Antarctic and Sea Level

The SPM contains an embarrassing typographical error in connection with an issue identified as a hot-button issue: the contribution of Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise. It also failed to report WG1 model results on Antarctic contributions to lowering sea levels in the 21st century.The actual WG1 Report stated that all studies projected a negative contribution of the Antarctic to sea level in a warming 21st century due to increased precipitation:

all studies for the 21st century find that Antarctic SMB (surface mass balance) changes contribute negatively to sea level, owing to increasing accumulation [10.6]

Instead of reporting this, the SPM included a table showing a substantial contribution from Antarctic ice sheets from 1961-2003, saying:

[Models] include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow, because a basis in published literature is lacking. The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica at the rates observed for 1993-2003, but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future. For example, if this contribution were to grow linearly with global average temperature change, the upper ranges of sea level rise for SRES scenarios shown in Table SPM-2 would increase by 0.1 m to 0.2 m. Larger values cannot be excluded, but understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise. {10.6}

What happened to the negative contributions in the WG1 Report itself? Here is a copy of the table itself, showing that the Antarctic ice sheet is the largest contributor to recent sea level rise. One set of units is in m/century and one is in mm/year, from which derives the confusion.

Now some of you may wonder why the figures don’t up in this table – a point also noted at RC. If you compare this table to its source, Table 5.5.2, you will see that the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets were both over-stated by a factor of 10 relative to the other factors.

It’s a pretty embarrassing typo in a study that has been parsed over by hundreds of people. It’s particularly unfortunate because it could have affected how some of the delegates interpreted the contribution of Antarctica to sea level change and because the drafters of the SPM had failed to report that all the models projected accumulation over Antarctica and a negative contribution to sea level change.

Update: Here is the corresponding table in the WG1 report itself.  They do not cite a peer-reviewed source for the table as collated here, but seem to have collated it themselves.  In addition to the big error, there are little differences as well, which could be from changed numbers in the final draft.


49 Comments

  1. Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Dear Steve, do you know how to make the corrections and full calculation so that the numbers do add up in both columns? Are the error bars correct after the Greenland and Antarctica values are divided by ten in both columns? I still don’t understand why Antarctica in both columns has a positive contribution to the sea level rise. Does it agree with the full report?

    A large number of people doesn’t increase the probability of finding an error. It’s because with N people who positively collaborate and don’t compete, the probability for each to find an error goes as 1/N^2 because they rely on others. Using the linearized approximation, the total probability that they find it goes like N/N^2 = 1/N, and drops to zero for a large number of people. I know how these numbers work because we have written a paper with 7 authors once. It was a nice collaboration (done mostly by leaders of that team) that however has confirmed the old saying: the best work is a team work but 2 is already too many. ;-)

    More realistically, the 1/N^2 power law should be replaced by a more modest exponents 1+epsilon instead of two, but the total probability to catch an error still goes to zero as a power law for a large number of people.

    The efficiency of using a higher number of people rapidly increases if there is some kind of competition in the team which, I guess, is not the case of the IPCC panel or any other work based on “consensus”. It’s optimal if all/many co-authors can do all the calculations etc. and they compete with each other a little bit, arriving simultaneously at the same conclusions. I have some experience with it, too.

    Again, IPCC has 3 months to make the full report consistent with the summary and include references to papers that prove that 0.16+0.077+0.21+0.21 = 0.28, despite the beliefs that calculators universally corrupt by ExxonMobil – and a skeptical part of the mathematical community – could lead you to.

  2. Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    Let me make a heuristic justification of the classical 1/N^2 result for the probability that a team member finds an error.

    The member realizes that her share of the result – and the fame and profit that can be associated with it – is only 1/N of the total fame and profit. The amount of time she wants to spend is proportional to the fame and profit, so she spends 1/N of the time only relatively to what she would do if she were alone. Moreover, only 1/N of this semi-active time for checking is dedicated to the actual checking of the content while (N-1)/N of the semi-active time is spent by thinking about the N-1 collaborators who are surely doing the work for us.

    So the total amount of active time that a team member actually spends with the content of the paper goes like 1/N^2, and the probability of finding a particular error is roughly proportional to the total time, also 1/N^2, although this is just an approximation if the time is short enough. As the time is getting longer, the probability growth with time becomes slower because every person – as well as their union – has kind of reinforced herself or themselves to believe all the wrong things, and the thinking about the whole problem – including errors – becomes repetitive.

  3. J. Peden
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

    Just to throw another thing concerning the SPM in for consideration:

    If the Warming Models [SPM-4] can’t explain the most recent warming without appealing to anthropogenic CO2, they can’t explain the [even warmer?] Medieval Warming Period. If they can’t explain the MWP, they can’t explain global warming. But they can produce Hockey Sticks.

    It looks like if you would plot the SPM-4 global 100 year temperature curve not using the 1900-1950 average as a base, the hockey stick appearance would disappear or diminish significantly. But wait, the ipcc actually did just this later in SPM-7 and the hockey stick disappeared, but a new one based on GCModel’s magically appeared for the future starting in 2000 in order to show the dreaded hockey-stick future.

  4. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    If you get such a large number of people, then it definitely enhances the power of the secretariat who can point to a cacophony of comments and write what they wanted to in the first place. Power to the First Secretary.

    I guess that they could get the numbers to balance mod 0.377, although this arithmetic is not in common use in atmospheric physics to my knowledge and probably should have had a footnote.

  5. Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

    What a great idea, Steve – periodic sea levels with period of 377 millimeters. It’s just hard to see how the East Coast will be flooded if the sea is periodic. ;-)

    I completely agree about the Secretariat. This large number of people who must be organized according to informal rules that are not written anywhere gives the power to the secretaries or organizers.

    I use it e.g. in the classrooms. For example, there’s a question whether there should be an exam or a section etc. If there is a vote, you can always do it in such a way that you get any result you want, especially if you add a spin to the question or allow yourselves to be counted. In reality, I only organize these votes when I really don’t care about the result :-) but if anyone does care and is in charge of the administrative reconciliation of the different voices, she can surely get whatever she wants.

    As Richard Lindzen said, the main decisions are done by political appointees anyway.

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    #1. Luboà…⟬ I’ve pasted in the original table.

  7. Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    Oh, you’re right. The table in chapters 4,5 work, including the errors (computed in the Pythagorian way).

  8. JMS
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    Steve, as was noted at RC the figures should be .021 for Antartica and Greenland.

  9. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    #5. Luboà…⟬ wouldn’t the more appropriate interpretation of mod 0.377 sea level arithmetic be that the coast had some sort of Mobius band or Klein bottle topology whereby only periodic vertical portions were flooded, while intervals above and below remained unflooded. It’s a rather pretty conceit for policy-makers. Who would have thought that topology would be required to interpret the SPM?

  10. bruce
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    I was wondering how much the IPCC forecast warming of 1.8 to 4 deg C by 2100 would affect temperatures at the South Pole, and whether it could lead to ice melting in Antarctica. A google search quickly provided the data (from http://www.antarcticconnection.com/antarctic/weather/hist_wxdata/southpole_station.shtml).

    South Pole, Antarctica
    ——————————————————————————–
    H I S T O R I C A L W E A T H E R D A T A

    Average Temperature Deg C

    Year..-48

    Jan…-26
    Feb…-38
    Mar…-52
    Apr…-56
    May…-56
    Jun…-57
    Jul…-58
    Aug…-58
    Sep…-58
    Oct…-50
    Nov…-37
    Dec…-26

    Years Charted: 32
    Source: International Station Meteorological Climate Summary, Version 4.0

    Clearly, a 4 Deg C increase in average temperature wouldn’t cause temperatures to come anywhere near close to levels where there could be ice melting. Of course, this is the South Pole and the picture may be different on the margins. However, I venture to suggest that an increase of 4 Deg C might not actually cause much additional melting at all, and in fact could cause the opposite effect of increasing ice accumulation through increased precipitation, if I understand that correctly.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    #8. JMS – in my note, I said that “you will see that the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets were both over-stated by a factor of 10 relative to the other factors.” For the 1993-2003 period, that equates to those numbers, but you also have to fix the earlier period by dividing by 10.

    #10. Bruce, as I noted above, the models show increased accumulation, as you believe plausible. It’s just that the SPM omits this relevant detail.

  12. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    I wonder who’s authorized to fix this table. IF Susan Solomon agrees that it’s a screw-up, can she authorize a change to the SPM? Does Pachauri have to agree? Do they have to notify the delegates and ask them to sign off on the revision?  What if someone thought that he was signing off on text based on Antarctic actually being the largest contributor to sea level rise?  How long will it take them to fix this?

  13. Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    Dear Steve #9,

    indeed, you might use some topology. The advantage of the Màƒⵢius strip over the Klein bottle is that the orientation of the line interval gets flipped if you go around, so this geometry of the coasts could also absorb sign errors. I wonder whether some colleagues will join the climate science with new geometries of Calabi-Yau manifolds or the non-Kàƒ⣨ler manifolds. ;-)

    Dear Bruce #10,

    exactly, near the South pole, there’s no realistic chance of melting ice. The peninsula has more chance – and indeed, it’s a place where warming was observed – which is why it’s so overhyped. Could you make similar comments about the Arctic? How likely it is there won’t be any ice near the Northern pole, using your semi-common-sense estimates?

    Dear Steve #12,

    if Ms Solomon bravely declared that there are errors in the summary, she would be almost as wise as her relative from the Old Testament. Stefan Rahmstorf has prepared a bit of good atmosphere for this extraordinary step – admitting that there are errors in the international consensus – by agreeing on RC that the figures were wrong.

    Indeed, you might be right that the revision implying that the sea level catastrophe arising from Antarctica is 10 times smaller than previously thought could lead to one more Battle of Antarctica :-).

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2007/01/battle-of-antarctica.html

    Best
    Lubos

  14. TAC
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    SteveM,

    Are you suggesting that a consensus document, carefully constructed and reviewed by over 2000 climate researchers, could be wrong?! ;-)

    Next thing, you’ll be advocating auditing of climate research. ;-)

    \end{joking}

    Brilliant catch, SteveM. I would say this situation is unbelievable, except that I have no trouble at all believing it.

    I hope that the non-auditors (or anti-auditors) take note of this and reflect for a moment on what it means.

  15. bruce
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    Re #13: Lubos, I did a google for “North Pole average temperature” and the first reference was http://qwikcast.weatherbase.com/weather/weather_c.php3?s=110340&refer=

    They provide the following information:

    Closest Data for North Pole – 440 mi/709 km, Greenland
    Elevation: 3 meters
    Latitude: 83 38N Longitude: 033 22W
    Average Temperature Years on Record: 11

    Month Deg C
    Jan…-31
    Feb…-32
    Mar…-31
    Apr…-23
    May…-11
    Jun…-1
    Jul…+1
    Aug…— (I think this means 0 deg)
    Sep…-9
    Oct…-20
    Nov…-27
    Dec…-28

    IF these temperatures are in any way representative of North Pole, or Arctic Ocean temperatures, a similar conclusion applies to that which applies to the South Pole. That is, it would appear unlikely that even a 4 deg C increase in temperature would lead to very much melting of ice.

    Of course, in the Arctic Ocean, the ice is floating sea ice. Even if that ice were to melt, it would not have any net effect on sea level, since by Archimedes Principle, it’s mass is already accounted for.

  16. J. Peden
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    It looks to me like the Thermal expansion and Glaciers and ice cap figures were arbitrarily reduced by a factor of 10 to get the SMP-0 numbers, perhaps due to “expert judgement”. Keeping them as per Table 5.5.2 would have thrown off the Model predictions for 1993-2003 even more wildly than they still are. But the “ice cap” figures have to include the Arctic. So do the Models now really also drastically reduce the rate of net Arctic melt, which would also itself contribute less to sea level rise since this cap is already floating?

    Given also that the Antarctic and Greenland ice masses are in fact increasing as far as anyone can tell – consistent with the TAR figures as reported within it – where would this really put Model projections about sea level increases? In their usual state of “tuning” according to “expert judgement”?

  17. Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    Bruce #15, thanks, so it seems that warming adds some melted days in June and September in Arctic. I think you’re quite right about Archimedes, even when one includes the fact that ice and water have different densities. If ice density is K times lower than the density of water, and K is slightly above 1, then 1/K fraction of the ice volume (almost all of it) is below water, to get the balance between the forces. When it melts, the volume decreases by a factor of K, but there was more ice (including some ice above water), so the ice from melted water precisely fills the hole. You got it without this thinking – it’s because you know faster ways to deal with Archimedes’ law. ;-)

  18. Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    Sorry, slightly off-topic: you should quickly open

    http://realclimate.org/

    before they fix it. RealClimate have included a search engine to the main page. The main page now only lists postings that are both fair as well as honest and accurate.

  19. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    Gee, I read the SPM casually while having lunch last Friday and I noticed the error… Maybe I should apply for a job as IPCC reviewer…

    It reminds me of a paper I reviewed once about an optical 8x power splitter. The sum of the powers in the 8 output channels added up to more than the input power. After I had pointed it out to the Editor, I got a revised version, where ALL the numbers had been changed and miraculously added up. The author claimed it was a “typo”. That same guy would later start a phoney company and rob investors of tens of millions of dollars. Haven’t heard of him since. Maybe he’s in climate research now…

  20. TAC
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    #9, #13 Lubos, if there is hot air blowing everywhere right now, I think that argues for the Klein bottle. ;-)

  21. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

    #20. TAC, nice point. Your application of the Brouwer fixed point theorem definitely proves that the IPCC is not a sphere, a point that was surely in theoretical dispute. I’m sure that Clay Institute will be interested.

  22. Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

    Dear TAC #20, did you suggest this theorem in order to be sure that Mike Mann will agree with the main statement of that theorem? ;-)

  23. JMS
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 11:15 PM | Permalink

    It is interesting that none of you seem to be willing to admit why the SPM says that it is not possible to put an upper bound on sea level increase. It is especially interesting since they are fairly explicit about it — recent evidence indicates that ice sheet dynamics are poorly modeled and may lead to a much greater sea level increase than is presently thought to be probable. They are not ignoring the minimal decrease which an increase in the mass balance of the polar Antartic ice cap might provide to sea level rise, they are warning policy makers that the next report (AR5) will probably have a higher upper limit because of changes in our understanding of ice cap dynamics.

    I have to say that this is about the silliest criticism of the SPM that I have seen. Grow up and learn to be scientists.

  24. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 3:10 AM | Permalink

    JMS, you say:

    It is interesting that none of you seem to be willing to admit why the SPM says that it is not possible to put an upper bound on sea level increase. It is especially interesting since they are fairly explicit about it “¢’‚¬? recent evidence indicates that ice sheet dynamics are poorly modeled and may lead to a much greater sea level increase than is presently thought to be probable.

    OK, OK, I give up, you’ve finally got me … poor models mean that the SPM is, well … meaningless, about sea ice, and everything else.

    There. You happy now?

    w.

  25. Louis Hissink
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    Re #24

    As long as the temperature at the Antarctic remains signficantly less than 0 degrees Celsius, (Currently it seems to be about -50 degreesa Celsius) atmospheric thermal variations below 0 C cannot affect the melting point of ice.

  26. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    There’s an interesting inside account of the negotiations that produced the SPM here. A few quotes from the paper:

    Germany proposed to remove text indicating that the 1993-2003 rate of sea level rise was similar to other ten-year periods since 1950, noting that if a longer period, such as twenty years, was considered then the rate would no longer be similar. Participants agreed to remove the text

    This is a good example of why politicians should never do physics. The sea level record is a long tidally based record (not the best one, but the Church and White one, probably a coincidence that Church is in the working group), combined with a post-1993 satellite record. We could either look at one, or the other, but once they are combined, all bets are off. It is absolutely incorrect to take trends on a combined record of this sort, the results are meaningless. It is also a good example of cherry-picking the interval to obscure the fact that the current sea level rise is not unusual, but has occurred several times in the past.

    Here’s another example of politicians making scientific decisions:

    Participants discussed whether it would be clearer to state that warming of the climate system is “unequivocal” or “evident.” Participants agreed to state that warming is “unequivocal.”

    Right, they just wanted clarity, shock value was never an issue. My question is, why are they making the decision at all? Shouldn’t that be a choice based on some kind of a-priori scientific basis?

    Now here’s one with an odd twist:

    On text noting high decadal variability in Arctic temperatures, Canada, supported by Norway, suggested removing a specific reference to a warm period observed from 1925 to 1945. The Coordinating Lead Authors explained that “climate sceptics” often point to this warm spell to question the IPCC for not acknowledging such warm spells. Participants agreed to keep the reference.

    This is fascinating … looks like us evil skeptics are actually having some effect on keeping these jokers honest. If not, they would have gladly just wiped the warm period right out of the report.

    Here’s how they put pressure to make the attribution of human influence “very likely” …

    On language stating that anthropogenic greenhouse gas increase has very likely caused most of the observed increase in global temperature, China and Saudi Arabia proposed using the term qualifying the probability of very likely, suggesting the use of likely or “increasingly” very likely. New Zealand, UK, Norway, Switzerland, Argentina, US, France, Canada, Australia, Germany, Austria, Japan, Kenya, Sweden, and the Coordinating Lead Authors opposed this suggestion. The US urged participants not to reassess the underlying assessment, and Belgium reminded participants that the SPM was a summary “for” policy makers and not “by” policy makers.

    I love how when it’s going against them, suddenly it’s a summary “for” policy makers, but when Germany introduces a bogus 20-year trend to hide the ten year trends, it’s clearly “by” policy makers.

    On whether the “cutoff date” for consideration of scientific results in the AR4 has any valididty, consider this interchange:

    Noting recent observations on accelerated ice flow, Germany requested additional language indicating a discrepancy between positive recent observations of ice sheet flow and negative projections from models. Participants decided to note that dynamical ice flow processes are not included in the models, but suggested by recent observations, could increase future sea level rise.

    Oh, I see. If the science is on your side, you can get “additional language”, but if not, it just gets ignored.

    All in all, it reminds me of the old saw, that “Anyone who likes either sausage or politics should never watch either one being made”…

    w.

  27. TAC
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 5:59 AM | Permalink

    Dear Lubos (#22),

    did you suggest this theorem in order to be sure that Mike Mann will agree with the main statement of that theorem?

    Are you looking for a plausible reply?
    If not, I could extemporize on how climate science debates resemble postmodern performance art, with actors routinely distorting mathematical practices and applying impressively (mis)referenced methods to derive and defend absurd conclusions, while most of the audience, for inexplicable but undeniably subjective reasons, chooses to remain oblivious, preferring to interpret the drama in terms of social constructs and contextual values. Given this newly developed artistic form, introducing advanced algebraic topology to respond to an arithmetic or typographical error is obviously appropriate.

    Got a problem with that, Lubos? ;-)

    Coontinuing, my real point, then, if I can claim to have had one, was that ridiculous conclusions arise from less-than-rigorous math, physics, and logic. More specifically: If the climate science community wants to be taken more seriously, it had better start taking its role more seriously. Even more specific advice? Lose the blatantly erroneous hockey stick and assertions about nonexistent “consensus;” develop strong antibodies against sloppy thinking and faulty logic; and be open to the possibility that critics’ concerns need to be taken seriously.

    But it is also possible that, in this case, my motive was entertainment. :-)

  28. canuck984
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    one major probelm i see between the 2 tables is not even the fact that antarctica is assumed to be a possitive influence on sea level, but rather how much of an increase is observed.

    if the SPM table is taken as is , then observed SLE is +180mm/century,
    when “fixed (m/century -> mm/yr)” the table yields, +18mm/yr or 1800mm/century
    the WG1 table if taken as is gives +1.8mm/yr or 180mm/century

    so its clear that the “note for correction” should not be “convert to mm/yr” but convert m to mm while maintaing the temporal scale…

    that is EVEN IF the WG1 table is correct in assuming that antarctica, if a +ve factor in SLE, then the should see a an increase on 18cm per cantury if the trend holds for the next century, that is less then daily tide variation in most parts of the world!

    and if one of to follow the SPM as gospel, the increase would by either a WHAPPING 2mm in the next century ( that is SLE will rise by a bout the thickness of a humman hair per year!), or if they follow their own revision recommendation the value jumps to 1.8 METERS per century!!!

    neither of which agree with the WG1 figures!!!!!!!

  29. John Lang
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 6:09 AM | Permalink

    This is supposed to be a thoroughly reviewed (and researched) report. There is no excuse for such an error (and especially the error that Antarctica is adding to sea level.)

    My office just put out 2 binders of documents in two weeks which included around 1,000 tables. And they all added up correctly.

    I hope they admit the error. But they won’t because climate change researchers and bureaucrats are way too stubborn to admit errors. Plus their paper was reviewed by 2,500 “eminent/famous” climate researchers and cannot be shown to contain errors.

    Let’s get this reported in the media.

  30. canuck984
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    just a quick correction to my post # 28:

    and if one of to follow the SPM as gospel, the increase would by either a WHAPPING 2mm in the next century ( that is SLE will rise by a bout the thickness of a humman hair per year!), or if they follow their own revision recommendation the value jumps to 1.8 METERS per century!!!

    Should read:

    and if one of to follow the SPM as gospel, the increase would by either a WHAPPING 18cm in the next century ( about 0.18mm per year or the high average for the thickness of a human hair strand!!), or if they follow their own revision recommendation the value jumps to 1.8 METERS per century (or 18mm per year)!!!

    sorry for pulling a SMP4 and overooking the error in scale conversion. (180mm/yr and not 18mm/yr)

  31. Roger Dueck
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    #18 I did actually take advantage of the RealClimate site and noted the feeble attempt to discredit any discussion other than by “accredited” authors (ie himself)in reference to the Fraser Report. The derissive reference to “tilter-against-windmills-and-hockey-sticks Ross McKitrick” sounds a lot like grade-school name-calling. Of particular interest is the Feb 1 reference to the following (sorry about the long-winded quote but I thought it relevant):

    “Secondly, Bill Nye (‘the underprepared science guy’) had a rather rough time of it up against Richard Lindzen on Larry King last night – an episode notable only for the regression back to the ‘false balance’ notion that most of the media has been moving away from (sigh…). However, tucked away at the end was a rather confused section, where it appears that Lindzen bet Nye that ice cores don’t have a resolution better than 2000 years. Now this is an odd claim, and an odder thing to bet on, since Greenland cores (GRIP, GISP2) and Antarctic cores (EPICA DML) have sub-annual resolution in many cases for the isotope (temperature) records, and at least decadal resolution (Law Dome, Siple Dome) for the greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4). It’s true that the very longest records (Vostok and Dome-C) have coarser resolution, but surely Lindzen doesn’t think they are the only ones that exist? So, to make up for Nye’s performance, he should at least get a quality bottle of scotch. Bill, let us know if Lindzen pays up!”

    In response to this blah-blah; I also watched a portion of the program and noted that BNTSG was more interested in interrrupting and obfuscating Richard Lindzen’s measured and logical replys to many unsubstantiated claims. The first that struck me was BNTSG’s assertion that it was 100,000 to one, apparently in reference to believers-deniers or at least whether or not AGW was a fact(can anyone confirm this?). This type of unsubstantiated hyperbole has become common fare in the media. I hope BNTSG is as embarassed of that comment as he SHOULD be. MM’s comment on “false balance”?? Larry King was too balanced?

    Secondly, Mann admits that he was confused and he got the bet wrong and makes “big hay” of the wrong thing. BNTSG asked Richard if he thought the 1.9C warming GUARANTEED by the IPCC report was not significant. Richard challenged him on the point of what the IPCC report actually would GUARANTEE as it had not yet been “officially” released, and after a bit of repartee asked if BNTSG would care to wager WHAT THE IPCC REPORT GUARANTEED. BNTSG reluctantly offered to wager a cup of coffee. Brave soul! Richard countered with the Scotch challenge. “Let us know if Lindzen pays up.”?!?! Michael Mann is showing an alarming lack of professionalism in his uninformed commentary.

  32. Steve Reynolds
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

    I posted this issue at RC, but cound not get any official response:

    The SPM states:

    “The carbon dioxide radiative forcing increased by 20% from 1995 to 2005, the largest change for any decade in at least the last 200 years. {2.3, 6.4}”

    I calculate (roughly, based on figure 2.4 of the draft IPCC WG1 Fourth Assessment Report) that the increase in radiative forcing from 1970 to 1980 was from 0.84 to 1.06 W/m^2, which is 26%. So the SPM statement appears to be incorrect that the largest % change was 1995 to 2005. Any comment from RC staff?

    Of course this is due to % change in forcing from 1750 being a likely poor way of characterization. 1865 to 1875 appears to show a 34% change using this method!

    Any comments here whether this is another SPM error?

  33. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    #33 Here’s the best I could do. The prose is a bit confused though…

    According to IPCC calculations
    The sea level rises… maybe.. unless it does something else…
    The sea level rises, I’m ashamed.. for them
    Bah what more can be said.
    We liked the Arctic as seen by the IPCC and today we’ll visit Antarctica again seen from the IPCC/thingy/Kyoto
    Normal as they are anouncing that we are in a sphere of consensus, soft, but consensus still! (that’s what they say!) and to rewrite arithmetic as well!!
    Tss tss tss, they can’t argue with that. They all signed the deliberately apocalyptic Paris summary. They’re still a few hundreds to have read it, and dissected those tables aiming to prove us that Mankind has set its planet on fire.
    Screwed up (note: I can’t find a proper word) from A to Z then are those “studies”… and so by taking a very very short period! While talking about climate, this can be used as a reference and basis to align digits (numbers?) that don’t even add up. .. And that’s just for Antarctica.

  34. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Simon Holgate gave a talk on sea level changes this year in which he chose to depend on nine gauge sites, or was it seven, that were not distorted by glacial isostatic rebound. He used various maths to determine that they were good sites. The result was a fairly steady rise in sea level for the previous century until 1994 when it started to fall. I don’t know why he didn’t carry the data forward. If I recall right the plot ended around 2000. I don’t know if this work has made it into a paper. It would be interesting to know if his method was valid and what the current trend is. I read this information off of a poster for his talk on the internet. Sorry my memory isn’t better and that I don’t have a link.

  35. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Simon Holgate gave a talk on sea level changes last year at the WCRP in France in which he depends on nine gauge sites that were not distorted by glacial isostatic rebound. He used various maths to determine that they were good sites. The result was a fairly steady rise in sea level for the previous century with some very small dips until 1994 when it falls to the end of the plot in 2004. The longest period of decline on the the plot and as yet unended. I don’t know if this work has made it into a paper. It would be interesting to know if his method was valid and what the current trend is. I read this information off of a poster for his talk on the internet. The plot is in the lower left of the poster. Here is the link.

  36. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Found the link and improved my post. :).

  37. Jos Verhulst
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    #36

    I don’t know if this work has made it into a paper.

    I suppose that this is the paper by Holgate:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2006GL028492.shtml

  38. Hopalong
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    RE: #37

    Interesting comparison between the figure in the Validation section of the Holgate poster and the second figure here:

    Hopefully I got that link inserted properly; if not, here is the raw stuff:

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/18jan_solarback.htm

    I have seen articles evaluating the correlation between the various solar cycles (11, 21, …. yrs) and temperature, local precipitation, etc., but to this woefully ignorant individual, ocean levels would be a more useful “global” indicator.

  39. Hans Erren
    Posted Feb 8, 2007 at 4:36 AM | Permalink

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/001096clarifying_ipcc_ar4_.html

    Roger Pielke jr shows this graph

  40. Hans Erren
    Posted Feb 8, 2007 at 4:36 AM | Permalink

    bug:

  41. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Feb 8, 2007 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

    Steve Reynolds notes in comment #32 the following:
    The SPM states:

    “The carbon dioxide radiative forcing increased by 20% from 1995 to 2005, the largest change for any decade in at least the last 200 years. {2.3, 6.4}”

    I calculate (roughly, based on figure 2.4 of the draft IPCC WG1 Fourth Assessment Report) that the increase in radiative forcing from 1970 to 1980 was from 0.84 to 1.06 W/m^2, which is 26%. So the SPM statement appears to be incorrect that the largest % change was 1995 to 2005. Any comment from RC staff?

    Any comments here whether this is another SPM error?

    I admit to being puzzled by the SPM statement also, but, as in many other instances of the use of spin in these IPCC reports when discussing data, I would suggest that they will invariably have an alternative explanation. In this case I believe they would say if questioned that it is the largest change in absolute terms and not percentages even though they used 20% when referencing the 1995 to 2005 change.

    Here is what I found at http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/aggi in Table 2 and excerpted below for historical radiative forcings (RF) for CO2 and total GHGs and 11 year changes in RF CO2 and Total GHGs :

    Year CO2 Total 11YCO2 11YTot
    1979 1.026 1.699
    1980 1.056 1.745
    1981 1.075 1.785
    1982 1.086 1.816
    1983 1.112 1.860
    1984 1.137 1.903
    1985 1.160 1.945
    1986 1.182 1.990
    1987 1.208 2.033
    1988 1.247 2.090
    1989 1.272 2.135 24.0% 25.7%
    1990 1.290 2.170 22.2% 24.4%
    1991 1.311 2.206 22.0% 23.6%
    1992 1.321 2.230 21.6% 22.8%
    1993 1.332 2.249 19.8% 20.9%
    1994 1.354 2.277 19.1% 19.7%
    1995 1.381 2.311 19.1% 18.8%
    1996 1.407 2.344 19.0% 17.8%
    1997 1.423 2.366 17.8% 16.4%
    1998 1.463 2.415 17.3% 15.6%
    1999 1.494 2.453 17.5% 14.9%
    2000 1.512 2.475 17.2% 14.1%
    2001 1.535 2.501 17.1% 13.4%
    2002 1.564 2.533 18.4% 13.6%
    2003 1.600 2.574 20.1% 14.5%
    2004 1.626 2.603 20.1% 14.3%
    2005 1.656 2.635 19.9% 14.0%

    Another graph you will never see in an IPCC report is the one below from:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hansen_09

  42. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Feb 8, 2007 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    I am attempting again the graph that did not post from above:

    Another graph you will never see in an IPCC report is the one below from:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hansen_09

  43. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Feb 8, 2007 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    Another graph you will never see in an IPCC report is the one below from:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hansen_09

  44. Posted Feb 8, 2007 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

    Try right-clicking on the graph and select copy link to location and then hit “Img” and Ctrl-V the link.

    Thus:

  45. David Smith
    Posted Feb 8, 2007 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

    RE #45 Ken, one thing that has caught my eye about the work of climate scientists is their too-common failure to closely check their work before publication. In the chart you link, the y-axis has an error. It is a small thing, and not a big deal, but it does make one wonder about the quality of the work not shown.

  46. Steve Reynolds
    Posted Feb 8, 2007 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

    Re #43:

    Ken, thanks for your comments.

    >In this case I believe they would say if questioned that it is the largest change in absolute terms and not percentages even though they used 20% when referencing the 1995 to 2005 change.

    You are probably right, but still, the SPM statement is apparently false as it stands. It is a small point, but should be corrected in my opinion.

    Also, did anyone notice that the sea level table in the SPM has been corrected?

  47. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Feb 8, 2007 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

    Re: #46

    Thanks, John A, for the getting my graphic posted. I have attempted doing this both the way you recommended and the manual rendition. With your way I got nothing and my way I got the graphic showing in the preview, but not showing in the finished post. Actually this post is a replacement for one that got lost in the transition the other night and in that one the graphic was showing in the finished post. I’ll get it right I am sure — after a little more practice. I also have to work on my table column headings alignment.

    Re: #47

    David, I saw the same error just about every time I read that graph. It is a Jim Hansen publication. Could it be that the climate scientists are in such a big hurry to get the message out that they do not take the time to check their work and readers of papers have the same attitude and thus it becomes a tolerable thing? I would not necessarily limit this problem to clerical errors either. I can understand this situation as some of my hurry up posts can have multiple spelling and grammatical errors.

  48. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 11, 2007 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    Re #38

    Kind of shocking how S. J. Holgate’s sea level chart was modified before it was published in GRL. Compare his poster for his original talk and what made it into GRL. The center right graph in the poster. The graph in GRL.

  49. John G. Bell
    Posted Feb 11, 2007 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    Re #50
    Try this for the graph in GRL and this for the poster for the original talk.

2 Trackbacks

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