great post. But if you have more to say on equilibrium topics, do what Steve said and post it on the Ou thread. Indeed one reason I liked #91 is that after reading the Ou paper and the related ones, I could understand what you were saying in a internalized way.

  106. PHEaston
    Posted Jul 7, 2006 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    So I took some advice – from above and took out Austin Powers on DVD and watched it tonight. Quite amusing – I’m glad I did. What struck me the most was that the film is really in a time warp. Set in 1997, I kept thinking that everyone here had yet to expereince ‘the warmest year of the millenium’ and no-one had ever heard of the ‘hockey stick’. Truly another era.

  107. Posted Jul 8, 2006 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    Peter, don’t back down; what people here claim the report said isn’t what it actually said. It simply said we can’t speak with quite the same degree of confidence about pre-1600 temperatures. It did NOT say that we couldn’t speak about them with any level of confidence at all.

  108. TCO
    Posted Jul 8, 2006 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    It said less confidence than what people had been doing. And it shat all over the Mannian first millenium work.

  109. Lee
    Posted Jul 8, 2006 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

    It ALSO said that given all the other confirming evidence, from several lines of investigation, that the basic conclusions were most probably correct, and taht the specific claim of warmet temperatures in taht time period were plausible, and it pointed to several specific clearly anomalous results supporting the conclusion that late 20th century climate was anomalous.

    Frankly, I find the concentration on a handful of phrases and subsets of what they said and to the exclusio of the majority of the report, which has been overwhelming here since the report came out, to be borderline tendentious.

  110. TCO
    Posted Jul 8, 2006 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    It said based on all the parralel lines that it supports the results in the last 400 years! For the 600 before, it said more uncertainty was in order and said that we may not even be able to tell how much uncertainty there is.

  111. Lee
    Posted Jul 8, 2006 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

    re 110:

    From page three of the summary – in the paragraph just before that “plausible’ statement that y’all have been parsing so extensively.


    The basic conclusion of Mann et al was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years. Not all individual proxy records indicate that recent warmth is unprecedented, although a larger fraction of geographically diverse sites experienced exceptional warmth during the late 20th century than at any other extended period from A.D. 900 onwards.

    In subsequent chapters they detail a lot of that anomalous observations. And note that they dont hedge these qualitative statements. In the next paragraph, the “plausible” paragraph in the summary, they place limits on the interpretation of the **quantitative** results from the reconstructions: ” The substantial uncertainties present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes…”

    Taken together this says, we arent sure about the quantitative claim that the late 20th century is the warmest such period in 1,000 years, but a lot of other qualitative evidence going back in many cases more than 2,000 years supports that something anomalous was happening in the late 20th century, in many cases agaisnt a comparison period of TWO millenia, and that makes the claim plausible even if we can’t currently make the rigorous qualitative claim. The details in the subsequent chapters supports that, IMO.

    BTW, as long as we’re parsing the word “plausible” (and I’m happy to take my turn at it, after so many others have done so here), to me it is simply saying that the data from 900 to 1600 AD are consistent with the claim and the other data, but not (yet?) capable of the precision to make the qualitative claim that specific recent decades were anomalous in temperature.

  112. TCO
    Posted Jul 8, 2006 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

    I think there may have been a real division of opinions that caused the word plausible to be used. It could mean likely and it could mean possible. I don’t want to bother reading into it.

  113. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 8, 2006 at 11:57 PM | Permalink

    Regarding the non-equilibrium aspect of Earth climate, I’ve just read the paper, “Nonlinearities, Feedbacks and Critical Thresholds with the Earth’s Climate System,” by Jose Rial, ea 2004 Climate Change 65, 11-38

    This article explicitly discusses Earth climate as a chaotic and complex system in which large spontaneous climate transitions can occur and have occurred without any external forcings, and even under conditions of steady energy flux. Illustrative examples are given of past climate oscillations, including the Dansgaard-Oeschger swings, that are discussed in terms of complexity and emergent phenomena.

    It’s an excellent paper, full of insights fostering how to think about climate, and very accessible to the general reader.

    I’m going to send the pdf of this paper to Steve M., who I hope will pass it along to John A (Steve?). John A will then be in a position to email a copy on request (more work for you, John :-) ), private use only. In that regard, and keeping copyright issues in view, what would be the possibility of Steve M. and John A. starting a pdf library of relevant publications?

    In any case, here’s the abstract:

    The Earth’s climate system is highly nonlinear: inputs and outputs are not proportional, change is often episodic and abrupt, rather than slow and gradual, and multiple equilibria are the norm. While this is widely accepted, there is a relatively poor understanding of the different types of nonlinearities, how they manifest under various conditions, and whether they reflect a climate system driven by astronomical forcings, by internal feedbacks, or by a combination of both. In this paper, after a brief tutorial on the basics of climate nonlinearity, we provide a number of illustrative examples and highlight key mechanisms that give rise to nonlinear behavior, address scale and methodological issues, suggest a robust alternative to prediction that is based on using integrated assessments within the framework of vulnerability studies and, lastly, recommend a number of research priorities and the establishment of education programs in Earth Systems Science. It is imperative that the Earth’s climate system research community embraces this nonlinear paradigm if we are to move forward in the assessment of the human influence on climate.

    Here are a few relavant quotes: From the Introduction, “In sharp contrast to familiar linear physical processes, nonlinear behavior in the climate results in highly diverse, usually surprising and often counterintuitive observations…

    Pp. 13-14: “[N]onlinearity gives rise to unexpected structures and events in the form of abrupt transitions across thresholds, unexpected oscillations, and chaos (Kaplan and Glass, 1995). Actually, the climate system is not only chaotic, it is also “complex’ (Rind, 1999)…

    [Climate i]nteractions can, through a process still not completely understood (Cowan et al., 1999), provoke spontaneous self-organization and the emergence of coherent, collective phenomena … [and] observations indicate that the climate system is, and has been for millions of years, riddled with episodes of abrupt change…

    And from pp. 30-31: “[O]ur examples lead to an inevitable conclusion: since the climate system is complex, occasionally chaotic, dominated by abrupt changes and driven by competing feedbacks with largely unknown thresholds, climate prediction is difficult, if not impracticable. Recall for instance the abrupt D/O warming events (Figure 3a) of the last ice age, which indicate regional warming of over 10 àƒ⣃¢’‚¬”à‚⥃ in Greenland (about 4 àƒ⣃¢’‚¬”à‚⥃ at the latitude of Bermuda). These natural warming events were far stronger — and faster — than anything current GCM work predicts for the next few centuries. Thus, a reasonable question to ask is: Could present global warming be just the beginning of one of those natural, abrupt warming episodes, perhaps exacerbated (or triggered) by anthropogenic CO2 emissions? (empahsis added).”

    In light of all this, how is it that anyone, much less a climate physicist, can claim there is theory-derived justification (the only kind there is in science) for claiming that the 20th century saw unprecedented warming driven primarily by anthropogenic CO2?

  114. John A
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

    Pat, just send it to climateaudit AT gmail.com

  115. gb
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    Re # 113.

    At blog.sciam.com (Are you you a climate skeptic: part IV) a very nice overview is given of arguements for AGW. You are right about the importance of chaos in climate dynamics. This makes regional climate projections very difficult and climate scientist acknowledge that. The paper you cite talks however, about the importance of chaos and nonlinearity in local climate changes. Some parts of the Earth may become warmer but other parts should become cooler if chaos is important. But it seems that that the whole Earth (including the oceans) gets warmer. It is hard to explain this with referring to chaos.

  116. John A
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

    But it seems that that the whole Earth (including the oceans) gets warmer. It is hard to explain this with referring to chaos.

    …apart from the parts of the Earth that haven’t warmed like Antarctica. Ignoring areas that are getting colder is one of those vision problems that are all too common in climate science.

    I fear global cooling far more than global warming. The LIA was no fun anywhere in the world, with decreasing moisture causing deserts to expand around the world, and some to appear (like the Sand Hills of Nebraska) that have since been hidden. In Switzerland the glacier advances crushed out of existence a lot of towns high up, even flooding valleys by damming them. All across Europe the damper, colder conditions conspired to allow an epidemic of malaria (referred to in Shakespeare’s plays as the “ague” and shorter growing seasons severely reduced the amount of food and destabilized the continent into appalling wars, civil strife and religious persecution.

  117. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

    #115, from the very first line of the paper: “Nonlinear phenomena characterize all aspects of global change dynamics…

    All aspects” means all aspects. It doesn’t mean restricted to regional climate.

    Here’s an abbreviated description of one emergent global climate transition, from page 16ff: “The ice ages of the Pleistocene are remarkable quasi-periodic events of past global climate change. … [I]t is well known that while the main driving frequency of the ice ages is about 100 ky[,] the timing between consecutive glacial periods has been steadily increasing from àƒ⣃ ‹’€ à‚⺸0 ky to àƒ⣃ ‹’€ à‚⺱20 ky over the last àƒ⣃ ‹’€ à‚⺵00 ky. This feature, plus the near absence of a large response at the strongest eccentricity forcing period (413 ky) and the presence of significant variance at frequencies not present in the orbital forcing, are strong evidence of nonlinearity in the climate’s response to orbital forcing.

    Around 950 ky ago, a prominent switch in the frequency response of the climate system to orbital forcing occurred. This phenomenon, usually called the mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT), resulted in a change from the 41 ky predominant glaciation period to a new àƒ⣃ ‹’€ à‚⺱00 ky period, without a corresponding change in the forcing orbital frequencies… [and] continues to be one of the most puzzling examples of the nonlinear character of climate response.

    The above change is not a regional climate transition, but a large-scale jump of the global climate into a new quasi-stable state that was not induced by any large change in some external forcing.
    The Lorentz Butterfly example again shows exactly this sort of behavior.

    Spontaneous excursions at all levels of magnitude are typical of complex non-linear systems, and make their evolution inherently unpredictable because the initial conditions of the physical model cannot be specified with arbitrarily high precision.

    Collins’ test of the HadCM3 GCM — the Hadley Centre’s latest and greatest — under experimental conditions that mimicked a perfect climate model — found that sensitivity to imperfect knowledge of initial conditions wrecked the ability of the perfect model to predict even regional climates. E.g., “For the majority of the highly populated regions of the world, climate predictability on interannual to decadal time scales based in the initial value approach is likely to be severely limited by chaotic error growth.

    M. Collins 2002 “Climate predictability on interannual to decadal time scales: the initial value problem” Climate Dynamics, 19 671–692.

  118. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 4:16 AM | Permalink

    …apart from the parts of the Earth that haven’t warmed like Antarctica. Ignoring areas that are getting colder is one of those vision problems that are all too common in climate science.

    Can you really say that quite so catagorically? Antarctica is a big place, with few weather stations – I know you’d point that out if it were called as warming…

    But, I DO accept what data there is suggests there isn’t much of a trend there. Some stations have cooled, some warmed. Odd place though isn’t it? Bloody great isolated (as in atmospheric circulation sense), flat, high, dry, ice plateau. If anywhere makes it’s own climate (and thus will be last effected by onther changes) surely it’s Antarctica.

  119. John A
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 4:33 AM | Permalink

    If anywhere makes it’s own climate (and thus will be last effected by onther changes) surely it’s Antarctica.

    You should tell the climate modellers. They appear to be under the strong impression that the poles are especially sensitive to climate change which is why they are so intensively studied.

  120. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 4:44 AM | Permalink

    Humm, the poles aren’t the same. While one is as I describe the other is an ocean with a thin layer of ice. VERY different, and, if the ice goes, prime feedback territory.

  121. Jim Barrett
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

    John A,

    Since you say "Ignoring areas that are getting colder is one of those vision problems that are all too common in climate science" and "I fear global cooling far more than global warming", I assume that you accept that ON AVERAGE the world is getting warmer.

    Have a look at the world map in Figure 2.9 (a) of the IPCC Third Assessment Report at http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig2-9.htm there are not many blue dots (which would indicate cooling).

    So can you explain why you worry more about a very small proportion of the world which may be getting colder than about a much larger proportion which is getting warmer?

  122. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 5:00 AM | Permalink

    Re #121, Jim Barrett
    I think John’s comment was with respect to the outcome of a global cooling, not an assertion that it was taking place.
    John, could you snip the colon off the end of Jim’s interesting link ?

  123. John A
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    So can you explain why you worry more about a very small proportion of the world which may be getting colder than about a much larger proportion which is getting warmer?

    fFreddy got it right. In any case the total story of dread global warming in the late 20th Century has yet to be revealed because of the Phil Jones “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it” factor.

    I’m not worried about Antartica getting colder or the Arctic warming (although the Arctic still appears to be less warm than the non-greenhouse 1930s). I see these things as the normal process of a loosely coupled chaotic system. But the Antarctic cooling does raise serious issues about climate modelers claims of polar amplification of warming positive feedbacks and all.

    But if some superbeing offered me a choice of 1-2 degrees warming or 1-2 degrees cooling, I’d take the warming every time. Civilisations historically have flourished during warm periods and collapsed during cold periods.

    The most insidious idea is something I’d call the “HockeyStick of the Mind” – the widespread popular notion that before “Industrialization” the climate changed gradually and benignly before becoming disrupted by man’s (Western man’s) economic activities. That’s why the HockeyStick is so important (and why Al Gore used it in his film apparently) because it conveys a false history of past climate that chimes with some environmentalists core beliefs about the baleful influence of modern society. What Bjorn Lomborg called “The Litany” is writ in graphical form.

  124. Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    Re # 113, Pat:

    I found the Rial’s very intersting paper here: http://blue.atmos.colostate.edu/publications/pdf/R-260.pdf
    Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  125. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    #123

    “That’s why the HockeyStick is so important (and why Al Gore used it in his film apparently) because it conveys a false history of past climate that chimes with some environmentalists core beliefs about the baleful influence of modern society. What Bjorn Lomborg called “The Litany” is writ in graphical form.”

    Yes, and don’t forget Algore also says right up front “It is a Moral issue” above all else.

  126. Lee
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    The models ALSO predict lag in the southern hemisphere. In continental antarctica, there is surface cooling and atmospheric warming, so it is not correct to simply say antarctica is cooling. The peninsula is clearly warming.

    What is corrrect to say about antarctica is that the models dont seem to currently capture it properly, because the surface/atmosphere pattern observed is not what the models show.

  127. John A
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    The models ALSO predict lag in the southern hemisphere. In continental antarctica, there is surface cooling and atmospheric warming, so it is not correct to simply say antarctica is cooling. The peninsula is clearly warming.

    I’ve no idea what "the models" are predicting if they are being tuned to produce something that has already been observed. It’s rather like saying the weather models predict last Tuesday’s weather.

    [snip]
    Steve: John, please stop this pointless name-calling.

  128. Lee
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    Right, JohnA. The models are being tuned to not match what is observed in Antarctica. Previously, the modles were being tuned to not properly match satellite observatinos of atmospheric temps – and dangitall, the data ended up being wrong, and when corrected matched the models. I guess they tuned the models to match what the data WOULD be in the future?

    yep, they’re just dialing in the results they want.

    I made these points, in this thread.

    [snip - swearing and abuse deleted]

    Steve: > Lee, I’ve got better things to do than snip posts. It was put in a cache for me to do deal. What a waste of time. I’m going to delete the follow-up posts by you and Peter H. that are just niggling.

  129. Bryn Hughes
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

    Is the Antartic peninsula being warmed up by volcanoes?

  130. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    Re #131, no.

    Get real, do the sums, or read someone who has. Forget volcanoes warming the sea, it’s a non starter, you might as well suggest a match could warm a swimming pool.

  131. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    I’m not sure why this debate seems to degenerate into personal villification and snide comments. Someone asks a perfectly reasonable question…’Is the Antarctic Peninsula being warmed up by volcanoes?’…and what is the response? ‘Get real, do the sums, or read someone who has. Forget volcanoes warming the sea, it’s a non starter, you might as well suggest a match could warm a swimming pool.’ So Peter are you going to elucidate us about exactly why the Antarctic Peninsula isn’t being warmed by volcanoes..that was the question. Not wether the sea was being warmed by volcanoes!

    Can we have a more mature debate here. There are a real mixture of posters here…many who are genuinely interested in the science and wanting to explore all sorts of ideas, others with a little knowledge, always a dangerous thing, and others who want to have a genuine discussion about ideas.

  132. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    Re #131, I’d love a more mature debate, but, when you’ve been called what I have, respect for this place diminishes and you get tetchy. Oh, and be quick, much dissent here gets removed.

    Paul, The volume of the sea is VAST. The amount of heat from volcanoes minimal by comparison. It’s a non starter. Take mid ocean ridges, do we see hot spots, hot water welling up along the mid Atlantic ridge? No we don’t. We have frigid ocean depths, not volcano warmed ones. Forget this nonsense.

  133. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    re 133

    Peter, I think my point wasn’t made clearly enough. Bryn asked about the Antarctic Peninsula. Last time I looked at my atlas it was land and not sea.

    I agree that the heat output from mid-ocean ridges is minimal compared to the ocean-atmosphere fluxes and plays no role in controlling ocean or even bottom water temperatures. However, we do see hot spots along the mid ocean ridges…in their immediate vicinity ocean water is cycled in vast hydrothermal systems and returned as hot water with precipitation of large amounts of minerals.

  134. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Re #136, sure, agree entirely :). And the idea is…? That an undersea volcano is warming the pennisula! NO IT IS NOT. Volcanoes don’t warm the planet.

  135. Bryn Hughes
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    It a perfectly reasonable question.Volcanoes have have melted glaciers in Iceland. Recent undersea lava flows have been found in the sea near to the north of the AP.At the moment there is line of melting ice off the coast the easstern side of the AP.The sea there is not a deep ocean trench.

  136. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    re 137…Peter my point is someone asks a perfectly reasonable question and deserves a civil answer that politely outlines the facts as someone sees them and not a put down. Not everyone has a clear understanding of the principles involved. I see a lot of misconceptions about isotope geochemistry, climate proxies etc. published here but don’t see it as a reason to put someone down.

    It is these constant put downs that limits the level of debate. I’m sorry that you have ahd to put up with insults. I don’t know what your viewpoint is and it doesn’t matter to me…what is interesting is the science behind all of this.

  137. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

    re 139 Bryn, I think your question is perfectly reasonable and deserves an answer. Unfortunately I don’t know enough about the Antarctic Peninsula to give an informed comment about it’s geology, volcanology etc. and the effect that might have on melting of glaciers.

  138. Jim Barrett
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    Bryn and Paul Dennis,

    I think the point Peter was making was that, if someone is going to make outlandish suggestions that are way off the course of conventional scientific thinking, then the onus is on that person to show QUANTITATIVELY that this suggestion is feasible. The onus is not on others to prove that the suggestion is wrong. Until the proponent puts up a good case, the proposition is just pseudoscience.

  139. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    re 138: I don’t follow at all. Bryn asked a perfectly sensible question. He made no statement that volcanoes were warming the Antarctic Peninsula. He simply asked ‘Is the Antartic peninsula being warmed up by volcanoes?’.

    Now tell me is this an outlandish suggestion, is it way off course of scientific thinking. No..it’s not even a suggestion..it’s a question. Further, given Bryn’s further point in which he added some detail I don’t think so.

    If one of my students asked such a question I’d certainly treat it with the courtesy and integrity it deserves and not the derision it received.

  140. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    If I interpret Bryn’s question correctly he is asking if high heat crustal flows associated with volcanism are responsible for the enhanced rates of ice melting on the Antarctic Peninsula. This is an entirely sensible scientific question. He made no suggestion about warming of the global ocean or atmosphere.

  141. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    Re 138. Jim, if I interpret Bryn’s question correctly he is asking if high crustal heat flows associated with volcanism are responsible for the enhanced rates of ice melting on the Antarctic Peninsula. This is an entirely sensible scientific question. He made no suggestion about warming of the global ocean or atmosphere.

  142. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    #138 My husband is a senior environmental scientist/geologist. He read the question. It is not an outlandish question, because we don’t know enough about what the sea floor looks like there, nor is it outlandish for us to be talking about it or to think about it. In fact without any consideration, it could also be called negligent. (Much like how climate science treats the science of geology on every other matter as well…leave it in or leave out to suit.)

  143. Lee
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    139:

    Waht is negligent, rocks (and rock’s husband) is to utterly ignore the large amount of data that came from directly observing the breakup of the Larsen shelf, the observed decades of warming on he antarctic peninsula, the observed widespread SURFACE melting, the observed fissure weakneng and fracturing form meltwater intrusion into fissures, the observation over many years of the slow weakening and slouging away of the shelf – to ignore all of this twice, with two separate and separated ice shelf failures in the Larsen A and B – and instead posit that it is ‘negligent’ to ignore the possiblility of a volcanic event for which there is NO evidence, NO oservation of ANY volcanism despite very close monitoring of the failure of the shelves, NO indication of any such event, and NO volcano to point to to cause it.

    When that Icelandic volcano that ‘melted a glacier’ erupted, it punched a series of fissures through the glacier about 6 km long, erupted steam and ash plumes, and was clearly a volcano. The meltwater collected in the caldera, eventualy broke out and caused a large glacial flood – and the area of melted glacier and volume of meltwater was small compared to either of the two large ice shelves that broke up with NO INDICATIoNS OF VOLCANISM.

  144. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 9, 2006 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    Folks, I remind you again. Peter Hearnden is a troll. His goal is to stir up trouble. Ignore him.

  145. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 12:52 AM | Permalink

    re 143: Lee, I think you miss the point completely as well. It is simple and has nothing to do with science, geology, climate change or anything else. It has everything to do with pedagogy, manners and respect.

    Bryn asked a perfectly sensible question and it deserved a well argued answer. All the points you and Peter make are valid but do they have to be put in such offensive terms. I quote…’Get real, do the sums, or read someone who has.’ If I had asked a question and received this answer I’d be offended and certainly not bother with the opinions of who ever posted it.

    There are people at this site interested in climate change and the science behind our understanding. They are interested in asking questions and learning. That is fantastic. We have an ongoing debate that goes right to the core of how we practise science. It encompasses the science itself, statistics, mathematics, ethics, morals, and the interface between science and society.

    Many here are ‘lay’ people with a genuine interest, others are practising scientists with a professional interest. It behoves us to treat everyone as equals, who all have something relevant to bring to the discussion and engage in a civilised manner, treating our colleagues with respect. In my experience, those that jump up and down, resort to shouting and put downs lose that respect and lose influence in the debate.

  146. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 2:35 AM | Permalink

    WLR, lets talk geology, it a subject I like.

    But, lets ask Dave (becuase he’s ever so smart and not a troll…) to do the calculations. Lets ask him to, firstly, show us the volcano/s. The show us the heat flow from these volcanoes. Next, we need to know how much ice these heat flows will melt (remember, it’s the whole pennisula that’s melting, so there volcnao is either very big, or spread along the said pennisula). If these volcanoe/s are submarine he also need to take into account ocean currents and the volume of water being moved by.

  147. Paul
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 6:31 AM | Permalink

    Re 129 and 135: Bryn, there is wide evidence of volcanic activity along the western edge of the Antarctic Peninsula, at it’s northern tip with a recently discovered submarine volcano (Jun Jaegyu) and also beneath the Larsen Ice Shelf. These latter volcanoes are known as the Seal Nunatak group and are 16 peaks emerging from the Larsen Ice Shelf. Given the limited knowledge with respect to Antarctic geology the exact form of these volcanoes is not known…16 separate vents or the remnants of a large shield volcano. I think that most of the Antarctic peninsual volcanoes would be classified as active with historic records of activity, particulalry fumarolic activity. This in itself would indicate high heat lithospheric flows in the region. The Seal Nunatak group are interesting and were subject to an expedition in 1988. The information can be found at http://www.volcano.si.edu

  148. Paul
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 6:41 AM | Permalink

    Re 129 and 135. Bryn, having pointed out these volcanoes I don’t think any, and particular the Seal Nunataks, have been implicated in the break up of the Larsen Ice Shelf. Your question, though, does highlight how little we know of the sub sea, and sub glacial geology of Antarctica. I could see how an increased heat flow might affect glacier dynamics by altering the basal properties of an ice sheet.

  149. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

    #145 Paul Dennis,
    What’s frustrating too, is we did have this exact discussion in another topic already when #146 made fun of someone else who brought up this question.

    Here’s a map of the volcanos:

    http://tinyurl.com/foago

    Here’s some text or highlites:

    http://tinyurl.com/eo8oj

    Both from the website of the Global Volcanism Program

    And they are still discovering new vents in the region. I saw articles about two of them. I posted the details of one of them where high temps were measured flowing into the ocean and indications of an recent event were found because of lack of anything still alive around it, and reports from ship captains about what the water looked like.

    #146 If you are disputing the question, then demanding the facts, how does that make you look?
    Reasonable people, educated people like my husband say we don’t know all that’s going on there, it’s a heck of a place to explore, I’m keeping an open mind and finding out. We had this discussion already.

    Everything on Earth is MOVING. It is not frozen in time for the GW lovers. Ice melts. Even a small unknown warm vent, maybe a “finger” of a known volcano, or unknown one near or under ice, over time, seems to me, could do some damage or create melt. We dont know, but it sure isn’t silly to consider.

  150. gb
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    Re # 116 and 123.

    ‘I fear global cooling far more than global warming. The LIA was no fun anywhere in the world, with decreasing moisture causing deserts to expand around the world, and some to appear (like the Sand Hills of Nebraska) that have since been hidden. In Switzerland the glacier advances crushed out of existence a lot of towns high up, even flooding valleys by damming them. All across Europe the damper, colder conditions conspired to allow an epidemic of malaria (referred to in Shakespeare’s plays as the “ague” and shorter growing seasons severely reduced the amount of food and destabilized the continent into appalling wars, civil strife and religious persecution.’

    ‘But if some superbeing offered me a choice of 1-2 degrees warming or 1-2 degrees cooling, I’d take the warming every time. Civilisations historically have flourished during warm periods and collapsed during cold periods.’

    I thought some people (in particular on this site) claimed that our civilisation could easily adapt to climate changes? But you say that we should worry about climate changes. Now I am getting confused. And of course, the societies in Europe and America have to fear the most of climate changes. A few degrees extra and changing precipitation, well, that will of course have an insignificant impact on malaria, availability of drinking water and food in Africa, nor would it lead to appalling wars and civil strife. They are very immune to this in Africa. And flooding of valleys in the Alps is the thing we should worry about. I (as a Dutch citizen. In Holland half of the country is below sea level.) do not have to worry about rising sea levels. It will be very easy and cheap to adapt to that.

  151. TCO
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    Hopefully it will hurt Old Europe and help New Europe [/Rumsfeld] :)

  152. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

    #150
    The only constant thing about life is change.

  153. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

    Re #149.

    #146 If you are disputing the question, then demanding the facts, how does that make you look?

    Sceptical. Isn’t that good? Or is only AGW scepticism good?

  154. John A
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    I thought some people (in particular on this site) claimed that our civilisation could easily adapt to climate changes? But you say that we should worry about climate changes. Now I am getting confused. And of course, the societies in Europe and America have to fear the most of climate changes. A few degrees extra and changing precipitation, well, that will of course have an insignificant impact on malaria, availability of drinking water and food in Africa, nor would it lead to appalling wars and civil strife. They are very immune to this in Africa. And flooding of valleys in the Alps is the thing we should worry about.

    Adaptation is the key all over the world to climatic change. Economic vices like the Kyoto protocol are the worst of all worlds: they are extraordinarily expensive, they are destabilizing, they take money away from more pressing concerns and they don’t prevent any measureable temperature rise.

    I (as a Dutch citizen. In Holland half of the country is below sea level.) do not have to worry about rising sea levels. It will be very easy and cheap to adapt to that.

    Since the Netherlands were first created the Dutch have adapted to sea level rise (some of it self-induced). Adaptation is how the Dutch have flourished, not by trying to stop the sea-level rising.

  155. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    #149

    Which part of of 149, 148, 147, 145 do you think is unreasonable and does nnot debate well against your claims about how invalid the question about volcanos is?

    Show us your true skepticism, or show us your belief.
    Religion or Science. Pick one.

    Or slink off troll.

  156. Lee
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    re 145:

    Paul, the numbers have changed – apparently the spam filter relesed some posts into the thread, and pushed numbers down.

    I was responding to welikerocks (and her husband). She used the word negligent – I used it only is nresponse to her post – and she has had it pointed out before that there is no evidence of volcanic involvement, but a GREAT deal of observation and evidence of increasing temperatures, surface melt and fissuring as the method of collapse, for both Larsen A and B, and for smaller collapses and sloughing being observed.

    My apologies if it looked like I was atackng you.

  157. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    My #155 was for #153 of course.

  158. gb
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    Re 151.
    ‘Hopefully it will hurt Old Europe and help New Europe [/Rumsfeld]‘

    Hmm, I am not sure. Climate models in fact project the largest climate changes for New Europe (if you believe the models). Hopefully, they do not get more rain fall there. They had already quite big problems with floodings there recently.

    By the way, I am living in ‘Old Europe’, but that doesn’t imply I am anti-America (many good scientists there), but let’s leave out politics.

  159. Paul
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    Re: 156 Lee, I agree that the dynamics of Larsen A and B break up are probably related to the warming observed on the Peninsula. In turn this is affecting rates of glacial flow, glacial retreat and advance etc.

    As for the spam filter all my posts end up in limbo for a while so who knows what number they will appear with.

  160. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    Yes Lee but the point here is that the question is not silly. :)

    Please don’t fail to mention the “warming trend” may be natural. The northern regions of the Larsen ice shelf system have been subject to a summertime warming trend for more than half a century

  161. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    Re #155, so, you resort to name calling as well…

    Show me how the idea in #129 might work, in terms of heat output V volume of water (or land, or ice) and you might have a point. But, I am SURE, that it can’t be done. I’ve seen someone go through the maths – I’d go as far as to say to claim heat output from volcanoes can effect the weather or melt ice caps in the kind of way being mooted without obvious evidence of said is beyond believable.

  162. gb
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    Re 117 and other posts about chaos.

    ‘Spontaneous excursions at all levels of magnitude are typical of complex non-linear systems’

    I am not a climate scientist but I do research into turbulence, which is also characterised by chaos and nonlinearity. So let me explain some properties of turbulent flows.

    Turbulent flows are unpredictable, but the turbulent (chaotic) fluctuations in a flow fluctuate around a certain mean value and have a limited range of time and length scales, and furthermore, the amplitude of the fluctuations and the rate of change are bounded. Thus not any kind/level of fluctuation can be observed in a turbulent flow. This is because of physical constraints. I am very sure that the same applies to the climate system (It is very likely that the amplitude and the spatial and temporal scale of chaotic temperature fluctuations are very different in the ocean and the atmosphere). Chaotic temperature fluctuations: yes. But it is impossible that the mean summer temperature in Miami next year is zero degrees. Thus, in principal, chaos cannot lead to all kind of climate changes. Therefore, I have a hard time believing that for example a global increase of the ocean temperature can be due to a chaotic fluctuation. Just a feeling, but it seems to me that that is only possible if some of the external forcings is changing, or some energy balance is violated, but perhaps I am wrong.

    I have not read the article, but here are a few comments. They talk about the nonlinear response to the change of an external forcing: that’s not a chaotic fluctuation. The global climate changes they discuss seem to have a long time scale, not something like 30 years. Regional climate flcutuations due to chaos (can) have a much faster time scale than global ones. The same is observed in turbulent flows. Small scale fluctuations are more rapid than large scale. So, projections of global changes using climate models is perhaps possible, but the uncertaintity of the projections increases when the spatial and temporal scale decreases (exactly what Collins is saying).

    To conclude: one should be very careful in applying the results of Rial et al. Chaos cannot explain all kind of phenomena.

  163. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    Re #161, fwiw, I think you’re spot on and I like your examples. Why anyone would think weather and climate are chaotic as opposed to chaotic but ‘bounded’ or your ‘Just a feeling, but it seems to me that [example] is only possible if some of the external forcings is changing, or some energy balance is violated…’ is beyond me. OF COURSE weather and climate are driven by ‘forcings’, and OF COURSE they aren’t utterly chaotic.

  164. Paul
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    Re 160: Peter, I agree with you that it is not realistic to think that volcanic activity in the region of the Antarctic peninsula is likely to be contributing anything like enough heat to cause significant warming of either the Weddell Sea or the Antarctic Peninsula. However, one might bring forward a testable hypothesis that enhanced continental heat flow associated with volcanic activity beneath the continental ice is impacting the glacier flow dynamics. Since these feed the Larsen Ice Shelf it could have some relevance to the ice shelf break up, and also to the observation that whilst some 80+ glaciers are showing signs of retreat another several 10’s are advancing.

    For what it’s worth I suspect the rapid temperature rise on the Peninsula probably has a lot to do with break up of the ice shelf and the varying glacier dynamics.

  165. gb
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Re 162.

    Sorry, but I was a bit vague there. Think of pan and pour hot and cold water into it. Then measure the temperature at a certain point. Some times you will measure a high temprature and some times a low because of the turbulent/chaotic mixing. But, say, you could determine the intergrated enthalpy of the volume of water (or something like that. It is quite long ago I had thermodynamics) and observed that some time later the integrated enthalpy was higher. You could only conclude that some external heat source was applied: chaos could not have caused that.

  166. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    To add to the fray sans math..no expertise there:

    You could look at other planetary bodies in our solar system. You know, how they searching for life on other planets and musing that it may dwell under the ice layers in water warmed by the interior?

    or take a look at Iceland?

    info:

    The most northerly capital in the world, Reykjavàƒ⬫ is not a large city, but it supports about half the total population of Iceland of some 300,000. The city is built on a small peninsula jutting into Faxaflàƒⲩ Bay and across the bay can be seen the ice-capped peak of the volcano Snaefellsjàƒ⵫ull, which in his story Verne used as the gateway to the centre of the Earth.

    Reykjavàƒ⬫ has benefited greatly from the Earth’s interior, which provides most of the city and much of the surrounding region with natural hot water drawn from boreholes. Since 1990 geothermal water has been pumped to the area from a power plant at Nesjavellir, some 40 km east of the city. This plant supplies up to 400 MW of heat and 40 to 80 MW of electricity to help meet an ever-growing demand.

    (maybe that’s why people can live there?)

    This site here also has alot of other information.
    Despite the techology, seems that some people still have alot of unanswered questions about the ice on our planet:
    ICESTAT sattelite:

    http://tinyurl.com/o542m

    And while you are there you could look at one of the most active volcanos of the South pole.
    It says:

    The high point of Ross Island is Mt. Erebus, rising 3794 meters. It’s also the most active volcano on the continent and ****one of the active volcanic vents that’s responsible for the formation of the island**** Many days of the year a plume can be seen emanating from the mountain’s summit crater, which holds a unique lava lake. The mountain is essentially active all the time, producing small explosions from the lava lake several to many hundreds of times per day.

    Cheers!

  167. jae
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    When the temps get past those in the MWP, I’ll start worrying. Not before.

  168. Bryn Hughes
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    The posts have answered my question.It was definitely worth asking.It seems that volcanism could have the effect of warming the Antarctic peninsula and have played some part in the demise of the Larsen ice shelf.

  169. Lee
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    Bryn, THERE WAS NO OBSERVED VOLCANISM impacting the collapse of teh slhleves (plural). People are feferring to volcanoes on iceland at the other end of the planet, on Mt Erebus which is in the Ross sea on the other frickin’ side of the antarctic continent, to a volcano several hundred miles away at teh tip fo thea tnarctic peninsula, for which ther were observations of eruptive activity – but NOT to any observed volcanic activity imapcting the shelves. People are claiming, basically, that it ‘could have been’ something for which there is NO EVIDENCE, while ignoring the extensive direct observatisn of waht actually happened.

    The breakups, plural, were closely observed. They were preceded by decades of warming temperatures, years of erosion at the margins with major iceberg calving events, extensive SURFACE melting, meltwater runoff into surface fissures, expansion of meltwater-filled fissures, and dramatical crumbling and failure of the entire sheet.

  170. beng
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Sorry, this is only anecdotal, but I definitely remember a Science News article 5~10 yrs ago on a part of Antarctica (can’t remember where) where glacial land-ice movement toward the ocean was flowing remarkably faster (meters a day) than the surrounding ice in a “river” along a line leading to where there was evidence for under-ice volcanism, or at least major heat-release. The obvious first-guess by the researchers was that volcanically-heated water had formed an under-ice “river” flowing to the ocean & that had accelerated the ice movement directly above it.

  171. John A
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    Bryn, THERE WAS NO OBSERVED VOLCANISM impacting the collapse of teh slhleves (plural). People are feferring to volcanoes on iceland at the other end of the planet, on Mt Erebus which is in the Ross sea on the other frickin’ side of the antarctic continent, to a volcano several hundred miles away at teh tip fo thea tnarctic peninsula, for which ther were observations of eruptive activity – but NOT to any observed volcanic activity imapcting the shelves. People are claiming, basically, that it “could have been’ something for which there is NO EVIDENCE, while ignoring the extensive direct observatisn of waht actually happened.

    I don’t know who these “people” are. I was referring to Jun Jaegyu which is an undersea volcano. It was only discovered a few years ago.

    If there was a volcanic warming then you’d expect that the ice would thin from the bottom to the top and eventually break apart as the tensile strength of the ice sheet was less than that of the currents in the Weddell sea.

    If you were to stand on an Antartic berg you’d appreciate that it would be difficult to thin an ice sheet from the top in the manner described. If the ice were to melt quickly then the remaining berg would rise out of the water, but if the berg were warmed from beneath, the berg would thin and then start to form pools as it subsided

    It’s simply difficult to tell one from the other. I say that if the western side of the Weddell were warmed due to an undersea volcano then it would collapse the ice sheets in order starting with the nearest and working south.

    Its a lot of ifs. Like a lot of things in climate science, pinning down a single cause is problematic at the best of times.

  172. John M
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    beng #170

    Sounds like you’re referring to the water flow on Ross Island described in this rather long and wordy NOVA transcript here. As Lee has alluded, this is some older, known vulcanism near the Ross Ice Shelf. There’s a heck of a lot of water flowing around under the ice in Antarctica, which is only now starting to be studied.

    John A is referring to a volcano discovered in 2004 near the Larsen Ice Shelf described here. There doesn’t seem to be a lot known about this one.

  173. Lee
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    Jun Jaegyu is at the tip of the antarctic peninsula, several degrees of latitude north of the Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelfs, with intervening islands and obstructions. The Antarctic Coastal Curtent flows westward (counter to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current), away from the Larsen shelves, although there may be eddying at the tip of the peninsula. There is no evidence from satellite SST data that I’m aware of, of any singnificant heat transport from any point source into the area of the ice shelves – if there were, this would be a huge story, and well known.

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO OBSERVATION AT ALL that indicates that there is a volcanic influence on the breakup of the LarsenA and LarsenB ice shelves. Unless your standard for adequate data includes “none”, there is no reason to invoke volcanic explanations.

    There is abundant evidence of increasing temperatures, surface warming and melt, with the meltwater contributing to growth of surface fissures.

  174. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

    #173

    This is interesting/
    Here’s a website claiming Greenpeace was the first say they knew why,
    but they figured it out AFTER the collaspe of LarsenA.

    http://tinyurl.com/mzx7a

    FEBRUARY 7 1997

    ANTARCTIC CHANNEL DISCOVERY MAY GIVE CLUES TO ICE SHELF
    COLLAPSE

    The 1000 metre deep submarine channel was discovered this week
    by Greenpeace scientist, Ricardo Roura, and Argentinean
    Antarctic Institute researcher. IAA) Jorge Lusky as the MV
    Arctic Sunrise was steaming through uncharted waters formerly
    occupied by the Larsen Ice A Shelf. The
    sudden collapse of this ice shelf in January 1995 has been
    linked to recent warming in the region.

    Dr Rodolfo Del Valle, Head of the Geology Department at the
    IAA said: “From a geological point of view, this is a
    tremendous discovery which we were not expecting”. He added
    that it will help scientists to understand how and why the
    shelf collapsed. “It is possible to link the retreat of
    glaciers and the ice shelf collapse to the greenhouse
    effect,” he said.

    “While the glaciology and geology of the area was well known,
    there was no information about the topography of the sea
    bottom other than speculations arising from geophysical
    profiles of the ice shelf and surface observations. These
    speculations were quite correct as far as confirming the
    presence of underwater channels, but wrong in terms of the
    magnitude of these.”

    “Once the ice shelf was thin enough to allow the influx of
    warm sea currents under the ice shelf, marine processes would
    have taken over. In addition to the effect of warm sea
    currents, tidal and wave action would have contributed to
    destabilize the ice shelf.”

    “Unfortunately there appears to be no data about currents
    offshore Larsen A prior to its collapse. This is not a new
    theory arising from the finding of the channel (as it may have
    seemed, due to the “accidental” nature of the finding) but a
    theory Dr. Del Valle’s has had for some time. In fact our
    working hypothesis when we started sounding the area
    previously occupied by the ice shelf was that the depths were
    of the range of 50-200m and that the sea bed was criss-crossed
    by channels of glacial origin. We were looking for those
    hypothetical channels when we came across the deep channel”

  175. Lee
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

    stratopheric cooling (a prediction of greenhouse gas warming). The 82 peak coincides with the El Chichon eruption, the 91 peak with Pinatubo.

    —–
    Troposphere warming, again, this time from MSU. The cyclic pattern coincides primarily with la nina / el nino cycling, with the additin of el chichon and pinatubo effects. The recent peaks are more frequently at higher excursions, there is ONE montlhy legative excursion since the midle of 2000.

  176. Lee
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    dangit – how’d I put this in the wrong thread? Meant for the “Thompson” thread.

  177. Lee
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

    rocks, you get that from one out of context sentence saying that the collapse can be linked to global warming?

  178. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

    No, Lee, not meant to be out of context. I think I copied and pasted it funky. There’s also a couple of sentences cut off. I was working with two windows, plus keeping tinyurl site open. LOL We both had the same problem. LOL

    The whole article and title , and date is where I got it from. Sounds to me more like “at this point we don’t know” “but we sure can try and link that warm water under the ice to GW somehow! ” ;)

  179. Lee
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    rocks, I suggest you re-read that article a couple more times: it does not say what you think it says.

  180. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 10, 2006 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    Hi Lee, no sorry! I know what it says. I actually posted it for you.

    My comment was a poor way in haste to express what I wanted to say. I should not post in a rush.

    I meant, I see a bias to connect the whole thing to global warming, always and somehow.

    Cold water under the ice, holding warm currents at bay, warm currents insignifigant or from GW (or??) whatever it says, it say early on:

    “”It is possible to link the retreat of glaciers and the ice shelf collapse to the greenhouse effect,” he said.

    So Cold flowed in from melting from greenhouse close by and helped to stop the Warm flowing in from where-ever under the ice or something..LOL And of course glaciers melting and retreating they assume is from the greenhouse effect only.

    How about natural climate change? Would that also be a reasonable thing to say since we’ve been in a non-ice age a bit now?

    If I still don’t undertand it right, I apologise. I think in the least, I get the feeling we need to know more or don’t know hardly enough.

  181. Bryn Hughes
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 2:59 AM | Permalink

    Lee
    Google “Seal Nunataks” and see that there is evidence of volcanic activity under the Larsen ice shelf

  182. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

    Re #181, right!

    And all of a sudden (just a observed temperatures are rising…) the volcanoes become more active and melt the ice shelves? The volcanoes (note, you google doesn’t mention increased activity) melt them in such a way that everyone, bar a few here at CA world, is forced to the conclusion it’s the warmer temperatures that have done it?

    Is that the idea?

  183. John A
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 5:00 AM | Permalink

    And all of a sudden (just a observed temperatures are rising…) the volcanoes become more active and melt the ice shelves? The volcanoes (note, you google doesn’t mention increased activity) melt them in such a way that everyone, bar a few here at CA world, is forced to the conclusion it’s the warmer temperatures that have done it?

    Is that the idea?

    No. Observed temperatures have definitely been rising – the question is whether rising CO2 has anything to do with it, or is even the major factor when there are other possibilities.

  184. Lee
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    Ther eis eidence for eruption in 1893, adn in the 1980s. Note that lave was observed on eh ice surface – didnt seem to be disrupting the ice shelf then.
    Note that I didn’t say there ws no volcanics – I’m saying there is no evidence that volcanics are involved in the breakup of the ice shelf. OR in the observed increase in temperature, JohnA.

    “The Seal Nunataks are a group of 16 nunataks emerging from the Larsen Ice Shelf east of Graham Land Peninsula. The Seal Nunataks have been described as separate volcanic vents or remnants of a large shield volcano. Fumarolic activity was reported from Murdoch and Dallman cones in 1982, and fresh-looking pyroclastics and a lava flow at Dallman (not observed in 1979) were seen on the ice surface three years later (Gonzàƒ⠬ez-Ferràƒ⠮ 1983). Fumarolic activity was observed at Christensen in 1893, and Lindenberg was observed in eruption in 1893. Baker (1968) saw cinders on the ice surface, suggesting a 20th-century eruption. A 1988 British expedition noted that tephra away from nunataks was found only in ice-cored moraines, suggesting a glacial rather than pyroclastic origin. They noted no fumarolic activity, although water vapor resulting from radiant heating of ice-cored moraines was observed.”

  185. John A
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    #

    Ther eis eidence for eruption in 1893, adn in the 1980s. Note that lave was observed on eh ice surface – didnt seem to be disrupting the ice shelf then.
    Note that I didn’t say there ws no volcanics – I’m saying there is no evidence that volcanics are involved in the breakup of the ice shelf. OR in the observed increase in temperature, JohnA.

    Certainly the air temperature has risen in the Antarctic Peninsula over the last 50-odd years. But the ice shelf itself was mostly (obviously) underwater. The known undersea vulcanism may (must?) have warmed the water around the ice shelves.

    If you look at the way the ice shelves collapsed, they did so from the north first, suggesting that the warmth was coming from there.

    As I said, its not often possible to ascribe a single cause to a climatic event.

  186. Jim Barrett
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:02 AM | Permalink

    There have been nearly 50 postings since I said “….. if someone is going to make outlandish suggestions that are way off the course of conventional scientific thinking, then the onus is on that person to show QUANTITATIVELY that this suggestion is feasible. The onus is not on others to prove that the suggestion is wrong. Until the proponent puts up a good case, the proposition is just pseudoscience.”

    I still cannot see any quantitative support for this strange notion that volcanoes may have caused the break-up of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsular.

    Why don’t we just rename this site (or at least this thread) “climatepseudoscience”?

  187. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:22 AM | Permalink

    Nah #186
    Real science wouldn’t gag the discussion, right or wrong. Or make judgements about such questions. I think we’ve found alot of information because of it. What’s your definition of the scientific process? ClimateAudit digs deeper then any other site I’ve seen.

    And please be aware any reason for the collaspe of the shelves, is still all in theory.

    Here’s a good overview I found on the advice of #181: (read what it says models are predicting)

    Recent changes to ice shelves around the northern Antarctic Peninsula have inspired various environmentally-minded groups to warn that Antarctic ice is about to become a victim of “global climate warming.” There is clearly a connection between warming around the Antarctic Peninsula and the collapse of peninsular ice shelves. Profound ecological changes are also occurring in response to local climate change. However, temperatures in the interior of the continent have remained fairly constant (Mosely-Thompson 1992) and it is not yet known whether the observed warming is part of a global trend or is simply a normal fluctuation in local climate. Moreover, warming may actually increase the volume of ice stored in the large Antarctic ice sheets. Dramatic as the retreat of peninsular ice has been, that ice is less than 1% of the total Antarctic ice volume (Swithinbank 1988) and its maximum possible contribution to global sea level is less than 50 cm. It seems that, in the rush to demonstrate the perils of human-induced environmental degradation, much of what scientists have learned about ice in Antarctica is being ignored.

    http://tinyurl.com/nyys4

    “Recent changes to Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves: What lessons have been learned?”
    C. L. HULBE
    Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago

  188. Paul
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    Jim I think you have missed the point completely as well. No one, I repeat NO ONE, made an outlandish suggestion. Someone simply asked if volcanism could contribute to the warming, or the break up of the Larsen Ice Shelf. It is a perfectly reasonable question, not completely left field. After all there is concern that high heat flows associated with volcanism may affect the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    What do we know of the sub-surface geology beneath the Ice Shelf and Weddell Sea in this area. It was very little ’till the shelf broke up.

    People here are working there way towards an understanding of the processes involved, some with little knowledge and are learning a lot through asking questions.

  189. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    Re #188, would it be ‘a perfectly reasonable question not left field’ to ask if aliens were responsible? After all there is as much evidence they are responsible (i.e. none, zilch, nowt, not a bit) as volcanoes. Unless, of course, you’ve some evidence of increased vulcanicity there and some figures to illustrate this???

    Now, lets see if this post gets removed like my last reply (can’t have contrary views now can we!).

  190. Paul
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    Peter, you know as well as I do that it would not be reasonable. Your examples border on the ridiculous. There are perfectly plausible mechanisms, well understood geologically for volcanoes to interact with ice. Note we are not necessarily talking about active volcanism either in the sense of fumarolic activity, eruption etc. but just high heat flows.

    Now, as far as I am aware we have a very limited understanding of continental heat flows in the area. The fact that there are volcanoes, some with a historic record of eruption would suggest that heat flows are higher than average. This heat flow is likely to vary given magma movements and hydrothermal activity.

    Now before you get on your high horse again please note that I don’t believe volcanic activity is the cause of break up of the Larsen Ice Shelf, or the warming of the peninsula.

  191. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

    Peter Hearnden,

    Aliens have got to be talked about for sure, but after earthquakes OK? We haven’t talked about them yet! I read somewhere during this whole scientific google extraviganza there are several monitering sations set up just recently to look at those kinds of things in the region.

    Sigh, so many factors and so little time to save the world from gloom and doom! ;)

  192. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

    Re #187, that’s an interesting link WLR, note this bit (I’ve emphasised bit I find most interesting):

    “An increase in atmospheric temperature, if large enough to push summer temperatures above the freezing point, will increase mass loss directly by increasing melting at the upper surface. Warmer sea surface temperature (SST) that may accompany warmer air temperature could also increase the rate of ice shelf melting. The indirect effects of warmer air temperature are important as well. Meltwater collecting in surface crevasses (wedge-shaped cracks in the ice that normally close by about 50 meters depth) allows the cracks to open to greater depth because water exerts a larger outward pressure on crevasse walls than does air. Water-filled crevasses may penetrate to the bottom of the ice, possibly weakening the ice shelf and hastening its decay. Warmer air and sea surface temperatures could produce a positive effect on mass balance by promoting evaporation, which in turn increases snow accumulation over inland ice and the mass of ice flowing into the shelf. Simple comparison between mean summer air temperatures and the locations of extant ice shelves led Mercer (1978) to propose a climatic limit for ice shelf stability: North of the -4 degree Celsius mean annual isotherm, ice shelves should be unstable. The present-day warming and retreat of ice shelves around the northern Antarctic Peninsula seem to confirm that hypothesis.”

    Oh, and you characterisation that people want to ‘gag’ the discussion is michieviously wrong. People like me are trying to counter what is a discussion of science an idea that has no evidence what so ever to back it up and makes no sense at all once you do the calculation of mass of water/air V possible heat available.

  193. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

    Peter,
    You are confusing CA with RC. Your post made it here complete with your “straw man” logical fallacy. Many of my posts do not make it to RC when I do little more than ask a sensitive question, or use one of RC’s many secret words.

    As to why your argument is a “straw man”:
    We know positively that there are volcanoes on the Earth. Antartica is on the Earth. Therefore there is a possibility that vulcanism is responsible for warming under the Antactic ice, until it is proven otherwise.

    We do not know that there are today or ever have been extraterristrial beings on this planet. Therefore alien influences on Earthly events are improbable.

  194. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    #186. Jim Barrett, I don’t think that volcanoes are a palausible mechanism for melting of ice chelfs. I’ve said nothing to indicate that I do. To the extent that this is my blog, why would you attribute views to me that I’ve never endorsed. I haven’t interfered with people chatting about it.

  195. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    Brooks, but plenty of people do ‘know’ aliens are here ;), that’s my point. Some people ‘know ‘ aliens are here other ‘know’ vulcanicity is the cause of the warming. Both ideas are actually non sense. They make no sense. Why? There is no evidence for either. You are intelligent to know this, so don’t be so disingenuous or mischievous.

  196. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Peter, no one, and I repeat again NO ONE here has said that volcanism, or any of its manifestations is the cause of the warming/ice shelf break up. They are openly exploring the evidence and not jumping to conclusions.

    One might say that you know that global warming is causing the Peninsulas climate to change and YOU KNOW that it is anthropogenic emissions of GHG that is causing the warming. Now there are plenty of scientists who would argue against that one.

  197. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    No, Paul, I’m not saying that. I suspect there is anthropogenic warming going on. I’m not certain about that though, but I do think it’s the most likely explaination. I’m also saying it’s about as likely aliens are melting the ice as volcanoes. Again, I’m open to evidence, but, so far,there is none.

    I’m also thinking, like Jim, this discussion is getting close to pseudoscience.

  198. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    #195 Since the orignial question didn’t mention the Larsen shelf specifically at all I think you NEED the Larsen shelf to make your argument. I validate you and Lee being likely on the correct side only in the Larsen collaspe. But because “it seems that, in the rush to demonstrate the perils of human-induced environmental degradation, much of what scientists have learned about ice in Antarctica is being ignored” I for one will keep volcanic warmed water in my pocket. (education isn’t supposed to teach you what to think, it’s supposed to teach you how to think)

    Thank you so much #194 for letting our minds wander freely in your virtual space. :)

  199. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    Peter H, no more discussion of aliens please. Carl Christensen is interested in detection of aliens and you can go somewhere and discuss it with him – not here. Further posts using this term will be deleted.

    I’m interested in geology. On a very long-term basis, it seems plausible to me that geological changes affect climate. For exmple, the closing of the Panama Isthmus is believed to have had an impact on the cooling from the Pliocene to the Pleistocene. I don’t know whether it did or didn’t, but it’s not a foolish theory a priori.

  200. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    Peter (and Jim) writing as a geochemist who is involved in climate change science, ice shelf science, including measurement of sub shelf water chemistry I don’t find the discussion here at all pseudoscience. There is no evidence that geothermal heating of the sea is responsible for break up of the Larsen Ice Shelf…but then again we don’t have any data to either support or refute the suggestion. Much like the debate over GW and AGW..lets get out there and carry out the necessary experiments

  201. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    Paul, you mentioned some thoughts on a new paleothermometry method that you sought funding for. What was the idea – if you don’t mind /are in a position to mention it?

  202. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    Re #199, not sure what’s wrong with the aliens parallel, but there we are (err, perhaps I’ll clarify by saying by ‘here’ I meant on Earth not posting on CA…).

    I’m quite happy with various evidence geological change effecting climate, the closure of the Isthmus of Panana being one that comes to mind, or Toba, or Tambora.

    Re #200. I suspect there is no need to do the experiments, just do the calculations of heat required to heat a certain (ever changing (I’m thinking currents)) volume by a certin number of degrees, or fractions of.

  203. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    re #201 Steve, the method is based on oxygen isotope geochemistry. To date our oxygen isotope geothermometers have been ‘indirect’ in the way they are used to estimate temperature. For example, the oxygen isotope composition of high latitude precipitation/ice can be used as a proxy for temperature. However, what they really are measuring is a temperature difference between the source region (evaporation) and the precipitation region. Other isotope palaeothermometers rely on measuring the partitioning of 18-oxygen between a mineral phase and water. For example it is possible to use some freshwater snails to estimate pond temperatures etc. or cave deposits (speleothems) to estimate cave temperatures. Unfortunately, we need to know both the mineral and the water isotope composition, and to demonstrate that there is isotopic equilibrium between the two phases. You see I’m introducing lots of ifs and ands and buts here! We’ve made some progress with cave deposits by analysing the ‘fossil’ drip water compositions trapped in inclusions in the speleothem material. This is written up as Dennis, Rowe and Atkinson, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 65, 871-884 (2001), and with freshwater snails (White, Dennis and Atkinson, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 13, 1242-1247, 1999)

    However, I’m now working on a new isotope thermometer based on the preferential bonding between 13-carbon and 18-oxygen in carbonate minerals. The theory and analytical technique still requires some development. However, it does have the potential of being a true thermometer in the sense that the partitioning of 18-oxygen between 12-carbon and 13-carbon in a single phase is thermodynamically dependent on temperature, and independent of other factors such as the water isotope composition. In theory the same principle could be applied to oxygen isotopes in the water molecule. i.e. We could directly determine snow and rainfall temperatures if we could measure the partitioning of 18-oxygen between hydrogen and deuterium. This would be great but there are analytical limitations to overcome for this application.

    I’m optimistic that the new thermometer will be a major step forward and allow us to begin to make realistic measurements of past surface temperatures.

  204. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    Steve, just as a follow up comment. One of the major problems with using isotope proxies for temperature is the ‘arm waving’ and wiggle matching nature of the exercise! I’m sure you’ve read many papers where it is either very difficult, or no attempt has been made to quantify the data in terms of temperature change and even more so put an accurate time scale on it. I’m trying to get away from this a develop a robust, quantifiable thermometer. Once we know the temperature then we can piece together other aspects of the story, water isotope composition, precipitation amount etc.

    It’s amazing but at times we still seem to be not too much further on than the original theoretical work of Urey and his the practical work of his students in the late 1940’s and 1950’s.

    As a matter of interest are you aware of the European Community funded Millenium project? This aims at a high resolution reconstruction of European climate and variability over the past 1000 years. It uses mainly tree ring, tree ring isotopes and lacustrine proxies.

  205. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    Re#203, sounds interesting. A kind of step forward in looking backwards perhaps :).

  206. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    RE: #18. Personally, I want to take a step back from international carbon taxes, caps on the economies of North American and European countries meanwhile the rest of the world forges ahead (clandestine income redistribution) and the general neo Malthusian notions that are increasingly driving major policy decisions. Firstly, these decisions have enormous impacts on standards of living and possibly on the climate in ways we would not foresee. It is possible that the programme being promoted by the IPCC and various hangers on might actually induce quite inferior conditions for agriculture and humans. The bottom line is, take the emotions and quasi religious Gaia worship and dogmatic neo Malthusian beliefs out of it, and do this based soley using science and engineering. Got a problem with that?

  207. jae
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    Don’t you guys know by now how futile it is to engage in a conversation with Peter H? Don’t feed the trolls.

  208. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Re #2056 I hope so Peter, but there is many a slip betwixt cup and lip. Seriously this shows great promise. For example we should be able to measure past cave temperatures accurately, and provide dating control either through counting of layers (where possible), or accurate U-series and radiocarbon dates, or a combination of both. Cave temperatures are great because they lie at teh average annual temperature in temperate regions.

  209. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    Re #207, and you as well? No surprise.

  210. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

    Gosh I’m looking into the future as well…I meant re #205 and not 2056

  211. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    #204. I’m aware of the Millennium Project. Briffa and Osborn and others are hoarding tree ring data under the aegis of this project. Tree ring data for this project is online, but password protected (rather than being contributed to the public WDCP).

    Why wouldn’t they fund the project you suggested? It sounds like exactly the type of calibration that’s needed. A lot more useful that another regurgitation of the same data.

  212. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

    RE: #116 – I share your worries. Imagine, if you will, the impact on energy demand / costs and the impact of that on EVERYTHING else.

  213. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    re #211 Steve, I wasn’t aware Briffa and Osborn were part of the Millenium project. They may have been drafted in at a later stage. At the time two projects went forward to the EEC: Millenium and another with Briffa and Osborn amongst the partners. Only Millenium was funded and my guess there has been some amalgamation of the projects. Incidentally, so that it is clear I’m in the same department as Briffa and Osborn though not a partner in their work.

    As for my project, it was very well reviewed and received by the panel, graded alpha 4 (alpha is science of international standing, 1-5 are rankings within this grade (5 is top, 1 bottom)) but just not enough money to go round I guess. I’m trying several other funding organisations and industry too and have the option of resubmitting to the NERC in December.

  214. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    Re #200: It’s plausible absent any other information, but we do know that scientists carefully examined the sea floor beneath the ice shelves after they broke up (to try to reconstruct their behavior during the Holocene). Is there any chance they might have missed the presence of hydrothermal venting on a scale that could have contributed to the ice sheet collapse? I very much doubt it. Doesn’t thinking otherwise assume a degree of incompetence on the part of those scientists which, if extended to other areas of science, would cause the wheels of progress to pretty much grind to a halt since no results could ever be trusted unless re-confirmed again and again by each researcher? Would the failure to find hydrothermal venting have been publishable or remarkable in any way (such that we could find it through googling)? No. Did this whole question get beaten to death in another thread on this blog? Yes. Can we be confident that the rocksies and John A.s of the world (well, of this blog) will raise this issue yet again as if it hasn’t been refuted on prior occasions? I’m afraid we can. Beware denialists in skeptic’s clothing.

  215. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 11, 2006 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom,
    The question was "Are volcanos heating up the Antarctic Peninsula?"
    Lee brought up the Larsen shelf, not the person asking.

    [snip]

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