Green Alps #1

During the past few years, one sees from time to time news releases e.g. here about the “Green Alps”‘? from several German and Swiss scientists: Schlüchter, U Joerin, Holzhauser and Hormes in particular. The NAS panel mentioned Hormes et al 2001 in the sentence after Thompson’s organics, but paid no attention to it. It turns out to be a very interesting article, which I plan to write up.

While I was looking at this article, I stumbled across a German-language article by Schlüchter and Joerin in a popular magazine, which showed some spectacular pictures and drawings “€œ things that are unfortunately almost always absent from modern academic literature. I can do little better here than to simply show two illustrations from that article “€œ one showing a modern view of a pass in the Alps (with glacier lines of 1922 and 1856) and the other being a reconstructed view in Roman times of 2000 years ago. They identify 8 intervals of expanded forest lines (which I will discuss in connection with Hormes et al 2001).

Caption: Top – at the Susten Pass: View of Steisee, (left), Steilimi glacier (center) and the Gwaechtenhorn (left top) around 1993, with drawn-in glacier conditions as of 1856 (close of Little Ice Age) and 1922. Bottom – the same landscape at the Susten Pass, as it approximately looked from Roman time forward approx. 2000 years ago, as the Steiglet had withdrawn approximately to the height of the Tierbergli hut (2795 m). According the forest border was higher and the landscape showed a completely different picture than today.

It would have been far more interesting if the NAS panel had discussed something like this – and I’d have been interested in their opinions – as opposed to regurgitating Lonnie Thompson and it’s too bad that they didn’t analyze the issues.

187 Comments

  1. Paul Gosling
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Same comment as for the Stumped in Alberta thread. The glaciers are currently in retreat from their LIA maximum, not in equilibrium. Where they will stop even if temperatures stay the same we don’t know (unless you know something about glacier modelling which you are not telling us) they may retreat back to where they were in Roman times or higher before stabilising, Germany has after all just had its warmest month on record, as has England and Demark I believe.

  2. Paul Dennis
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    …Germany has after all just had its warmest month on record, as has England and Demark I believe.

    I’m always intrigued by statements like this. One wonders is it the warmest 30 day period on record?

    More seriously Paul, your comment about glacier dynamics is interesting and relevant. As far as I’m aware the green alps theory proposes as many as 10 periods of advance and retreat in the Holocene and thus implying a reasonably quick response time of glaciers to the different forcing factors. It is interesting to speculate where the equilibrium line for the present day climate is. My hunch is we won’t find out beofre the glaciers start to advance again.

  3. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Certainly, something more than the rigors of conquest drew the Romans north and eastward. Crossing the Alps must have been easier than it would be today on foot and horseback (or the odd chariot). And the nature of the lands to the north and east must have appealed to Mediterranean sensibilities in a way it does not today.

  4. Paul Gosling
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE #2 the comment about record temperatures was, asside from a case of minor trolling, to suggest that the equilibrium position of alpine glaciers for the current temperatures is without doubt higher than their current position.

    Re #3 I doubt they came for the weather, even in 60BC.

  5. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #2,

    One wonders is it the warmest 30 day period on record?

    Pretty close in places, but I suspect late June early July ’76 and 30 day’s somewhere in summer ’95 were warmer.

    My hunch is we won’t find out beofre the glaciers start to advance again.

    Hunch eh? If I had a hunche I’m sure I’d be dismissed – let’s see though ;) . My hunch is that we’ll see 2C+ warming this century. You wait, I’ll be asked to back up my hunch with science, but I suspect you’re at least close enough to this lot to get away with a hunch or two, especially as it’s the kind of hunch they will lap up no question asked…

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #4. That’ probably true – a similar comment was made in regard to the Venezuelan glaciers – and for that matter in relation to treelines where they are lower than MWP treelines. However, if the time to equilibrium is N, wouldn’t it imply that N> 100 or 150 years or that there was a period of N-100 or N=150 in the MWP (or Roman for that matter) that was warmer than the past 100-150 years.

  7. bender
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #5
    2°C, you say? Sort of like the 2.2°C we might have seen from AD910 to AD990 (Cook et al 2004)?

  8. beng
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE #1:

    You’d think the present, bare hillsides would respond with tree/shrub/grass growth alot more quickly than the glacial changes, wouldn’t you?

  9. Paul Gosling
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve RE #6

    Assuming N =100 or even less, if you accept the 0.6 20th C increase in global temperature, glaciers would strill not be in equilibrium with current temperature. Even the simple fact that most are retreating more or less year on year, shows they are not in equilibrium.

  10. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 10:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks SteveM for your continued interest in all of these issues. My family and I are sure greatful for the open minded interesting discussions from really smart and good people going on here.

    #5, “I’m sure I’d be dismissed”
    No. that’s how they operate on Real Climate and they edit and hold your posts too.

    I notice whenever anyone here expands on any thought away from human induced warming or validating the MWP for example only a couple commentors get their breeches bunched up in a knot. I suspect it is because they are worrying someone lurking might find the idea interesting and maybe become skeptics. Oooo, and that would be “bad”.

    also #5 “My hunch is that we’ll see 2C+ warming this century. ”
    Still does’t prove it is humanly provided Peter.
    The Earth moves and the Sun shines.

  11. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    One wonders how Hannibal crossed the Alps – it must have been much warmer then – otherwise, one can imagine the elephants fitted with crampons for the ascent of the passes, and snowboards for the descent.
    COWABUNGA DUDE!!!
    ELEPHANTABUNGA!!!

    Best, Allan :-)

    P.S. Seriously Peter, I’d like to bet some money against your 2 degree C warming hunch for the 21st Century, but I may not be around to collect. My own hunch is we’ll see some cooling by ~2015-2020, which should pretty much bound the question of the impact of CO2 on AGW. I said this in writing in 2002 and NASA has recently come out with an alarmingly low prediction for Solar Cycle 25, which will commence about 2017. I hope both of us will be alive to see the result of this – and we can exchange a bottle of fine red wine over the result. None of that pretentious French plonk though – a fine Italian Amarone or Californian Shiraz will do nicely.
    Regards, Allan

  12. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “None of that pretentious French plonk though – a fine Italian Amarone or Californian Shiraz will do nicely.”

    Excuse me? Arounf here (East coast_ Californian is at least 2-3 times the price of the “Pretentious” French wines.

    YOu can get the French cheaper, and in my opinion it tastes better. But if you wnt to stay away from PRetentious I prefer South American.

  13. HANS KELP
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Talking about peoples “hunches”, I just had a conversation this afternoon with one of my customers, a native Greenlander, who visits my dry-clean shop every summer he and his wife visits Denmark on holidays and bringing their wardrobe with them for cleaning, as they have no such businesses in Greenland. As there are a lot of talk about the ice melting in Greenland, I told him i followed the climate-debate and asked him how he felt about the whole situation. He answered me that his “hunches” were, that something happened to the climate, but that as the wintertime had, in his opinion, become a LOT colder in Greenland, the summer had also become warmer. No figures, just “hunches”. I have to admit that I have the same feeling about the climatic situation even here in Denmark. At least I still haven´t get rid of the cold in me from last winter, so the summer suits me rather well this year.

  14. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Correction to #11 – I wrote in a Calgary Herald article dated Sept. 1, 2002 that if solar variation was indeed the primary driver of Earth’s climate, cooling should start by ~2020-2030. I guess this is pretty close to 2015-2020, but did not want to be imprecise.

    I continue to believe that the Sun is the primary driver, and CO2 plays “fifth fiddle” in this orchestra. All in favor say “Ra!”.

    Best, Allan

  15. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ra!

    KevinUK

  16. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hans

    Is Greenland still part of the Kingdom of Denmark? What is the general feeling in Denmark in regards to the existence of the MWP?

    KevinUK

  17. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 12:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ra! Ra! Ra!

    Call me a cheerleader

  18. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #11, bottle of wine? You’re on. Other bets I’d need to know what you’ve in mind. This is your man re bets though.

  19. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 1:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #18 – I bet him that the current interglacial will end sometime during the next 50000 years. Of course, that’s just to tweak him. My real bet is much more aggressive than that. Care to wager in some next world / afterlife currency?

  20. HANS KELP
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 1:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #16
    Hey Kevin. Thank you for your question. Yes, Greenland is still part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but have got what you can call for a partially self/home-government. If f.ex. the climate would make drilling possible in Greenland, the revenues from the oil would go to the Danish State.
    Regarding the public opinion on climate change and global warming, it´s my impression that people in general do not have any kind of inflexible views on the subject because they simply do not know anything about it. Issues regarding climatic change haven´t got the prominent role in the media as one would assume from comparison with the USA and the UK. I personally think the Danes relies more on their beloved weather forecasters on the television, and according to them have wee not till now experienced weather and temperatures which wee have not experienced before back in modern time. I hope this makes it.

  21. HANS KELP
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 2:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #16 #20,

    Hey Kevin, once again! You were asking me regarding the MVP vs. the general opinion on that, and I did not make myself totally clear on that. In october 2003, the Danish Television had a broadcast from the Gripen mission in greenland. A danish researcher explained and demonstrated to the viewers how datings from ice-cores proved an MVP. It was a very compelling demonstration with a very clear diagram showing clearly what he was talking about, and I am shure it´s the general view. Another interesting thing that occured upon that broadcast was that, a flurry of readers letters went into the newspapers columns ridiculing the idea of global warming. The readers letters in the newspaper that I read showed that people were engaged, but it also clearly demonstrated that people in Denmark will be very difficult to convince that there´s an imminent danger from global warming.

  22. Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 2:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The great thing about betting for bottles of wine, as long as the participants agree to share the bottle, both sides win in the end! :-)

  23. James Erlandson
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 3:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Speaking of glaciers and Alps … from LiveScience:

    The European Alps have been growing since the end of the last little Ice Age in 1850 when glaciers began shrinking as temperatures warmed, but the rate of uplift has accelerated in recent decades because global warming has sped up the rate of glacier melt, the researchers say.
    Other studies found that from 1850 to the 1970s, glaciers in the European Alps shrunk by 35 percent. In only the past 30 years, however, the rate of melting has accelerated to the point that the 5,150 glaciers now cover only 50 percent of the area they once did.

    They further speculate that if summer temps increase by 9F, “the Alps will be almost completely ice-free by century’s end.”
    No snow, no skis, more cows, more cheese.

  24. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 4:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #6: That doesn’t quite scan. Assuming for the sake of argument that local temps in the Alps were the same as today’s (or, putting it in TAR terms, the ’90s) for 200 years and equilibrium time is 50 years, the glaciers wouldn’t have had enough time to retreat to the previous locations since temps have been at the ’90s level for rather less than 50 years. To be fair, you did the comparison to average temp for the last 100-150 years, but of course the ’90s were rather warmer than that (and today warmer yet). Even looking at that 100-150 year period, a direct comparison would be difficult given the 1940-1970 aerosol cooling (assuming that’s reflected in Alpine temp records).

    One would think that some conclusions about ultimate equilibrium could be drawn from observations regarding the rate of retreat, and maybe that’s at least part of what the estimates are based on, but I don’t recall seeing anything specific on that point. Perhaps anything very precise just isn’t possible with the available data.

  25. Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 4:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #19 and #11 – I’m the blogger who wants to bet on the side of global warming happening, referenced in #18.

    Thanks for the comment, Steve, but I’m interested in betting real money, non-trivial amounts, to be settled in a reasonable time frame (preferably 10 years, could go longer). Somehow I and others have had trouble finding anyone to take up our bet offers, or make counter-offers that didn’t implicitly accept the AGW position. Two Russians have taken the other side, but none of our brave American contrarians are willing to do so. I’d love to find somebody who is interested.

  26. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 5:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #26: Brian, you would probably recall better than I, but wasn’t there a previous cycle (about ten years ago?) of solar cooling predictions to the effect that we should be seeing substantial cooling somewhere around now? It’s interesting to see the more recent generation of such predictions having retreated into the future, although if those Russians fit within your ten year parameter it’s not fair to paint them with the same brush.

    I realize it’s unfair to saddle the current generation of skeptics/denialists with the failed predictions of the last generation, but I’ll happily do it anyway. :)

  27. jae
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 5:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Brian S. You have to be a religious zealot to make such bets. There seem to be a lot of “warmers” that just KNOW they are right, despite the incomplete and contradictory science. I think the contrarians tend to be much more objective and scientific in their approach, taking the view that we don’t know yet whether AGW is important. However, I would bet a bottle of wine….

  28. Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 6:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Jae, if by “religious zealot” you mean “someone who actually believes the position he espouses on global warming” then I guess I’m a religious zealot. The contrarians, maybe they’re not all that convinced about their position, however convinced they may be that we should do nothing to stop AGW.

    Steve, I can’t keep the “solar cycle” arguments straight so I don’t know where the Russians fit into the overall history of that argument, or exactly how it relates to the “cosmic ray” theories. The bet with the Russians is the one that James Annan made.

  29. jae
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 6:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    By religious zealot, I am referring to those who substitute “belief” for a careful look at the facts.

  30. Greg F
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 6:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The contrarians, maybe they’re not all that convinced about their position …

    I think you will find most of the “contrarians” that frequent this blog are quite convinced of their position. That position, simply put, is the supporting evidence for the AWG theory is lacking. IOW, we just don’t know, the so called problem is hypothetical.

    … however convinced they may be that we should do nothing to stop AGW.

    Sorry, but throwing limited resources at a hypothetical problem seems a bit foolish.

  31. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 7:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Brian, you would probably recall better than I, but wasn’t there a previous cycle (about ten years ago?) of solar cooling predictions to the effect that we should be seeing substantial cooling somewhere around now? ”

    No there wasn’t

  32. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 7:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Even looking at that 100-150 year period, a direct comparison would be difficult given the 1940-1970 aerosol cooling (assuming that’s reflected in Alpine temp records). ”

    Well I don’t think it has ever been proven that aerosols are responsible for the cooling trends (I think there is an arguement to be made for lowered solar ouput).

    But since your taking this stance, I assume that you must then agree with Dr. Lindzens Iris theory, since this is essentially what his theory was discusing. Seems odd that your a believer in the Iris theory.

  33. JP
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 7:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #2 “I’m always intrigued by statements like this. One wonders is it the warmest 30 day period on record”

    Since the 1970s the number of weather stations have decreased considerably. Certified weather stations with calibrated temperature measuring equipment, with trained and certified weather observers have decreased as well. Budget cuts at NWS (now NOAA) as well as the closing of numerous military weather stations have created a problem with collecting accurate surface weather data. This data, over the years has fed Commerce Dept climo databases. The old NWS use to keep automated weather stations active, but even this program fell by the wayside. I think everyone on this board knows of some military installation that has closed nearby. If it had an airfield, it had a weather station. Even the smaller VFR airdomes had trained ATC personnel who took limited observations.

    This problem has happened world-wide. In the US we now rely on TV stations, and even high school Earth Science classes. Most of these people have no idea how to use a sling psychrometer or calculate a dewpoint temp from a wet bulb reading. We are claiming climotological record heat waves from smaller and less accurate data sets.

    #4
    Religious Pilgrims used to travel many routes through the Alps. Many of these routes became closed after the 14th century, and opened again in the 19th century.

    The Bavarian and Austrian beermakers used to store thier lagers in caves during the spring and summer months starting in the 16th century. Later, they would harvest winter ice from the same caves and place them in thier lagar cellars. The famous Marzen Lager (Oktoberfest Bier) was lagered in this fashion circa 1847. The big problem was that even at this time cave ice was quickly melting. Refrigeration was discovered 50 years later to the relief of German and Bohemian brewers.

    At least by the 1840s the caves in Bavaria were rapidly warming. Surface temps quickly followed suit. The famous Swiss morraines that the Shelly and Byron commented on in 1815 were gone by 1850. Only rapid record warming could have accomplished this. Many of the young LIA glaciers were gone by 1860.

  34. JP
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 7:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #25

    The Bookies in Vegas can post bets. However, You will have to come up with something explicit and easy to verify – say the amount of global surface warming from 2000-2009. I imagine they will need an “expert” to verify – which means they will get Dr Mann. If that’s the case, I will wage a cool thou on 10 deg C warming. Three to one odds.

  35. Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 7:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #30, Greg F.

    “That position, simply put, is the supporting evidence for the AWG theory is lacking. IOW, we just don’t know, the so called problem is hypothetical.”

    Boy, I’ve heard that one a lot – we don’t know, therefore we can’t calculate the odds, therefore we can’t bet (we swear it’s not that we don’t believe our own statements).

    You can bet, and I can prove it. I’ll bet that temps will be COOLER in 10 years, if given 20:1 odds in my favor. I expect a lot of contrarians would be willing to be share my side of that bet. But the same contrarians who will take the bet when given 20:1 odds in the favor suddenly won’t do it when the odds are only 2:1 in their favor, odds I’m willing to give my opponent when I’m betting that temps will warm. We’ve just established the range of odds that the contrarian gives on whether temps will warm up. And of course, the odds of warming being correct in that contrarian’s mind is even higher, because natural randomness could make 2016 accidentally cooler than 2006, even in a warming world.

    So figuring out the odds of one’s position being correct – is that zealotry? How strange.

  36. Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 7:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Geez guys do you think we can discuss the topic?

    JP has some fascinating information to share in post #34. The rest of this thread seems to have degenerated into proving how macho you can be or something. Less waffling, more science, please. Less assertions, more facts.

  37. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 8:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Based on high solar activity for the past 50 years, one could reasonably take the view that accumulation of heat in the oceans is due to millennially high solar levels (as reported by Usoskin, Solanki), that the persistence of solar series makes it likely that solar levels will continue at levels above 19th century levels and that heat will continue to be distributed into the Arctic. I’ve not studied these issues sufficiently to decide whether this is a reasonable view or not.

    The main question of this site is whether the "proxies", especially tree ring proxies, are adequate to record MWP warmth. So I’ll make a counter-proposal and I’d be prepared to bet in size and one where the results can be determined.

    Do any of the warmers want to bet that European tree rings in the very warm year of 2003 did not show very wide rings such as predicted by the MBH assumption of a linear relationship between temperature and ring width?

    Or that Sheep Mountain bristle ring widths in the period 1990-2005 were as wide or wider than projected by a linear model – we can define the model, but essentially it’s the linear assumption of MBH.

    I’ll bet either.

  38. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 8:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Frome Hormes et al 2001:

    Also Riedgletscher was smaller about 1600 cal. yr BP (Holzhauser, 1985) than in the beginning of the 1980s. Such a reduction in the size of glaciers during Roman times is also confirmed by Roman passageways in the Alps which are covered by glaciers at present, e.g., Col d’Hérens (3462 m) (RàƒÆ’à‚⵴hlisberger and Schneebeli, 1976).

  39. Greg F
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 8:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Boy, I’ve heard that one a lot – we don’t know …

    Do you have a problem with that?

    … therefore we can’t calculate the odds …

    Straw man. It is a coin flip, 50/50.

    … therefore we can’t bet (we swear it’s not that we don’t believe our own statements).

    Which has nothing to do with your previous assertion that “however convinced they may be that we should do nothing to stop AGW”. I am quite sure that placing a bet will “do nothing to stop AGW” if it is a problem. Stop trolling.

    P.S. I don’t gamble. I don’t buy lottery tickets or go to the local casino. The attempt to get “contrarians” to place a bet is a cheap rhetorical trick.

  40. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 8:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ohhhh Steve used the Term “Warmers”

    Is this a first?

  41. charles
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 8:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I too would not be willing to bet against warming but I would take the bet based on net damage from increased co2. The fertilization value of increased co2 and the net value of very modest co2 induced warming make it a safe bet.

    “Based on information that indicated a solar activity-induced increase in radiative forcing of 1.3 Wm-2 over the 20th century (by way of cosmic-ray flux reduction), plus the work of others that indicated a globally-averaged solar luminosity increase of approximately 0.4 Wm-2 over the same period, Shaviv calculated an overall and ultimately solar activity-induced warming of 0.47C (1.7 Wm-2 x 0.28C per Wm-2) over the 20th century.

    Added to the 0.14C of anthropogenic-induced warming, the calculated total warming of the 20th century thus came to 0.61C, which was noted by Shaviv to be very close to the 0.57C temperature increase that was said by the IPCC to have been observed over the past century.

    Consequently, both Shaviv’s and Idso’s analyses, which mesh well with real-world data of both the recent and distant past, suggest that only 15-20% (0.10C/0.57C) of the observed warming of the 20th-century can be attributed to the concomitant rise in the air’s CO2 content.”
    –CO2 Science Magazine, 19 July 2006

  42. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 8:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Why stick to bet. Why not Insurance, not much different from a bet.

    I’ll take any warmer that lives within 3 Feet of sea level. They pay me $50 a month, if rising sea levels threaten their house I’ll buy them a new, equivalent house.

  43. Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 8:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve Mc doesn’t seem to mind the tangent on the betting, but I’ll quit with this post. If like Greg F. you believe the odds are like a coin flip, and someone will give you 2:1 odds, you should take it – unless, of course, you’re not the betting type. Can’t say how many times I’ve heard that one, too. I’m sure some of the time it’s true, and I have no reason to think it’s not for Greg. But for none of the American contrarians to be betting types (a meaningful bet, that is), that’s a little much.

    Steve M’s bet might be interesting to some people, I just don’t know enough about that technical issue to weigh it myself. Maybe a matter to raise with MBH.

  44. charles
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #41

    Steve,

    Do you have any interest/ability to audit the solar/cosmic ray connection to warming? Are the data and methods available? Can the analysis/results be duplicated?

  45. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #43 **Steve M’s bet might be interesting to some people, I just don’t know enough about that technical issue to weigh it myself.**
    That is what happens when you bet on something that others have convinced you of, but you have not questioned seriously. The *deniers* and *contrarians* are questioning more than betting.

  46. Greg F
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Brian S,

    You seem to not understand the attraction people have to betting. It is a form of entertainment. The bet you propose fails on entertainment value. People generally bet on things that will be determined in the very near future, such as a sporting event, a hand of cards, a lottery ticket (you should note that odds have little to do with it). Imagine if you will a casino where you place a bet and have to wait 5 years to see if you won. How many people do you think would go to that casino? The fact that people don’t want to bet on something they have to wait 5 or 10 years for should hardly be surprising. The bet you propose is nothing but a cheap rhetorical trick, a red herring. Explain to us if you will how taking your bet will do anything “to stop AGW”.

  47. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #26 — “I realize it’s unfair to saddle the current generation of skeptics/denialists with the failed predictions of the last generation, but I’ll happily do it anyway.”

    What theory accurately predicts Earth climate, Steve B.?

    Here’s a hint: No existent theory.

    That being true, and so the science says, then it appears the “skeptics/denialists” are merely skeptical of, or denying the validity of, unsubstantiable charges. It appears, B., that your opposites occupy the ethical high ground.

    There are no “failed predictions,” and can be none, because there is no theory adequate to make a prediction. That being true, and so the science says, any so-called prediction is little better than a guess that is subject to the stochastic vagueries of climate, and thus proves nothing no matter the outcome.

    It appears, therefore, that those who decline to participate in a bet (#25, Brian)) are making the rational decision. But, then, well, rationality has never been an alarmist strong-suit.

  48. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #32: Sid, you’d better go back and read up on the iris hypothesis as it has *nothing* to do with this discussion. Just for starters, Lindzen postulates that the iris would operate largely in the ________ (fill in climate zone here). Hint: It’s not temperate-zone mountain ranges.

  49. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    To which discussion? it was only to your point of mid 20th century cooling. And the Iris hypothesis has everything to do with aerosol particulates.

    You seem to have fallen back into that North American particles are bad, while Chinese particles are good. Or if not good/bad at least diametrically opposed, kind of thing. North American CO2 Baaaddddd Chinese CO2 goood.

    I suggest you read the basis of it, and not cherry pick comments about certain geographical areas, possibly only used as an example. Particularly if your going to support the position. Aerosol particles work the same woldwide, becaue they may congregate into a certain area doesn’t change their effect, as a particulate.

    Hey, you want to buy some sea level insurance.

  50. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 9:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #47: Nice attempted dodge, Pat. BTW, doesn’t John Daly’s old site still have the old about-to-be-embarrassing solar stuff? Or has it been removed? I’m confident the Idsos were smart enough to do that.

  51. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 10:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve M’s bet might be interesting to some people, I just don’t know enough about that technical issue to weigh it myself. Maybe a matter to raise with MBH.

    Ok, Brian, this site is trying to be about technical issues and perhaps you’d consider that when you post here. I really try to stay away from hackneyed arguments and to try to provide a forum for discussing proxies.

    We’re quite happy to have participation from people who aren’t necessarily familiar with the technical issues, but who are interested in understanding whether we are in a position to say whether 1998 was the warmest year in the millennium, 1990s the warmest decade,…

    BTW I notice that the two Georges who seemed so desperate to talk about organics in glaciers don’t seem keen to talk about the Green Alps.

  52. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 10:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #50 — Where’s the dodge in my #47, Steve B.?

    Either substantiate your claims with a theory that is predictive at 4 W/m^2, or bite the bullet and honestly admit you don’t know what you’re betting about.

    Couching your riposte in the scientifically irrelevant terms of whatever John Daly wrote is merely yet one more example of the political theater that informs all of your arguments.

    It continually amazes me how you and your side claim knowledge (“about-to-be-embarrassing“) despite the absence of knowledge. And here you purport advance knowledge. What preternatural knower talks to you, Steve B.?

  53. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Aug 7, 2006 at 11:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I guess we’re not supposed to talk about placing bets any more…

    But just one more thing: Solar Cycle 24, which will occur from ~2007 to ~2017, is predicted by NASA to be a very active one.

    That is why nobody is prepared to bet against more warming in the next ten years – as proposed by George Monbiot and others – George has stacked the deck and also has four aces up his sleeves. I would definitely bet on more warming in the next ten years. The cooling is likely to come thereafter…

    George – you have the odds on your side – what odds do you give me for at least 0.1 degree C year-to-year global cooling, based on annual averages, prior to 1930? Pay 3 to 1 in my favour? And how much do you want to bet? Also, who gets to be the judge (not the Hansen’s please) and who holds the money?

    Regards, Allan

  54. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 12:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Is it happy hour here at CA?

    Re #49: Er, I think you should be looking for water vapor rather than aerosols with regard to the iris hypothesis, Sid. But don’t let me slow you down.

    Re #52: Ah, here it is (or at least a version of it). Should be getting pretty chilly by 2030, what with the new Little Ice Age and all. Some of the shorter term stuff does seem to have been a bit off, though. Also, do you have me confused with someone who made a bet offer?

  55. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 12:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #51: Steve M., I’m still not very clear as to the significance of the Green Alps stuff. Absent something beyond what I’ve seem, it doesn’t seem to be evidence that the Alps were warmer in the MWP or RWP than now. (Actually I should limit my remarks to the MWP since I don’t know much about the RWP.) I’m perfectly prepared to believe that treelines were generally higher, but as I noted in an earlier response to you that doesn’t seem to be proof that either period was as warm or warmer than the ’90s. That Europe (and the north Atlantic region generally) experienced a local warming close to current temps isn’t controversial so far as I know. The debate, such as it is, is over how global it was.

  56. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 12:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Dumb question for the solar experts.
    I read somewhere that the Earth’s magnetic field has been getting noticeably weaker in recent years, possibly leading up to a magnetic pole flip.
    If true, how would a weaker magnetic field affect climate ?

  57. gbalella
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 1:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The only piece of dated wood they mention is 6,800 years old??? Been under ice all this time??? Wow pretty ssonn will be finding 10,000 year old stumps.

  58. Demesure
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 1:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “None of that pretentious French plonk though – a fine Italian Amarone or Californian Shiraz will do nicely.”

    What ?! This is a viscious remark aimed at ruining our wine exporters. Mr MacRae, wars were waged for much less than that !
    I’ll store a marvellous Saint Emilion in my cellar to be opened when global cooling will occur en souvenir of Et SidViscous who seems to know french wine better than you ;)

  59. Demesure
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 1:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #21: you lucky Danes. Here in France, we are treated with this kind of porn “cartoon” by mainstream media explaining why last June heat wave will become the norm next years. :(
    http://opelinjection.free.fr/imagesforum/jt28072006.jpg

    As you must know, our 80% nuclear electricity needs a lot of “hot air”.

  60. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #39

    The attempt to get “contrarians” to place a bet is a cheap rhetorical trick.

    Is it? Ok, Well it was sceptic Alan MacRae who suggested a bet first – so get at him, and don’t try to blame those who respond!

  61. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE#53:

    Correction 1:
    Did I really say 1930 above? How embarrassing! I meant 2030. Must have been too much bad wine last night – tried a Valpollicella over dinner at a local restuarant last night – all agreed it failed the test – almost as badly as Mann did. Next tried an Aussie Shiraz – vastly superior. Restaurant had an enormous wine list, greatly overpriced. Kind of like tree-ring studies – more does not make better.

    To repeat:

    George – you have the odds on your side – what odds do you give me for at least 0.1 degree C year-to-year global cooling, based on annual averages, prior to 2030? Pay 3 to 1 in my favour? And how much do you want to bet? Also, who gets to be the judge (not the Hansen’s please) and who holds the money?

    Correction 2:
    I certainly was not the first to mention betting – I read that someone was crowing about Lindzen refusing a bet and was responding to that. I’m not a betting man by nature – don’t like to take others’ money, but hate losing mine even more.

    Best, Allan

  62. Greg F
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: 60

    Yes Peter it is a rhetorical trick. I am sure I could get a large number of people to bet a beer, or some trivial amount, on a sporting event. OTOH, there would be few takers if someone offered to bet $1000 on the same event. The rhetorical trick is to make the bet large enough so there will be few takers and declare victory.

  63. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #54

    Oh I see, so only water vapor is opaque to light? Gee and all these years I thought other things would leave a shadow. I could have sworn I’d seen shadows from thing besides clouds before.

    It’s so wonderful to have you warmers to point out those things that I see in the every day world are actually illusions.

    Water vapor as a feedback will effect the Earth’s “Iris” That doesn’t mean that other things, like particulates, do not have an effect as well.

    Just goes to show you don’t understand the position at all.

  64. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 7:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #60. Peter H, before you start snipping about betting, please note that the person who raised the matter quickly withdrew when it came to betting against me on proxies. So please stop discussing this.

  65. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 8:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #57. They found dated wood from many intervals including wood much more recent.

    #51. Steve B, they have Roman period wood plus passes used in Roman times are said to be presently filled in with glaciers. So there msut have been some cumulative period which was cumulatively warmer than the modern warm period.

    Sometimes there’s a point to these posts that I’ve got in mind that I don’t make clear and which will perhaps be a clearer when I post up on Hormes et al 2001.

    The stratigraphy of glacier moraines and other glacier sediments is fiercesomely complicated as Hans Erren will vouch for. If glaciers advance and recede in different waves, then the sediment bed laid down by a glacial advance can be a mix of many different periods. In my brief consideration of the literature and it’s very quick, let me tell you, the stratigraphy of these sediments is horrendously described. Much of this is due to the limitations of academic journals. In a geological report, there would be infinitely better maps than any of these little articles. Probably Hormes’ thesis has decent maps, I don’t know.

    Within a sorry lot of reports, the Alps information is much the best and at least conveys the sense of the mixing of subfossil wood from many different intervals in a given deposit, such as the one in the 1995 jokullhaup at Untaargletscher.

    The Alberta information is also decent. I’ve broswed a few more articles and there’s quite a bit of it, most of which I’ve not read. Again, there has been an ongoing process of disentangling advances and retreats. This is made difficulat, as the specialists note, because the most recent LIA advance was very far – the furthest since the LGM – and engulfed and transported older moraines.

    So we have advances and retreats with complicated re-working of the stratigraphy in the Alps and in the Rockies.

    Now you look at Thompson’s report on Quelccaya – which is one sentence reporting a 5000-year old subfossil – and no maps or stratigraphy. A totally crappy report, as all his reports are. In Alberta and the Alps, you can get 5000-year old subfossils being exhumed in modern jokulhaups – contexts where it is proven that there was tree growth upslope of where the subfossils were found more recent than 5000 years.

    So the point is not to argue the MWP in Europe, but to argue that no significance can be placed on an isolated find of a 5000-year organic without a clear exposition of its stratigraphy and an proper scientific report.

    I’d also note that the NAS panel did a really poor job in their literature review of glaciers. If they were going to report Thompson’s isolated find, they should have reviewed the more comprehensive literature in the Rockies and in the Alps.

  66. Paul Linsay
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 9:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #56

    how would a weaker magnetic field affect climate ?

    A weaker field allows cosmic rays to penetrate the atmosphere, they in turn seed clouds. More clouds, less sunshine, cooler weather. This is also what is supposed to happen during periods of low solar activity when the solar wind weakens and allows more CRs to penetrate the atmosphere.

    Needless to say, there is debate on this effect though the data I’ve seen is quite convincing.

  67. Dane
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 9:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #56. The earths magnetic field has weakened at least 15% over the last 500 years since the English first started measuring it. It may have weakened even more, but I haven’t been following the state of the science in about 8 years. It doesn’t nessesarily mean the field is reversing though, sometimes it only goes part way towards a reversal, and then goes back. The magnetic field has some very odd behaviors.

    #57 I can show you a buried forest with 6 million year old stumps if you like, all invited, stop 4-3 October 8; http://www.humboldtfog.org/fop_2006/FOP2006_mainpage.htm

  68. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    42:

    I’ll take any warmer that lives within 3 Feet of sea level. They pay me $50 a month, if rising sea levels threaten their house I’ll buy them a new, equivalent house.

    Hey, I’ll do the same!

  69. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    But out Jae. I’ve got dibs. No need for underwriters in my scheme, I’m putting all the risk on my shoulders.

  70. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re #65:

    I’d also note that the NAS panel did a really poor job in their literature review of glaciers. If they were going to report Thompson’s isolated find, they should have reviewed the more comprehensive literature in the Rockies and in the Alps.

    If the NAS committee was unable to recognize/acknowledge the dangers of data mining in proxy reconstructions of surface temperatures, I would doubt that they would feel guilty about cherry picking articles in what was to me a very obvious effort on their part to defend AGW.

    The most important points I have taken away from your referenced articles, comments and discussion involving tree rings, corals and now glacier proxies is in demonstrating to me just how complicated these proxies for temperature and climate are to interpret and just how susceptible they thus become to data mining and cherry picking. There do not appear to be any established standards in dealing with these proxies and thus authors can more or less pick and choose “individualized” interpretations.

    Your crack about Thompson and his pamphleteering I thought was right on the target. The little finishing flourishing to most articles by some of these authors’ articles, referencing the connection to AGW, to me sets something of an unscientific tone to the articles and almost seems to be saying and “here is the real point we are attempting to prove”.

  71. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re#68, 69:

    I’ll take any warmer that lives within 3 Feet of sea level. They pay me $50 a month, if rising sea levels threaten their house I’ll buy them a new, equivalent house.

    You imply but do not state “rising sea levels due to AGW”. Be careful, or every coastal dweller who cannot get storm-surge insurance will be it buying from you.

    Re#65, 70

    AGREE. I originally thought that the North/NAS report was not too bad, although the press conference and Summary were badly biased. My later opinion agrees with these posters – a sloppy NAS job on other fronts, perhaps not so bad on the actual examination of the hockey stick – but clear evidence of pro-AGW bias by most of the North committee.

    I really liked Wegman, who showed independence and integrity (in spite of voting for Gore).

    Best, Allan

  72. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “Dispassionate” science is just not cool on campus anymore. Not among students, not among faculty. The urge to advocate is very strong. Don’t take my word for it. Look at graduate school curricula in earth & atmospheric & biological sciences across North America. Look at the trends. Are they emphasizing the need for better science, or the need for science to have stronger impact? What are university presidents after: better science, or higher visibility? Who wants to learn about the intricacies of time-series analysis when you can opt for a course in lobbying methods? Fact is, most ecologists go into that field because they hate math.

    The need for an objective auditing process will not disappear any time soon.

  73. Jonthan Schafer
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #51,

    I appreciate the discussions here, even though it is difficult for me to understand a lot of the science behind the discussion. I’m trying to learn, but being a programmer, I don’t have an enormous amout of time to study in detail.

    Proxies, like anything else, are subject to data issues, just like some of the analytics that are done on various data from systems we have built or run for others. One in particular hypothesized that 70% of a particular client’s customers were non profitable, and suggested they drop those customers. The analyst made the findings in a presentation to the client. Unfortunately, the client failed to mention several issues with the data in question, including bad data during a conversion from one software system to another, as well as the way they accounted for certain revenue and costs associated with this particular type of client. These were things that should have been accounted for prior to producing the analysis but the client didn’t mention it and the analyst didn’t ask, not being well versed in their business model. Needless to say, the analysis was useless and the client was very unhappy.

    It would appear that in using tree ring proxies, you have similar type issues. As bender has pointed out in a number of posts, trees respond to a variety of stimuli, all of which can affect ring growth postively or negatively. Ascribing all of the change simply to temperature, without being aware of other potential stimuli, or simply discounting them because they fit the results of your model, is ignorant at best and unethical at worst. Using proxies produced by others, without knowing or ignoring all the relevant details associated with those proxies is just plain bad science, IMO.

    Of course, this is all just one layman’s opinion.

  74. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #70. Ken, I agree 1000% about the typical flourish. When I read Zhu (1973) – see post last summer – I was amused at his flourish – in his case, it was genuflection to Chairman Mao.

  75. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 11:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    73 Your “layman’s opinion” is right on target, IMO. Tree rings are terrible proxies for temperature, and I doubt that we will see much more of this crap in the journals, now that MM have crushed the hokey stick.

  76. TN
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    simply discounting them because they fit the results of your model

    I think this is fine if they attach caveats and don’t oversell the confidence levels of their results.

  77. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Even hockey sticks are ok IF they have passed audit* and they have appropriately estimated confidence intervals/uncertainty envelopes around them. THAT is the key to making sure these icons don’t get oversold.

    *As it stands, though, no hockey sticks to my knowledge have yet passed audit.

  78. Tim Ball
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There is a photograph by Professor Ritchie of a White Spruce (Picea glauca) in Volume 2 of Lamb’s epic work Climate: Present, Past and Future. The caption reads, “The stump radiocarbon dated about 4940 years (±140) B.P., is seen still standing on a steep bank on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula (69° 7′N 133° 16′W) which borders the Arctic Ocean (Beaufort Sea) east of the delta of the Mackenzie River in extreme northwest Canada. This tree in what is now tundra shows wider growth rings than the nearest present-day spruce forest 80 – 100 km farther south, near Inuvik in the lower part of the Mackenzie River valley.”
    Of course, you cannot and should not draw any conclusions from a single sample as Steve M is pointing out, but the result, especially in climate must be as much cross correlated (avoiding auto-correlation) data as possible. Was this tree indicative of a global situation or part of a regional refugia? (There are quite large refugia in which pre-glaciation species survived. See the work of Sylvia Edlund and others in the Arctic or Matthews in the Queen Charlotte Islands). We know the northern slope of Alaska was not glaciated so was this simply an eastern extension of that situation? Could we use these examples to argue the Wisconsin glacial advance did not occur?
    In this context, I reject attempts to dimiss occurrence or significance of the MWP or LIA because they are not found syncrhonously or with equal intensity in all regions. It is very difficult to determine the onset or end of these periods partly because we cannot definitively determine temperature thresholds, but also because of the increasing range of error in temperature determination as you go back in time. The LIA spans the transition from the secular to the historic so you have different precisions of measurement. Similarly problems confront the transition from historic to biologic/geologic. Some techniques, especially tree rings, varves and ice cores, seemed to offer transcending measures and were eagerly taken up. Unfortunately the limitations of these measures were downplayed, ignored or not understood and they were used without regard to knowledge of climate and climate mechanisms. Determination of the sequence of events is not a new problem, but egregious misuse of the methods has resulted in throwing out entire volumes of data because of one apparent anomalous piece of evidence. Similarly, whole conjectures have evolved from a single piece of evidence.
    In my 1982 doctoral thesis I wrote,
    “At present there appears to be a debate in the literature as to when this period (the LIA) ended. Evidence from many sources and regions clearly establishes that the entire northern hemisphere experienced a distinctly cooler period with “…low values of the longterm mean temperature at all seasons of the year by comparison with recent normals in most parts of the world. (Lamb, 1977, p.465)” Obviously different regions, with their unique local conditions that can delay or advance the onset of climate changes, experienced the effects of the hemispheric cooling at different times and with different intensities. The author defers to the general position taken by Lamb that for the onset of the Little Ice Age, “It is reasonable to regard the time from about 1550 to 1700 as the main phase for most parts of the world…(Lamb, 1977, p.463)””
    It is possible to find different trends in temperature for two or three decades or more in the modern record in diferent regions. For example, western Canada showed warming for about 30 years while eastern Canada was cooling. Which region would you use to support an argument about global trends? I also think it is a mistake to asume that a climate change mechanism will manifest in all records. For example, the 22- year cycle shows in some latitude records but not in others. Unfortunately, these problems are a major part of the side effect of politicization of the issue of climate change.

  79. Jonthan Schafer
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 12:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #76,

    One wonders how you can even have a confidence level in a proxy using tree-rings. Assuming basic interactions with the environment, including temperature, precipitation levels (flooding, drought, normal), soil conditions, infestation (insect, fungii, mold, etc.), CO2, encroachment of new species (animal and/or plant), how do these interactions affect the growth of trees. In addition, is the response, if any, immediate or delayed. Unless there are recorded observations of the area which can be included in any proxy study, what kind of confidence level can you even place on such a proxy?

    At least with carbon dating and isotope measurements, while not fool-proof, can give seemingly a better measurement of certain aspects of past climatalogical history than tree rings. And if you can’t give a high confidence level to such proxies, then why would anyone consider using them as a material input into their study. Even more interesting, why would science accept the published reports of people who use such information as material input into their study? Based on what I have read in a number of places, it would appear as though the MBH studies were flawed from the get-go. And if so, that says something about pushing an agenda rather than furthering our understanding of the complex nature of the earth’s climate. That it could be accepted as sound science also says something about the state of the scientific process, peer review, media, politics, and a host of other areas as well.

  80. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    But what the heck do I know, apparently, I can’t even spell my own name correctly…lol

  81. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 12:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #23 – “he European Alps have been growing since the end of the last little Ice Age in 1850″

    Well, um, they have actually been growing for while longer than that. Got tectonics? :)

  82. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 1:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    One wonders how you can even have a confidence level in a proxy using tree-rings.

    Fair question. The answer is: through careful statistical analysis. Read the blog. Nearly all dendroclimatologists are aware of the limitated interpretibility of their material. The problem is (1) a very few aren’t, (2) people who use multi-proxies are not specialists in any one area and are thus prone to mistreating their source data, (3) dendroclimatologists often are not versed in the statistics of time-series analysis.

    So why do we bother with it? Because what you lose in interpretibility you gain to some extent in accuracy in the time-domain. Dating errors are few or non-existent.

    The field is currently experiencing a setback. But they hope to bounce back with much-improved methods.

  83. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 1:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #69 – If you really want to clean up, make multiple such deals and make them with warmers here on the W. Coast. In similar fashion, make opposite bets with skeptics living in tectonic subsidence areas! Hehehehehe!

  84. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 1:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    82:

    Dating errors are few or non-existent.

    How do you know this?

  85. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 1:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t. I was being generous.

  86. Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 1:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Just came across this article relaying the thought of physicist and meteorologist Craig Bohren concerning AGW. His views are pretty much in line with mine, but even putting that aside, he wrote a paper called Clouds in a Glass of Beer (1987) so that makes him OK in my book.

  87. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Fair question. The answer is: through careful statistical analysis. Read the blog. Nearly all dendroclimatologists are aware of the limitated interpretibility of their material. The problem is (1) a very few aren’t, (2) people who use multi-proxies are not specialists in any one area and are thus prone to mistreating their source data, (3) dendroclimatologists often are not versed in the statistics of time-series analysis.

    I would problem no. 4: tree rings are terrible proxies for temperature. Improved methods will not solve this problem. Dendro chronologists should hang it up, relative to temperature studies.

  88. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    jae, No offence, but your stock is losing value by the minute. Give it up while you’ve still got some.

  89. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    no.

  90. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #63: Sid, if you get caught having confused water vapor with aerosols, that’s fair enough as most here are amateurs and don’t exactly have the entirety of climate science on the tip of our tongues. Once caught, however, if you flop around denying you were wrong, it simply causes reasonable people to question your overall veracity.

    In this case, you asserted that my statement that the 1940-70 cooling was a result of aerosols meant that I must endorse Richard Lindzen’s iris hypothesis. Aside from the fact that even if true your assertion was entirely irrelvant to what was being discussed, anyone who is familiar with the hypothesis knows that it relates to water vapor and clouds in the tropics and has nothing to do with the effect of aerosols over temperate mountain ranges. Of course aerosol content in the air has an effect on cloud formation generally, but this is pretty much irrelevant to the iris hypothesis.

    If you think I’m wrong, all you need to do is produce something to the contrary from one of Lindzen’s papers. Several of them are publicly available, so it should be easy for you to look.

    In future, try to double-check your assumptions before you spout off.

  91. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    No, the water vapor is in relation to a negative feedback. Iris has a seperate meeting and isn’t related to one particualr feedback.

  92. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Damn, I think Steve B is right on this one!

  93. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #75: Waxing philosophical for a moment, if a hockey stick was crushed but there was no report of it in the mainstream media, can it be argued that it even happened?

  94. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    SteveB: science always wins out in the long run. Most intelligent people have very little trust in the media.

  95. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #89
    Good. Tenacity is a good thing.

  96. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    88: Herr Bender, please understand that I feel comfortable in talking about tree rings, since I have degrees in forestry, wood science, and wood chemistry. There is very little hope in using tree rings as temperature proxies, because of the tremendous number of variables that influence growth rates of trees. YOU, after all, are the one who keeps harping on the need to have a clear relationship between two variables (temperature/proxy), without interference from many other variables (precipitation, canopy, competition, nutrients, disease, fire, etc.). This is probably the exception, rather than the rule, in the case of tree rings.

  97. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 2:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #91: Sigh. OK, Sid. Here is the original iris article from 2001, and the abstract is pasted below. A search of the document for “aerosol” finds… nothing. Imagine that.

    “Observations and analyses of water vapor and clouds in the Tropics over the past decade show that the boundary between regions of high and low free-tropospheric relative humidity is sharp, and that upper-level cirrus and high freetropospheric relative humidity tend to coincide. Most current studies of atmospheric climate feedbacks have focused on such quantities as clear sky humidity, average humidity, or differences between regions of high and low humidity, but the data suggest that another possible feedback might consist of changes in the relative areas of high and low humidity and cloudiness. Motivated by the observed relation between cloudiness (above the trade wind boundary layer) and high humidity, cloud data for the eastern part of the western Pacific from the Japanese Geostationary Meteorological Satellite-5 (which provides high spatial and temporal resolution) have been analyzed, and it has been found that the area of irrus cloud coverage normalized by a measure of the area of cumulus coverage decreases about 22% per degree Celsius
    increase in the surface temperature of the cloudy region. A number of possible interpretations of this result are examined and a plausible one is found to be that cirrus detrainment from cumulus convection diminishes with increasing temperature. The implications of such an effect for climate are examined using a simple two-dimensional radiative–convective model. The calculations show that such a change in the Tropics could lead to a negative feedback in the global climate, with a feedback factor of about -1.1, which if correct, would more than cancel all the positive feedbacks in the more sensitive current climate models. Even if regions of high humidity were not coupled to cloudiness, the feedback factor due to the clouds alone would still amount to about -0.45, which would cancel model water vapor feedback in almost all models. This new mechanism would, in effect, constitute an adaptive infrared iris that opens and closes in order to control the Outgoing Longwave Radiation in response to changes in surface temperature in a manner similar to the way in which an eye’s iris opens and closes in response to changing light levels. Not surprisingly, for upper-level clouds, their infrared effect dominates their shortwave effect. Preliminary attempts to replicate observations with GCMs suggest that models lack such a negative cloud/moist areal feedback.”

  98. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 3:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #93, Steve Bloom

    Waxing philosophical for a moment, if a hockey stick was crushed but there was no report of it in the mainstream media, can it be argued that it even happened?

    Only by a spin doctor who’s worried about getting his contract renewed.

  99. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 3:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    No more aerosols on this thread please.

  100. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 3:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #93 Steve Bloom,
    It wasn’t just the hockey stick that was crushed, it was the method by which it was produced. That method has been invalidated, and similar methods are now coming under the same level of scrutiny. That is going to make it much harder for AGW to oversell its product to policy makers. Gloat if you like, it seems you’ve no idea of what’s been won or lost in this debate.

  101. Dano
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    96:

    There is very little hope in using tree rings as temperature proxies, because of the tremendous number of variables that influence growth rates of trees.

    Funny: the scientific understanding is that the LIA can be seen in multiple proxies: tree rings match up to borehole temperatures, glacier length records, and historical documents, and our precious MWP can be seen in regional evidence such as ice cores, tree rings, marine sediments, and historical sources from Europe and Asia.

    Perhaps we have a modern-day Galileo in our midst, ready to write a paper that overturns current scientific wisdom! Tree rings, even tho they match up to other temp records, can’t be used as a temp proxy because jae sez so. Devastating evidence, to be sure.

    Best,

    D

  102. Kevin
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 3:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What’s the problem with bore holes and sediments? The dating is too rough?

  103. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 3:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Danoboy: are you FINALLY admitting that the hockey stick studies are flawed?

  104. Hans Erren
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 3:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Why oh why dano do ALL reconstructions disagree with the observed temperatures of the last 30 years?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

  105. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 3:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #101 Dano, I tried to get jae to moderate his position somewhat, but it seems it has to be all or nothing with him. He’s even skeptical of tree-ring cross-dating. Maybe he’ll come around in a bit. Tree rings could be useful as a proxy, but there are alot of assumptions and uncertainties in their use that means the data have to be handled carefully and results interpreted cautiously. It’s when the data are mishandled and interpreted cavalierly that the field runs aground.

    It seems people are really uncomfortable with uncertainty and they either want to reject all things uncertain (jae), or pretend the uncertainty doesn’t exist, or that it is inconsequential (muirgeo). This is polarizing the AGW debate in a way that is most unhelpful. The uncertainty is very consequential, as I doubt that a hockey stick, properly presented (with wide confidence envelope, & multiple spaghetti lines getting fainter & fainter in the past), would have had nearly the policy impact as the oversimplified cartoon icon put in the IPCC 2001 document. It certainly would have helped to stem all those untenable claims about “unprecedented” warming.

  106. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: url in #104
    Another bloody temperature reconstruction without confidence intervals on it?! You see why I get so upset about this issue? As if the uncertainty doesn’t matter! AGWers are out to confuse the policy makers on this issue. It’s not negligence, it’s deception.

  107. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Come on, Bender, there isn’t even a linear relationship between growth rates and temperature; it’s an inverse U-shaped quadratic. So there is not much hope from the very outset.

  108. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    jae, I think many dendroclimatologists would agree with you that their product has been somewhat oversold in some instances. This is one reason why the multi-proxy approach is favoured: truth by independently converging lines of evidence. The hope is that all the various errors cancel each other out. The nonlinearities you mention are real. Whether the responses are so linear as to obviate a linear calibration approximation … that’s a darn good question.

  109. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Typo. Apologies for failing to proofread. “Whether the responses are so nonlinear as to obviate a linear calibration approximation … that’s a darn good question.”

  110. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You can’t very well approximate an upside down U with a line!

  111. bruce
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #71, addressed to Steve Bloom.

    Hey Steve, would you like to comment on the following quote from Allan M R MacRae?

    I originally thought that the North/NAS report was not too bad, although the press conference and Summary were badly biased. My later opinion agrees with these posters – a sloppy NAS job on other fronts, perhaps not so bad on the actual examination of the hockey stick – but clear evidence of pro-AGW bias by most of the North committee.

    It seems a somewhat similar pattern to TAR where the Summary for Policymakers is a wildly biased presentation of the material in the body of the document as is proven by the marked up edit of the original Summary that has appeared. BTW, so far as I know, you have not responded to my earlier questions re this matter. Does that suggest you don’t think it worthy of discussion? Strange.

    I am very interested in your answer as to how this sort of thing is NOT political manipulation of science. Perhaps you have an answer. But it sure sounds like the approach advocated by Stephen Schneider to me.

  112. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #110
    jae, I can’t tell: are you intentionally being obtuse? Because I don’t have the time or patience for that. I’m assuming you read the thread on survivorship bias?

  113. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #111. Sure there was a big element of bias. That’s why their acknowledgement of our key points was much more meaningful than their attempts to save face.

    Aside from bias, because they relied on literature review as a process of due diligence for most of their report, they did limited due diligence except on our claims. An audit process is different in nature than this sort of fly in-fly out overview.

    Some other aspects of the report that bother me – Lonnie Thompson is thanked as a reviewer of the report. The section on ice cores reads like Lonnie Thompson wrote it – discussing and presenting his stuff in detail. Academic reviewers seem almost incapable of not grinding their own axes in the review process. An audit function is quite different.

  114. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #82,

    Careful statistical analysis can only get you so far. In the end, you have to make some judgement(s) as to what the analysis is telling you. Then you have to place a confidence rating on the judgement(s). Fine, so what should the confidence level be, in order to use that analysis/data as part of a multi-proxy study. How do you weight the input based on the confidence level. How prone are the results to having wild swings based on the assigned weights. Sounds like a very difficult prospect, one that is prone to errors and/or mis-use.

    Given all the available stimuli that can affect plant growth, can you even get to a confidence level that you can end up making a causation between x and y, in order to use that data in multi-proxy studies regarding temperature?

  115. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #112. jae – bender is no advocate for linear relationships. I’m not sure what the issue is. Anyway re-read bender’s material because I’d have trouble finding something that I disagree with.

  116. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #114. The confidence levels in MBH and other such studies are completely bogus for many reasons outlined here.

    As a result, in a noisy network like MBH, the results have wild swings depending on weights. You can see this in Burger and Cubasch flavors although they don’t relate this to weights as clearly as I’d like.

  117. Dano
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    105:

    The uncertainty is very consequential, as I doubt that a hockey stick, properly presented (with wide confidence envelope, & multiple spaghetti lines getting fainter & fainter in the past), would have had nearly the policy impact as the oversimplified cartoon icon put in the IPCC 2001 document. It certainly would have helped to stem all those untenable claims about “unprecedented” warming.

    Well, if I were to have a research emphasis (outside of work) at this moment, the emphasis would be generalized into ‘political ecology’. That is: your comment and esp. the italicized falls into this area. We see Mooney and Nisbet discussing it now, with some fruit, but it’s a long row to hoe, this intractable human nature/societal directioning thing. Scientists on this planet, simply, are not trained to convey information to the layperson in an understandable manner. Some like Feynman or Sagan have the gift. Most do not.

    Further, sowing doubt about uncertainty and prediction obfuscates the fact that decisions and directioning can be done with adaptive governance and adaptive management. Few things are predictable to any certainty (the rigor demanded varies with interest in a subject), yet we muddle forward. Scenario analysis, in my view (maybe because my major advisor in grad school was big on it), allows adaptive governance a way around reliance on prediction and flexibility in the face of emergent properties. Sadly, eliminating prediction from the argumentation eliminates a big area for doubt-sowing. It eliminates the inability to drag up the ability to wield untenable claims arguments too, but you can’t have everything I guess.

    Best,

    D

  118. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dano,
    1. Your link did not work.
    2. Informing policy makers of uncertainty levels is not the same thing as sowing doubt in the mind of the public. When a policy maker asks for a “simple” summary, should that summary include an estimate of uncertainty, or not?
    3. Wouldn’t your adaptive management scheme work better if you knew what kind of uncertainty you were facing? (The insurance industry couldn’t function without accurate estimates of the probability of uncertain events.)
    4. Don’t confuse uncertainty and doubt. Uncertainty can be quantified and is a helpful piece of information.

  119. Dano
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    114:

    Given all the available stimuli that can affect plant growth, can you even get to a confidence level that you can end up making a causation between x and y, in order to use that data in multi-proxy studies regarding temperature

    First, plants are only one proxy, not multiple proxies. Second, coring enuf trees gives you a sampling, with which you perform your statistical analysis to determine what, if any, relationships to growth exist at the site.

    HTH,

    D

  120. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 4:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    112. Yes, Bender, I read the thread. What is your point?

  121. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    That an “inverse quadratic” may describe the SHAPE of a tree’s response, but it doesn’t describe the RANGE spanned by the curve. A straight line can’t be fit to a U, but it *can* be fit to a J. And who’s to say whether tree-ring responses are J-shaped or U-shaped. Both have the same quadratic curvature to them.

  122. Dano
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    118:

    1. Oops.

    2. Yes. My point was about the standard boilerplate argument about uncertainty and problems of prediction found everywhere, not about CIs.

    3. Adaptive governance and management use scenario analysis linked to analysis of indicators to bound uncertainty. Adaptive management is used in the corporate world and in war college exercises, BTW – science has adapted it to its use.

    4. Thank you for the advice sir.

    Best,

    D

  123. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #119. Dano, the $64 question is whether the statistical analysis as performed by dendro-jockeys is totally useless or worse – misleading. Wegman et al, who are competent statisticians, thought so for the studies that they examined. If you’re going to criticize "amateurs" as you’ve denigrated certain people in the past, perhaps you might extend some of your opprobrium to amateurs like Mann, Briffa etc.

  124. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve maybe you can’t see the Trees for the forest. Could you possibly look up what an Iris is and why Lindzen used it in that context. THen please tell me how blocking light is not an “iris”

  125. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry Steve I didn’t see 99 before I posted.

  126. Dano
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    122:

    As I’m sure you’re aware, I do a CBA for the personal energy expenditure on considering an outdated, first paper.

    Nonetheless, I believe IIRC that Wegman et al said that eliminating the totem doesn’t eliminate the other evidence for AGW (I should be writing a report, so I’m not going to find the passage today).

    The overarching political ecology question is whether the adaptive capacity of the planet is affected by anthropogenic influences. Practically every scientific discipline says yes or not now but perhaps in the near future, requiring societal redirectioning. IOW, we’re being distracted by quibbling over marginalia, which is an externality that amateurs use to flood the zone with astroturf and you know it.

    Best,

    D

  127. Dano
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    And can I get my reply to 118 posted?

    Best,

    D

  128. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sagan ended up as a quack. Nuclear winter, what an overdramatized joke. Sagan presaged the current “religious believers” in the extreme “tipping point” scenario – science hammered into a form where it might serve a utopian intellectual agenda such as unilateral disarmament or “low impact living.”

  129. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dano, it’s not one paper that’s the problem, it’s the methodology used in it, and all subsequent papers.

  130. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    121. OK, I see your point. There must be much better proxies than tree rings. Too many unknowns. I like treelines better.

  131. muirgeo
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re # 18

    (The insurance industry couldn’t function without accurate estimates of the probability of uncertain events.)

    Yes and the insurance indutry with some of the best actuarial data available will tell you that storm related damages do seem to be on the rise and NOT just from more people living in the “danger zones”.

  132. jae
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    131. So?

  133. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    They tell you that so they can justify their premiums so that sheep like you will be suckered into paying them. You think they’re going to release the actual data to the public domain where their competitors can use it? If anything they would release misinformation.

  134. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dano, if the HOckey Team corpus is irrelevant to major policy issues, then the discussion of Hockey Team studies should be deleted from the IPCC 4AR other than a note clearly stating that the confidence claims attached to these studies in IPCC TAR were over-stated and that the IPCC view is that the relative position of the MWP and modern periods doesn’t matter.

    The NAS panel left matters in a very slippery situation for the Team as they tried to rely on studies which can’t be relied on.

  135. Deanster
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    125

    Well that’s news to me! Last time I checked, Science was a process, not a dictate. Thus, the process of science is not capable of making predictions or conclusions regarding data that does not exist! That is the place of Religious Zealots, for which I’m afraid the dicipline of “climate science” has become.

    To date, we only have a few sets of “real data”. The temperature record, and some satelite data. Neither of these are sufficient in depth to come to any conclusions regarding cause and effect, as their time span is simply to short, and they are restricted only to a warming trend. Further, the processes themselves lack understanding. Even the NAS report states this, but for some reason, it escapes some people.

    If there is any long term trend that needs to be observed, it is that Ice Ages have happened on a fairly regular schedule for millions of years. The likelyhood of the next one issueing in is much more certain than any hypothesized effect of CO2 on the climate. The evidence resulting from the science process regarding ice ages is much more robust than the science of AGW.

    There really is no distraction .. that is just the way it is.

  136. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #131 – and NOT just from more people living in the “danger zones”

    Is that what the insurance industry said or is that your own added spin?

  137. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 5:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Scientists on this planet, simply, are not trained to convey information to the layperson in an understandable manner. Some like Feynman or Sagan have the gift. Most do not.”

    Are you kidding? there are more channels on television with scientists speaking round the clock on them then ever before, like Discovery, PBS, and The Science Channel. And for the Layperson, a scientist that holds a view not completly to the warming view and speaks out about it, what happens in the media? Al Gore’s the main man right? According to the warmers and likes of the MSM and on RealClimate, “run by scientists” he is, and does a really good job too.

    this is from the paper I linked earlier:
    “it is not justifiable to talk in terms of what ‘definitely’ will or will not happen in the future – even though the public and policymakers are looking for certainities. All that one can reasonably do is set out what the current understanding is, acknowledging that this understanding is limited and may turn out to be wrong in certain key respects, and then talk in terms of probablities of particular events occurring”

    That means don’t make stuff up or allow a hypothesis to continue to be distorted like “the alps are growing because of AGW” or Tom Brokaw’s or 60 Mins version GW science to be shown 4 times in one weekend after the Congressional Hearings SteveM attended with no report what so ever on the hearing itself.

  138. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 6:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #114

    First, plants are only one proxy, not multiple proxies. Second, coring enuf trees gives you a sampling, with which you perform your statistical analysis to determine what, if any, relationships to growth exist at the site.

    Yes, I understand that plants are only one proxy. The multi-proxy statement was in regards to using plant (tree-ring in this case) proxies as input into multi-proxy studies including things like temperature readings, ice-core samples, etc.

    My other point is based on all the variable input that goes into plant growth, how can you sufficiently weight the variables and quantize the results in a way that you can put X confidence factor on the results, especially when there are limited or no other data available to correlate with (ie: no temp readings, no historical records regarding infestation, changing soil conditions, encroachment of other species, migration, etc.) If I’m going to say that the tree-ring record indicates changing temperature with a high confidence factor, without having any other historical records to correlate to, how confident can I be that the results are an accurate gauge of the climatological conditions during the period measured and that causality can be established. In addition, how can I be certain that others who use the data for their own studies have ascribed to the same conclusions and used the same weighting factors. Finally, how can I be sure that, in the absence of full disclosure, that the data was not cherry-picked, ignoring contrarian evidence.

  139. Dano
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 6:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    134:

    Thank you for your opinions Steve. We’ll see how well they get distributed and whether they get play, and whether the other multiple lines of evidence will then be priveleged. Not to sound like a broken record, but what would be better is your collected data then analysis adding to the debate and the thus predictive/projective activities of decision-makers (and hopefully you won’t get a ‘religious’ or ‘zealot’ label tacked on to your name).

    OK, gotta go.

    Best,

    D

    Thank you whomever for posting my 118.

  140. Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 6:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Bender said:

    Dating errors are few or non-existent.

    I dunno. My college nightlife was filled with em. :-)

    Just trying to bring some levity to the conversation.

  141. bender
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 6:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As soon as I wrote that I thought the same damn thing :)

  142. McCall
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 8:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Expanding on 66 (56), moving charged particles (including cosmic rays) leave trails of water droplet formation — Wilson’s cloud chamber. With a stronger earth’s B-field, more incoming charged particles are deflected toward the low humidity poles or back out into space. A weaker B-field allows more charged particles (and especially their secondary collision particles) to penetrate to the supersaturated humid latitudes, increasing cloud formation (and therefore reflectivity) where incident sunlight is most direct.

  143. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 8:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re: #117

    Further, sowing doubt about uncertainty and prediction obfuscates the fact that decisions and directioning can be done with adaptive governance and adaptive management. Few things are predictable to any certainty (the rigor demanded varies with interest in a subject), yet we muddle forward. Scenario analysis, in my view (maybe because my major advisor in grad school was big on it), allows adaptive governance a way around reliance on prediction and flexibility in the face of emergent properties. Sadly, eliminating prediction from the argumentation eliminates a big area for doubt-sowing. It eliminates the inability to drag up the ability to wield untenable claims arguments too, but you can’t have everything I guess.

    Dano, could you please describe in your own words in some detail (without an accumulation of links) how this approach can be used to mitigate AGW and how it is currently being applied. (I would think that your scenario building was the main consideration in adapting the Kyoto accords).

    While your comment waxes almost poetic about the detrimental effects of “doubt sowing”, I do not see the skeptics’ arguments having much effect on public policy as it regards AGW today. Is not the larger resistance to the progress, for which, I assume, that people such as you are looking, coming from politicians’ hesitancy to institute regulations that will cause their constituents some pain or at least major inconveniences without seeing any short or intermediate term benefits? In my judgment if public policy does get to the point of actually and honestly embarking on programs to reduce GHG emissions to levels that would significantly affect future temperatures, as indicated by your favorite climate model, then the measurement of uncertainty, that you evidently see currently as a pesky drag on progress, will become most important to politicians and their constituents.

    One further point of my concern with adaptive governance as applied by governments is that by their very nature they tend to have great difficulty in changing course or admitting failure once a direction has been taken. As programs are instituted and depended on for subsidies, jobs etc, they tend to become more about politics and less about whatever it was they were originally instituted to do.

  144. Jeff Weffer
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 8:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Really good thread.

    Just wanted to make a side comment on tree rings and response to temperatures (among the 3 dozen other variables that affect tree wing width.)

    The comment is that different species of trees react very differently to changes in temperature. Some tree species like a cooler temperature and respond positively to that. Some like it hotter and respond positively to rising temperatures. Some like it hotter but suffer from invasion other tree species who also like it hotter.

    But even within the same species of tree, there are significant genetic differences so that some sub-groups may respond positively while others respond negatively. Tree species have much greater genetic diversity than animal species for example.

    So the main point is that tree ring widths tell you absolutely nothing about historical temperatures unless you have a “control group” that has been tested against various conditions and then you still have to verify that the control group is genetically similar enough to the trees you are sampling from for the results to be valid. Even then, you have to be able to demonstrate that none of the other 3 dozen variables were at play in changing tree ring width in the time period in question.

    You have to prove that 3 mm’s of growth represents 1 degree of warming from 1880 to 1883 given what we know about the other climate conditions in this 10 acres of mountain slope and given this sub-species of tree.

    That is alot of proof to be demonstrated. But it can be done if the scientist in question is doing his job right.

    Some components of the field like this specific sub-group of tree species will not grow at all if average temperatures in the summer are below X degrees will actually be more reliable proxies of temperature than simple ring widths and that is why tree stumps beneath glaciers are the best evidence you can get.

  145. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 8:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Let’s compare Dano’s FUD accusations to the circumstance of a CIA analyst who examined aluminum tubes in Iraq and thought that they were not evidence of WMD, but simply aluminum tubes, and then issued a report. (Or maybe Joe Wilson saying that the Niger letter was a forgery.) Let’s suppose that Karl Rove or his Team then accused the analyst of spreading F.U.D. against the grand and important cause of regime change in Iraq and bringing democracy to the Middle East. Explain to me how my situation differs from that of the aluminum tube analyst and how Dano’s accusations of F.U.D. differ from that of a Karl Rove henchman. I guess it depends on whose ox is being Gored.

  146. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 9:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #145 SteveM, that’s a good one!

    The Status of Nuclear Inspections in Iraq: An Update Dated in March, 7th 2003 (for real)

    The Iraqi’s provided all the documentation (or perhaps you can say “provided all the raw data and code”) they had about the so called tubes to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    It says:
    “The Iraqi decision-making process with regard to the design of these rockets was well documented. Iraq has provided copies of design documents, procurement records, minutes of committee meetings and supporting data and samples. A thorough analysis of this information, together with information gathered from interviews with Iraqi personnel, has allowed the IAEA to develop a coherent picture of attempted purchases…

    So the IAEA had it easier then you did, was my point!
    LOL

  147. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 9:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #145: Well, from the POV of what larger economic interests are being served, I think it’s safe to say your activities have rather more in common with Karl Rove than the CIA analyst. But don’t take *my* word for it — just ask Smokey Joe Barton.

  148. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 10:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #147 Classic distortion Steve Bloom.
    Steve is just the guy who looked and the data and told the truth.

  149. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 10:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    148 typo: looked at the data and told the truth!

  150. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 11:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I think either one is actually acceptable. I kind of like #148

  151. David Archibald
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 11:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 53, if you now know not to take your climate predictions from the IPCC, why would you think that a prediction of the amplitude of solar cycle 24 from NASA would be any good? Dikpati, funded by NASA, is discredited by a good solar physicist as follows:

    The NCAR group has a new interesting model.
    As far as the actual worth of the article being published. – it is a good
    idea to get people to put their ideas on paper, so they are not subject to
    changing around, later, but “they put their money where their mouth is.”
    Basically, however, I do not have much faith in this prediction for many,
    many reasons. It does not take into account the Babcock-Leighton dynamo
    model, and it has never been tested as a method of solar activity prediction
    before. It does not “reconcile itself” with the successful prediction
    methods and is not consistent with their successes. It uses ONLY sunspot
    number as an input for its prediction processes, and that has been totally
    unsuccessfully tried by many, many authors in the past. Thus although the
    basis for the model is a “dynamo model” , there are numerous free
    parameters, and how these are fit to the data is NOT discussed. In other
    words, the method is very questionable. It remains for the Sun to decide
    which method is correct, however.

    The process used to get to NASA’s prediction reminds me of something else that has been discussed here.

    There are other predictions of solar cycle 24: members.chello.be/j.janssens/SC24pred.pdf

    You can take your pick from this lot, though it is best to pick a solar physicist who has good for a couple of cycles.

  152. Louis Hissink
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 7:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #151

    Dave

    do you know Wal Thornill? Useful to touch base with him.

    Cheers

  153. gbalella
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 7:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE# 128

    Sagan was no quacks. His books are some of the penultimate discussion on skeptism…..oh that would be real skepticism as oppposed to cynism dressed up as skeptism. He freely admits his errors on Nuclear winter and the Kuwait oil fires effects in his last book.

  154. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 7:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    NOAA’s latest forecast again reduces the number of hurricanes and tropical storms – to date, there were 1/3 the number of named hurricanes compared to last year.

    All together now: “I BLAME GLOBAL WARMING!”

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2006/s2678.htm

    “This year’s three named storms may pale in comparison to the record nine storms that formed through early August 2005, but conditions will be favorable for above-normal activity for the rest of this season”¢’‚¬?so we are not off the hook by any means,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

    For those climate alarmists who are disappointed buy this huge reduction from the record 2005 hurricane season, we offer this consolation – a view of Armageddon from an earlier time, to brighten your day.

    “…and the seven judges of hell … raised their torches, lighting the land with their livid flame. A stupor of despair went up to heaven when the god of the storm turned daylight into darkness, when he smashed the land like a cup.” –The Epic of Gilgamesh, circa 2200 B.C.

    Best, Allan :-)

  155. Mike Carney
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 9:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    gbalella:
    Check the dictionary on “penultimate”. It means “next to last”. Only word I can recall whose definition has fewer syllables than the word itself.

    I think Feynman was the more thoughtful and independent. He often related the failures of his disipline and what to learn from those episodes. He saw these as lessons to be publicized, not blemishes that must be papered over because they might damage the image of science or confuse the public on the “right” answer.

  156. Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 9:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    My best substitute for a trackback

    “Steve McIntyre wants to bet over global warming proxies”

    excerpt:

    …I’m very happy to negotiate terms over a bet with Steve M. or someone else regarding a bet over global warming. As for tree ring proxy measurements, I’m just highlighting it here in case anyone else is interested…

  157. epica
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 9:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I guess the issue here was “green Alps”. Some remarks to this point:
    1) The dynamic response of glaciers to modern climate conditions (in particular during the last 10 years) has not yet taken place. Therefore any comparison with “today’s” conditions is preliminary. Even if recent climate change stopped entirely Alpine glacier tongues would go on retreating for the next 20-30 years by about one km!
    2) Negative mass balance and melting is so massive that a dynamical response sometimes is not possible. The glaciers simply collapse (several examples for relatively steep glaciers).
    3) Since the main issue of this site is the climate of the last 1000 years I may repeat the following point I made here allready some time ago. In the central Alps (Tauern) there is a long history of gold digging since the medieval. Ancient miners were extremely efficient and found every gold seam upto medieval glacier limits. Recent glacier retreat is now exposing entirely unexploited terrain and people are allready speculating of a new goldrush.
    4) When you go on even longer timescales (Holocene) a comparison becomes more problematic since seasonal (precessional) insolation becomes very different.

  158. jae
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 9:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    3) Since the main issue of this site is the climate of the last 1000 years I may repeat the following point I made here allready some time ago. In the central Alps (Tauern) there is a long history of gold digging since the medieval. Ancient miners were extremely efficient and found every gold seam upto medieval glacier limits. Recent glacier retreat is now exposing entirely unexploited terrain and people are allready speculating of a new goldrush.

    This is intriguing. Do you have any references?

  159. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 9:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    epica, a couple of issues on ancient miners – and I know something about mining – at least enough to be a one-eyed man in this particular conversation. Ancient miners were very limited in their technology – they focussed on narrow high-grade seams and larger lower-grade ore has been a target for modern exploration in ancient minig camps everywhere in the world; they were also limited by water tables – steam engines were developed in part to meet mining requirements for pumping water; so it’s quite possible that veins were not exploited by medieval miners because of water table issues, then closed in the LIA, but would not be a problem for modern miners; ancient miners tended to work with oxidized ores, while modern technologies permit handling of more diverse ores.

    There was little exploration for gold anywhere until the 1980s – it took a while for mineral exploration to believe that higher gold prices would persist. There’s been little copper exploration for about 25 years as base metal prices have been very low for a generation. All of this I can attest to first hand.

    In the 1980s, there were many more attractive targets than Europe for mineral exploration – getting title to enough property to warrant explanation is not easy in many European jurisdictions.

    Again, there may be some interesting and useful evidence here at the end of the day – and I find this sort of information very interesting and fun – but don’t wave your arms too much until the information is competently analyzed by someone who knows about mining.

  160. BKC
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 9:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #151

    What do you think about this prediction from a NASA solar physicist?

    Using historical sunspot records, Hathaway has succeeded in clocking the conveyor belt as far back as 1890. The numbers are compelling: For more than a century, “the speed of the belt has been a good predictor of future solar activity.”

    If the trend holds, Solar Cycle 25 in 2022 could be, like the belt itself, “off the bottom of the charts.”

    He agrees with Dikpati that cycle 24 will be strong, but also that 25 will be very weak. Has he been “discredited” as well?

  161. Paul Gosling
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve

    Mining may be your subject, and I fear sticking my neck out, but I think I am correct in saying that gold does not occur as an oxide but as the element.

  162. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #161 – yes, but it typically occurs in ppm quantities mixed with other minerals and the extraction is non-trivial.

    Sulphide ores, rather than oxide ores are the more common ore type in modern mining. Most veins are oxidized near surface and transition to sulphide ores – which is another limitation to ancient miners. You see many operations – not just in Europe but elsewhere – where 18th or 19th century miners mined down to the oxide limit. I’ve been down old 19th century mines like that in Chile.

    To extract the gold, you need to crush and grind the ore – which was very hard work in ancient days and something that slaves were used for. That’s why much gold in earlier days came from alluvial and placer sources. Mercury amalgamation was a common method and is still used in primitive alluvial operations in South America and Africe.

    Cyanidation as a recovery process revolutionized gold extraction in the early 20th century as it made recovery from sulphides possible and was a big improvement environmentally over mercury as cyanide,while poisonous, is a simple compound and can be destroyed, while mercury accumulates.

  163. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE #151 from Dave Archibald.

    Thank you for your informative post. SC24 will be here soon, and we can all see who is most accurate (or lucky).

    My fearless Sept. 1, 2002 prediction for cooling starting ~2020-2030 is consistent with NASA’s forecast for SC25. Hope we are both wrong.

    Best, Allan

    http://members.chello.be/j.janssens/SC24pred.pdf

    SC24 maximum:

    – Time: 2011

    –Amplitude: 100 +/-20 (range 80 – 120)

    - Jan Janssens – Belgian Solar Section

    SC24:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2005GL025221.shtml

    Dikpati, M., G. de Toma, and P. A. Gilman (2006), Predicting the strength of solar cycle 24 using a flux-transport dynamo-based tool, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L05102, doi:10.1029/2005GL025221

    Abstract

    We construct a solar cycle strength prediction tool by modifying a calibrated flux-transport dynamo model, and make predictions of the amplitude of upcoming solar cycle 24. We predict that cycle 24 will have a 30–50% higher peak than cycle 23, in contrast to recent predictions by Svalgaard et al. and Schatten, who used a precursor method to forecast that cycle 24 will be considerably smaller than 23. The skill of our approach is supported by the flux transport dynamo model’s ability to correctly ‘forecast’ the relative peaks of cycles 16–23 using sunspot area data from previous cycles.

    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/sunspot.shtml

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/10mar_stormwarning.htm

    “Like most experts in the field, Hathaway has confidence in the conveyor belt model and agrees with Dikpati that the next solar maximum should be a doozy. But he disagrees with one point. Dikpati’s forecast puts Solar Max at 2012. Hathaway believes it will arrive sooner, in 2010 or 2011.”

    SC25:

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/10may_longrange.htm?list3134

    “The slowdown we see now means that Solar Cycle 25, peaking around the year 2022, could be one of the weakest in centuries.”
    - Hathaway et al

  164. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 10:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #157. Actually epica may have a point here that I didn’t adequately address in my first response. If there are veins at higher elevation being exposed, then my observations about oxide/sulphide transitions and water tables are irrelevant to the issue. If a vein of the same type as medieval miners mined has been recently exposed and isn’t mined, then that might be evidence that the medieval glacier covered the vein.

    However, there might be other issues as well and in the absence of any maps, I’m just brainstorming here. Let’s suppose that the vein was covered in the MWP by paleosol – even a thin surface could disguise a vein from a medieval prospector; then it might not have been discovered by the ancient miners. There are lots of examples of miners missing veins. I’ve got many amusing stories of this that are part of oral tradition. Maybe the medieval paleosol was bulldozed by the big LIA glacial advance so that the vein was exposed when the LIA glacier retreated and is visible to a modern prospector, but would not have been visible to a medieval prospector.

    I’m not saying that this happened. Maybe the medieval retreat was not as far as the modern retreat. However, you need to look closely at the context of the veins before jumping to conclusions.

  165. Dano
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    145:

    Let’s compare Dano’s FUD accusations to the circumstance of a CIA analyst who examined aluminum tubes in Iraq and thought that they were not evidence of WMD, but simply aluminum tubes, and then issued a report. (Or maybe Joe Wilson saying that the Niger letter was a forgery.) Let’s suppose that Karl Rove or his Team then accused the analyst of spreading F.U.D. against the grand and important cause of regime change in Iraq and bringing democracy to the Middle East. Explain to me how my situation differs from that of the aluminum tube analyst and how Dano’s accusations of F.U.D. differ from that of a Karl Rove henchman. I guess it depends on whose ox is being Gored.

    Yes, let’s.

    I said nothing about FUD. I – as you know and tolerate – write what I mean (modified from harsher Dano for this site). I thanked you for your opinions and wondered whether the cheer squad would astroturf them.

    I note that your reply is about a political situation (rather than a scientific one) and my point about you doing dendro field work to clarify the situation was ignored by you.

    ==========

    143:

    Dano, could you please describe in your own words in some detail (without an accumulation of links) how this approach can be used to mitigate AGW and how it is currently being applied. (I would think that your scenario building was the main consideration in adapting the Kyoto accords).

    Thank you Ken. Briefly, one either manages TO a scenario or AWAY from one. Scenarios can be visualized on a Cartesian plane with two managed outcomes, + and -, one on each axis, or some other optic depicting metric over time (this morning I can’t quickly Google and many useful ones). Metrics are chosen along the time trajectory for milestones. The adaptive part comes with managing institutions to match or move away from the trajectory. So, wrt AGW (PDQ), say one chooses 10 metrics to manage to ensure CO2 ppmv doesn’t approach, say, 500 ppmv. You take your trajectories and choose the metrics that are likely to lie along the line and implement your plan to manage to or away from the line. Too brief, I know.

    Now, wrt to currently being applied, well, institutionally humans aren’t good at getting on the same page across hierarchies and groups, so the IPCC plan to distribute scenarios wasn’t followed up with an educational campaign to show how this works. Hence we get comments on policy implementation with “” around “scenario”. This sort of thing is inherent in societal evolution and esp in human nature, making implementation intractable IMHO.

    While your comment waxes almost poetic about the detrimental effects of “doubt sowing”, I do not see the skeptics’ arguments having much effect on public policy as it regards AGW today. Is not the larger resistance to the progress, for which, I assume, that people such as you are looking, coming from politicians’ hesitancy to institute regulations that will cause their constituents some pain or at least major inconveniences without seeing any short or intermediate term benefits?

    Yup. Absolutely.

    In my judgment if public policy does get to the point of actually and honestly embarking on programs to reduce GHG emissions to levels that would significantly affect future temperatures…then the measurement of uncertainty, that you evidently see currently as a pesky drag on progress, will become most important to politicians and their constituents.

    Pesky. No. We act in uncertainty all the time in the economic realm. This is no different. Adaptive management has uncertainty and surprise [emergent phenomena] built in. But your point about our intractable issues in redirectioning is my implicit concern, and I think – at risk of besmirching your name here – that we are likely on the same page, or at least the book is open to the same place and we are on facing pages.

    Best,

    D

  166. epica
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #159 The mining story is purely anecdotal. To estimate medieval glacier high stands other techniques should be used. I heard this story from a national park ranger in Austria and cannot give real scientific citations. I dont think technological advances really matter. Its just the question if a vein has been discovered or not. In general I wouldnt underestimate these medieval miners in the Alps. They lived all year round (!!!) at about 2800 meters next to the glacier and were digging about 100km of seams in about 300 years in the Tauern area. An Australian mining company was interested to buy the medieval digging material (since obviously medieval extraction techniques were poor) but undiscovered seams were not identified (according to my source, the park ranger).
    My three other points however were not anecdotal. When we compare todays glacier length (this is what we do when dating wooden remains or moraines) with Holocene glacier length reconstructions we risk comparing apples with oranges. We have todays real glacier length but we know that the glacier volume is extremely out of balance with the tongue. That means (even with no further climate change) that the tongue has another km or so to go. So we compare a highly dynamical situation with an equilibrium situation.
    PS Cyanid mining might be an amazing progress compared to mercury extraction techniques and it’s still an ecological disaster:http://www.serconline.org/mining/faq.html

  167. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #166, epica

    I dont think technological advances really matter. … (since obviously medieval extraction techniques were poor)

    My limited experience of the mining industry was selling shares in a South African company in 1980, when the gold price was going up. They were setting up a facility to reprocess the mine dumps around Johannesburg, because modern extraction technology could get so much more gold out.
    If reprocessing Victorian remains makes financial sense, I would have thought that reprocessing mediaeval remains would be a nice little earner.

  168. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #165, Dano

    I said nothing about FUD.

    There’s a first time for everything …

  169. bender
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 12:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Adaptive management has uncertainty and surprise [emergent phenomena] built in.

    Dano, not to prejudge, but you seem to have a textbook, academic idea of what adaptive management is, and possibly not a lot of experience with how it gets implemented in the real world. In reality, there is a punishing cost to be paid each time the management regime requires correction. In reality, once management regimes are institutionalized at a very high level they become so culturally entrenched they are remarkably resistant to change. Uncertainty and surprise are “built in” only in the sense that someone is going to pay for these costly surprises.

    If you are comfortable implementing a scheme that does not take into account uncertainty of impacts in a formalized way it is because you think you are not the one who is going to pay the cost.

    I hope this will convince you to follow the “Green Alps” thread more closely – because there seems to be some uncertainty here about the MWP that I doubt your adaptive management scheme includes in a responsible way.

  170. Dano
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 1:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    169:

    In reality, there is a punishing cost to be paid each time the management regime requires correction. In reality, once management regimes are institutionalized at a very high level they become so culturally entrenched they are remarkably resistant to change. Uncertainty and surprise are “built in” only in the sense that someone is going to pay for these costly surprises.

    Yes. Reading my comments more closely reveals this point, hence my writing institutionally humans aren’t good at getting on the same page across hierarchies and groups, so the IPCC plan to distribute scenarios wasn’t followed up with an educational campaign to show how this works…[t]his sort of thing is inherent in societal evolution and esp in human nature, making implementation intractable IMHO. in the second 1/2 of 165.

    BTW, thank you for reading my comments sir.

    Best,

    D

  171. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 1:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #166. epica – I don’t "underestimate" medieval miners. I’ve visited artesanal workings in many different countries; I know what’s done in an underground mine. I’ve read archaeological investigations of Roman and Phoenician mines. So please don’t underestimate my estimation.

  172. bender
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 1:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #170.
    If I read something, I read it all. Your comments are never spurious.

  173. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 1:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    So, wrt AGW (PDQ), say one chooses 10 metrics to manage to ensure CO2 ppmv doesn’t approach, say, 500 ppmv. You take your trajectories and choose the metrics that are likely to lie along the line and implement your plan to manage to or away from the line. Too brief, I know.

    I would classify it more as too vague than too brief, but that is a more general problem that I have with what I hear (perhaps a listening problem that needs to hear more) from the proponents of AGW. I do thank you for replying, as you are the first AGW proponent at this blog to respond directly to similar queries that I have made in past posts.

    If I still have your attention, could you please give more specific details on your choice of metrics, be it 10 or 5, and what levels of CO2 are you willing to accept and what effects do you expect those levels of CO2 (and other GHG) will have on the climate.

    We act in uncertainty all the time in the economic realm. This is no different. Adaptive management has uncertainty and surprise [emergent phenomena] built in. But your point about our intractable issues in redirectioning is my implicit concern.

    If we are talking about government decisions in the economic realm, then indeed we have acted with uncertainty, with resulting unintended consequences (emergent phenomena?) and have experienced intractable issues in redirection. The uncertainties and attempted measures of probabilities of occurrences in these processes frequently get lost in the politics of the moment, e.g. the Iraqi war and search for WMD. When AGW skeptics wonder why there is not more emphasis on, or at least on attempted, measures of probabilities for AGW evidence and GHG effects, certainly past experiences might make them suspect politics of the moment as a reason without being paranoid or in denial about the situation.

    Adaptive management, as you explain it, seems to my ears to be more “adaptive” to free market forces and enforcement of property rights.

    We do act in the face of uncertainty when making economic decisions in our everyday lives and most of these decisions affect primarily only those of us making them. We will allow much uncertainty in purchasing our next bottle of wine in light of knowing full well the consequences of a bad selection, but when it comes to a life saving/threatening operation we will want to dig much deeper to determine the consequences of a bad outcome, the odds against that occurring and the results of a good outcome. We will want to know as much as we can about those probabilities and the probable, bad and good, outcomes.

  174. Paul Penrose
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 1:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #169,
    I tend to agree with bender on this one. In my experience Adaptive Governance in realitly is an oxymoron. Government policies, once set into place, quickly become very inflexible and resistant to any kind of change.

  175. Dano
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 2:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    173:

    If I still have your attention, could you please give more specific details on your choice of metrics, be it 10 or 5, and what levels of CO2 are you willing to accept and what effects do you expect those levels of CO2 (and other GHG) will have on the climate.

    Well, this could be 1000 words, and I’m writing madly today so I can go on vacation again, so I’ll be brief. If I were king, I’d use as a simple scheme for an example:

    o %surface in ag
    o % surface water withdrawal
    o % change nitrification waterways/surface
    o CO2 ppmv
    o CH4 ppmv
    o %change urbanization
    o % change migration
    o % human pop change
    o % change NVDI/unit area
    o % change country GDP [or other economic activity metric]

    and so on. Why? To try to cover other factors in climate change and societal reaction to environmental change. What level I’m willing to accept is something that society should debate based on projected impacts. Trouble is, we can’t debate for multitudinous reasons, septics notwithstanding.

    Adaptive management, as you explain it, seems to my ears to be more “adaptive” to free market forces and enforcement of property rights.

    Sure, if free markets exist in the society being measured. Of course, there are no free markets in societies that have folks that try to game the system for individual/corporate/institutional advantage; but certainly market forces are part of the societal considerations of an adaptive management program.

    Best,

    D

  176. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 2:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re: #175

    Well, this could be 1000 words, and I’m writing madly today so I can go on vacation again, so I’ll be brief.

    Quickly then what it is that you would suggest, as king of the world, be the actions taken to meaningfully mitigate the effects of AGW?

  177. Dano
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 3:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    176:

    yeah, that’s it, isn’t it? How do we do the monumental undertaking required to herd 6.5B cats?

    As in anything having to do with societal actions, we have: galvanization, impelling to action, decisioning process, plan, check, do. I don’t see galvanization yet to the degree that actions are changed.

    As for meaningfully directioning individuals to reduce their actions that result in limited resource overconsumption, ya got me. How do we reduce pop growth to slow land conversion & resultant externalities? Dunno. How do we reduce nitrification of near-shore waters? Got me. How do we tell people their consumptive patterns are unsustainable for future needs? Sheesh. And change US land-use patterns to obviate autocentric transport? Huh.

    I don’t think on those scales, that’s teaming-type work, with lots of public dialogue for decisioning, on large spatial and temporal scales, across multiple sectors and borders.

    Anyone here with great ideas and the talent to motivate lots of people to follow your vision, lemme know and I’ll contribute to your campaign.

    Best,

    D

  178. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 3:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re: #177

    Shorter Dano:

    I do not have a clue.

    I accept that as an honest answer. I can also understand the frustration one could have seeing a major future problem with no practical solutions at hand.

  179. Hans Erren
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 3:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re 122:
    IPCC TAR only wrote about hazards, not about risks.

    risk = hazard * probability

    politicians want to know risks, not hazards.

    ‘linky’

  180. Dano
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 4:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    178:

    Thank you Ken.

    Best to you sir,

    D

  181. David Archibald
    Posted Aug 9, 2006 at 4:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 160, Hathaway has been discredited as well: ”
    not a great fan of Hathaway. He publishes ideas at the drop of a hat, without any serious thought as to whether it is right.

    As far as the “conveyor belt model”, this is an idea of Dikpati’s; is is a creative idea, and there is some chance it is right. I do not believe it IS right, however. Nevertheless, it is innovative. It has against it, the amount of momentum and energy that such motion would require. I think there would need to be much larger motions of the solar surface (in the opposite direction), if such flows existed at the base of the convection zone (and these are not seen), so i think it is wrong.”

    People who front for a publicity machine like NASA have to have a result that is out there. There is no point in them producing a forecast that is in the pack, because they lose their funding. The thoughtful solar physicists are producing forcasts for Solar Cycle 24 in the range of 50 to 80, using a variety of prediction methodologies. We will know soon enough. And by the way, colder is drier.

  182. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 11, 2006 at 7:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, look at "Josh"’s website. He’s a spambot.

    Steve: Yuck. I’ll delete this.

  183. Posted Aug 14, 2006 at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    You may find it interesting that mr Joerin, one of the authors of the highlighted German piece about the wood/peat findings in the Alps has recently published a piece about this in The Holocene. Joerin’s site is here . You find a link on this page to this article but it is not working alas ( I have told Joerin about this). Instead of to the article it brings you to the site of the publisher Ingenta which allowed me to discover that the same issue of the Holocene contained an article that seems to support Joerin.
    Here are the entire contents of the Holocene july 2006 issue
    Here is Joerins piece (that is: the abstract, I hope he publishes the entire piece on his site)
    Here is the supportive piece.

  184. Mike C
    Posted Feb 14, 2007 at 9:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Layman question: Just curious — Is the period between the RWP and the MWP named, climate-wise? Thanks.

  185. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 14, 2007 at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #184 – It’s called the Dark Ages Cold Period. There are a number of pieces of evidence for a certain amount of correlation between the cold and drying climate especially in West Asia and East Europe, and the horrendous geopolitical events of the time.

  186. Mike C
    Posted Feb 14, 2007 at 11:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, thank you.

  187. H.Oldeboom
    Posted Sep 7, 2008 at 5:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    In the chronicles of Galtur ( Austria – Vorarlberg) you can read that once their existed a cattle road between Galtur and Swiss (Guarda) over the Vermuntpass 9silvretta). Climate changed and the Vermuntpass became covered with ice in a period of about 20 years and was therefore not more used for cattle transportation and merchandising. This happened approximately in the years 1600- 1625.

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