The Swindle Complaint and Myles Allen

Bob Ward, who you may remember as the author of various complaints from the U.K. Royal Society, is now employed at Risk Management Solutions Ltd. In his business capacity as Director, Global Science Networks, Risk Management Solutions Ltd., he has filed a complaint about Swindle under a section of the broadcasting code which states: “Views and facts must not be misrepresented”. I could understand Ward complaining as an individual citizen, but I’m surprised that he is doing so in his capacity as an employee of Risk Management Solutions. It’s intriguing that Risk Management Solutions perceives itself as having a business interest in suppressing the distribution of Swindle as it stands.

In addition to Ward’s initial complaint, on April 24, 2007, a number of scientists – including Myles Allen of climateprediction.net and Phil Jones – piled on with an Open Letter to Martin Durkin published online here in which they stated:

However, we believe that it is in the public interest for adequate quality control to be exercised over information that is disseminated to the public to ensure that it does not include major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence and interpretations of it by researchers.

Now I happen to agree with that particular sentence. This type of standard applies to mining speculations and I’ve consistently advocated that climate scientists should, at a minimum, meet standards applicable to mining promoters. (By saying this, I’m not advocating any particular system of enforcing such standards, only that this is a reasonable standard to at least measure non-compliance. ) I’m pleased that such an eminent set of British scientists has endorsed a standard advocated for such a long time at climateaudit. Perhaps we’re turning a corner here. Obviously there is no shortage of candidates for Ward’s Truth Squad to consider.

As a start, if a scientist claimed that his reconstruction had skill and that the verification r2 statistic was considered in evaluating the “skill” of a reconstruction, this claim would be a major misrepresentation of the scientific evidence if the verification r2 statistic was ~0. If a scientist said that he did not calculate the verification r2 statistic when he actually did, that would be also be a major representation of the scientific evidence. If a scientist claimed that his reconstruction was “robust” to the presence/absence of all dendroclimatic indicators, when he knew that the reconstruction was extremely sensitive to, say, the presence/absence of Dulan junipers or other subset, that would be a major misrepresentation of the scientific evidence. If scientists NN said that the verification r2 of a reconstruction was ~0, and scientists AW issued a press release that the claims of NN were “unfounded” knowing that the verification r2 of a reconstruction was ~0, then that would be a major misrepresentation of the scientific evidence.

So I welcome the interest of the British Truth Squad in investigating incidences of major misrepresentations of scientific evidence.

Complainant Jones has been mentioned previously at CA on many occasions. I won’t review the sorry history of Jones’ attempts to obstruct the identification of even the stations used in HadCRU3 – even including serial refusals under the UK Freedom of Information Act.

Let’s consider complainant Myles Allen, who we’ve mentioned only in passing. One of the rules for mining promotions is that it is illegal to simply mention the highest value from sampling in a press release. See slide 63 here . If this policy is applicable to mining promotions, a Professor from Oxford University who is concerned that ” adequate quality control to be exercised over information that is disseminated to the public” should obviously voluntarily comply with a similar standard in climate press releases.

Allen and associates issued a press release on climate simulations that clearly violated this standard by mentioning only the highest value as follows:

The first results from climateprediction.net, a global experiment using computing time donated by the general public, show that average temperatures could eventually rise by up to 11°C.

Chief Scientist for climateprediction.net, David Stainforth, from Oxford University said: “Our experiment shows that increased levels of greenhouse gases could have a much greater impact on climate than previously thought.”

Climateprediction.net project coordinator, Dr. David Frame, said: “the possibility of such high responses has profound implications. If the real world response were anywhere near the upper end of our range, even today’s levels of greenhouse gases could already be dangerously high.”

This press release was so highly inflammatory and promotional that it was even criticized by realclimate in How Not to Write a Press Release:

Looking at the press release, one could have predicted with high confidence that much of the coverage would focus solely on the 11⹃ number and that they would assume that this was a new prediction.

Sure enough, the news stories all picked up the 11 deg C prediction as discussed in a contemporary BBC Radio 4 report here discussed at CA here . The BBC story said:

When it came to selling the story to journalists, the press release only mentioned one figure – 11C.

The ensuing broadsheet headlines were predictably apocalyptic, from “Global warming is twice as bad as previously thought” to “Screensaver weather trial predicts 10C rise in British temperatures”.

Allen blamed the media for not consulting the original articles:

“If journalists decide to embroider on a press release without referring to the paper which the press release is about, then that’s really the journalists’ problem. We can’t as scientists guard against that.”

If journalists repeat a claim made in the press release, that can hardly be characterized as “embroidering”. Had the same sequence of events occurred in mining promotion, the blame would have been laid entirely on the mining promoters and not on the journalists. In any event, if Myles Allen now believes “that it is in the public interest for adequate quality control to be exercised over information that is disseminated to the public to ensure that it does not include major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence”, obviously he should start by removing the beam from his own eye.

I am also pleased by the new interest of these scientists in due diligence. Because journals have such limited capacity for due diligence, archiving data and code is obviously one effective measure of protecting the public interest by ensuring quality control of information disseminated to the public through journal articles. And yet complainant Phil Jones has refused requests to provide station data and even the identity of stations. The complaining scientists cite the NAS Panel apparently without considering North’s description of their manner of carrying out “due diligence: that they “didn’t do any research”, that they just “took a look at papers”, that they got 12 “people around the table” and “just kind of winged it.” He said that’s what you do in these sort of expert panels. See CA post here .

133 Comments

  1. Hans Erren
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

    However, we believe that it is in the public interest for adequate quality control to be exercised over information that is disseminated to the public to ensure that it does not include major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence and interpretations of it by researchers.

    So when are they filing their complaint about An Inconvenient Truth?

  2. John Baltutis
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

    They won’t because the Truth is the Truth, no matter what’s true or proven.

  3. TAC
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 3:34 AM | Permalink

    SteveM

    It’s intriguing that Risk Management Solutions perceives itself as having a business interest in suppressing the distribution of Swindle as it stands.

    This is fascinating. According to its website, RMS is in the business of providing “products and services for the quantification and management of catastrophe risks” — which seems to mean advice to clients (banks and insurers?) on how to evaluate financial instruments whose net present value depends on the occurrence of events (formerly natural hazards like earthquakes and wind; they recently expanded to include terrorism).

    Is it possible RMS sees a growth area in global warming? If so, I can well imagine they might be annoyed by Swindle.

    In any case, their response sure seems bold — somewhat analogous to a “credit card protection” company asking the government to censor Consumer Reports for discussing credit card risks. If nothing else, you would think RMS might have preferred to let someone else take the lead.

  4. John A
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

    Let’s get this straight – the video sends a message that threatens the commercial proposition that RMS is promoting to its clients. The rest is BS.

    I hope this goes to court – it could be fun.

  5. Boris
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    1:

    Where are the skeptics denouncing the multiple errors in Swindle? Oh, I forgot. They were part of the production.

  6. James Erlandson
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 5:26 AM | Permalink

    From the NASD Manual (National Association of Securities Dealers) Communications with the Public

    Members must ensure that statements are not misleading … All member communications with the public shall be based on principles of fair dealing and good faith, must be fair and balanced, and must provide a sound basis for evaluating the facts in regard to any particular security or type of security, industry, or service. No member may omit any material fact or qualification if the omission, in the light of the context of the material presented, would cause the communications to be misleading … No member may make any false, exaggerated, unwarranted or misleading statement or claim in any communication with the public. No member may publish, circulate or distribute any public communication that the member knows or has reason to know contains any untrue statement of a material fact or is otherwise false or misleading.

    If it turns out that the A in GW was oversold resulting in unnecessary spending of billions of dollars by individuals and businesses, some enterprising people are going to look for someone to sue. And the most obvious deep pockets belong to the universities and agencies that wrote press releases while failing to properly supervise their employees. If a university knew or should have known that a faculty member failed to archive data and computer code or made false, exaggerated and misleading claims it’s going to be difficult for them (the university) to deny responsibility for misleading the public.

  7. John A
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 5:28 AM | Permalink

    Where are the skeptics denouncing the multiple errors in Swindle? Oh, I forgot. They were part of the production

    As far as I am aware, there are several minor errors of fact in Swindle which have been acknowledged by the producer and amended for the DVD release.

    However, I doubt that that was the tone of your question.

  8. Reid
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 6:24 AM | Permalink

    #6 Jim Erlandson says: “If it turns out that the A in GW was oversold resulting in unnecessary spending of billions of dollars by individuals and businesses…”

    If it were only billions of dollars we could ignore the AGW fanatics and let them play their games. Unfortunately, trillions of dollars a year would be lost globally if we actually complied with Kyoto. The world economy is approx. $50 trillion annually. Billions have become chump change in the 21st century.

  9. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    #5. For the most part, the issues raised in Swindle are not ones that I’ve raised here and are not ones that I’ve personally investigated.

    I checked the temperature graphic in Swindle against original Hansen and Lebedeff data – to the extent of verifying the original hardcopy data. In this case, the current Swindle graph is consistent with Hansen and Lebedeff data and it seems to me that this particular allegation of Ward, Phil Jones, etc is itself a misrepresentation. I’m really quite surprised that the scientists in question would make such a serious allegation when the allegation can easily be checked and disproved.

    The question of the graphic from Lassen and Friis-Christensen was brought to my attention; I emailed Durkin stating that I agreed that there had been an error in the transcription of the graphic. See here. Do you know of any climate scientists that have written Al Gore asking him to correct his erroneous use of Holland infrared imagery in his sea level flooding? Didn’t think so. Durkin said that he’d correct this graphic. Has Al Gore corrected his Holland infrared imagery? Didn’t think so.

  10. Craig Loehle
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 7:33 AM | Permalink

    As Shakespeare said “hoisted by their own petards” — good work Steve.

    The attmpt to censure opinions about complex scientific issues is truly stunning. There are literally thousands of scientific issues currently in dispute, from the existence and nature of dark matter to whether cholesterol lowering drugs are worth the risk, from GMO foods to using DDT to kill mosquitos in the tropics. Parties to the disputes often are sure they are right. Should they be allowed to declare the issue settled and stop their oponents from speaking about it? If a AGW proponent makes a claim more extreme than the IPCC report “consensus” is that “misleading the public” and something that should be stopped?

  11. Hans Erren
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

    re 9:

    Al Gore misgeoreferenced the elevation data with the satellite image, leading to the funny result that the iconic low lying polder windmills of Kinderdijk would survive a hypothetical melting of Greenland.

    Kudos to dutch journalist Karel Knip for spotting it.

    http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=5609&start=1

  12. Boris
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    9:

    Clearly ALL errors should be corrected.

    But let’s not dodge the issue here. The errors is Swindle dwarf the errors in AIT in number and magnitude. Has the claim that volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans been corrected? The reliance on uncorrected satelite data? Do they actually counter current theory on the CO2 lag in glaciations, or do they still use it as a “gotcha” to appeal to the layperson?

  13. Gary
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    No let’s not dodge the issue at all.

    Errors corrected:
    TGGWS: 1
    AIT: 0

  14. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    #12. The issue is: what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. On a topic where particular information was brought to my attention and where I became aware of an error in Swindle (the transcription of the Lassen and Friis-Christensen graphic), I communicated that view to the producer and he undertook to correct the matter. My understanding is that the volcano thing has also been corrected.

    One of the problems with the Ward complaint is that it loses a lot of credibility by making its own misrepresentations. I investigated their complaint about temperature and, as far as I can tell, the Ward complaint about the current graph isn’t correct. For a band of eminent professors to then sign on to this incorrect complaint doesn’t speak highly of their own due diligence.

    Obviously I have my own views on the Hockey Stick and for Ward to object that Swindle didn’t use the Hockey Stick is not a complaint that I think is a very good one. For the purposes of the video, Durkin could probably have used the Moberg reconstruction, which is surprisingly similar to the IPCC 1990 schematic in its proxy portion.

    The complaint regarding Wunsch is ridiculous. There were no “misrepresentations” of what Wunsch said – Wunsch appeared on camera and spoke for himself.

    I’ll probably do a post on the topic, but, from a quick read, I think that Ward has handled his position very poorly.

  15. Steve Sadlov
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    RE: “The errors is Swindle dwarf the errors in AIT in number and magnitude.”

    Liar!

  16. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    Has the claim that volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans been corrected?

    Perhaps you need to be more specific. Volcanoes have been emitting CO2 for billions of years on this planet. Humans have been doing so for a few hundred or thousand at the most. Some volcanic eruptions are tremendous in the extreme and far surpass any human contribution to emissions. See “supervolcanoes” for more info. Also, there’s a vast difference between a volcano’s daily output of CO2 versus the output of CO2 during an eruption.

  17. rhodeymark
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

    #12 – Do they actually counter current theory
    It must be very frustrating when hand-waving and just-so hypotheses fail to gain traction against Inconvenient facts. Yes, let’s not dodge the issue – how long was AIT out without a peep from the new high priests of accuracy again?

  18. John Nicklin
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    12:

    If Swindle has more errors than AIT, I would be surprised.

    The only scientific “FACT” presented by Gore et al in AIT is that floating ice in your drink won’t cause an overflow when it melts, everything else is conjecture or misrepresentation.

    Swindle points out that the environment produces more CO2 than humans, I haven’t seen any studies that refute that. Swindle uses satellite temperature values that match radio-sonde data well but may not match the surface measurements as well as some would like. Swindle’s big sin is not using the hockey stick as their reference as demanded by many alarmists. CO2 lags temperature by 800 to 1000 years, what is the problem with that observation? Oddly, if we accept the existence of the MWP at about 1000 years ago, the current rise in CO2 demostrates the lag period, but that’s just my conjecture.

    Errors, once known, should be corrected. I agree. Otherwise, I fail to see your point.

  19. John Nicklin
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    “Views and facts must not be misrepresented”.

    Wouldn’t this kind of restriction pretty well shut down the media entirely?

  20. Mark T.
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, they’re a bunch of hypocrites. In the words of Jerry Brown “I was just observing a general trend” of their actions.

    Mark

  21. John Hekman
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    This kind of “legal” attack on Swindle doesn’t need to succeed in court. It gets played prominently in the media, and the majority of people, those who only remember the headlines, will go around saying “Oh, yeah, Swindle, I heard that it was found to be very biased and misleading. Isn’t there even a lawsuit against it?”

    But it would be exciting to have it go to court, as unlikely as that is. I can just hear Durkins’s attorney summing up by saying

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client has been charged with misrepresenting the truth about how much warming the planet has experienced. You heard the testimony of Dr. Jones, who said that the earth has warmed far more than what Mr. Durkin said in his film.

    But I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, how can Dr. Jones tell us that with a straight face while also refusing to say where he got the temperatures that he uses to make his claim? Did he use London? Manchester? Glasgow? He won’t say.”

  22. Hans Erren
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    re 18:
    That is telling half truths, because the environment absorbs more than it produces whereas for humans it is just the other way round. So the footed bill is net absorption for the environment (greening of the earh) and net production for humans (rising of CO2 in the atmosphere).

  23. John Nicklin
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    re 22:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if the environment absorbs more than it produces, then there would only be anthropogenic co2 in the atmosphere. By the same logic, CO2 levels should have been zero before we started putting CO2 in the air. If the environment produces 100 ppm evivalent of CO2 and aborbs more than 100 ppm, where does the observable atmospheric CO2 come from?

  24. John Nicklin
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps someone should threaten to take AIT producers to court on the same basis as Swindle is being threatened.

  25. jae
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    The prominent complaints about Swindle are nothing more than cheap PR technique. The AGW extremists need to think about Abe Lincoln’s famous saying: “You can fool all the people some of the time….” Thanks to the efforts of folks like Steve M, Lubos, Idsos, and Pielke, Emperor AGW has lost his robes and now only has his skivvies on (I hope this is not just wishful thinking…).

  26. Mark T.
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps someone should threaten to take AIT producers to court on the same basis as Swindle is being threatened.

    In the US, there is no law that prevents you from publishing anything that is scientifically incorrect, be it AIT or Swindle. This smacks of censorship of the worst kind. I hope the UK sees fit to treat this complaint for what it’s worth: junk.

    Mark

  27. Vince Causey
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    I remember watching a documentary recently. It was called “Global dimming”. After first during the reasonable conclusions that surface insolation decreased in the sixties and seventies due to aerosols (after Ramanathan), it then proceeded by the most incredible twist of logic to conclude that temperatures would rise by 11c in 100 years. The arguement, described by a scientist, went something like this: the radiative forcing of CO2 was being offset by global dimming. Therefore we have underestimated the true forcing of CO2 by half. Global dimming is being corrected by clean air policies. Therefore global warming will proceed at twice the (upper) estimate of the IPCC. The scientist then took a marker and doubled the gradient of the projected temperature increase. The narrator ended with the words “This will happen”. This scientist was Dr Peter Cox of Essex – one of the signatures of the current complaint. I only mentioned it because to me, the hypocricy stinks.
    Cox: First remove the plank from thine own eye.

  28. Paul (Vancouver BC)
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    One would think that if Swindle is being taken to court for one flawed graph, that Gore would be up to his chubby cheeks in legalities for the errors, omissions and half truths in his film.

  29. Mark T.
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    Keep in mind, I agree with Steve M. that the Swindle DVD _should_ be fixed to correct any misrepresentations of science prior to full publication. Besides being the right thing to do, it will set an example.

    Mark

  30. MarkW
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    boris,

    Al Gore states that sea levels are going to rise 20 feet or more.
    IPCC states that sea levels are going to rice 20 inches or less.

    AIT claims that AGW is causing Kilamanjaro’s glaciers to shrink. The science shows that Kilamanjaro has been cooling in recent decades, the shrinkage is from less rainfall caused by less precipitation caused by deforestation.

    What’s that about there being no substantive errors in AIT?

  31. Mark T.
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    It’s a matter of viewpoint, MarkW. Boris believes in AIT, therefore any errors there are minor compared to errors in Swindle, which has a different viewpoint than he is willing to accept.

    Mark

  32. Jaye
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    Let’s not forget about the polar bear pic in AIT. Meant to convey that the ice was literally shrinking around the bear, when in actuality two bears swam from shore to the floating piece of ice and started playing around on the ice. Same tactics as FH911.

    Gore mentions a “complex” relationship between CO2 and temps in the ice core graph but doesn’t say what it is…namely the lag. Same tactics as FH911.

    If we are going to start comparing skeptics vs warmers in investigating flaws in various papers/documentaries then how many people from RC have contacted Gore about some of the problems with AIT…0. How many people from CA have contacted similar documentarians about flaws…1. You do the math Boris.

  33. Follow the Money
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    #27

    “I remember watching a documentary recently. It was called “Global dimming”. ”

    Was it on PBS in the USA? I saw that one, it was hilarious how they tried to reconcile and validate both GW and GD while concluding GW would continue at a scary rate.

    The money has deeply corrupted climate science.

  34. James Bailey
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    The lag in CO2’s response to warming is understood to be the time it takes for the warmer air temperatures to raise the temperature of the oceans enough to release more CO2. Shorter warming periods should be partially or totally averaged out.
    Organisms consume the CO2 in the oceans. When they die, some make it all the way to the sea floor. Gradually this CO2 gets stored in the rocks formed by the sea floor, such as limestone. I do not know what the expected lifetimes of this process are, but this should eventually starve out plant life as we know it, maybe in half a billion or a billion years, long before the sun gets hot enough to boil away all water. When we burn oil, we are burning another form of carbon that got removed from the air and stored in plants.

    By the way, the basic calculations are completely based on the sun. The earth absorbs or reflects the energy shining upon it by the sun. The absorbed energy raises the temperature of the earth until an equilibrium is achieved with the earth reflecting and emitting the same amount of energy as it receives. CO2 will absorb some of that emitted energy, warming the air. The climate models amplify this effect assuming the warmer temperatures result in more water vapor which is also a greenhouse gas. Why this never caused a runaway effect needs to be researched. I suspect we will find that the “amplification” is itself temperature dependant. Also, for some reason the earth’s core is left out as a source of energy in establishing that balance, but since it is based on radiation, it should always be declining on very long time scales.

  35. Gerald Machnee
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    In #12 Boris says:**The errors is Swindle dwarf the errors in AIT in number and magnitude.**
    When you can document all that, I may think about it. Otherwise, that is all we have been hearing from many “believers”. No substance – the same as saying ‘the science is in, there is no debate”. This blog has documented papers and reviewers that have been ignored by IPCC.

  36. Boris
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    14:
    As for Wunsch, he claims he was taken out of context:

    In the part of the “Swindle” film where I am describing the fact that the ocean tends to expel carbon dioxide where it is warm, and to absorb it where it is cold, my intent was to explain that warming the ocean could be dangerous—because it is such a gigantic reservoir of carbon. By its placement in the film, it appears that I am saying that since carbon dioxide exists in the ocean in such large quantities, human influence must not be very important — diametrically opposite to the point I was making — which is that global warming is both real and threatening in many different ways, some unexpected.

    Yes, Wunsch speaks for himself, but explains how he was taken out of context. If his explanation is wrong, then point out why.

    15, Sadlov:
    How mature of you.

    30:

    Al Gore states that sea levels are going to rise 20 feet or more.
    IPCC states that sea levels are going to rice 20 inches or less.

    Al Gore is talking about melting of all of Greenland or half of the WAIS with no stated time frame.

    The IPCC is talking about the year 2100.

    You could certainly fault Gore for not being clear on how long it might take for such melting to occur, but that’s not what skeptics have done. They’ve compared his no time frame statement to a fixed date. By saying Gore is off by 18+ feet, they think they score a bigger rhetoical hit.

  37. John Nicklin
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

    36: Boris

    Carl Wunsch may have been taken out of context, or maybe not. What he said is what he said, if it needed more illumiation, he could have done that. I think it more likely that Wunsch was attacked by the alarmists and forced to recant his discretion in order to persue a more peaceful existance.

    As for Gore’s waterworld scenario, he may not have stated a time frame, but the implication is there. Gore uses the word “IF” with regularity when making these claims, so you could also say that he is just postulating, but his tome says otherwise.

    In the words of Commander Montgomery Scott of the USS Enterprise, “If may granny had whels she’d have been a wagon.” Likewise, Gore’s “if’s” mean nothing but convey alarm to his audience.

  38. Steve Sadlov
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    RE: #36 – I can at times be a man of few words. When you spew lies, all I need is a single word to describe it.

  39. Vince Causey
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    RE 33
    “Was it on PBS in the USA? I saw that one, it was hilarious how they tried to reconcile and validate both GW and GD while concluding GW would continue at a scary rate.”
    I watched it in the UK. But if it was on PBS I guess it’s the same film, as they do show UK productions. The implication was that IPCC’s understanding of CO2 forcing comes from measuring the temperature anomaly against CO2 concentrations so therefore if global dimming is reducing this effect, then the radiative forcing would be much greater than we thought. The problems are a) I don’t think CO2 radiative forcing is worked out this way, b) there is no evidence that removing aerosols will double this forcing, and c) that this would lead to doubling the temperature anomaly. This production simply dwarfed the misrepresentations in Swindle. The predictions had no more scientific basis than any religious ‘world will end on xx/yy/zz’. Yet it was presented as fact: “This will happen”, not it “might happen”. And the same guy (Cox) spouting this nonsense has the audacity to complain against Swindle.

  40. jae
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    Al Gore is talking about melting of all of Greenland or half of the WAIS with no stated time frame.

    The IPCC is talking about the year 2100.

    You could certainly fault Gore for not being clear on how long it might take for such melting to occur, but that’s not what skeptics have done. They’ve compared his no time frame statement to a fixed date. By saying Gore is off by 18+ feet, they think they score a bigger rhetoical hit.

    Give us a break, Boris. Were you just trying to be funny?

  41. Vince Causey
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    RE #36

    You could certainly fault Gore for not being clear on how long it might take for such melting to occur, but that’s not what skeptics have done. They’ve compared his no time frame statement to a fixed date. By saying Gore is off by 18+ feet, they think they score a bigger rhetoical hit.

    In my opinion, Gore’s omission is deliberate, and reinforces my increasing suspicion of the guy. It doesn’t take a psychologist to see why he left out the time scale. Greenland’s ice sheets will melt (gasps from audience, reaching for checkbooks), oh but it will take thousands of years (sighs of relief, puts checkbooks away). Gore is a showman, a raconteur, a propagandist, and he’s hitched his waggon to a rising star. As for Greenland and Antartica melting, well, who was it who said, the bigger the lie the more people will believe it?

  42. Hans Erren
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    re 23:
    There is 90 Gt/year stirring taking place. Compare it with a deposit in a petty cash box with high cash flow. Your coins are gone in no time, but the money is only slowly dwindling, unless somebody else makes a net deposit..
    Steve, can you please dedicate a thread on the CO2 cycle, this spectre keeps haunting this site.

  43. Boris
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    RE: #36 – I can at times be a man of few words. When you spew lies, all I need is a single word to describe it.

    And few arguments apparently.

  44. Boris
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    40:

    Actually, jae, I was being serious. If you can’t understand the difference between what Gore says and what the IPCC is talking about I could explain again.

    41:

    In my opinion, Gore’s omission is deliberate, and reinforces my increasing suspicion of the guy.

    Don’t you have that backwards? Isn’t your suspicion reinforing your opinion on this matter?

    Even if you’re right, does that justify the skeptics rushing to claim Gore’s view differs from the IPCC? Don’t let your suspicion trip you up on that one.

  45. DocMartyn
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    James Bailey
    “The earth absorbs or reflects the energy shining upon it by the sun. The absorbed energy raises the temperature of the earth until an equilibrium is achieved with the earth reflecting and emitting the same amount of energy as it receives.”

    This is not an equilibrium, it is a steady state. Moreover, the energy the Earth absorbs is not, actually converted into temperature, much of the energy will go into changing the state of water, from liquid to gas and from soild to liquid. Both of these transistions can be modeled to cause runaway heating, as the ice melts more land/water is revealed and the albedo changes and water vapor is a greenhouse gas and so high water vapor increases the IR reradiated back to Earth.
    However, more water vapor should mean more clouds, more light reflected by the clouds into space, so global cooling.
    More water vapor will also mean that the existing ice fields will grow in density. An increase in ice thickness will lead to more ice pressure and so more lateral ice movement, So the ice sheet will increase, global cooling again.

    The maths will be horrid, but expirementally it should be relitively easy to do in a building with controlled air/vapor inputs. Why no one seems to want to build a lab the size of a three story warehouse and actually measure what happens to IR, water vapor and suchlike is beyond me.

  46. Sam
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    #27,33,and 39

    I think the documentary you are referencing is actually called “Global Dumbing.” I think Boris has been offering his critique of it.

  47. Jaye
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    Al Gore is talking about melting of all of Greenland or half of the WAIS with no stated time frame.

    So let me get this straight, you are saying that when Gore is talking about a process that won’t be complete for thousands of years, flatly states Xft of sea level rise as a result, and then doesn’t assign a time frame is something for which one would need a preconceived bias to interpret as disingenuous slight of hand meant to convey the result would actually happen much earlier. Wow. Ok, then let me try this on you “[with a small wave of my hand] You don’t need to see his identification”…now its your turn…”[with a small wave of my hand] These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”…your turn again…”[with a small wave of my hand] He can go about his business.”…your turn again…”[with a small wave of my hand] Move along”…now one more time.

  48. Sam
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    #12 Boris

    Can you name anything from AIT that is true? The only fact I can find is that Al Gore lists his own name correctly. How about Kilimanjaro, CO2/Temp chart (reversing the causality), no mosquitos ever in Nairobi before current times, images of Tidal Glaciers collapsing into the sea as proof of warming, black smoke spewing from smokestacks supposedly portraying CO2, and the threatened sea level increase?

    Some of these have already been mentioned above. But mosquitos were endemic in Nairobi as well as other higher elevations prior to the 1940s when DDT use began. This is a very easy fact to verify and Gore has to have purposely ignored it or else performs very shoddy fact-checking.

    Tidal Glaciers always collapse into the sea. They advance until they lose their support and collapse from their own weight into open water. This scene is very disingenous and outrightly deceitful.

    CO2 is colorless and odorless so showing the smokestacks is also a blatant falsehood misleadingly trying to subliminally link particulate pollution with CO2.

    If all of Greenland and Antarctica melted the effect on sea level would not be what Gore states. A very large part of the ice in Antarctica is over land that is below sea level and if which melted, would become a large inland lake. This would have zero effect on sea level – again another fact that a serious Gore could have ascertained. There is also research that suggests the WAIS had been completely melted before becoming reconstructed during the LIA.

    So Boris, please tell me something that is true in his film.

  49. Jim Clarke
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

    Re #36

    Bruce,

    The key to Wunsh’s complaint is the statement: “By its placement in the film, it appears that I am saying that since carbon dioxide exists in the ocean in such large quantities, human influence must not be very important.”
    I did not get that impression when I watched the film the first time. After hearing his complaint, I went back and watched it again. I still didn’t get the impression he says was given, and frankly, don’t see how anyone could get such an impression. I found his charge a bit baffling.

  50. Boris
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

    So let me get this straight, you are saying that when Gore is talking about a process that won’t be complete for thousands of years, flatly states Xft of sea level rise as a result, and then doesn’t assign a time frame is something for which one would need a preconceived bias to interpret as disingenuous

    If that’s so disingenuous, then why don’t skeptics mention it? Instead they compare his statement to the IPCC projection and say that Gore said 20 ft by 2100 (see Pat Michales on this one). Why do they need to exagerate Gore’s statements if they are already so wrong?

  51. Nathan Schmidt
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 6:32 PM | Permalink

    #50 Boris

    If that’s so disingenuous, then why don’t skeptics mention it? Instead they compare his statement to the IPCC projection and say that Gore said 20 ft by 2100 (see Pat Michales on this one). Why do they need to exagerate Gore’s statements if they are already so wrong?

    It’s not just the skeptics that are predicting short-term, rapid increases in sea level.

    I recently saw Dr. Richard Leakey speak on the environment. His presentation had some high points: he is pro-nuclear and pro-development, he touched on adaptation (though to my disappointment he never used that word) and he was an entertaining and humble speaker. It also had some low points, mainly related to AGW alarmism. His “facts” on global warming read straight from AIT; not surprising, as he introduced himself as a good friend of Al Gore’s.

    Dr. Leakey explicitly stated that in the next 20 years, we would see “3, 4 or 5 feet” of sea level rise. I wonder where he got those numbers from? It certainly wasn’t the IPCC.

  52. kchua
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

    A couple of articles about AIT that may be of interest.

    http://academic3.american.edu/%7Erossiter/Convenient%20Fibs.html

    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/environment/gore.html

    I see no point in an exchange with Boris. In being selective about the facts he presents, and the way he presents them, Gore is misrepresenting the situation – he is being less than completely honest. Mostpeople will see it that way. Boris does not have a problem with that because it agrees with his views. How sad. On my part, I would have a problem if Durkin were to do the same and would insist on a correction. I am agnostic about the whole thing but am not stupid.

    This debate ceased to be rational a long time ago.

  53. kchua
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    http://academic3.american.edu/%7Erossiter/Convenient%20Fibs.html

    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/environment/gore.html

  54. John Lang
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    The documentary will have more IMPACT in the long-run if the errors are fixed and factual/proven information is presented.

    And the LONG-RUN is what this documentary is all about. The global warming scare will be with us for a long time (maybe until someone comes forward in 2020 and proves that temperatures have not increased at all since 1940.)

    Some people I know have asked me about the documentary and I have had to tell them “it is a really great piece of work, but there are some problems with it.” This immediately turns them off and they do not take the time to see it.

    The “volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans” statement needs to be dropped and a more factual presentation of the Carbon Cycle should be presented. Man-made Carbon emissions – 7.5 billion tonnes: Oceans Carbon emissions 90.0 billion tonnes: Oceans absorption 92.0 billion tonnes – Vegetation emissions 60.0 billion tonnes; Vegetation absorption 61.0 to 62.0 billion tonnes. Man-made emissions are dwarfed by the natural systems but we are adding Carbon to a system which was more-or-less in balance and, hence, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is increasing (this is a fact.)

    Every now and again, a really big volcanoe happens and that has a huge impact of the CO2 level as well as other aerosols. (For example, the latest research indicates that the supervolcanoe which kicked off the creation of Iceland and split Greenland from Europe might be responsible for the Eocene Thermal Maximum when CO2 levels might have reached 4,000 ppm.) In my mind the historical levels of CO2 in the atmopshere should also be added. The 180 ppm of the ice ages in the last 2.5 million years should be compared to the 1,000 ppm of 30 million years ago, 4,000 ppm 55 million years ago, 500 ppm 300 million years ago and 7,000 ppm 500 million years ago. Temperatures have followed these CO2 levels at about 1C for every doubling which tells us that global warming will not be a problem at all.

    The other error is the MSU satellite data from the NOAA which has since been corrected for processing errors and satelitte drift errors and now shows some warming in the lower troposhere and cooling in the stratosphere (which is about half of what global warming theory and the CGMs say).

    Steve has already pointed out the solar cycle versus temperature chart error. I say that evidence should be dropped (mainly because it doesn’t actually prove anything when the errors are corrected.) Other indications of solar variability such as Lean et al should be used which show that solar variations are indeed real and match up closely (although not perfectly) with changes in the climate (such as the LIA and the recent warming.)

    The chart showing temperature reductions from 1940 to 1975 should be kept because it is likely this is the most accurate measure of global temperatures. The documentary should also talk about why this chart is more accurate since Phil Jones and James Hansen have played around with history which should be crime in a my book given the impact this has had.

  55. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    The other error is the MSU satellite data from the NOAA which has since been corrected for processing errors and satelitte drift errors and now shows some warming in the lower troposhere and cooling in the stratosphere (which is about half of what global warming theory and the CGMs say).

    I’ll probably do a post on this. I think that you’ve grabbed the wrong end of the stick here. The position of Christy and Lindzen is that the models predicts faster warming in the tropical troposphere than at surface and this is not what happened (even though there is some tropo warming.) Risk Management Solutions argues that CCSP says that everything is resolved – the observations are likely to be wrong, but the running text is hardly resolved.

  56. Roger Dueck
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

    Boris, your arguments are circular and without merit. They are getting Boring. Al Gore is shamelessly self-promotional.

    The HST Litigation Squad will have another target after Glenn Beck’s program on CNN Headline News last night. Same actors, different producer, credible network. I’m glad to see that the same story is making it’s way into the mainstream media culture. Perhaps the public will eventually see that there is controversy and skeptical discussion is healthy.

  57. Boris
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 8:50 PM | Permalink

    Boris, your arguments are circular and without merit.

    Your arguments are…absent.

  58. Mark T.
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 10:36 PM | Permalink

    Ah yes, the ultimate debate tactic “my opponent doesn’t even have an argument therefore I win!”

    I think it was bender that said it, but even if not, I agree, if your comments weren’t so humorous, Boris, you’d be tiresome.

    Mark

  59. Jaye
    Posted May 3, 2007 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

    RE: #50

    to interpret as disingenuous slight of hand meant to convey the result would actually happen much earlier.

    You left this out when quoting me. Since that is precisely the trick he was employing, namely, leading the audience to believe that a process which will take thousands of years to be fully realized will instead happen soon enough for them to worry about…when he did that HE invited comparisons to near term predictions.

  60. MarkW
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 5:16 AM | Permalink

    Boris,

    There is no IPCC scenario, not even the most scary, that result in all of Greenland’s glaciers melting. So if he is implying that such an event is going to happen, regardless of the time frame, then he is stating an untruth.

  61. MarkW
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 5:19 AM | Permalink

    Boris,

    All of the other predictions that GOre is making, he specifically refers to a short time scale.
    In this one, sandwiched amongst the others he makes no mention of time scales.
    Talk to people who specialize in propaganda. This is an old technique. Lying, without directly saying anything untrue. Just phrase it in such a way that people will fill in the gaps that you leave, in the way that you want them to.

  62. Boris
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 5:56 AM | Permalink

    59:

    Again, skeptics don’t say that Gore is making a false comparison, they say that he says 20 ft by 2100. No one has even attempted to answer this question:

    If Gore makes such a phony argument, why do skeptics misrepresent it?

    But say volcanoes produce more CO2 than humans, use bad satelite data, misrepresent a noted scientist’s view, have multiple errors in graphs (all the errors in the same direction…hmmmmm), and blame enviromentalism for holding back Africa and you get the Skpetic Nobel.

  63. Boris
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 6:09 AM | Permalink

    49: The statement right before Wunsch is introduced is this:

    But the biggest source of CO2, by far, is the oceans.

    And that comes right after the infamous volcano statement, and the other misleading statements about the annual carbon cycle.

    So, clearly Dr. Wunsch is right is saying that the producer tried to make his comments look like they supported the argument that human released CO2 is not important in relation to natural CO2.

    Perhaps we don’t want to discuss the stupidity of that argument.

  64. John A
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 6:53 AM | Permalink

    So, clearly Dr. Wunsch is right is saying that the producer tried to make his comments look like they supported the argument that human released CO2 is not important in relation to natural CO2.

    I have watched Swindle twice and cannot recall Wunsch saying that. What Wunsch did say was that to talk about carbon dioxide emitted from the oceans at the present is to talk about a delayed process on the order of centuries to millenia (up to 10,000 years). It cannot be the case that carbon dioxide release is caused by the current warming.

    Other scientists made the case that human-released CO2 is a small fraction of the naturally produced carbon dioxide is a) true and b) entirely correct. They also made the (entirely justified) statement that carbon dioxide levels have been both higher and lower in the past and has never caused temperature rise.

    [snip]

  65. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

    #64. The mainstream argument is that CO2 changes, however they were caused, resulted in a feedback which exacerbated temperature change. It’s not a ridiculous argument and you should not talk so dismissively. There are then questions of how one gets into ice ages and out of them without spiralling out of control and of timing in which CO2 increased but temperature declined. But never is too strong a word and the issues are more subtle than implied by the above comment.

  66. Boris
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 7:08 AM | Permalink

    Wunsch didn’t say it, but the placement of his comments makes it look like his comments on the oceans support such an argument. Hence, out of context.

    And of course your argument a is true, but irrelevant and misleading.

  67. george h.
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 7:11 AM | Permalink

    Boris,
    Does it really look to you like Greenland is melting?

    Unvalidated models and pictures of Polar Bears don’t cut it.

  68. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    #66. Wunsch wouldn’t be the first person to feel sandbagged by a journalist. But there’s a difference between that and a “misrepresentation” , which is a technical legal term with a lengthy legal history and an important concept in contract and securities law. I’ve used the term quite often in a technical sense.

    Risk Management must deal in contracts all the time; they have lawyers who’ll know what a “misrepresentation” is, but this letter is kid’s day at the park.

    Wunsch may have hurt feelings, but, in my opinion, Swindle didn’t misrepresent Wunsch’s “views” using the word in its correct legal sense as the tribunal would be obliged to do. This claim would be laughed out of court and costs awarded against Wunsch and Risk Management. The lesson for Wunsch should be to know more about who you’re dealing with.

  69. Boris
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    68:

    Yes, legally Siwndle didn’t misrepresent Wunsch’s views. Popularly, I think they did.

    I haven’t read through the details of the complaint, but there isn’t a lawsuit, correct? Also, the claim is not limited to Wunsch, so it’s possible that there might be something that rises to the level of legal misrepresentation.

    BTW, I’d rather no one sued or filed complaints at all. Let the marketplace of ideas take care of the poor arguments in Swindle, not the government.

  70. bender
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    The jurors in the court of public opinion are biased through their religious beliefs.

  71. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    #69. Risk Management issued a formal complaint to a regulatory agency. That’s a legal proceeding. So they’ve thrown down the gauntlet. The Wunsch issue was one of their items in their filing.

    Most judges don’t like people throwing spitballs against the wall to see which one sticks. The Risk Management complaint reads like kid’s day in the park. A tribunal should not be obliged to forage through a bunch of ill-considered spitballs to see if one sticks.

    Wunsch’s main complaint is the company he’s keeping. He should have thought of that before he did the interview. I don’t know what a “popular” sense of misrepresentation might be, but Wunsch was neither misrepresented legally nor popularly. He should just lick his wounds and decide that he’s going to be more careful in future interviews. And Risk Management should not waste the time of a legal proceeding with this particular grievance.

    You say that “it’s possible that there might be something that rises to the level of legal misrepresentation.” Well, I’d be damn sure that there was before I filed a formal complaint on behalf of one company against another company before a legal tribunal. You do that before you file the complaint rather than after.

  72. Steve Sadlov
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    RE: #41 – He’s also venture capitalist and a private equity manager.

    No conflict of interest there … /s

  73. Bob Meyer
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    Re: 65

    Actually, it is a ridiculous argument and any control systems engineer can tell you why.

    I am a newbie but I find it hard to resist putting in my two cents worth about why the realclimate people are wrong about the effects of the 800 year lag between temperature peaks and CO2 peaks.

    This is the argument as I understand it:

    Various ice core measurements have shown that CO2 and temperature have a very high correlation over the last eight hundred thousand years or so. Skeptics point out what seems to be an unanswerable fact about these correlations ‘€” the peaks in CO2 concentration follow the peak temperatures by times ranging from 500 to 1500 years. Since it is impossible for an effect to precede its cause this would seem to lay to rest the CO2 theory of global warming.

    True believers reply while it is correct that the peaks occur in the wrong order this isn’t really important because once warming begins then the delayed CO2 rise will drive the system and continue the warming.

    This may sound good, but if it were true then the anthropogenic theory of global warming due to CO2 emissions is wrong.

    The only way that an effect can appear to precede the cause is in the case of an oscillator. The effect doesn’t really precede the cause, it actually comes one full cycle later. In oscillator theory there must be positive feedback (this means that the feedback is in the same direction as the original input) and the overall gain of the system (that is, from the input to the output and then back through the feedback path to the input) must be exactly 1 for oscillations to take place. In real world oscillators like the crystal oscillator in your wristwatch the gain is slightly more than one but there are non-linearities that limit the range of output. Without these non linearities the earth’s temperature would swing more wildly with each cycle until either the temperature bottomed out at absolute zero or the earth became incandescent.

    The problem with the true believer theory is that it must work in both directions. That means that when the earth is getting cooler then it must continue to cool until it meets some low end non-linearity that prevents further drops in temperature and allows the temperature to climb again. During a cooling period we would necessarily see a decrease in CO2 concentrations.

    Now, let us assume that Mann’s hockey stick is actually correct. It showed a very slight decline in temperature over the last thousand years right up until the end of the nineteenth century when temperatures began to climb precipitously. This is inconsistent with the theory that CO2 “takes over” as the driving force once a temperature change has begun. The decreasing CO2 during the cooling spell should have driven the “climatic oscillator” into a hard dip towards an ice-age. This means that the temperature should have been falling at a much higher rate (comparable to the rate of climb today) and would have been impervious to the relatively small changes in CO2 due to mankind’s obsession with transportation and warm homes in winter

    But we’ll ignore this for a moment and assume that anthropogenic CO2 was sufficient to reverse the direction of temperature change. This would mean that it saved us from a deadly ice-age and set us once again on the path to a warm world. The only effect due to man is that the warming would take place much earlier than it would normally have occurred.

    The thing about oscillators is that they will oscillate on their own without any outside influence. Anthropogenic inputs can make a peak come sooner or later but cannot prevent a peak from occurring nor could they change the magnitude of the peak.

    Therefore, the theory of anthropogenic CO2 induced global warming is inconsistent with the theory that CO2 could drive climate change once some other factor started the change rolling.

    It is possible to object to this analysis and claim that the system is over damped and that oscillations do not occur. However, it would also require the discovery of a climate driver that has a natural 5000 year long cycle because, as stated, an over damped system will not oscillate.

    By the way, this is a great website. There aren’t very many sites where you can get a real education about any popular subject with rational pro and con arguments. There are only two websites that I check every day and this is half of them.

  74. bender
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    This is why I’m a bit skeptical of the one dimensional radiation models and think that the circulation models may be a necessary evil to simulate the details (i.e. periodic divergences) of earth’s terawatt heat engine. To the extent that the unforced system oscillates you’ve got to expect quasi-periodic anomalies that mystify. It would be a mistake, I think, to presume that all global-scale changes must be due to external global forcings such as TSI & Milankovitch. Can the atmosphere not “breathe”?

    Willing to be educated in this area.

  75. John Nicklin
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    62: Boris

    If Gore isn’t implying that the flooding will be soon, and that he is only saying sometime in the distant future, why mention it at all? His whole thesis is that this is all happening very quickly, no time to wait, we have to act now!

    If you are comfortable with AIT being shown with its many flaws, then you should also be as comfortable with Swindle or Glenn Beck being aired. Or are Gore’s errors less important than those of the rest of the world?

    Frankly, I think that you would be further ahead to argue that AIT can’t be held to the same standard as Swindle becasue it (AIT) is a work of fiction.

  76. John Nicklin
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    74: Bob

    Thanks for the lesson, very helpful.

  77. bender
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    If the glacial/temperature oscillation is a forced oscillation (by Milankovitch+solar+etc) and the GHG (+) feedback is, by comparison, weak, then the lag between temp & CO2 can not be interpreted as lack of evidence for a GHG effect. The effect is there, just buried in the overwhelming effect of the periodic forcing agent. In this scenario the GHG levels only go so high, in part because they are a slow process which lags behind temperature.

    The AGW argument is that if you raise GHGs quickly, independent of any warming trend, now you will see the full strength of that feedback effect, which in the past would have been hidden by the power of the forcing. [And this (+) feedback trips other more localized (+) feedbacks, which accelerate the rate of warming compared to patterns of the past.]

    I’m not sure if you agree with me thus far. But if you do, then I think a process control engineer would also agree that the next questions are: (1) when does the effect saturate, and (2) when does the next cooling cycle take over. On (2) IPCC says 30,000 years. Sadlov is not so sure. On (1) …

    Can temperatures rise, by GHGs alone, to the levels predicted by IPCC? What makes them so certain that the next 50 years will be a repeat of the last 50? When you build a greenhouse, and you make the glass thicker and thicker, does the greenhouse get hotter and hotter? No. At some point the barrier has done its job. I know what the radiation models say the sensitivity coefficient must be in order to fix the divergence from obs. of the 1980s-90s. I’m not sure those models are good enough, for reasons described above.

    When I ask questions at RC, I get nonsense. I want answers. Why can no one answers these questions? Are they that ill-phrased? You tell me, Bob.

  78. Mark T.
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    Actually, it is a ridiculous argument and any control systems engineer can tell you why.

    Any engineer that’s had a linear systems class as well, or signal processing class, or control theory class, etc. There are a few of us in here, btw.

    The only way that an effect can appear to precede the cause is in the case of an oscillator. The effect doesn’t really precede the cause, it actually comes one full cycle later.

    Gavin Schmidt does not understand this point. The other way, btw, is by building a non-causal system model. Hehe…

    The question comes down to one of estimating the impact of a ramp increase of CO2 (a ramp which happens to have a contested magnitude/rate) if its total impact was buried in the noise of other, external, forcers in the first place. A point made by you and bender.

    After reading the latest and greatest “how to solve GW” article in the IEEE Spectrum, I’m tempted to write a letter in hopes of getting more control/signal processing types interested in doing some independent audit of all these issues. Every time someone I know (in the field) takes a look at the mechanisms involved, their eyebrows perk up.

    Mark

  79. John Nicklin
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    77: bender

    When you build a greenhouse, and you make the glass thicker and thicker, does the greenhouse get hotter and hotter?

    In absolute terms, thinkening the glass would cause more warming, only due to the insulating effect of the extra glass. Could you measure it? Maybe, given the best equipment. But I understand your analogy, but the greenhouse is a poor metaphor for the greenhouse effect. A greenhouse increases temp by trapping longwave radiation and, just as importantly, restricting airflow to internal convection only. If you open the ends of the greenhouse, it will not warm appreciably. A greenhouse is a very simple system with few complications. The globe on the otherhand is not.

    Can you extrapolate this to a global scale? I can’t think of a way, but then again, I’m not a physicist, just a humble biologist.

    A side note would be that some greenhouse operators increase the CO2 concentration in the enclosure to 1000ppm or more, I wonder if there is a detectable increase in heating.

    I am prepared as always to recognize that I may be wrong.

  80. Mark T.
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    but the greenhouse is a poor metaphor for the greenhouse effect.

    I think that concept is known by most of us. The “greenhouse effect” is considerably less than a true greenhouse, which is, essentially, much closer to a closed system.

    A side note would be that some greenhouse operators increase the CO2 concentration in the enclosure to 1000ppm or more, I wonder if there is a detectable increase in heating.

    Doubtful, simply because the glass already traps most of the heat from being re-radiated. Venting is required to keep them from over-heating anyway.

    Mark

  81. Vince Causey
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    RE #75

    Frankly, I think that you would be further ahead to argue that AIT can’t be held to the same standard as Swindle becasue it (AIT) is a work of fiction.

    True. Maybe we should be comparing AIT with ‘Day after tomorrow’. At least that had real actors.

  82. John Nicklin
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    80: Mark T

    Thanks for the information, pretty much as I expected with the 1000ppm stuff.

    Also didn’t mean to imply that people here didn’t understand the difference between the two greenhouse effects. Its really unfortunate that we have to use the term greenhouse when refering to what happens in the atmosphere because it does not relate well or at all to what happens in a ral greenhouse.

  83. Mark T.
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    I agree. I don’t think anyone would have taken you to task over mentioning the difference in “greenhouse effect” and a true greenouse, btw. I was simply noting the obvious. :) It is unfortunate, however, that such an obvious concept really isn’t understood by the public at large.

    Mark

  84. Jeff Campbell
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    I’m new to this site. I’m not a scientist, but a lawyer, and I have been trying to better understand the global warming debate. Can anyone point me to a book that would help me better understand these matters (especially the issues discussed by Bob in no. 73, above)? Perhaps I am naive to hope for it, but I’d like something “objective” (do scientists still strive for this?).

    For my own part, the apparent fear mongering that seems all too ubiquitous in connection with global warming discussions (and the historical record of hysteria on other issues such as eugenics, DDT, global cooling, etc., etc.) has caused me (and many others like me) to be quite sceptical of the claims of Al Gore and his followers. It is simply hard to belive that we must “act now” or be doomed, and such rhetoric seems more appropriate for fundamentalist doomsayers than for calm seekers of truth. All of this is, of course, merely the opinion of a lay person, which is why I’m looking for some guidance. Thanks in advance for any assistance.

    Jeff

  85. Posted May 4, 2007 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    Re #77,

    Bender, André van den Berg has made a quite detailed graph of the Epica-C ice core for CO2 lags vs. temperature from the LGM (last glacial maximum) to the start of the Holocene. Not only there is a lag, but when CO2 starts to rise, there is no increase in speed, and there are several conflicting trends where temperature stops increasing (even decreases), while CO2 levels still increase:

    Something similar can be seen in the Vostok ice core: at the end of the previous interglacial (the Eemian), where temperatures dropped to a minimum without help of CO2 and when CO2 levels started to drop (some 40 ppmv), there was no measurable effect on temperature. See here.

    This doesn’t mean that there is no influence of current (near 100 ppmv) CO2 changes on temperature at all, only that the influence probably is small. And that the CO2 feedback theory to explain the ice ages/deglations is wrong, including the estimates of the influence of the different forcings/feedbacks to fit the obeserved trends.

    Btw. instead of an oscillating system, I should say that it is more a bistable (flip-flop) system, where under a certain border of insolation/clouds/greenhouse gases the system flips to the cold state, due to global feedbacks (icesheet building, with its change in albedo, change in ocean currents,…). With a change of the initial conditions the other side out (with some hysteresis?), the whole system can flip to the warm state again.

  86. jae
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    84: You can get an overview by watching the “Great Global Warming Swindle,” if you haven’t done so. Ross McKitrick has co-authored the book, Taken By Storm: The Troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming, Key Porter Books, Toronto, 2002. ISBN 1552632121, which provides some good information. Also check out Roger Pielke’s blog. Bjorn Lomborg’s book “Skeptical Environmentalist” is great for an overview of what should be done if AGW is, in fact, a problem (plus a great deal of information that counters the doomsdayers in many other facets of “environmentalism.”

  87. Jaye
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    Again, skeptics don’t say that Gore is making a false comparison, they say that he says 20 ft by 2100.

    Gore lied by omission and inference about when the sea level rise would occur implying an earlier, incorrect and unspecified date. He opened the door for the the 20ft by 2100…might as well pick that date as any other. By choosing any date earlier than, what 4000 ad, the skeptics are indeed saying Gore is making a false comparison.

  88. bernie
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    Boris:

    It is not skeptics alone that have inferred that Gore meant that sea levels would rise by 20 feet by the end of the century:
    According to ABC News

    Gore points out the increase in wildfires, the melting glaciers and gradual drying up of all continents as undeniable proof of global warming. The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has doubled in the last 30 years and global sea levels could rise 20 feet by the end of the century, creating tens of millions of refugees, according to his documentary.

    Methinks thou doth protest too much.

  89. Dave B
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    boris…when gore was vice president, during the lewinsky scandal, clinton said, “while my statement was legally accurate, it was misleading…it was wrong”. gore is in much the same position here. during a stretch when he was making dire predictions for the near future, he makes the 20 ft. statement, without the disclaimer of *when* this 20 foot rise may (or may not) occur.

  90. Michael Smith
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    Re: #85

    Ferdinand, thanks for the graph. Perhaps you can answer a question for me. As I understand it, the AGW proponents explain the lag of CO2 levels behind temperature change in the ice cores as follows: some force — such as solar variation — causes temperatures to start rising initially, then the increasing CO2 “kicks in” and keeps the trend going. So here is my question. Wouldn’t that explanation require the original force to gradually disappear at just the right rate to allow the increasing CO2 to come into effect, so as to not disturb the trend line by either increasing it because of two forces acting together or decreasing it because of a gap between when the first force stops and the CO2 kicks in? How likely is that?

  91. John Nicklin
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Isn’t James Hansen now predicting an 80 ft rise? Wouldn’t that require the deglaciation of the entire planet?

  92. Posted May 4, 2007 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    Re #90

    Michael, pure theoretically, that is possible, but highly unlikely… Maybe some (relative) simple energy balance model could resolve that by calculating the effects of solar cycles, ice mass/albedo etc… to see if any help/influence of CO2 is compensated with other effects at the right time.

  93. David Smith
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

    Re #84 Jeff, as a fellow layman I recommend reading Pat Michael’s book, “The Satanic Gases”. It’s probably 5 or 10 years old and may be at your library, or available via Amazon. It’s well-written.

    Michaels explains the basics and agrees that increases in CO2 are likely responsible for temperatures being higher than they would otherwise be. But, he does not share the apocalyptic view.

  94. Bob Meyer
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    Re: 77

    When I ask questions at RC, I get nonsense. I want answers. Why can no one answers these questions? Are they that ill-phrased? You tell me, Bob.

    The questions seem reasonable to me. I tried to play devil’s advocate and concoct a counter argument but I really don’t see any.

    Re; 78

    Gavin Schmidt does not understand this point. The other way, btw, is by building a non-causal system model. Hehe…

    Apparently neither does Spencer Weart. There is a discussion on models going on at RealClimate.org where Weart made the statement:

    We have to be careful here. One problem in the debate is people (engineers for example) who understand just enough math to get into trouble. Models that leave out convection, for example, can give weird, runaway results, which at one early point even cast some doubt on the whole theory.

    (As an aside – Weart’s remark about engineers piqued me no end. Engineers usually understand the relationship of models to reality much better than most mathematicians. If Weart (who I believe is an historian of science) makes a major error in a calculation he gets to write a correction to his paper and in the worst case he suffers embarrassment. When engineers make big mistakes we risk wrongful death suits and charges of negligent homicide. The possibility of a Leavenworth address and being sold for a pack of cigarettes tends to make us rather cautious in our claims about the applicability of models.)

    Weart argues that simplistic models that lack convection lead to runaway conditions that give wildly exaggerated and/or incorrect results. This misses the point entirely which is that CO2 cannot be the driver if it follows the temperature rise. He seems to believe that there is magic in complexity that can make a fundamental violation of causation go away.

    The question of how fast the earth’s climate system responds to a ramp up of CO2 from human activity is damn near impossible to answer. What is needed is the earth’s “transfer function”. Developing this from first principles is a hopelessly tedious project that will move along slower than the glaciers it models. However, maybe we can see the earth’s behavior from its impulse response. If the earth were a quasi-linear system we might be able to see damped oscillations after a major climatic upset like a volcano. I looked at a plot of temperatures following the Pinatubo eruption and there might have been a damped oscillation for a couple of cycles with a period of about three years. The effect, if it was there, was very small.

    I checked a NASA website

    Nasa Volcanoes/

    and it claimed that volcanoes warmed the stratosphere and cooled the troposphere. But when I checked the data the claim became questionable. After the 1982 El Chichon eruption the stratosphere temperatures rose and then fell to a lower level and remained flat until the 1991 Pinatubo eruption. After Pinatubo the same thing occurred, a rise in temperature followed by a fall to a lower level. The stratosphere temperature has remained flat since Pinatubo.

    I don’t see anything that looks like an oscillation following the volcanic eruptions. Except for a slight dip in the temperature of the troposphere that quickly returns to its original value, I don’t seem much of anything.

  95. Bob Meyer
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    Re 94

    Sorry, I left out the source – I found this from a link on the Junkscience website.

    I couldn’t find the temperature graphs where I thought there might be an oscillation. I found these graphs and they don’t show any oscillations.

    Final note: Engelbeen’s graphs seem to show that CO2 definitely doesn’t precede warming. I hope that something like it gets shown to as many school children as saw AIT.

  96. bender
    Posted May 4, 2007 at 10:26 PM | Permalink

    CO2 cannot be the driver if it follows the temperature rise

    Sorry, I disagree. My understanding is that CO2 CAN play the role of a modern driver if its feedback effect in the past was hidden by the domineering effect of a stronger periodic driver such as a Milankovitch forcing. From personal experience I strongly recommend going to the primary literature and not wallowing too much in the gray stuff, including RC. Too much of it is misleading.

    This is my last comment on physical or numerical climatology. From now on it’s due diligence and updating the proxies.

  97. Andrey Levin
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

    Re#84, Jeff:

    The main problem with AGW is that actual scientific findings are terribly miscommunicated to the public. There is independent summary of 2000+ recent articles (make no mistake ‘€” they are cherry-picked and some of them are of dubious quality), which “objectively” summaries “worst case scenario”. And it is far from catastrophic:

    http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/shared/readmore.asp?sNav=pb&id=886

  98. Beth Haynes
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

    RE: #96

    Can anyone give references for further understanding the issue of CO2 forcing as it relates to whether or not CO2 can drive temperature given the change in levels of CO2 follows the change in temperature?

  99. fFreddy
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

    Re #98, Beth Haynes
    The Hockey Team have a recent post presenting their case here. Read it with one hand on your purse.
    Incidentally, in their usual style, they try to dodge the CO2 lag question with the following :

    First of all, saying “historically” is misleading, because Barton is actually talking about CO2 changes on very long (glacial-interglacial) timescales. On historical timescales, CO2 has definitely led, not lagged, temperature.

    Does anyone know what meaning they are trying to assign to the word ‘historically’ to justify this assertion ?

  100. george h.
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    Layman question: My understanding of the global warming theory is that without the presumed positive feedback effect of water vapor that the heat trapping effects of CO2 are negligible. If this is true, what evidence is there from the ice core / borehole or other data that water vapor increases significantly during interglacials and that it provides the positive feedback necessary to accelerate or decelerate interglacial transitions or prolong the interglacial periods in general.

  101. bender
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    Re #98
    The issue here is a generic one of dynamics. Ignore the details of GHG physics for now. Add them in once you get the dynamics understood. Suppose you have a postive feedback loop between agents A and B. If A is driven (by C), then B will lag. If B is driven (by D), then A will lag. Now suppose the driver changes over time from C driving A to D driving B. First B will lag behind A. Then B will lead in front of A.

    A=temp
    B=GHGs
    C=Milanvokitch cycling/insolation
    D=Anthropogenic effects

    Skeptics need to understand the dynamics of a driven positive feebdback loop or else they will look silly getting things wrong, sort of the way Barton did. Beyond that, you’re on your own. My advice is to read all the papers cited by IPCC. The details matter. Good luck with the math.

  102. Posted May 5, 2007 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    Re #98 & 101

    Agreed to a large extent with bender.
    The fact that in the past CO2 lags temperature changes doesn’t prove or falsify that a CO2 lead (as in current days) may have an effect on temperature. We only can say with some caution (it is a multivariate process!), that based on detailed data from the Vostok/Epica-C ice cores, the effect of CO2 on temperature seems to be small. And far away from the 50% feedback claimed by some climate models…

  103. Michael Smith
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    The issue here is a generic one of dynamics. Ignore the details of GHG physics for now. Add them in once you get the dynamics understood. Suppose you have a postive feedback loop between agents A and B. If A is driven (by C), then B will lag. If B is driven (by D), then A will lag. Now suppose the driver changes over time from C driving A to D driving B. First B will lag behind A. Then B will lead in front of A.

    A=temp
    B=GHGs
    C=Milanvokitch cycling/insolation
    D=Anthropogenic effects

    Okay, but that cannot explain Ferdinand’s graph in #85 — there was no D at that time. And in any event, at the risk of sounding “silly”, I’m back to the question I asked in #90. Using your terminology, that graph means that C has to stop driving A at just the time that B starts “positively feedbacking” into A, it has to “kick in” at just the right time; if it kicks in too soon, there will be two things driving A and our rate of temperature increase will go up; if it kicks in too late, our rate of temperature increase will go down because neither will be driving A. Furthermore, not only must the timing be right, both C and then B must cause A to increase at the same rate.

    Aside from the fact that this scenario sounds terribly unlikely, is there any actual evidence to suggest that this is what happens?

  104. Joel McDade
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

    #100

    George, I am a fellow layman so take this with a grain of salt. I don’t think that it has been demonstrated that water vapor feedback is negligible, nor the other way around. However, implied within the IPCC’s *most probable* forecast of 3 deg C for 2xCO2 is a feedback, f, of about 0.63 and a total gain, g, of 2.7 — where g = 1/(1+f). This is almost two times the initial CO2 temperature response (g=1)!

    As willis recently pointed out, if f is .gt. 1 the system runs-away. I find it hard to believe that the earth can be so perilously close to a cataclysmic Goregasm.

  105. bender
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    1. Sorry, your scenario description makes no sense to me.
    2. I’m not trying to explain Ferdinand’s graph in #85. I hadn’t even given it a thought when I wrote #96 and #101.
    3. There is no “D driving B” phase in Ferdinand’s graph, as it covers 20,000 to 10,000 BP.
    4. There are no confidence envelopes on Ferdinand’s graph, so I think you might be over-interpreting the data by focusing on these alleged inflection points. All of those “discrepancies” are cherry-picked by choosing a date that enhances the argument. Non-statistical arguments are dangerous that way.
    5. You don’t sound “silly” because you’re not a senator on a public stage trying to push an incorrect argument; you’re just like me: a guy on a blog trying to understand what the AAGWers are on about. IMO it’s ok to try out half-cooked arguments on a blog. Not ok in front of the US senate.

    Trying to extricate myself from this gracefully. This blog is about updating proxies, due diligence, data sharing, and accountable science-based policy-making, not GHG physics. This thread is “The Swindle Complaint and Myles Allen” on which I have no comment. Bye.

  106. Stan Palmer
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    re 104

    This analysis assumes that the proportion of feedback f is a contant. it need not be so. It is possible to decrease the amount of feedback as the output signal increases. F may be above 1 for certain levels of output and be reduced to 0 for outputs beyond a certain level. The output will rise to a certain point and then be stabilized. An oscillator’s output level can be stabilized by clamping the feedback signal so that it cannot rise above a desired level.

  107. Dave Dardinger
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    I also agree with Bender and Ferdinand. I always hate seeing fellow skeptics get seduced by the lead-lag thing. There’s no necessary connection either way. For instance say there was some gas, somthingol, which had its atmospheric concentration lag behind temperature. This gas could have a positive, negative or no affect on temperatures. In the case of CO2, however, we know from external evidence that it is a GHG and will have some effect on temperatures. We also know that the concentration of CO2 will to some extent be increased with higher temperatures, so when CO2 is increasing on its own, you’d expect temperatures to generally follow this increase gradually. The amount of temperature increase from a doubling of CO2 is probably somewhere in the .5-1.5 deg C range.

    How much CO2 increases in the atmosphere from an increase of temperature is actually much less predictable. Partly this is because calculating the temperature rise in the deep ocean is mostly guesswork. But there are other things like the degree of weathering a given amount of atmospheric CO2 will produce, which have their own effects. Generally speaking, most of the upper ocean waters which sink to deep waters are near freezing anyway so not much heat gets mixed deeper. And since warm water is less dense, it’s not going to do much mixing unless, say, there were a lot of evaporation which made it denser by extra salt concentration. OTOH, this evaporation is generally going to be matched by rainfall and runoff from rivers so it is probably only in certain isolated areas that dense warm water can mix with cold deeper water.

  108. John Lang
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    Further to the CO2 feedback in the ice ages:

    – Temperatures change by about 5.0C globally from the peak of the ice age to the height of the interglacials.

    – CO2 concentrations average about 180 ppm during coldest part of the ice ages and about 280 ppm at the height of the interglacials.

    100 ppm or a 55% increase is only capable of explaining 0.8C (16%) to 2.5C (50%) of the total change in temperatures in the ice ages.

    So not only does CO2 lag the temperature changes (800 years is an eternity in climate feedback terms), CO2 and temperature trends are going in the opposite direction in many timelines and CO2 can only explain a small part of the change in temperatures during the ice ages.

    3 significant points against CO2’s role in the history of the climate for the past 700,000 years says a lot to me.

  109. DeWitt Payne
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Lagging feedbacks:

    Substitute ice/albedo for CO2 concentration and now you make the argument that decrease (increase) in albedo due to glacial retreat (advance) cannot be a positive feedback because it must lag temperature increase (decrease). I believe this is the reductio ad absurdum for this argument. Or to put it another way, anyone who believes this really deserves the denier epithet.

  110. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    Dave,

    In the case of CO2, however, we know from external evidence that it is a GHG and will have some effect on temperatures.

    But CO2 is not ONLY a greenhous gas, it has other properties as well that can affect climate. Do these other properties outweigh the GHG property and cause cooling instead of warming in some situations? I wonder.

  111. John Lang
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    Albedo provides an instantaneous feedback. Not an 800 year lagged one.

  112. Dave Dardinger
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    Nanny,

    The only major other feedbck from CO2 would be fertilization. But by definition that can only occur from increased CO2 in the atmosphere so if there were any negative feedback enough to cause cooling it would have to be a paradoxical case where increased CO2 led to decreased CO2. Doesn’t make any sense. Well, there is actually another similar case with increased erosion from converting CaCO3 + CO2 +H2O to Ca++ +2HCO3-. But again that can only result in reducing the amount of CO2, not making it become less that it started out.

    This is unlike the case with water where additional water can result in increase ice albedo and increased cloudiness and increased convection and/or transport of latent heat high in the atmosphere.

  113. cytochrome_sea
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    Re: 102 & 107, etc…

    The models signifying lag times seem to be in question:

    http://www.clim-past-discuss.net/3/409/2007/cpd-3-409-2007.pdf

  114. Nicholas
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

    I think this thread has gone off the rails. Remember – In AIT, Al Gore implies that the ice core CO2/temperature graphs are PROOF that CO2 drives temperature.

    Now, the lag pretty much disproves that idea, correct? Note that it does not prove that CO2 can have no effect on temperature; merely that the ice core records do not show the CO2 driving the temperature historically (and I use the word historically on purpose; the dictionary says “of, pertaining to, treating, or characteristic of history or past events”). Now, one can also examine these same ice core temperature/CO2 records and say that they suggest that if CO2 is also a feedback which affects temperature, its sensitivity seems fairly low. But I don’t think anyone here is claiming that this is proof that CO2 can have absolutely no effect on temperature. Rather, what is being pointed out, is that the connection pointed out in AIT is invalid.

    That I think is why Swindle places so much emphasis on the lag, and I think they are right to. I think the onus is on people who claim that CO2 has such a dire effect on temperature to provide evidence, and the ice core records do not seem to provide that evidence. Lack of evidence for a positive is not necessarily evidence for a negative! But the tenuous support for evidence of high climate sensitivity of CO2 is an important point too.

  115. Jon
    Posted May 5, 2007 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

    In absolute terms, thinkening the glass would cause more warming, only due to the insulating effect of the extra glass. Could you measure it? Maybe, given the best equipment. But I understand your analogy, but the greenhouse is a poor metaphor for the greenhouse effect. A greenhouse increases temp by trapping longwave radiation and, just as importantly, restricting airflow to internal convection only. If you open the ends of the greenhouse, it will not warm appreciably. A greenhouse is a very simple system with few complications. The globe on the otherhand is not.

    Most Catastrophic GW partisans will tell you quite fervently that the GHG has nothing to do with a ‘greenhouse’, that the mechanism is entirely different.

    In a way, they are right but also wrong. Greenhouses work by stopping convection cooling. Greenhouses work thusly: Sunlight enters the greenhouse, just as in the case of the earth this sunlight warms the surround area, producing longwave radiation. A greenhouse does not work by trapping the long-wave radiation directly, although using glass does have that effect. Rather the GHGs (water, co2) in the greenhouse absorb the long-wave radiation. There is also a convection transfer from the ground to the air. Ordinarily, this hot air would tend to diffuse away but the greenhouse structure traps it and stops it. Thus the temperature is higher than it otherwise would be.

    No on the earth scale, its precisely because there is no convection trap that simple radiative warming arguments (such as recently appeared on realclimate) are not physical. Indeed, you’d expect all of that hot CO2 to simply diffuse into the upper atmosphere without causing appreciable surface warming.

    Now the CGW partisan will tell you that the hot CO2 radiates back toward the Earth creating the radiative forcing. This does happen to a degree. But a hot gas does not radiate substantially compared to the grey-body radiation of the crust.

    Conclusion: A GCM is needed to comprehend this process in a physical fashion. The GHG absorption & reemission argument is compelling in its simplicity but also physically wrong. It may, however, be tuned to act as a model giving relevant predictions, but this is not the same as being a reasonable reduction of the physical processes.

  116. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted May 6, 2007 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    The only major other feedbck from CO2 would be fertilization. But by definition that can only occur from increased CO2 in the atmosphere so if there were any negative feedback enough to cause cooling it would have to be a paradoxical case where increased CO2 led to decreased CO2.

    I’m not sure I follow your logic in this case, but isn’t fertilization itself a climate cooling process? More vegetative cover, more leaves means less sunlight hitting the ground and therefore less long wave radiation to propagate back up and get caught amongst the GHGs. There is plenty of evidence that the planet is greening with the additional CO2. That greening means there’s more shade than there used to be. I wonder where that’s been quantified.

  117. Bob Meyer
    Posted May 6, 2007 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

    RE 109 DeWitt Payne

    There is a misunderstanding here about feedback. There are two aspects to feedback, its magnitude and its phase. For non-EEs that means the size of the feedback and the delay. The ice cores have determined the delay to be on the order of 1000 years from temperature peak to CO2 peak. The magnitude is open to argument but since there is no evidence that there are CO2 mediated oscillations we can assume that the magnitude is less than one. This holds for non-human sources of CO2 which appear to be primarily from the oceans heating.

    When humans pump CO2 into the atmosphere this has nothing to do with climatic feedback. It is solely the result of human effort and therefore a new driver that has to be evaluated as such.

    Over the last 800,000 years CO2 was driven by the change in temperature, or at least most of it was and there was roughly a millennium between the rise in temperature and the rise in CO2. Since the ice cores showed temperature peaks occurring on the order of 5,000 years apart this means that if CO2 drove temperature then it did so with a delay of approximately 5,000 – 1,000 = 4,000 years!

    But the true believers aren’t claiming that we will cook our great, great, great….grandchildren, they claim that we will cook ourselves!

    Now lets evaluate our new CO2 driver. It is a very special kind of CO2, unlike ordinary “natural” CO2 man-made CO2 acts immediately to warm the planet. Apparently our super fast cars result in super fast CO2 that can melt the Antarctic in the blink of an eye. Obviously, no one is stupid enough to believe this so we are faced with a dilemma. Either the ice core data is completely wrong or else CO2 does not drive temperature to a significant extent.

    I am willing to accept either possibility if there is some kind of reasonable science behind it. However, reconciling both the long ice core delays and the modern short delays will require a completely new theory of climate change that will undoubtedly result in a Nobel Prize.

    (Why is it that I have the strange feeling that someone will announce that the ice core data needed “recalibration” and now CO2 increases precede temperature increases by about a month?)

    Re:99 fFreddy

    Does anyone know what meaning they are trying to assign to the word historically’ to justify this assertion ?

    I think it is a typo. They meant “hysterical”. I know that I laugh hysterically whenever I read stuff like that!

  118. bender
    Posted May 6, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    our super fast cars result in super fast CO2 that can melt the Antarctic in the blink of an eye.
    Obviously, no one is stupid enough to believe this …

    Hyperbolize, ostracize, bully. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s comments like this – ones that don’t pass the smell test – that get AAGWers (=alarmists) saying that CA is a deliberate source of misinformation. Guaranteed, someone will come here saying that the “peanut gallery” gave this a “pass”. I’m not giving this a pass, but I also don’t have time to refute it, and everything like it, either.

    Why would you couple a useful comment about the nature of CO2 feedback with a useless opinion about what you think is “obvious”, what you think is based on “belief”, and what you think is true? Who is the one pushing the belief-based opinions here?

  119. C_G_K
    Posted May 6, 2007 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    RE#113 cytochrome_sea

    Could you explain how you think this study may change our understanding of the time lag between temperature rise and CO2 increase? When I looked at the study, it seemed to me that the authors were simply trying to more accurately date the events in the ice core record.

  120. Bob Meyer
    Posted May 6, 2007 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    Re 118: bender

    Sometimes reductio ad absurdum is appropriate. I was not the first to point out that the ice cores and the GCMs have very different time constants but for some reason that point seemed to get lost repeatedly. The fast cars / fast CO2 wisecrack was intended only to provide a memorable anchor to this point, though I will concede that the issue didn’t require the “No one is that stupid” remark. That was partly frustration and partly a response to be referred to (indirectly) as a “denier” in #109. Exhausted at 3:00 AM I tend to revert to my New York street kid origins so I apologize for my choice of words and promise not to write anymore when I’m tired.

    I just now read your comment 101 and I can understand that you may have thought I was insulting you. Had I read 101 before I posted I would certainly have chosen my words differently because despite any disagreements between us you have always been civil to me and you have every right to expect civility in return. So, to you personally, I also apologize. I don’t know why I missed 101 the first time but I will answer it now if I can.

    The problem that I have with your analysis is that I don’t see a reason that increases in CO2 due to industrialization would produce a reaction some two to three orders of magnitude faster than the “normal” amount of CO2. This would imply some kind of rate effect for which I have seen no evidence. The primary positive feedback mechanism (if I understand the theory correctly) is increased water vapor in the atmosphere as a result of the temperature increase due to CO2 absorbing certain wavelengths of infra-red radiation from the earth. I don’t see how a sudden but small increase in temperature will produce more total water vapor in the air than a slower increase of equal magnitude.

    In both cases the water vapor is a relatively quick response so it can’t be the reason for the 4000 year lag between CO2 increases and temperature increases. So for now, lets ignore the 4000 year lag since whether it exists or not pursuing any effect on that time scale is pointless in the context of immediate global warming.

    What we need to find is a negative feedback that can sufficiently counter slow increases in CO2 (or slow increases in temperature) but is overwhelmed by a relatively rapid increase. I don’t think that plant life fits the bill here but my ignorance of the rate of growth of plants is almost complete.

    This rate limited negative feedback is what the pro AGW group has not provided. Without this it would be pretty difficult to determine just what level of human CO2 production is acceptable. The zero carbon footprint idea looks unworkable to me. I am not saying that there definitely is a short time constant causal relationship between CO2 and temperature, I am saying that if there is, then we need a rate limited negative feedback to explain why we have not already seen the very unpleasant effects forecast by the pro AGW people.

    Since I am getting tired, I will keep my promise and shut-up for a while.

  121. DeWitt Payne
    Posted May 6, 2007 at 10:45 PM | Permalink

    Re: #111

    Albedo provides an instantaneous feedback. Not an 800 year lagged one.

    But albedo doesn’t change instantly. The process is the same for both cases, the temperature goes up, the oceans warm releasing CO2, the temperature then goes up some more. The temperature goes up, the ice melts, albedo decreases and the temperature goes up some more. The ice cannot melt before the temperature goes up, nor can it freeze until after the temperature starts to drop. I suspect it takes quite a while to start melting after the temperature starts to go up, given the considerable heat of fusion of water and the volume of the ice sheets. In that sense, it’s not an instantaneous feedback at all. The lag in the increase in CO2 concentration and decrease in albedo compared to temperature only prove that they are not the initiators of the change from glacial to interglacial. I doubt you can find a knowledgeable warmer that actually makes that claim.

  122. Dave Dardinger
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

    re: #116

    I’m not sure I follow your logic in this case, but isn’t fertilization itself a climate cooling process?

    I’m trying to distinguish between a feedback to temperature and a feedback to CO2 concentration. Thus the AGW theory claims that increases in CO2 will both directly increase temperature via GHG effects and that this will be augmented via an increase in water vapor which also a GHG. CO2 fertilization will directly only decrease CO2 concentration a negative feedback to temperature increase. It’s true that it might be possible that the increased vegitation could be a negative temperature feedback, but that’s not certain or even likely. A northern fir forest could hide snowfall that’s shed from the branches resulting in more sunlight being absorbed by the needles of the trees. Likewise, vegetation itself absorbs solar radiation and while it won’t directly heat the surface, the undersides of the vegetation will emit IR and this will heat the surface. The only way the absorbed radiation won’t result in heating eventually is if it’s converted to chemical energy via photosynthesis and vegetation just isn’t very efficient at that.

  123. DeWitt Payne
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    addition to #121:

    You can lose ice volume by sublimation. Ice cubes in your freezer get smaller with time. But even there, the rate of sublimation is a function of temperature and of the temperature difference between the ice cube and the cooling coils. For sublimation to be a significant loss factor in the real world, deposition would have to cease and there would have to be a sink for the water vapor like the cooling coils in the freezer. On a small scale, this is what is happening to the glaciers on Kilimanjaro. However, neither situation is likely to happen on a large scale in the real world.

  124. MarkW
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

    The Milankovich cycle is about 100,000 years long. The CO2 delay is about 1000 years.

    I don’t see much possibility that the CO2 increase is due to the previous high of the Milankovich cycle. The delay is just too long.

    Also, the way the CO2 rises, stays relatively constant until 1000 years after the temperatures start falling again. Then staying constant until 1000 years after the temperatures start rising again. All this while insolation changes due to the Milankovich cycle are roughly sinusoidal.

    What this relationship says to me is that there changes in insolation are the primary driver of temperature, with somekind of limiting feedback kicking in at both a high and a low temperature, and that CO2 changes are a lagging indicator of the current warming cycle, not the previous one.

    And yes, I am a EE.

  125. cytochrome_sea
    Posted May 12, 2007 at 1:47 AM | Permalink

    Re: 119,

    C_G_K, my apologies if I wasted your time reading the wrong link, I was drinking a bit that night. Right now for some reason I can’t seem to find the article, perhaps it’s already out of the open discussion phase, (I had read it a week or two prior to seeing this thread and going back to look for the link I posted) or perhaps my memory of the article’s implications was really faulty. ;) (link was posted from a computer that can’t read pdf’s)

    I’ll post the proper link if I come across it.

  126. Heikki
    Posted Jul 30, 2007 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    I don’t understand why Wunsch was so angry. He said his opinions to camera and i haven’t found that his opinions were manipulated at all. Perhaps he was angry because politbyro of climate change bandwagon saw him as a new traitor.

  127. Gunnar
    Posted Jul 30, 2007 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    >> That is telling half truths, because the environment absorbs more than it produces whereas for humans it is just the other way round. So the footed bill is net absorption for the environment (greening of the earh) and net production for humans (rising of CO2 in the atmosphere).

    That’s just it, what’s your scientific evidence of the claim that “environment absorbs more than it produces”. We don’t know. We cannot measure it. All the C02 in the atmosphere is in flux, ie, part of the carbon cycle. Because of Henry’s law, it’s all headed for the ocean. The atmospheric lifetime is about 5 years. C02 cannot accumulate in the atmosphere, just as Water cannot accumulate in the atmosphere. Human C02 output amounts to a tiny fraction of the C02 flux. It merely make it look like there is a bit more animal life.

  128. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jul 30, 2007 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    After writing the Venus thing elsewhere, it dawned upon me that there’s something else currently going on when I read this thread. Well, more than 1 thing. The first is that I do believe that there is a bit of “the ice will melt 10s of feet”, without explaining the time frame, is so very propaganda and is crafted to make us worry as if it was going to happen soon and quickly.

    Anyway, I thought to myself, ‘what would happen if everything did melt’? and that’s when I remembered Venus. As I mentioned there, Venus has no magnetic field to speak of since it doesn’t have the capacity to have a dynamo for its core for a variety of reasons. So it doesn’t have a magnetic shift every 700,000 years or so.

    As some of you may know, there are some people that believe we are due for another shift on (something around) 21 Dec 2012 Should that indeed happen, I’m sure you know what kind of result suddenly moving the poles to where the equator now is (and vice versa) to the crust of the Earth (even discounting the sudden shift; due to the bulge, the plates and so on. Bad news for the gravitational pull too.).

    So if it happened, what would the result be? Earthquakes, volcanoes popping up, and the like. If just that didn’t kill everyone, we would now have all the ice in Antartica melting as well as all the water at the equator freezing.

    I think you can see this happening really makes the idea of what’s going to happen after 5 years a moot point…. So the question is:

    Are we due for another pole shift?

  129. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Jul 30, 2007 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    Re: #128

    Sam,

    Only the magnetic pole will shift, not the rotational axis. Conservation of angular momentum would be massively violated by any shift in the rotational axis. There are small continuous shifts in the orientation of the rotational pole wrt the plane of the orbit, however. Polaris eventually won’t be the North Star. But that doesn’t change the physical location of the rotational axis. It’s more like the wobbling of a gyroscope. Also, there is magnetic polar drift and magnetic pole reversal. It was once thought that the decrease to zero of the Earth’s magnetic field during a pole reversal, something that has happened many times over geologic time would cause a significant and possibly deadly increase in the radiation dose at the equator, but IIRC, that has been discounted by new calculations. The 2012 date is, I think, for the Sun’s magnetic field to reverse. That is a normal part of the solar cycle and happens approximately every 11 years, but it varies. The current cycle seems to be longer than usual.

  130. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 31, 2007 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

    I seem to recall that a magnetic pole flip does not happen overnight: it is a process which takes a century or so.
    During which time we will go through a period of no magnetic field at all, which might be interesting.

  131. Evan Jones
    Posted Mar 4, 2008 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    Swindle points out that the environment produces more CO2 than humans, I haven’t seen any studies that refute that

    Well, it’s true and I am a serious skeptic. But it is not as simple as that.

    According to DoE:

    Yes, yes, Ocean and Vegitation/soils put out nearly alll of CO2. Industry only contributes c. 6 1/2 BMTC per year, or under 5%.

    BUT

    Ocean and Soils/Vegitation (including agriculture) suck up MORE carbon than they emit. They even suck up over half the atmospheric carbon that industry puts out. But Indusry doesn’t suck up ANY atmospheric carbon. over 3 BMTC accumultes in the atmosphere. There is c. 730 BMTC or so of atmospheric BMTC. So it is reasonable to conclude that industry (i.e., all fuels burning) contributes half-a-percent a year to atmospheric carbon.

    I think the CO2 argument falls down on three levels:

    First, once India/China et al. have developed to a reasonable level of affluence (probably in 2 to 3 decades), they will reduce output (including contributing to the Dirty Snow issue), therefore the accumulation models are fatally flawed.

    Second, CO2 has a persistance of c. 100 years (or what?). Or however long. At that point, if CO2 input is merely equal to CO2 “decay”, CO2 will no longer accumulate at all. (Other homeostasis factors, perhaps some we are not even currently aware of may click in as well.)

    Third, it seems as if CO2 does warm the atmosphere, but its effects may have been exaggerated, possibly greatly. If so, spending trillions or tens of trillions a year on the problem would be a very tragic waste and would come at considerable cost in human life. Every time wealth is squandered–or not created–lives are lost that would not have been lost otherwise.

  132. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Mar 4, 2008 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    “it seems as if CO2 does warm the atmosphere”

    I would put that as: Carbon dioxide is one of the gasses that absorbs IR, contributing to the greenhouse effect.

  133. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Mar 4, 2008 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    The IPCC reports, given expert judgements on the correctness of the underlying science that are are 90% sure, that the global average net effect of human activities overall since 1750 has contributed between .6 and 2.4 W m-2 of radiative forcing to the climate system (Not including volcanic aerosols or non-contrail possible effects of aviation on cloudiness).

    It lists that the four major non-water vapor greenhouse gasses contributed a total of between +2.07 and +2.53 of the overall radiative forcing portion, of which carbon dioxide alone is +1.49 to +1.83 over the 250+ years. However, this does not take into account various other positive and negative forcings (such as both stratospheric and tropospheric ozone) nor water vapor feedbacks, nor clouds other than cloud aerosol albedo effects of -1.8 to -.3 (minus 1.1 to plus .3 from the reported -.7)

    As far as adding carbon dioxide alone, look at 7.3 in the WGI report. Couplings Between Changes in the Climate System and Biogeochemistry – The Carbon Cycle and the Climate System http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch07.pdf

    It appears from 2000-2005, the gigatons of carbon dioxide increased 4.1(+/- .1) per year (versus 3.2 (+/- .1) in the 1990s) This is broken down into

    1990s to 2000-2005

    Emissions
    6.4 (+/- .4)to 7.2 (+/- .3)
    Ocean to atmosphere flux
    -1.7 (+/- .5) (TAR, revised in AR4 to -2.2 (+/- .4)) to -2.2 (+/- .4 )
    Land to atmosphere flux from
    -1.4 (+/- .7) (TAR, revised in AR4 to (-1 +/- .6)) to -1 (+/- .6)

    They partitioned land to atmosphere into land use and residual and for the 1980’s in the TAR (original not revised TAR) and for the 1990s in AR4

    Land use flux 1.7 (+.8 -1.1) to 1.6 (+/- 1.1)
    Residual terrestrial sink -1.9 (+ 1.6 – .9) to -2.6 (+/- 1.7)

    So based upon AR4 commenting on the 1990s, they get a net land to atmosphere of 1 +/-.6 from the partitioning of the two that are actually a range of -3.8 (both low) to +1.6 (both high). Of course, the partitioning can’t be separated based upon current observations only after the rfact.

    See table 7.1

    For the radiative forcings, see figure SPM.2 in, and the AR4 WGI SPM itself, for details. Be aware that the document mostly focuses on conclusions and interpretations gathered from various sources including models and scenarios, and is focused on policy and policy-makers, from a different perspective than the much larger WGI report does. It also focuses extensivly on carbon dioxide.

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_SPM.pdf

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