WSJ: House Energy report on the "mutual admiration society"

John A: In today’s Wall Street Journal comes a mention of a report by three independent statisticians on the Hockey Stick

It is routine these days to read in newspapers or hear — almost anywhere the subject of climate change comes up — that the 1990s were the "warmest decade in a millennium" and that 1998 was the warmest year in the last 1,000.

This assertion has become so accepted that it is often recited without qualification, and even without giving a source for the "fact." But a report soon to be released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee by three independent statisticians underlines yet again just how shaky this "consensus" view is, and how recent its vintage.

The claim originates from a 1999 paper by paleoclimatologist Michael Mann. Prior to Mr. Mann’s work, the accepted view, as embodied in the U.N.’s 1990 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was that the world had undergone a warming period in the Middle Ages, followed by a mid-millennium cold spell and a subsequent warming period — the current one. That consensus, as shown in the first of the two IPCC-provided graphs nearby, held that the Medieval warm period was considerably warmer than the present day.

Mr. Mann’s 1999 paper eliminated the Medieval warm period from the history books, with the result being the bottom graph you see here. It’s a man-made global-warming evangelist’s dream, with a nice, steady temperature oscillation that persists for centuries followed by a dramatic climb over the past century. In 2001, the IPCC replaced the first graph with the second in its third report on climate change, and since then it has cropped up all over the place. Al Gore uses it in his movie.

The trouble is that there’s no reason to believe that Mr. Mann, or his "hockey stick" graph of global temperature changes, is right. Questions were raised about Mr. Mann’s paper almost as soon as it was published. In 2003, two Canadians, Ross McKitrick and Steven McIntyre, published an article in a peer-reviewed journal showing that Mr. Mann’s methodology could produce hockey sticks from even random, trendless data.

The report commissioned by the House Energy Committee, due to be released today, backs up and reinforces that conclusion. The three researchers — Edward J. Wegman of George Mason University, David W. Scott of Rice University and Yasmin H. Said of Johns Hopkins University — are not climatologists; they’re statisticians. Their task was to look at Mr. Mann’s methods from a statistical perspective and assess their validity. Their conclusion is that Mr. Mann’s papers are plagued by basic statistical errors that call his conclusions into doubt. Further, Professor Wegman’s report upholds the finding of Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick that Mr. Mann’s methodology is biased toward producing "hockey stick" shaped graphs.

But how did the Mann Hockey Stick come to such prominence and persist for so long? The answer lies in the small world of climate science:

In addition to debunking the hockey stick, Mr. Wegman goes a step further in his report, attempting to answer why Mr. Mann’s mistakes were not exposed by his fellow climatologists. Instead, it fell to two outsiders, Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick, to uncover the errors.

Mr. Wegman brings to bear a technique called social-network analysis to examine the community of climate researchers. His conclusion is that the coterie of most frequently published climatologists is so insular and close-knit that no effective independent review of the work of Mr. Mann is likely. "As analyzed in our social network," Mr. Wegman writes, "there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis." He continues: "However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility."

In other words, climate research often more closely resembles a mutual-admiration society than a competitive and open-minded search for scientific knowledge. And Mr. Wegman’s social-network graphs suggest that Mr. Mann himself — and his hockey stick — is at the center of that network.

So now we see what the context of the new inquiry by the House Energy Committee: a completely separate, detailed and independent review by well qualified statisticians that comes to the same conclusions as McIntyre and McKitrick.

395 Comments

  1. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    Egad, look at this Wegman guy’s resume. I look forward to seeing the hockey team trying to play their normal tricks with him.

  2. Jean S
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 6:26 AM | Permalink

    re #1: How about this: he’s a statistician, and he has zero qualification in climate science! You have to be a qualified climate scientistist to understand these things ;)

  3. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    It looks like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER has finally shown up.

    How will the hockey stick vampires avoid the stake this time?

    Each of the three statisticians has a fine resume. Chosing statisticians to review Mann’s work was a master stroke. They are not climate scientists; their findings will be critiqued by other statisticians so they have to be methodologically sound in their analysis.

    JSP

  4. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    Jean S,

    You have to be a statistician to analyze the data. All the climate science knowledge in the world is meaningless if you don’t know how to use Principal Components or to correct for autocorrelation.

    JSP

  5. Richard
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    One only needs to read Real Climate (yes I do – it is always important to get both sides of the story) to understand that “there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis.” They don’t take too kindly or openly to any suggestion that their pet theories might not be right. Science and an open mind doesn’t get much of a look in at Real Climate. It’s about time statisticians and economists got involved with the IPCC process as Ian Castles and co have already identified enough hair-raising economics in the previous round.

  6. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I note from Wegman’s resume that one of his research interests is time series analsis.

    This is what Mann’s work is all about.

    It should be interesting. Very interesting.

    JSP

  7. gb
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    Re #5.

    A look at GRL, JGR, Journal of Climate and other journals will learn you that the number of climate scientist is actually quite large. The people working together with Mann or contributing to realclimate is just a small fraction of the climate science community. By the way, do you really think that statisticians and economists have something relevant to say about cloud physics, ocean currents, atmospheric dynamics, radiation etc. ???

  8. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

    I would expect the HT response to be similar to their responses to previous analyses of their work. I expect that the HT will use ad hominem arguments, and obfuscation. I would expect that the HT will concentrate on who requested the statistical report, rather what it says. They will likely say the report is only applicable to MBH98 and that they have “moved on”. The HT might even claim that statistics are not necessary to support their conclusions.

  9. David Smith
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

    Next week should be good theatre. I am wondering if this is Act II, with Act III to be an analysis of the other hockey sticks.

    The issues I hope they touch next week are:

    1. Statisticians’ report on Mann’s hockey stick
    2. Report on the need for true review of articles before publication (hinted above)
    3. The need for NSF rules on data release
    4. The need to examine the other hockey sticks which the NSF relied on as support for Mann’s hockey stick

  10. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    RE # 5

    Practioners of the fine art of statistics and research methods have a lot to say about the use and misuse of research and statistics. Statistics and research methods transcend subject matter. A misused statistic is a misused statistic regardless of the subject matter. You can’t draw valid conclusions from bad data, bad research, and misused statistics.

    I’m not a climate scientist. I don’t know a great deal about the climatological issues that you raised, yet, but I’m learning. I do know multivariate scaling and regression so I could smell a rat when I looked at the research of Mann et. al.

    This will probably be the line of defense of the Mannians: they are just statisticians and don’t understand the nuances of climate reconstruction.

    As for me, I’d like to turn Barton’s team lose on GCMs. I’ll bet we’d find out a great deal.

    JSP

  11. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    #7

    “The people working together with Mann or contributing to realclimate is just a small fraction of the climate science community”

    Hello! Science isn’t a place, or a thing, or a person or a club.
    It’s a method and a set of protocols.
    Climate science is a method of looking at the Earth’s climate.
    The methods should be repeatable, openly available and held-up to some sort of standard. They are not to be proclaimed true and accurate by elitist group think or self proclamation.

    It’s about time this “community” gets a good looking over and talking to.

  12. Paul Penrose
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    Re #7:

    By the way, do you really think that statisticians and economists have something relevant to say about cloud physics, ocean currents, atmospheric dynamics, radiation etc.

    Your comment smacks of an appeal to authority fallacy, but I’ll bite anyway. Side stepping the issue that many mathemeticians have multiple degrees (and may actually have the expertise to discuss theories on these subjects), I’d say yes they do. You can’t say much about those subjects without getting into some pretty heavy math and any experiment to support those theories will almost certainly involve collecting and analyzing reams of data. These types of analyses usually employ a fair amount of statistics. I would think that this is pretty obvious.

  13. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    Re: 7
    gb

    By the way, do you really think that statisticians and economists have something relevant to say about cloud physics, ocean currents, atmospheric dynamics, radiation etc. ???

    Don’t build a straw man argument. Clearly statisticians can have very relevant comments on the statistics underlying conclusions in studies of cloud physics, ocean currents, atmospheric dynamics, radiation etc. The issue is the statistics behind the Hockey Stick.

    Likewise, economists can have important comments on economic models such as the IPCC used in the TAR. This is precisely what Ian Castles has done.

  14. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    Re #1 – I noted that he did several papers on “mining”. Did he work for any oil companies???

  15. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    I administer a small trust for my mother that has some energy stocks. Does this mean that I lose the right to participate in the AGW debate?

    What about Al Gore who administers a trust for his mother which contains a holding in Occidental Petroleum that greater than my entire mother’s trust? Why is he in the debate? Strange that someone who claims to be environmentally friendly owns stock in a compny that owns Hooker Chemical of Love Canal fame.

    JSP

  16. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    Re #7, gb

    By the way, do you really think that statisticians and economists have something relevant to say about cloud physics, ocean currents, atmospheric dynamics, radiation etc. ???

    If any of these disciplines had been able to build a solid case for anthropogenic global warming, then I am sure they would have done so. But they haven’t – which is why they have had to rely on shoddy statistics and gross abuses of science instead.

  17. Jean S
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    They will likely say the report is only applicable to MBH98 and that they have “moved on”.

    I have been playing with Rutherford (2005) past few days, and I have a comment to make: HT better move on again as their RegEM-camp is going to be under rather heavy fire pretty soon!

  18. L Nettles
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

    re 14

    Re #1 – I noted that he did several papers on “mining”. Did he work for any oil companies???

    When you post something like this you really ought to give a better clue that you are joking around.

  19. Geoff
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    Steve M. and Ross, just one word – brilliant.

    I’ve been thinking over the title of the book that will be written about this sorry but interesting episdode. Unfortunately, the one I like best is already taken: “The Great Unraveling”.

    Let this sound too triumphant, we can be modest about what has been demonstrated. These studies do not prove that the Medieval Warming Period was warmer than the present or that it was global, they don’t prove that CO2 has not contributed to warming, they don’t prove that “all is well”.

    What they do conclusively demonstrate is the the MBH and related studies cannot be the basis for any scientifically literate and responsible person to claim that the recent years have been the warmest in the past millennium. In view of the scurrilous attacks that have been made on you and your investigations, I hope and believe you should and will wear the honorary badge of honor with pride.

  20. gb
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    Re 10, 12 and 13.

    OK, I can agree that statisticians can contribute to issues related to the reconstruction of past climate records. But you seem to fail to understand that climate science is more than just statistics and HS curves. Many issues related to climate require a solid understanding of the physics. I do research into geophysical flows. Understanding of physics and mathematics is then essential. But statistics? Hardly. Economics? Useless. And I think in climate science there are quite many parallels. It is for example not really possible to assess parameterizations in GCMs without a proper understanding of the physical processes.

  21. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    #20. I’ve not said that statistics is the end-all and be-all of climate science. However, the Team is primarily about statistical methods and it’s an appropriate measuring stick.

    Where I would criticize the broader climate science community is most notably on the occasion when Mann said that he would not be “intimidated” into disclosing his algorithm, together with the various incidents of data refusal. The climate science “community” did nothing. “They should have said: Dr Mann, stop being a primadonna, show your data and methods. You, too, Dr Jones, Dr Briffa, …. ” But they didn’t. But when Barton asked for this information, only after Mann had made the matter into a public spectacle, the learned institutions dumped all over Barton.

    Then NAS fudged the panel terms of references and the panel dodged important issues of data access that the House committees wanted answered.

    The “community” is not the Team, but the Team is honored within the community.

  22. beng
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    Devastating critique & analysis of the HTeam social network & how it corrupts objectivity. Wegman seems to have done his homework.

  23. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    #20

    I agree with your last statement. Physicists don’t need statisticians. Chemists, rarely. Biology, more than they claim to need. You obviously don’t in your line of work.

    However, almost all of the “scientific” work I’ve seen to date on AGM–reconstruction of past climates, prediction of trends, and GCMs– are more closely related to the work of social scientists and econometricians since they have many of the same problems such as index construction, measurement problems, missing or incomplete data, autocorrelation, and establishing causality.

    JSP

  24. Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

    Here is a Fact Sheet (2 pages) and here is the Main Report (91 pages)

  25. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

    Funny (isn’t it?) how Steve’s spent years auditing the work of MM and others yet this work by these three scientists is just accepted without, so far, a single questioning word from the cheerleaders.

    Is this place climateAUDIT or not?

  26. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    Oh, come on, Peter. I had always thought you an honest man who just happened to be wrong. I had assumed that, unlike some of the other warmers here, if ever you were persuaded that Steve has been right, you would have the spine to stand up and admit it.
    Was I wrong ?

  27. gb
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Re # 23.

    GCMs are based on mass, energy and momentum balance equations and parameterisations of physical processes, not on statistics. However, when you want to validate a GCMs using (sparce) data sets statitics gets involved.
    Steve M, I do not critise your work, I think it is very valuable. Accurate climate reconstructions will surely help climate science but it is a part of it. I have never looked in detail into your work or Mann’s but I tend to think that there are better climate reconstructions around now (Moberg et al.’s for example, but this reconstruction is perhaps still not good according to you) and the HS curve should be ditched.

  28. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    #25 I find your use of the word “cheerleaders” to be sexist and insulting. As if anyone agreeing with Steve is “women” or a female groupie and shouldn’t be taken seriously, or has no brains. As if women couldn’t have the capability to reason and understand all the facts here. As if admiring Steve and Ross’ persistance is just a big blond joke in the realm of Mannly things.

    You insult me sir, and many others. I find your comment petty and small, and lacking in any real logic or clear reasoning.

  29. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    Re #26, no, you’re not wrong – clearly this reprot backs up Steve (indeed it relies heavily upon his work…).

    But, why doesn’t this report need auditing? Because it’s right? That’s no kind of answer – I say MM is right, would you accept that? Like fudge you would. OK, because other works back it up? But other works back up the recons. So, why do you just accept this work, as given, without a single word of question? I think the answer(s) is/are obvious.

    Now then, where are we? I’ll tell you, if this is a win (and it’s as close as CA have got) who from now on would dare to research, let alone publish, anything showing anything like a HS? I fear for climat science if this is a win.

  30. JerryB
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    None here have claimed to have finished reading Wegman’s report already (no surprise), and the trolls are already complaining about what: the absence of complaints about the report?

    Desperate days in trolland.

  31. Frank H. Scammell
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    Steve, – Let me try to be reasonable and helpful! You have done a remarkable job at showing that the HS model has input flaws, statistical method flaws, and ~ zero predictive capability, and, therefore shouldn’t be trusted for any use other than as a paperweight. You have won this battle while maintaining your composure and reporting only on mathematically demonstratable evidence. You have also identified a framework for doing the job right, but you have (very reasonably -yes, I think I appreciate the rationale) refused to produce a result with all of the errors corrected.
    Let me suggest the following -1) produce and publish a heavily annotated R program for all readers to experiment with – 2) make the data, and the corrected data available on CA, and – 3) occasionally publish ( perhaps on a different location on your website) those reader results you find to be of some interest to you.
    This should considerably reduce the “could you do this that, and the other thing”, remove the obligation of defending your reconstruction ( but not the obligation of explaining the program). If users change the program, it is their obligation to notify you of all changes and to justify their changes. In the long run, I think that this may be helpful to you in terms of reducing your workload.

  32. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    Remember, I’m English, and don’t be so damn quick to criticse. I’m talking about the leaders of the cheers. Don’t insult your cheerleaders – many of them surely have brains?

    Don’t talk to me, partners up with a serious feminist as I am, about being sexist when I’m damn well not being.

    If anyone has been accused here of having no brians it’s me!!

    Now, show ME some respect, or you loose mine. Grrrrrrrr

  33. Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    From page 29 of the main report:

    We have been to Michael Mann’s University of Virginia website and downloaded the materials there. Unfortunately, we did
    not find adequate material to reproduce the MBH98 materials.
    We have been able to reproduce the results of McIntyre and McKitrick (2005b)

  34. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

    #32 BS, you know exactly cheerleaders are. Half my family is English.

  35. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    post #32 refers to post #28

    Re #30, well, Jerry, perhaps people should read the report then post? btw, have you seen the interesting comment about blogs it makes on page 49…

  36. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

    Re #34, I’m not getting into that kind of flame. I’ll just say I meant no insult to women.

  37. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    You deserve a MacArtur “Genius” award. If you don’t get one, then it will need another appelation.

    The RealClimate website has an article concerning the use of English vinyards as a proxy for the MWP. Strange, with the Wegman Report apparently putting them out of business, they can’t come up with anything better.

    I suspect they will take their battle to the media with their usual comments (in the parentheses are the targets of these commeents): Wegman is not a trained climatologist(M&M); Wegman hasn’t published anything in the right journals (M&M); Wegman is a stooge of the oil industry (Michaels); Wegman believes that smoking doesn’t cause cancer (Lindzen); Wegman is a member of the Unification Church (Singer); Wegman has an ossified brain (Gray); and, Wegman is an alien who seeks to destroy humanity through AGW so that his race can populate our planet.

    JSP

  38. McCall
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    re: 23 (20) “I agree with your last statement. Physicists don’t need statisticians.

    You shouldn’t have — the 2nd statement is absurd!

  39. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    By the way, do you really think that statisticians and economists have something relevant to say about cloud physics, ocean currents, atmospheric dynamics, radiation etc. ???

    Actually, there are a number of conceptual equations which cross into multiple disciplines. I’ve known scientists to come across economics methods in journals and apply them to their own field where the sets of equations were similar. And if someone performs an improper differentiation of an equation in cloud physics, can an economist not recognize the error?

    Mann et al could easily have gotten a statistician involved in the first place. Back in the day when I was doing scientific research, we always had statisticians look over our work. For a work like MBH98, a statistician should’ve been acknowledged, or included as a co-author. Mann did it himself and flopped.

    Also, I’d like to point-out that there was a (flawed?) note in Nature done by Naomi Oreskes noting the “consensous” in journal articles about climate change. Oreskes isn’t a climate scientist, but nobody cared.

    #25-Funny (isn’t it?) how Steve’s spent years auditing the work of MM and others yet this work by these three scientists is just accepted

    Steve spent years doing the dirty work, so it shouldn’t have taken these three guys too long to clear things up.

    I don’t see where they said MM’s calculations are 100% correct, etc, just that the main points of MM’s argument are correct and that Mann’s methodology was flawed. I don’t think it took Steve too long to come to the “methodology is flawed” realization, either. It was coming-up with a publishable proof that took so long.

  40. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    Funny (isn’t it?) how Steve’s spent years auditing the work of MM and others yet this work by these three scientists is just accepted without, so far, a single questioning word from the cheerleaders.

    Nor from M. Mann’s cheerleaders.

    If most here had reasons to agree with Steve M’s assessment of the HS and three, evidently, prominent statisticians appeared on first reading to agree with those reasons why would you expect any questioning at this point. I have placed their names with the names of energy companies into my favorite online search engines and would expect you are doing the same.

    I can only speak for myself, but I am very interested in how this report is received by the mainstream media, the climatology world, the more ardent supporters of AGW and Steve M and the CA crowd when they have had time to digest the contents.

  41. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    #38.

    Just to continue our discussion: what statstics did Newton or Einstein use? I don’t recall any tests of significance in their work. Michaelson and Morely didn’t use ststistics to calculate the speed of light. I also don’t see any statistics in string theory. I see a lot of mathematics of staggering complexity but no statistics. Mathematics and statistics are not equivalent disciplines.

    JSP

  42. ars
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

    This obviously is a landmark report.

    I was wondering how journals like Scientific American, Nature, or Science–which have supported the anthropogenic global warming theories–will respond to this. Remember last year’s April Fool’s editorial in Scientific American?

  43. TCO
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    Peter:

    I did read the report. I didn’t find that much to audit. You know that I have dug into Steve on the details. The report is thoughtful, independant of climatology and has quality statisticians. Moreover, the report disassociates findings on MBH from general warmer/skeptic issues.

    I have read in very much detail, the MBH findings and Steve’s criticisms. My take on that was that Steve was broadly right although at times had minor flaws or overstatements. The report backs that up. In addition, the report backs up many of the softer issues and recommendations that Steve has discussed (data availability, lack of mainstream statisticians, etc.) Note also that the report says that blogs are not the right place for settling the scientific issues–a criticism of Steve, by implication.

    3 interesting insights from the report:
    a. Quantifies the “non-independance” of the proxy studies (in input) and authorship.
    b. Points out the dramatic heat gain of the ocean (thermal expansion)
    c. Interesting insight that it is polar temp that matters most (not global) presumably because of the flooding implication of icecap melting. Furthering this (my point), one would think that South Polar temp is the most important of the two.

    ——-

    Pete:

    Note that there are a few points here that are cautionary on GW and one (not publishing formal papers) that is critical of Steve.

    In terms of “auditing” the report, what parts of it do you think are flawed? I need something better then just your basic desire to see some auditing. I can tell you that I’m a thoughtful honest person who’s read a lot of assessment reports (WTC, Shuttle (both), Boards of Inquiry, USS MAINE explosion, etc.) and that I didn’t see much wrong with it. But I BET that won’t mean much to you. It should–TCO hair on neck is one of the best sensors in the world–but not enough people buy into that. In any case, why don’t you try thinking for a second: what parts of the report bother you and why and what aspect of checking would benefit it?

  44. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    re #41: An amusing anecdote. As a young member of faculty a senior prof once told me ‘If you need to use statistics then you designed your experiment incorrectly!’

    More seriously statistics is at the heart of everything we do as scientists. We might not need to use multi-variate statistics but any measurement that is made is subject to error, even in the Michelson-Morley experiment. An analysis of these errors is founded on statistical techniques.

  45. mark
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    I see a lot of mathematics of staggering complexity but no statistics.

    Uh, quantum physics is entirely based on statistics as are most other physics disciplines. The wave function immediately comes to mind, as well as anything else related to Schroedinger.

    Mark

  46. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    re: #23

    GCMs are based on mass, energy and momentum balance equations and parameterisations of physical processes, not on statistics. However, when you want to validate a GCMs using (sparce) data sets statitics gets involved.

    And when those statistics indicate that the model is not supporting measured past temperatures do the physics say go back and look at your temperature measurements again because the physics are right or do they use the statistics to say perhaps that the physical explanation is incomplete and we need to tweak our model to make it better fit the statistical tests?

  47. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

    Re #43, actully, TCO, despite some of the very unpleasant insults you’ve directed at me, I do actually tend to respect your view. #43 is one of your better posts.

    I pointed out, becuase it struck me thus, that this site has spent YEARS digging around one or two papers yet, and I take on board what you say, this report is recieved absolutely uncritically. I think that odd – which of course makes me a troll, arrgghh. But of course this report is right, imo becuase it says the ‘right things’…

    But, now, read my post #29 . You think I dismiss the report?

  48. mark
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    I’m curious how far Peter’s “chain of auditing” must go? Really, this report IS AN AUDIT, one that has been sorely lacking from the climate field, yet Peter doesn’t seem to care about that. So, now we need to audit the audit. But what about the audit of the audit of the audit? At what point does someone admit his pet cause has been audited to the point of truth and admit his fundamental claims about the original science were simply incorrect.

    Mark

  49. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    #23 are not many of the parametrisations involved in complex physical models based on a statistical analysis of some data set or other?

  50. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    Paul,

    Are we confusing data, and statistics? By statistics I am refering to the field of study that studies sampling, establishing relationships, and determining the level of confidence that we have that our sample relationship is the same as the relationship that exist in the population. If we define statistics restrictively as I do above, I stand by my prior statement. If we define statistics more broadly as the the analysis of data, then I retract my comment.

    My vacation reading arrived in the mail this morning: STATISTICAL ANALYSIS IN CLIMATE RESEARCH, by von Storch and Zwiers. It looks lke fun beach reading.

    JSP

  51. mark
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    that this site has spent YEARS digging around one or two papers yet,

    It is amazing that every bit of the HT’s work can pretty much be shot down in entirety with only two papers.

    If this isn’t a house of cards…

    Mark

  52. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    oops…I meant re #46!

  53. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    #47. Peter H, I agree that one should not uncritically accept this report. I agreed with parts of the NAS report and disagreed with others and was very specific in my criticism. What’s something specific that you disagree with in the Wegman Report or are you just throwing spitballs?

  54. mark
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    I stand by my prior statement.

    Really, research the wave function, it is PURELY a statistical entity. You’re not making sense.

    Mark

  55. TCO
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    Pete:

    1. It’s ok, man.
    2. I know that you want vetting of the report. And that you are not dismissing it.
    3. I spew out a lot of insults, but it is a little bit of a self-charicature. I figure people will realize that it is over the top and that my general level of silliness will mitigate the harshenss of the language.
    4. You come across as a nice personality. DanO also.

  56. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    Re #50. I think we are kind of agreeing. Remember I’m still the kind of scientist that likes to look for a phenomenological link between relationships and not just have some data, a whole load of variables and put them into a statsitics package to see what pops up in terms of correlations. I think this is the kind of scientist Michelson-Morley, Millikan etc were. So we design experiments with controlled variables and generally don’t need statistics.

  57. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Re #56 I’ve just re read my post and it doesn’t make sense. I make no slur on great experimentalists like Michelson Morley or Millikan….I meant they designed incredibly elegant experiments and didn’t rely on statistics…

  58. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Steve, you’ve spent YEARS trying to disassemble MBH, we really need to see where this report is in years time.

    Was MBH, for obvious example, recieved uncritically by it’s ‘supporters’? I think so…

    Now, I’m not criticising the report (as people love to point out, I’m not at that kind of acadmeic level), rather I’m criticising the willingness of so many people (people who wait on every critical word on MBH or others here) just to accpet it. This is a site with audit in it’s title.

  59. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    Re #48, duuno. You tell me. When the right result is achieved?

  60. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    #45.

    Once again we have a definitional problem. Is probability theory the same as statistics?I seem to recall they are not. Probability theory is used by statisticians to calculate sample sizes, and to determine levels of significance. Probability refers to the odds of an outcome happening. I will grant you that this distinction becomes murky in quantun theory, so I tentatively concede this branch of physics may use statistics. But I will not concede my point on Newton, Einstein, Michaelson and Morely, and String theory.

    What about getting Steve a MacArthur Genius award?

    JSP

  61. mark
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    Is probability theory the same as statistics?

    Yes, it is. I think you’re confusing sample, or discrete, statistical analysis and using that as your definition. Statistics do not have to be discrete, per se, though I understand your distinction now.

    Mark

  62. mark
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Re #48, duuno. You tell me. When the right result is achieved?

    Or are you looking for YOUR result to be acheived?

    This is now two independent audits of the HT (M&M the first) including a less than independent audit (NAS) that reached similar, though not as blunt, conclusions and that’s not a good indicator of the “right result?”

    Your ideological blindness in this respect is astounding.

    Mark

  63. JSP
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    Paul,

    Lets get away from this discussion because I think we agree more than disagree.

    To all the others involved in this thread, let me rethink my points further because I can see I am not completely right. (Unlike Mann I can admit I make mistakes.)

    I am reading the Wegman report as I am write. It goes as far back as Mann’s dissertation in their research. I am skipping the network materials for now. So far the report vindicates M&M and thrashes Mann. I can’t find any glaring errors yet, but as I admit above I am fallible.

    I wonder how the IPCC will answer this report.

    JSP

  64. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Re #62, read post #29. Oh, and then tell me where you’ve not dismissed something from the ‘team’? Do you, for instance, open your mind to the possibility of large magnitude climate change this century (>2C)? I expect a resounding no, but lets see.

    Right, enough from me on this.

  65. TCO
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    I think the broad concern of physical scientists for studies with heavy statistical methods (lot of signal to noise) is that they may just end up becoming data mining exercises, that there are usually imperfect (not controlled, not identified) variables in complicated systems so that your skill is usually even much worse than what you think it is. Therefore adroit measurement type experiments are preferred.

    THere is also an element of ability to actually DO an experiment, to vary it, to repeat it, etc. that exists in physical science but generally does not in social science, geology, or meteorology. Read MAKING IT COUNT for some more discussion of the issues that social science has in trying to approximate physical science.

  66. TCO
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    I meant low signal to noise. BTW, there is another issue which is that heavy statistical processing sometimes tends to lead the mind away from physical insight whereas direct experiment (and design of the experiment) tends to drive these things in. Anyone who has done a consulting study that was remote versus one that included a plant tour will understand…

  67. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    Re#58:

    “‘I’m criticising the willingness….

    No you are not. You are criticising without voicing any standards in the issue yourself. And throwing “I Dunno know” spit balls.

    There are established –standards— being voiced here and quite often, and you are simpling labeling it “willingness” or “cheerleading”.

    Moving your standards up or down, or moving the “goal post” is not part of a scientific process of discovery either. You set that standard before you put something to a “test”. I need to see________before you are convinced.

  68. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    As in #63, Whet will IPCC do with the Hockey Stick, the MWP, and the LIA???

  69. mikep
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    In defence of economists, Ian castles’ criticisms of the IPCC related to the economic projections on which the twenty first century projections of carbon emisions were based. No one is suggesting that economists are better at cloud physics than atmospheric scientists. but they are better at evaluating projections of economic activity and what they imply about carbon emissions. Moreover econometricians have contributed substantially to the analysis of the problems of drawing sensible inferences from non-experimental data. As steve reminds us from time to time it’s the econometricans in particular who have moved the analysis of spurious regression on from the recognition of the problem by Yule.

  70. McCall
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    re: 20
    It’s also apparent that many in climate science and the AGW camp have little no real understanding of thermodynamics. So with weak demonstrated capabilities in both statistics and thermodynamics, it’s an arguably inconvenient truth that much of contemporary AGW “climate science” may be fundamentally misnamed?

    re: “mutual admiration society”
    Is not in the .pdf reports — presume is WSJ choice of words? Perhaps invocation of the “law of group polarization” would have been a better choice. Drs McKitrick and Essex referred to this concept in their contructive recommendations summary to “Taken By Storm.” My personal tout, is still a fine work of not only for its science (and therm’s), but also for its insightful, practical and constructive suggestions (lost in the theoretical therm’s controversy).

  71. Tim Ball
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    This discussion is occurring without context as is so often the case these days. There is a fundamental failure to distinguish between the subject, in this case climate, and the tools used to measure and analyze the subject. I have watched this development in so many areas as mathematics, statistics and then computer models were applied to research. It is particularly problematic and somwhat contradictory as manifest in the term social sciences. I won’t go into the history of this development or what stage we are at except to say that students who aren’t required to take a course in the history of science are sadly lacking in their education. Now we have people starting out in math, statistics or computer modeling turning to application of their techniques to a particular subject without basic education in those subjects.These techniques are helpful but their use without understanding of their limitations or the limitations of the material to which they are applied is extremely dangerous as Mann and others have shown. My practice is to work with specialists when I needed more than basic statistical or computational work done. However, I made sure I had enough understanding of the specialist area to know its limitations and define the problem, and also to understand the limitations of the results.
    There are many problems with what has evolved in climatology. Among them the fact that climate is a generalist subject in a specialist dominated world. Setting aside the early Greek work on klimat, which interestingly means angle in reference to the solar angle, most people know about meteorology but think climatology is a new study. They don’t realize that meteorology is specifically study of physics of the atmosphere, a subset of climatology. Climate study requires putting together the specialist studies including everything from cosmic radiation from deep space to geothermal heat entering the oceans (ignored in energy balance climate models). Failure to include or understand most of these specialist areas is a major reason why computer models don’t work. This development of a generalist area of study after a specialist area has dominated occurs elsewhere. For example, aerial photography began in WWI but is now a subset of remote sensing.
    In my career as a climatologist I have watched the debasing of the subject until the final abuses for political purposes. I was as opposed to the hysteria about global cooling in the 1970s as I have been to the hysteria of anthropogenic warming. Some of the current warming advocates were equally vehement about cooling. I have watched what I call “peer review censorship” when articles are sent for review to the high priests of the prevailing wisdom only to be rejected as heresy and the “peer review control of funding” because the same small group generally decide who gets funded, at least here in Canada. I have watched and experienced the personal attacks and abuse or designation of scientists as skeptics and now “deniers’ with all the holocaust implications of that term simply because we were asking questions or trying to understand. I have watched the control of the IPCC reports from the infamous Chapter 8 event to the Hockey Stick debacle in TAR4. This control continues despite the pre-arranged ‘review’ process actually designed to combat claims of a closed process. I have watched billions of dollars wasted on government policies and schemes when more pressing and defined problems were ignored. We have the ultimate irony in Canada because Environment Canada diverted so much money to global warming propaganda, at least $4 billion by their own admission, so they had to close weather stations to get the money. Ironcally, they have almost guaranteed that an already inadequate data network is almost useless as the basis of research of climate.
    Steve and Ross have done a suberb job of exposing the legerdemain of Mann, Schmidt, Weaver and the others associated with the hockey stick and its defense. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Beyond manipulation of data, as Warwick Hughes has long pointed out, there is the problem of the models. These “tools’ are the sole basis of all ‘predictions’ of future climate and they have all the problems of the hockey stick and more. I have received emails from computer model specialists identifying concerns but afraid to speak out because they are not climate experts. I hope the disclosures have just begun and are not dismissed as another witch hunt.

  72. John Hekman
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

    Tim Ball:
    Thank you for the superb post.

    The Wegman report will be valuable in setting standards for climate science that will be unwise to ignore.

    But it will not change the media’s “consensus” for a long time. It will be only a little harder for them to ignore this report.

    Your comments on the climate models raises the question, how to get competing models that are not pre-determined in their outcome? The Wegman example suggests that the funding agencies need to find strongly-credentialed modelers who are not part of the hockey team to compete with, not to replace, the hockey team modelers. If we could only get a little competition in there, the models would improve.

  73. TCO
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    It’s interesting that so little news has been done on this. We live in a fast breaking society, but Google News shows no AP story yet: http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&tab=wn&ie=UTF-8&q=wegman+report+climate&btnG=Search+News

    All we have is a very short NRO peice and the WSJ piece (seems to have been tipped off about the release, but is not a story on the report itself.

    1. Rest of the media seems to be hesitating (I think they will cover it, but the hesitation shows something. If this were opposite style report, imagine how it would get blasted.)
    2. Media seems to do better when they have some pre-time and have press releases that basically write stories for themselves.
    3. Looks like WSJ got a leak (maybe preferentially)?

  74. Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    #73 Good point TCO the silence is deafening. I think their connumdrum is they can’t work out a way to spin it like they could the NAS report.

  75. TCO
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    There is a pretty surface-level sophomoric post on Stoat, where he basically says that Wegman can’t be trusted as he is trying to boost statistician funding!

  76. joshua corning
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    Wasn’t Bush (along with many young men) a cheerleader in collage?

    So isn’t calling cheerleading a woman’s activity sexists?

    this is WAAAAAYYY off topic.

    Congradulations Steve and Ross.

  77. TCO
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    RC has the Micheal Mann response to the report (in comments section of top post).

  78. mark
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    Oh, and then tell me where you’ve not dismissed something from the “team’? Do you, for instance, open your mind to the possibility of large magnitude climate change this century (>2C)?

    Uh, this coming century? There is no evidence that it can happen, Peter, exactly what would be the basis without the HS? Even CO2 as a forcer cannot create >2C alone… Particularly vexing is the problem that solar output in on decline. I expect we’ll see a drop in temperatures. I can open my mind all day but it’s just not possible.

    However, I’m not sure what this has to do with “the right result” as the entire basis for your claims is repeatedly shot down.

    Mark

  79. Mike Carney
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    An important reaction to watch will be other climate researchers and scientists that have remained mostly silent in face of Mann’s missteps and subsequent denials. As the most recent NAS panel demonstrated the evidence is there of significant issues. The NAS panel even provided cover for Mann to admit those problems, by declaring his work a “first” and problems are to be expected. Mann could have said, “yes there were problems with that study but now we have better methods”. Unfortunately, the milquetoast summation is now being used by Mann as validation with no problems have been admitted. Clearly Mann will hang on and drag down climate science with him until he receives a clear rebuke from his community for not facing up to real issues. In other words, he needs to start acting like a scientist.

    Any doubts of the problems in the community should be dispelled by Reviewer #2’s response in a Climate of the Past Discussions submission. As has been noted here before, the reviewer is “plausibly” Mann due to the style and several references to an as of yet unpublished work by Mann. The reviewer references that work as “indisputedly” showing BC’s position as “erroneous”. I guess its undisputed because its not available yet for anyone to dispute. BTW, the NAS panel made a comment about papers should not be trusted until they have had time to be reviewed by the community. Although the panel did not actually specify a length of time, I suspect Reviewer #2 has shorted it up a bit more than they intended. More to the point, any scientist that uses the word “indisputedly” to describe anyone’s work should be looked at with a jaundiced eye. To emphasize the point, the Reviewer’s goes on to say “There is no room for further meaningful discussion no this scientific point.[sic]”. Anything that cannot be disputed or discussed is no longer in the realm of science.

    Unfortunately, Reviewer #2 is not finished: “It is interesting that Von Storch and coworkers happily advocate inserting a deleterious procedure when their aim is to rubbish the work of others, but are unwilling to apply it to their own work. This is quite telling.” The telling conclusion then is that maybe Von Storch and coworkers aren’t stupid, maybe they are evil.

    At the moment Mann has become more important that the climate issues and that is a shame. If the community can step up and apply the appropriate peer pressure, this problem can be overcome. The same is true of journal editors that permit missing data and methods and allow reviews like the one cited above to go unchallenged. Until then, there is more than sufficient ammunition for detractors of the field.

  80. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    RE#77 – Same old spin – “My conclusions are supported elsewhere (please stop reminding me that my methods have been found to be bogus – and ssssshhhh, don’t tell anyone that the NAS and this latest panel agreed with MM on that and other points!).”

  81. mark
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    For the record, Peter, I don’t have to “just dismiss” the team. Their poor work does that for me. To date, I have not seen one conclusion made by the team that stands up to scientific or statistical scrutiny and backs the A portion of AGW appropriately.

    Mark

  82. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    Re #73 – The media will be slow – after all, what makes more headlines: a broken hockey stick or a 20 foot tidal wave coming into the big apple after a heat wave melts some ice?

  83. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    #76 please, obviously I can’t even pretend to be a feminists so don’t go act like you have to defend yourself against one.

    The label is insulting no matter the sex in the context it it used. Take gender out, I still stand by what I said. It implies blind devotion and dedication to a “team” not to scientific fact or standards and also having no sense to understand or consider what is important or not about all of this.

  84. Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    Re: #71 What was the IPCC’s “infamous Chapter 8 event”?

  85. mark
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    It implies blind devotion and dedication to a “team” not to scientific fact or standards

    He is under the strange assumption that there are “sides” to this. There is only one, IMO, and it is the truth, which is repeatedly shoved in his face and he repeatedly tries to sidestep it.

    Mark

  86. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    re: #83

    I almost never do, but this time I agree with Peter Hearnden. I neither regard “cheerleaders” as of any one sex, especially when used as a metaphor, nor do I mind being called one when the concept simplifies a discussion. “Troll” and “Sock-puppet” are other terms which might be taken as insults by the thin-skinned, but which I think serve a purpose in blog-land. And let’s face it, wouldn’t Hockeystick or Hockey Team be considered somewhat insulting for a scientific concept or a group of scientists? But terms take on new meanings. Consider “Star Wars” for missle defense or “Yankee” for an American. Both started out as insults but became terms of use.

  87. Geoff Olynyk
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    #84:

    See this. A bunch of language highlighting flaws and limitations of the studies was deleted.

  88. John Baltutis
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    #84 Re:

    What was the IPCC’s “infamous Chapter 8 event”?

    Start with and .

  89. John Baltutis
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    #84 Re:

    What was the IPCC’s “infamous Chapter 8 event”?

    Start with http://legalminds.lp.findlaw.com/list/ecol-econ/msg00399.html and http://forum.physorg.com/index.php?showtopic=1587

  90. John Baltutis
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    Sorry for the double-post, but the first failed to enter the links using the link buttons. Will the webmaster please delete #88 and then this one.

  91. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    #86

    Dear Dave point taken. Really. :) Someone should agree with Peter once in awhile, and if I am the cause, so be it.

    I have been reading all this stuff a long time. I’ve seen the evolution of the word and other ones, and what they say all over the internet. And I was abused everytime I wanted to say anything at all “on the other sites”. I wanted to say something when I knew I could at least say something!

    I see there use of “cheerleader” to mean a person who can root and cheer, but can’t reason or offer any substance towards the conversation or see truth because “they love Steve” or whatever (rolls eyes)

    Since I am female, maybe I see it further or take more offense. I could be wrong in my opinion. But that’s my opinion. And where I come from, you do tell people thank you for what they do to insure truth in our world, and yes “cheer them on” when they have to go up against something so complicated. It’s not a bad thing; but Peter’s use implies it is.

    I really don’t care!!
    I just thought what he said was petty considering the report was out.

    All he wanted to do was “bring it all down” so to speak.

    Cheers!

    (And that just a friendly term in parting I use to mean, happiness, truth and good health too you)

  92. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    Please excuse the typos! There use=their use, etc. I see them after I hit submit sometimes, but I do see them and I do cringe!

  93. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    #20, gb, as you understand the physics and the parameterizations, can you tell us what the uncertainty limits of a temperature projection might be when the parameter uncertainties are propagated through a GCM centennial-length calculation? Pick your favorite GCM.

  94. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    #21 “But when Barton asked for this information, only after Mann had made the matter into a public spectacle, the learned institutions dumped all over Barton.

    Then NAS fudged the panel terms of references and the panel dodged important issues of data access that the House committees wanted answered.

    The “community” is not the Team, but the Team is honored within the community.

    This is the scariest thing of all. After 100 years of creationist pseudo-science pressures, ID theory remains completely external to science. But after a mere 20 years of AGW, the ‘we’re guilty’ outlook has penetrated into the heartland of the science establishment and the most prominent journals and journal editors have abandoned the scientific method in favor of a politicized position. They have apparently actively obstructed publication of contrary results and have given passes to results they prefer. They may have timed publication of some of those preferred results to enhance their political effect, so as to influence policy decisions with huge social and financial consequences. They have, apparently, decided that they know the right answer without objectively knowing any answer at all.

    I find it very, very frightening that such pathological science — as opposed to pseudo-science — can have so readily taken such wide-spread root in the science establishment among otherwise highly trained mentalities. So readily, and with such blindness to the clear methods of science. Conclusions in science are not warranted unless they are predicted by falsifiable theory. Period. These people have, to use a creationist-beloved reference, sold their birthright for a mess of pottage. I fear a big price will accrue.

    One qualifier offered in defense: Not within the whole community, Steve.

  95. Lee
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

    Re 94,

    Pat, once again, bullpucky.

    “Conclusions in science are not warranted unless they are predicted by falsifiable theory. Period.”

    Let me repeat the last example I gave you – we were pretty sure that smoking caused cancer as early as about 1950, well before we even knew the structure of DNA, much less had a falsifiable theory of mutation or a falsifiable theory of cell proliferation controls and signal transduction pathways.

  96. JMS
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    OK, I don’t think that this paper (commissioned by Barton) is really that interesting. We already know that Barton thinks that M&M are the best thing since sliced bread and that there is a conspiracy of climate scientists to scare people into believing that AGW is real so that they can get more funding. Why is it surprising that this report, 1/2 of which dealt with errors in MBH and 1/2 of which dealt with exposing the “conspiracy”, came out the way it did?

    I did follow the link in post #1 and Wegman has an impressive CV. However I did notice that he has been an expert witness and has produced a report for the Alcoholic Beverage Council. I think that this shows that he is not above saying what his (perhaps temporary) corporate masters want him to say. Why should I take this report over the NRC report? Bohlert asked some legitimate questions, the NRC answered them and Bohlert felt that they had done the job he asked them to. Barton did not like the results of the NRC report and neither did Inhofe. So what? These two are some of the *most* partisan and ideologically motivated representatives in the Congress.

  97. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 14, 2006 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

    Re #96
    What a silly posting.

  98. Bob K
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    Re #96

    Regarding Wegman. What part of ‘pro bono’ didn’t you understand?

  99. JMS
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 12:12 AM | Permalink

    fFreddy, why?

    I can certainly understand why Mann (and others) might be rather hostile to M&M or Wegman. After all, M&M have spent years trying to ruin his career and ruin him personally. If someone had spent that much effort trying to do the same to you wouldn’t you be rather defensive if the comments were on outdated work and included lots and lots of ad hominem attacks? (Liar, hiding results, fixing data…).

    I have to say, that unlike lots of people here who claim to have read the NRC report, I actually did. Guess what? The conclusion upheld MBH98 and upheld the conclusions of MBH99. Although they paid lip service to M&M, I can’t say that the NRC panel claimed that M&M’s criticisms showed that MBH9x was so deeply flawed that it invalidated the entire study. Afterall, the examination of the M&M critiques was part of their charge — they had to mention them.

    The NRC’s examination of the proxy data indicated that the (vast?) majority of it showed the same pattern, a locally warm period somewhere around the 11th century (give or take a few hundred years) a globally cooler period centered around the 16th century and strong warming at the end of the 20th. Hmm… isn’t this what MBH99 claimed in their NH reconstruction (a paraphrase: MWP temps approched 20th century means)? I am not necessarily defending the MBH reconstructions here, just saying that they were on the right track. I certainly did not see anything in the NRC report which indicated that they were way off base (“plausible” was characterized in the press conference as 2:1, which is the same probablity as the paleo community calls “likely”). In the press conference Bloomfield said he would not be embarrased by any of the choices made by MBH. He also stated that he thought it was an honest attempt to build a data analysis framework. No subterfuge, no dishonesty.

    Once Mann’s study got out into the wider world, he had no control over how it would be spun by various interests. The conclusions of MBH99 were couched in very cautious language, language which is exactly the opposite of the assertions made about the study here. If you would bother to read the entire study (MBH99) you might find that the team (MBH) had concerns about most of the issues which have been raised by M&M; a point which has been glossed over by the (and I use this advisedly) “character assasins” whom seem to love posting here.

  100. JMS
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 12:15 AM | Permalink

    Bob K, the CV does not say pro-bono. That is a phrase I understand perfectly well.

  101. James Lane
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

    JMS,

    I can certainly understand why Mann (and others) might be rather hostile to M&M or Wegman. After all, M&M have spent years trying to ruin his career and ruin him personally. If someone had spent that much effort trying to do the same to you wouldn’t you be rather defensive if the comments were on outdated work and included lots and lots of ad hominem attacks? (Liar, hiding results, fixing data…).

    Actually, if Mann had politely responded to Steve’s queries about his data way back when, there probably never would have been a CA site. You should also look at some of the things that Mann has said about Steve and Ross. At one time, I did actually feel sorry for Mann, but he’s made his bed and now he has to lie in it.

  102. Ian Castles
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 1:22 AM | Permalink

    JMS #99: “Once Mann’s study got out into the wider world, he had no control over how it would be spun by various interests. The conclusions of MBH99 were couched in very cautious language…”

    Michael Mann was a lead author of Chapter 2 of the WGI Contribution to the IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001). He surely had some control over what was said in that Chapter, which included the following:

    “Mann et al. (1998) reconstructed global patterns of annual surface temperature several centuries back in time. They calibrated a combined terrestrial (tree ring, ice core and historical documentary indicator) and marine (coral) multi-proxy climate network against dominant patterns of 20th century global surface temperature. Averaging the reconstructed temperature patterns over the far more data-rich Northern Hemisphere half of the global domain, they estimated the Northern Hemisphere mean temperature back to AD 1400, a reconstruction which had significant skill in independent cross-validation tests. Self-consistent estimates were also made of the uncertainties. This work has now been extended back to AD 1000 (Figure 2.20, based on Mann et al., 1999). The uncertainties (the shaded region in Figure 2.20) expand considerably in earlier centuries because of the sparse network of proxy data. Taking into account these substantial uncertainties, Mann et al. (1999) concluded that the 1990s were likely to have been the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, of the past millennium for at least the Northern Hemisphere.”

    The Wegman Report states that “Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis.”

  103. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 2:31 AM | Permalink

    #95, Lee, by the early 1950’s, epidemiological studies had shown a dose-response between smoking and cancer incidence, and at least two animal studies showed induction of cancer by exposure to tobacco extracts. There were good grounds to presume causality, based on medical biology. Your example fails.

    Your use of language here also leaves much to be desired. Last time I looked, “pretty sure” did not mean ‘concluded.’ And even “pretty sure” does no justice to the profound level of uncertainty regarding the culpability of “A” in GW.

    But apart from that, I suggest you examine the science journal of your choice and find a study that concludes without theoretical justification. Bet you can’t find just one. I also suggest you read Karl Popper’s “Conjectures and Refutations.” No scientific home should be without a copy.

  104. JMS
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 3:19 AM | Permalink

    Ian, if you actually went and read the chapter, Mann was not a “lead author”. Myths die hard around here.

  105. JMS
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 3:22 AM | Permalink

    “Substantial uncertainties (MBH99)”. I think that says it all.

    Ian, I think you made my point. Thank you.

  106. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 3:45 AM | Permalink

    Re #104, JMS

    Ian, if you actually went and read the chapter, Mann was not a “lead author”. Myths die hard around here.

    According to the IPCC, he was.
    That’s probably the last time I’ll bother with checking any of your assertions. Please go back to propaganda school.

  107. John A
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 3:58 AM | Permalink

    JMS:

    You have repeatedly attempted to claim that Wegman is somehow biased because this ad-hoc committee was assembled at the requested of Rep Barton. Wegman’s study was clearly started well before the NAS Panel even convened.

    You also make an unsubstantiated allegation that because he did paid work on behalf of the “Alcoholic Beverage Council”, this somehow means that he is tainted. I fail to see how. Wegman is an elected member of the “Research Society on Alcoholism”. What does that mean?

    I am extremely tired of people using this weblog’s facilities to make false accusations against well-qualified people whose only crime it appears is to come to a conclusion about Mann and the Hockey Stick that they don’t like.

    Either make reference to facts or go somewhere else. This is your last warning.

  108. Ian Castles
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 4:22 AM | Permalink

    JMS, re #104: “Ian, if you actually went and read the chapter, Mann was not a “lead author”. Myths die hard around here.”

    See the comment by fFreddy at #106. I did actually read the chapter on the IPCC website, and according to that source, the lead authors of the chapter were J.R. Christy, R.A. Clarke, G.V. Gruza, J. Jouzel, M.E. Mann, J. Oerlemans, M.J. Salinger and S.-W. Wang

    Is “M.E. Mann” not the author of the papers that were the subject of the critiques by McIntyre and McKitrick? Why do you say that this is a “myth”?

  109. cytochrome sea
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    Lee: when you first arrived at this website (or began posting, I’ll take it same-same) I tried to help you out by asking just a couple questions that were very easy to recognize. Or so I thought. I’m mostly a lurker, but sure: you’ve asked some very poignant questions, and I think think that usually you’ve gotten some pretty good answers. I think you’ve aided the discussion quite a bit, but once we start “slaggin”, any discussion will turn into political MUSH.

    I thought Pat Frank offered a pretty reasonable, and thought provoking post, but then we get the slags, and a bunch of stuff ensues. But why? really?

  110. MrPete
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 5:45 AM | Permalink

    Re: #71, 84, 87-89 (IPCC Infamous Chapter 8)…

    I realize this is “old news” but I’m stunned…

    Section 8.4.2.1
    new: "Implicit in these global mean results is a weak attribution statement--if the observed global mean changes over the last 20 to 50 years cannot be fully explained by natural climate variability, some (unknown) fraction of the changes must be due to human influences".

    deleted: "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases."

    Since when did Climate Science get a pass on the rules of logic??!!

    The old statement was fine: we don’t have any clear evidence that tells us the cause of greenhouse increase.

    The new statement is incredible: because we have no complete explanation for observed effects, therefore we know that some portion of the effect is human-caused. HUH?

    By this logic: because we don’t know how something works, therefore we do know (at least partially) how to fix it.

    I’ve never seen it so clearly laid out, the arrogance involved that presumes we can and do know both How It Works and How To Fix It and that We Can Fix It.

    Why can’t people just admit with humility when We Don’t Know, and put more effort into better understanding rather than drawing specious conclusions?

    //sarcasm mode//

    What a great logic, particularly for policymakers!

    "I know a little about machinery, and I've looked at a nuclear submarine in some detail. Since I'm a smart guy, and I don't understand the whole thing, it is clear that Nuclear Submarine Repair processes will be improved if my five year old daughter helps out."
    //end//

  111. MrPete
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

    (sorry about the html junk. Looks like the ‘code’ button is broken on this blog)

  112. cytochrome sea
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 6:05 AM | Permalink

    argh, it’s not fair… I caught myself UP on the other posts and everybody is attacking Lee!
    now I feel quite bad for not being as nice as I could/should have been…

  113. John A
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    Since when did Climate Science get a pass on the rules of logic??!!

    Somewhere around 1998, I think….

  114. jae
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    Just got back from a trip, catching up. No matter how the “believers” try to spin things, the Wegman Report has settled the HS issue. MM prevailed!

  115. Terry
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    #71:

    Tim.

    Interesting to hear that you have been in the climate biz for a long time. It is striking that most of the level-headedness in this area comes from senior people in the field (and now from senior people in other fields, i.e., statistics). It seems that the further removed a person is from the need to establish a reputation in climatology, the more level-headed they are. It is also quite striking to think that Mann could have been so influential fresh out of school.

  116. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    “In the press conference Bloomfield said he would not be embarrassed by any of the choices made by MBH.”

    Isn’t correlating the bristlecones with global temperatures rather than with local temperatures a cause for embarrassment? It is shocking that anyone would base their reconstruction on such a step.

  117. Jean S
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    M. Mann, G. Schmidt and A. Robock were interviewed by Lou Dobbs on Thurday (transcript). The end is interesting:

    DOBBS: Time. I’m going to ask if you all could join us again here in the next week or two, and if we can start focusing on real solutions.
    SCHMIDT: That would be great.
    MANN: Sure.
    DOBBS: What do you think?
    ROBOCK: Sure.
    DOBBS: If you’re up for it, we are. Thank you.

    So Dobbs will have a change to ask their fresh comments about Wegman report (and Barton hearings, I suppose) although after reading the interview I seriously doubt him asking anything “provoking”.

  118. Lee
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    [banned]

  119. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    Lee,

    I’d suggest you go back and read the first 5-10 messages you posted here. I think you’ll find you started the unpleasantness. OTOH, most people here have decided you’re ok to argue with even if you do fly off the handle now and again. You certainly rank higher than most any of the other regular anti-Steve crowd.

  120. Lee
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    [banned]

  121. per
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Lee:

    we were pretty sure that smoking caused cancer as early as about 1950

    I think we are rewriting history here. There were studies published in german about smoking and lung cancer before this time, but they were largely unknown in the english speaking world. Although there were five papers published in 1950 that suggested that smoking caused cancer, this was not necessarily instantly believed. It took a great deal of argument before the correlation was accepted as showing causation.
    yours

    per

  122. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    Well, Per, I grew up in the 1950s and certainly knew that Smoking was unhealthy. Of course there have been lots of things which have been found to cause cancer, only to have it be shown later that the initial findings were overblown or totally wrong. It’s one thing to say, “I think the evidence is that X is unhealthy and so I’m not going to use X” and to say, “X has been proved to cause cancer so nobody should be able to use X.”

  123. JMS
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    fFreddy: I was thinking of Chapter 12.

  124. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Re @117 – Can someone inform Lou Dobbs that there are a significant number of scientists who do not accept that the increase in temperatures is entirely AGW. He had to dig deep to find one side. We can ask for a convincing study that shows it is all or mostly AGW. Does he read his e-mails?

  125. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    Re #123, JMS
    So you owe Ian Castles an apology.

  126. Bob K
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    JMS,

    Re #96 you said.

    OK, I don’t think that this paper (commissioned by Barton) is really that interesting.

    One can only infer from the above remark that you actually read either/both the fact sheet and report. If that’s true, then you are fully aware that it was stated near the beginning of the documents that the work was done ‘pro bono’.

    If you didn’t read them, why imply you gave the report consideration and then relate your uninformed opinion of it being uninteresting? How can you even begin to judge the report? How can you impugn the motive of the author as you did with you comment below?

    I think that this shows that he is not above saying what his (perhaps
    temporary) corporate masters want him to say.

    The above statement by you is ludicrous on it’s face and drips with some preconceived opinion about the character of someone you don’t know.

    To me, those comments of yours reveal nothing about the report, but do reveal something about you.

    The mind is like a parachute. It works best when it’s open.

  127. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    Smoking and lung cancer had a great statistical correlation before any cause and effect were attached to it. The problem with carbon dioxide levels and global warming correlations is the statistics.

    Good to hear that Lou Dobbs is promoting M. Mann and company, but the fact that he is wrong on so many other issues does not allow us to conclude he is wrong on this one.

  128. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

    Re #124: It’s over, Gerald. We’ve got record U.S. heat, record low Arctic sea ice, massive increased forest fires in the U.S. west attributed to AGW, after a slow start Atlantic SSTs have revved up just in time for the main hurricane season, etc., etc. Why in the world would anyone want to pay attention to an attack on an eight year old study commissioned by someone who is in complete denial about AGW? Just asking.

    Re #127: “The problem with carbon dioxide levels and global warming correlations is the statistics.” See, I *love* this stuff. Steve M. goes to all that trouble to try maintain his credibility with the climate science community by focusing on hockey stick issues, but then like Strangelove’s arm you guys are incapable of restraining yourselves. Keep it up, please. Regarding Lou Dobbs, has it occurred to you the kind of position you’re in when someone like him starts ignoring the denialists? Note also the lack of media coverage of the Barton/Wegman report and consider the implications of that.

  129. TCO
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    Steve, it was cold here last night. Therefore GW must not exist.

  130. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

    re: #128

    Steve M. goes to all that trouble to try maintain his credibility with the climate science community by focusing on hockey stick issues, but then like Strangelove’s arm you guys are incapable of restraining yourselves.

    Just a bit of a twist on your view would have me, while appreciating Steve Ms efforts in using some hard statistical methodology while attempting to measure the uncertainties in temperature proxy reconstructions and appreciating even more his level headed focus on the hockey stick issues, thinking that Dr. Mann’s and his close associates’ efforts and reactions to criticism, viewed from this skeptic’s perspective as rather zealous proponents of AGW, should be given a token of my appreciation also. I think they have shown what a (too) strong belief in the circumstantial evidence can do to otherwise reasonable and rational scientists.

  131. TAC
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

    #128 Steve, you raise an interesting question when you ask:

    Why in the world would anyone want to pay attention to an attack on an eight year old study commissioned by someone who is in complete denial about AGW?

    Let me share my reaction: First, some people (SteveM; the NAS Panel; Wegman et al.; many of the readers of CA and RC), for whatever reason, care passionately about getting the science right. For such people, this issue has little to do with the validity of AGW. Instead, it is a matter of deeply held values (I recognize that not everyone shares these values) about integrity and ethics. Second, the “hockey stick” has created an “image” issue, a perception that the climate science community is unwilling to reject invalid statistical methods. This perception — I hope the NAS Report and Wegman et al. have begun to dispell it — undermines confidence in climate science generally, and provides precisely the justification that policy-makers need when they want to substitute their own opinions for science. Finally, when scientists — who are perceived as gatekeepers for rationalism — employ irrational analytical methods, it invites others — including governments, corporations, and individuals — to do exactly the same thing on a host of other issues. I will leave it to you to come up with some examples.

    In closing, I want to note that I share many of your concerns about recent warming of the planet, “…record U.S. heat, record low Arctic sea ice, massive increased forest fires in the U.S. west attributed to AGW… etc., etc.” For me, that is why this matters. If we want to move forward, we need to get the science right, and we now know that means we have to discard the hockey stick.

  132. mark
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    It’s over, Gerald. We’ve got record U.S. heat, record low Arctic sea ice, massive increased forest fires in the U.S. west attributed to AGW

    The funny thing about records: they never go down. Increased forest fires have nothing to do with heat, it is almost entirely due to land mismanagement. The “record” low arctic sea ice, compared to when? Certainly not the holocene, when there was none. We’ve been keeping accurate track for about 50 years and you seem to think it is relevent.

    The ONLY evidence to date tying A to GW is the HS. Now that that’s dispelled, sorry to rain on your parade, but the A is no longer an issue. Oh yeah, in fact, the 20th century was WETTER than any other in the US.

    But, you’re a “believer” so confusing the issue with facts won’t help.

    Mark

  133. mark
    Posted Jul 15, 2006 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

    For me, that is why this matters. If we want to move forward, we need to get the science right, and we now know that means we have to discard the hockey stick.

    Unfortunately, none of Bloom’s hyperbole has any basis in fact.

    Mark

  134. Terry
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 12:39 AM | Permalink

    #128:

    Steve Bloom said:

    Why in the world would anyone want to pay attention to an attack on an eight year old study

    This viewpoint is quite sad when you think about it.

    A paper hailed as seminal is considered utterly uninteresting and irrelevant only eight years later. In some fields, they actually “discover” things that are still thought to be true eight years later. I hear that some papers by Gauss and Einstein have had shelf lives as long as ten years or even more. But in climate science, even eight years is too much to expect — only silly people expect climate science results to last that long.

    The motto in climate science apparently is “clean cups move down.”

  135. McCall
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 1:07 AM | Permalink

    Re 128: “denial” and “denialist”
    I see Mr. Bloom still hasn’t learned from his “Riefenstahl” episode, still referring to AGW skeptics in terms associated prominently with Nazi propaganda and subsequent atrocites.

    Mr. Bloom, like many of your view, you have no shame to go along with your inadequate statistics and thermodynamics background. Common decency as well as the rules for constructive dialogue would have you refrain from such inflammatory characterizations in the future. Please do so.

  136. Bruce
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 1:23 AM | Permalink

    Re #128: One of the wider issues here is the fascinating topic of Blogs and how they have emerged, over the past 18 months or so, as a new environment where matters can be discussed by interested parties.

    There are many interesting aspects of this subject that deserve a whole blog of their own, but one that interests me is how clearly, after a few posts, it is easy to form views on the posters, entirely from what they say. On this site, for example, we have the serious and thoughtful contributions from Steve Mc, Ross Mc, Ian Castles, Pat Frank, Spence UK, Jean S, Francis O and many others. We also have the astute commenters (Kim). We have those who are a bit schizoid, posting in one style during the day, and another in the evening (not sure why!).

    But the group that identifies themselves most clearly, at least to this observer, are Steve Bloom, Tim Lambert, Lee, Peter Hearnden, John Hunter, and some others who I forget for the moment, who are clearly passionately concerned about AGW, and seem prepared to follow Stephen Schneider’s advice in doing something about it. I won’t go on about what I see. It is evident to any observer.

  137. gb
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 1:46 AM | Permalink

    Re # 132.

    ‘The ONLY evidence to date tying A to GW is the HS. Now that that’s dispelled, sorry to rain on your parade, but the A is no longer an issue.’

    So, because there were temperature variations in the past while CO2 concentration was constant we can conclude that when we increase the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere nothing will happen?

    I fail to see the logic of this and therefore I think some steps are missing in this line of thought. Could you please explain what I am missing?

  138. McCall
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 1:50 AM | Permalink

    correction: atrocities

    re: “the group that identifies themselves most clearly” — don’t forget, Mr. Dano!

  139. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 2:30 AM | Permalink

    The ONLY evidence to date tying A to GW is the HS. Now that that’s dispelled, sorry to rain on your parade, but the A is no longer an issue.’

    So, because there were temperature variations in the past while CO2 concentration was constant we can conclude that when we increase the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere nothing will happen?

    I fail to see the logic of this and therefore I think some steps are missing in this line of thought. Could you please explain what I am missing?

    There’s a gap in the logic on your part as well. There is a notion that the CO2 rise over the 20th Century was all or mostly due to man-made sources, whereas the actual contribution is minor compared to the natural flux.

    Also the evidence from high resolution ice cores show that carbon dioxide enrichment is a response to climatic warming and never a forcing. There is an assumption made that carbon dioxide has this dread positive feedback effect put into practically all climate models.

    Finally the link between the Hockey Stick and carbon dioxide was done several times, including the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment which had this diagram:

  140. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 2:43 AM | Permalink

    There’s a gap in the logic on your part as well. There is a notion that the CO2 rise over the 20th Century was all or mostly due to man-made sources, whereas the actual contribution is minor compared to the natural flux.

    HANS! We need you now! :).

    John, the natural flux (emissions) of CO2 is indeed massive. BUT the natural sink, which you ignore, is also massive. IT HAS to be, else we’d be rapidly asphixated by that amount of emission each year left in the atmosphere to build up. Surely, SURELY, you must see this???

  141. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

    Re #136. Amazing. You approve of every single prominant supporter (‘serious and thoughtful’), and you encourge contempt for every single similar dissenter. Fact is, I’ll happily say, that here are good brains, good people ON ALL SIDES of this argument.

  142. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

    HANS! We need you now! .

    John, the natural flux (emissions) of CO2 is indeed massive. BUT the natural sink, which you ignore, is also massive. IT HAS to be, else we’d be rapidly asphixated by that amount of emission each year left in the atmosphere to build up. Surely, SURELY, you must see this???

    The flux is the contribution of both sources and sinks. I have no idea why this requires three question marks.

  143. Bruce
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 3:37 AM | Permalink

    Re:# 141. Accepted. Good brains, good people. The issue is that you guys had better start coming up with scientifically robust support for your positions, or you run the risk of being exposed as politically motivated advocates of the Schneider position. Please yourself.

  144. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 3:56 AM | Permalink

    In your case, McCall, I suppose a reference to Inspector Clousseau would have been more apt. BTW, what I do have that most here seem to lack is a broad-based knowledge of climate science. This is on an amateur level, of course, but it allows me the advantage of being able to keep the HS debate in perspective.

    TAC, I think plenty of people involved on both sides of the GS debate do care about getting the science right. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of people on your side of it, such as Barton, the WSJ, CEI, ExxonMobil, etc., who don’t. BTW, were you aware that Wegman is an AGW alarmist?

    Mark, you really need to pay attention to the science. Heck, if you’d just pay attention to Steve M., he’d be happy to tell you that the status of the HS does nothing to affect the A in AGW. And if you read the WSS report, how could you have failed to notice that they said the same thing? Speaking of science, apparently you missed this. Finally, since you’re such an expert on Arctic sea ice extent during the Holocene, could you provide us with a peer-reviewed citation that proves (or even considers it likely) that the Arctic was ice-free at some relevant time?

    Terry, do you really entirely misunderstand the rate at which climate science has advanced or are you just pretending not to? Maybe you need to have a look at this. I think you should re-read the NAS report as well.

  145. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:01 AM | Permalink

    Re #142, so you think there has been some massive natural net increase? OK, where has the anthropogenic CO2 gone? Remember it’s easy to show we’ve produced much more than has actually got into the atmosphere – thankfully the planet can sink a lot of our emissions. So, you need to account not only for our emissions but then your natural increase on top of that (that natural CO2 you think has pushed CO2 up from 280 ppm or do you take the Dr Jaworoski line that it’s only ~50ppm or so?).

    Bruce,#143, you could say that if one ignores all the evidence for plate techtonics then that theory has no evidence and geologists need to comeup with some for it to be credible!

  146. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:14 AM | Permalink

    Re #142, so you think there has been some massive natural net increase? OK, where has the anthropogenic CO2 gone? Remember it’s easy to show we’ve produced much more than has actually got into the atmosphere – thankfully the planet can sink a lot of our emissions. So, you need to account not only for our emissions but then your natural increase on top of that (that natural CO2 you think has pushed CO2 up from 280 ppm or do you take the Dr Jaworoski line that it’s only ~50ppm or so?).

    All of your questions stem from the assumption that the suspiciously Hockeystick-shaped Siple curve is correct.

    In order:

    1. It is likely that there has been a large natural increase possibly as a result of the climatic warming of the Medieval Warm Period some 800 years ago of which the current enrichment is simply a response..

    2. The anthropogenic CO2 has gone where the “massive” natural flux of CO2 has gone. The result has been a marked greening of the planet, including a shrinking of deserts and an increase in tree growth in marginal environments.

    3. The 280ppm you quote as the “pre-industrial” level is from the Siple curve. That particular HS has yet to be audited. One thing at a time!

  147. David H
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

    What puzzles me, is why any one should think that what rules the climate in future will differ dramatically from the past. We know fairly well by how much all green house gasses excluding water vapour went up in the last 150 years and by how much the temperature increased. This is about .6 of a degree. Even the most diehard AGWwer credits the sun with some part so at most you have at most half a degree C for what the Lavoisier Group(link below) argues is an increase in forcing from green house gases equivalent to about two thirds of the effect of doubling CO2. From that, the common sense view would be that if we double CO2 from where we are now (but of course hold other GHG emissions) we still can’t add a whole degree to the global average.

    http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/272/59/stern6.pdf

  148. TAC
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:33 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    What is the “GS debate”? (I’m just asking, not challenging you).

    TAC

  149. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:37 AM | Permalink

    What puzzles me, is why any one should think that what rules the climate in future will differ dramatically from the past.

    It puzzles me as well, but with all of the talk of “tipping points” and “unprecedented climate change”, some people are clearly declaring the end of climate history and a forbidding uncharted future

  150. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:41 AM | Permalink

    Re #147, imo your flaw is: there is a lag between increase in CO2 (oand of it’s forcing) and effect of said – it takes time to crank up the climate. Check out whats happening this year, remember it’s not a El Nino year. That said, the effect of JUST CO2 isn’t great, the great debate really is how great the feedbacks triggered, oh an I suppose how how high, in an emmission unrestricted world (and despite all the ho ha the world is doing nowt so the sceptics have ‘won’), will CO2 go.

    # 148 a typo? GW debate?.

  151. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:46 AM | Permalink

    Re #246, OK, publish it – and cite someone other than Dr J. You simply have to accept the increase is man made, you’re right off the field if you don’t. If the planet can sink all our emissions why is the conc of CO2 rising?

  152. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:47 AM | Permalink

    imo your flaw is: there is a lag between increase in CO2 (oand of it’s forcing) and effect of said – it takes time to crank up the climate. Check out whats happening this year, remember it’s not a El Nino year. That said, the effect of JUST CO2 isn’t great, the great debate really is how great the feedbacks triggered, oh an I suppose how how high, in an emmission unrestricted world (and despite all the ho ha the world is doing nowt so the sceptics have “won’), will CO2 go.

    The problem is that there’s no empirical evidence that rising carbon dioxide causes warming. In the ice cores, carbon dioxide rise continues after the temperatures have levelled off or even started to decline.

    Even in the 20th Century this was so. The link between carbon dioxide enrichment and temperature appears to be entirely one way

  153. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

    #153, see my reply to Bruce in #145. There is no empirical evidence if you ignore the empirical evidence…

  154. Andre
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

    Re 147 and 149

    Perhaps take an hour or two or a week, and read Spencer Weart, but try to remain neutral. Especially where it elaborates extensively on the discovery of the Younger Dryas and the quick climate changes as found in the ice cores. These were the direct reason of the flickering climate idea with tipping points etc and the Hansen hearing in 1988 leading to the installment of the IPCC with the objective to proof global warming rather than find out what’s going on.

    It’s not that there weren’t grave considerations with climate. But the big problem here is, if you don’t understand what’s going on, don’t make conclusions because you’re bound to be wrong. That’s what’s happening here.

    We should move on and try and understand what the ice cores and all other proxies are really, really telling us, because it’s bound to be a completely different story. How ever, as I’m experiencing it, it’s impossible to get something attempting to do that past peer review, because of the conclusions, that have been made out of an not understood scenario.

  155. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

    OK, publish it – and cite someone other than Dr J. You simply have to accept the increase is man made, you’re right off the field if you don’t. If the planet can sink all our emissions why is the conc of CO2 rising?

    I simply have to accept the increase is man-made. Why? Because you say so? Why is Dr J disallowed? Because you say so?

    Why is the concentration of carbon dioxide rising at the moment? Because its a response to other factors, a large natural component and a small man-made component and because there is a lagged response between carbon dioxide increase and the growth of sinks (the biosphere).

    Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is in a constant flux between sources and sinks. It rises and falls all on its own.

    Only a few years ago methane was also rising in the atmosphere, and then it stopped and is now declining. Why? Did the flux from man-made sources suddenly drop or was the rise and the fall due mainly to natural factors?

  156. David H
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 5:04 AM | Permalink

    Peter, explain to me the physics of this lag. What struck me watching the 2000 eclipse was just how quickly the temperature dropped. CO2 we put into the atmosphere does not have to serve an apprenticeship. Of course elsewhere the climate system has lags but how does CO2 affect them?

  157. TCO
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 7:41 AM | Permalink

    Bruce:

    1. Below is the caricature of the morning/evening type. And is this a group of one? Who is the other shape-changer in the lot?

    http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/jekylhyde.htm

    2. The PeteH group and such lacks the math ability to discuss the abstract or even medium complex aspects of the work here. I see them more as a counterpoint to JohnA. They can’t match Dardie, Pat, etc. JeanS and Francis are another notch higher. It’s a spectrum of course…

  158. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 7:41 AM | Permalink

    Re #144, Steve Bloom

    …what I do have that most here seem to lack is a broad-based knowledge of climate science. This is on an amateur level, of course, but it allows me the advantage of being able to keep the HS debate in perspective.

    What you also need is the ability to drill down into key issues to determine whether they are right or not, which is not something I’ve seen you do here.
    Fortunately, Prof Wegman’s credentials are such that I’m sure you can take his word for it.
    So do you now accept that the MBH hockey stick was an artifact of poor mathematics ? (A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will be sufficient.)

    BTW, were you aware that Wegman is an AGW alarmist?

    I didn’t know that, and I still don’t, though I’m open to being persuaded. Can you cite any sources for this assertion ?

    Heck, if you’d just pay attention to Steve M., he’d be happy to tell you that the status of the HS does nothing to affect the A in AGW.

    I have never noticed him say that. I suspect that what he would say (but more politely) would be that your gang tried to use the hockey stick to say that CO2-based AGW had been moved from a status of ‘unproven’ to ‘proven true’. Wegman’s confirmation of M&M’s work means that, on the basis of MBH, it must now be considered ‘unproven’.
    Of course, it is possible that other, unrelated lines of evidence might yet be adequate to move CO2-based AGW to ‘proven true’. Naturally, given the systemic failure of official science to maintain basic scientific standards in the face of environmentalist political activism, any such other lines of evidence are going to need an awful lot of independent checking.
    So what evidence do you have in mind ?

  159. David H
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    Armagh say

    “We analyse the records of sunshine hours obtained since the late 19th century from four stations geographically distributed throughout Ireland. A gradual decrease in sunshine hours has occurred at all four sites since records begun, with a slight recovery between 1950 and 1970 which roughly coincided with a temporary reversal in the upward trend in mean air temperature.”

    And look at the Armagh data that the BBC thought worth showing back in 2000 at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1045327.stm

    This suggests that solar is a significant forcing with negative feedback from clouds.

    Before someone says the variation in solar output isn’t enough to cause the changes we see, bear in mind that in a negative feedback system the intrinsic sensitivity without feedback can be very large and unlike the linear feedback in your hi-fi system, cloud feedback is via a non-linear complex chaotic system that may well include cosmic rays. This doesn’t alter the fact that the loss of albedo from melting ice and land changes provides a positive feedback that will raise the average global temperature. Neither does it change the physics by which CO2 warms the climate.

    This means that D & A is not a simple exercise and no one can call it settled science.

  160. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    Re #128 – Steve B – You never fail to show your lack of science.
    Where do you get the idea that warmer temperatures cause fires? maybe the same as CO2 causng warming? I am still waiting for the scientific proof that shows it. As I said before all you have is a STATISTICAL ASSOCIATON between CO2 and temperature. And may of your clan are ignoring water vapour and solar effect. Re your comment on Lou Dobbs – if that is true then we see why we have a problem with facts – he ignores them like you do. And your “here” on the “discovery of global warming” – find something better.

  161. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    I think we need to take a close look at the carbon dioxide story and the controls on it’s atmospheric concentration. Ice core records going back through the past 4 or more ice ages clearly show a fluctuating CO2 level that varies in close sympathy with the temperature record. There are similar sympathetic variations in methane levels recorded in bubbles in ice core. There is a relatively short time lag between the temperature change and the corresponding change in the concentration of the gas. As Lubos Motl points out on his excellent site the explanation is that the atmospheric levels of these gases are controlled by varying ocean temperature.

    The fact that the concentration levels of these gases in the atmosphere respond to temperature rise does not mean that there is not a positive feedback mechanism at work here.

    As for the modern rise in carbon dioxide levels. I am convinced by the available evidence that these are the result of burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, cement manufacture etc. There is abundant evidence in the changing stable isotope signature of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the measured rise in CO2 levels and the known inventory of fossil fuel burning etc. Now the rise is only about 50% of what we might expect and this is due to the varying sinks that operate. One is the ocean and the other, equally important, is the so called ‘greening’ of the planet due to CO2 fertilised increase in plant growth especially in the northern temperate forests.

    Yes the fluxes between ocean, biosphere and atmosphere are huge compared to those resulting from man’s activities. These seem to have been in some form of balance during the Holocene with a near stable 280ppm of CO2. Man’s activities have put a small disturbance in this with resulting increases in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

    Now the real question is how will the climate system respond to this. One of the reasons the hockey stick graph was iconic and powerful was because it suggested a correlation between CO2 and temperature. I submit that the correlation between CO2, as a driver of climate change, and temperature was one of the key conclusions of MBH98.

    I think the jury is out on this one. We have competing hypotheses: (i) that increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere will lead to a ‘hotter’ climate. (ii) that the climate will be largely insensitive to small perturbations in the CO2 level. What we need now are experiments to decide which of these two are correct. Unfortunately the dismantling of the HS temperature record isn’t a good enough experiment.

  162. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    I also suggest that we need to do a lot more to understand the atmospheric CO2 record. The modern period since Keeling started making measurements at the Mauna Loa observatory are excellent. But this is only a relatively short period.

    We need to examine the record before this and this is very difficult to do. Yes there have been isolated measurements going back over a hundred years or more. How reliable these are I don’t know. You need to be careful where and how you sample, take into account the analytical technique, it’s calibration and accuracy etc. Carbon dioxide sampled near woodland, for example, shows a very marked diurnal signal in concentration as plants photosynthesise and respire. Similarly the oxygen levels vary in concentration.

    The beauty of the Mauna Loa and other sites are their remoteness..they see a smoothed average of the hemispheric composition.

    I’ve been trying to think of suitable archives for atmospheric CO2…what about vintage aneroid barometers filled with ‘historic’ air. Presumeably we can date the air to the date of the instrument. If it’s still functioning well then it’s unlikely to have sprung a leak. All I’d need to do is drill a small hole, sample the air and then reseal it. What do you all think?

    On a longer time scale the ice core record is fraught with difficulties. First there is the age offset as a result of the time it takes for firn to become ice, during which the gas is still in contact with the atmosphere and changing composition by diffusion, thermal and gravitational separation, capillary effects during bubble close off etc. What about air trapped in large, very stable sand dunes..a possibility but still fraught with all sorts of difficulties. However, we need to think of good archives of historic and older air.

    There are enough imaginative, creative thinkers here…

  163. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    There is a relatively short time lag between the temperature change and the corresponding change in the concentration of the gas. As Lubos Motl points out on his excellent site the explanation is that the atmospheric levels of these gases are controlled by varying ocean temperature.

    The lag is somewhere around 600-1000 years. I’ve no idea what your definition of “short time lag” is but its ambiguous.

    The fact that the concentration levels of these gases in the atmosphere respond to temperature rise does not mean that there is not a positive feedback mechanism at work here.

    By the same token it does not prove that there IS a positive feedback mechanism. Carbon dioxide levels recorded in ice cores show no positive feedback response.

    It seems to me that the positive feedback response of carbon dioxide is a religious faith position, immune to disproof because it’s never accessible to proof in the first place.

  164. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

    re 163: On a geological time scale I’d say that 600-1000 years is relatively short John A. I don’t buy your statement ‘Carbon dioxide levels recorded in ice cores show no positive feedback response’. Just how would carbon dioxide levels, as recorded in bubbles in ice core, show a positive feedback response? I agree there is no evidence of a runaway effect with temperatures rising ever higher as CO2 levels rise and so on but I’m not sure this excludes a positive feedback mechanism.

    Neither do I buy you suggestion that the link or otherwise between CO2 and climate is not accessible to proof or disproof. With the present state of our understanding, the poor nature of most of our climate proxies etc. I think you are right the idea of a positive feedback is immune to disproof.

  165. Andre
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Re 161 Paul,

    When studying and comparing isotopes and gasses in ice cores, there is one puzzling thing that everybody happily overlooks. The water isotope ratios (dD d18O) of Antactica show a relative smooth transition during the last glacial, whereas the Greenland Ice cores show a roller coaster ride. Now you can point to local effects in Greenland (extensive ice cover – Schaefer et al Science June 2006) But if we correlate the gasses (basically global signal) we see that CO2 conforms to Antarctica but CH4 shows exactly the same rollercoaster as Greenland, even if the proxy is measured in Antarctica. There you go with your local ice sheets.

    Now, would’t that be a reason to drop everything and start from scratch with another idea?

    I urge you to have a look at this thread.

  166. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    Re 165: Andre, there is a very real debate to be had about hemispheric differences in response to climate change through the ‘ice ages’. I think our understanding of the carbon dioxide story is more complete than for methane. I’m sure that the temperature-solubility process isn’t the whole story and that you have something very interesting and worthwhile to say about clathrates, major sub sea slides etc. that deserves to be followed through carefully.

  167. TAC
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    #144 Steve,

    TAC, I think plenty of people involved on both sides of the GS [sic] debate do care about getting the science right. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of people on your side of it, such as Barton, the WSJ, CEI, ExxonMobil, etc., who don’t. BTW, were you aware that Wegman is an AGW alarmist?

    I was not aware that Wegman is an “AGW alarmist” (whatever that means); I would like to hear more. He and you may be absolutely right that the planet is in serious trouble. Perhaps we do have to act now to prevent cataclysmic disaster in the future. And that is why the hockey stick was so frustrating. Instead of shedding light on the situation, it turned out to be nothing more than “smoke and mirrors”.

    There is irony here. By demanding that the climate science community employ rigorous methods, SteveM (+Ross, Wegman, etc.) has likely done an enormous service to the AGW effort. The “hockey stick” was an embarrassment — really an impediment — to proponents of AGW. While it was SteveM who showed precisely what was wrong with the hockey stick, many scientists long ago learned to identify bad science — “tobacco-lobby science,” “creationist science,” etc. — by smell alone. The HS stank, and lots of scientists knew it. Now that it is gone, the real scientific debate can begin.

    There is a lot of work to be done. As you point out, there are many lines of evidence, and a lot remains to be investigated. Humans have had diverse impacts on the planet (we have been active, and have affected a lot more than just atmospheric CO2). Also, Nature herself exhibits extraordinary variability. We need to sort all this out. This is what science is for.

    What about reducing CO2 emissions? IMO, we should dramatically reduce our use of, and dependence upon, fossil fuels. However, my reasons are not primarily related to climate.

  168. Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    #144

    Dear Steve Bloom,

    I went to the sites you suggessted and found this….

    “In reality, after a scientist publishes a paper with an idea or observation, other scientists usually look upon it with justifiable suspicion. Many papers, perhaps most of them, harbor misconceptions or plain errors. After all, research (by definition) operates past the edge of the known. People are peering through fog at a faint shape, never seen before. Every sighting must be checked and confirmed.”

    IMHO, that is what is being done (checked and confirmed..or checked and not confirmed).

  169. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    Just how would carbon dioxide levels, as recorded in bubbles in ice core, show a positive feedback response?

    My answer: if there were a positive feedback response, then the temperatures would continue to rise while the carbon dioxide was still rising. But that never happens. The temperatures stop rising or begin to fall even though the carbon dioxide continues to rise for centuries.

    Conclusion: the positive feedback doesn’t exist.

  170. mark
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    Mark, you really need to pay attention to the science.

    I’m paying attention to the science, you’re ignoring it.

    Heck, if you’d just pay attention to Steve M., he’d be happy to tell you that the status of the HS does nothing to affect the A in AGW.

    He’s welcome to his opinion. In the mean time, the only statistical link between A and GW (as a forcer) has been the HS. The HS is gone, the link is gone. There may be other evidence, but as mentioned in other posts, it ain’t been proved yet.

    And if you read the WSS report, how could you have failed to notice that they said the same thing?

    They said exactly what I just said, that using the HS to prove A is unreliable. They also follow up by saying anthropogenic sources “contribute” but nothing more. I.e. they don’t claim the “same thing” as you think.

    Finally, since you’re such an expert on Arctic sea ice extent during the Holocene, could you provide us with a peer-reviewed citation that proves (or even considers it likely) that the Arctic was ice-free at some relevant time?

    Kaufman, D.S., et al., 2004. Holocene thermal maximum in the western Arctic (0-180ºW), Quaternary Science Reviews, 23, 529-560.

    I like how you threw in the “peer-reviewed” part. It’s as if science cannot even be considered unless it is peer-reviewed. Certainly it can be a benefit, but good science stands on its own merits, something those that you vehemently defend cannot claim, in spite of peer review.

    Mark

  171. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    re #169: John A if this observation is correct, and I have nothing before me to suggest that it isn’t, then you have some evidence that carbon dioxide has little, or no positive feedback effect on temperature. Is the 600 to 1000 year lag between temperature and carbon dioxide response well documented? My understanding was that the magnitude of the lag was still a matter of some debate but I’m not up to the minute on it! Certainly I wouldn’t be surprised by a several centuries, or more lag given the overturning rate of the ocean circulation. Of course the best place to look for it would be the end of the last ice age. I’ll go back and look at the ice core records and see what I can find.

  172. mark
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    I take that back… WSS did not even come close to saying the “same thing.” They don’t even go into whether or not there is a case for A in GW. They do state in their conclusions, however, that “the earth has warmed” and mention a few other things, but do not directly address the A portion of the equation.

    Mark

  173. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    Re #128:

    Regarding Lou Dobbs, has it occurred to you the kind of position you’re in when someone like him starts ignoring the denialists? Note also the lack of media coverage of the Barton/Wegman report and consider the implications of that.

    Lou Dobbs is a past master at livening up his cable show with a crisis view of certain subjects like international trade and immigration and then anecdotally bringing evidence backing his stands to the program. While his views on these subjects (and evidently now including on AGW) are more in line with those of popular national opinion (of which I do not agree), I do not think his approach and advocacy would be held up as that which the intellectual world would embrace.

    As Steve B has noted, Dobbs will have record US temperatures (for the first half of 2006), forest fires, record low Artic sea ice and the revving up of Atlantic SST after a slow start to play to his audiences. If the intent of this new emphasis is to publicize the climate “tipping point” and push for citizens actions, then Lou Dobbs is your man — at least to the extent that his program reaches a wide US audience. I’ll be watching to see if he can say, “those two Canadians”.

  174. mark
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

    BTW, Steve B., your little report on wildfires is not any evidence of anthropogenic cause, which is what your thesis was, i.e. wildfires are evidence of AGW (that it was a report about the 80s apparently escaped your Sherlock senses). Also, it is sort of in contradiction to this recent paper http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2005/2005GL022413.shtml by Woodhouse, et. al., that refers to the 20th century as the wettest in 1200 years with shorter, and less intense drought periods (also noted by Moberg).

    Wetter MUST mean more fires in AGW belief land…

    Mark

  175. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    Re #156, because, as starter, oceans take time to warm, too be warmed, to adjust to change.

    I simply have to accept the increase is man-made. Why? Because you say so? Why is Dr J disallowed? Because you say so?

    Just so typical of how you operate :(. I said the above and, emphasised ” You simply have to accept the increase is man made, you’re right off the field if you don’t.” Not me the field – get it? The field as in scientific field. Neither is Dr J disallowed, nor did I say he was, nor is it according to me. I said “OK, publish it – and cite someone other than Dr J”. why isn’t that clear? Why do you misrepresent me? We make it it’s according to me, when I made no such claim?

  176. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

    as starter, oceans take time to warm, too be warmed, to adjust to change.

    Warmed by what? Don’t say carbon dioxide because carbon dioxide doesn’t add any measureable energy to the oceans.

    I said the above and, emphasised ” You simply have to accept the increase is man made, you’re right off the field if you don’t.” Not me the field – get it? The field as in scientific field.

    Who are you to say what the field is? You’re not a scientist. Why should I accept a statement made without proof? Where is the proof that the increase is wholly man-made? Have you published on this? Have you done any courses in oceanography or earth sciences or atmospheric physics and can show that you know what the field is, and what is and is not acceptable as science?

  177. David H
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    Peter “because, as starter, oceans take time to warm, too be warmed, to adjust to change”

    Are they going to take more or less in the future? The issue is if what we did in the last 150 years caused half a degree where do these tipping points come from?

  178. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    Come on, Peter, time for a straight answer.
    Do you accept that that MBH are wrong, and that the hockey stick is just an artifact of bad maths ?

  179. andre
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

    re 166

    I think our understanding of the carbon dioxide story is more complete than for methane.

    No Paul, it’s not if you scrutinize the Atlantic alkanone sea surface temperatures during the roller coaster ride of the Bolling Allerod, Younger Dryas and Preboreal (the rest is much more uniform) and you try to correlate that to the standard proxies as well as the CO2 curve, you will encounter some surprises. Nothing looks mores more contrary than that.

  180. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    re 166: Andre, yes I agree that there are rapid sea surface temperature fluctuations as recorded in the alkenone data, and also more widely recorded in other terrestrial proxies, including the Bolling Allerod, Younger Dryas, pre boreal and now the 8.2k event. That these don’t conveniently sit with the conventional ‘Shackeltonian/Imbrie/Milankovitch’ theory of ice ages is uncomfortable. However, I don’t think this necesarily disproves the model. I think that some of these are thought to be just North Atlantic related and possibly caused by a significant freshwater input. Though I admit I’bve seen little convincing data beyond armwaving. I really need to go through the links you sent me and apologise I haven’t had enough time to familiarise myself with your hypothesis to write more cogently about it. I do want to and am very interested in what you are saying…

  181. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    re #178. Dunno, haven’t been back in time 1000 years and done the tmeperature measurements, have you??? Seriously, if you KNOW MBH 9X is ‘wrong’ you must have been! Do I think it might not be perfect? Yes. Do I think it ‘wrong’? No. Might there be errors? Yes. How big are the errors? You tell me.

    #176, nope, have you? Is plate techtonics ‘proven’ if not (and it’s not) then you must think it’s rubbish as well.

  182. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    nope, have you? Is plate techtonics “proven’ if not (and it’s not) then you must think it’s rubbish as well.

    Why yes I have.

    No, plate tectonics is an established acientific theory that has been the subject of many experiments which show its veracity. Unlike AGW it can be falsified, at least in principle. Measuring the return times of laser pulses sent to reflectors set on the Moon by the Apollo astronauts reveal the slow widerning of the Altantic, the movement of Africa and Australia northwards.

    Interesting the theory that the continents moved was put forward by a non-geologist for which he was lambasted by mainstream geologists from pillar to post. It was more than 50 years later when seafloor speading was discovered that Wegener was proven essentially correct (although he did get wrong how the movement was accomplished). You’d think that the behavior of a scientific consensus like that would make people pause when it pops up again, but apparently scientists don’t learn very much history.

  183. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    John, there is plenty of proof that CO2 is a ghg. That the Atlantic is widening proves PT? No it does not, it shows the Atlantic is widening. We can’t prove PT, we can’t go down several miles and look and we can’t go back and measure temperature. We CAN make inferrences. We can detect, indirectly, plates, we can detect, indirectly, past temperature. We can’t measure (detect) either directly.

  184. Bruce
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    I don’t want to hijack this thread to discuss plate tectonics, which is why I didn’t respond to Peter’s question in #145. However, my view, for what it is worth (and I have read extensively in the area) is that the science relating to the earth’s origin, processes, global tectonics etc is not settled. There are alternative hypotheses (and no doubt an unknown hypothesis or two) and there is evidence for and against each of the hypotheses. All I will say here is that I am prepared to make a wager that Plate Tectonics will not be the preferred hypothesis in 50 years.

    It is a bit like the Big Bang hypothesis, where alternative hypotheses better explain the observed universe, but are not accepted.

    As with AGW, best be agnostic until the proof is in.

  185. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    Re #181
    You’re avoiding the question, Peter. MBH9X asserted, based on short-term temperature records, long-term proxy records and their statistical procedure, that they had proved a particular temperature reconstruction. My question to you is not whether their conclusion is correct. My question is, do you accept that their procedure for reaching that conclusion is incorrect ?

  186. John A
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

    John, there is plenty of proof that CO2 is a ghg.

    That doesn’t follow and you know it.

    That the Atlantic is widening proves PT? No it does not, it shows the Atlantic is widening. We can’t prove PT, we can’t go down several miles and look and we can’t go back and measure temperature. We CAN make inferrences. We can detect, indirectly, plates, we can detect, indirectly, past temperature. We can’t measure (detect) either directly.

    You can go to Iceland and set up a laser interferometer either side of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and watch the separation increase. You can also measure heat flows. Interestingly because of the heat flow, if average the sea level over a sufficient long time (I think Topex Poseidon have done this) then the averaged sea level shows a slight rise above the location (miles down) of the plate boundaries. In the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia there is a triple point where three tectonic plates meet and are slowly moving away from each other as new material rises from the depths to fill the cracks.

    We can, directly, measure past temperatures using boreholes. We can measure past temperatures of sea surfaces using carefully chosen biological proxies. We can infer past temperatures and climatic regimes using treelines.

  187. Petr Linden
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    Last year it was the hurricanes that proved AGW. This year is it to be the forest fires, or perhaps the mideast war? AGW is unfalsifiable, because anything that happens in the world proves that AGW is true. Thank you cheerleaders of AGW, we knew we could count on you. Thanks for nothing but rubbish.

  188. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    re 184: Bruce, then your proposition is that an alternative theory to plate tectonics can explain why the continents are seen to wander over the planets surface (continental drift), with major tectonic activity at the boundaries (mid ocean ridges, subduction zones, transform faults), why magnetic stripes occur on the ocean floor and symmetric with mid ocean ridges, why lithospheric thickness varyies depending on whether you are in oceanic or continental crust, a seismic low velocity zone (asthenosphere) beneath the lithosphere, geological evidence of crustal structure in uplifted oceanic crust as on Cyprus (Troodos Massif) and much more!

    I grant you an alternative hypothesis may exist but it is rather like the inquisition and the debate about the geocentric and heliocentric theory of the solar system.

  189. Bruce
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    No problem with those pieces of observational evidence. However, they can fit with alternative hypotheses that explain some of the problematic issues rather better. Happy to discuss privately, or on another blog dedicated to the topic. But both Plate Tectonics and Big Bang theory are very interesting examples of what Thomas Kuhn discussed in “The Structure of Scientific Revolution”.

  190. don
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    A complete list of things caused by global warming:

    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

  191. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    Re #183 – **John, there is plenty of proof that CO2 is a ghg.**
    CO2 is ONE of the GHG’s. The problem on the other side(RC and AGW) is that they believe it is THE GHG. Many are ignoring the fact that Water Vapour is far more abundant than CO2. It effects are being ignored – in some areas minimum temperatures are higher now, which should be studied more since this would be due to more cloud cover which would not be caused by CO2. When you read the Wegman report, I think one of his suggestions is for more interdisciplinary research. That would include something like this as the issue of temperature increase is not settled (even though RC feels it is).

  192. John M
    Posted Jul 16, 2006 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    Don #190

    These are a hoot. I’ve got a particular bug up my posterior about Great Lakes water levels.

    I have in front of me two issues of National Geographic. One has an article entitled “The Great Lakes Troubled Waters”, by Charles Cobb from the July 1987 issue (pp 2-31). The other has one entitled “Down the Drain? The Incredible Shrinking Great Lakes”, by John G. Mitchell from the September 2002 issue (pp 34-21).

    The first talks about Chicago eventually being under water. It seems that at the time, Great Lakes levels were at an historical high (historical as measured from the late 1800’s) and there was hand-ringing about how the Lakes were rising quickly from “a long-term low”. The second explains how Global Warming has lead to a precipitous drop in Great Lakes levels (“The world’s largest freshwater system has shrunk before, but never so quickly.”).

    There you have it, Global Warming has saved the city of Chicago from those marauding Great Lakes!

    Seriously, the claims in neither article were supported by the actual graphs in the articles. For a view of historical lake levels, see here and here. The second link has monthly data going back to 1918 that are a statistician’s dream.

    While we don’t have the benefit of history to judge the claims made in the 2002 article (lake levels have been bouncing along a local but not record minimum), clearly the language and presentation of the 1987 article were alarmist and short-sighted. If one plots out the data, it turns out that 1986 was indeed the highest recorded level “ever”, but the Lakes quickly returned to their long term range.

    Do you suppose National Geographic has something equivalent to the Sports Illustrated Jinx?

  193. Bruce
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

    Over at Deltoid:

    About the banning policy on RealClimate. RealClimate is a science blog, not a political discussion blog, and they are quite clear on that. Unlike many of their opponents, they are not paid to promote a certain agenda, and that limits how much time they can afford to use on answering comments from people with nicks like "nannygovtsucks"…

    I’ve written about it before, I believe. To evaluate claims, or to distinguish signal from noise, we apply networks of trust to decide who we should use our limited time to listen to. It’s not unlike google’s algorithm, where a link from an important site carries more weight than from an unimportant one. Everyone does it, but in science it’s institutionalized in the peer review process: a respected peer gets to set the agenda more, decide which results are important, which paths should rather be explored.

    Posted by: Harald Korneliussen

    I wrote a long response to this, but on review saw that I had descended to using ad hominems myself, so I have deleted the response. I think that Harald’s piece speaks for itself without commentary from me.

  194. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    We can, directly, measure past temperatures using boreholes. We can measure past temperatures of sea surfaces using carefully chosen biological proxies. We can infer past temperatures and climatic regimes using treelines.

    Can we? Well you said it John.

    OK, there’s no reason for you or Steve NOT to construct your own recon is there ;)

  195. gb
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

    Re # 191.

    ‘CO2 is ONE of the GHG’s. The problem on the other side(RC and AGW) is that they believe it is THE GHG. Many are ignoring the fact that Water Vapour is far more abundant than CO2. It effects are being ignored’

    Water vapour IS taken into account in GCM’s. and by ‘the other side’. Please have a look at http://www.aip.org/history/climate/ and take the time to read it, and read it carefully as a real scientist would do. The problem with you is that know what ‘the other side’ is assuming without ever bothering to dive into the literature of climate science.
    And John A, CO2 is a ghg. People back in the 1850’s realised this already.

  196. gb
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:26 AM | Permalink

    Another point. Arrhenius (a Swedish Nobel price winner) already in 1896 estimated the effect of an increasing CO2 level on the climate (although this estimate was based on a simple model). And this estimate was based on PHYSICS not STATISTICS. See the link given above.

  197. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:34 AM | Permalink

    Re:#194
    gb, water vapor in the form of clouds is NOT properly modeled in GCMs, for the simple reason that clouds are not well-understood. Even Gavin over at RC has admitted that they do not even know the *sign* of the net effect from clouds.

  198. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:37 AM | Permalink

    #191

    Re #183 – **John, there is plenty of proof that CO2 is a ghg.**
    CO2 is ONE of the GHG’s. The problem on the other side(RC and AGW) is that they believe it is THE GHG. Many are ignoring the fact that Water Vapour is far more abundant than CO2.

    Can you find me a scientist who thinks CO2 is more abundant in the atmosphere than WV? Any scientist, anywhere?

  199. John A
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:40 AM | Permalink

    CO2 is a ghg. People back in the 1850’s realised this already.

    The problem is that the Earth’s atmosphere does not behave like a greenhouse.

  200. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:41 AM | Permalink

    re 194 and 195: gb, I don’t think anyone at this site is questioning the fact that CO2 is a radiatively active gas (I hate the term greenhouse as greenhouses operate on a different physical principle), but it is just one of many including CH4, N2O and most importantly of all H2O. Yes GCM’s include water vapour, but just how well it is incorporated into the model we don’t know.

    A key reason the HS debate is so important is that our only test of the robustness of GCM’s is to spin them up and see if they accurately model the climate system, including its inherent variability on all frequencies. The HS suggests that the climate lacks long term (centennial to millenial) variability until it is perturbed by a rise in atmospheric CO2. The GCM’s are being tuned to produce this response and then predicting future climate change.

    What we urgently need is an accurate assesment of the climate variability in the absence of forcing so we can begin to validate the GCM’s. Steve and Ross have highlighted that the HS paradigm is not robust. We need to take on board the need to find more and better proxies and to develop a robust method in which they can be used to determine the climate field of the past. We can then begin to seriously assess just how good the GCM’s are.

  201. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:46 AM | Permalink

    re #198. Yes, we know that… your point?

  202. gb
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 3:05 AM | Permalink

    Re # 199.

    I agree with your points (except that GCM’s are simply tuned) and I think many climate scientist would agree with your points (which I am not). However, you need also to know how global the temperature variations were in the past and you need to know how large solar radiation variations were and aerosol etc. Otherwise it is still not possible to assess what part is due to internal variations (chaos) and what part to changes in the (solar, aeorsols) forcing.

  203. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 3:15 AM | Permalink

    re 201: Yes, all very good points and they just demonstrate how big a problem this is. Some of my work is on palaeoclimate proxies and developing the techniques and applying them is difficult from the first stage which is securing the research funding, through the technology, field sampling, analyses and final data analysis. We’re talking of lead in times of anything between 3 and 5 years for a single project. Multiply this up by the need for wide areal coverage, the need for proxies of solar radiation (cosmogenic isotopes), aerosols (dust and palaeomagnetic measurements in ice cores and loess deposits), cloud cover, precipitation etc. and we can see the need for strong inter-disciplinary programmes.

    I can understand why the multi-proxy reconstructions were attempted. I just don’t think they are reliable and now we need urgent action to develop good data and good explanations

  204. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

    Attn: Peter Hearnden

    Peter, are you going to answer my question in #185 ?
    Or am I going to have to revise my assessment of you in #26 ?

  205. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

    #203 Ff, jese, I can’t be here all the time :)

    I answered your question, I didn’t say what you want to hear. Do you want me to lie about what I think and thus say what you want to hear? Is that what you want? I answered you truthfully with my opinion (as I always try to do). I’ll do that until I’m banned or loose interest.

    Now, as a contrast you say MBH claimed ‘that they had proved a particular temperature reconstruction.’. I don’t think they said that, indeed I’d go as far as to say they didn’t nor never have said that. Sould I re assess you? Proof wrt climate recons is almost/probably impossible (that’s why people ask for it…).

    You ask do I think the procedure ‘incorrect’. No, honestly, (fwiw) I don’t. Might there be better procedures? There might. Was it honestly applied? I, again imo, think so. Was it the wrong procedure to use. Everyone here is quite sure it was (absolutely sure, 200% sure, sure beyond argument or reason) I’m not.

    fF, I don’t do the statistics, so it’s, basically, about who I believe. Not in that X or Y is lying, but who I believe – and scientifically not religiously (before someone starts…). I think the recons (plural) are our best, well, recons. I don’t think MBH was, nor is, the last word. I don’t think science is static, I DO think it moves on. Do I think MBH a deceit? NO. Do I think Steves work is likewise. NO!

    Now, this is a cue for you, or probably others, the above is obviously to insult my intelligence. Feel free.

  206. John A
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

    I don’t do the statistics, so it’s, basically, about who I believe. Not in that X or Y is lying, but who I believe – and scientifically not religiously (before someone starts…).

    Those two sentences do not compute. Believing scientifically means after an assessment of the evidence, but you claim you can’t (won’t? do that.

  207. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    Re #205, Peter Hearnden

    I answered your question…

    Actually, you didn’t.

    You ask do I think the procedure “incorrect’. No, honestly, (fwiw) I don’t.

    Right, this does answer my question.

    Peter, I’m not after abusing your intelligence – if you don’t have the maths, then you can’t make your own evaluation, and, as you say, you have to choose who to believe.

    From Prof Wegman’s resume, it is clear that he is a complete monster of statistics, with more credibility in this area than the whole of the hockey team put together.
    He explicitly says that MBH’s work cannot support their conclusions – i.e., their procedure is incorrect.
    You have a choice between believing Mann and Wegman.
    Why do you still choose Mann ?

  208. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 6:38 AM | Permalink

    Re #198 – **Can you find me a scientist who thinks CO2 is more abundant in the atmosphere than WV? Any scientist, anywhere?**
    Peter, while they agree that CO2 is not more abundant, they still want to call it THE ghg and blame it entirely for the temperature increase. THAT is the problem and why we need some independent research.

  209. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    You ask do I think the procedure “incorrect’. No, honestly, (fwiw) I don’t.

    Did you not read Wegman et al’s report? Pages 28-29, in reference to Mann et al 1998 and 1999’s principle component work: “It it is not clear that Dr. Mann and his associates even realized that their methodology was faulty at the time of writing the MBH paper.”

    There’s also a remark on Page 37 which states, “Technically speaking, the MBH98 algorithm is not principle components,” with further explanation in the paragraph and in Appendix A.

    So you’ve got statistical experts not only telling and showing you that (1) Mann’s PCA “methodology was faulty,” and (2) that when Mann said he was doing PCA, he technically was not doing PCA. And yet you “honestly” think Mann’s “procedure” was “correct?” And that’s before you even get to any other issues.

    Since you “honestly” think Mann’s “procedure” was “not incorrect” (by which one has to assume you meant it was “correct”), can you please state (1) why Wegman et al are wrong in saying that Mann’s procedure was not PCA and (2) why Wegman et al are wrong in saying that Mann’s attempt at PCA “methodology was faulty?”

  210. beng
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

    RE 192:

    I’ve got a particular bug up my posterior about Great Lakes water levels.

    John M, concerning the Great Lakes, this is just from memory, but I read somewhere that Lake St Clair had been recently “rechanneled”, and this caused an increase in the flow thru that point. If so, I think this would lower the levels of Superior, Huron & Michigan & raise Erie & Ontario to some degree.

  211. kim
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    Stray thought. If the sign of the net effect of Water Vapor as greenhouse gas is still unknown, that means it has a very wide possible range of effects. Why shouldn’t it be one of the most important buffers of climate change, given its power?
    ==================================================

  212. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    Peter H. views AGW from who he finds believable on the issues more than from statistical evidence. Jasmine is here to talk about energy policy from more general consideratios than AGW. Steve B. reminds us that we should take more notice of current climate changes of an anecdotal and circumstantial nature. Dr. Mann tells us that he is not a statistician.

    These people have honestly told us from where they are coming and I judge that their approaches to AGW are more typical of the general population than many of us skeptics and others who post here are. In speaking only for myself, I think I know why we do not see media coverage of the Wegman report and understand the reactions of Dr. Mann and company to it. I can appreciate what the report says and learn from it, but I doubt that it will change much of the contemporary thinking and concensus on AGW — since that is rooted more in other approaches.

    I think we should let it be when we hear others coming at the issue from their approach and spend more time understanding our own (not that I can except myself from this admonishment. With Steve M’s absence from the site I feel like the little boy who was not given enough work to keep him out of trouble. Steve, we need some new blogs to read and reply to and particularly your view and insights on the Wegman report.

  213. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    #212. In case, you haven’t guessed, I have some things that I have to work on urgently which will prevent my commenting on the Wegman report until Friday or Saturday at the earliest. However, I suspect that there will be lots of interesting things this week.

  214. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    re: #213

    Like “Witness List Not Yet Finalized.” That one was pretty obvious.

  215. jae
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    Please forgive Steve Bloom for his illogical and unscientific posts. His career and funding of the Sierra Club partially depend on keeping the AGW scare alive. Environmental organizations can’t survive without having constant “crises” to whine about.

  216. David H
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    Re #211 Just thinking it might be negative will get you jumped on, but as I said back in #159, Armagh who have measured sunshine for over a hundred years say it has steadily decreased apart from 1950 to 1970. This might tie in with the business of global dimming and pan evaporation rates and suggests as others have that the climate might be controlled by negative feedback from clouds working against the positive feedback from water vapour and melting/freezing of ice.

    For what is worth I think we have life here because by pure good luck we are at the right distance from a sun with the right output (now) and have a lot of water that at one temperature extreme is ice and reflects back the suns energy and at the other forms clouds that do the same. The fact that tiny variations in isolation cause ice ages suggests that the climate is very sensitive to solar input.

  217. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    water that at one temperature extreme is ice and reflects back the suns energy and at the other forms clouds that do the same.

    That doesn’t quite work. If at one temperature extreme ice forms and reflects back sunlight this will tend to cool things off further, leading to a ice-world. Instead it must be that the cool temperatures reduce clouds and thus allow more deserts and hotter temperatures. The icecaps are just an epiphenomenon and then a positive feedback which is ultimately overcome.

    BTW, do I get anything if I’m the first person to use “epiphenomenon” on this blog?

  218. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    Here’s a cookie.

    Mark

  219. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    Chomp! Thank you.

    Urrrpppp! Hey, that gave me a pop-back-up!

  220. David H
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    Re#217
    I started to reply is it me or is it you?

    But you are right more ice – less heat – more ice. So that is why the Ice Ages are so long. We get there in a big rush thanks to positive feedback (nowt to do with CO2) and slightly weaker insolation. Then we run out of places where the ice will stay frozen and have to wait for the insolation to get ahead of the equilibrium value (get out of saturation) before it can slowly start to melt the ice reduce the albedo and melt more ice. We used to call that a multivibrator but its not decent these days. You get the prize for epiphenomenon.

  221. David H
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    I think we should go back to analogue models rather than computers they mean more to me!

  222. John M
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    #210 Beng

    I believe the outflow of the Great Lakes is difficult to regulate. It is briefly addressed here.

    Because of the size of the Great Lakes and the limited discharge capacities of their outlet rivers, extremely high or low levels can persist for a considerable time, even when water supplies change significantly.

    I think I’ve read elsewhere as well that the ability to engineer water levels in the Great Lakes is very difficult. It is indeed remarkable that given the population growth and all the changes in water use practices, the levels cycle within a relatively narrow range.

    BTW, it is indeed true that Erie and Ontario behave considerably differently. Their levels are right at or slightly above their long term average. My references in my previous comment were to Lake Michigan/Huron levels, which I should have made more clear. I have these all plotted out in an Excel spreadsheet, but I can’t insert graphics other than weblinks. (Now that I think about it, that’s probably a good thing.)

  223. John Creighton
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 8:25 PM | Permalink

    #221 how would we verify all the pots are tuned correctly?

  224. Lee
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    re the several posts claiming that climatte scientists ignore water vapor, and claim that CO2 is “the” grenhouse gas.

    Dudes.

    Water vapor effects are key parts of the GCMs. Uncertainties in the understanding of water vapor and cloud dynamics are among the current acknowledged major areas where climate scientists are working to improve out knowledge. How this can be thought to translate to ‘ignoring water vapor’ is beyond me.

  225. TCO
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    Steve, you need to make next DC trip closer to a weekend. I’m up in the area, but just on weekends. I’m still looking for that steak dinner for your messed up guesses on the Hegerl paper.

  226. TCO
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

    Lee,

    They say that because they are morons.

  227. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    I haven’t seen the Hegerl paper yet, but there’s no way that I lose the bet.

  228. TCO
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    As long as the paper is not out, I’m talking smack.

  229. Lee
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

    regarding treelines.

    There are likely a lot of really interesting and usable inferences that can be drawn from studying treelines. However, one must realize that the rate at which treelines move downslope is very likely much faster than the rate at which they move upslope. A tree can die in one year, but recruitment of a new stand of trees depends on seed transport, rate of tree growth, years with weather conducive to seed establishment and sapling survival, and on and on.

    One can NOT simply compare treelines today with treelines at some time in the past,and make simple conclusions about relative temps now and then.

  230. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

    #224, Clouds are worth at least 40 W/m^2 of climate feedback. The fact that they are so poorly modeled by GCMs is explicit evidence that there are unknowns dwarfing any CO2 forcing (there are others as well). Lee, your insistence in the reality of “A”GW, indicates that you are ignoring water vapor in the form of cloud feedback. So, indeed, are all the rest of the “A”-team. Some, like Steve B., determinedly.

  231. Lee
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

    Pat, you imply that the uncertaintly in modeling clouds is equivalent to the total impact of cloudsgiven that the number you supply is the total effect. You also implicitly assume that there is no relevant data regarding the SIGN of the feedback effect due to clouds. For the questin of whether cloud feedback impacts the sanwer to whether the “A’ exists, as opposed to its magnitude, the sign is what is important. That data is not solid, but it is not absent.

    And I regard the models as supporting ‘incomplete’ theories. They, in general outline and in conjunctin with the basic underlying physical effects of CO2 as a baseline before feedback modifications, in conjunction with the emerging evidence of global anomalies in climate (and I’ve outlined that elsewhere, as has the NAS report – evenif you entirely discard the Mann et al reconstructins), and the congruence with our current best theory, make me accept that the “A” is likely. And THAT has policy consequences – policy more often than not must be drawn from incomplete knowledge. The emerging evidence on potential deleteriouis consequences on ocean acid chemsitry adds to the policy implications.

  232. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 17, 2006 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

    Lee,

    you imply that the uncertaintly in modeling clouds is equivalent to the total impact of cloudsgiven that the number you supply is the total effect.

    You should have handy a radiation balance drawing before so you don’t have to make wrong assumptions like that. Just considering the reflection portion of the equation, the total reflectance of incoming solar radiation according to my current drawing is 107 w/m2 (which unfortunately doesn’t break it down among clouds, atmospheric scattering and surface reflectance), but a quick google search gave me This Link which indicates 2/3 of the reflection is due to clouds, yielding 71 w/m2. Of course there’s lots of other factors including absorption and emission of IR by clouds.

  233. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 2:28 AM | Permalink

    Re #229, Lee
    Lee, you’ve mentioned previously that your background is in biology. Have you yet seen the threads discussing the relationship of tree ring width to temperature ? As in, it is not a linear relationship, but an inverse quadratic; i.e., in really hot years, trees don’t grow well, so hot years do not show up in the tree ring record.
    Any thoughts on this ?

  234. David H
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 2:35 AM | Permalink

    Re #223

    My thoughts on analogue computing were more nostalgic than serious but you raise a serious point. At least with knobs you can see them. What this blog has shown is how hard it is to establish what computer code is doing.

    Those who follow Formula One will know of the efforts they have had to make to be sure that engine management systems do not have hidden within their code features that are not allowed in the rules. Many programmers, in my experience, enjoy challenges.

    Climate models are several orders of magnitude more complex and (tell me if I am wrong) no one outside the magic circle sees the source code. The recent problems with the BBC/Oxford model only came to light because it crashed.

  235. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 3:31 AM | Permalink

    Re #234, David H
    Wow. I hadn’t realised that limitations extend to software. What sort of thing is forbidden ?

  236. David H
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    Re #235

    Well my comment may be a bit dated as I think they now have allowed back some things but “driver aids” were at one point forbidden and the ECU code had to be inspected to be sure that “anti stall” code wasn’t actually “traction control” or “start assistance”. If they have allowed it all back, in part it is because too hard to police and they had too many disputes.

  237. beng
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    RE 229:

    regarding treelines.
    There are likely a lot of really interesting and usable inferences that can be drawn from studying treelines. However, one must realize that the rate at which treelines move downslope is very likely much faster than the rate at which they move upslope. A tree can die in one year, but recruitment of a new stand of trees depends on seed transport, rate of tree growth, years with weather conducive to seed establishment and sapling survival, and on and on.
    One can NOT simply compare treelines today with treelines at some time in the past,and make simple conclusions about relative temps now and then.

    Lee, please do some more learning, if you’re really interested:

    http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/2006/07/12/open-arctic-ocean-commentary-by-harvey-nichols-professor-of-biology/

    From Nichols’ research, northern Canadian treelines moved 300 meters/yr northward during the Holocene thermal max, and reached the Arctic ocean.

  238. jae
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    So Lee is now a model expert, too! LOL.

  239. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    Mann got environmental “religion” as Berserkely, then set out to warp the science to feed his need. He, in the classic fashion of heroic Berserkely radicals, build a small army of devoted followers. The social network diagrams tell all. RC is the expression of the cult on the web.

  240. jae
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

    239. Right on. I am looking for a “warmer” who is a true scientist, and not an environmentalnut. Do you know any?

  241. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Re: #231
    Lee, you wrote “For the questin of whether cloud feedback impacts the sanwer to whether the “A’ exists, as opposed to its magnitude, the sign is what is important. That data is not solid, but it is not absent.”
    Gavin Schmidt (who seems to moonlight as a modeler when he’s not moderating RC :) ) has written on RC that even the *sign* of the effect is unknown. Is he wrong, or has there been conclusive new evidence on this in the past year or so?

  242. beng
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

    RE 241:

    Gavin Schmidt (who seems to moonlight as a modeler when he’s not moderating RC

    Which might suggest the GCM modeling community is under the same-type “cabal” control as dendroclimatology. If so, those handcuffs will also need cutting off before real advancement of that particular science can resume.

  243. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    Re#241, I’ve heard “the sign is unknown” before – depends on what kind of cloud forms and the altitude, I believe. But that should only apply to individual locations – the net sum of cloud feedbacks has to be negative, or we’d end-up with a runaway situation?

  244. David H
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    As I said in #159,

    Armagh say for over hundred years they measured declining sunshine as temperatures rose with a slight recovery 1950 to 1970. That sounds like an inverse relationship and negative feedback to me.

  245. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    RE: # 243 – consider the physics of different cloud types. Stratiform clouds have their convection clipped. Whereas cumulo form are the most overt and energetic expression of it. A massive buildup is dissipating all sorts of energy at all levels and is also exchanging it with the overlying tropopause (and beyond?). Stratiform would behave more in the typical “greenhouse” fashion vis a vis IR coming up from the earth however also diminish incoming. It’s certainly complex.

  246. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    RE: #10 – let loose the statisticians …. and the PDE/boundary value geeks …. on the GCMs…. that would make it even more interesting!

  247. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    Re #224 -**Water vapor effects are key parts of the GCMs. Uncertainties in the understanding of water vapor and cloud dynamics are among the current acknowledged major areas where climate scientists are working to improve out knowledge. How this can be thought to translate to “ignoring water vapor’ is beyond me.**
    When they, and that includes some who have posted here say that CO2 is the cause of AGW then they are “ignoring water vapor”.
    You talk about uncertainties and and working to improve our knowledge. Yet I believe Mann told Dobbs that the debate is over, and that has been repeated by RC clones here. So who is reprogramming the GCM’s? If you would look at the actual equations in the GCMs, you would see how much water vapor is programmed in compared with other effects. Remember, the output from GCM’s is not fact, it will put out what it is programmed to do.

  248. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    RE: “Climate study requires putting together the specialist studies including everything from cosmic radiation from deep space to geothermal heat entering the oceans (ignored in energy balance climate models). Failure to include or understand most of these specialist areas is a major reason why computer models don’t work.”

    Very well put!

  249. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    RE: #115 – within a certain subculture which exists at every University and every college town (and in those grandest of college towns know as the coastal urban areas) it is all but written in stone that anyone with good “Green” or other radical “credentials” can command an almost instantaneous following. I know this how? I used to be in the inner circle in a college town.

  250. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    #116 – to boot, it is even questionable whether or not bristlecone ring widths correlate with local temperature. Think cactus, not trees.

  251. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    Re #249, Steve Sadlov

    How were you cured ?
    How can the cure be applied to to others ?

  252. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    RE: # 128

    Link

    Interestingly, the above site, which is my prefered one, has either been taken down, moved or is simply on the blink. Hmmm …. that is indeed interesting. Last I looked at that site, the normal slow melt of northern sea ice was about where it should be (perhaps even slightly behind) at this time of year. One nice thing about the above site is it shows the big picture as opposed to reported anomalies at specific locations. I’ve always wondered about the site selections of anomaly reporting locations. Are they the unbiased?

  253. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    RE: #251 – I was a teenage Trotskyite. In my twenties I discovered both my inner capitalist and real human rights. It took quite a while to fully play out. A combo of stuff in my personal life and world travel resulted at some point on one of those “a-ha!” moments. I ended up, if I were to pigeonhole myself, as sort of a crunchy con. Still very in tune w/ the environment, but, also, a die hard beleiver in truth, justice and the American Way!

  254. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    re: 252,

    shortening down the address from your link you get to a Red Hat Linix pages which says this among other things:

    If you are a member of the general public:

    The fact that you are seeing this page indicates that the website you just visited is either experiencing problems, or is undergoing routine maintenance.

  255. Ken Robinson
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    Re 253

    I was a teenage socialist myself. Years later, a friend shared this bit of wisdom;

    “If you’re not a socialist when you’re young, you have no heart. If you’re still a socialist when you’re old, you have no brain.”

    Cheers;

  256. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    Speaking of socialism…

    (there is not author listed)
    A title topic on RC about European media coverage being “different” then the USA. It’s introduction says:

    “The standard contrarian line does not get as much attention there as it does in the US (which is good), but whether that means that the journalism there is actually better is a tricky point. So what makes for good climate science journalism and do they do it better over there? “

  257. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    (which is good)

    So, what, everyone should just automatically agree? Because…? They really don’t get their own narrowmindedness.

    Mark

  258. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    correction typo #256: there is no author listed for creating the topic.

    This example is exactly what they do in school to my kids. There’s only one view, and it’s theirs, and it’s political/social indoctrination not scientific!

  259. jae
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    “The standard contrarian line does not get as much attention there as it does in the US (which is good),

    Wow, considering how little attention the contrarians get in the US, they must get NO attention there.

  260. jae
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    Very interesting research summary regarding solar effects on temperature here.

  261. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    WLR

    It’s a fallacy. About 2 years ago someone mentioned that in another forum. I posted 3 times with 2-3 articles that had been published in just the previous two weeks before he said “I give”

    They are there, they just aren’t re-iterated here in the U.S.

  262. kim
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    If the sign of the water vapor is unknown it is not unlikely that it varies between positive and negative, thus providing an excellent moderator at the cusp of glaciation where we are held by the balance of carbon sequestration and increasing insolation.
    =====================================

  263. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    #249, etc., I’ve never been either socialistic, or fascistic, and reading the history of 20th century political murder one finds those calling themselves socialists murdered about 5 times as many people during peacetime as those calling themselves fascists (~150 million vs. ~30 million; see the democide page). It appears that those fighting in the name of proletarian rights have arrogated the greater right to freely murder entire populations of, perhaps uncooperative, humans in the name of egalitarian redistribution. My general conclusion is that sentimentalized ideology is the root of almost all political violence. Avoid the fringes; pragmatic centralist harm-reduction is the only rational and only truly humane sociopolitical position to take.

    I have no real objection to the notion that human-produced CO2 really is warming climate. It may be true, or it may not. No one has any objectively defensible idea. My whole objection to the “A”GW rant is, first, it has no proper basis in science, second, the ranters are actively subverting science to promulgate their position, third, the social dislocations they insist upon remove critical attention and money from other truly serious environmental and social problems (making the “A”GW ranters seriously unethical), and fourth, those central to the “A”GW rant are the direct ideological descendants of a murderous socialism. I distrust both their motives and their ultimate intentions; a distrust not ameliorated by their dishonest propaganda.

  264. TCO
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    Lee (229): Are you sure about that treeline argument? Can you point to a definitive citation? (I’m not disagreeing, but am skeptical). I could see many cases, where the opposite effect might occur. Not warm enough to allow reproduction, germination, early growth, etc, but where mature trees survive, year to year. There was a paper on this on this site recently. Do you have one to support your view? Also, if you look at alligators (which I love and want to move Northward) then there are temps where individual alligators do fine (harsh winters) but where young ones can not survive or where reproduction does not take place.

  265. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    #261 You mean articles in Europe themselves, yes I know. Also, I have a friend in England who is smart enough to read things through herself. My husband is english. My grandfather was Mediterranean, my grandmother her mother northern european You know melting pot…

    These RC people are not only underestimating the intelligence of many people they are constantly saying contrarians are only “certain types of people”.

  266. beng
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    RE 252:

    Try this — it even shows snow cover:

    Trim off arctic.jpg from that link to go back to the mother-page.

  267. jae
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

    TCO: Why do you like alligators?

  268. beng
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    Well, my last advice was wrong (forbidden). Steve_S’s link in 252 works OK now. Server must’ve been down.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    Still a few ice-cubes left in the Hudson Bay.

  269. jae
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    Can’t get any of the links to work.

  270. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    #255 Did Winston Churchill say that?

    Here’s another quote:

    Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong. -Winston Churchill

  271. TCO
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    Because they radiate the South and earthiness and being in a place with palm trees and Spanish moss.

  272. bender
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    Re: #233 “Have you yet seen the threads discussing the relationship of tree ring width to temperature ? As in, it is not a linear relationship, but an inverse quadratic; i.e., in really hot years, trees don’t grow well, so hot years do not show up in the tree ring record. Any thoughts on this?”

    The oft-cited Ste-Anne Gaspé “northern treeline” Thuja occidentalis tree-ring chronology used by MHB98, which is hockey-stick shaped, is only one of three for this species from eastern Canada. The other two (S. Ontario, AD 594-1990 and Duparquet, Quebec AD 1186-1987), not used by MBH98, indicate exactly what you describe: a *negative* response to warm temperatures during the 20th century (Kelley et al. CJFR 24: 1049, Archambault & Bergeron CJFR 22: 674). The reason these chronologies were ingnored by MBH98 is probably that they were not “20th century treeline”, and they exhibit significant precipitation sensitivity. (But they also are not hockey-stick shaped either.)

    But because the position of the treeline varies over time, so the temperature response function coefficients of a given tree in a fixed location should vary accordingly. This point has been made by:

    Cook, E.R., Esper, J. and D’Arrigo, R.D. 2004. Extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere land temperature variability over the past 1000 years Quaternary Science Reviews 23:2063-2074.

    who describe a “loss of climate sensitivity in the northern boreal zone” in the 20th century.

    And the reason this is relevant because it is exactly the point picked up on by Wegman et al. p. 28:

    “In MBH98/99 the authors make a simple seemingly innocuous and somewhat obscure calibration assumption. Because the instrumental temperature records are only available for a limited window, they use instrumental temperature data from 1902-1995 to calibrate the proxy data set. This would seem reasonable except for the fact that temperatures were rising during this period.”

    Although Wegman et al. don’t say as much, a change in a tree’s temperature sensitivity coefficient over time will bias a tree-ring based temperature reconstruction.

    I realize the above question was probably rhetorical. I just thought I would supply a concrete and relevant example of how such a quadratic response to temperature is not only real, but could lead to time-series nonstationarity that violates assumptions made in the inferential leap one takes in going from calibration to reconstruction.

  273. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 18, 2006 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Re #252: Steve S., we went through all of this not more than two months ago. Don’t you remember? One of the reasons the site you linked isn’t my favorite is because it has no documentation; it doesn’t even say what metric is used for ice extent. BTW, there is no issue with “site selections of anomaly reporting locations” since it’s all from satellites. Try here for some slightly more comprehensive information.

  274. Bruce
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

    Re#273: Steve, we may have gone through all of that more than two months ago, and I realise that you may be bored with the topic. But I am not clear yet on whether you agree with the proposition that there is a linear relationship between tree ring thickness and temperature, or whether you are of the view that the relationship is quadratic. That is, tree ring thickness increases with temperature until optimum conditions (including moisture and other variables as well) are reached when maximum tree ring thickness develops. HOwever, as temperatures increase further, the tree becomes stressed, and grows less and less, and the tree ring thickness decreases.

    Would be good if you respond on this point.

    BTW, I am not a dendrochronologist, but I have done a lot of work with plants as a viticulturalist and gardiner over the past many years, and I have observed non-linearity rather than linearity.

  275. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 4:41 AM | Permalink

    Re #274: The discussion was about sea ice extent, not trees.

  276. bender
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:20 AM | Permalink

    Re #274 The ASYMPTOTIC temperature response should be nonlinear [asymptotic = generalized, long-term theoretical]. The assumption made by dendroclimatologists is that during the period of calibration & reconstruction the tree spends most of its time within the linearizable half of the inverted parabola. If so, then the LOCAL temperature response (local in time) might be fairly linear. The danger is that during the calibration period the local response is situated on one side of the asymptotic response curve (i.e. responding positively to temperature limitation), and during the reconstruction period [or some part thereof] the local response is situated on the other side of the curve (i.e. responding negatively to temperature, or, worse, responding to some other driver). If the calibrated local response is linear, but the actual response during the reconstruction period is nonlinear or worse, then the reconstruction will be biased through time. As growing conditions vacillate, the bias would wax and wane.

    Counteracting this is the fact that when growing conditions get very hot and dry, then the trees exhibiting the negative growth response are the ones likely to die or burn up. In which case, this part of the signal is lost from the tree-ring record. If this is a dominant process then the linear approximation might not fit too badly. i.e. In practice you might only see the near-linear part of the nonlinear asymptotic response.

    Good luck getting an answer on this from the experts in the ivory tower.

  277. JerryB
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

    Steve S,

    Other polar sea ice links are
    NP sea ice
    and
    SP sea ice

  278. bender
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 6:05 AM | Permalink

    Re #272 “Jacoby’s lost Gaspé cedars” (posting from 25 April 2005 in a different thread) from RiviàƒÆ’à‚⧲e-Ste-Anne, Québec would most likely be located in the high-elevation Parc Québécois de la Gaspésie, south of Ste-Anne-des-Monts – in which case these trees were probably never cut down. (They’re likely protected, and of no commercial value.) Granted, this is not a GPS pin-pointing, so you could not revisit the exact stands sampled in 1983. But you wouldn’t need to. All the cedars in that whole area should be responding similarly to temperature, if that is what they are responding to.

    But one has to wonder about the possible release of these Gaspé cedars under heavy defoliation by spruce budworms in the 1950s and 1980s. One look at that chronology will confirm sharp spikes in growth during those two well-documented outbreaks of unprecedented severity – spikes which account for much of the hockey-stick shape of that chronology. (Maybe that’s what the sampler was doing there in 1983 – checking out the incredible damage during the peak of that outbreak?) Unfortunately the ITRDB stand metadata are insufficient to determine if the sampled trees were growing in mixed stands that could have been subject to release by insect disturbance. Possibly a moot point if it was a barren “treeline” site. Light is not usually limiting in those circumstances, but – come to think of it – these growth pulses could be a result of increased nitrogen (which is severely limiting in the boreal alpine environment) from insect frass. That might explain why the other cedar chronologies (from low-elevation cliffsides in Ontario and rocky lakeshores in northwestern Québec; see #272) do not show the hockey-stick shape: no budworm, no frass, no nitrogen, no 20th century release.

    All this to say: MBH98 is based on at least one tree-ring chronology whose local ecology & dynamics were never formally studied. Archiving data for future use is one thing. Understanding it is quite another. Does it make sense to publish based on archived data which have never actually been analyzed?

  279. Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

    Re #169 and others about CO2 and temperature feedback…

    Didn’t read the discussions here for some time… Things are going (too) fast, but not much about science…

    John A, I need to correct you in this case. In fact, during all ice age – interglacial transitions, there is a huge overlap between increasing CO2 levels and increasing temperatures. CO2 indeed lags ~600 years temperature, but the whole transition takes several thousands of years. This allows the climate modelers to include a huge feedback of increasing CO2 levels on temperature. The opposite transition, from interglacial to ice age gives a much longer delay of CO2 after temperature changes, but also a slower reduction in temperature. There is one particular interesting period, the onset of the last ice age after the Eemian (~130,000 years ago, warmer than current), where the temperature (and methane levels) are already near their minimum, before CO2 levels start to decline. In that case, there is no measurable influence by a change of 40 ppmv CO2 on temperature, see here. This points to a low influence of CO2 on temperature, but is not a proof of zero influence of larger changes in CO2 levels.

    Further, based on the same Vostok ice core, any change in temperature induces a change of CO2 level. Overall for ~1 C temperature drop or rise, CO2 levels change with 8-10 ppmv. This is what also happened over the past millennium. Thus of the current level of CO2 at ~380 ppmv (over the pre-industrial 280 ppmv), some 10% is from the temperature rise itself, the rest is human induced…

  280. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    RE: #272 – Considering the growth mode of Bristlecones, and the type of geographic and climatological areas they live in, consider also:
    * Years where the snow pack persists until August
    * Years where there is no snow pack left in March (e.g. blown / sublimated away due to drought)
    * Years where the “monsoon” moisture arrives at just the right time to add a “kicker” to the snow melt
    * Years where there are spring and fall heat waves but a cool summer
    Etc … the permutations make the possibilities endless.

  281. Dane
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    #279

    And what portion of the atmospheric CO2 is volcanic? Does anyone know? is anyone measuring the multiple volcanos erupting lately? Over the last 150 yrs? Volcanic contributions are not constant over time, and its not zero.

  282. bender
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    Re #280: endless permutations of weather effects

    Yes, the possibilities are large.

    The counter-argument is that short-term random deviations of the local sensitivity coefficients away from the asymptotic expectation should not lead to a biased estimate, just an error-prone estimate.

    The problem with this argument is that, for some of the permutational effects you mention, a local bias will linger on in the record for quite some time before the environment slips back to its mean value and the sensitivity coefficients converge on their asymptotic value.

    I’ve mentioned one such effect for northern white cedar. I don’t know much about bristlecone pine. But I do know something about the challenge of making inferences based on stochastic, error-prone, non-stationary time-series. And apparently so does Wegman.

  283. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    #281 Dane

    I found this because I was wondering :) :

    About 50-60 volcanoes erupt every year.
    20-30 are effusive (lava flows), 20-30 are explosive

    “How Many Volcanoes Erupt Every Year? – John Seach

    http://www.volcanolive.com/vei.html

  284. Dane
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Rocks. I was also wondering how much CO2 each of those volcanos spews into the atmosphere before, during, and after a eruption?

  285. John Creighton
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    #279 if you look at the measured CO2 emissions it seems pretty apparent that humans have contributed substantially to the CO2 concentrations. Wikipedia says that about 50% of what is emitted into the atmosphere stays in the atmosphere. Apparently the ocean slowly absorbs the CO2 levels over time. I am not sure why the amount that stays in the atmosphere stays around 50%. Perhaps the more CO2 in the atmosphere the faster the oceans absorb it and the faster the trees photosynthesize. I think that the biggest sink of CO2 is a chemical process in the ocean where the rocks are turned into carbonates such as limestone. Someone else mentioned something about jellyfish and plankton. Anyway, it seems apparent that there is more CO2 levels in the atmosphere then equilibrium, thus the ocean will be a negative feedback on CO2 levels not a positive feedback.

  286. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    RE: #285 – Based on my own recollection regarding a Geochem of Natural Waters course I took about a century ago (LOL!) CO2 gets photosynthesized by phytoplankton some of which are capable of depositing it into their own structure as CaCO3. When they die, the CaCO3 crystals then will fall to the ocean floor, sequestering the C in the sediment. There is some suspicion that this mechanism, in certain areas with high deposition rates and in the presence of an anaerobic condition (and the bacteria that thrive in it) may be one of the ways petroleum is formed.

  287. kim
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    Clearly, a lot of Carbon has been sequestered. As CO2 conc. in biosphere rises, metabolism increases sequestereing the increase and cooling again occurs, with water as the variable. We are kept at the cusp of glaciation by the sequestration of carbon from a reliable geological source, the gradually increasing insolation by the sun, and the effectiveness of water as a buffer for all these transitions.
    ========================================

  288. John Creighton
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    #286, that only describes the biological processes on the surface of the ocean. There is also the inorganic chemistry that occur on the ocean floor.

  289. Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    Re #285-288,

    See the story of the coccolithophores

  290. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Don’t forget the jellyfish poop.

  291. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    #284 Alot of CO2 ? LOL

    “Present-day carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from subaerial and submarine volcanoes are uncertain at the present time.”

    If they know, it is not on the internet.
    However, blah blah blah, humans verses volcanos, blah blah blah- is all over the place if you google. And most sites say humans emit more.

    Individual volcano web sites give more numbers.
    Like in Hawaii, (the “vog”) but that’s sulphur dioxide numbers, not CO2.

    “Kilauea Volcano emits about 150 to 200 tons of sulfur dioxide from the summit caldera (mainly from Halema’uma’u) and an additional 700 to 1,250 tons per day from Pu’u ‘O’o when in eruption”.

    I can’t find any chart or graph where someone’s put it all altogther for CO2 emissions of volcanos ( RealClimate or IPCC comes up most in googling online for your question)

    Do we even have all the technology/or is it even possible to measure?

  292. bender
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

    Re: #289 + others on the myriad GCM processes currently being discussed

    Is the strategy here merely to list what must be hundreds (or thousands?) of uncertainties in (or not in) existing GCMs? Or is there a more concerted effort to come up with an inclusive, process-based alternative GCM that the skeptic community thinks better describes climate functioning? Because the former will prove to be exhausting, whereas the latter might constitute a tremendous contribution.

    The reason I ask now, after the hearing, is because the direct approach (proposing an alternative rather than just poking holes in the status quo), though it would not have been very effective against the paleoclimatological argument (where you need primary data which are expensive to acquire and require global travel, etc.), might work quite well against the physico-climatological argument. Because GCM development can be done in anybody’s basement. Done properly, it could be a highly democratic, accountable process – very easy to audit, compared to the paleoclimatogical science process. You might need a supercomputer, etc. But otherwise … why not?

    Selling doubt starts becoming an ineffective strategy as soon as the politics takes that leap of faith that says ‘damn the cost of believing’. At that point you need to take the status quo a little more seriously.

  293. Dane
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

    #291
    Thanks Rocks. Just as I thought, nobody knows and nobody is even trying to measure it becasue it would shoot the AGW theory in the foot. To hell with the facts, who needs facts or real data when GCMs say we are causing global warming and humans are the #1 contributer to atmospheric CO2 (based on no evidence since nobody is even measuring it. The fix is in people. Grab your wallets cuz thats what the warmers are after.

  294. bender
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

    The hockey stick is not dead, by the way. I think it would be a strategic mistake to think otherwise. In terms of climate reconstructions, the panel did a good job explaining how there’s huge uncertainty around the shaft of the stick. And so that aspect of the model is likely to fizzle out. But if the AGW hypothesis is that there is an extractable anthropogenic global-scale forcing signal (in either real or simulated GCM data), then the stick shape must come back.

    Many seem to fail to understand that this is precisely why MBH98 chose PCA in the first place. And this is why the graphic became the icon of choice: not because it was a particularly good temperature reconstruction, but because it was the first best attempt to isolate the “human component” from real data. In contrast, Crowley et al., with their self-described “simplistic averaging” technique will likely never generate a straight-shafted hockey stick … because their “method” (which is no method at all) is not designed to extract distinct signals attributable to independent forcing processes. It is a compression method, not an extraction method.

    I think it is telling that no one so far (though I have not read everything on this blog) has questioned the idea of interpreting statistically independent “components” as proof of functionally independent causal processes. Wegman in particular should be familiar with the questionable science of psychometry – which is why principal components methodologies were developed in the first place. Multivariate analysis such as PCA, as a fishing expedition, is well-recognized as a starting-point for hypothesis generation, not an end point for conclusion. Wegman knows that, but he probably didn’t have the time or opportunity to say so. Ask him and he’ll probably agree it is the lynchpin in the empirical paleoclimatological AGW argument.

    So … don’t be surprised when the ghostly stick shape comes back to life. It might be a while before the mass media or policy people dare to trot it out as an icon or policy tool. But it will come back. And it will be taken seriously. Because the big difference between the old one and the new one will be that the new one is going to have error bars on it. In the future, the scientists are going to insist the policy people not take off the error bars for the purposes of making glossy color public communications. [If you’re in the business of selling doubt, that will be your wedge. But if you are forced to switch to a different strategy, then you’ll need a different wedge.]

    And that’s when the real work is going to start. If you thought auditing a derivation of means or principal components was a chore, you’re in for a real treat when the focus changes to something as nebulous as error structures – which is foreshadowed pretty well in von Storch’s deposition. You’ll need a small army of Wegmans.

  295. beng
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

    RE 282:

    bender, there’s a post here months ago showing 2 bristlecone sites on different mountains (one in Californy & the other, Nevada) where each site had an upper & lower altitudinal sampling. Needless to say there is only a short distance separating the upper/lower locations. On both sites, the upper and lower samplings showed pretty much opposite ringwidth trends! The uppers, I believe, showed the classic “Mannian” hockeysticks, but the lowers showed recent declines.

    Hmmm…. I think there’s something wrong about using the uppers (or lowers) as temp proxies, unless the temp trends on the same mountain are completely different for thousands of yrs at locations only seperated by a few hundred feet. IOW, they’re not temp proxies.

    Naturally, the upper-level proxies were subsequently used in many of the HTeam papers, but the lower proxies were tossed out.

    The post should be somewhere under the category “proxies” on the right-side menu on this page.

  296. Lee
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    re 232,

    Dave, in 230 Pat Frank was referring to FORCING due to clouds, not the total effect of couds. My res;ponse, where I said total, was referring to the total forcing impact. Your 70 W/m2 is one effect of one sign, not he summed forcing effect. I may not have made that clear, but I thought it was clear in context. Sorry if it was otherwise. My point is that by mentioning the total forcing of the effect with some uncertainty, he was implyign that the total uncertainty is that large. He may not have meant that, but it is what his words implied, aand I wanted to correct it.

    BTW, I know this isnt likely to survive JohnA’s snipping (to preserve the decorous atmosphere, apparently. Several of my last set of posts are gone) but it is so nice to come back after a couple days ansd see all the warm and welcoming insults scattered liberally (and unsnipped) through the posts. Thanks, y’all.

  297. Lee
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    re 264.

    TCO, I don’t have a link – that was aa ‘general knowledge’ post (and therefore potentially suspect). Many years back, i did do wome field work briefly and peripherally on recruitment and estalishement of trees on hillsides, so I know a little (enough to be dangerous?) on th ssubject. But I think your comment reinforces my point.

    An established stand can survive a lot. Establishement requires several years odf conditions suitable for establishemtn and sapling survival, AND transport of seeds uphill (agaisnt gravity) to start it. So the fact that the stand exists means that temps, rainfall amount AND seasonality, (not jsut temps) were clement enough for several years for establishement. If it cools afterwards, or other cdonditions become worse, teh stand can continue, as yo saiad – and not tell us whether those continuing temps were warmenr than, now, when perhaps a stand has not re-established in spite of suitable temps – perhaps because of issues of seed transport, rainfall seasonality, etc.

    All of this means that one can not simply point to past-time higher treelines and simply infer higher temperatures.

  298. TCO
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

    Well, yeah. But your post was the direct opposite of my (hypothesis). You said lag was worse in the opposite direction. They’re not BOTH right.

  299. Lee
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    sigh…

    Volcanic CO2 emissions are about 130-230 million teragrams / year. Gerlach, T.M., 1992, Present-day CO2 emissions from volcanoes: Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Vol. 72, No. 23, June 4, 1991, pp. 249, and 254-255. I got the emitted amounbt from a secondary citation of this paper, at the USGS volcanic hazards web page, here: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/Hazards/What/VolGas/volgas.html

    This amount of volcanic emissions is less than 1% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    So Dane, no, it is NOT true that “nobody is even measuring it.”

  300. Lee
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    TCO – those arent incompatible statements. Maintainance at a given elevation can likely continue through conditions that would preclude recruitment and establishment. But when change does happen, rate of change down is likely to be (capable of being) faster down, than up.

  301. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    “Scientists have calculated that volcanoes emit between about 130-230 million tonnes (145-255 million tons) ”

    “Volcanic CO2 emissions are about 130-230 million teragrams”

    Calculations, and estimates are not Measurements in the same way that GCM are not a measurement of climate.

  302. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    re: 296

    Lee, Pat said:

    Clouds are worth at least 40 W/m^2 of climate feedback. The fact that they are so poorly modeled by GCMs is explicit evidence that there are unknowns dwarfing any CO2 forcing

    Isn’t it a given, at least in warmer circles, that a feedback is different than a forcing? Why did you call it a forcing then? And you replied:

    Pat, you imply that the uncertaintly in modeling clouds is equivalent to the total impact of cloudsgiven that the number you supply is the total effect.

    I guess you meant “net effect” rather than total effect, but you’ve still clearly mis-understood what Pat was saying. He was saying that given the large feedbacks from clouds, both the existing feedback and the potential feedback, which outweigh the possible CO2 forcing, it’s foolish to make much of the CO2 forcing until it’s known with a great deal of certainty what the net cloud feedback will be.

    Now I don’t know where Pat got his 40 w/m2; I suspect it was a personal best guess, but I could be wrong.

    At any rate I’d not be drawing much attention to your post 231 if I were you. I just re-read it and it’s pretty bad. Not total gibberish, but it rambles and doesn’t really make much sense when you break it apart. I suppose you were just talking off the top of your head, as is usually the case (given the clear evidence of your typos that you don’t reread what you write.)

    You may not feel this place deserves your full attention when you post, but bear in mind that it reflects on you, not ClimateAudit.

  303. Lee
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    ET, calculations in this case are extensions of measurements of emissions from specific volcanoes and measurements of numbers of active volcanoes.

    Are you claiming that they are off by more than two orders of magnitude, because we are extrapolating from measurements of gasses from a sample of volcanoes, and sampling density of volcanic emmissions, rather than measuring the throat of every volcano on the planet?

    Remember also that we have pretty good numbers for human emissinos, and they are GREATER than annual accumulations in the atmosphere. AND that we have isotope mesurements consistnent with the growth beingfrmo anthropogenic emissins.

    Volcanoes are not causing the >100 ppmv increase in atmospheric CO2.

  304. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    #299,
    Lee, that information is from the early 90’s too.

    And “sigh” BTW everything we say and every other fricken thing on this blog bothers you , we know it already! ;) (Cheer up!)

    Thanks #301 :) and so the debate continues…

  305. jae
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    The hockey stick is not dead, by the way. I think it would be a strategic mistake to think otherwise. In terms of climate reconstructions, the panel did a good job explaining how there’s huge uncertainty around the shaft of the stick. And so that aspect of the model is likely to fizzle out. But if the AGW hypothesis is that there is an extractable anthropogenic global-scale forcing signal (in either real or simulated GCM data), then the stick shape must come back.

    Perhaps, but I think it’s dead. Too many studies and historical accounts indicate that it was just as warm, or warmer, in the MWP. The idea of a straight hockey stick shaft for 1000 years is ludicrous.

  306. Lee
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Dave, I used “forcing” because Pat used forcing – I was disputing what he claimed. The issue is the delta in the net energy flux, regardless of what terminology you use. My point was that when talking about errors he was NOT giving an estimate of the error, but a larger total net effect, and that is inherently misleading.

    Let me point out that the constant stream if insults, and the fact taht Stee and JohnA tolerate them but have recently (after my return) removed several of my responses and defenses of those insults, that were much milder than the post I was respondign to and that remain, DOES reflect on this site. Much more seriously than my quick posts reflect on me, I would say.

  307. John Creighton
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    I’ll side with Lee on this one but so what temporizes have been small despite a 40% increase in CO2 since the start of the industrial revolution and an increase in solar output.

  308. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    They are calculation for sure, from readings taken at particular volcanoes, and extrapolated, this is not a measurement of natural CO2 from Volcanoes as you insinuated.

    “Are you claiming that they are off by more than two orders of magnitude, because we are extrapolating from measurements of gasses from a sample of volcanoes, and sampling density of volcanic emmissions, rather than measuring the throat of every volcano on the planet?”

    Well from your links they certainly could be unless they establish the methods for their calculations or estimates.

    From your link on http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/Hazards/What/VolGas/volgas.html the first graph, about 1/3 to 1/4 of the way down we see that CO2 accounts for 48.9% of gasses emitted from Kilauea, 11.3% from Erta’ Ale, and 1.44% from Momotombo. With that divergent amount from individual volcanoes you could easily get a large error without sampling from individual volcanoes. Simply measuring a sample, then multiplying known amounts of volcanoes will be wildly off. Even if correcting for type.

    For example. The 14 most producing volcanoes produce ~61 Million Tonnes of CO2 per year, or close to 50% of your low estimate given in post #299, that leaves only 50% spread over the remaining volcanoes of the world.

    http://www.ees.nmt.edu/Geop/mevo/geochem/geochem.html

  309. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 6:08 PM | Permalink

    To add. That amount is only from the volcanoes “idle” emisions, not it’s eruption emisions.

  310. Lee
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    Rocks, are you sayign those numbers are wrong because they are 15 years old? Or that sustained volcanic emissions have increased by more than 2 orders of magnitude in those 15 years?

    The sigh was for claims that no one is bothering to look, and even that there are scurrilous motives for not bothering to look, when the looking has actually been done. If one is going to attribute scurrilous motivations to a lack of action, as Dane did, then one should actually check to see that the action is in fact lacking. Especially when one is an geologist, as Dane claims to be, and the informatin is right there on the US Geological Survey web site.

  311. bender
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

    Re: 295 bristlecone update
    Interesting. Your reasoning is consistent with the pattern & mechanism I described for cedar. I downloaded the updated bristlecone chronologies, and will take a look. But I have no way of knowing which two samples (one for each site) are the new ones. Do you have a copy of the old .rwl files I could compare to?

    You say: “Naturally, the upper-level proxies were subsequently used in many of the HTeam papers, but the lower proxies were tossed out.” Did they dismiss them or were they just not aware of them? And if the former, did they give a “good” reason why?

    The usual argument for being selective is that there is some a priori reason or proof that a given species in a given site is/is not a good proxy for the variable being reconstructed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be selective, but it could be. In theory, it would be better to use a calibration method that allows for different trees growing on different sites (or different times for that matter) to exhibit varying responses. But that takes insight and quantities of data which may or may not exist. It is usually more expedient to exclude the more complex, questionable data and try to justify that choice during the review process. (When you’re a ‘big fish’ Editorial discretion will often permit ‘small’ liberties, if they can be sold as ‘justifiable’ or ‘inconsequential’.)

  312. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    #310 No.
    I am saying they should be questioned because they are 15 yrs old.

    I please don’t tell me I didn’t bother to look, and I also bothered to ask a geologist too! I didn’t look at studies that were old though.

    It is all questionable Lee, for many reasons. There’s hundreds and hundreds of volcanos on the earth. Many of them can only be reached very dangerously..hanging out of a helicopter.

    I try and see the whole picture. That’s all. :)

  313. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

    re: #306

    Dave, I used “forcing” because Pat used forcing

    No, he didn’t, at least not in #230 with respect to clouds. He mentioned CO2 forcing, but that’s proper usage according to standard warmer practice. Clouds are feedback and CO2 is a forcing.

    re: #310

    Well, I’d gone looking for the same data a while back and it was a bitch to find it, though my eventual findings were in agreement with what you give. So I don’t quite think it’s worth a sigh. OTOH, I posted on the subject and I’m sure it was only a month or two ago. It’s too easy for people to forget.

  314. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    “not bothering to look, when the looking has actually been done”

    ET Only a few are being monitered. That’s what I saw. I pointed that out when I said there’s only data for individuals. Dane asked “what’s the global yearly amount of CO2 total” And I was assuming ALL volcanos.

    Sounds like you’d have to make huge guesses then? And husband says it could be quite possible you could be off by orders of magnitude.
    Don’t foget under water volcanics count too.

    Dave, sorry we didn’t see the discussion before!
    I’ll shut up now!

  315. Lee
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    Dave – d’oh!!

    Have you ever misread something, and then persistently continued to reread it as if it said what you first misread? I have (now: my first mistake ever. Grin). He did say feedback – mea culpa.

    I dont think it changes my point regarding total effect vs errors, though.

  316. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    Hey Rocks, I’m not arguing with you! I didn’t make the looking comments.

  317. John Creighton
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

    Do we think estimates of human CO2 emissions are correct. Only half the CO2 emitted by humans ends up in the atmosphere. In other words the emissions by people is greater then the rise in CO2 concentrations. Consequently it is perfectible reasonable to assume that humans contribute a large level to the level of CO2 concentrations and weather volcanoes contribute more or less then people is of secondary interest to the fact that the human contribution is significant.

  318. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    #316 ET oops !
    I know you are not! It should say *That’s what I saw too* I was agreeing with you. That’s what I get for posting and cooking dinner at the same time!
    Sorry!

    #317 John C. That made my head hurt!
    But I see what you are saying.

    What if Mt Saint Helen’s eruption put out more CO2 in a few days then then the whole half of United States did in a few mos or something?…I don’t know anything really. Or if that’s real or even possible or if we know how much? Then I think GW people calculate taking a shower, cooking dinner not just the cars we drive- they use everything to calculate “per household” CO2. But they don’t count the 8 trees I planted in my back yard either. Or when I car pooled. They could be over-estimating/under-estimating? Who knows?

  319. John Creighton
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    To estimate CO2 emissions from people we don’t need to consider each and every way people may contribute to CO2 emissions because all CO2 emissions are the consequence of burning fuel. If I buy a TV fuel had to be burned to power the factory to make the TV. I don’t have to count how many TV’s are bought I just have to count how much of each kind of fuel is produced each day. Planting trees and other land use issues makes a difference but only in terms of feedback and not in terms of the anthropocentric forcing. If you do not believe the numbers of the emissions I hope you can atleast believe the statistics about the quantities of each type of fuel produced each day in each country. Feel free to calculate the emissions on your own from this information. I am all for independent verification. If you find a gross discrepancy then it is just one more strike against the propaganda put forth buy the eco-fundamentalists. I am all inclined to believe as a bare minimum that the scientific and statistical data collect was done without a desire to produce false data. It is merrily the analysis of the data I question and sometimes the methodology of the data collection.

  320. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 8:23 PM | Permalink

    “What if Mt Saint Helen’s eruption put out more CO2 in a few days then then the whole half of United States did in a few mos or something?…”

    1 million kilograms give or take. From June till October.

    Conversion to tons/tonnes is left as an exercise for the reader.

    Based upon different efficiens of volcanoes mileage for your volcano may vary.

    “If you do not believe the numbers of the emissions I hope you can atleast believe the statistics about the quantities of each type of fuel produced each day in each country.”

    That still doesn’t take into account CO2 absorbed by the various trees and the like with expanded forestery and agriculture.

  321. John Creighton
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    “That still doesn’t take into account CO2 absorbed by the various trees and the like with expanded forestery and agriculture.”

    #320 so what that is just the negative feedback. We can estimate negative feedback by simply measuring what portion of the CO2 emissions remain in the atmosphere. If the negative feedback stays around 50% then perhaps land use issues are not the dominate determining factor of negative feedback.

  322. Lee
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 8:37 PM | Permalink

    re 312:

    I found those numbers and the cite in about 4 minutes – and I am NOT a geologist. I’m stunned that I’m actually arguing with people who are using volcanic emissions as ‘evidence’ that the sudden rapid rise in atmospheric CO2 is not of human origin, in the face of all the evidence on this particular subtopic of climatology.

  323. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    Your talking of something else. That’s the increase in atmospheric CO2, not anthropegenic emisions, because you cannot differentiate antrhopegenic from natural aditions.

    If we’re to calculate Anthropegenic emmsions we have to calculate in anthropegenic sinks, i.e. the amount of corn grown, eaten and then disposed of in a non gaseuous CO2 form. Houses built locking up Carbon in the wood.

    You calculate that up, and I’ll calculate up how many crops are grown by volcanoes and with the product and waste disposed of in a non gaseous forms.

    It would of course be silly to calculate the carbon sequesterd in housing built by volcanoes.

  324. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

    Lee

    I’m certainly not arguing that. I’m only arguing that it’s nor measured, particualry in accurate form when you insinuated that it was.

  325. McCall
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    Sorry for the tardy response; missed this lame retort in #144!

    Trying to get even with a non-scientific “Clousseau” jab Mr. Bloom? I guess we should expect that; it’s just over 3 weeks after your insightful claim to*, “Expect to see a whole lot more on foramins as a proxy for recent climate?” How did it feel to jump on that bandwagon over a decade late? That must be what you meant by your “broad-based knowledge of climate science” — it’s AGW crypto for well over a decade late noticing foraminifera as proxy.** Of course this could mean that you knew, but forgot it — kind of like what the HT and AGW proponents are trying to do now with MBH’9x and the HS.

    * http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=715 #369
    ** same thread, #372 — actually paleoC’s like Dr Keigwin have used foraminifera since the 80s

  326. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    Hey guys,

    ” I’m stunned that I’m actually arguing with people who are using volcanic emissions as “evidence’ that the sudden rapid rise in atmospheric CO2 is not of human origin, in the face of all the evidence on this particular subtopic of climatology. ”

    Lee you see what you want to see.

    JohnC, I am not arguing with you about CO2, just expanding on something complicated that I don’t think can be explained just with computer models. The “rise” in global temperature isn’t something I see being proven either, man made or not. The earth tilts and spins and wobbles, stuff happens, volcanos blow. (I also have faith we humans will find other fuels) So I am not going to echo “worry” and “intensity” in my posts about human emissions. Hypothesis are not set in stone. My husband is an environmental scientist, he feels the same way about it as I do. That’s why there was a hearing today to remind us of that, at least I think so.

    ET SidViscous,
    thanks for expanding on this and understanding!

  327. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 19, 2006 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

    He did say feedback – mea culpa.

    Thank you. And that puts you one ahead of Mann in the admitting mistakes category. And that’s also one reason why I’ve supported you here when it comes to being a good person to debate with, even though I almost always disagree.

    I dont think it changes my point regarding total effect vs errors, though.

    As I said before, I think you miss what he was saying. One might have two separate things known +-5% but if one of them is 10 times larger than the other then you’re not going to be able to say too much about the smaller one. The errors in the larger one will govern. And that’s the situation in CO2 vs H2O. [Of course H2O is also found in all three states of matter while CO2 is less complicated.

  328. beng
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

    RE 311:

    bender, found the post here

    Take a look at that for a while — in fact, the right-side category proxies/bristlecones will bring up alot of interesting posts on this subject.

    PS — I can tell you’ve got good insight on these issues, but you haven’t been here long enough yet.:) After monitoring this blog since it started, I’d bet that, considering the "level" of the HTeam’s work (as revealed by Steve_M), the choices between proxies was made simply by eyeballing & choosing the Hstick-shaped trended ones. "You have to pick cherries to make cherry-pie" as one of the warmers said at the NAS panel.

  329. bender
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    Re: #328 bristlecone ecology
    beng, I read the links and will read the other posts you mention shortly. This aspect has obviously received some serious attention. More than I had anticipated. Not knowing a thing about the ecology of bistlecone pines, may I ask whether the issue of defoliating insects as a limiting factor has ever been discussed? i.e. The bugs may not be there now, but that doesn’t mean they were not here hundreds of years ago. Is that such a ridiculous proposition?

  330. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

    the choices between proxies was made simply by eyeballing & choosing the Hstick-shaped trended ones.

    I think it is even more disingenuous than that. I think they run the series and throw out those that don’t show a HS shape. I.e., their selection criteria is literally the “goodness of fit” of the output data to their expected result. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

    Mark

  331. Dane
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Re #322

    Lee, you are amazing in your ability to miss the freaking point. You say;

    “I am NOT a geologist. I’m stunned that I’m actually arguing with people who are using volcanic emissions as “evidence’ that the sudden rapid rise in atmospheric CO2 is not of human origin, in the face of all the evidence on this particular subtopic of climatology.”

    I never said any of the above. I am a geologist and I already knew the majority of surface volcanos are not being monitored, and none of the subsurface ones are monitored. All I wanted to know was WHAT IS THE TOTAL VOLCANIC CO2 CONTRIBUTION TO OUR ATMOSPHERE! Nobody is measuring that. Only very few volcano’s are being monitored, and few of those are being monitored continously which is what is needed for some real world accurracy. Therefore, any predictions or calculations of globals volcanic CO2 output are not going to be very accurate. Can’t you see that realty?

    Lee, discussing GW with you is pointless. No matter what the evidence is, you will twist it to fit your world view, even when there is no evidience, as I just pointed out about background CO2 concentrations. How can we possibly know what humans are putting into the system if we first don’t know and understand what the background CO2 conc should is?

  332. beng
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    RE 329:

    …whether the issue of defoliating insects as a limiting factor has ever been discussed? i.e. The bugs may not be there now, but that doesn’t mean they were not here hundreds of years ago. Is that such a ridiculous proposition?

    We discussed a mirade of other possibilities, ranging from the historical pattern of sheep grazing to blown dust from the nearby Owens valley and/or increasing CO2 acting as fertilizer. Others — nitrogen deposition, invasion of exotic weeds/grasses changing the ecotone “balance” locally. You get the message — little of these aspects have been considered by anyone — obviously not at ALL by the Hteam.

    The HTeam just used their eyeball-chosen Hstick proxies as pure temp indicators!! Wegman addresses this incredibly obvious “error” (as if the Hteam didn’t know).

  333. kim
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    I guess I should amend my comment in #287 about the geological supply of carbon dioxide to say ‘unmeasured but present’ rather than ‘reliable’.

    Carbon comes from vulcanism. Animal and vegetable metabolism sequesters it, variably according to temperature, and water buffers and keeps us on the cusp of glaciation in the face of gradually increasing insolation. All the elements are there to understand a relatively stable climate over eons.
    ========================================

  334. TCO
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    Are the isotopes from volcano belching different from those from fossil fuel burning? Would it really be so hard to monitor a few volcanoes and impute the behavior of the rest?

  335. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    Of course, all “anomaly” maps should be tempered with solar activity graphics similar to the one shown here. I’d like to see something like this coupled with a “total irradiance” graphic as well.

    Mark

  336. Dane
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    #334
    TCO, good question. From what i understand about volcanic gas monitoring, it is actually fairly dangerous and difficult to do, hence expensive. I am sure if funding were made available on a larger scale though geologists would be coming out of the rocks to work on those types of projects.

    Also, from grad school volconology 10 yrs ago, I recall almost all volcanos are different, to include each eruption from individual volcanos. They are constantly, slowly changing and evolve over time. So to get a realistic estimate, you would need to sample dozens of volcanos like a couple times a year. Otherwise its all arm waving.

  337. TCO
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    How did you come up with the dozens, several times a year number? Is it based on standard deviation and mean uncertainty? How many are monitored now?

    How about the isotopes?

  338. Dane
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

    I don’t know how many are being monitored right now, let me get back to you on this. My logic is based on knowing that only 3-4 in the US are monitored closely for seismicity, CO2 is a whole different ball game. You have to choose which vents, where on the volcano to set up stations, you need several readings a day, if not continuous monitoring during the study to see how concentrations change throughout the day. Its a pretty complex task, not simple at all as Lee would like us to believe.

    And remember you have hundreds of active volcanos on the planet, if not thousands, plus underwater, plus all the vent systems/plumbing associated with them. Volcanos are complex beaties that is for sure.

  339. Dane
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    TCO

    Here is the latest from the usgs web sites, looks like they are doing seismic monitoring on dozens of us volcanos, not 3-4 as I recalled from 10 yrs ago.

    this one measures gas at long valley.

    http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/About/What/Monitor/Gas/plumes.html

    Here is a bigger picture page

    http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/update.html

    I will see who else is monitoring CO2 emmisions besides Long Valley

  340. Dane
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    TCO, here is another good one

    http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/About/What/Monitor/Gas/GasMonitor.html

  341. Dane
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    One last link to modern volcanic issues

    http://www.volcano.si.edu/reports/usgs/

    It appears that not very many are monitored for CO2 emmisions as I thought. It is expensive so only the most dangerous volcanos get funded for such monitoring I suspect. I need a volcanologist to help me with this as its not my field of expertise and the classes were many yrs ago. It needs to be looked into and AGW types should really want to know if CO2 is so dangerous to the earth. I just think we need to know so we can figure out what is background for this point in earths history.

  342. bender
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    Re #332: Up to speed on the BP thread and I apologize to ClimateAudit for underestimating the depth of analysis and quality of reasoning on the BP problem. I had no idea. At the same time I am gratified to see that my analysis of the problems of nonlinearity and multiple limiting factors in calibration & reconstruction matches your own. (HT: This is an example of independent analysis.) I hope at least the idea of asymptotic vs. local response proves useful to you. Carry on.

  343. Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    About CO2 and volcanoes,

    If one looks at the isotopic composition of the CO2 released from volcanoes, these are slightly depleted in 13C (-1 to -7 per mil compared to a standard), depending of the composition of the carbon source, magma or limestone or a mix thereof. Compare that to fossil fuels which are highly depleted of 13C (-24 to -44 per mil).

    Ambient air currently is at -8 per mil (and falling). This implies that volcanoes can’t have a huge impact, as the 13C levels should increase with increased activity or constant high emission levels…

    some background on volcanic carbon isotopes at: http://wwwdggs.dnr.state.ak.us/scan2/pdf86/text/PDF86-34.PDF
    some background on fossil carbon isotopes at: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/db1013/db1013.txt
    some background on 13C trends in air: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/allison-csiro/allcsiro-mawson.html
    some background on 13C/12C partitioning in plants at: http://ethomas.web.wesleyan.edu/ees123/carboniso.htm

  344. beng
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

    Re 342:

    No need to apologize & hope I didn’t give a wrong impression. I’m just an ex-engineer very interested in this sorta stuff. Following this debate & particularly this website in detail is a great educator.

    Others here, however, are real (or potential) players in the game, particularly since the gatekeepers (Von Storch’s polite description) have been discredited.

  345. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

    #342 Ferdinand Engelbeen

    Thank you for all those links. (I like your name!)
    We have questions (my husband is here too and a geologist)
    You said:

    “Ambient air currently is at -8 per mil (and falling). This implies that volcanoes can’t have a huge impact, as the 13C levels should increase with increased activity or constant high emission levels…”

    We think this implies that the majority of CO2 in the atmosphere is from volcanos? If the number is falling (-8 per mil) and anthropogenic sources range from -24 to -44 per mil this still indicates the vast majority of CO2 in the atmosphere is from volcanos although the burning of fossil fuels is undoubtedly changing the atmospheric gas composition.

    From this data how can you say that volcanos can’t have a huge impact? (Especially if each volcano has a different signature)

    We would need way more sampling points, like said above in the other posts (only a few volcanos are sampled) wouldn’t we?

    Thank you.

    (there’s so many smart people here!) :)

  346. Steve Bloom
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #325: Let’s see, McCall, I said to expect “a whole lot more” foramin studies and you jumped all over me for not realizing that there had already been some. But I used the word more. More compared to what, do you suppose? More than, perhaps, something in the past? More than some already existing quantity of foramin studies? Imagine that. But I realize this analysis involved elementary grammar rather than advanced statistical techniques and so you could not be expected to see the obvious. Instead, you’re so desperate to score points that you just make things up. But please don’t change on my account, McCall. You’re already prefect in every way — the Platonic denialist. More, please.

  347. John Creighton
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking more about this problem of estimation without a prior knowledge of the covariance. The likelihood function is the probability of the parameters we are trying to estimate given our measurement. It is a conditional probability function. If the conditional probability function is Gaussian shaped then the maximum will be the minimum variance unbiased estimate. However, if we only have a few degrees of freedom and are trying to estimate both the mean and the variance a set of Gaussians are possible for each possible variance. In the case the fit is exact the cross section of the likelihood function where the fit is exact will have zero variance and thus will be the maximum likelihood but it will not be the minimum variance because if we weight all possible variances equal the point of maximum variance will have zero weight in determining the variance of the minimum variance estimate.

  348. John Creighton
    Posted Jul 20, 2006 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    opp I posted in the wrong spot. I ment to post in the MBH98 thread. Oh well, I’ll make a different post there later.

  349. Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 6:03 AM | Permalink

    Re #345,

    Welikerocks,

    I suppose that your husband is familiar with most of the following, but I try to explain this also for other interested readers.

    As far as I have read: the original atmosphere was reductive and composed of CO2, methane, hydrogen, etc. This changed by the evolution of (C3 photosynthesis) plants, which have enriched the atmosphere with oxygen, used much of the CO2 and changed the 12C/13C in air ratio towards more 13C (as they preferently use 12C in the synthesis of organics). Sea algues (like coccolithofores) with a chalk skeleton use a more direct (inorganic) chemical reaction to build the chalk. This doesn’t discrimate between 12C/13C and the ratio found in sedimentary rock of the Cretaceous (the white cliffs of Dover, mostly coccoliths) reflects (more or less) the 12C/13C ratio in air of that time. One specific type of Cretaceous sedimentary rock, Pee Dee Belemnite (PDM) is chosen as standard reference (delta 13C = zero pro mill), against which all others are weighted. This standard is one of the richest materials in 13C, because the Cretaceous is the time with abundant plant growth (near all our coal is of that period).

    There were times in the past that volcanoes emitted enormous quantities of CO2, like the Siberian Traps, besides enormous quantities of aerosols. But today, these events are (lucky!) very rare and – until the onset of the industrial revolution – we have a dynamic equilibrium in the carbon cycle between carbon emissions from rotting vegetation, degassing oceans, wearing of (sedimentary) rock, and volcanic degassing/eruptions at one side and the uptake by vegetation, uptake by oceans and sediment formation at the other side. Since then, an extra input is added by burning fossil fuels.

    Largest flows in the dynamic equilibrium are uptake/decay of terrestrial plants and uptake/degassing of the oceans. Of course, the absolute figures shown in the diagram are quite uncertain, but the main flows are what is shown there. Today, volcanic CO2 emissions are estimated at 130-260 Mt/yr, or (a more or less constant) one thousandth of the flows from/to vegetation and oceans. Human fossil fuel use and cement production counts for 5.5 Gt/yr, or some additional 2.5% to the dynamic flows.

    The difference between volcanic and human emissions is in the 12C/13C ratio and the fact that volcanic emissions are part of the (old) dynamic equilibrium, while human CO2 emissions are additional. As far as I have looked at the different figures for 13C in volcanic emissions, all are higher in 13C that the current ambient air ratio. That means, if there were more volcanic emissions, this should drive the 13C part upward in CO2 of ambient air. In contrast, burning fossil fuels which are highly depleted of 13C will drive it downward, which is what is noticed (be it at the brink of analytical possibilities…). In addition, extra CO2 emissions (no matter the source) will change all equilibriums (including CO2 levels in ambient air). It is certain that fossil fuel burning increased, but I haven’t found any indication that volcanic emissions have increased…

    So, that was a long explanation, not directly on topic… But should put to rest that volcanic has much to do with the recent increase of ambient air CO2 levels.

    Btw, my name is very old Flemish/Dutch, derived from the original German tribes names, is said to mean something like glittering spear (nothing to do with my current attitude!). Other names of the same origin are Engelbert, Englebert, Engelbrecht, Ingelbrecht, Ingelbeen,…

  350. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 6:14 AM | Permalink

    And here is a British Geological Survey report on volcanic CO2 (.pdf file) with similar conclusion to Ferdinand.

  351. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

    #349 Ferdinand,
    Thanks so much for your information. (husband is still asleep).
    I read through it the best I could!
    I guess the operative words are “be it at the brink of analytical possibilities”
    Because:
    Ambient air currently is at -8 per mil (and falling)
    Volcanos: (-1 to -7 per mil compared to a standard)
    Anthropogenic sources range from -24 to -44 per mil

    I find it interesting that paper re: cement production, seems to be the most cited source for the standard anthropogenic numbers! Most be a good paper! )
    And the word “estimate” is used quite often from reading all this stuff. I don’t know why I am still skeptical (maybe because only a few volcanos are sampled, and “lucky” events happen before we have time to sample Like Mammoth Mountain in CA) but I accept this as the best knowledge we have for the time being. ;)

    #350 Peter, thank you for the link to another paper as well.
    I read through it the best I could too!
    I don’t think it comes to the same conclusions. I see they are accepting the conclusions (what Ferdinand’s post implies) and siting other sources for that info; then the paper continues to expand ; studying individual/different types of volcanos. (See page 8)

    No matter-good info! Like Ferdinand above says large events are Lucky! And your paper states more understanding is needed to learn how large bursts from volcanos could have contributed to the greenhouse effect in the past, so we can understand the present anthro emission contribution in the atmosphere.

    Cheers!

  352. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

    Re: my 351

    that should say “see page 8″
    not see page sunglasses smiley
    LOL

  353. L Nettles
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    I love finding new facts. So when I saw the reference to Pee Dee Belemnite (PDB) I had to check it out and sure enough its named for a formation in my area.

    Pee Dee Belemnite (PDB) A belemnite from the Cretaceous Pee Dee formation, S. Carolina USA. Used as the accepted zero point standard for expression of carbon and oxygen isotope abundances (e.g. -10 per mil 13C vs. PBD).

  354. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    Interesting example:

    I am looking at the measurements from Mammoth CA (one volcano mentioned above in my post and part of Ferdinand’s info)

    One monitered section says: 150 tons per day,(54,750 tons per year) (tree kill area) and the other “factsheet” for the whole area (?) says estimate 1,300 tons per day (1 half a million tons per year on average)

    It’s a difference between 1 spot and total area. (caldera 30 x20 kilometers across or so) These are measurements of normal activity, not eruptions!

    CURRENT STATUS: Measurements of the total discharge of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas at the Horseshoe Lake tree kill area range from 50-150 tons per day. Variations are primarily caused by changes in barometric pressure. There is no obvious trend of either increasing or decreasing gas flux at this area; we conclude that the total gas flux coming to the surface at Horseshoe Lake has remained at these relatively high levels since 1996. We do not have enough data from any other gas discharge areas around the mountain to draw conclusions about changes over time at those locations.

    from: http://lvo.wr.usgs.gov/CO2.html

    and:
    A preliminary estimate of the current rate of CO2 gas emission at Mammoth Mountain is 1,300 tons per day. Similar rates of CO2 emission have been measured from the craters of Mt. St. Helens (Washington) and Kilauea (Hawaii) volcanoes during periods of low-level eruptive activity. Past eruptions at Mammoth Mountain, such as the phreatic (steam-blast) eruptions that occurred about 600 years ago on the volcanoàƒ’€¢s north flank, may have been accompanied by CO2 emissions. Scientists think that the current episode of high CO2 emission is the first large-scale release of the gas on the mountain for at least 250 years, because the oldest trees in the active tree-kill areas are about that age.

    http://quake.wr.usgs.gov/prepare/factsheets/CO2/

  355. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

    WLR, but you surely have to accept other have allready asked the same questions as you and come up with the answer they have that Ferd and I have pointed to? Other people can do maths :).

    Tbh, running with the idea the extra CO2 isn’t anthropogenic really isn’t the best way to go for AGW sceptics. It’s so clear it is anthropogenic if I were you I’d concentrate on what you know best – the good old HS.

  356. Dane
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

    #355
    I get the impression you don’t think its important to know what the real volcanic CO2 contribution is? I agree with WLR, It might be greatly underestimated, we don’t know because we haven’t sampled enough. I would like to have a good estimate at least, one with say a couple dozen volcanos measured and maybe at least 6 during eruption phases. I think with that many you might really be able to say something. From what I can find only a few volcano’s are being monitored. Maybe the studies will get done soon? Like you mention I am sure there are people working on the problem.

  357. jae
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    1300 tons/day X ? volcanos = ??

  358. jae
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

    It seems volcanos produce about 3% of the CO2, relative to anthropogenic CO2.

  359. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    I get the impression you don’t think its important to know what the real volcanic CO2 contribution is?

    His statement “It’s so clear it is anthropogenic” is a clear indication of his obvious objectivity in this matter /sarcasm. And, as a follow up, he points right back to the HS, which is such a circular argument.

    Mark

  360. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    Btw, my name is very old Flemish/Dutch, derived from the original German tribes names

    Well, in an alternate space-time continuum you could be an descendent of my ggrandfather’s oldest brother, Ferdinand Dardinger and Fred’s sister Mary Ann who married a Ropp who had a daughter who married a Spearman. The Spearman, BTW, Franklin Noah Spearman had a sorry demise. He worked in a stone quarry and going up in the elevator to the lunchroom one day in 1925 he told his brother who worked there too that this was going to be his last day; he was quitting that night. While the workers were eating they did some blasting down in the pit and somehow a stone was blasted up and through the lunchroom wall and crushed Noah’s skull killing him instantly.

    Not much on topic, I’m afraid. Too bad it wasn’t a coal mine he was working in so one of the trolls could come along and say it served him right working for the evil CO2 producers.

  361. Lee
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    So Ferdinand, who seems to bme to be one of the clearest thinkers on this site, and very much an AGW skeptic, outlintes the very clear and overwhelmingly supported multiple lines of evidence that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is at least in very large part due to human emissions.

    And yet the converstin continues as ‘but maybe we dont know accurately enough about volcanoes – they could be causing it. Who knows?” but with no or little reference to the actual evidence that Ferdinand outlined, no offering of new relevant evidence – and attacks on Hearnden, who basically said, “read what Ferdinand said.”

  362. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    PeterH,

    you say:

    “”Running with the idea the extra CO2 isn’t anthropogenic really isn’t the best way to go for AGW sceptics””

    Hmmm, I think if I ever took your advice, I don’t think I would have paid attention to the hearing SteveM helped contribute to either! LOL

  363. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    #360 Dave that’s cool info. :) I think my grandmother on my father’s side is of Dutch ancestry but I can’t remember her maiden name right now. Sheesh!

  364. Dane
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    #358
    Interesting link. They don’t give the source or how they got that number though, so I am still really curious since so few volcanos have or are being monitored, unless some huge study was done that I am not aware of, very possible. The usgs web site seemed to say they haven’t got any good eruption CO2 data, so that 3% number is slightly suspect?

    Also, remember each volcano is different, different plumming and different material through which the heat is transfered/erupted through/different source rock. So again, I don’t see the question adequetly answered yet. I am curious as to how much if any comes up through the oceans via underwater eruptions that are happening all the time all over the planet as well.

    Another thing bothering me about atmospheric CO2 and volcanos is what about way back during the Cretaceous from 83 to 125 million years ago. If my memory is any good still I think volcanism was going on like crazy during that time period and CO2 levels were much higher than today, so the two seemed to be linked together in the past. Is there any other major source of CO2 to the atmosphere in the past besides volcanism?

  365. jae
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    Sure is dull over at RC. I wonder if the Hockey Team has dissolved.

  366. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    Re#364 – Line change. They need to find a group of scientists completely unrelated to the team who can rush to print another hockey stick.

  367. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    Lee, you need to distinguish between human produced CO2 and what level of CO2 remains in the atmosphere in terms of what is cause and what effect. The amount of CO2 produced by humans each year is relatively small compared to the amount moving in and out of the biosphere and in and out of the oceans, but it is by far the largest source at present of “new” CO2. The question is whether the rise in CO2 remaining in the atmosphere year by year is merely a sign that the equilibrium changes which would sequester it are being overloaded or just not being triggered yet (after all a 30% increase isn’t all that much when you’re talking chemical equilibrium) or if in fact part of the rise is an effect of temperature rise rather than a cause of it.

    I tend to go primarily with the second suggestion with a touch of the third and not really much of the first. That is, the amount being sequestered each year will rise and perhaps rather steeply as the % increase goes up, and the equilibrium level will also rise as temperatures go up (meaning that the relative dis-equilibrium is not as large as generally assumed). In addition it’s possible some positive feedbacks on atmospheric CO2 may occur (ocean surface not holding quite as much CO2 as a gas for instance) but that this won’t be much of a problem.

  368. McCall
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    re: 346
    More revisionism, Mr Bloom, [snip – please don’t do this ,..- Steve]

    [snip] you’ve [snip] incorrectly called it (even in your last post), "foramins!" The correct term is "foraminifera," or "forams" for short, the name for the predominantly marine organism used commonly in paleoC and paleoO. [snip]

    Foraminifera study is basic and longstanding in this field; and you failed to recognize it as you (like others) ignored prominent past examples, such as Keigwin’96 Sargasso among many papers. [snbip]

    [snip]

    Steve: The tone of this post is very unconstructive.

  369. Dane
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    #349Re

    “In addition, extra CO2 emissions (no matter the source) will change all equilibriums (including CO2 levels in ambient air). It is certain that fossil fuel burning increased, but I haven’t found any indication that volcanic emissions have increased…”

    You statement leads to my question from yesterday and subsequent research into the subject, how can an increase be shown if the vast majority of volcanos are not monitored? The numbers you cite are estimates taken from a very small sample number. I never said anything about human contributions, I was simply asking how much CO2 does volcanism add to the atmoshphere. All the answers I am getting either don’t give a source (the CO2 science site)or state that the estimates are based on very small sample numbers. In other words

    “But should put to rest that volcanic has much to do with the recent increase of ambient air CO2 levels.”

    The question has not been answered at all. It seems nobody wants to know what the number actually is or at least get a number based on more than 3-4 (mauno loa/kiluea, long valley, the one in antarctica, and maybe Mt St Hellens, anymore?) sampling sites that were not going through eruptions when sampled.

    I mean, how do we know some event like Krakotoa in the late 1800’s (or even Pinotubo in the early 1990’s) didn’t contribute huge amounts of CO2 and change what seemed to be a semi-constant CO2 concentration. I would be able to put this to rest if at least a decent paper was cited showing multiple sampling sites and ejected CO2 conc etc. Am I the only one who has a problem with poopooing the volcanic data away as the warmers seem to do?

  370. Dane
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    One other question. In the ice cores, does CO2 increase at a constant rate or exponential rate since like 1850, or is the increase more staggered?

  371. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Re #356, Dane, atmospheric CO2 is increasing. If it’s volcanic don’t you think it’s an amazing coincidence that it’s being emitted in a way that mimics what anthropogenic CO2 looks like? I do. Don’t you think it odd, if the rise is due to volcanoes, that the rise is clearly sudden, vast, but no increase in vulcanicty has been observed? I do.

    Dane, you say we don’t know how much CO2 volcanoes produce. Ok, how do you know it’s not LESS than you hope think it is? Why do you think it will be more than geologists think?

    Those are some of the questions I’d ask. Why not ask them yourself?

  372. Dane
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    PH, I never said anything like what you suggest above. I know atmospheric CO2 is rising due to human activity, DUH! I am asking a simple question. how much CO2 does Volcanism contribute to our atmosphere? We don’t know, its that simple. Don’t you think we should try and find out, if for no other reason than to fine tune GCMs?

    This isn’t true “Don’t you think it odd, if the rise is due to volcanoes, that the rise is clearly sudden, vast, but no increase in vulcanicty has been observed? I do.” volcansims has never been constant over time, and eruption cycles are not constant either, very similar to earthquakes. I am a geologist who took some volcanology in grad school so I am very familar with the subject, but its not my area of expertise. You clearly no nothing of the subject.

    This is not what I am asking. “Dane, you say we don’t know how much CO2 volcanoes produce. Ok, how do you know it’s not LESS than you hope think it is? Why do you think it will be more than geologists think?”
    I don’t hope or think of any amount. Geologists look like they don’t have a very good idea of what the number really is. I am simply wondering if the volcanic contribution could be more than expected, or less than expected, simple question. Remember nobody was measuring any of this 20 years ago. Its a pretty new part of the science of volcanology. So your assumptions above are wrongly directed.

  373. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been following the CO2 debate here for some time. It’s a very interesting one with lots of good points and questions. Ferdinand Engelbeen (post 349)gave a very nice, and elegant summary of the current state of our knowledge. Dave Dardinger (post 367, and others I think Dave) has pointed out that the anthropogenic contribution to the total fluxes is small but has pushed the system into disequilibrium. i.e. preindustrial revolution the total flux to the atmosphere from CO2 sources (respiration, volcanoes etc) is matched by an equal flux to sinks (ocean uptake, photosynthesis). Now the flux to the atmosphere exceeds that taken up by the sinks and so we see increasing concentrations in the atmosphere that will stabilise once a new equilibrium has been established. Dane, and others have asked some interesting questions about volcanoes and there contributions to total fluxes to the atmosphere and how these might fluctuate. I’m sorry Dane I don’t have an answer to your question, but it is a relevant and interesting one.

    There is an additional interesting measurement we can do to try and understand the sources of new CO2 in the atmosphere and how the biosphere and oceans are responding to the increased levels as sinks. At the same time as measuring the CO2 level in the atmosphere we can measure the oxygen concentration. We might expect that burning of fossil fuels would lead to increased CO2 and reduced O2 levels. This is exactly what we find. The concentration of oxygen is dropping in the atmosphere. Don’t worry, the drop is tiny but measurable. The interesting feature is that the rise of CO2 is not quite as large as we might expect from our inventory of fossil fuel burning, cement production, deforestation etc., nor is the drop in O2 levels as large as we might expect. In fact CO2 levels have risen by only 50% of the theoretical amount. i.e. There is a large sink for a lot of the CO2 we produce. From the different behaviour of the sinks with respect to CO2 and oxygen we can determine their relative effectiveness. Dissolution of CO2 in the oceans does not involve either consumption, or production of oxygen and is seen as a horizontal vector on a graph of oxygen concentration versus carbon dioxide concentration. Photosynthesis (i.e. increased primary productivity, both terrestrial and oceanic) involves the consumption of CO2 and the production of O2. This is seen as a sloping line on the same graph.

    Thus by measuring both oxygen and carbon dioxide changes we can effectively look at the stoichiometery of processes that result in the addition of new CO2 to the atmosphere. The additional flux to the atmosphere is the result of fossil fuel burning, cement manufacture, deforestation. The oceans and biosphere are responding by increased uptake of this CO2 beyond that of pre-industrial revolution times. At the moment I think about 50% is being taken up by simple chemical dissolution of CO2 in the oceans and 50% by increased productivity (much of this in northern temperate forests).

    Sorry for the long and convoluted answer without diagrams. If anyone is interested I will post references and links as soon as I am back at work and can access my database (Monday now!). For others who are interested in this there are two very neat books published by Eldigio Press (I think). One is called “The glacial according to Wally’ the other is “Greenhouse Puzzles’. Both are by Wally Broeker and are wonderful guides to some of current thinking.

  374. Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

    Nice comment by Paul Dennis, which killed my (much) too long reaction in preparation… I like to see the figures, thank you very much…

    A few extra points:

    – There is a quite good relationship between CO2 and temperature in the Vostok data. This suggests that a change of 1 C in temperature causes a change of 8-10 ppmv CO2 in equilibrium (the opposite cause/effect is a different story!). A 10 ppmv CO2 change is what is measured in ice cores also in the last millennium during the MWP-LIA transition (which btw is an indication of a larger temperature variation than suggested by MBH9x and some others). Warmer conditions (than today) occured in the last interglacial (the Eemian), with the same effect on CO2 levels. Thus the recent warming since the LIA can not be responsible for more than 10 ppmv CO2 of the 100 ppmv increase…

    – I checked the Mauna Loa trends for the period around the Pinatubo eruption, the largest in the past century: that didn’t emit enough CO2 to increase the from fossil fuel emissions expected CO2 levels. In the following years the increase of CO2 was even lower than expected, probably due to lower (ocean) temperatures (and thus higher uptake). Alternative explanations exist (higher plant uptake due to more scattered sunlight). Needs more investigation…

  375. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 21, 2006 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

    Paul two papers that might interest you.

    http://tinyurl.com/g6moh

    http://tinyurl.com/gouhu

  376. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 1:06 AM | Permalink

    re 374, 375 Ferdinand, that is fascinating. I hadn’t appreciated, till you pointed it out, that the ice core record does record a small 10ppm drop in CO2 levels between the MWP and LIA. I’m sure you’re right that this drop results from increased oceanic uptake as a result of cooler conditions. I posed a question here a week or so ago: suggesting we need a high resolution atmospheric CO2 archive for the past millenia and asked for ideas as to what might be suitable. My only thought was that for the past several hundred years there have been aneroid barometers. These could be sampled and provided they still worked and were reasonably well calibrated we could be sure they had maintained integrity. There might be other artefacts that also could have trapped air. Of course it would be necessary for there to be no organic matter present otherwise decomposition would change the CO2 and O2 concentrations. I’m thinking aloud here, always a dangerous thing to do, but joint measurments of CO2 and O2 on ‘old air’ could be a very useful guide to the carbon system and palaeotemperatures for the period we are interested in.

    ET SidViscious, many thanks for the references. I’m was not aware of these ones before but they seem to confirm what I was suggesting. Of course we have made some atmospheric CO2 and O2/N2 measurements in my lab as part of a study trying to understand the carbon cycle.

  377. Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 3:39 AM | Permalink

    Paul, there is an alternative for the rather smoothed (the highest snow precipitation Law Dome ice core still has a 60-year smoothing) ice core record: stomata, which may give sub-decennial resolution. There is a good correlation between the stomata index and ambient air CO2. This is reflected in the Ph.D. dissertation of Thomas van Hoof. There are many more.

    There is a lot of discussion between stomata scientists and ice core scientists, because of a reconstructed constant higher CO2 level is found for stomata, and far more variability. A discussion about the smoothing in ice cores vs. stomata is given here.

  378. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    RE: 372 We don’t see alot of understanding yet either.
    Too assit in perspective here’s a site that lists volcanic activity monthly/daily:

    http://www.volcanolive.com/volcanolive.html

    And wikipedia’s list of volcanos:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_volcanoes

    (many unknowns in those boxes)

    We have a healthy respect for volcanos in our household and husband thinks in terms of epochs and millenia as well. As that toilet paper example always demenstrates: A full roll represents earth age and human existance is only a tiny tiny sliver of one sheet on a full roll.

    Thanks Paul D. and Ferdinand for your helpful, calm, intelligent, open minded and thoughtful postings. My husband was wondering about the oxygen/carbon data when this whole conversation started. Keep going! We sure appreciate you time and effort.

    And lastly, personally I can’t stand it when people ridicule questions And imply they shouldn’t be asked at all. When coming from AGW promoters it’s even more unsettling and rather sinister. IMHO
    “don’t you think “they” are already looking at these things?”

    “They”- Hmmm, the always mysterious group never quite defined. They either know nothing or know everything! ;)

  379. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    Re 377 Ferdinand thankyou for the link to the stomatal work. I have been aware of some of the data on stomatal density, though this has been more to do with my interest in very ancient stmospheric CO2 levels. Several years ago I worked on a dinosaur (sauropod) nest site from the Deccan traps in India. These were interesting because the egges were laid very close to the time that dinosaurs became extinct. I used palaeosol carbon isotope data and a model of gas diffucion in the soil horizon to estimate atmospheric CO2 levels. Of course there are huge errors but the levels were at least twice todays. There are some interesting stomatal density work on fossil leaves and plants.

    I’m growing much more interested in the CO2 debate and how CO2 may have fluctuated in the recent past so I will read the papers and thesis with interest.

  380. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    Ferdinand and Paul D.
    I found this info on a volcanic fact sheet that quotes or links to the University of Hawaii (climate related) :

    Underwater eruptions will release big amounts of gas into the water, producing big plumes of water with different chemical compositions. These eruptions will also release a lot of heat into the ocean. A geophysicist who recently retired from the University of Hawai’i has proposed that large eruptions on the East Pacific Rise (a mid-ocean spreading center) will heat enough water to cause currents in the Pacific to be changed, causing El Nino events. He has correlated earthquake activity along the East Pacific rise with El Nino and thinks that there is agreement. His ideas have not been accepted yet by most people who study El Nino. In fact, there has been at least one proposal that El Nino might cause increased activity on the East Pacific Rise!

    the last two sentences caught my eye “not been accepted yet by most people who study El Nino”

    Who might that be? lol

  381. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    #380 That’s an interesting idea you have come across WLR.

    As an interesting scientific aside, several decades ago, primordial 3-He was detected in large plumes originating from the east Pacific rise. The gas was emanating from the rise and being entrained in the water column. Thus the 3-He could be used to track sub surface water flow by mappng it’s distribution.

  382. JerryB
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    Regarding Vostok CO2 measurements, at http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/vostok.htm one finds the following:

    “Ice samples were cut with a bandsaw in a cold room (at about -15 C) as close as possible to the center of the core in order to avoid surface contamination (Barnola et al. 1983). Gas extraction and measurements were performed with the “Grenoble analytical setup,” which involved crushing the ice sample (~40 g) under vacuum in a stainless steel container without melting it, expanding the gas released during the crushing in a pre-evacuated sampling loop, and analyzing the CO_2 concentrations by gas chromatography (Barnola et al. 1983).”

    Questions: Why did they not melt the ice? What would the CO2 ratios have been if they did melt the ice?

    Does anyone here have information that might answer such questions?

  383. jj
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    Please dont put URLs in the first few lines of a post. It screws the presentation of the site.

  384. bender
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    Thank you! Maybe now I can see some of those reconstruction graphs that the sidebar has been covering up!

  385. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    #382 These are good questions JerryB. As you have indicated there are two methods for extracting gas from ice core. The method used for the Vostok core involved crushing a sample of the core under cold (-25 degrees C) conditions to break open the gas bubbles. The other is simply to melt a sample of the core and release the gas. There are potential problems with both methods. Despite the fact that we melt ice core for gas isotope measurments in my own lab I’m not sure I fully understand all the problems yet.

    The first reason for wanting to crush rather than melt is that you only release gas that is trapped in bubbles. There may also be a component dissolved in the ice that you don’t want. Secondly, melting the ice may lead to some dissolution of the gas into the meltwater. Believe me it is not easy to fully degas a small water sample, at least when you are looking for accurate gas compositions. Also when you melt the ice, you do so under a vacuum and it becomes necessary to strip this water from the gas sample before chromatography or mass spectrometry. This is either with a chemical trap, e.g magnesium perchlorate, or cryogenically by passing the gas sample thrrough a cold trap at -70 degrees C. This is an added experimental complication though not difficult to do in practise.

    However, there are also problems due to crushing. First is you expose the gas to a very high surface area of ice at cold conditions. It is possible that there will be some gas adsorption onto the ice surface thus modifying the released gas composition. Secondly, not all bubbles may be opened and there may be cracks through the ice to some of these resulting in diffusional release of gas. This will be mass dependent and lead to a modified gas composition.

    I hope this goes some way to answering your question and probably not very satisfactorily. What is required is a systematic study of crushing versus melting. We are trying to do one at present to see the effect on measured nitrogen and argon isotope compositions.

  386. Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Re #382:

    JerryB, the solubility of CO2 in ice is extremely low (under normal pressure, deep cores are put to rest for at least a year to expand again). Thus it doesn’t help to melt the ice for a higher yield. To the contrary, as CO2 is quite soluble in water, some unknown amount of it will be retained in the meltwater, disturbing the reading…

  387. Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    Ha, the real specialist was a few minutes faster than I was… Thanks Paul for the extended explanation…

  388. John A
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 3:40 PM | Permalink

    The first reason for wanting to crush rather than melt is that you only release gas that is trapped in bubbles. There may also be a component dissolved in the ice that you don’t want. Secondly, melting the ice may lead to some dissolution of the gas into the meltwater. Believe me it is not easy to fully degas a small water sample, at least when you are looking for accurate gas compositions. Also when you melt the ice, you do so under a vacuum and it becomes necessary to strip this water from the gas sample before chromatography or mass spectrometry. This is either with a chemical trap, e.g magnesium perchlorate, or cryogenically by passing the gas sample thrrough a cold trap at -70 degrees C. This is an added experimental complication though not difficult to do in practise.

    However, there are also problems due to crushing. First is you expose the gas to a very high surface area of ice at cold conditions. It is possible that there will be some gas adsorption onto the ice surface thus modifying the released gas composition. Secondly, not all bubbles may be opened and there may be cracks through the ice to some of these resulting in diffusional release of gas. This will be mass dependent and lead to a modified gas composition

    There’s one further BIG problem with carbon dioxide – the solubility increases if there’s a slight bit of brine in the snow (which there usually is). The result is that some of the CO2 dissolves in the brine depleting the remaining gaseous CO2. This dissolution is highly temperature dependent.

    So when the gas is released either by crushing or melting, there is a finite amount of carbon dioxide that remains in solution that is simply thrown away.

    What is the result? By either method described above the carbon dioxide reported is depleted by the chemical conditions, perhaps leading to the spurious result that the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is “unprecedented in the last 450,000 years”

    I’ve always wondered if its possible to create an artificial ice core with a known concentration of CO2 and see if the techniques so commonly used are able to recover the correct concentration.

  389. JerryB
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    Thank you Paul, Ferdinand, and John. I have wondered particularly whether adsorption might be introducing a bias (having been loosely acquainted with the use of adsorption in various gas separation processes).

  390. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    Re: #388 & #385
    “I’ve always wondered if its possible to create an artificial ice core with a known concentration of CO2 and see if the techniques so commonly used are able to recover the correct concentration.”

    Exactly my thoughts. Is something like this involved in the current work you mentioned, Paul?

  391. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    #389,390 We’re at the very early stages of our programme (first few months) and are trying to evaluate the best method for gas release and subsequent measurement of the isotope composition of the nitrogen and argon components. It would be nice to also examine the oxygen and carbon dioxide signals and that may come at a later stage as we move along the learning curve.

    It would be fantastic if we could create an ‘ice core’ with a known concentration of atmospheric gas and then use the different methods to extract the gas, measure its composition and compare with the starting gas. I’m not sure but don’t think that such an experiment has been done in this explicit manner. It would not be easy to freeze water incorporating a known concentration of gas in bubbles. However, one experiment we can readily do is to measure the adsorption of the different gases on to ice at the crushing temperature of -25 degrees C. This will give us some handle on the magnitude of the effect.

    In addition to the problems related to extraction of the gas we don’t fully understand the processes that are occuring when a gas bubble is formed in the transition from firn to ice. The first effect is thermal and gravitational separation of gas in the firn layer. The gas at the base of the layer has a slightly different composition to that at the surface as a result of gravitational settling in a gas column many 10’s of metres thick. The second problem occurs at the point of closure of the gas bubble. Imagine ice crystals gradually closing a bubble off through processes of crystal growth and grain boundary migration. There are stages where a capillary exists between free air and gas trapped in the incipient bubble. We know that there is a very marked change in composition with respect to the lighter gases. This is best seen when looking at the ratio of the light noble gases He and Ne. John A also mentions interesting effects due to the inclusion of brine, presumeably resulting from marine aerosol which is largely NaCl.

    Then after the gas bubble has formed I’m very interested in what happens to it once it moves deeper into the ice column. The hydrostratic pressure increases on the bubble, ice flows and so it is also presumeably in a stress field that includes a non-hydrostatic component. The bubble might migrate, especially if it is trapped at grain boundaries. How the gas composition of the bubble changes, if at all, through these processes is not known.

    I think there are a large number of fundamental studies of bubble dynamics in ice that remain to be done. I’m more than happy to keep everyone informed of progress and perhaps set up a web page so you guys can see what we’re up to.

  392. Ed Snack
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    As an extension to the gas retrieval experiment with ice, I wonder if it is possible to also simulate the pressure and ageing experienced by natural icecaps ? Pressure is probably relatively easy, but ageing is harder, and pressure plus ageing even more so. Is there, also, any estimates of the level of uncertainty that exists in the current measurements, and do those estimates acknowledge the issues under discussion ?

  393. TCO
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    I’m very happy to see quality work being done on the physical measurement methods. Don’t let those grant guys confuse you. Your work is foundational. You’re making the shovel. Other guys are just ditch diggers.

  394. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 1:18 AM | Permalink

    Re:#393
    For once, I’m in total agreement with TCO.

  395. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    more volcano trivia I found:

    The volcanic pollution results in a substantial reduction in the direct solar beam, largely through scattering by the highly reflective sulphuric acid aerosols. This can amount to tens of percent. The reduction, is however, compensated for by an increase in diffuse radiation and by the absorption of outgoing terrestrial radiation (the greenhouse effect). Overall, there is a net reduction of 5 to 10% in energy received at the Earth’s surface.

    Clearly, this volcanic pollution affects the energy balance of the atmosphere whilst the dust and aerosols remain in the stratosphere. Observational and modelling studies (e.g. Kelly & Sear, 1984; Sear et al., 1987) of the likely effect of recent volcanic eruptions suggest that an individual eruption may cause a global cooling of up to 0.3°C, with the effects lasting 1 to 2 years. Such a cooling event has been observed in the global temperature record in the aftermath of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991. The climate forcing associated with individual eruptions is, however, relatively short-lived compared to the time needed to influence the heat storage of the oceans (Henderson-Sellers & Robinson, 1986). The temperature anomaly due to a single volcanic event is thus unlikely to persist or lead, through feedback effects, to significant long-term climatic changes.

    Major eruptions have been relatively infrequent this century, so the long-term influence has been slight. The possibility that large eruptions might, during historical and prehistorical times, have occurred with greater frequency, generating long-term cooling, cannot, however, be dismissed. In order to investigate this possibility, long, complete and well-dated records of past volcanic activity are needed. One of the earliest and most comprehensive series is the Dust Veil Index (DVI) of Lamb (1970), which includes eruptions from 1500 to 1900. When combined with series of acidity measurements in ice cores (due to the presence of sulphuric acid aerosols), they can provide valuable indicators of past eruptions. Using these indicators, a statistical association between volcanic activity and global temperatures during the past millennia has been found (Hammer et al., 1980). Episodes of relatively high volcanic activity (1250 to 1500 and 1550 to 1700) occur within the period known as the Little Ice Age, whilst the Medieval Warm Period (1100 to 1250) can be linked with a period of lower activity.

    Bryson (1989) has suggested a link between longer time scale volcanic variations and the climate fluctuations of the Holocene (last 10,000 years). However, whilst empirical information about temperature changes and volcanic eruptions remains limited, this, and other suggested associations discussed above, must again remain speculative.

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